View Full Version : Why the Move?? Some insight

Paul Copioli
12-06-2002, 09:37 PM
O.K. I think I have read every post about the Championship on this web site (I may have missed some) and I can't believe no one has discussed this question: "why the move?".

I have been attending the Team forums for the last 3 years and one of the major topics is Disney as a venue. When FIRST limited the Championship, we all chimed in about moving from Disney. Last year, when the package prices at Disney increased and the $75 entry fee was implemented (non-property staying teams) we all chimed in about leaving Disney. At the team forum in Michigan we were pretty vocal about leaving Disney (although we almost didn't bring it up). I can look at numerous threads in the archives about moving from Disney.

Now, I understand that there are many people who didn't want to move from Disney but the momentum has been building for years. One way to look at it is that FIRST listened to us and moved the Championship to try out something new. Another perspective is that Disney was going to increase prices again and FIRST knew we would all chime in about that.

My personal belief is that FIRST used this year as a negotiating tactic with Disney. Now, at least, the Disney people realize FIRST will pull out if the deal isn't right.

About the airfare... It took our team 5 minutes calling traditional travel agencies to find a better deal from Detroit to Houston than what FIRST negotiated with Continental. Around $360 is what Continental told us with the discount and we found it for $320 without even trying. I am skeptical about the good deal we are getting from Continental.

Comments please.


12-06-2002, 10:33 PM
I am thinking that the continental deal will really come into play for the teams that qualify for nats in some of the final regionals, when airfare will be totally outrageous no matter where you look. I am not saying it will be cheap, but it may be significantly cheaper than some other airlines when on such short notice. Besides, no matter what way you look at it, it is pretty nice of continental to even give us a discount, especially with the state of the economy, and airlines in general these days.

12-06-2002, 11:06 PM
Well, perhaps Continental will offer comparable fares to teams who book one week in advance with regard to what teams that are booking now receive.

What happens if nobody books Continental now?

If it's a flat 10% rate reduction, it's still going to be exorbitantly expensive; Continental or otherwise.

I quick check of flights to Houston on one week's notice show airfares ranging from $600 to $1300.

Andy Baker
12-06-2002, 11:15 PM
Originally posted by Paul Copioli
Comments please.


I probably sat next to Paul as many of us questioned the logistics of Disney for the past couple of years.

I am happy for the move this year.

As for why it was moved... only those involved in both sides of the negotiations really know. However, I did hear that the negotiations went as high up as Kamen talking to Eisner.

My guess is that it really was about money. Due to the growth of FIRST (greater negotiating power by FIRST), and really bad timing of AP tests, Easter, and the lateness of the last regional, Disney could not get together with FIRST on a good weekend. Due to this bad timing, Disney must've felt the need to charge FIRST teams an extra cost that was much more than the $75 per person last year.

From what I've heard over the years, Disney Corp.'s cash cow is the WDW parks. They must not profit much from logical FIRSTers, I guess and they wanted to leave more space in their parks for vacationing families who spend more per person than FIRST team members do.

As for the FIRST tent city that Disney always put up for the Nationals/Championships, I always felt insulted when the Epcot executive stood up there and told us that they laid X acres or carpet, put up XX,XXX temporary seats, and made a air conditioned tent city for us to play in for 3 days. To me, it was always a waste of effort. The money spent on this temporary facility could easily rent a world class entertainment/athletic facility easily (at least I assume this).

So, as I've wondered why Disney put this up for FIRST every year, and then try to fool us in how great of a facility it is... I asked an Epcot events coordinator at kickoff why they put it there and not in Wide World of Sports. She said "to be next to Epcot, of course!" So... they thought that the simple draw of being next to Innovations and the Electric Umbrella would override the fact that we had to stand on chairs to watch matches on Einstein field.

To me, this seemed silly. I realized that no all FIRSTers shared this opinion, but the more many of us discussed it, most of us (adults) realized that we agreed on this issue... so we began to push it at the FIRST Forums over the past few years.

I'm sure that we will learn more. I will miss Disney this year, and it would be nice to go back. The parks are excellent, the food is great. The security of the parks and freedom of the students is second to none... but the cost was just too high and the competition facility was far less than world class. If Disney can coordinate timing and a better facility for the FIRST Championships, then I will be very happy to go back.

Just my opinions,

Andy B.

Robert B
12-07-2002, 12:21 AM
As a teacher on a local (Houston area) team, I would like to express my view on the move. Our team will miss Disney like everyone else. Everyone likes to be entertained. Unfortunately, this entertainment was overshadowing what FIRST represents. So many students just wanted to hurry up and get to the parks, even during competitions. This will be our 6th year, and each year we have spent a lot of time keeping the team rounded up. This year we will not have that concern. Disney was a major distraction. Any city FIRST chose would cause problems. I think Houston was as good as any. I have been to most major cities in this country and they are all very similar. We have to adjust to this change. I believe in the FIRST philosophy and feel it will be truly understood by more people in a less distractive setting. We will loose some team members because of this, but we will rebuild from a stronger base. Its time for FIRST to move on and finally become the "Super Bowl" of smarts. Long live FIRST.

Eric Bareiss
12-07-2002, 03:54 AM
I'm sure that there are more details than FIRST is actually giving us, but when it comes right down to it I think that pure logistics made it impossible. Disney was probably going to have a hard time holding the competition this year and FIRST said hey if we can't do it right we're not going to do it at all.

I for one don't care where the competition is as long as there are robots there.

For everyone who thinks that nationals are going to be bad this year, you are wrong, they are just going to be different, different is not always bad you know.

Mike Martus
12-08-2002, 11:01 AM
Airline tickets are very straneg animals. I also went to the recommended continental link and got a super deal. $275.00 from Detroit to Houston. Then 1 day later I called and added 4 tickets and was charged $375.00 @ for the additional.

The explination was what I have heard before. On any given filght seats are blocked by price. When the block is gone the next block that is higher is sold. So as seats drop in quanitity the price will rise until the last remaining seats are very expensive.

My advice is...... get your tickets early, know your cancellation date, know your name change date and meet your ticket $$$ deadlines.

Amanda Aldridge
12-08-2002, 07:32 PM
As a student, I can't say that I am ecstatic that we are moving to Disney, nor can I say that it is not justified.

I agree with Paul that FIRST very well could be using this year to show Disney that they mean business. In the past years, costs have increased, and it has become more and more difficult for teams to attend. Also, I think that this thing may have just gotten too big for Disney to handle. I know that might seem unthinkable, that the entertainment behemoth might not be able to handle little ol' FIRST anymore, but it's true. Or at least, they may not be able to handle us in the manner that they want to handle us -- FIRST wants more and Disney is unable/unwilling to provide it.

As for all the naysayers, give it a shot. I have been involved 4 four years, and it seems to me that anytime there is a major announcement, everyone always speaks up and complains, then it turns out alright. Let's just wait and see, because at this point we have no control for this year. As Brandon said in another thread, let's experience this and then voice our complaints/concerns.

just my $0.02

12-09-2002, 10:03 PM
i heard a rumor that epcot is repaving its parkign lot. True or not, I heard it. To be honest, I think this will be for the better. Disney distracts from FIRST at times. I knew people who just went for the trip. well, thats my two pence