MiceAge Disney Rumor Update: Cars, Conventions and Cashholders

Written by Al Lutz. Posted in Disneyland Resort, Features, MiceAge Update

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Published on July 09, 2013 at 4:00 am with 151 Comments

Summer is in full swing at the Disneyland Resort! The attendance numbers are still very healthy and continue to reflect the new reality that DCA now pulls in over 40% of the attendance between the two parks, instead of the traditional 25/75 split that had been in place until Cars Land opened last summer. In this update, we’ll fill you in on why that attendance split has Disney’s Board of Directors making a rare park visit, why very few of the attraction plans the Board approved will be announced at D23 Expo next month, and how Disney executives finally grew a backbone in order to combat embarrassing operational problems that had been festering for a decade.

So grab your cup of coffee stirred with Swiss Miss hot chocolate, put on your fuzzy bunny slippers, kick your heels up, and enjoy a mostly good news update from the Disneyland Resort.

A few weeks ago, Bob Iger and Tom Staggs spent the day in Anaheim. That’s not uncommon, especially in the last few years, as Disney’s Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter had been visiting almost monthly and kept insisting Staggs come down to Disneyland to inspect things with him. But on this particular visit, Bob Iger and Tom Staggs also hosted a rare meeting of the Board of Directors at a Disney theme park. The Board always assembles annually at the Shareholders Meeting, and occasionally throughout the year they will be summoned to the corporate offices in Burbank. But it is very rare for Bob to assemble them in Orange County at the Disneyland Resort.

All of Disney's favorite things in one shot: Fireworks, Confetti, Bob Iger , Tom Staggs, John Lasseter and a happy crowd of media and mommy bloggers.

The reason behind this rare show of corporate force was Bob Iger’s next big push for the Parks & Resorts Division of the company, and Bob needed to convince the Board to approve the increased spending he has planned for the parks. It was just over six years ago that a similar meeting took place, as Bob needed their votes to approve a 1.2 Billion dollar plan to fix and expand Disney California Adventure. Corporate governance rules require that an expenditure that large get full approval from the Board, and when the DCA Extreme Makeover was publicly announced in October 2007, it was a fix-it plan beyond anyone’s wildest imagination for that troubled park. Six years later, it is now quite obvious that not only did the DCA plan work, but, right out of the gate in 2012, it surpassed the most optimistic of projections for key analytics like annual attendance, per capita guest spending, and hotel room occupancy levels. The extremely strong performance of DCA, and thus the entire Anaheim resort property, was even achieved against strong financial headwinds from a rather weak economy, which makes the numbers even more impressive.

The Board of Directors visit was planned by Walt Disney Imagineering and Bob’s sharp pencil boys in advance, as the Board spent the morning in the Presidential Suite and private board room at the Grand Californian Hotel. There they received financial briefings and overviews of the Parks & Resorts division that made the case that the DCA makeover put the Anaheim property on a rocket ride to increased cash flow and very strong customer feedback scores that promise even more future growth. Top execs from Imagineering then gave the Board a creative overview of the DCA project, as some members of the Board weren’t members back in ’07 when the project was launched. WDI also rolled out several of their top concepts to expand the Anaheim property further, with the Monstropolis mini-land and E Ticket Door Coaster planned for the sleepy Hollywood Backlot area and a new Star Wars themed makeover for the messy Tomorrowland section of Disneyland. The Board also got overviews of WDI’s plans to attempt a more modest makeover of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios park in Florida, with a scaled down Cars Land section and some of the same Star Wars concepts planned for Tomorrowland.

Once the presentations were over, and the swanky luncheon had been cleared away, the Board set out for a very rare field trip into an actual working Disney theme park. Even though the Parks & Resorts division of the company has always been a consistent cash generator and far exceeds the profits from the Consumer Products or Broadcast TV divisions, let alone the bottomless money pit that is the trendy Disney Interactive division, the theme parks are very rarely visited by top executives. Parks Chairman Tom Staggs and Chief Creative Executive Bruce Vaughn led the group through DCA, stopping at the private 1901 Lounge on Buena Vista Street for beverages.

