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Sue Kruse
Pirates Event - Another Stampede in the Making?

Poor planning and an artificially small run of limited edition merchandise may cause pandemonium


Pirates Event Invitation Artwork Disney

Al's note:  Both Sue and Lani were kind enough to provide feedback on the upcoming Pirates event - as they had just gotten some materials sent to them from the park.  

They both noticed the potential for some real problems, from some very poorly thought out planning - and both ladies were gracious enough to allow use of their notes on-line in this column Sue was kind enough to host.  

The section below are Sue's views about it, in the column to the right is an Instant Message conversation Lani and I had just as I was chatting with Sue about this.

Hopefully they will help you as an attendee by giving you a heads up as to what some of the major problems may end up being.


You know how Disney waved the carrot of "the first 100 to sign up for the Pirate event get something special" in front of all us salivating diehards? 

Well, this salivating diehard *was* one of the first 100 to purchase tix. It wasn't all that hard to do, I just walked in as the park opened. For that minor bit of effort I also got the freebie Character of the Month coin (more than anyone else buying tix got -- most just got headaches trying to get through to DelivEars). That's all it took to be amongst the first 100. 

And what "privilege" do we get for this? A lovely nominal bibelot commemorating Pirates that no one else will get? A cool Pirate poster? A postcard? Anything?

Buehler? Buehler? Anyone?

Naw, it's Disney don't you know. 

Here's what we get straight from the horse's, er Mouse's mouth:

Congratulations! 

Because you and the members in your party are among the first 100 Guests to reserve a place at the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN event, you are now eligible to participate in a special offer. Members in your party include those Guests whom you made reservations for when placing your order.

The offer includes the opportunity to receive an additional 10% off purchases made throughout Disneyland Resort on Saturday May 20, 2000.*

At registration, each of you will be given a survey to be completed after the event. Simply return the survey along with any receipts from purchases made on Saturday, May 20, 2000 and we will refund an additional 10% off the purchase price.*

Refunds will be issued in the same manner payment was made. For example, credit card purchases will be refunded with a credit to the same account and cash payment will be refunded with a check.

Complete details will be given at registration on Saturday, May 20, 2000. Please do not hesitate to call Disneyland DelivEARS at 1-800-362-4533 if you have any questions or require additional assistance.

Sincerely,

The PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN Team

*OFFER EXCLUDES Pirates of the Caribbean EVENT MERCHANDISE AND MERCHANDISE AND / OR FOOD PRODUCTS FROM VENDING CARTS WHERE RECEIPTS ARE NOT AVAILABLE.

Don't you just love that? I do. (You are imagining me with a smiley face saying that in the softest of Disney tones my voice can manage, aren't you? -- That was extreme sarcasm in case you missed it!!!!!)

We get to buy something else from the Park (event merchandise not included of course) and they will refund an additional 10% (providing you fill out the survey). 

Don't do anything to make the guest feel special. 

Don't provide some cool knickknack like a Pirates license plate that would probably cost all of fifty cents to produce and provide tons of customer loyalty in return. 

I think I am getting jaded in my old age because this just smacks of greed to me and I think it is very bad show. It certainly doesn't make me have a good feeling about this. 

In fact, it sounds like the Christmas Event all over again...

Hey! Pay us money to come spend more money on over priced stuff you probably don't need (and will end up on eBay) and we'll give you an addition 10% to buy yet more overpriced stuff you probably don't need! 

Gotcha!

Maybe I should think about buying that $1000 jacket now. ;^)

ANYWAY, the itinerary sounds like we've paid $65 for cokes, a one hour panel discussion, then a two hour wait to ride Pirates. I certain hope I am wrong (one can only hope that the word tentative applies in this case).

TENTATIVE ITINERARY* 

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN

SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2000

7:30AM - 8:00PM 
REGISTRATION
 
-- Disneyland Main Entrance (tables)

8:30AM - Park Close** 
PREVIEW SALE & SHOPPING 
-- Main St. Opera House

8:30AM - 5:00PM 
SILENT AUCTION
-- Main Street Opera House

8:30AM - 7:00PM 
PRIMARY & SECONDARY SHOPPING LISTS SUBMITTED
 
-- Main Street Opera House

12NOON - Park Close** 
PACKAGE PICK-UP FOR PRIMARY SHOPPING LISTS
 
-- Main Street Opera House

7:00PM 
BEVERAGE RECEPTION 

-- Fantasyland Theatre

7:00PM - 9:00PM 
SECONDARY SHOPPING LISTS PROCESSED
 
-- Main Street Opera House

7:45PM - 8:45PM 
PANEL DISCUSSION
 
-- Fantasyland Theatre

9:00PM - Park Close** 
PACKAGE PICK-UP FOR SECONDARY SHOPPING LISTS
 
-- Main Street Opera House

10:00PM - Park Close** 
OPEN SHOPPING PERIOD
 
-- Main Street Opera House

11:00PM 
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN RIDE
 
-- New Orleans Square.

A CHAT WITH LANI

Lani: Hi Al. 

