Thursday, February 08, 2007

Disney hotels in non-Disney locations?

There's some precedence for Disney having a hotel in an area remote from the theme parks; namely, the DVC resorts at Hilton's Head and other locations (some not yet built). But Rasulo announced this week that they may be looking to export the Disney hotel concepts to "other" cities.

Just plop down the Polynesian resort in Chicago, say, or the Wilderness Lodge in the heart of downtown Philadelphia. Would that work? Would it succeed or fail? To be honest, I can't say off the bat. It's too funky a concept to be sure that it WOULD work (or, for that matter, it's too funky to say for sure that it would fail). I have to wrap my mind around it.

My heart tells me the Disney brand name will work to lure people in, and they'll do this kind of much-more-affordable vacation than traveling all the way to Orlando. Sounds good for Disney, doesn't it? But it wouldn't be so good if the result is merely cannibalizing their Orlando (and to a lesser extent, Anaheim) visitor base.

That, in fact, would be disastrous. So let's hope that they build a test one somewhere, and it FAILS. Because otherwise, the parks will suffer in yet another not-so-visible way. Rasulo and gang really are all about diminishing the theme park experience, bit by magical bit. It's all about raiding the brand. Short term profit over long term viability. Sadly, we've seen all this before.