Bids start to roll in for Florida train

Posted Tuesday, February 11, 2003 4:10 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Two of the bids to build Florida's high-speed rail project arrived yesterday. The rail commission plans to analyze the bids and release their findings at their March 3 meeting. The entire plan is controversial because Disney would disallow a stop on their property if it wasn't the first stop on the way to Tampa Bay, bypassing the Orange County Convention Center and competing tourist attractions.

Read more from The Palm Beach Post.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003 4:29 AM
"Disney doesn't want its guests confused or burdened by a train that has to make multiple stops before reaching the theme park."

OK, so is Disney saying that people who were smart enough to get on a plane, likely have to change planes at some airport they've never been to in between, are too stupid to not get off the train at a location that doesn't have the big ears? That's insulting PR crap. Give us a little more credit Disney. If you want us to visit, earn it.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 4:55 AM
Well, having been on the inside I will tell you that an unbelievable number of guests WILL be confused by multiple stops. Not that this is the best agrument for Disney's defense. You would be surprised by the thousands and thousands of people who think they can jump on the monorail to get to Universal Studios.

Again, as a taxpayer in Florida (no state income tax but we do have gas taxes, tolls, etc) I want them to build this thing as affordable as possible without dipping into my pockets. If that means that Disney wins this argument, so be it.

I say again that this NEVER should have been a Constitutional amendment. Of course, this coming from the same state that put the welfare of pigs in their Constitution.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 5:43 AM
Disney will never agree to it, which means this thing will never come to fruition.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 6:27 AM
I assume the skipper will agree with me on this. You can't judge the intelligence of the "average" Disney guest (or theme park guest, for that matter) until you have spent a week as an employee, answering the same question day-in and day-out...

Guest: "Excuse me, sir, can you tell me how to get to the Terminator movie thing?"

Cast: "M'am, that attraction is at Universal Studios. This is the Disney-MGM Studios."

Guest: "So can I take a Disney bus there?"

Cast: "No, M'am. Universal Studios is our competition. You'd need to drive there or take a taxi."

Guest: "So you don't have a bus?"

This may seem far-fetched, but it happens a thousand times every day at Disney. And I'm sure at most other theme parks as well. May not be the same question, but its all obvious stuff. And this is strictly English-speaking, American tourist stupidity. When you take into account the foreign-tourist market that thrives in Orlando, where you deal not with stupidity, but a language and cultural barricade, Disney's request for a single stop doesn't seem so incredible.

Now, you can "take offense" to Disney's plan all you want. If you're intelligent enough to be able to figure out the difference between Universal's parks, and Disney's parks, then the single-stop plan wasn't directed at assisting you. If you're intelligent enough, I'm sure that you'll be able to find a way to Universal other than using the high-speed train. However, there's thousands of people every day who can't. And they're the ones this is designed to help.

And those are my thoughts on the matter. Because everyone cares.

-Jay

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 6:44 AM
I think many of us Floridians that have been to Orlando multiple times can see how tourists would get off at the wrong stop. Not that I buy Disney's argument but I've seen many tourists jump on the wrong Disney bus to get to their resort and end up in Downtown Disney or another park. Don't give these tourists so much credit, Jeff. Some of them can't even find the castle at the Magic Kingdom with a map in their hands. It's not that they will not get off at the Disney stop, it's that they may think they have arrived already and get off at one of these earlier stops on the way there.

Anyway, you can be sure that if the train makes more than one stop that there will be heavy advertising by all of those "other" attractions on the way to Disney. Like a billboard that can be seen from the train saying "Wet n' Wild water park, train exit 2." Or people handing out brochures at the train stop nearest the airport. A lot of these tourists would never go to these places unless they had a very easy way to get there and the train would provide it. I think that is the main thing Disney is worried about and I can understand why they have taken the stand they have taken.

Universal has succeeded in part because people have extended their Disney trips or just decided to cut one of their Disney days and go to Universal for that day instead. I don't think Disney wants people seeing ads on the way to their parks that advertise other diversions and fun things to do that are not only in the same vicinity, but also easily accessible by this train. If you have ever stayed "off-site" you know there are many attractions out there that a tourist going straight to Disney would never know about because they spend 100% of their vacation time in Disney property.