Al: Hello Lani. :) 

Lani: Are you going to the Pirates of the Caribbean event?

Al: Nope. 

Honestly, it just seems to be more and more about the merchandise, and less and less about the thing it is based on.  They seem to have forgotten all the things that made the other events so much fun.

Lani: Okay. I need some help with some details you might know.

We just got our "Rules and Itinerary" sheet in the registration info in the mail... the rules state that when we register, we will be given a shopping list wherein we will be told how many of each item we are allowed to purchase.

But nowhere in this rules list is any indication that there will be any sort of "random drawing" type element.

That is, registration starts at 7:30 in the morning, and the preview sale starts at 8:30 (in the opera house).

So if I camped out from 5:00am and was first through the door, I have a better shot at picking up one of everything, compared to another person who shows up a little bit later?

THIS ENCOURAGES CAMPING. THIS IS VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY BAD.

Al: I agree. Mind if I add your comments to Sue's write-up about all this she just sent me?

Lani: Yes. Oh goodness, I hope someone can fax you a copy of these rules.

I realize it's a business, but it's so cut-throat!! I don't know how many out-of-towners they were expecting for this event, but we only booked the Saturday night at the Disneyland Pacific hotel.

Had we known about this, we might have taken Friday off as a vacation day, and stayed overnight on Friday...

I think a lot of other people might have too...

It's a Saturday EVENING event and here they are, starting at 7-frickin'-30 in the morning! [pardon my French mustard]

Do *YOU* happen to know how many of these event tix they sold?

Al: No, but they are still taking orders I think.

Lani: Really? Here is the reason I ask: Many of these merchandise items are limited in quantity.

Now... some people might scoff at a $35.00 t-shirt, but it sounds like it's nice quality, and packaged well, it's AFFORDABLE to me.

But limited to a run of 500... if they sell 1,000 tix to this event, that means half of the people are totally out of luck (assuming the other 500 are only allowed to purchase one each).

SO NOT ONLY DOES THE 7:30 REGISTRATION TIME ENCOURAGE CAMPING -- PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE RUNNING TO FILL THEIR SHOPPING ORDERS!!!!

Al: That's how they work. They did have a lot of stuff left over from the Cindy thing, which is still in Disneyana.

Lani: Al -- do me a favor

Al: Yes? 

Lani: Please refer to this as the Disneyland Pirates Event Blue Light Special - just like KMart.

People are gonna be running all over the place like an after-Christmas sale trying to hand in their shopping lists with the affordable merch checked off.

I don't spend $85 for a special event ($170 for the two of us), and pay extra for a night at the Disneyland Pacific Hotel, just so we can run around like we are shopping a K-Mart blue light special. This is SOOOO totally undignified.

Al: Got it.

Lani: Are my cow horns showing? Mooooo. Mooooo. [sounds of a cowboy herding us cows]

Okay Al, I am going to give you the URl to the San Francisco Giants day of game ticket page I think Disneyland would do well to have a policy like this one.

Basically, you show up four hours before the game (in this case, the event or whenever they want to start merch sales) and they give the first 500 people numbered wristbands.

Then two hours before the game, they draw a single number (from 1 to 500). Whoever is wearing the wristband with the number they draw, gets to stand in line first. The second person is the person who has the next number after the chosen number.

So say the chosen number is 130. Person with band #130 gets to buy tickets first and then the person with band #131 gets to go in line second.

So this way, while it does reward people for standing in line for the wristbands, the person who was FIRST in the waiting area, has as much chance as the 500th person.

Al: Sounds fair to me.

Lani: And you know, it sure wouldn't cost Disney a lot for those wristbands. Nightclubs use them all the time. They could give out wristbands to everybody who shows up before shopping time, even.

Al: Disney has used them in the past for the AP parties.

Lani: Sean mentioned that. But this is nuts.

Plus the special event ride isn't even until late at night, so the day visitors will be really tired...

On a positive note, you could say that the park finally listened, and is making some affordable merchandise...

Except that they are a bit overpriced for what you get... and they are in such small runs... "Expect to find the following items on eBay following the event..."

You know.... the part in the rules sheet that sounds so horrible is really pretty short. Here it is:

Merchandise Sale* [the * is on the bottom of the sheet, and it says: * Merchandise is very limited - availability is not guaranteed.

Rules & Itinerary - Main Street Opera House

The sale will be operated with the use of Primary and Secondary shopping lists for event Guests only.

These lists will be provided in event packets distributed at registration. Each Guest will receive one (1) of each list.

The lists will include merchandise descriptions, prices, edition sizes and most importantly - quantity limits for each item. These shopping lists will be documented as Guests enter the shopping area in a manner to ensure a first come, first served practice when processing orders.

The Primary list will afford Guests the opportunity to select their first choice of merchandise within established quantity limits - while supplies last.

Secondary Lists will be used to request additional quantities of the same merchandise, again within limits, after Primary list requests have been fulfilled - while supplies last.

Should any merchandise remain after both the Primary and Secondary shopping list requests have been processed, event Guests will have the opportunity to purchase these items without quantity limits.

See what I mean?

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