We call it a "Theme Park"

Once they finally got to Cars Land, a photo op was set up in front of the Cadillac Range to capture their special visit to a theme park, and then Bob Iger and the Board of Directors were whisked in through the exit of Radiator Springs Racers to a waiting car so they could experience the ride everyone is still talking about. The Board genuinely seemed to enjoy themselves that afternoon, which was Bob and Tom’s strategy. The plan Bob Iger and Tom Staggs have cooked up is to use the DCA makeover as a model for future park growth, but that will require a larger outlay of cash for the next few years and for that, the Board must approve the increased division expenditures. It’s hoped that this schmoozy visit to DCA last month generated some goodwill amongst the Board members, people who would ordinarily never visit a theme park, and that they will be supportive of Bob’s plan to turn on the money spigot for Disneyland, DCA, and DHS.

Mouseketeer in the middle

A GREAT BIG BEAUTIFUL TOMORROW

With so many headliner additions slated for the parks in the next few years, you would think that would make next month’s D23 Expo a home-run of exciting announcements and lavish Imagineering artwork of the upcoming rides. But it appears the exact opposite will be true, as WDI has been warned by Burbank to keep their cards very close to their vest at D23 Expo while Comcast pours money into several new rides at Universal Studios up the freeway in Hollywood. And until the Board officially approves the big expenditures for Fiscal Year 2014 through ’17, it doesn’t look like the beans can be spilled in time for D23 Expo.

A long, long time ago . . . .

That’s not to say that smaller scale projects can’t get underway sooner, particularly in Tomorrowland, as part of a strategic plan is to remake that aging section and restore its former glory. The plan now, using development funds under the 100 Million dollar mark already earmarked for Disneyland, is to go in and do “placemaking” and aesthetic improvements in Tomorrowland just prior to the 60th Anniversary in 2015. Captain EO is on the chopping block with that plan, which should come as no surprise to anyone. The long-rumored West Coast version of the Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory would take up residence in that 3-D theater, while the area around it gets an aesthetic re-skinning that will help it mesh better with the big-budget plan to bring more Star Wars presence to Tomorrowland. The E Ticket of the Tomorrowland remake uses the speeder bike coaster concept on the old PeopleMover route, originally Imagineered with a Tron theme but now using Star Wars as the storyline for the new ride.

Take the overpass, it's quicker

Also currently planned for the 60th is a new night parade from the capable hands of Steve Davison for Disneyland, and a new afternoon parade for DCA. The tentative parade plan has the MSEP staying in Walt Disney World until it is permanently retired (although when it left Anaheim in 2010, it was originally supposed to return to Anaheim in 2012), and the existing Pixar Play Parade at DCA would be shipped out to Florida if the TDO team wants it. And there is still the creative plan to dramatically re-Imagineer the existing five Fantasyland dark rides for Disneyland’s 60th that we told you about a few months ago.

I'm watching you, always watching

Meanwhile in DCA, the planning for Monstropolis has shifted into high gear this summer with Anaheim’s operations team. Mary Niven and Michael Colglazier would like to see the new mini-land and E Ticket Door Coaster open by the Fall of 2016, even as WDI rushes to fine tune the engineering and design of the new ride building and attached dining and retail. The Door Coaster concept would have riders strapped onto the sides of doors as they are sent through several large show scenes in addition to a thrill ride component through the cavernous door hangars. Building on the wild success of Radiator Springs Racers that brought back the art of animatronic dark ride storytelling paired with a family thrill ride, both WDI and TDA want the Door Coaster to wow audiences even if the riders aren’t huge Monsters Inc. fans. And it helps immensely that this is a Pixar property, as John Lasseter’s Pixar team that keeps a close eye on Cars Land will be intimately involved in the process for Monstropolis and the Door Coaster.

