MiceAge Disney Rumor Update: Cars, Conventions and Cashholders

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

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: Editor@MiceChat.com

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  • KingEric

    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

  • Bfscott77

    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!

  • fnord

    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.

  • 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.

    • yellowrocket

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

      • masterman626

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

    • eicarr

      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.

    • The First Star

      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.

    • Internitty

      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.

      • Cyette

        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….

      • TifaOnACloud

        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.

    • Happiestcruiser

      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!

      • rwsmith

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

  • DCAfanatic

    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!

  • AvidTurtleTalker

    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.

  • JFS in IL

    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!

    • Gullywhumper

      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.

      • aggiemullins

        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.

      • bsegel

        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.

      • rwsmith

        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.

    • Cyette

      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.

  • rstar

    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!

    • DefinitelyDisney

      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!

  • JFS in IL

    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.

      • bayouguy

        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.

      • Monoautorail

        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.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    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.

  • jcruise86

    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.)

    • jcruise86

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

  • Kevin Yee

    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.

      • bsegel

        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.

    • bayouguy

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

  • SpectroMan

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

  • Mousecat

    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.

  • phruby

    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.

    • jcruise86

      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.

      • scarymouse

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

      • DisneyPhreak

        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.

    • sean317

      I really like that idea.

      • jcruise86

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

  • DuckyDelite

    “…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”

    Please tell me this isn’t true. That park is becoming like a clearance aisle at a discount department store. Racks and racks of outdated everything. Does the WDW team really not have any new ideas?

    I know many did not like Roy Disney, but wasn’t he the one that kept telling the Disney Board about over saturation?

  • Baloo

    Hopefully the changes to the GAC program are announced to the public so that the media publicizes them that way there are no excuses.
    I always wondered why they did not ask for some kind of disable documentation, Anyone that has a plaquered or disabled license has a DMV issued paper. I ride the metrolink to work and they even have a disabled card that must be present as proof to buying disabled discounted tickets.

    They could even have a disabled logo integrated into the pass when it is purchased so that they would not have to be re-issuing GAC cards if proof is shown at time of renewal.

    I am sure there legal actions that they need to be aware of but if the DMV and transportation system requires it then they should be able to do the same thing.

    There also needs to be a control on wheelchair rentals and anyone renting a chair needs to be issued a GAC pass to go with it to show proof that in fact the wheelchair is needed. I have heard of people renting the chairs just so they do not have to walk and so that they can avoid long lines.

    As for the Laugh Factory, i really hope this is not true. Seems like such a waste for that area. Why would they even consider building an old show like that here at one of the parks with the highest passholder ratio It really makes no sense, sooner than later it will be as empty as Captain EO and the muppets

    • MrsRobinson

      Definitely agree!! I’ve been wondering why they don’t do this. I’m sick of seeing the teenage kids getting away with using GAC cards and it really made me mad seeing the Grad-nite kids getting a GAC. Or the people that come up and ask where the “in front of the line” card goes.

  • Indiana Joe

    So sad to hear the TRON ride probably will not happen. I love Star Wars, but feel that Tomorrowland should remain a mixture of different Sci-Fi and a TRON ride would have been amazing.

    • eicarr

      At least an arcade, bar and TL ElecTRONica would be nice(and inexpensive)

    • PinkMonorail

      Does every ride have to be a thrill ride? How about a peoplemover-speed ride instead of speed cycles on unbanked tracks yet again? Something people who can’t do coasters can ride.

  • FarFromHome

    The only reason we did the Laugh Floor at WDW is because we wanted to get out of the heat, and off of our feet. It was kinda funny for the kids, but not much there for the adults. Replacing Capt EO just seems like a quick, lazy fix.

  • Disney Analyst

    I will say that I really do love Laugh Floor…..

  • jasmineray

    The Laugh Floor? Is this a joke?

    Let’s hope that doesn’t actually happen. And we don’t need another Star Wars-themed attraction in Tomorrowland. There’s nothing wrong with Tron.

  • yellowrocket

    No. No. No. No.

    There are several things wrong with this article.

    Sure. The Lone Ranger is flopping. But, it’s not nearly on the scale of John Carter. Johnny Depp’s stardom will get the flick some overseas dollars to get it over the John Carter fiasco hump. No way will Lone Ranger make up its production and marketing budget, but Disney will have made Johnny happy enough to get him to do Pirates 5, so it’s a win. But making Lone Ranger out to be a bigger flop than Carter is just sensationalism.

    Also, Disney Interactive actually has a winner with Disney Infinity. The game and collectible nature has kids and gamers salivating. DI, let me introducd you to “traction”. More sensationalism.

    ABC is not struggling. They have multiple hits and lots of potential pilots that other networks lost the bids for. Several genre shows such as the Once Upon a Time franchise should do well at D23. Again… more sensational journalism.

    But, the facts are just plain wrong when you guys repeatedly give the GAC story credit to The Today Show. It was the New York Post that first lit the interwebs on fire about the company selling GAC tours at WDW – that led to the Today Show doing a package on the tours at Disneyland. But, since this *IS* primarily a Disneyland site, I can understand how you gave credit to The Today Show.

    • Sorry Yellowrocket. but the Lone Ranger didn’t pull in half of what Disney was expecting it to do opening weekend. That’s a major disappointment for the company however you may want to spin it. Our point being that Disney may want to shift the focus with some exciting new news at the expo, even though they currently aren’t planning on doing so.

      Disney Infinity is really neat and a creative winner, completely agreed, but the division is bleeding cash and has yet to pay off for the company.

