MiceAge Update: In A Tomorrowland Not So Far Away

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disneyland Resort, MiceAge Update

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Published on August 06, 2013 at 3:00 am with 101 Comments

On Friday, almost every public-facing division of the Walt Disney Company will arrive in Anaheim to host the bi-annual open house known as D23 Expo. The Burbank teams will try and create buzz for the media networks and movie studios with star power, while less savvy divisions like Disney Consumer Products will simply roll out a static display of stuff to buy like at any home show or mall, and the Imagineering group from Glendale will be muzzled from saying much of anything about the very real projects they’ve got coming to the American parks in the next few years. In this update we’ll get you up to speed on just what those projects currently are for the Anaheim parks, why they won’t say much about them at D23, and what else is coming to Anaheim before the bulldozers arrive.

So grab one of those trendy glazed cronuts and a skinny latte as we explore the wonderful world of Disney.

Emerald city it's not.

The D23 Expo is August 9-11, 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE

After the D23 Expos in 2009 and 2011 when senior execs gave splashy keynote addresses revealing big new theme park projects, it was a surprise to Disney fans when the D23 Expo schedule was announced and Tom Staggs wasn’t listed as a keynote speaker and no Parks & Resorts session was scheduled for the Anaheim Arena. If the schedule is to be believed, no major announcements of new products and upcoming attractions will be announced at this D23 Expo. Although WDI has expanded the footprint of their super-popular pavilion, and it’s really the crowd generator for the entire weekend amongst the smaller and more mundane displays from Consumer Products, the Internet Group, or ABC Television. But the interior of the WDI pavilion will house displays and exhibits of how Imagineers go about their work, a cautiously staged open house of sorts, instead of revealing any of the new rides and shows they are actually working on in Glendale. Although a few carefully edited images will be placed around the pavilion for sharp eyed fans to find; like sketches of the Star Wars land project coming to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, or of the Monstropolis miniland and Door Coaster E Ticket planned for DCA. But overall, D23 Expo has been neutered of nearly everything that helped it create what buzz it had in ’09 and ’11.

It’s not that WDI doesn’t want to share their new toys, it’s just that the timing isn’t right for the corporate bean counters to be announcing major new capital expenditures just yet, and officially the Door Coaster and Star Wars projects have yet to be greenlighted by Burbank. There’s also another round of white collar layoffs coming to TDA and TDO, after similar downsizing happened at ABC, the Studios and ESPN in recent months. And Jay Rasulo as Disney’s CFO has been telling New York bankers for the past year that Disney is scaling back on their parks investments after going big with over 1 Billion at DCA in recent years, plus two new cruise ships, Aulani, and New Fantasyland. After that much capital expenditure, the Wall Street crowd wants to see a company scale back and earn back some of that investment before they announce more spending. And finally, the MyMagic+ program at WDW has had more hiccups than successes thus far and is still far from a full rollout and thus isn’t ready for prime time and a major public reveal at the Expo. The timing of the D23 Expo in early August, agreed to over a year ago, just isn’t right for big parks announcements this year. Perhaps if it had been held in October or November, when most of the current projects will have a better chance of being announced, then D23 Expo could have offered big news for theme park fans.

So instead we’ll fill you in now on where these various projects stand and where they are headed.

The first big project was the most surprising when we broke the news on it here a few months ago; the plans to turn the sleepy, semi-abandoned corner of Hollywood Land at DCA into a Monstropolis miniland complete with new shops, restaurants, and a major E Ticket thrill ride themed to the Door Hangar scene in the Monsters Inc. movies. That plan continues to move forward as stealthily as possible, with the timeline still for an opening at the end of Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary celebration in late 2016.

A LONG TIME AGO…

Meanwhile, Disney’s purchase 10 months ago of Lucasfilm turned the plans to remake Disneyland’s Tomorrowland on its ear. Out were ride concepts based on Tron and Marvel, and in was a Star Wars invasion of nearly the entire land. Disneyland operations teams don’t want the park in construction mode for the 60th Anniversary, so the plan to remake Tomorrowland is now being broken up into two phases.

You think me beautiful?

The first phase is planned to get underway this winter with the closing of Captain EO and major “placemaking” work on the existing buildings that mostly date from 1967. The 15 months of work would wrap up by early spring 2015 in time for the 60th, and leave a new Star Wars 3D movie in the old Captain EO theater, new destinations programmed into Star Tours based on the seventh Star Wars movie to be released in summer 2015, and a freshened aesthetic to the buildings surrounding Space Mountain. Once the 60th Anniversary begins to wind down, the real work begins on plans to build a Star Wars speeder bike coaster on the old PeopleMover tracks, plus more Star Wars eye candy and freshened facilities throughout the land.

The biggest of the Star Wars offerings wouldn’t open until after the 60th is over, and the construction in Anaheim’s Tomorrowland would be in conjunction to a similar Star Wars expansion for Disney’s Hollywood Studios out in WDW. But also planned for 2014 and ’15 is an update to Soarin’ Over California and an upgrade to an HD digital format instead of the 70mm film it currently uses, all in anticipation of the Soarin’ The World film being created simultaneously for Shanghai, DCA and Epcot. There’s also the tech upgrades to the five existing Fantasyland dark rides in Disneyland, plus new parades and fireworks in Anaheim coming for the 60th Anniversary events.

There's nothing to see here . . . move along . . .  move along . . .

Most of that won’t be mentioned at D23 Expo though, and the announcements are instead planned to be dribbled out to the public only at the last minute before construction begins. It’s also no secret that Burbank is keeping a close eye on all the work going on at Universal Studios Hollywood, with the Comcast corporate owners seemingly trying to cause havoc at Disney’s flagship parks after Comcast was spurned and publicly embarrassed over their clumsy takeover attempt of Disney back in 2004. It’s now in Disney’s best interest to play their cards as close to their vest as possible.

THE EXECUTIVE TREATMENT

The MyMagic+ system also won’t get a keynote address at D23 Expo, but not because the execs behind the program didn’t want to be ready to talk about it by now. Unfortunately, the rollout has been repeatedly delayed and the limited tests of the system at WDW have seen more bugs and problems crop up than they’d hoped for. MyMagic+ will have a techno-display in the WDI pavilion, but the display will stick with vague promises of future offerings rather than a big infomercial type plug from senior Disney execs in the arena.

It’s probably for the best that Tom Staggs or other senior execs don’t try and deliver a keynote address on MyMagic+ anyway. Remember Mr. Staggs, and most other senior execs in Burbank, never bother with anything remotely resembling a Fastpass return time much less a long Standby line when they are visiting the parks. Most of the executives and their families are always assigned a VIP guide from the Guest Relations team and they are whisked through the exit of any ride in the park without question. Tom Staggs certainly isn’t a recognizable face to 99.9% of theme park visitors, so it can’t be considered a security measure to prevent him from being mobbed for autographs. As we told you in a previous update, even Tom Staggs’ extended family gets the royal treatment. This past Christmas his in-laws and their children were assigned VIP guides even when Staggs wasn’t with them, so the whole extended family could be whisked in through ride exits and have special character interactions and viewing areas set aside for them during the busy Christmas period.

Tom Staggs and the other senior execs who might eventually give a public demonstration of MyMagic+ will never actually use the service beyond a staged media event, nor have they ever had to deal with the theme park hassles that theoretically make MyMagic+ a worthy product in the first place. It’s interesting to think of a company executive touting his company’s new product that he himself would never use, nor has he or his family ever had any need or desire to use such a product, and as long as he works for the company that offers that product he and his family will never have any need to use it. Now that you know that, it’s probably for the best that MyMagic+ won’t be hyped by Staggs at D23 Expo this year.

However, Tom Staggs will give a kick-off and keynote address at the second D23 Expo this year, which will be held in October at Tokyo Disneyland. Staggs and Bob Iger will both appear at the Japan Expo spread across Tokyo Disney Resort’s hotel and convention facilities, and they will be able to share more about future attractions there than they will in Anaheim this weekend. Many of Disney’s media stars, the archival displays, and the exhibit hall offerings shown in Anaheim will be shipped over to Tokyo for the Japanese D23 Expo, which should make a few East Coast fans grumble since Burbank has flatly refused to consider hosting a D23 Expo at Walt Disney World. And that about sums up why D23 Expo won’t mention any of the new rides coming to Anaheim.