Gee 23

So while there are still plenty of things moving forward for the Anaheim parks short-term, plus even bigger plans for large-scale investment in the broader Parks & Resorts division, the financial timing and corporate politics don’t align well for any big D23 Expo announcements next month. And that’s not an easy pill for D23 to swallow, as fans will be expecting a big announcement, as in years past. Now that The Lone Ranger has flopped bigger than John Carter, there won’t be much buzz to generate from Disney’s movie studio at the Expo. Broadcast TV is struggling with audiences, and Disney’s more successful cable networks like ESPN have only a small presence at the Expo. And, since Disney’s Interactive division is still struggling to get traction as it loses tens of millions of dollars every quarter, Burbank refuses to go big with D23 Expo exhibits for that division. WDI has expanded their pavilion footprint this year, as their separately-gated exhibit is always a hit with Expo crowds. But without a major announcement about new E Tickets and splashy theme park expansion, D23 Expo may have a hard time generating fan interest from the 50,000 expected to attend. Unless things change in the next few weeks, due to The Lone Ranger casting a dark cloud over the summer, don’t expect anything unless Bob Iger changes his mind and allows at least one of the new projects for Disneyland, DCA or DHS to get announced.

GAC ATTACK

While fans prepare to be either disappointed or surprised at D23 Expo in August, the management on both coasts are preparing to roll out a dramatic makeover to the existing Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program at all parks. The GAC, generally used as a front-of-the-line pass with few strings attached, got national exposure on The Today Show back in May. Today Show producers hired several unscrupulous Annual Passholders who rent out their GACs for cash in order to allow people to cut to the front of the line at unlimited rides each day, and then exposed the practice in a major undercover camera feature that had Today Show audiences gasping at their TV sets.

In an example of just how out of touch many of Disney’s theme park executives are, it was only when this Today Show expose aired that they would admit that they had a problem. Their own theme park teams in Guest Relations and Attractions have known this was a problem for years, and had been trying to tell the executives it was something that needed attention, but they were constantly told not to worry about it, mostly because no executive had the guts to attach their name to this hot-button issue. The problem is at its most severe in Anaheim, where over 100,000 Annual Passholders are now using the GAC process to board attractions each year, in addition to smaller numbers of hotel guests or casual visitors who aren’t Passholders. On the average busy day, Disneyland Resort’s Guest Relations teams in City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Guest Services windows in the Esplanade, are now issuing between 1,200 and 1,400 GAC passes per day. And until recently, those GAC passes could be post-dated for 60 days at a time, in an attempt to cut down on the number of people applying for GAC passes each day. But that practice exponentially increased the numbers of pre-issued GAC passes that would arrive on days with high Annual Passholder visitation.

GACety GAC, don't talk back

That means that on the average busy Sunday, when AP visitation swells, there are upwards of 3,000 GAC passes being used between the two parks, most of them stamped for a total of 6 people allowed per pass. The Cast Members at Guest Relations can track those numbers easily, and the Cast Members who staff the GAC check-in podium at Radiator Springs Racers marvel at how up to 4,000 people per day will access Racers via a GAC pass instead of using a Fastpass or waiting in the Standby or Single Rider lines. When a popular ride like Racers, which can only accommodate 20,000 people per 15 hour day under the most optimal of conditions without any major downtimes, has 20% of its riders coming through using a Guest Assistance Card, you know there’s a problem.

Once a small but sensational slice of the larger GAC abuse issue was exposed on The Today Show, the alarm bells rang in executive suites in Anaheim and Orlando and the top suits were embarrassed enough to finally do something about it. And in a 180 degree turnabout after ignoring years of complaints from their operations teams, several key executives are now rushing to jump on the bandwagon and attach their names in support of this suddenly trendy topic. The managers in the parks can only roll their eyes and think “Now you’ll listen to us? What took you so long?” The result is that top managers from Anaheim were quickly flown out to Orlando for a week-long summit with dozens of Orlando managers on how to end the current GAC program and rebuild a new process in its place.

Guest Relations Cast Members on both coasts have heard rumblings on the more restrictive plan, still being hashed out via bi-coastal video conferences, and they are preparing to don their suits of armor for the inevitable yelling that will occur at Guest Relations in all six American theme parks when the GAC gravy train comes to an end. The first step in the process already began last month, as Guest Relations no longer post-dates a GAC for two months at a time in order to flush the system of old cards prior to the new program rolling out. The current policy only allows a GAC to be dated for two weeks at a time. However, when the rollout for the new program approaches in August, Guest Relations will stop dating them for two weeks and only issue GAC passes one day at a time in an attempt to flush out the last of the old cards. The new system can then begin without any old valid GAC passes still in circulation, and that date is tentatively slated to happen in August.