      You will see a lot of Once Upon A Time at the Expo (it will be one third of the Treasures of the Disney Archives exhibit). They are certainly trying to do the synergy thing. But having a few hit shows is not enough for a network. You need big advertising revenue as well, and ABC just doesn’t perform at the high profit margins that Disney would like. It has been a challenge for Iger and a reason why he has been shopping the network to potential buyers for years.

      Finally, it doesn’t matter who “broke” the GAC story. Anyone on this site could have told you years ago that there was a problem. The issue is that Disney management wasn’t paying attention and until the Today Show ran their story, Disney wasn’t interested in fixing this problem.

      • Baloo

        i agree that The Lone Ranger was a huge disapointment for DIsney which is why I was surprised to read an article this morning while doing my daily wall street check

        It seems that the Lone Ranger will not be such a big right off as John Carter for DIsney and that Disney is still possibly looking into continuing the trilogy. Supposedly even though the opening weekend was not what was expected, the brand name alone with revenue from merchandise and broadcast rights for the movie from networks along with other supplemental income from the movie might be enough to compensate for its budget.
        Article also states that one trend that is very visible with the Lone Ranger numbers for this weekend is that the majority of people that saw the movie were 25 years of age and above. According to the article huge openings are the cause by the under 25 age bracket which tend to cause huge opening weekend numbers. movies that tend to bring in 25 and older have longer life as they tend to not show up on opening weekend in large numbers.

        Another thing on Disney’s favor is that the director and Producer of the Lone Ranger movie insisted on creating live sets which include the five mile train track, and town used in the movie. According to the person interviewed from Disney this would offset the cost of creating sequels for the movie and in the long run help offset any loss of the first one.

        It will be interesting to see how this plays out but it seems that Disney is even being quoted as saying that it is too soon to say that the movie is in the same category as Joh Carter which did not have any possible revenue return from merchandise and known Franchise status.

      • TodAZ1

        Sorry, Dusty, but Al’s article clearly stated that the Lone Ranger was a bigger flop than John Carter. While I don’t agree that that’s “sensationalism” as yellowrocket stated, it is, at the very least, extremely premature. Not really sure how you can compare the 2 movies when Lone Ranger hasn’t even been out in theaters a week now. Weak opening weekend? Absolutely. But to say it failed worse than Carter is wrong.

        And as Baloo has stated (saving me from getting the same info I read), they already pretty much know that LR isn’t as big a flop as John Carter.

      • Here’s what the LA Times has to say about it: http://touch.latimes.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-76599027/

        “Johnny Depp in “The Lone Ranger,” one of the costliest flops of the modern era.”

      • Baloo

        to be fair the LA times article does say that DIsney might have to take a right off of 100 million compared to the 200 million of Joh Carter but it also does not account for what DIsney and wall street is saying and that is that the Lone Ranger has been generating in income from merchandise and will most likely recoup most of its money from licensing.

        So although the La times might be creating its list of flops it is seeing only movie revenue from first run shows of which non on the list are capable of generating income above and beyond its movie and television run.
        That makes a huge difference when it comes to considering a movie a flop by the studios. There is a reason why DIsney is still not ruling out continuing with sequels. This is the same reason why DIsney did not rule out sequels for Tron as well even though many considered it a flop.

        There is no disagreement that the movie is not generating income as hoped (although movie was projected to only bring in about 135-150 million domestically and it still has a chance to get closer to those numbers).
        I think the disagreement is that it is a bit prematurely to say that it was a bigger flop than John Carter especially when analyst are saying that it will most likely be profitable by other means besides ticket revenue

      • TodAZ1

        Exactly, Baloo.

  • danielz6

    An expansion of star wars in tomorrowland? Monsters Inc in tomorrowland? Once innoventions is gone space mountain will be the only thing in tomorrowland that actually fits the theme. RIP tommorowland, the only of the original lands of Disneyland that didn’t survive. Ironically, Tron, which fits the theme of tomorrowland better than anything else on the plate, isn’t happening. And what about the expansion of frontierland, oh there’s no franchise that they can put there and we can’t have non-franchise attractions in Disneyland right? That would be such a radical concept!
    I am, however, extremely excited about the fantasyland dark ride enhancements. That sounds very interesting. Fantasyland is the heart and soul of Disneyland, and I wont be renewing my AP until at least 2015 because that’s the only thing of interest to me in these updates.

    • eicarr

      Star Wars is sciFi Fantasy and fits DL more than the generic Space Mountain, a train station, car ride, paid company exhibits, a giant squid on opening day, 360 degree shows on china, and singing animatronics at America sings.

      • Monoautorail

        Except the entire Star Wars universe is set “a long time ago.” “Tomorrow”-land. You see the problem?

      • danielz6

        Star wars is not sci fi…it is Space fantasy. That is a common error that most people make. George Lucas has called it that many times. It is grounded in pure fantasy “a long time ago”. There is nothing realistic or scientific about it, the fact that it takes place in space doesnt change that (i am a big star wars fan by the way, OT of course). The complete opposite of tommorowlands theme which is the future and science.
        Star wars fits better because space mountain is generic are you kidding me? So Lilo fits better in adventureland than the original Tiki room because its generic? How about Pirates of the Caribbean? It seems like “generic” attractions made Disneyland into the standard by which all other theme Parks are compared to.

      • Marko50

        I disagree with many of your examples. The giant squid was from a sci-fi movie – and if Jules Verne isn’t sci-fi… The 360 degree shows were futuristic not because of their content, but because of the inventive way they were filmed. America Sings was in Tomorrowland because of its innovative show building. The rest I agree with, including Star Wars being sci-fi no matter what its creator may say. If it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, etc.