PEOPLE EATERS AND PROCUREMENTS

For years the plans to add new attractions to Disneyland were based on a need to increase overall park capacity, in order to achieve the magical number of each daily visitor experiencing an average of 10 rides per day. That “ride per cap” statistic is used by Disneyland managers and TDA’s industrial engineering team to plan everything from park operating hours to the number of cash registers open at The Emporium or the number of canoes running on the Rivers of America. The higher the ride per cap, the happier the customers are. With the opening of Cars Land and the wild success of Radiator Springs Racers, an attraction that still shows up in all the customer research this summer as the most popular offering at the entire resort, the traditional park attendance numbers have been turned on their ear.

This summer the attendance split continues to be roughly 60/40 between Disneyland and DCA, a huge jump from previous years where the split was at best 75/25 and often closer to 80/20 with visitors preferring Disneyland in huge numbers. But that has all changed. Most days this summer have seen Disneyland’s attendance right around 40,000 per day, while DCA brings in 30,000 or more.

Dude, where's my car?

The result is that Disneyland has seen the ride per cap skyrocket well past 10 rides per day as the Anaheim crowds are far more evenly spread out between the two parks. That means the Star Wars remake of Tomorrowland isn’t driven so much by a need to increase park capacity, as it is a need to cash in on Bob Iger’s big new investment in Lucasfilm. The expansion of DCA with Monstropolis, on the other hand, is being driven more by a need to increase park capacity in that park that is now more popular than anyone in TDA had thought it would be. Cars Land simply reinvented how the entire Disneyland Resort works, and it turned decades old assumptions about where Anaheim tourists would go with their time and their dollars upside down. TDA is just now catching up to that new reality.

TDA’s industrial engineering team will be attempting a few experiments with that new reality this September. With Disneyland’s ride per cap safely above the number 10, TDA will be cutting back on weekday hours the first few weeks in September and closing Disneyland at 7:00 p.m. while DCA continues to stay open until 8:00 p.m. and host a nightly World of Color show. Disneyland has also cut back on late evening hours on the first few weekends in September, until at least the HalloweenTime offerings kick off later in September. They’ll watch the numbers and crowd flow closely on those days, to see if they can get away with shorter operating hours at Disneyland while DCA remains very popular. It also helps that these are the last few weeks of the fiscal year, and saving some labor dollars as the resort coasts to the financial finish line will make the sharp pencil boys in TDA smile. But who could have ever thought we’d see the day that DCA could pull in such huge numbers that Disneyland would have shorter daily operating hours than DCA? The Disneyland Cast Members getting off an hour early this September can thank Cars Land for that.

GAC ATTACK PART 2

With D23 Expo avoiding a mention of most of the big long term projects the company is actually working on, there are still new things coming to the Anaheim parks in the short term. We’ve told you in the past about changes coming to the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) program, after an embarrassing expose on The Today Show had executives in Orlando and Anaheim shocked that it had gotten that bad. Of course the Guest Relations and Attractions teams in the six American parks knew it was even worse than that, and the abuse of the system was so widespread that thousands of people per day were wandering the Anaheim parks with GACs issued to them for dubious or simply fraudulent reasons. But the executives had refused to address the growing problem for years since it wasn’t a glamorous topic and the hard work of fixing it might bring unflattering attention. The Today Show changed all that, and the complete revamp of the system has been pushed back to October due to the scope of the project growing quickly over the summer. What has many theme park managers rolling their eyes is how all the executives are now tripping over each other to try and get on the bandwagon and be seen by their peers and bosses as someone who is working on the GAC project. There are other huge problems in the Anaheim parks that don’t get much attention from ladder-climbing execs (the horrific Cast Member parking situation, for example), but at least The Today Show turned the GAC problems into a trendy topic that can be used to puff up annual performance reviews for the executive class.

New and improved. Now with 50% less GAC.

With all the recent investigation into the problems associated with the GAC system with paying guests, even more scandalous behavior has been uncovered. The Guest Relations team has now determined that a growing number of active Anaheim Cast Members now get GACs for themselves when they sign friends and family into the park with their complimentary main gate passes. Many of these temporarily-disabled Cast Members work in Attractions five days a week, or used to work in Attractions before they moved to white collar jobs in TDA, and thus are familiar with the GAC system and how to get it. But a growing number of Cast Members from across all departments are now stopping in at Guest Relations just after they sign in their families or friends and are picking up a GAC for their use by using the popular code words that get you the GAC with the desirable stamps that provides the fastest boarding.

But it’s not just the front line Cast Members and TDA office drones who have been identified picking up their GAC on each visit, as a growing class of lower level executives and white collar folks from various Burbank divisions are also getting in on the GAC craze when they visit Disneyland. It’s a growing topic around Burbank water coolers that if you are taking the family down to Disneyland with your complimentary tickets on the weekend you can get a GAC by using a few select medical phrases or excuses. One VP from Disney’s Burbank media networks even wore a neck brace as she got her GAC on a recent weekend visit, although she wasn’t wearing the neck brace when she left work on Friday afternoon and no longer needed it by the time she returned to work on Monday morning. Only the senior executives in Burbank like Tom Staggs get the VIP guides who whisk their family in through the exits, as the lower level execs are left to fend for themselves by getting a GAC to go along with their free admission passes. But the newly restrictive GAC process to be rolled out this fall will hopefully put a stop to the abuse, especially with the Cast Members and Burbank employees who are using them fraudulently.

MiceChat Podcast

Dusty and Doug dish the dirt on the Disney parks while Fishbulb grills Universal Hollywood Creative Director, John Murdy, on plans for Halloween.

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Are you on your way to the D23 Expo August 9th – 11th, 2013? Please stop by the MiceChat booth in the Collectors Forum to shake hands with Disney legends and notables, win prizes, and meet the MiceChat and MicePod crew. For a full listing of MiceChat special guests, prizes and activities please visit our 2013 D23 Expo page HERE

Oh-kay.  That should just about wrap up everything for this pre-D23 update.  Get over to Tomorrowland and say goodbye to EO before he blasts off this winter. What are your thoughts forlks? Glad to see Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor no longer mentioned for Tomorrowland? Are you ready to open doors in Monstropolis? Happy our concerned about TDA’s GAC attack? Half the fun is hearing your comments.

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About MiceAge

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: [email protected]

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  • JFS in IL

    Cast members getting GACs – now I am truly sickened. Sigh. All the folks using GAC who did not have a real need for it, thanks a lot! JERKS!

    • StevenW

      What Disney needs to do is ask for the person’t name and identification and a waiver that they are not Disney employees. Disable Disney employees need to request a different GAC and signed by their supervisor before visiting the parks. This document is exchanged at City Hall for the regular GAC. This is what I’ll do.

      • GhostHostJeff

        I think this would most likely be illegal.

      • OriginalMousekteer

        Legal problems up the wazzoo. I think a better approach is to require CMs and APs to bring the DMV document that somes with their disabled placard or plates or a signed form from a doctor, unless they can be readily identified on sight by a lay person as missing one or more limbs or the use of one or more limbs (the latter being the standard at CA DMV).

        This absolutely should be required before giving APs a three-month GAC.

        Moreover Disney needs to reach out to advocacy organizations to develop pre-visit materials on the web site that, for instance, advise guests with disabilities that they will still have to wait in line and that parents with profoundly disabled children (including cognitive disabilities) should think twice before scheduling their visit in peak season and of the need to pre-plan logistics with other family members accordingly. Every CM’s horror at Fantasmic, Parades, and World of Color is the mother with an autistic child who shows up five minutes before show (on peak days) asking where their reserved section is.

        The article is spot on–this is hard damn work for management who doesn’t like to break a sweat. It will require a multi-faceted approach, including heavily managing guest’s expectations. For too many guests, whether they are really disabled or not, the GAC has become the Willy Wonka “Golden Ticket” and it has been left to worsen for far too long.

