Wakefield Report: Theme Park News

Written by Chris Wakefield. Posted in Features, Podcasts, Wakefield Report

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Published on October 09, 2013 at 2:00 am with 2 Comments

Well I am finally home from a very special trip to Southern California. I had a blast and I really enjoyed meeting many of you MiceChatters and Nuggeteers. It was an eventful week and I am plenty of content available for you. Lots of videos were posted over on the Wakefield Report YouTube, including on ride videos from Knotts Berry Farm and in park interviews with special guests. On this trip I spent a day at Knotts Berry Farm and got a very special tour of the park with a Knotts expert and historian. I left the park with more questions than answers and I am really interested to see where this theme park goes in the future. You can read my full thoughts on Knotts in this article.

I also spent a lot spent a day at Universal Hollywood and found this studio fascinating. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t in Orlando and this was an actual working movie and tv studio with a theme park inside of it. In Orlando, we have a theme park with a pretend movie studio inside of it. There is a huge difference between the two.

And of course, I spent a lot of time at Disneyland. I walked away amazed at all of the special Halloweentime decorations and overlays. This resort is so superior to the one in Orlando, I really wish more Disney World apologist would take the time to come out to California and get to know Disneyland. Maybe then, they will come back to Disney World and demand the same type of parks from Disney management. When it comes to value, entertainment, food, and almost everything else, Disneyland has Disney World beat! You can read more of my thoughts on Halloweentime here.

9 NEWS NUGGETS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Story 1:  We have news this week that on October 31, Disney World will be adding the $10 per person cancellation charge to all of its table service restaurants for people who reserve a table and don’t cancel within 24 hours. This move is supposed to control those people who take advantage of the reservation system and make multiple reservations at the same time on the same day and then don’t show up. This move, I think, is a good one and should go a long way in helping regular day guests and locals arrive spontaneous and get a table at Disney World. As usual, some will gripe and complain, but there really isn’t a reason someone should be making more than one restaurant reservation for the same time. The only thing that assures is that someone else will not be able to enjoy a meal. I know, “But what if my kid gets sick suddenly!?” Like always, Disney can make exceptions and waive the cancellation fee for special circumstances.

Story 2:  In this week’s Orlando Parkhopper article from Eric Davis we get an update on Universal Orlando’s Diagon Alley and we also learn that Universal has begun the process of hiring people to work at the expansion to Wizarding World. For now, Universal is only looking to hire internally and they are looking to fill spots in Food and Bev, Operations, Merchandising, and more.

Story 3: 427 part time workers at Walt Disney World have now been offered full time positions with full time benefits. The move comes off the heels of the Affordable Care Act going into effect at the beginning of October. These 427 worked enough hours last year to be considered full time under the new law. Instead of cutting their hours to make them part time, Disney has decided to offer them full time positions so they can apply for health care benefits.

Story 4:  We have word this week that the Disney World resort monorail line will be running on a reduced schedule as work is done on the Grand Floridian DVC. The work will be done in the next two weeks and the resort monorail will not be running between the hours of 11am and 6pm. Ouch. Disney says they will be providing more buses and boats for guests. The other monorail lines will be operating normally throughout the work. The monorails at Disney World have been needed some done on them for some time and maybe DIsney will use this as an opportunity to clean up the beams and the monorail trains. To be honest, the monorail as a whole needs to go down for 7 or 8 months for a full refurb. new beams, trains, and more. The monorail look and feels old.

Story 5: Fishbulb had an excellent article on MiceChat earlier this week. He interviewed and profiled Disney Imagineering VP of Parades and Spectaculars, Steve Davison. In the piece Steve talk a little about his current Disney projects and he also gives us a glimpse into his life outside of Disney. Steve is a great guy and does a lot of work in his community theater program. If you ever wanted a chance to get to know a current Disney Imagineer, this really cool article gives you that chance!

Story 6: Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World has sold out for October 31st. This is normal, but what isn’t is the fact that the party sold out so early in the season. Last year the Halloween party for the night of the 31st didn’t sell out until October 28th. This year the sell out came over three weeks ahead of last years mark. Why? Kevin Yee’s article a few weeks ago talks about a lot of the cuts being made to the party, but Disney keeps selling out! So I have to ask myself, why would Disney even bother “plusing” the party if they can go cheaper and cheaper every year while steadily increasing the price. Why should Disney bother adding things to the party if people are going to attend at record levels each year? The only way things will change is if people stopping making excuses for TDO lazy behavior, and hold them accountable. Stop going to the parties! They charge you more and more and give you less and less each year! Until then, we will get the same treatment each year. Sad. Just, sad.

Story 7: Disney Quest in Downtown Disney at WDW will be hosting a Halloween party from 6pm-11pm on the 31st. All of the games will be open for play and Disney will have a DJ and trick or treating stations. The price for the party is $45, and considering a regular day pass for Disney Quest is $47, thats not a bad value. I would be cautious though, if Disney fills the building to capacity, you can forget about playing any games. The place fills up quick and the game station often have long lines. Parents get tired quickly and retreat to the lounge on the 5th floor, leaving their sugared up kids to run free throughout the building. That may make for a long Halloween night. Hopefully, Disney will not get greedy and oversell the party.

Story 8: Disney D23 head Steven Clark has stepped down from his position with D23 and no longer works for Disney. No word yet on who will take his spot but Disney has said that D23 conventions in Japan this month, and Anaheim in 2015 are still planned.

Story 9: Sad news this week as we learn about a family of three who have been charged with battery on a law enforcement at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk. This does nothing but help reinforce what some people say about Universal and how violent it is. For a long time some Disney Mommies, often warned their friends and other Disney fans to not to go Universal because all of the “violence” and that going there is just too dangerous for your family. When stories like this some out, it doesn’t help. If Universal really wants to attract the “Disney Family”, things like this have to stop. Universal isn’t a dangerous place to go to and one could easily argue that it is as safe as Disney. Universal is going to learn the hard way, no matter how incredible your parks and attractions are, people wont take their families if they don’t feel safe.

By the way: If you want to be super cool and awesome, it would be great if you took a minute and went over to iTunes and left us a nice review.  ;-)

Also on this weeks episode of the Wakefield Report Podcast we have audio form inside the haunted houses at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! Listen, download, and share with your friends!

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About Chris Wakefield

Chris Wakefield lives in South Florida and spends most of his free time traveling across the country looking for the best thrills that theme parks have to offer. Growing up in the Midwest,Chris is used to the high and fast coasters offered up at parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island, and moving to Florida four years ago was a bit of theme park culture shock. With twice a month visits to Orlando, Chris works hard to keep his finger on the pulse of the ever expanding theme park community in Central Florida. Outside of the Orlando parks, Chris also visits California twice a year and isnt above going to a good haunt or two! Chris created the Wakefield Report website in the fall of 2011 to bring theme park and themed entertainment fans closer to the latest news, and opinions in the community. Each week, the Wakefield Report Podcast goes on the air to provide an unbiased, open, and honest look at the latest in Disney and theme park news. You can reach Chris at: [email protected]

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2 Comments

Comments for Wakefield Report: Theme Park News are now closed.

  1. Great show as always!

  2. Love your comments about Uni and Knott’s. I’m a big Knott’s fan and have really been encouraged by the great changes and renovations they’ve been making over the last two years. Now, they just need to pull out Silver Bullet and send it off to one of the other Cedar Fair parks.