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Modern Mouse Radio #102: Aulani and Hotel Only Resorts


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Josh is joined by Dave Tuppers this week. Dave is a Hawaiian local and a frequent visitor to Disney’s Aulani resort. He’s seen both the good and bad that have come with the resort. He talks about what the resort is all about and why he loves it, but what is the future of these types of hotel only resorts for Disney? Josh and Dave theorize and dream up some hotel only resorts worldwide and think what it could accomplish for the business side of Disney.

If you have any questions about Aulani, Dave has a ton of knowledge. You can get a hold of him on Twitter and he’s always willing to answer questions.

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Josh Taylor
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Feature: The Balance of Money and Magic

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The Walt Disney company has one of the hardest challenges in the history of business. Walt Disney and his storytellers promised magic almost 100 years ago and despite the changes in economics and society, the company has tried their best to uphold the magic that Walt himself promised. The truth of it is that The Walt Disney company is a business. Every week they send out paychecks, make budget adjustments, have board room meetings, and make executive decisions. Like the almighty wizard, we are asked not to look behind the curtain, but in the social world we live in that’s almost impossible.

Last week it was said that Shanghai and the international park team have had their budgets adjusted so that they would receive more money. That money was taken from the domestic parks and now Disneyland and Walt Disney World may see cuts at their employees sake. Whether it will happen or not is yet to be seen, and in terms of a business that looks out for it’s employees, Disney has a pretty good reputation of keeping the “little guy” in their minds even if their paycheck isn’t exactly the best wage around town. Disney’s magic is really what has kept the brand going for nearly a century and because of it the company struggles to keep the balancing act of magic and business. That being said, if we do see cuts, we will hopefully see those people either shifted into other sections of this massive company or rehired at a later date. The possibility is even there for employees to work at the international parks if they want to make that move.

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The company’s acquisition of other properties like Marvel, Pixar, and Star Wars have allowed them make more money and be able to conduct business at a faster rate. Think about it. There are several television networks with 24 hour programming, website to care for daily, at least a dozen films in production, 12 theme parks worldwide, plus a fair amount of locations with hotels, travel guides, and more. All of those things are being worked on right now. Disney has their hands in more pots and thanks to the properties they are partnered with they can handle it all at once. Sometimes that doesn’t seem good enough. The Pandora-Avatar land at Disney World isn’t being built fast enough. movies have had to be postponed, etc… These struggles are amplified by the imaginary requirement that Disney’s  fans have placed on the idea of knowing everything that’s going on behind the scenes all the time.

I harken back to times when Disney seemed to surprise us with new attractions, films, and tv shows all the time and there was a magic to it. In recent years, Disney has given us small peeks behind the curtain that, for better or worse, have kept it’s hardcore fanbase happy. On the flip side of the that I remember hearing how long it took to build and open the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction at the Magic Kingdom. Disney continued to tease and show parts of the attraction while working on it which also elongated the timeframe to get the attraction up and running in fan’s eyes. If they had never announced nor let us peek “backstage”, we wouldn’t have given a second thought to it.

I can’t say that I’m completely innocent as an editorialist here. I run a website that thrives on knowing and seeing the latest from Disney. I jump on twitter the moment some big news breaks, but I find myself wanting to find the right balance of magic too. Disney continues to try it’s hardest to keep the magic and keep us wondering, but it’s getting more and more difficult.

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Walt himself did give away what was going on with the Disneyland television show in the 1950s. He did tell us what we could expect and gave away sneak peeks for free on one of the most popular television shows of the time. So maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe this is just my personal opinion. Maybe at the end of the day we are seeing just the right amount of stage performance and backstage workings, but I still see that the struggle of balancing both magic and money is a difficult piece of Disneyana.

What do you think? Do we know too much in our social world? Is Disney less magical because of requirements that fans have? I’d love to know your thoughts and comments!

Josh Taylor
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Disney History: Walt Disney, The Entrepreneur

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