  • WDWorldly

    So they’re adding the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor attraction to Tomorrowland, where it doesn’t fit the futuristic theme whatsoever, instead of adding it to the planned Monstropolis land at Disney California Adventure, where it doesn’t fit the California theme whatsoever.

    • eicarr

      You’ve never taken the wrong CA freeway exit like I have.

      • lightofdarkness

        Ha! Monstropolis… aka the Watts Towers!

  • jcruise86

    If Disney is going to consummate it’s marriage to Star Wars, then either
    the Autopia area
    OR
    the combined Captain EO theater plus Anaheim’s little Space Mountain plus some backstage area (plus digging deeper and building higher)
    should be the location of a thrilling, yet family-friendly combination of Star Wars-themed, indoor space-themed coasters. Maybe just call it Star Wars, or call it “Space Mtn. Range featuring Star Wars.”

    No loops because loops would lead to the tortuous over-the-head and shoulders bars that make Paris’ Space Mtn. so infuriatingly painful.

    • jcruise86

      its (Correcting myself)

  • jchamb268

    I am all in favor of the revamped Hollywood back lot area, I think it will be fun, I just hope they can dump the whole Mad T party dance thing, it does not belong there. I like the idea of some more Star Wars but I hope they don’t rename the land StarWarsland.

    When it comes to the GAC card why don’t they just limit to the actual rider and one guest. There is no need for a family of 6 to cut in front of everyone when they are perfectly capable of standing in line with the rest of us. One i’m ok with, 6 is abuse.

    • The First Star

      Would you want to split your family up all day? Remember, that’s valuable time that you could be using to chat and bond with your family while you’re in line. I agree that 6 is a lot, but what about a party of 3 or 4? Disneyland was something the whole family was supposed to be able to enjoy together, right?

      I agree that something has to be done, but splitting up families is not the answer.

  • Johnny

    To help address the GAC issue, Disney should re-instate their decades-old policy that at least one person in the party must wait in line for the attraction. When this person arrives at the boarding area, the remaining members of the party may also board.

  • Right Ear

    I will defend the Monstropolis Project as being a good project till the day I die, but with Laugh Floor however, why not just place it in the Monstropolis area next to the Hyperion (in the former Hollywood and Dine building) and retheme it to a Comedy Club to justify it not being at MI. Although the existing attraction is good, it could really benefit from this and a few notable updates to it.

    • Bfscott77

      Monstropolis doesn’t belong on Hollywoodland, it belongs as a subland of Fantasyland inbetween Fantasyland and Tomorrowland – where Autopia is now, at least part of it.

  • napamaninsocal

    Tomorrowland is never going to be about the future. It costs way too much money. It needs a universal scifi theme, just not sure if star wars is it. If it is star wars, i would want everything in it to be about star wars, but I would not want things like Space mt star wars themed or buzz lightyear kicked out.

  • Jungle Trekkie

    This update and the other reporting on MiceAge are so informative that it makes going to D23 seem superfluous. Keep up the good work MiceAge team.

    Does anybody know what this speeder bike coaster on the People Mover track is going to be like? Will it be something like the speeder bike chase in “Return of the Jedi”?

  • MikeK

    “That’s not to say that smaller scale projects can’t get underway sooner” means The Star Wars Speeder Bike, Monters Laugh factory and Tomorrowland refresh as well as the Monsters Door coaster and Monstropolus area don’t need approval from the board of directors . Also, it looks like Tomorrowland will be ready before the 60th.

    This proposed funding approval from the board sounds like it’s for something much bigger…

    • lightofdarkness

      Agreed… Marvel-ous third gate?

      • MikeK

        Hope so. I think a Marvel/Star Wars park would be appropriate.

    • sean317

      Possibly a water slide park. I also agree w/ maybe a Marvel themed park.

  • jchamb268

    For the speeder bike ride wouldn’t they have to completely rebuild the PM tracks?

    • a-mad

      We’ve gone from the pods from The Incredibles to the light cycles from Tron (rumored just a few weeks ago), and now to the Star Wars speeder bikes. I’m all for any of them… and excited for any kind of activity on the PM tracks – but this project feels like its constantly changing. I’ll exhale as soon as I see them actually working on it and/or have announced something officially.

      • Monoautorail

        And don’t forget about the screaming and yelling when long-ago-futuristic speed vehicles can be seen from the hub! Let us not forget the din that followed the decision to put Fantasyland-type structures adjacent to Fantasyland and Sleeping Beauty Castle, but visible from the hub!

    • Happiestcruiser

      Yes, they would have to almost totally rebuild the tracks — adding exit ramps, safety bars, etc. Touching any of the track for a refurb/redesign would trigger the CA safety laws that would make them bring the entire thing up to “modern” safety standards. (which are just ludicrous in my opinion).

  • Big D

    Good luck to the Disney execs trying to fix the GAC program. No matter what solution they come up with it seems like some people are going to be hurt by it. My mom is disabled, and we have noticed that when we take her around to almost anywhere, finding a handicapped parking space is impossible because it seems like everyone has a handicapped placard now, so even if Disney required that people show a handicapped placard I don’t know that it would help that much. And it wouldn’t do anything to alleviate the problem of people renting a disabled person to go with them, because the person is legitimately disabled, and there would be no way for the person at City Hall to know that the person was charging the family to go with them using the pass. You could try to require one person in the party to wait in line and then let everyone on when they get to the front of the line I guess, but then you end up with a huge backup of people in wheelchairs waiting at the exit of the ride, and sometimes even blocking the exit which was never designed to have people waiting there. This is really a no-win scenario for Disney.