        Look for front-line CMs to be given vague and conflicting instructions and then blamed when there are problems with implementation. But only after upper managers, aided and abetted by legal and marketing weenies, formulate the plan with little or no real input from the front line.

  • Susan Hughes

    THANK YOU Disney for finally taking care of the goddamn GAC problem. It makes me sick to see so many people flashing those bogus cards to cut in line. And I’ve yet to see anyone actually with a handicap using them.
    What pisses me off the most is their arrogance. For example, over in Cars Land, Luigi’s Flying Tires’ main entrance is wheelchair accessible. But boy do those low lifes get pissed off when you tell them they will use the main entrance and not the exit.
    There are those who DO have a legitimate handicap, either physical of mental. Hopefully the new GAC program will do a better job of finding out who genuinely needs these cards, and who is just a lazy low life.

    • Baloo

      I understand your frustration because of the abuse and behavior of some people but not every disability is visible to the naked eye. There are people that sometimes need the card/pass which might seem perfectly healthy. It is rate that I use a disabled pass when I go to the parks an only go get one when I am in real pain. If you were to look at me I would look like a very healthy 43 year old man but many times I am in lots of pain because of a dead section of bone in my hip. Standing in one spot for long periods of time can sometimes cause me to not be able to move and fall. So some of those people you see that don’t look like they need them might actually do.

      I never really understood why Disney did not run the GAC program like the DMV runs their disabled program. In order to get a disabled plaque or license person is required to show proof. The DMV then issues a written paper along with the plaque. I carry my paper with me everywhere and have showed it to cast members when asking for the GAC card. Most of the time they say they don’t need it.
      A person with legitimate disability would most likely have one. The only exception should be for the elderly which would be an obvious obersavation

      • faerla

        This is a good point. The system definitely needs to be reformed- for one thing, no Disney employee should be able to use GAC unless their disability is also listed at their workplace- come on guys, that should be so hard to check!!

        But I do worry that the changes will leave out those with invisible illnesses. I have a niece with a severe thyroid disorder that leaves her exhausted after a short period of exertion. to the point where she’ll literally collapse if she pushes to far. You wouldn’t know a thing is wrong with her, but a GAC pass allows her to enjoy much more of Disneyland before she runs out of energy.

        Disney needs to do their research during this upgrade and make sure they are offering GAC not only to people who are visibly handicapped, but also those who fit a certain criteria for invisible illnesses. Tough job, I admit.

      • The First Star

        I agree, Baloo; in fact, I think that is how they should handle the issue from now on.

      • Susan Hughes

        I totally agree with you, in that Disney should adopt a similar method for handing out GAC cards in much the same way the DMV does.
        Disney’s current policy is to NOT question ANYONE who walks into City Hall/Chamber of Commerce and asks for one. It’s that simple to get one. You just have to have no morals or ethics. That would explain why so many people have a GAC card with a wheelchair stamp…and no one has a wheelchair!!!
        The first thing they need to do is stop issuing GAC cards with a 4 month duration. You should have to get one each day you’re in the parks, much like buying a ticket. That “may” cut down on some of the lazy low lifes, who will not want to go through the hassles of having to lie to a Cast Member every visit, compared to only having to lie every 4 months.

      • ScottOlsen

        My son is in a wheelchair and obviously disabled. I’ve been told by City Hall cast members that the wheelchair is his GAC.

      • ScottOlsen

        By the way, the reason a GAC is used in the first place is because the regular line is NOT wheelchair assessable. You don’t need a GAC in DCA.

      • StrikeYerColors

        Because it is illegal to ever ask for proof of a disability, or medical information. I guess the DMV can do it because it is a state regulatory agency? I mean they need other medical information anyway to determine if you are fit to drive, eg eyesight, epilepsy, etc. But for a private business, you can’t ask for proof of disability, and the ADA definition of disability is so broad now. Much broader than what most of us would consider even a mild physical or mental handicap.

    • DisWedWay

      Maybe park guests or Disney personnel should carry their California State issued handicap blue plastic placards around their necks on a cord( with paperwork stating they are the person it was intended for), after they have parked in a handicap parking zone. This would help with issuing the GAC cards..

      • DisWedWay

        The State should issue the Disabled placards with the disabled persons picture on it much like the drivers license cards. Then the Disneyland staff can quickly see your placard with your face on it to issue you a legitimate GAC card.

      • pinkertonfloyd

        Ha! Here in Sacramento, they’ve done stories… If you drive by most State Buildings you’ll see that on-street parking is nearly impossible, and almost everyone has a Handicap Placard. Local TV crews setup cameras showing how many (mostly state employees) would jump into there cars without any issues. Some even jogging to the cars. Some they ran data and found the card was for a family member. There’s also some Doctors that’ll sign for one along with some “medical” marijuana.

        Basically the Handicap parking system is just as screwed up as the GAC.

      • Marko50

        This, of course, wouldn’t work as you need your DMV placard *in your car* at all times while parked in a handicapped space.

  • lego606

    Is it even logical for Disney to host the Expo in WDW? They just don’t have a similar amount of space there.

    • It was announced from the beginning that the Expo would alternate between Anaheim and Orlando. But that was abandoned after the first Expo.

      But there is plenty of convention space in Orlando to do it. It’s one of the major convention cities.

      After seeing that almost all of the visitors to the first Expo were locals and not folks who traveled from around the country to get there, they probably decided that trying to do a show in Orlando wouldn’t draw big enough crowds to justify the tremendous expense.

    • eicarr

      The area and state also has such a smaller population. Plus you have to fly actors, staff and exhibits all the way out there.

  • JCSkipr79

    Cannot believe they are actually STILL going full steam ahead with Monstropolis. So Monsters Inc in TL is out now and a new 3-D film is going in there? TG

    • Thank goodness on both accounts.

      Regardless of the complaining that some folks are doing about Monsters, it is exactly the sort of immersive environment that a dead corner of the park like that needs. One new ride and a LOT of placemaking. I love it.

      Nothing could be worse than Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor (except perhaps for an expansion of Innoventions). So glad to hear that the space has been slotted for more Star Wars.

      • LoveStallion

        Or just do an old Sunset Blvd mansion version of Mystery Manor. Much, much better idea.

      • John Keola Lessary

        I agree! Love all of the updates and can’t wait for Monstropolis and the door coaster.

        I have to say, I am super bummed that Captain EO is leaving. I remember seeing it for the first time as a kid and I love that I was able to take my kids to see it. At 5 and 3 years old they love it and we watch it on YouTube very often. I hope the new Star Wars short that plays in there will be great and I hope it won’t be too much Star Wars in that area.

    • 3rdGateFan

      Yeah since Monsters University has made over 600 million in the box office , this is a guarantee now and TDA knows it, By then DCA and Disneyland will be a 50/50 split , 35000 in DCA and 35,000 in Disneyland, and that’s was their goal,

  • eicarr

    Construction walls would be a major improvement over the current embarrassingly bad Tomorrowland for the 60th.

    Glad Star Wars (and hopefully Marvel) can be used instead of the less popular Pixar. Hoping for a Star Wars overlay of buzz lightyear. I’ll shoot Greedo first.

    • StevenW

      I can’t help thinking it would be a mistake to do all new Tomorrowland attractions as Star Wars. There should be a Mavel Avengers 3D movie to replace Captain EO maybe as Captain America.

      Any news on the Innoventions replacement or update? Or the Astro Orbitor?

    • Jayce

      “eicarr
      August 6, 2013 at 7:41 am

      Construction walls would be a major improvement over the current embarrassingly bad Tomorrowland for the 60th.

      Glad Star Wars (and hopefully Marvel) can be used instead of the less popular Pixar. Hoping for a Star Wars overlay of buzz lightyear. I’ll shoot Greedo first.”

      LOL so true.

      Eicarr, I like the cut of your jib.

  • Badger

    Thanks for the update, Al.

    There are far worse franchises upon which to base a Tomorrowland rework than Star Wars, and I am breathing a sigh of relief. I seriously hope they do more than just superficial changes to building exteriors, some plywood cut outs, and a new 3D movie.

