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I’ve spent the last few days observing at the Disney Institute in Orlando.  Much of the focus is about how Disney does business and, with my lens always focused on the luxury market, I wondered why Disney doesn’t play in this segment.  Yes, I understand that high income individuals are not their primary target, but why shouldn’t they be?  One of the key tenets of Disney’s strategies is inclusiveness – happiness for everyone.  I think the fear is that including HNWI (high net worth individuals) would exclude others but I don’t think this has to be the case.  For example, why not offer a luxury resort on property?Bay Towers If you can’t afford it, there are many other resorts to choose from – you’re still at Disney and you still get the same park experience.  Apparently, there is one luxury property Bay Towers Lobby (“like the W” I was told), but it is for Vacation Club members only.  Why?  The Institute facilitators tell the class that Disney has no 5 star properties because “they don’t want gated properties” and “they’re not family friendly”.  Do you understand what a 5 star property means?  And I guess you failed to notice the security gates to enter Disney.  So the facilitators may not know what they’re talking about…but I’ve been wracking my brain all week and can’t come up with a good reason why Disney shouldn’t have a luxury property.  Half the battle in luxury is customer service, which Disney has in spades…

I was also looking at the Disney merchandise – again, primarily targeted to non-HNWI.  Admittedly, there is a tendency to get caught up in the emotion of the park, causing one to run madly through an “Emporium” grabbing t-shirts, Mickey ear hats, bracelets and hats.  And then you picture yourself walking in Georgetown, wearing an oversized shirt that says, “Are you Grumpy today?” and you slowly back away from the register before the damage is done.  Ok, so Mickey and Disney emblazoned clothing is not haute couture – but I noticed Marc Jacobs wearing a vintage Mickey tee on the Marc Jacobs Louis Vuitton documentary.  I’m just saying – although the current product is not appealing to the high end of the market, it would be possible to do so.  Hell, Isaac Mizrahi seemingly whores himself out to anyone, I’m sure you could get him to design a few shift dresses and ballet flats.

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