    The other question I have though is that given the restrictions on any thrill ride, how many legitimately disabled people can even go on rides like RSR or Space Mountain? Someone with a mental disability like autism who can handle a ride but can’t handle standing in line is one thing, and I get that, but wouldn’t almost any physical disability other then a broken limb prevent most people from going on a significant number of the rides at Disney? I know for my mom, who has a bad back, among other things, she really only likes to go on maybe 4 or 5 rides whenever she goes to the park. Are there a lot of disabilities that still allow you to go on most of the rides at Disney? I’m honestly asking here, I don’t think there would be but I truthfully don’t know.

    • bsegel

      I actually think that requiring a handicapped placard would go a long way to cutting down on the GAC abuse at the parks.

      But I really wanted to address your second question. It’s a great question and as a father of a child with Cerebral Palsy I appreciate the question. The reality is that most people with physical disabilities can safely ride any of the attractions at the parks. The reason they can is because a lot of physical disabilities have to do with miscommunications between the brain and the muscles. My daughters muscles and bone structure area all fine, just like yours and mine. The problem is that her brain doesn’t do a good job communicating to the right side of her body, so using her right leg, right arm and hand etc… is a lot harder. In her case they do work, just not as well. The right side of her body is numb, like that feeling we get when we sleep on our arm wrong and it falls asleep. She’s like that all the time. She needs a little help getting in and out of some rides but once she is sitting in the seat there is no problem, she can ride anything.

  • CasaFamilia

    Thanks again for another tremendous update. As I have stated in many posts we are a family that uses(not abuses) the GAC. We really do wish we didn’t have to use it-we would gladly exchange having to wait in the stand-by lines if our twins were typical. We didn’t ask or cause their condition, we just simply want them to have the ability to enjoy Disneyland like the rest of us and the GAC allows that. We have twin six-year old daughters both on the Autism spectrum. The GAC has allowed them to fully enjoy the parks and we feel that the parks have been a great help to their overall development. Becasue we are so close most weeks we are able to visit the resort twice, usually alternating parks.(We know we are very blessed) Most of the time the girls use the GAC but sometimes they choose the regular line because it is more interesting to them. However the alternate lines help because they become too overstimulated in the regular lines, the noise and being confined. This leads to them spinning, grabbing and pulling on each other and Mom and Dad and even seeking input through head-butting themselves or objects-thus they become a safety hazzard to themselves or others. We feel we have done a good job of helping them self-regulate but sometimes it’s just too much. We knew the changes to GAC were coming and will be welcomed by those of us that really need the program but hopefully the changes are not too dramatic. It is frustrating beyond words to be in contact with people that are abusing the system so hopefully they can cut down on that number. One of the biggest problems we see is the number of guests allowed on each card, it was supposed to be six but many times we have seen groups larger than 6. It was so nice to be able to get one card for two-months and not have to go to city hall every visit but if we have to deal with this minor inconvenience and it helps to curb abuse we will go every time. Hopefully it’s not too hard to explain why we would like the card because the girls don’t look “handicaped”. Bottom line for us, the change was necessary because of some vile, morally bankrupt people; hopefully the changes don’t dimish the “magic” too much and the twins can still enjoy their “Disnweyland”. No matter what the outcome our lives have taught us to adapt and enjoy any amount of joy and happiness a trip to the resort may bring to our beautiful twins.

    • yellowrocket

      The fair alternative to this (and what other parks have started doing in the wake of the New York post story) is to have one member of the party wait in line while the others either wait with a pass or wait in the child swap area.

      • MrsRobinson

        YellowRocket-yes this is a fair alternative but some rides can’t do this because there is nowhere for the guest to wait for their party..I work on Buzz and Star Tours, buzz has no where for the guest with the GAC to wait for their party. We don’t send people through the exit because everyone has to hear the saftey spiel when they go through the regula/alternate entrance. With Star Tours we do offer the guest to sit out on the bench in front of the line while the rest of their party goes through the regular line and is able to meet up with them when they get to the greeter point and from that point they can go through one of the alternate entrances (depending on the GAC)

    • Herc

      I completely agree with you. The GAC needs to be enforced, but it is a delicately line to follow. My nephew has Aspergers Syndrome has “sometimes” has problems in the long lines or in crowds. Waiting for the fireworks is hell on wheels, but once the music and show starts, he’s fine. But trying to wait for such a long time in DL will probably affect our viewing habits (may need to go by Small World mall). We’ve waited in WDW for over an hour for Toy Story Mania, but the good thing is that there are so many toys and games to talk about while going through the line. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t.
      Hopefully with our upcoming trip to DL, we can try the GAC for “certain” attractions and not abuse it. We’re still trying to figure out the six hour flight both ways.

      • bayouguy

        Casafamilia said it best. I just don’t want Disney to steamroll over the program due to action of others. I’ve witnessed this too many times in my career. It would be nice if they asked families for help.

  • Tinkbelle

    No, no, no! All the Monsters stuff is such a bad idea – both in DCA and Tomorrowland. Awful! The current Monsters ride barely has a line. They need to come up with some truly exciting concepts for Hollywoodland and Tomorrowland. Step away from the Monsters theme, Disney.

    • WDWorldly

      Best solution is to upgrade the neglected Monsters, Inc. dark ride with Tokyo’s “ride and go seek” technology as part of the Monstropolis project

  • eicarr

    Why no mention of Disney’s most popular draw…. Marvel. At D23 talk of the new ABC Marvel series, or the movies….. And why no DL park attractions for its most popular brand at the moment? Would iron man or a PIXAR Billy Crystal charictor get more dads, teens and boys to book an expensive DL trips?

    • yellowrocket

      Marvel will be at D23, but this article needed to sensationalize the negative aspects of the event (which, granted, are many). There was no mention of the uber successful avenues of the company present at the expo like Marvel or Disney Channel.