    The GAC abuse sounds like a nasty boil on the company’s posterior in desperate need of lancing, but the problem is one which Disney has fostered with their poor (or non existent) oversight of what is, after all, an essential program.

  • StevenW

    Knocking on Tom Staggs for not using MyMagic+ or Fastpass is unfair since you already acknowledge he uses the VIP service. My feeling is What’s the Difference? You pick the service that represents your status. Tom Staggs’ only problem is he didn’t pay for it himself. As for GAC, that’s a bummer. Another way to skirt the service.

    Is the Muppets out of DCA? Either way, the original Muppets 4D is a waste of time and much too old to hold a crowd.

  • FigmentJedi

    Why make Tomorrowland go full Star Wars when you seem to be working on making Tomorrowland into the next big parks-based franchise with Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland movie, Disney Junior’s Miles from Tomorrowland and the Space Mountain movie?

    • mondo

      Hopefully these three will be successful so the Star Wars stuff will get scale back in TL. I would watch these just so TL won’t go full SW. There is also the Tron Legacy sequel and Black Hole remake coming up. What if they are successful too? They would/should make room for them too.

    • StrikeYerColors

      10 points!

  • Trevor

    I hope that Disney gets as good at fitting non-linked properties into lands based on single franchises as it did fitting various franchises into single lands based on ideals or places and times in history.

    Also, while I understood the links that made Cars Land “acceptable” for DCA, the monsters land still bothers me. The Hollywoodland theme has so much potential and fits with the California basis of the park. Too bad they want to fit in another Pixar land.

    • 3rdGateFan

      The Hollywood Land theme will still be there , Monstropolis will be a Mini Land in the corner that no one goes too!

      • John Keola Lessary

        Sorry, you’re incorrect. I’ll go with my family, so at least 5 people will go. Can’t wait.

      • 3rdGateFan

        What I meant to say the current corner that no one goes to , I’m all for Monstropolis !

  • poohmeg

    Dang – bitter much? I don’t think there are too many CEOs of worldwide corporations out there that use their company’s products and services the way a member of the general public would – that’s just the way the world works in these days of mercenary company-hopping. Getting the first class treatment for yourself and your family is one of the perks that comes with the position, and it’s part of the standard compensation package most places – you just wouldn’t notice or care if it wasn’t something visible like walking around Disneyland. And of course executives have to be able to make presentations about products they’ll never use themselves – get the image of Steve Jobs out of your head and think about just about every other corporate presentation you’ve ever endured – do you really believe that person is going to go home and use that moisturizer/light that candle/read that magazine/put on those tires/etc.? If you’re looking for personal connection, keep your purchasing local – you’re setting yourself up for constant disappointment if you’re expecting it from a multi-national.

    • Westsider

      But to have an exec specifically tout a line-waiting service when they never have to wait in any lines, nor do their extended family merely by association with the exec, that’s something different.

      They probably shouldn’t let the sr. execs who never have to wait in any line or juggle any Fastpass times do the infomercial for the MagicBands. They’d be laughed out of the convention center by all the CM’s in existence if they tried. And CM’s are a HUGE portion of the D23 audience since we get $15 tickets.

      • bacevedo

        And who do you propose present it? A lower level cast member who is afraid to speak in public or has terrible speaking skills? An actor who may have never used the service either?

        Just because an executive might not use a service doesn’t mean they shouldn’t present on it if they are the ones overseeing its implementation.

        You think airline CEOs shouldn’t be able to talk about innovations in the cockpit because they don’t ever fly the planes?

      • Westsider

        bacevedo, I wouldn’t expect the CEO of an airline to speak knowledgeably about cockpit improvements. But I WOULD expect the CEO of Boeing or Airbus to speak knowledgeably about cockpit improvements.

        For the airline CEO, I would expect him to speak knowledgeably about the product they give to customers; cabin service, reservations website, frequent flier program, airport amenities. For Tom Staggs to speak about a new multi-billion dollar system designed to help you wait in line, I would expect Mr. Staggs to have waited in at least one Standby line, or juggled one Fastpass return time against the needs of a hungry child or the afternoon parade.

      • StevenW

        I’m sure Mr. Staggs will demonstrate how it works without actually using it.

        We only learn about Mr. Staggs using the VIP service from this website. Who would otherwise know and does it matter?

        I don’t understand why a CEO or Sr. Executive would be laughed by other CMs. Regular CMs are not in position to laugh at their bosses. I think it would be the Imagineers who came up with the Fastpasses and MagicBands who know the technology would chuckle if a manager flubs the system, but I would think they anticipate such an occurence. How many times have an Apple or Microsoft or Google technology presentation gone wrong when the screen froze? More times than they would acknowledge and it happened with the best like Steve Jobs.

        Fastpasses and MagicBands are straightforward and quite hard to mess up. If it is hard, then they haven’t dumbed it down enough. Also, Fastpasses have worked for quite a long time. I enjoy using it and I think it’s great that it is a free service. Complaining about a CEO for not using it is like saying “why not take my ticket. You should use it, not me.”

  • Internitty

    As much as I used to love Star Wars before George Lucas destroyed it I think the Star Wars overkill will put a lot of people off. Personally I feel they should try to incorporate some Marvel (loved the Iron Man idea) and keep Buzz or at least move it to DCA. I have always thought Tron would work in DCA starting with the retheming (sorry make that actual theming) of the video game arcade, I mean it’s such a no brainer just to make it look like Flynn’s from the outside at least and use the space more wisely like adding floors for attractions perhaps.
    I also hope they are planning to rename Tomorrowland to Yesterland since Star Wars is set a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.
    I have high hopes for Star Wars episode 7 but I think the new Star Wars land is an unhealthy obsession.

    • danielz6

      Very well said I agree fully. At its core star wars doesn’t belong in tomorrowland at all. It is Space fantasy set a long time ago. But if it is going to be there I prefer it share the space with the other franchises/attractions other wise you might as well call it Star wars land, why even call it tomorrowland? Oh yea, I forgot about the fan outrage and rioting in the streets haha.
      Its also like expanding Indiana Jones in adventureland. The one attraction works great but putting it on the jungle cruise, on the tree house etc just would be too much. Also, star wars should’ve been used along with marvel in the 3rd park, where a star wars land could be built from scratch and done right, not shoehorned into existing facilities. I can’t help but think this is a shortsighted and rushed decision by Disney to capitalize on its 4billion dollar star wars investment and not the best choice for Walts park.

  • DZNY LVR

    I’m not sure why everyone is hating on the Monster’s Laugh Floor- we just got back from WDW and we liked it and I think that would be way better than EO. Also Tomorrowland was never supposed to be based on one theme- I do not like that it will be all Star Wars. I like the Star Tours ride but to base the entire land on Star Wars is tooo much. Also I like Buzz Lightyear and it is always popular just look at the line. One thing that hasnt been mentioned that we should have somewhere in the part is the Mickey Philharmagic either in Disneyland or DCA. It is better than EO or Muppets. Also I havent seen this mentioned lately is the traffic control in Tomorrowland- they need to move the rockets back up on the platform so that entry is not so bottlenecked especially right after a parade or the fireworks. Innoventions needs to go- it has been reworked so many times and they all are time & money wasters. They need to make that something that is new and uses the space in a better way than Innoventions. I know there has been talk about a ride there and that would be great instead of that dead space. But one other place besides Tomorrowland that needs to be redone and revamped is ToonTown- but that is for another discussion.

    • mondo

      I think the hate towards Laugh Floor is because it is in TL.

  • Monoautorail

    Star Wars taking over TL is not a good idea. Buzz? Subs? Autopia? These are going to fit in how? Also, a 3D Star-Wars-based film Attraction (with motion simulation seating) right next to a . . . 3D Star-Wars-based flight simulator Attraction. How does this make sense to anyone?

