Walt Disney World prepares to open amid praise and criticism

Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2020 10:27 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The pandemic has devastated Disney’s businesses, and reopening its signature tourist attraction — with restricted capacity and government approval — is a major part of the company’s comeback attempt. But in doing so Disney is stepping into a politicized debate surrounding the virus and efforts to keep people safe, where even the wearing of masks has become a point of bitter contention.

Read more from The New York Times.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 10:30 AM
Jeff's avatar

Y'all know my frustration with America's total failure at taking the pandemic seriously, but I genuinely think that it makes sense to see if this works. I'd love to know if Universal has seen any rampant infection spread among its employees in the last month, because that would be a good indicator of whether or not this can work. In fact, the big theme parks seem to be the only businesses who are really going the distance to figure out how to coexist with the pandemic.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 10:37 AM

I have been wondering the same thing about Universal. All is seemingly quiet with them since they opened several weeks ago.

Assuming that locals make-up the bulk of the people going to those parks, are they part of the spike in cases in Orlando? Are the workers part of that spike? I would think that if the workers are getting it that would start to make some waves in news coverage.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:03 PM

In fact, the big theme parks seem to be the only businesses who are really going the distance to figure out how to coexist with the pandemic.

For the last 3-4 months I have been engaging with clients pretty much daily who (in a broad spectrum of businesses and industries -- none of them big theme parks) are going the distance to figure out how to coexist with Covid. And from everything I have seen, read and heard, its going on across the spectrum of businesses and industries in the US and throughout the world. With some being more successful for a number of reasons. Maybe the NY Times doesn't cover it?

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:37 PM
Jeff's avatar

I was referring to consumer facing businesses. (And the Times has covered the topic quite extensively in terms of office-based work, warehouses, factories, DC's, etc.)


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:47 PM

Jeff said:

I'd love to know if Universal has seen any rampant infection spread among its employees in the last month, because that would be a good indicator of whether or not this can work.

I obviously can't speak for Universal, but I can speak for the business where I work. We've been open to the public for 6 weeks. Of 240ish employees that I track, 40 or so (some more than once) have been on quarantine for some reason: symptoms, positive test, or direct exposure to someone with symptoms or a positive test. Only 3 have had positive tests, 1 who was furloughed during the shutdown, 1 who had not worked in more than 2 weeks due to direct exposure, and only 1 that was actively working, but had limited direct exposure to other employees and customers. Of the rest, about 2/3 are symptoms with no positive test and 1/3 are direct exposure. There was a huge surge of these quarantine cases in week 1, it settled down for awhile, and then another surge in weeks 4 and 5 (which made sense given the surge in cases in Texas during that time). Overall, I would say we're pleasantly surprised in the ebb and flow of issues. As we reopened, we worried that we would eventually be in a position where the majority of our employees were out and that hasn't happened.


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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:50 PM
Jeff's avatar

That's frustrating, because our testing seems to still be pretty poor, both in terms of availability and accuracy.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:53 PM

Testing is so wildly inaccurate here that we aren't requiring it for a return to work. 14 day quarantine from symptom onset or exposure and 3 days symptom free or an alternative diagnosis from a doctor are the standard. That said, we're not discouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested because we want to know if they're positive (and we want them to know).


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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 1:54 PM

Here's a detailed report from Magic Kingdom

I know some folks on here are very pro-Fastpass+, but this was my favorite takeaway:

The main takeaway though, is waits are low, you can ride what you want, when you want, and can easily do everything at the Magic Kingdom in a single day, with some repeats. If anyone was in any doubt at how FastPass+ has negatively impacted the park experience, its absence illustrates the point very clearly.

If anyone needs a reminder of how great the park experience can be without FastPass+ and the endless pressure of planning and meeting those plans, this is it. Wait times are minimal, you are free to go to any attraction whenever you want, and experience the attraction within a sensible amount of time.

