I don't normally run reader emails in my blog, but I've missed my only chance to recap reader response to AbandonedWorld, and Ruth's email is just so important that I hope Disney reads it anyway:
I really enjoyed your article on abandoned areas and the reader responses even more. What we have loved about WDW most in the past are 1) the little interesting exhibits and special areas you find tucked away and are delighted to discover, and 2) how absolutely pristine the parks and gardens are. Two years ago we found both wanting. This December, the change was VERY visible. Shut off areas, unclean restrooms, details gone all over the place. It's as if Disney sees their parks as super-themed Great Adventures, with all the emphasis on rides, and nothing more. I don't get it.
My husband and I are middle-aged (58/48). No kids. We typically go to WDW during their slow weeks, book a special room in a deluxe, and dine at the more expensive restaurants. It's a bit of a mental holiday more than anything else, as we can afford to take "real" trips. We never leave the World when we visit. Good customers, right? Little wear 'n tear from us, lots of profit. We looked at each other after our early December visit and decided we don't need to return. We were planning to take our active 75 year old parents with us this year but honestly thought we'd be embarrassed by exposing them to the experience. Now that's sad.
The only thing that would convince us to go back would be a very clear message that Disney was returning to the old standards, or that a Concierge service designed for a true deluxe experience was being offered (I don't need a free box of Cheerios in the a.m. but I do expect turn-down service without having to pick up the phone), or something similar.
Keep up the great writing!