  • CasaFamilia

    Not surprised but absolutely sickened and infuriated by the GAC abuse from Cast Members. As a former CM who believes in the honor and privilege it is to be part of the Disney Cast and legacy, I hold special contempt for these vile and morally bankrupt people. If they really wanted a GAC all they would have to do is to be as smart as my wife and myself; plan ahead to make sure they have children with Autism.(of course this is sarcasm) I wish they could experience all the other parts of our lives, all the other adjustments and sacrifices we have to make on a daily basis. The GAC program allows our twins to experience the parks in a way they could not if the program did not exist. The GAC does get us on the attractions faster…sometimes, not all the time but that is graciously welcomed because they cannot stand in line as long as a typical child. So they get to experience the magic of Disney because of the GAC. It is nice to have a time and place when Autism is not a handicap that excludes us from a great time. The GAC allows a place of escape for the twins away from their busy everyday schedule of school and therapy. Disneyland becomes a “happy place” for them and a “source of joy and inspiration”. Hopefully the changes in October can eliminate some or most of the abuse and still give those that actually need the program a way to enjoy the parks as much as possible.

  • pluto

    Does anyone know yet what the changes will be to the GAC program? Taking my son who has autism in November, so I’d like to know what to expect. I hope they preserve it for those who really do need it, as my son does. Without it, a trip to DL would be extremely difficult.

    Just a reminder to some of those above leaving comments . . . not all disabilities are visible. My son appears to most as normal, and it’s disheartening to have people glare at you for using the GAC. If they only knew what a struggle it is for us to take even the simplest trip they’d keep their dirty looks to themselves.

    • CasaFamilia

      The main changes to GAC so far have been mainly for AP guests. The card was issued to us for two months at a time and now they have cut that down to two weeks. It might be cut down to every visit in the future which would be a minor inconvenience but well worth it if this cuts down on abuse. The other change may occur with the number of guests allowed with each card, the current number is 6 but we often see larger groups.
      Make sure when you ask for the card that you clearly detail why your son is unable to stand in the stand-by line possibly because of over stimulation and how it would affect him and possibly others. There have only been a couple of times that it has been difficult to get the card. I don’t know if your son is very sensitive to noise but my twins wear noise reducing headphones and they are a great help. I hope you have a great time in November! Hang in there with the glares-just try to focus on how much fun your son is having.

  • jasmineray

    Star Wars overkill. This is still Tomorrowland (maybe not, if all these Star-Wars additions get placed in). Why can’t they make it more diverse, with Tron and other things?

  • faerla

    I’m just so unhappy about the Star Wars/Tomorrowland take-over. It’s not that I don’t think they’ll do a good job, I’m sure it will be beautiful, but for me, it destroys what Tomorrowland is about. Tomorrowland (albeit not always successfully) is supposed to be about a visionary and inventive future. Yet instead of encouraging people to use their imaginations, we’re just going to plunk them down in a specific, franchise “future” (umm, make that past. “A long time ago” after all.)

    There have been great Tomorrowland ideas and not so great ones, but at least they have mostly been designed to get you excited about the potential future. What is the Star Wars land meant to get us excited about? Buying merchandise?

    Even with it’s flaws, my favorite thing in all of Disneyland is standing in the Tomorrowland plaza at night, looking up at Space Mountain with all the spooky/wonderful space music echoing around me. It gives me a surge of hope and excitement about the future that I can’t quite explain. It gives me joy that out there, an Imagineer thought of this place, they dreamed the same dream I do. They shared the same hope for the future.

    What will I think in Star Wars land? “Ohh, neat. Hoth. Looks just like it did in the movie.”

    • tonyrr1

      @faerla… Totally agree with you, particularly your third paragraph, though I must admit it’s still heartbreaking to not see PeopleMover vehicles gliding around or the Rocket Jets twirling above the PM loading area where they should be. The unfortunate truth is I’m afraid, by and large, the good folks planning things for the parks are either content or “encouraged” to use existing entertainment properties as a basis for creating new attractions rather than imagineering new and unique experiences for the parks. I could handle Indy at DL because it was one attraction that blended into the surrounding themed area very seamlessly; I also gave Star Tours a pass on similar grounds, though it wasn’t quite as seamless theme-wise. Nemo in the subs, while a good things to do to bring the ride back from the dead, now makes it more a part of Fantasyland than Tomorrowland. I dunno… Maybe they just feel like they have to go with a property that has a predefined revenue base.

    • StevenW

      Tomorrowland hasn’t been about Tomorrow for a long long time.

      Star Wars was in Tomorrowland for long long time ago. It almost writes itself.

      More Star Wars in Tomorrowland just makes financial sense. In chronological sense, Star Wars has already in Tomorrowland for a long long time.

      As for the future, the future of Star Wars is bright. It is the present and future and many more futures to come. Disney has made the Star Wars future bright by bringing out new sequels and giving life to a stagnant franchise.

      Now, if they can fix Muppets.

  • EC82

    More “Star Wars” in Tomorrowland? As the headline points out, “Star Wars” isn’t even TOMORROW … it’s “a long time ago.” Yesterland writ large?

    Is this really, really the best Disney can do? To misquote Mr. Mencken, no one ever went broke underestimating the tastes of casual Disney fans … and certainly it’s a lot easier to copy off of someone else’s (Universal) paper than to do your own homework. But here’s the big what-if:

    What if “Star Wars,” in Disney’s hands, becomes another “Tron,” “Lone Ranger” or “John Carter”? It’s not outside the realm of possibility. The last three movies almost broke the “Star Wars” machine, but fortunately for Mr. Iger and Mr. Lucas, movie audiences have even shorter memories than entertainment-industry executives. But if Episode VII is as bad as Episodes VI, I, II and III (and, yes, “Return of the Jedi” wasn’t very good), then Disney will have a massive problem on its hands if they go whole-hog into remaking Tomorrowland into Star Wars Land.

    On the other hand, if Disney housed “Star Wars” at DCA (after all, it was created in Marin County), they could focus on making Tomorrowland into something truly grand and creatively unique. But, it is very, very clear now, Disney has no interest in being creatively unique or in satisfying and over-delivering on the expectations of guests. They want ONLY to placate Wall Street analysts.

    • StevenW

      I thought the Star Wars prequels were bad, but the box office tells me otherwise. It is hard to mess up Star Wars. It has enough fan respect and enthusiam to keep up the box office tally and by using J.J. Abrams as director, they can’t go wrong.

      Why would Disney move Star Wars to DCA? It doesn’t make sense thematically. Practically, Star Tours is already in Disneyland and Tomorrowland needs more rides and a thematic makeover.

      How did the box office failure broke the Star Wars machine? Another strange statement as well as….

      “They want ONLY to placate Wall Street analysts.”

      Huh? You already said the Star Wars sequels will fail. Now, you say they won’t.

      Perhaps you fear that the Star Wars fans will help to generate attendance at Disneyland/Tomorrowland so we are stuck with a theme that makes no sense for Tomorrowland. Well, life is hard isn’t it?

  • martinjbell1986

    Even if Monsters Inc isn’t everyone’s favorite movie, that doesn’t necessarily mean Monstroplois is a mistake. Cars and Cars 2 were definitely not my favorite Pixar movies but I still find myself lining up early for RSR Fast Passes. Going to DCA first before Disneyland would have never crossed my mind until Cars Land.

  • danielz6

    Ok here’s my thoughts. First the negative. Tomorrowland becoming star wars land. This is a big negative for me. I love star wars, but really it should have been saved for the 3rd gate instead of shoehorned into tomorrowland where it doesn’t fit the theme and further degrades Walts original tomorrowland. Walt Disney aside, lets not forget that the great success of Disney land is based on romantic timeless themes, NOT movie franchises. That’s that other park up the road, or Disney’s secondary Parks are for. The turn of the century Midwestern town, Victorian era colonial jungle explorations, the untamed American west, European storybook fairy tale, ante vellum new Orleans, and certainly not the least, the optimistic vision of the future. Tomorrowland is sacred ground, imo, as one of Walts original and most beloved concepts (just look at Epcot to see how much he obssessed with future tech). That’s why I do not celebrate star wars increasing influence in tomorrowland.
    Now the opposite, and far from sacred ground is that lonely unvisited corner of DCA where dance parties fill an otherwise useless space. Am I a fan of monsters Inc.? No. Is 2 rides based on a mediocre cg film a bit much? Probably. Do I support a new and thrilling e ticket attraction in an otherwise empty and historically insignificant part of the park? Absolutely! That is, after all what landed Tower of terror there originally. Monster’s may not be what I’d choose, but its certainly better than nothing. Tomorrowland however is Walts original idea, and deserves so much better than what its getting.

