Attention to detail

We went to Disneyland at the weekend at to be fair, it was pretty awesome. Christina had spent a few days driving down to LA with my sister and the boys, then me and Diarmuid flew down on Friday night. We were up at 7.30 and in the park by 8.30am on Saturday morning – $310 for the family is not exactly cheap, and having never been before there was a slight sense that I may be disappointed.

I wasn’t.

It’s an incredible cavalcade of roller coasters, staged scenery, performance and of course shops. The boys were desperate to go on the Indiana Jones ride so we headed there first. I waited with Cormac and Ethan while they went on, and as I rounded the corner saw the Mark Tawin paddle steamer on the artificial waterway. I was taken aback by the scale and attention to detail – the pirate island in the middle with visitors ferried back and forward on mock wooden rafts. The boys loved it.

We stayed all day, watching the Fantasia show in the evening where they project scenes from the movies onto enormous fountains of misted water, mixed with live actors on the island and the boats. Finally we watched the fireworks and headed back to our hotel about 10pm. I was ready for a beer- no alcohol seemed to be served in the park, which wouldn’t happen in in England, but is probably a smart move.

DSC_0142In the morning we had breakfast in the hotel- the boys recalled their favorite rides but I couldn’t help thinking about what kind of message this sends out about America (and Americans) overall. Thinking of the pirate island, at the back you can look across the water at they’ve carefully staged an old, wrecked train. They’ve laid rails, derailed a carriage, and scattered the cargo amongst other carefully positioned boulders and plants. The attention to detail is incredible – if you’re going to pay $300+ per day for a family to visit you should feel that you’re getting your money’s worth.

You have to feel it’s a reflection on modern life though. We’re paying for the convenience. Rather than exploring the wilds of Colorado, the old gold towns, going camping with your family – you can spend a day in Disney and see it all. Instant gratification. You press the button, pay the money, and there it is.

So what will the next generation do? My mother spent the summer on her grandfathers farm.. she took us to Butlins for a week.. we take the boys to Disney for a day.. Makes you think about what it means to be a parent, and what kind of relationships we will have with our kids.

Or what about how other countries view us through the picture that Disneyland paints? A place of sheer excess. A month’s salary for many workers, just to get into the park. Guilty parents can provide their kids with a month’s worth of “experiences” all in a day – the sheer energy used, and CO2 produced for a single day of Disney must be staggering.

But yeah, the Indiana Jones ride was excellent – Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.” says Gucci and they’re right. I guess we’re going back to the fallacy of the commons. As long as the reward falls on me, while the responsiblility falls on somebody else (or, all of us) then it’s an easy to put it to the back of your mind.

In the meantime, let’s make sure our customers remember the quality. They deserve it. Apple wouldn’t have sold a million iPhones this weekend if the last two had been buggy or basically junk. And come on, if we think that little bit harder can’t we make things better, not just for the weekend?

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