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    Why is no else but me lamenting the loss of Captain EO?

    I mean, Disney thinks they are a bunch of losers, but they are gonna do it right this time, because they’re the best!

    • frollofan

      lol

  • ttintagel

    Anyone who thinks the GAC is “generally used as a front-of-the-line pass with few strings attached” has obviously never used one. It does work out that way sometimes, especially on older, pre-ADA constructed attractions, but it’s a side effect and not the primary function.

    • Westsider

      Because you can use your GAC over and over at any ride you want, without limits. Want to go on Soarin? Show your GAC and breeze into Fastpass. Now Tower of Terror? No need to wait, just walk over and show your GAC and head right in. Screamin’, Indy, Splash, Peter Pan, Grizzly, etc., etc. With a GAC there’s no need to plan your day around 2 hour wait times or juggle Fastpass return times five hours in advance with dinner reservations or show times.

      There are no time limits on how many times you can use your GAC and enter Fastpass or go in through the exit. Only at Racers are they issuing return times based on the existing Standby wait. If they started doing that at all the rides, making people wait the current Standby time, the benefits of the GAC would disappear and it would truly level the playing field and give everyone an equal experience. Not better access, just equal access, and fair while still being sensitive to people who can’t wait in a physical line for whatever reason.

      • ttintagel

        Well, it doesn’t work like that on every ride. Far from it. But even if it did, then why not just build the regular queues to be accessible? Almost all of the reqular queues at WDW are mainstreamed.

      • ttintagel

        And most of how a GAC is handled at most rides depends on what conditions are at the moment you arrive – you aren;t guaranteed that it willwork the same way if you go to the same ride twice iin the same day.

      • The First Star

        My mom is disabled, and I can tell you that the disabled queue works differently. At some rides, like Haunted Mansion or Peter Pan, each party with disabled person with a wheelchair, walker, or ECV can only go one at a time. In other words, each individual party has to cycle through the ride before the next party is accommodated. This means that the wait in a disabled line can be even longer than the regular line.

        As for Space Mountain, the disabled car can only be loaded every 7 minutes, so just look at the line and count every 16 people and multiply that by 7. You’ll find that often times, the disabled line is just as long or longer than the regular queue.

        Let me give you another example. Last year, we waited over an hour and a half for HMH, when the regular line was only 30-45 minutes long. Not only did each disabled person have to cycle through the ride, they had to be escorted back through the queue and up the elevator. It was a nightmare. Once we made it through to the load area, we had to wait several minutes while at least three different elevators worth of people were loaded. We waited while each elevator load had completely boarded, and we watched while empty buggies passed through.

        Sometimes you can walk on in, and sometimes you can’t.

        The best system, and the one I prefer, is the one used for Racers and previously described by DustySage.

  • Disneykin Kid

    It takes visionaries to be able to see the wisdom of creatively expanding the parks, sadly most financial people are not visionaries. Well I guess you have to have balance, like Walt and Roy.

    I welcome more Star Wars in Tomorrowland, although I think the Peoplemover track should be used for Tron lightcycles. People have expressed desire for a full Star Wars park, but upon thinking about it, I think the best theme park experience is a combination of themes, not just one theme. Disneyland has many different lands, if you feel adventurous you ride Indy, if you feel nostalgic, you ride the Mark Twain, if you want to remember your Disney childhood you go to Fantasyland. A new separate theme park should also have a combination of themes, not just Star Wars, or even Star Wars/Marvel. It needs a combination for the whole family.

  • Herc

    Please don’t bring the Laugh Floor to Tomorrowland in DL. It’s bad enough to have it in Florida where it really doesn’t fit thematically.
    I know things are probably decided, but I would think another Star Wars attractions and possible eatery would be good instead of turning TL into Star Wars Land. The Peoplemover should still be Tron based. We need a Tron attraction. Just my opinion. And what about that Iron Man attraction for the Innoventions area (no not talking about the exhibit of Iron Man).
    If it were possible, I would take Pixar completely out of DL and base it more in DCA.
    Same in Florida, DHS should be the Pixar-centric park.
    Yes, I’m an eastcoaster and travel to WDW annually or more. Last year we traveled in July/August to see Carsland and have my kids experience Walt’s original theme park (they loved it) and then in February we did a week in WDW (we all said it was our worst Disney trip ever). New Fantasyland ok, Circus area meh, but loved Be Our Guest Restaurant). Loved California enough for us to book another trip that takes place in 17 days.

  • Saskiwi

    Great update- you guys always have the good oil!
    Any chance you could post a link to the post about a revamp of the Fantasyland dark rides for DL’s 60th? Must have missed that one…
    All for a Monstropolis in DCA- have been waiting for a Door ride ever since we saw first saw the original movie many years ago..it just lends itself to a great ride!
    not so sure about Laugh Floor in Tomorrowland…the connection being…???
    We just visited WDW and while our kids enjoyed. The Laugh Floor, it certainly wasn’t a must-do and I can’t see all those DL AP holders going back timeand again…
    But yay for a Star Wars theme revamp to Tomorrowland…it is in dire need of something cohesive to pull that land together, and the rich detail that is in SW will give WDI so much material to work with…
    Time to start saving for our next trip!

    • Here’s what we wrote last time:

      . . . the plan to fix Alice that had been debated in both TDA and at WDI for the past several years brought attention to all of Fantasyland’s five classic dark rides. While they were all rebuilt for the New Fantasyland in 1983, and have received several nice technology upgrades over the last decade, they are still showing their age. The likely proposal now has Disneyland closing each dark ride for several months throughout 2014 and early ’15, starting with Alice, while installing upgraded animatronics, lighting and audio, plus all-new digital special effects. The result would be the classic Disney dark ride reborn for the 21st century, marketed to celebrate Disneyland’s 60th.