  • Murrie567

    The abuse of the GAC assistance cards disgusts me. My grandmother just turned 69, has had several back surgeries and often has to use a cane. She also tires very easily and can usually only spend a few hours at the park.

    She has had a annual pass for the last ten years, and despite all of her physical ailments, has refused to get a GAC card. She has told me that despite everything, she is still okay to wait a little while in the lines (she can pretty much only do dark rides anyway). While I know she would benefit from it, she still insists that there are others much worse off than her, and she doesn’t need it.

    My father is also the same way, and suffers from pain and discomfort if he is going all day, due to a bulging disk he had several years ago, yet he still refuses to get a card, because he knows that he can wait in the lines and take a break to sit down later.

    I’m not suggesting that anyone else do this, because I know the system is needed, and I have encouraged them both to get the GAC cards. I have a cousin with a severe mental disability who uses the card regularly, and that is what it is for. I am just amazed at the willingness of people to quickly get a free ride whenever they can, rather than waiting it out with everyone else.

    I am just glad that they are finally doing something about this problem. They need to have some form of accountability for this system, and require proof that there is an actual ailment/problem.

    • grizzlybear55

      You should be proud hailing from people who are strong, self-sufficiant and honorable, regardless of what the lesser mortals are doing. Here’s hoping the situation benefiting the users gets remedied soon!

    • StrikeYerColors

      My family is the same way. They don’t like to be seen as handicapped, they don’t want people to think they are getting special treatment. And my mom says that if squirmy little toddlers can wait in line and survive, then she can to because she is a grown woman. If anyone in my family needs to take it easy, they just SAY so and take a rest on a bench or restaurant and say “y’all go ahead, I’ll be right here”. Even when we weren’t APs and visiting regularly, it was no big deal to skip a ride now and then, because there was always next trip. It took two or three trips out here to CA over the years to convince my grandmother that we needed to rent her a wheelchair. She is too proud! I told her she doesn’t have to be PUSHED in it at all, and we can park it and walk through the regular line, but to think of it as her portable bench to use when waiting for the fireworks or parade, because all the real benches will be full. That did the trick.

  • grizzlybear55

    I share the frustration of everyone here who find it infuriating to see so many people gaming the system with their alleged “disability” access — and the arrogance that comes with it. To hear this includes cast members…that’s just too much.

    The other day the “special” line arranged for allegedly disabled guests waiting to get into POC was almost as long as the regular line, and it was flat-out ridiculous. I also witnessed last week a family that was obviously trading wheelchair-bound grandpa back and forth among family members for premium access, until finally the current “caretaker” strode to the front of a very long line of guests waiting to get into DL, only to be denied access because she was not grandpa’s registered handler. If nothing else, they should at least mandate that only one person can join whomever supposedly requires that access, rather than permitting a entire party of 15 to hone in and enjoy the perk. So glad this may finally be addressed.

  • StrikeYerColors

    I’m not really surprised that there is a healthy number of cast members gaming the GAC system. However, when I am in the park, the vast majority of people using GACs behind me in the fastpass line (or single rider line, sometimes, if they use the same entrance, and I usually go SR), are very CLEARLY annual passholders. They are wearing their AP around their neck or their conversation tells me that they are APs when discussing events, discounts, etc. It would be silly to say that only CMs who work in Attractions know how to game the system; judging by the frustration they much be experiencing on a daily basis when operating with growing numbers of GACs, as reported here on MiceAge with regards to the HUGE FP wait at Radiator Springs Racers, they’d probably be happy to do away with the system altogether! But other CMs in all departments as well as lots and LOTS of APs and savvy casual visitors can get information on how to get a GAC through word of mouth, or apps with messageboards like MouseWait, and other internet sites that aren’t as moderated on the ethics side as our dear MiceChat. I have read tips about “faking handicapped” on Yahoo Answers even, asked by high school aged kids going in a group who “hate waiting in line”.
    I have even seen a CM working in a store checking out the person in front of me, detailing to them that “they should go to City Hall because it is really easy to get a front-of-the-line pass, all they have to do is tell them this”. I was really upset because even when I am with a family member who is physically limited or who has one of the other conditions that people commonly use as an excuse for needing a GAC, we don’t bother getting one. Using the FP smartly as I always have (though it’s more challenging now with the return times!), and going to the right place at the right time of day, we never wait more than 20 minutes even on a busy day except for things like TSMM. We probably wait longer in food lines than attraction lines! And for my grandmother who cannot stand for long periods, she was perfectly happy with the wheelchair I rented her so that she always had somewhere to sit when the benches were full… we didn’t use it to go into any exits because we didn’t need to! So I told the person in front of me some other tips I use instead, like the best time to ride the large, popular rides, and scowled at the CM behind the counter later.

  • Westsider

    Yes, the GAC abuse amongst APs is rampant and sickening.

    But many of the APs with GACs used to work in the park. I know a few guys who used to work Canoes and quit who now show up with their AP buddies and their GAC, and then I see them the next day working out at Gold’s Gym in Fullerton. They give me the “Whatup bro” nod and go back to the squat rack. God only knows what “disability” they claimed at Guest Relations to get the GAC.

    There’s also a bunch of former Attractions and/or Guest Relations CM’s who work in TDA now who show up in the parks with a GAC. They work 5 days a week without any special requirements or medical restrictions, but when they sign their family into the park on Saturday they can’t wait in line for Splash Mountain. Funny how the “disability” comes and goes like that, isn’t it?

  • zeitzeuge

    The one thing about GAC and providing proof of a disability is that HIPPA laws prevent that sort of thing, so it honestly is tying their hands when it comes to requiring any sort of disability proof. I just had hip replacement at age 47 and the way I got a temporary disability tag for my car, was a simple doctors “prescription” saying I needed one, but not specifically what it was for. HIPPA has lots of limitations and preventions of disclosure.

    • chad386

      HIPAA actually has 1 P and 2 A’s, for Health Insurance Privacy and Accountability Act. I work in a doctor’s office and have been charged with helping oversee compliance. HIPAA regulations apply to us (the providers), health insurance companies who we file claims with, and any clearinghouse we go through to file the claim. That’s it; it in no way regulates the patients themselves and does not prevent anyone from disclosing health information to anyone they want.

      It does require us to detail how we will use and guard a patient’s information, but a patient can “waive” protections in whatever instance they want, such as us discussing medical conditions with a family member, friend.

      Maybe you mean to reference the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)? But HIPAA would have no application here that I can see in stifling Disney’s efforts to curtail the problem. The ADA may be a whole different issue, and I admittedly know little about that law.

      • chad386

        I screwed up my own post. I had privacy in my head. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Privacy is not in the name of the law. Sorry.

  • MarkW

    Does anyone know whether the previously mentioned expansion of Main Street (i.e. the parallel alley to Main Street) will get the green light for construction anytime soon?

  • richboi117

    About five years ago in Florida, my brother, WHO BROKE HIS BACK, was denied a line-jumper pass thingy at Epcot and DHS. I think they said something about a doctor’s note or something. Idk. But good that GAC reform is on its way!

  • ranman101

    Disney has other big problems too. Not only are there cast members using Guest Assistance Cards. There are a lot that are signing in all sorts of friends and family members. Some for profit. Seems to me that only immediate family members should get free access to parks. I have a niece who willingly let them fire her after she refused to show back up to work after having her baby. She still gets in free through others who she knew from working there. Her whole freaking family from her mom, dad, sister, hubby……..all get signed in for free. Disney needs to look inward and realize how much cast fraud is going on.

    • El Bandolero

      The official rule is that (depending on whether you have a blue pass or a silver pass) you can sign in 3 people per day, when you are not blocked out. If they are your immediate family (parent, grandparent, sibling, child) you do not have to stay with them during the remainder of their stay. Anyway else can be signed in (subject to the 3/day limit) but you are required to accompany them throughout the duration of their stay.