The new process for accommodating those with legitimate disabilities that prevent them from waiting in a line is still having the details ironed out, as we hear more about how it might work we’ll fill you in. What’s important to know now is that the current GAC process is coming to an end, and very soon. The Today Show kicked off the panic, but perhaps this could be a lesson for the executives in TDO and TDA that their front line staff knows what is working and what is not. It would be nice if an executive or two would be willing to stick their neck out just a bit to help their own teams provide the best service possible to the broadest range of paying guests possible. It’s a shame the problem was ignored for so long that a hidden camera expose had to end up on The Today Show, instead of simply fixing the problem years and years ago like the front-line teams had been requesting.

IN SUMMARY

Life’s full of tough choices, innit? Speaking of which, the latest MiceChat Podcast features a gutsy interview with Ursula the Sea Witch, Pat Carroll herself, and a surprise appearance by legendary Imagineer, Bob Gurr. You won’t want to miss what happens when these two 80+ year olds get together and take over the show. Plus more theme park news and gossip. It’s a real hoot and a must listen.

Direct Link | MiceChat Podcast RSS FeediTunes Link

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and share with your family and friends. We are looking forward to hearing your comments. Is Laugh Floor a good replacement for the Captain or is it too much Monsters with a whole mini-land on its way to DCA? Do you have ideas on how best to change the GAC program? Attending the D23 Expo this August? We await your always interesting observations!

 Special thanks to Fishbulb and Andy Castro for their photos

About Al Lutz

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. Generally, you'll find a new MiceAge news update from Al and crew once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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151 Comments

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Comments for MiceAge Disney Rumor Update: Cars, Conventions and Cashholders are now closed.

  1. So much news in this update! So great to hear! Still sad that there will not be any announcements at D23, but such is life!

    But man, I would love to see a Monsters Mini-land so much

  2. I REALLY wish they would put this Door Coaster I keep hearing about SOMEWHERE ELSE – it just doesn’t belong in Hollywoodland even if it is in the “Hollywood Studios” section.

    The theme belongs somewhere in the middle of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

    I’d like to see a large audio animatronic show in Hollywoodland that ISN’T a copy of the Great Movie Ride, HAS the humor and detail of Pirates and Mansion, and the ADVANCES of Mystic, all THEMED to Hollywood of the 1930′s and 40′s. Something akin to the movie “The Artist” in terms of visual style and humor, too. And a great SONG to go with it!

  3. Why all these Monsters inc. attractions? There’s already a darkride based on it, and
    it was a mediocre film at best.
    It would stick out like a sore thumb in a Star Wars Tomorrowland.(I almost said it would
    stick out like a starbucks on main st.)
    Also, there is nothing appealing sounding at all about being strapped to doors for
    any reason I can think of.

  4. I’m happy with just about all of this news, except for Monsters Inc Laugh Floor. It just isn’t going to play well with the Passholders long term. They’ll spend all that money to put it in and it won’t pull in crowds any bigger than Capt EO.

    I think it was brilliant for Iger to show off Cars Land to the Board of Directors. That is exactly the scale (or larger) they should be shooting for. Hollywood studios needs a DCA sized reinvention budget. At least a billion dollars. But so does Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Good for the Board to see that little enhancements aren’t enough, it takes deep pockets to generate big business. Especially with Harry Potter going in up the street.

    • Why don’t they just keep the MILF for the Monsters Mini-Land at DCA? Put it in the Muppets theatre?

      • The Muppet Theater is going to be apart of the new door coaster.

    • Yeah, I hope they kill the Laugh floor. The clones of cheap WDW shows they’ve been putting in since the ’90′s don’t fly with DL’s repeat guests. Only Bugs life gets decent crowds but nowhere near the capacity it was built for. But I guess anything is an improvement over Honey I Shrunk the Audience.

    • It doesn’t sound like they’re trying to appease the passholders long-term. It sounds like they want something shiny and “new” (and out of the box) for the increased visitation they expect for the 60th anniversary (read: for all the day trippers, out-of-towners, and international visitors). Since it will clash with the proposed Star Wars theme, they will remove it once the 60th is over and they start the real Tomorrowland overhaul.