      Only Disneyland has the entire library of classic Walt-era dark rides, with eight dark rides total in both DCA and Disneyland, five of them packed in together in central Fantasyland. The rest of Disney’s magic kingdoms around the world only have one or two classic dark rides left, and the Orlando versions in particular are not in good shape cosmetically. Anaheim has taken loving care of their Fantasyland dark rides, especially with the small tech upgrades of recent years, but both WDI and TDA feel that they are looking quite dated to modern audiences and are coasting on fumes of nostalgia.

      http://micechat.com/31294-miceage-mickeys-boomtown/

  • Gibson510

    Monsters Inc!? In Tomorrowland!? And now Star Wars… the beginning of the movie starts by saying “A long time ago….”.

    I wish that some of Disney’s creative minds could sit down, brainstorm and really do some research into what is on the horizon for our country, our civilization, our planet. Ask questions like what sorts of new technologies will we be benefitting from in the next 20, 50 or 100 years? What might life be like? And once they have some solid ideas, they could work toward creating original and educational experiences that guests can enjoy and immerse themselves in like E ticket rides, exhibits, shows or what have you.

    Space travel is always a good topic. And not Star Wars themed space travel! I love the movie but lets not plaster it all around every time we get get the chance. Speaking of space travel, maybe they could start by rethinking the sorry excuse for rocket jets that is currently in place.

    Just thinking out loud….

    • jcruise86

      Good post, Gibson510. At the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana they used Star Wars as a starting point to successfully work in real science in an impressive exhibit. Yes, real space travel and it’s potential is interesting. Exactly where are we in our galaxy? What’s the latest in possible Earth-like planets being discovered? How can we travel through space faster? The excellent JPL open-house addressed things like this, but it was cancelled this summer due to federal budget cuts.

      We consider if travel will be fun, educational, a celebration of nature or good exercise. One of these is enough, but two is better. Without EPCOT, it would be harder to justify crossing the country to Disney World.

      • Gibson510

        Yes! Things like that would be wonderful. Astronomy and space exploration are fascinating topics and with a little Disney magic it could bring some great additions to the park.

        I guess I just like the idea of an original, unique creation like some of the retired Tomorrowland attractions were, rather than just pulling existing attractions from other parks and calling it a day.

      • danielz6

        I agree this is the best way to save the tommorowland theme even if the attraction doesn’t specifically fit. Star wars/ space mountain should be joined by a cosmology /astronomy pavillion. THATS what should replace EO not monsters garbage. A Tron attraction should be connected to a computer science pavillion. Heck even iron man can be connected to a military future tech showcase. Subs can showcase a Deep Sea/ oceanography exploration exhibit which is one of the bigges frontiers in science today. That idea just works so well. The attraction can stay and the pavillions can be constantly updated as technologies change and advance! Are you listening Disney?

    • MikeK

      Agreed. Tomorrowland should be about the future…not “a long time ago in a galaxy….

      • jcruise86

        Literal much? 🙂
        Star Wars might not be in the future,
        but to my primitive little mind it’s futurISTIC.

        Harrison Bergeron take place in the future, but everyone acts like it’s the 1950s. So I guess that could be in Tomorrowland if you require something to be in the future. As could the cowboy animatronics of “West World.”

    • sean317

      Star Wars is “sci-fi/fantasy”. Maybe in our world, Star Wars will be what happens “tomorrow”.

  • TodAZ1

    Couple of things…………..

    1. Monsters Inc Laught Floor in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland…………stop it, Disney! You’re drunk! Go home!

    2. I don’t care what anyone says, Bob Iger is HOT!!!! 🙂

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  • JCSkipr79

    Glad that WDI is going to waste it’s time on Monsters attractions that NOONE will care about cause Potter will wipe them off the map. MILF will have you BEGGING Eo to come back to TL. It’s that bad. The only thing I have hope for is WDI-DL is more tasteful so I doubt we’ll see a looming Mike neon day glo sign next to Space. And how exactly will a Speeder Bike work in TL?? Yea it’s themed TO SW but the Bike will still be going through TL so it won’t even make sense. At least something will be on the PPLMover track again. And Iger in a cardigan??? WHO IS HE FOOLING! He is NO Walt. PERIOD.

  • JCSkipr79

    SO glad to hear that Soundsational is staying for the 60th AND a new nighttime parade. WDW fans will be in total rage over that news alone.

  • Chernabog

    Saw the “Laugh” floor in Florida. That way, I never, ever have to see it again. Ever.

  • Tomorrowland_1967

    I don’t understand the rumors for Monsters Inc mini land for Hollywoodland. Disney went through a lot of trouble with the “2.0” improvements to reinforce the “California” theme. And, by keeping “California” in the name – Just to de-emphasis it again – To annex part of Hollywoodland into a mini cartoon land? I was hoping they would keep in line with Hollywoodland’s 1930s/40s theme. This is a total thematic clash against it.

    On Tomorrowland, why Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor? What does it have to do with the theme of TOMORROWland? Why have 2 separate locations representing “Monsters Inc.” … One in DL, one in DCA? Logic dictates – You would have it in ONE location for the entire DLR. And I’m heartbroken that they want to push more Star Wars themed stuff into Tomorrowland. What’s the story lines of these attractions going to be? – That have anything to do with the theme of “Tomorrow”? I loved Tomorrowland when it had a proper mix of original attractions. A Tomorrowland that was a tangible place that represented the future for mankind on Earth. Now a strange collection of cartoony “Franchises” – that have very little or nothing to do with the core theme. This is the best Disney can do? I know Iger only cares about exploiting franchises. His lack of care to Tomorrowland’s core theme is very heartbreaking!