Obviously the ridiculously low crowds are playing a major part in this. But. My biggest complaint about the Fastpass+ system (that wasn't nearly as big of an issue with the old paper tickets) is that the standby lines slowed to such a crawl, and since nearly every attraction has FP+ as an option it eliminated the short to non existent wait times for the B and C list stuff.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 2:02 PM

Even if limited to consumer facing businesses, the statement isn't accurate.

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 2:34 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I've spent a LOT of time thinking about the impact of FastPass+ on lines at Disney. My conclusion is that it makes it much better for people who want to do a couple of e-tickets, a couple of shows, a couple of non-headliners and some shopping and eating. In fact, I bet you could go through that itinerary without waiting in line for more than 5 minutes, even on a fairly busy day. It's absolutely crap for people who focus heavily on major rides and want to ride all the e-tickets twice in a given day.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 2:39 PM

Which is how I like to do the parks.

As a local I like that i can have a time for a couple rides for an after work visit. But if I were on vacation it would be a major obstacle in the way I like to do the parks

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 3:15 PM

My conclusion is that it makes it much better for people who want to do a couple of e-tickets, a couple of shows, a couple of non-headliners and some shopping and eating.

Sounds like the type of guest Disney would like to encourage to visit.

It's absolutely crap for people who focus heavily on major rides and want to ride all the e-tickets twice in a given day.

Sounds like the type of guest Disney would be less interesting in visiting often.

Maybe they got that whole FastPass+ right. :)

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020 3:53 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Exactly. That's why I think it's sort of silly for people on Disney forums or even comments sections to complain about FP+. They're clearly not representative of the general population and they're probably not even the people Disney wants there (see also: coaster forum).


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 9:36 AM
Jeff's avatar

The union boss has a lot of strong words about how Disney has to commit to tracing, testing and time off with pay. The time off part in particular is essential if you're to keep things from spreading.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/08/business/walt-disney-world-union-reo...index.html


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Music: The Modern Gen-X - Video

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 10:52 AM
TheMillenniumRider's avatar

Our company gave every hourly employee extra sick time that is paid to cover any time off needs due to everything. If they don't use it they will get it paid out at the end of the year.

As far as Disney goes, its a pass for me, not interested in visiting while there is a sea of plexiglass walls all over the place. Some are on ride vehicles, there are a ton in queues. It looks terrible. No thanks.

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 2:09 PM

ApolloAndy said:

I've spent a LOT of time thinking about the impact of FastPass+ on lines at Disney. My conclusion is that it makes it much better for people who want to do a couple of e-tickets, a couple of shows, a couple of non-headliners and some shopping and eating. In fact, I bet you could go through that itinerary without waiting in line for more than 5 minutes, even on a fairly busy day. It's absolutely crap for people who focus heavily on major rides and want to ride all the e-tickets twice in a given day.

This is my take too. The point of FP+ was to make the park experience better for the average visitor, and I think it accomplished that. I am not an average visitor: I knew (and took advantage of) nearly every loophole in the old paper FP system, how crowds move in the park and how to avoid them, etc. etc. etc. So, FP+ definitely makes my day harder. On balance, Disney is probably good with making my day harder if it makes 5-10 other people's days better.

To put it another way: Disney is in the business of selling happiness. That's not the same as Disney wanting me, personally, to be happy. If a policy change helps Disney to be more profitable selling happiness, they win even if that change negatively impacts me individually.


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Thursday, July 9, 2020 2:54 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

There's still (or were pre-pandemic) a lot of loopholes and patterns that could be exploited in FP+. I don't know how they compare to the old paper FastPasses, but I did a trip in Dec 2018 week before Xmas and didn't wait in line for more than 20 minutes and that was only once. Of course we had a rider switch eligible child and two grandparents who didn't really want to ride that much, so...


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 5:01 PM

Nearly all of the loopholes were closed with Fastpass+

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Thursday, July 9, 2020 6:19 PM

That's part of the reason I prefer DLR over WDW. It sounds insane but I love the game of grabbing Fastpasses the day of. I don't like being on my phone refreshing an app looking for ride passes.

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