    • What has Monsters Inc. Laugh Factory got to do with Tomorrowland anyway, sure put in this Monsteropolis land in DCA but seriously isn’t Captain Eo more suited to Tomorrowland? At least it’s sci fi, even Honey I Shrunk The Audience is more sci fi or Tomorrowland-ish than Monsters Inc.

      I am also disturbed that it looks like it’s been decided to turn Tomorrowland into Star Wars Land, sure Star Wars used to be cool before Lucas ruined it but I want a lot more out of Tomorrowland than Star Wars.

      My final comment is only related to something briefly mentioned, which was about The Lone Ranger tanking, I really find that sad. I saw The Lone Ranger the other day and having seen most of the summer blockbusters so far, Lone Ranger is the only one I am going to see again, I thought it was a really well crafted film, personally I would have lost the little boy with old Tonto but I can live with it. It saddens me that a film like Man of Steel can be killing it in the box office when it is only a special effects piece with no story at all. As a film maker modern audiences make me sad.

      • Internitty, we enjoyed The Lone Ranger as well. Didn’t expect much (thank you, critics!) but were pleasantly surprise. I have no idea why there is such a collective group-think against this movie….

      • Funny, old Tonto was easily my favorite aspect of the film. It’s not a bad film (much like the equally maligned John Carter), though there were certainly elements that bugged me.

    • I agree Dusty! Recently on a trip to WDW we walked through Tomorrowland and the two rides that CMs were basically trying to PULL guests into were Laugh Floor and Stitch (right across the “street” from Laugh Floor)! I understand that they want to see if another Pixar property can do what CarsLand did for the parks…but Monsters is NOT the one to try it with. I really don’t know why they don’t pull Toy Story into the mix more than they did with Mania & Astro Blasters. Just imagine a roller coaster that simulates Buzz’s original “falling with style” flight at the beginning of the first movie! This could be a Pixar property that guests could have more fun with!

      • Not to mention the retail possibilities. I’d wager that Toy Story out paced Monsters in retail. Cars is a retail juggernaut.

  5. WDI will make Monsters Inc coaster work in HL but besides it will be a mini monsters land so HL won’t be affected at all

    Wether we like it or not Montropolis is gonna happen!

  6. Sounding like a broken record, I’m all for an awesome Door Coaster with thrill and animatronics, but not in Hollywoodland. Also, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor shouldn’t replace Eo. If TDA really wanted Laugh Floor, they would have brought it in years ago. Tomorrowland needs something that’s new and fresh. Look at the Star Tours makeover! The original was posting 10-20 minute waits but now, it holds a wait time with the ranks of TSMM.

  7. Still think the “suits” need to assemble a bunch of the various folks who actually NEED the GAC passes to help work on fixing the problem. What works for a person in a wheelchair might not work for a person with autism…and what works for one person with autism may well not work for another. A person with a heart condition may need different accommodations than a person with a broken leg or Downs or….you get the picture. GAC passes need to remain flexible….yet there obviously needs to be a way to fairly vet applicants!

    • Agree! I’ve been taking persons with disabilities to Disneyland for decades, both family members and clients from a therapeutic recreation facility for the disabled that I worked for. The abuse I’ve seen, increasing in recent years, has been really bad. Yet those who loose the most are the persons with disabilities. There should be input from both professionals as well as disabled individuals who visit the parks. Hopefully the company is doing this, I can’t imagine that they’re not consulting with individuals that know issues the disabled deal with while visiting the parks.

      • I think the problem with the GAC, is where do you draw the line on who actually needs/deserves it and who doesn’t. Disney hasn’t wanted to get into a disabilities fight/lawsuit and so they turned a blind eye to anyone claiming they were disabled. Im sure I’m just ignorant, but is there even a medical definition of being “disabled”? It seems like with the current system you can just claim you have a hurt ankle and get one.

        I watched the Today Show video mentioned (which isn’t hard to find with a quick google search) and I may be wrong, but the two GAC tour guides looked FAR from being disabled.

      • This if for aggiemullins:

        >>>I watched the Today Show video mentioned (which isn’t hard to find with a quick google search) and I may be wrong, but the two GAC tour guides looked FAR from being disabled.<<<

        Were you expecting to see an arm growing out of the sides of their heads or something?