Although I understand Disney's thinking, I hope it makes those extra stops because it would make getting around "all" of tourist O-Town a lot easier without a car.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 6:55 AM
For goodness sakes Disney! Just play along. This is win win for everybody. Build the stops, and then work out a deal to run "Disney Only" express trains. Sheesh!

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"Know thyself!"

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 6:57 AM
I need to rephrase my comments. Jeff is right. The argument that people are stupid isn't the argument Disney needs to make to get their point across. That said, Jay Woods and I are on the same page because people going to Disney do seem to check their intelligence at the door.

My favorite example: Guest is walking through the Jungle Cruise queue while videotaping the entire walk. In and of itself pretty stupid. It gets better. He is so enthralled with the video that he walks right up to load and keeps on going - but there is no boat there. He steps right into the river. That is one of a thousand examples I can give you.

Disney's real argument is that they don't want the guests to stop anywhere other than their property. Period. The sooner they get there, the sooner they are spending money. (Who here thinks FastPass is a guest convenience? It ain't. It is a way to get you to spend more money.) With the combination of a direct-to-property train and their on-property transportation, guests won't need to rent a car and, as a result, won't be going to the competition.

Disney is a business and, while they do a lot of great things for the community, their business interests don't necessarily revolve around the community. Do I think their threat is "the right thing"? No. Do I think it is a smart move? Yes.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 7:17 AM
Jay: There's a difference between a lack of intelligence and ignorance. My wife confused some of the coasters between different parks. Are you saying my wife is stupid? I sure as hell hope you aren't. Like a lot of people who don't obsess about such things or work at the parks, it's just as easy to think of attractions as something "in Orlando." Where exactly they might be isn't common knowledge for everyone. The world does not revolve around the rat, as you seem to think.

Wahoo gets at the core of the issue... by getting on a train at the airport, not stopping anywhere, and having Disney transportation at your disposal once you arrive, you have no reason to ever leave the property. That's what Disney wants, and this plan will give that to them.

As far as I'm concerned, that's corporate welfare or even a state-sponsored monopoly. I'd sooner see the project scrapped than allow that to happen if I was a taxpayer.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 7:54 AM
JayWoods, you make an interesting argument. There's just this one little thing about it: It assumes that what is best is keeping Disney guests oriented and secure. This approach totally ignores the fact that Universal (and other) guests have just as much right to convenient and clear transportation as well. You complain that a non-direct access train would allow Disney guests to see ads for other parks. I say to that, "So what?" It's called competition. If Disney can't handle it, then I don't think they're doing a very good job. And, anyway, last time I checked, Disney could still send courtesy cars and buses to pick peopel up at the airport and bring them directly to Disney. Before I finish, let me bring up one more point: Disney doesn't have everything. There are always going to be people, and lots of them, who would also like to do Terminator, or Back to the Future as well as the Disney stuff. Guests who know what they're about are much more likely to stay on-site if it's convient to hop on over to Universal for a few hours, and then hop back. If they can't do that, both staying off-site and spending more time at Universal will be the probable choice.

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I hear America screaming...

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:14 AM
Ok.. it's official.. the world is ending.. I can't dissagree with Jeff on anything now.. ;)

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June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
Technical Services - 2002
Frightzone Screamster - 2002

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:22 AM
I think they should Fly concords to and from Disney/ airport. This way they don't need to take the train and it gets the passengers to the theme park quickly
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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:25 AM
Hey, I am a big fan of almost all of the Orlando attractions. I don't leave Orlando until having gone to Belz, Old Town, and a host of other favorite stops. I would discourage anyone who asked me to seclude themselves on Disney property for their entire vacation. There is a lot to see and do.

I don't think your wife is stupid, though I don't know her personally. Anyone can get a ride or two mixed up. However, I am sure she knows the difference between Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. I am sure she can look at the monorail and decipher that it doesn't go upside down. (Another of my favorites.)

