An Interview with Paul Pressler, Part Two
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An Interview with Paul Pressler
Paul Pressler is Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. LaughingPlace.com had the opportunity to interview Pressler on July 24th on a wide range of subjects. Part One of the interview covers his Disney history, the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo DisneySea and his vision of the future of theme parks. Part two, picks up where Part One left off.
LP: Why didnt DisneyQuest work out?
Pressler: The sad truth is economics. I think it was a great product. It was incredibly compelling to our guests. Ill describe to you what I mean about economics. It is very challenging for us to be able to create a product with that high level of quality in an urban market where you dont have the kind of seasonality or vacation patterns that you get with the parks. So for instance on a Tuesday in October the place was empty. And, link any capital intensive business, it really required us to achieve a consistent level of attendence throughout the week. Maybe not as much as on a Saturday during Easter weekend but it really has to be consistent. So the biggest challenge was we would have lines around the block on Saturday and Sunday, but during the week the kids are in school.
LP: And all that was a surprise?
Pressler: We were, I would say, optimistically hopeful that we could drive business in a way that would allow us to capture more tourists in the market. By comparison, It is interesting, if you go in our theme parks on a Tuesday in October, you see lots of kids. Its a little harder in the urban market to get that kind of mid-week attendance. So that was a challenge. We were not going to compromise quality. We couldve made this thing work by stripping out some of the storytelling and by stripping out some of the technology, but then it would be an arcade just like everybody elses arcade and that is just not the business we wanted to be in.
DisneyQuest Chicago which will close on September 4th
LP: Has it been a success in Orlando?
Pressler: It has been a success for exactly the same reason. During the week its filled with those guests who are coming to our theme parks. We have a tremendous amount of domestic and international tourists who are in the marketplace that just dont exist as strongly in the urban markets.
LP: So it will be around in Orlando for a long time to come?
Pressler: Yes, yes.
LP: How are the Cruise Lines doing?
Pressler: Fantastic. Nothing but a huge success. Its interesting because this is a challenging economy, we are seeing some softness in the business as a result of the economy, but the cruise ship is not seeing that despite the fact tha the cruise industry is suffering. Our cruise ship is a big success and I think that success is attributed to a lot of things. One, it is Disney. The quality of Disney on this ship ... have you been on the ship?
LP: No, I havent.
Pressler: Its fantastic. You get on this ship, the quality is number one. Number two is were the only ones that really set out to design a family experience. The third reason is a lot of people are cruising for the very first time. Whether they didnt trust the cruise industry, didnt understand the cruise industry, werent marketed well to, I think people trust Disney to give them a cruise experience like none other. Having three day, four day and seven day cruises gives you a lot of options to test it. And a lot of our guests spend three or four days on a ship and then go to Walt Disney World for vacation. They go do the theme parks, jam that in and then go and have a more luxurious vacation stay on the cruise ships. So were very pleased. Its been really very successful for us.