      That’s the official rule. If Cast Members are just doing this, it is not fraud. They could sign in their sister every single day of the year and it would not be fraud.

      Of course, this rule is constantly abused. Cast Members recruit other Cast Members to help them sign in additional Guests beyond the 3 (a huge, fire-able offense if discovered), abandon people who are not their immediate family immediately after signing them in, etc. And accepting gifts of any kind (including money) in return for a sign-in usually leads to immediate firing whenever it is discovered.

      But as long as it is their immediately family they are signing in, they are perfectly free to do that for any day that their blue/silver pass is not blocked out, and they are not required to accompany them any longer once they are through the gate.

      • El Bandolero

        Any*one* else can be signed in (subject to the 3/day limit)

      • StrikeYerColors

        I would add that according to my sister, there is a limited number of times they can do this. My sister used to be an AP but this year due to the price increase, she let it expire. She has two or three CM friends who often sign her in for a day, but she makes a big deal about not asking unless they offer because she said that she doesn’t want to use up too many days for them. I’m not sure how many, but I think it is under 20. One friend said she might take her for her birthday in November if she hadn’t used them all up by then.

        So I seriously doubt there is much fraud when signing in “all sorts of friends and family members”. CMs selling the sign ins would be a different story and I am sure it happens. But we see a LOT of fake ticket scams, the “renting” of multiday passes all the time, and the like, by the general public so I am really not surprised that CMs do this to.

      • El Bandolero

        Hourly Cast Members get a Blue Pass, and have a limited number of sign-ins per year (e.g. under 20).

        Salaried Cast Members get a Silver Pass, and can sign in any day that the Silver Pass is not blocked out (certain strategic holidays e.g. July 4th, certain days in Spring Break, all weekends in December, last 2 weeks of December, etc.) but generally Silver Passes are not blocked out more than 30-40 days per year, if that. Which means that, theoretically, someone with a Silver Pass can sign in many, many more times than 20/year.

        And it’s perfectly fine to do that and then leave the person you’ve signed in to enjoy the park all day, as long as it’s immediate family. But if you sign in your friends, or anyone else, you’re required to be with them throughout their stay. This is frequently abused; CM’s recruit other CM’s to sign in a group of 20 etc. which is just wrong; that wasn’t ever the point of the Silver/Blue Passes. The purpose is so Cast Members can enjoy the park as a Guest (and of course to enjoy the park, you want to go with other people, hence the ability to sign people in). The privilege was never meant to be a way to let in anyone within 6 degrees of separation into the park for free.

  • MikeK

    At first I was afraid, I was petrified, I kept hoping they won’t put in a new Star Wars ride.
    Kept thinking, I could never live with that so I cried.
    But then I spent so many nights thinking, why not Tron?
    And I grew strong and I learned how to get along…

  • JCSkipr79

    Wow, I cant believe all this hate for not SW, but SW IN TL. WOW. Now I’m purist as the next guy, but the concept of TL is DEAD. DEAD DEAD. WDI even admitted it when Paris was dubbed DiscoveryLand and HKs was done up in 50s/Jetsons style architecture. Its not like Space, Autopia, are going away. And do we REALLY want more years gone by with an empty overhead track??? NO WAY. At least you guys don’t have Stitch and Mike W. looming over you at the entrance with two of the worst attractions EVER created from Glendale, w/ a dilapidated CoP, and a kiddie DJ dance party playing the Macarena.

    • StrikeYerColors

      I’d so much rather have the 50s/Jetson’s style architecture you mentioned from HK. That is still as futuristic as it gets to me.

  • TRONAlex

    DCA is totally messed up as far as the GAC.
    I took my son to Disneyland this last Saturday. He is severly autisic. He has trouble waiting in line. He gets into spastic fits in very crowded areas. He harms himself and others.
    The last time I received a pass last December, He was issued a GAC with an alternate entrance.
    I went to DCA first, big mistake. The good person at guest relations gave my son a wheelchair pass. I was told by the CM that the wheelchair line was special especially in my son’s case. I was told that the DCA is wheelchair compliant and he will have to still wait in line.
    This totally ruined my son’s day at first. When I then later came back to that same cast member about the pass and the alternate entrance, the CM told me it’s easier to get a GAC for my autistic child at Disneyland. So, that’s what we did. My family in a whole got really frustrated with DCA-
    We went to Disneyland and I recieved a warm welcome from the excellent cast members in City Hall and they issued my autistic son a GAC with an alternate entrance. He was extremely happy for the rest of the day. Any day my son is happy is a great day in my book.

  • Bronco21

    It’s amazing how many ideas for Tomorrowland Al Lutz says are “for sure going to happen” then change by the next update. Meh.

    • Westsider

      I’ve been reading him for a decade and I don’t think Lutz has ever, EVER, said “for sure going to happen”. You aren’t reading the words correctly. When Lutz talks about proposed rides (see that word I just used?) he purposely uses words like “proposed”, “currently planned”, or even “potential”. Those are the words Lutz uses, as he did in this latest update.

  • Marko50

    What I think is even more amazing are the comments for this article. I can’t believe how many times people state their opinions as fact.

  • Fortune Red

    Shouldn’t the disabled have equal rights and not special rights? Seems to me that if a wheelchair bound patron approaches an attraction with a 120 minute wait, they should have to wait 2 hours as well. A fastpass-esque system should be implemented where they would be issued a card with a return time equal to the current wait time. This would make GAC a lot less appealing to scammers as it does not provide instant gratification. In the meantime there is plenty for the legitimately disabled to explore in Disneyland including attractions with shorter wait times.
    As for the CM abuse it doesn’t surprise me too much. I worked at the resort for over 10 years and there is a lot of resentment of the Company from the CM’s. For being a self-touted “world class entertainment destination” Disney’s pay is embarrassing, and far from being a livable wage in Orange County (yes, even for low to mid level management). Disney has high standards of appearance and conduct, and they want to process record breaking crowds with as little labor as possible making life hellish for CM’s when things get busy. At the end of the day the pay does not compensate for these expectations and Disney’s turnover rate reflects this. Most CM’s feel the need to get whatever they can out of the company either to ‘get even’ or just pay the bills. Most of the CM’s I worked with on a daily basis admitted to selling complimentary admissions at one time or another. If CM’s actually valued their job they would be a lot less likely to put their employment in jeopardy.

  • animatronic

    Great update. Thanks for all your insider info! I think the new movie 3D movie and speeder bikes are good ideas and capitalize on the new Star Wars movies (and additions to current Star Tours scenarios). I don’t think it’s Star Wars overkill, because you have other spaces that need real upgrades that can be themed to other ideas. But, I’m a huge Star Wars fan so am a bit biased.

    But, I’m concerned about the huge monstrosity of Innoventions? It’s a lumbering giant of disappointment. It looks like they’re be a ride like Carousel of Progress inside, but alas… Just a bunch of crap. They need to add a major attraction to this area. Something that captures the future like Epcot’s Horizon’s (RIP) did. What about changes to Autopia? – the cars smell of exhaust and they’re are more modern and electric hybrid vehicles right on our street (this s tomorrow?). Are hover craft’s possible?

  • BK31

    As a father of a child with a craniofacial syndrome and autism (as a result of all his surgeries) I can tell you that we really appreciate the GAC and try our best not to abuse it. We’re very curious how the new GAC process will work. We’ve only been to WDW with him so far but we’re planning a trip to CA in the spring. He’s not wheelchair bound, but without the GAC we’d never feasbily be able to experience the parks due to his non-outwardly visible issues with behavior resulting from the autism. We have a 6 flags mere miles from our house that we tried to go to once, but now we save up and go to Disney whenever we can. We wouldn’t mind bringing medical documentation, and usually do have a doctor’s letter with us, but technically I believe it’s a violation of the medical privacy act to ask people for proof of disability and some people take huge offense at that.
    I wouldn’t mind what I’ve heard they did at RSR with giving out FP return times of the current wait, we just want to know that’s the process ahead of time so we can prep our kiddo for transitions and everything. I’d be curious if Disney’s looking for any volunteers or focus groups on this as I know my family would be more that happy to help with our experiences from our last 4 trips.

