Saturday, December 13, 2014

Disney alters platinum-plated perks to a $12,000-per-year club

Wow!  It appears that the ubber-rich are in an uproar against Walt Disney Corporation for rolling back their perks and raising their admission fees to an exclusive club in Disneyland.  From the Los Angeles Times:

Some of Mickey Mouse's high-roller friends have their tails in a twist.

For access to what is billed as "the most exclusive address in all of Disneyland" — Club 33 — many members pay $11,000 a year. Now some of those fans are piqued over what they say is a roll-back of their platinum-plated perks. Some are even contemplating canceling a membership so coveted that the waiting list is closed.
The current uproar has to do with how many extra VIP cards are allotted to platinum members, the highest level of non-corporate membership. This year each got three. 

The cards allow a lucky few to enjoy many of the benefits of a member, including access to Disney parks and dining at the secretive Club 33 restaurant, tucked away in Disneyland's New Orleans Square. VIP cardholders, who don't need to be related to the member, enjoy those perks without the member present.

But last week, platinum members received a letter that said in 2015 only the member and a spouse or domestic partner would have Club 33 benefits, while the price for the platinum level would rise to $12,000. Members' dependents, under the age of 21, retain some of the existing benefits.

"Disney pulled the rug out from everyone," one platinum member said. Like others interviewed, he declined to be identified, fearing Disney would revoke his membership.

Disney pulled the rug out from everyone???  Excuse me, but I certainly could not afford to pay the  $11,000-per-year admission fee to Disney's Club 33, let alone the $1,000 increase in their fee.  Certainly not on my contractor salary that has remained stagnant for the past 15 years.  I would certainly be curious to know who the identity of this "one platinum member" is who said this quote.  Is he a CEO, or a corporate board member, who was just as happy in cutting company labor costs, forcing workers to work the jobs of three people, and taking all the worker productivity gains from the last 20 - 30 years for that one platinum member's benefit?  How much did that one platinum member's salary and compensation increase from the previous year?  I'm guessing certainly more than the $1,000 increase in the annual fee to join Club 33.  

Of course this one platinum member is refusing to be identified for the article--Lord Sakes, we certainly do not want our increased $12,000-per-year platinum membership, from which Disney “pulled the rug out from everyone,” to be revoked by Disney for saying such hissy-tissy words to a fine, American corporation!

And Walt Disney Corporations response?  Continuing on:

Disneyland spokeswoman Cathi Killian declined to discuss the specifics of Club 33 membership, but said: "We're working with each member individually to determine the option that best suits their needs."

Walt Disney created the club, envisioning it as a place he could entertain investors and business associates, although he died before it opened in 1967.

The private Club 33 restaurant was closed earlier this year for renovations. It reopened in July with a new entrance, kitchen and jazz-inspired lounge. Now, members enter after climbing a curved staircase in the Court of Angels.

"Now that the renovation and expansion of Club 33 Le Grand Salon and Le Salon Nouveau are complete, we've turned our attention to evolving the membership program to bring you more value," Club 33 General manager James Willoughby wrote in the letter. "Each year we evaluate the business and Membership benefits and make necessary adjustments."
So, Walt Disney Corporation decided to close the club for renovations to make it even for fancy and exclusive to their exclusive membership.  Of course, all those fancy renovations means that the cost will have to be paid by their exclusive membership who are the only ones who can afford to pay for the $11,000-per-year membership fee.  What were these exclusive members thinking of—that Walt Disney would force the 99-percenter peasants to pay for Club 33’s renovations through increased park admission fees?  It is even more ironic that these exclusive VIP club members are complaining about their reduced perks and increased fees, when the club membership's waiting list has been closed.  If these VIP club members are so enraged, then why not give up your membership?  Let someone else pay the $12,000-per-year membership fee to the club that you're so pissed of at? 

Of course, the best quote from an enraged, platinum VIP cardholder was this:
“It really has turned into a money game for them.”
I guess that 'greed is good,' as long as you're not the one getting screwed by the outright greed....