Just back from a the Epcot center, a two hour drive from my house on the East Coast of Florida. Being in such close proximity to Disney World we went through a period of buying annual passes for the family. Me, my wife, my daughter and my son who were toddlers eight years ago. We no longer have annual passes. Now when we go to the parks we buy Florida residents tickets. As for my next visit I am unsure. Disney have slipped up and the visitors can see it.
From reviews on Tripadvisor and other Disney boards there is now a cacophony of disgruntled and disappointed visitors. Some, who have been going to Disney now vow they will not return. Why?
The prices have risen each year and it is now out of the reach of the typical American family. They now charge you for parking your car at any of their resorts. Twenty four dollars a night in some cases. Then twenty four dollars to park your car at the theme park. This will deter many people in the current economic climate where most families are living paycheck to paycheck. The cost of staying in a room at one of their resorts has risen exponentially. We stayed at the Port Orleans resort on numerous occasions and we paid $200 a night. In a short period of time the resort prices shot up. The $200 room is now $300. That’s a mighty leap in anyone’s eyes.
But the parks themselves. The Magic Kingdom for example is coming under fire because the patrons believe the standards have fallen, the park is dirty and the workers don’t look happy in their jobs. At times, the Magic Kingdom can be packed making it very difficult for mobility anywhere on their grounds. People say they fear an accident could be tragic with so many people.
If the workers are overwhelmed and display a lack of interest in their job, one can understand that they have a tough job, especially when it is hot and humid, but is that not the same in other areas where there are crowds to be dealt with? Say, a cruise, a supermarket, train station or airport. Manners sadly are thrown out the window and the staff at these places get disheartened with their jobs. Plus. They are suffering from cell phone withdrawal which is something their counterparts from the Magic Kingdom in the seventies and eighties did not have to deal with. The cravings are real and the urge to connect with their virtual friends can be overwhelming. Hence, the pursed lips and frowns of workers who are counting down the minutes before they can look at their phones and see how many likes they have accumulated on a recent facebook post, while they have been inconvenienced by the job which is paying for their contraptions. That is more satisfying than helping someone into a wheelchair at the Magic Kingdom. The customers are an inconvenience in their lives where the virtual world supersedes reality.
How many happy faces do you see at an airport, both passengers and belligerent TSA agents. Both employee and traveller are frustrated, driven forcefully by the lack of manners prevalent in our society. Me first. Skipping the line at Splash Mountain. Me first, jumping the queue at the food counter because their fast passes are more important than anyone else. So it’s back to the mobile phone for reassurance that everything is ok in the virtual world and one of their posts has been liked twenty times. It makes for an uncomfortable experience between the staff and the guest and more and more guests complaining that standards have dropped dramatically (coinciding with the availability of the internet.)
It’s spiritual as well as mental and physical. Church attendance drops and with less people saying their prayers on a Sunday but cramming into a theme park for their instant gratification; their phones become their bibles and Instagram, Facebook, Tumblir and multiple other sites make up the books of their virtual bible. And if they don’t like what they see they can unfriend or even block them. Living in the perfect world; vaccuous and illusionary.
We are living in a different world and we have to accept that people have changed and been changed by positive affirmations which have no bearing in reality and somewhere down the line will end up in disaster when reality bites. That day is not far away.