I also believe that the Walt Disney Property is where it is today because some stiff competition moved into town. Whether Disney would ever admit that or not is irrelevent.

Your final comment, Jeff, is the most important one. This project SHOULD be scrapped, or at least should be funded by private enterprise and NOT Florida citizens. The loonies I live around voted to put this project in the state Constitution with a deadline for construction without having the foggiest idea how much it was going to cost and without knowing a route. (Shouldn't those two items have been priority #1?)

I think people were intending to vote for Gore and hit "Yes" to the train amendment by accident.

Oh, one more thing. Disney still has the right to build an airport on property. It was included in the original arrangement that gave Disney (Lake Buena Vista) governing authority over its 28,000 acres. They also have the right to build a nuclear reactor on property. I don't ever see either of these things happening but it is interesting to see how badly the state wanted the Rat to come to town.*** This post was edited by wahoo skipper 2/11/2003 2:27:33 PM ***

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:36 AM
So what you're saying is that Florida voters, not the tourists, are stupid? ;)

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 9:45 AM
Well, I pretty much think that is implied.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 10:29 AM
I disagree with the "corporate welfare" crack. Disney did not ask for this high speed rail at all. And any plan that had additional intermediate stops would *hurt* Disney from its current postion. As it is right now, Disney already has a "captive audience" that utilizes its bussing and monorail systems. By adding low-cost transportation away from the properties, the rail will effectively siphon off Disney revenue. If anything, one could make the arguement that a multi-stop rail line is 'welfare' to prop up the attendance at other attractions. I mean, Disney did all the work to get these "captive" guests to the Orlando Area, and now is being asked to basically 'share' the guests with the other businesses. What would Disney gain by that? Damn straight they should be against it.

The question should only come down to what is best for the voters in Florida. I mean really, the high speed rail is really there to help them. Do many people fly to Orlando from other places within Florida? Do these people make up a large percentage of Disney's "captive audience"? Methinks not. Therefore, since the plan is to be what is best for Florida residents, I dont think that Disney should win out.

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"Sunshine, daisies, butter-mellow! Turn this stupid fat rat yellow!"

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 10:48 AM
Aha, a couple of interesting points. First, the high speed rail is really going in to help Floridians? I don't think so. A good number of Floridians are season or annual passholders at more than one park. If they are going to make a trek up/down/over to Orlando then it isn't likely they are going to want to stay on Disney property. Thus, they need a car. Why would they rent a car when they could just drive there?

As for your other point, I understand your agrument but the rail line won't siphon people off of property because those resort guests without cars (a good number of the total guests) wouldn't be able to get TO the rail line. Disney certainly won't provide free transportation to its guests so that they can leave property for a competitor.

As for state-sponsored monopolies, doesn't that already happen? I know that when the Ohio and Florida turnpikes were built the rest stops consisted basically of bathrooms and vending machines. You had to get off the turnpike to really eat anything, thus creating business opportunities.

Both of those turnpikes now have full service rest stops with restaurants, stores, etc. Suddenly, you don't have to get off the turnpike if you don't want to and a lot of people who set up shop and turnpike exits saw a dramatic decrease in business.

It is already happening.

I must say, this has been one of the more interesting discussions in a while, no matter your viewpoint.

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 11:30 AM
Siphon off guests? I don't think so...no more than rental cars allow guests to drive to the other parks. It seems like the issue is senative to the voters and by being greedy, Disney will give up the ship. I guess they've decided that no train at all would be better than backing the project that helps everyone. Too bad really. As I said, express service to their park.

And as for 'stupid guests', give folks a break! They're on vacation for goodness sake.

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"Know thyself!"

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 11:31 AM
Jeremy: I don't disagree that the rat didn't ask for it, and they can get along fine without it. The project needs Disney, not the other way around. For that reason, I'd sooner see it scrapped entirely than implemented in a way that would favor Disney.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Tuesday, February 11, 2003 11:36 AM
I guess if they really wanted too, they could build an airport at the park! ;)

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"Know thyself!"

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