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Unfair cuts

There's that saying that goes "life isn't fair" and once can apply that saying to the Disney parks as well because Disney management has been targeting the Studios unfairly for some cutbacks recently with Fantasmic! being cut to two shows per week starting in January, One Man's Dream closing at 3pm and Sounds Dangerous not opening until 3pm along with other entertainment cutbacks. What makes this unfair is no other attractions at the other three theme parks have been cut back and it has me wondering why the Studios is being targeted with a giant bulls eye and no other park.

Let's quickly examine the cutbacks for what we assume is economic reasons. The big cutback is Fantasmic! is being cut back to two shows per week starting in January. While there may be more showings in a week once crowds pick up later in 2009, the days of a Fantasmic! show per night seem to be over for the time being. Of all the night time shows at Walt Disney World, the cutting back of Fantasmic! points to the fact that the show has so many performers and other Cast Members backstage that the personnel cost has to be the greatest and thus, was selected to be cut back. It's a real shame since the show is so well done and the Cast Members in the show do a wonderful job and the human element of the show really stands out. Along with Fantasmic!, Disney has recently cut back the hours of One Man's Dream and Sounds Dangerous. One Man's Dream is overlooked by many guests, but it is a touching tribute to Walt and I think a very important element to help educate all guests about what a great man he really was. In addition, these attraction cut backs set a dangerous precedent for future cutbacks.

So with these cutbacks in the Studios, why aren't we seeing cut backs at the other three parks? Animal Kingdom lost a disappointing Pocahontas show and the Magic Kingdom cut out some mini-parade shows, but nothing on the scale of the cutbacks the Studios has encountered have been seen yet at the other parks. So why are the Studios being cut out while the other parks largely remain untouched? Wishes and Illuminations continue to run as normal and attractions like Journey into Imagination, The Enchanted Tiki Room, Stitch's Escape and other attractions with consistently low attendance haven't had their operating hours cut back. I won't go as far as to proclaim some sort of conspiracy, however as a fan of Disney's Hollywood Studios, the grass certainly looks much greener on the other side of the theme park fence.

These cutbacks scare me because I can see a trend developing. As a guest to Walt Disney World, I fear arriving at any theme park and finding out certain attractions are only going to be open for a portion of the day. Moreover, some attractions might not even be operating at all the day I come and it creates a real problem for planning a trip and trying to "see it all". As I've mentioned before, these cuts at the Studios send the wrong message to the park guest; it says to someone who considers visiting the Studios perhaps there is a reason why so much is cut back at the Studios that it isn't worth their time.

The bottom line is if Disney is going to be making cut backs for economic reasons, they ought to spread the cuts around and not give an in proportionate amount to the Studios while other parks are largely unscathed. It doesn't make sense to make cuts at the Studios while not at the other parks. If Disney is charging the same amount of money for each of the four parks, then it ought to be a fair share of these "necessary" cut backs.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 by