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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hear America screaming...
June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
Technical Services - 2002
Frightzone Screamster - 2002
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 ***
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.
"Sunshine, daisies, butter-mellow! Turn this stupid fat rat yellow!"
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.
And as for 'stupid guests', give folks a break! They're on vacation for goodness sake.
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