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  • Saark

    In 1999, I was with my nephew, who has Muscular Dystrophy, and we were waiting, with our Guest Assistance Pass, to get on Haunted Mansion. Three teenagers, who also had an assistance pass came along with us. The Cast Member asked if they could walk a short distance, and the teen said yes. So, they went throught the regular entrance while we were escorted around to the side door with my nephew’s powerchair. Upon entering the room I saw the teen horsing around with the other two, which made me say “You can walk just fine.” They were silent. But then, showing how stupid they were, and right in front of my nephew who hasn’t walked since he was four years old, one of them said “Who’s going in the wheelchair next?” My wife saw that I was enraged, and she grabbed me by the arm to calm me down. So, when the doors to the gallery opened, we were allowed in first, so I was able to get way ahead of them in line. Long story short, I got off the ride before them, stole their wheelchair, and hid it backstage, in the hallway by the mens restroom in New Orleans Square. I just wished I could have seen their expression when they didn’t have a wheelchair anymore!

    • Cyette

      Way to go, Saark. I hope your actions gave those young folks something to think about.

  • MikeK

    At first it bugged me that they weren’t going forward with the Tron Light Cycles on the People Mover track. But I now realize Star Wars is a much better franchise than Tron. They’re both Sci Fi, they’re both futuristic, they’re both cool looking and most important, they’re now both Disney. But both Trons are not very good films. Star Wars 4, 5 and 6 (and hopefully 7) are classics! And they look cool!

    Isn’t a Star Wars 3D film a much better idea to replace Captain EO than Monster’s Laugh Factory, or that stupid Stitch Encounter?

    Plus, how do you know the future didn’t happen a long time ago in galaxy far, far away? And I’m sure WDI will make sure they blend in seamlessly with the rest of Tomorrowland.

    • danielz6

      Star wars has nothing to do with sci fi or the future. It is by George lucas’ definition space fantasy. It is not grounded in reality (which is sci fi) it is grounded in pure fantasy. That is what separates it from sci fi franchises like star trek. If you look at the central themes of star wars they are spiritual/ metaphysical concepts of destiny, prophecy, good and evil, love, hate, damnation and redemtion. Technologies showcased in the films offer no scientific explanation of how they work (light sabers, hyper drives, death stars etc…). These technologies merely exist as a medium to advance the fantasty story, not as a means to inspire future science or technology. That is why Lucas brilliantly places the story ” a long time ago, far far away. This ensures that star wars technology will never be outdated or surpassed as we have no concept of what the current technologies are, and focuses the story as a fantasy not as a possibility of our own future. Calling star wars sci fi is a misunderstanding of the story and its unique genre. It has more in common with the Lord of the Rings then Star trek, simply taking place in space doesn’t make a story sci fi.

      • MikeK

        Much of Star Wars does deal with advanced technology, which seems to put it in the realm of science fiction. We may not have hyperdrives that allow for interstellar travel, but we can easily see manned spaceships that travel to other planets as a natural progression from traveling to the moon and sending unmanned probes to other planets in our solar system. Some of the technology in Star Wars is not even that far off; for example, scientists have already been able to create miniature lightsaber-like devices.

    • MikeK

      Much of Star Wars does deal with advanced technology, which seems to put it in the realm of science fiction. We may not have hyperdrives that allow for interstellar travel, but we can easily see manned spaceships that travel to other planets as a natural progression from traveling to the moon and sending unmanned probes to other planets in our solar system. Some of the technology in Star Wars is not even that far off; for example, scientists have already been able to create miniature lightsaber-like devices.

    • MikeK

      Hey MICE AGE, The guys at Furios Fanboys are doubting your Star Wars/Tomorrowland article. Personally, I believe your stories are true but Disney constantly changes their minds and the plans evolve and change daily until they green light it.

      Their comments:

      Tomorrow the D23 Expo kicks off in Anaheim, and while there is expected to be some kind of teaser for upcoming Star Wars attractions at the event, the rumor mill is getting out of control over what will be shown. In reality, all there will likely be is a small piece of concept art in the Walt Disney Imagineering pavilion, but people are spreading rumors like crazy that more will be revealed.

      Most recently, the following three rumors are spreading across the internet like wildfire:

      1. Disney is removing Captain EO and replacing it with a 3D Star Wars movie.
      2. They are installing a speeder bike ride on the People Mover tracks at Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.
      3. A Mos Eisley Cantina is being built as a bar at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.

      As cool as these may sound, they’re likely wishful thinking on the part of the site that started the rumors; MiceChat.

      The MiceChat forums were spun off from MiceAge, which for a time about eight years ago was a good source for Disney insider rumors and stories. But in recent years it’s become full of users who fear the slightest change to the Disney parks…despite Walt himself saying Disneyland would never be finished.

      These days, their rumors don’t have the best track record. Recent examples include their claim that Disney was going to tear out the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, despite it only being active for two years and costing millions to make, and the claim that Disney was going to make the traditional Christmas parade and events an extra paid ticket like Halloween. Disney has already debunked that theory.

      The big red flag is their claim about the Speeder Bike ride. The problem lies there with the People Mover track. According to numerous sources inside the park, that won’t be happening as long as Cal OSHA has anything to say about it. When the People Mover was active, it was grandfathered in. Now that they took out it and the replacement Rocket Rods, any new ride would have to adhere to current Cal OSHA safety standards. That means having an accessible exit from the track every 30 or so feet.

      As for the Cantina idea, that is apparently on the table for Paris and it’s possible they’ll duplicate those plans over in Florida as Disney likes to get two attractions out of one.

      We’ll be at D23 and live tweeting anything we see that’s Star Wars related…

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  • Kimura

    I greatly dislike GAC abusers. We have troops coming home with lost limbs, yet guests and cast members are pretending to be disabled just to get on some theme park rides? That’s just wrong. People really should try and be thankful for what they have.

    One of the things I love is seeing guests from out of town, families in particular, who come to Disneyland with a game plan for the entire day. When I was a kid, my family would stay from morning until closing. We had an incredible time. And this was before FastPass.

  • goldenhorseshoe

    I will miss Captain EO. It was such a great part of my childhood.

    • goldenhorseshoe

      I should also add that it’s too bad that they can’t just revamp the People mover. I rode the one at Disney World two summers ago, and though it wasn’t the same as the one that I grew up with at Disneyland, it was great to be able to experience the ride in some form after many years.

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  • dlandjimmy

    I’m surprised nobody is complaining about Dland closing at 7pm. That just sounds horrible to me. They already take so many nights away with “Halloweentime” and soon they’ll be doing the same for Christmas, making you pay extra to stay at night.

    Night time is my favorite time to be at the park. 8pm always seemed crazy to me, now 7pm? I hope they get a lot of complaints. This makes me so sad.

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  • propita

    There’s a fairly simple solution to abusing GAC.

    Have a waiting area somewhat near the front. The party can wait there, out of the sun (for those who can’t take sun), with reserved seating (for those who can’t stand), and for anyone else who must wait…for some of their party to actually wait thought the line as the line-persons! If there’s a long line (40 min, 60 min, etc) and the disabled person can’t take waiting, this would allow them to spend the time doing something else with the rest of their party while their line-persons mosey their way to the front.

    The only exemption need be when there’s only 2 in the party, which takes care of things, whether the 2d person is a caregiver or not, so that the 2 need not be split. More than 2 persons, sorry, the party will be split. Some unusual situations may require case-by-case exemptions.

    The remainder of the party can be called to the front, by guest’s phone or CM, when their line-person nears the front.

    I think this would reduce the abuse while still allowing parties of two, extreme cases, and large parties to enjoy the parks AND allowing everyone else to not feel cheated.

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  • OptimistMover

    Noticing how Lutz switched from his Tron prediction for the PeopleMover to Star Wars gives me the feeling that he is trying to stretch a false rumor. Besides, they just used the track as one of the clues for the Optimist game.

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