No, this isn't the loss of a personal friend of mine, but it is the loss of a friend that we all grew up with that brought us the joy of surprise and the wonder of magic. This friend is known as Disney; not the man, the brand.
Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, everything changed for us. Our daily lives were forever altered and the way we enjoy those precious personal moments has been heavily impacted. The travel industry as a whole took a huge hit during this time, and many of the decisions and changes made during that time, have had a lasting impact on how we experience travel.
The cruise travel sector suffered the worst impact of government decisions and over-bearing restrictions during those times, but they made critical decisions and changes to their operations that took the future of their companies, and most importantly their guests, into consideration and created a new dynamic of how to experience a grand cruise vacation.
Disney had its gates shuddered as well, and they set out to make changes and create new ideas for the day that they could again welcome visitors to their resorts and parks. However, they also entered the realm of politics and ideology that ran afoul of many of their lifelong supporters and that has added to their list of poor decisions during a tough time. It needs to be said, that those changes to their operations, and the new programs that they introduced, were of no help to them, because they have become a major talking point throughout the traveler blogs and forums, and most of the comments are not positive for the brand as a whole.
So, with the continuing health decline for the Disney brand, many of their devout supporters have stopped supporting them, and there are many travel professionals who have joined that list of no longer offering their products and services to their clients. This decision has been made primarily based on the fact that the average Disney vacation experience has become so unaffordable to the majority of who the target market is for their experiences, that it is no longer logical for a professional travel advisor to put the Disney brand at the top of their list, or on the list at all. Add to this that the majority of changes made to "enhance" the experience actually did the opposite by cutting out programs that worked well and replacing them with new programs that don't work at all, even after 2 to 3 years of being in use. They removed programs and offerings altogether and reduced the supporting services which now require you to purchase extra services at outrageous prices in order to try and create an experience that has some good flow to it. You are now required to schedule your park visits, in advance, and you will be required to pay extra for the opportunity to experience those key things that you just have to do.
The bottom line is that you will pay much more than you did before for an experience that includes much less than you have ever thought, and that is what is driving the brand downwards as we speak. And with this information, and the inside knowledge of what is to come, I have accepted the fact that it is time to say goodbye to an old friend because I can no longer watch as their health declines before my eyes.