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A behindtheears look at Disneyland
Inquisition on Earth
Anywhere else but Disneyland, they're called parasites. Think telemarketers who call you during dinner. Little kids forced to sell candy bars outside the grocery store. Teenagers who trick or treat costumed as "themselves."
No, at Disneyland, they hover just inside the Main Gate, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting tourists and inflict upon them a survey. The difference between these marketers and their telephone counterparts is that guests at Disneyland are more receptive to the inquisition. After all, the cardigan-clad cast member has a Mickey Mouse nametag and an electronic clipboard, for goodness sake!
Now, the ever-present Disney pollsters say they want to get guests' opinions to improve the Guest Experience. In truth, they predominantly want to know (a) what the advertising department did right to lure you into the park. Exit surveys also want to know (b) if you had a great time despite the high prices, so they can justify further increasing prices. The more value you admit receiving for the price you paid alerts Disney that you might be willing to pay more.
A tip-off to their true motives is that before asking any questions, survey-takers first ask to see your admission ticket. They typically avoid questioning Annual Passholders (called AP's, which is pronounced by cast members as "apes"). These regular customers should have the most insight into what works and what doesn'tbut they also are pre- sold customers. And they usually are more sophisticated, more sure of what they want and less likely to be tricked by the Magic Kingdom's mind games.
Throughout the entire theme park division, guest surveys have become a way for middle managers to support decisions they've already made and provide ad copy for brochures. The stock survey from a Walt Disney World hotel doesn't ask you what you liked or hated about the resort. It doesn't ask for suggestions. It's a pencil-in-the-dots computer form that asks you to agree that the resort provided a "magical experience," helped you "escape from reality," and created "cherished memories that will last a lifetime."
I suspect it's only a matter of time before they start surveying guests about guest surveys
You can write to David atthis link..
David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.
After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999); all titles published by Bonaventure Press.
He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.
You can contact David here.
Click here to go to David's main page for a list of archived articles.
Visit MouseShoppe to purchase copies of David's books. (Clicking on the link opens a new window.)
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