        Most disabled people don't "look" disabled.

        I understand what you were trying to say though, those specific individuals were probably faking it. As I posted down thread, the way to fix this is to simply have a policy that to receive a GAC one must show that they have a state issued handicap placard. This way the state has already verified that the person is in fact disabled.

      • My wife had most of a brain tumor removed over a year ago and, at times, standing for long periods of time is too much to ask of her. Without knowing it you’d never know. There needs to be a uniform way that BOTH parks cant vet people. What my wife can get at Disneyland is not what those working at DCA give her. And the DCA cast members treat her like a thief.

    • Terrific observations! Along with the point the article made of the suits needed to actually listen to their front-line team. Any good leader knows that their feedback is gold. “Undercover Boss” needs to hit Anaheim, but it’s on the wrong network, dang it.

  8. I agree with you, Dusty. I think Monster’s Inc Laugh floor would be a mistake there. I know “Tommorow” has always been a tough nut to crack from the start of Tommorrowland in 1955, but Monsters just doesn’t seem to fit. Heck, Buzz Lightyear only fits because it’s outerspace themed. Which is why Star Wars might fit, even though it’s not “Tommorrow”, it’s “A long, long time ago”.

    And I also agree about the smooze fest with the board at DCA! Anything that gets them excited about the parks is a good thing!

    Great update, Al, and thank you to all who helped!

    • How about a WALL-E attraction? You can’t get more futuristic than that. We could take rides through space whilst being propelled by fire extinguishers!

  9. I might add – no matter what the “suits” do to the GAC, many folks will find reason to protest. If the “suits” make use of the brains of the actual users of the GAC (both disabled folks and parent/caregivers of those unable to speak for themselves) I think there will be fewer reasons for folks to complain AND the “suits” will be able to note that they DID get our input.

    • This is a VERY difficult issue. On the one hand Disney needs to be sensitive to the diverse needs of the actually disabled. But, the abuse of the system is so out of controll that they’ll likely have to reduce access in ways that places an extra bourdon of proof on the users. That could be an explosive situation for folks unaware of the changes. I’m so glad to hear that the system is being reworked, but it’s not going to be easy.

      • If the change is done in a manner that will address the abuse of GAC cards, but does not stigmatize the disabled population. That’s my concern. I’m hoping this is not an overboard reaction to the problem which would punish the disabled population or burden them with undue requirements to enjoy the Parks. I’m really not assured that “clueless suits” will solve this problem well.

      • The problem isn’t overburdening the population that needs accommodation–its that the accommodations given far exceed what is required to equalize a Guest’s experience.

        Being able to take a group of six almost immediately onto any Attraction all day long is not an accommodation: it is an enormous perk. Since that perk is currently doled out for free, no questions asked, and is being abused mightily, it must be changed. Some ideas that would be imminently reasonable: no more than one use of each pass per Attraction per day; a total cap on the number of Attractions it can be used on (say, 120% of the average Guest’s total daily Attraction count), and beyond that something like the rider switch: some portion of the group waits in line, and some portion of the group then (and only then) gets to board without further waiting. Already, for some Attractions, GAC users are given a time to return and are sent away until then–expand those restrictions as well.

        I have a close family member that has needed a GAC for many years. His entire immediate family have long enjoyed the ability to spend the entire day never, ever waiting in a line. That is not a reasonable accommodation, even though I love him like crazy, but rather a perk that far exceeds reasonability.

  10. Thanks for the great update! I feel that they are not seeing the real urgency in fixing Tomorrowland. It really needs a comprehensive redo. Just patching it with a worn-out attraction like the Monsters Laugh Factory shows that they’re not thinking in a comprehensive way. There’s nothing about “tomorrow” in that attraction. It continues the degradation of the whole theme of the land.

    • If Laugh Floor were some great and popular attraction, I’d understand the desire. But it isn’t. It’s an inexpensive attraction but not a good attraction. They may get away with that sort of thing in Florida, but it’s just not going to play out well in Anaheim.

      And I completely agree that it doesn’t match the theme of Tomorrowland, especially if they plan to tweak the land to fit Star Wars.