  • Mondo Mouse

    What happened to the notion that all the new Star Wars stuff would be saved for the Third Gate? Wasn’t that mentioned at one point, that SW stuff would join Marvel in the forthcoming park?

    • I don’t think they want to wait 10 to 15 years for the 3rd park before they add Marvel and Star Wars.

  • sean317

    I really like the idea of the Fantasyland redo. I was there a couple months ago & really thought the “dark rides” needed a makeover. Rumors have been swirling about an Alice makeover coming soon.

    Using the old Peoplemover track for a new ride is a great move.

    I am also glad they are switching the Autopia ride to a planes ride. Hopefully we get to “fly” these planes.

    • MikeK

      Are you on crack? Where does it say Planes will replace Autopia?

  • dizneydomenic

    Ok, my 2 cents. Really looking forward to a tomorrowland makeover…not too sure if i want it to be ALL star wars themed..that’s a bit much. Things to ax …EO (like it but its,s old) Innoventions (hardly innovative) The starcade (waste of space now) Things to add..move the rockets BACK where they belong on top peoplemover tracks..ive said it before its too congested there. I’d honestly like a slow ride back like the peoplemover…not everything need be fast…it was relaxing and enjoyable…do the speed tunnel as star wars racing. The innventions building…come on guys you must be able to come up with a new revolving show…if nott he return of the carousel of progress then SOMETHING…building is unique. The starcade …make that the pizza port or something and somehow put a show back in the mission to mars building. Either add Monsters Inc as a fantasyland attraction or DCA…not Tomorrowland…make no sense. (What about all that space where motor boat cruise was…talk about years of nothing. Keep nemo as is… scale down autopia (keep it)…like it was before only the fantasyland side and add another attraction on its tomorrowland footprint (Even fill in motor boat cruise area to add the autopia there…that would completely free up Tomorrowland.

  • MikeK

    I hope these Tomorrowland plans change again like they have many times in the past and never come to fruition. I think they should just copy the Tron ride they’re building in China and put it where Innoventions is now. It would be a total indoor ride.

    To me, they should bring back an updated take on the original People Mover. One that satisfies today’s safety requirements and is an up to date futuristic leisure ride around TL. Of course you’ll get to see inside Space Mountain, the indoor Tron ride and Buzz. If it means new tracks, than do it. Also remake the Autopia with quiet green EV vehicles, and move the Rocket Jets back to their original home. But they should also tilt 45 degrees up and down when you are pushing or pulling the joystick. They need an added thrill.
    Regarding Tomorrowland becoming today land: Just go further into the future. Everyday space flight won’t be happening soon. How about Time Travel? Robots, Teleportation? WALL-E would also work here.
    I think this would give the land a more cohesive theme.

    Star Wars and Marvel can share a 3rd park in the old strawberry field.
    Pixar should mostly be in DCA
    Disney should mostly be in DL

  • PatMcDuck

    I like the Star Wars Laugh Floor idea, if you have seen Hyperspace Hoopla at the Studios during SW weekends, you would see the vision. Ha. I will say that I have been to Monsters Laugh Floor many times, and it IS pretty good….. I do laugh. And I like it better than the Bugs Life Tough to be a Bug….. not to say it is a good idea for DL, perhaps, but if you are at the MK, it is a cute show, and a break from the heat or rain.

    Sad to see more $$ going to Anaheim over Orlando, I think Orlando is more in need of new lands and rides. The new Fantasyland is a disjointed mess.

    Too bad this is not ready for D23, they knew D23 was coming in August 2013 for the last 2 years, why not see that as a deadline of sorts for some exciting announcements?

    Lastly, I use a GAC for my special needs son (physical and mental challenges). Most of us in the community WELCOME these new changes to the system. Doctor’s note? You got it. Show his state handicapped ID? Here it is. Give me a FP to return later? Okey dokey.

    Great article!!!

  • Park Hopper

    I don’t understand why the Laugh Floor is going into Tomorrowland at all! I experienced it in Florida and it’s not funny. The jokes were bad, the CG looked as cheep as could be. Turtle Talk is impressive. Monsters is garbage. Even the design of the theater and preshow area looked cheep. Why build a shiny new Tomorrowland and put a cheep piece of crap in the center of it.

    And if they’re going to have it at all, you guys are right. It needs to go in the new Monstropolis area. This just defies common sense. And when ever a corporate project defies common sense, it usually means politics. There’s an executive somewhere who loves the laugh floor and is shoving it down everyone’s throat.

    They really need to come up with something Star Wars to put in the Captain EO theater. Especially if they’re going to slant the land in that direction.

    Futurism has not been a part of Tomorrowland for a very long time. Why? Because the future right now is looking pretty bleak. Science Fiction is much more optimistic.

  • WDWorldly

    They seem to have forgotten that the Hollywood section of the park was largely neglected in the billion-dollar makeover, and still has ugly relics of 2001-era DCA — we still have to climb into the Hyperion Theater via utilitarian side staircase, Sunset Boulevard is an un-themed back alleyway, and worst of all, that cloud backdrop.

  • cgmartin

    You know, I absolutely love the idea of a “Door Coaster”. My oldest was 5 when the first Monsters came out and since that time our family has always thought that the door scene would make a terrific coaster. Of course, now that the kids are much older, and are coaster fans, they would want a true inverted coaster experience – at least as “thrilling” as Space Mountain or Rockin’ Rollercoaster. As long as this softened up to a Peter Pan level, I think that this could work quite well. I’m also on board with Monstropolis. As the parallel universe that it is, Monstropolis could easily exist on the other side of a door in the 30’s. If Monstropolis is of the same level as Radiator Springs, I suspect it would be a hit.