  11. OUTSTANDING update! Thank you! And thanks for remembering my birthday, Micechat! It may have been an automated computer program, but I’ll take it.

    If they can’t hire Steve Burke (whose contract is soon expiring at Universal) and if Thomas Staggs is promoting a Carsland/Wizard World of Harry Potter quality upgrade for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, I guess I won’t mind him sticking around for a few years even if the Lone Ranger tanks and if he continues to pretty much ignore the decaying WDW. (Oh boy, a billion dollars on Fastpass handcuffs for the wealthier guests!)

    I wish big time Disney shareholders, Ms. Jobs & the new Marvel guy (and Lucas–did he get any shares?) would support Lasseter. I wonder if his power has been reduced after his mentor, mega-Disney-shareholder Steve Jobs, died. If not Burke, then Lasseter–who is creative & in touch with people’s imaginations–should run Disney with Staggs as his #2 money guy. Then again, Iger looks younger than Lasseter, and is not wasting time at a winery. (No offense, Diane.)

    • 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence: I meant Bob Iger, not Thomas Staggs. Staggs has little to do with Disney studios.

  12. The ADA law doesn’t demand enhanced experiences, merely equal experiences. If the line is currently 80 minutes at RSR, why not issue a paper ticket with a return time for 80 minutes?

    • That is how they currently handle the GAC passes for Radiator Springs Racers. You get a FastPass-like return time equal to the current wait. I suspect this is a test which could easily be expanded to all attractions at the resort. However, that is the easy part of the GAC problem.

      The bigger and more difficult question is how to identify abuse of the system and how to verify who should be allowed to use it. Do you require Doctor’s notes? Ask the Guest Relations folks to make judgement calls? Excluding someone who may have an issue which is difficult to see might result in legal issues. It’s a real mess without an easy solution.

      • Actually I think the answer is simple. To be eligible for a GAC you have to show that you have a state issued handicap placard. My daughter has cerebral palsy, she has a CA blue handicap placard which signifies that she has a permanent disability and we can park in the handicap parking spaces. Disney could issue my daughter a permanent GAC pass, or maybe set it to be renewed each year with her AP. For people who have the red temporary placards Disney would simply set the GAC to expire on the same day as the placard.

        This way the states have already gone through the process of verifying that a person is in fact disabled. Disney isn’t put in the position of having to verify whether or not a person has a disability.

    • Good point and good suggestion, but…history suggests that the disabled population will get screwed.

  13. Ugh – clone the Monsters Laugh Floor? Are you kidding me? As if the mini-land isn’t already total oversaturation of that franchise? Horrible.

  14. Does Universal announce its new Florida King Kong attraction just before D23?

    Sam
    http://Www.samlanddisney.blogspot.com

    • LOL. To be fair, Uni didn’t announce Springfield until days before it opened. ;-)

      They tend to guard their news as long as they can, just like Disney.

  15. What they should put in is the Star Wars Aliens Laugh Floor. The place could look like the cantina from Star Wars. Greedo could MC.

    • That would be much more appropriate and a welcome break from the Pixar mania which seems to be sweeping Imagineering.

    • Cool idea, Phruby! :)
      But a whole new alien-themed club
      with a dance area (and maybe a small comedy area), and a rest area/lounge at the entrance where nobody is trying to sell you sh– might be even better. Think the Animation lobby with film clips in DCA.

      If the rest of Tomorrowland shaped up with the Astro-orbiter back and up and the Peoplemover track removed or again hosted a ride that actually works, then a non-alcoholic bar/quick serve restaurant on a second or third floor could offer great views of a once-again beautiful Tomorrowland. They should try & top the Tomorrowland looks from ’67 through the 80s.

      • This cantina themed restaurant/bar Idea is way better than Laugh floor…Maybe an imagineer will be reading……let’s hope!

      • Good idea. It’s so refreshing to get an iced coffee and sit in the Animation lobby in DCA. Just to get out of the sun and relax with the clips and music. DLR needs a place like this too and if it has a view, even better.
        I wish they would come up with more ideas for Tomorrowland that don’t have a movie tie-in.

    • I really like that idea.

      • It’s always cool to walk into an interesting place that makes you think, “I’ve never been to a place like this before.”

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