    Now, about the comedy club in Tomorrow Land. I’m ok with it as long as they present it as a vision of “Tomorrow” in DCA. In other words, open it up as a Preview of Monstropolis and then convert it into the Star Wars Cantina as part of the Tomorrowland Overhaul once Monstropolis opens. If they really want, they can move the Laugh Floor to Monstropolis as well. My hope would be that there could be 3 Monsters themed attractions in Monstropolis, the extremely gentle dark ride, the motion free, not really dark Laugh Floor and the Tween and Teen friendly Door Coaster (complete with encouragement to Roar right at the picture point).

    It could work.

  • Bronco21

    Monsters Inc Laugh Floor is the second worst attraction in the Magic Kingdom behind Stitch’s Great Escape. Why would they want to bring it to Disneyland? I think its a case of “What can we put in here that doesn’t require anymore effort/ money?” The same thing happened when they threw Turtle Talk With Crush in the animation building. Cheap executive/ imagineering decisions is not what made DCA’s reboot a success. And turning Tomorrowland into an even bigger movie mash-up land is not going to improve guest satisfaction ratings. The problem with Tomorrowland is NOT that it needs more franchises. The problem is that it has too many. Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland is awful apart from the TTA, Carousel of Progress, Astro Orbitor, and Space Mountain. Stitch is the worst, MILF is stupid, and Buzz Lightyear’s ride is meh. Disneyland’s is even worse shape so their decision on how to fix it is to add what makes MK’s so awful? Finding Nemo (Talking fish), Buzz Lightyear (Toys), and now Monsters? Who in there right mind thinks that Monsters or Nemo fit? Tomorrowland is destined for another 10 years of mediocrity.

  • wdimike55

    Instead of Monstropolis, I liked someone’s radical idea of relocating Toontown to that area. It fits perfectly with Old Hollywood in the context of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. Instead of a tunnel, to save space, a hole in a brick wall could be the entrance.

    Once Toontown is relocated, expand Fantasyland similarly to WDW minus Mermaid and Storybook Circus. The Toontown Station could be re-themed to the Fantasyland Station. And because it’s Disneyland, add more classic dark rides.

  • Disneykin Kid

    “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.”

    It would also seem that theme park investment is less risky than the movie division. A $200 million write down on John Carter, and $190 million write down on the Lone Ranger? The ‘build it and they will come’ philosophy seems to be proven up the road at Universal Studios. Of course the economy can affect the parks, but does it compare to a $200 million loss on a movie?

  • QPerth

    Thanks for the update, some very interesting news. Some more positive than others.

    I think it is good the GAC problem will finally be addressed, and I hope that this upcoming fix will truly benefit the users that actually need this service, and it weeds out the abusers that not only spoil it for genuine GAC guests, but also every other guest in line, be it standby, FP or SR artificially blowing out the waittimes for everyone.

    Great to see the Board IN the Parks, although it would have been such a highly orchestrated affair that their visit would not truly show a Realistic view of the Parks and any issues, as what happens when ANY upper management visits Ground Level. I remember the show we had to put on when I worked in Supermarkets and Department Stores. Ridiculous.

    I am heartbroken and crushed that the rumoured TRON Lightcycles attraction may not be apart of the DLR Tomorrowland refurb. A bit angry actually. StarWars is NOT Tomorrow. It is SciFi/Fantasy. I fear relying on StarWars and Monsters Inc./Toy Story for nearly all Tomorrowland attractions is removing the essence and soul of anything even resembling the original, and still ideal, theme of Tomorrowland. They really need to then change the name and the dedication plaque at the entrance to this once great land. And Disney choosing to ignore their own great stories and properties saddens me.

    Monsters Inc. does NOT belong in Hollywoodland, nor in Tomorrowland.

    But, I know these opinions will not matter, and these changes will go ahead, and down the track they will be in the same position they are in now, and be stuck to try and fix the hodgepodge “Parks” they have created for themselves, which will only in passing resemble the Parks built and inspired by Walt.

  • aggiemullins

    It’s sad how little the suits care about WDW. We go annually and every time I get more disappointed and frustrated. But I guess as long as there’s dummies like me who keep coming back to shovel truckloads of money at them, why should they care…

  • Cyette

    “rather weak economy”

    Rather???

    Don’t know about anyone else in MiceChatLand, but our family’s been devastated financially. Rather, indeed.

    Absolutely tickled pink about DCA’s upgrade success, however. Thank you for the update.

  • PinkMonorail

    It was especially nice to see Bruce Vaughn there without Tom Fitzgerald clinging to his leg. Also rare.

  • ben1utah

    Thanks for the great update!

    Laugh Floor = terrible idea and janky attraction. Say it ain’t so.

  • WDWFan75

    Here we all are debating what movie the new DLR attractions and lands should be based on. I’m all for movie-based attractions, but I think we (and Disney) have forgotten that an attraction doesn’t NEED a franchise behind it to be a draw or a money-maker. WDI is capable of completely original concepts too – ideas that *create* franchises (Pirates comes to mind) rather than reflect preexisting ones. The powers-that-be, in the US parks, at least, just don’t seem interested in them anymore, and I think that’s a shame.

    • danielz6

      Here here! I think everyone one is trying to emulate Harry Potters success at the moment. Disney seems obssessed with showing that they can do the same as Universal did. We’ll just have to wait for the current trend to pass but eventually they’ll go back to Disneylands original success of non franchise attractions. In the meantime though we can have hope in great new attractions like Mystic manor and Grizzly gulch in Hong Kong. I know its not US but it shows that Disney still makes those kinds of attractions.

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