MiceAge Update: DAS is the New GAC

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disney, Disneyland Resort, MiceAge Update, Tokyo Disney Resort

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Published on October 08, 2013 at 3:00 am with 173 Comments

Today is the last day to use the Guest Assistance Card, a de facto Unlimited Front Of Line pass that Disneyland has been using since 2004. While Disney finally released some basic information around the new DAS Card that replaces it, in this update we’ll fill you in on all the secrets behind the new system and the huge amount of drama that’s been playing out in executive offices in Orlando and Anaheim. We’ll also discuss the latest changes to the plan to give Tomorrowland a heavy dose of Star Wars.

Kick up your fuzzy bunny slippers and hold on tight to your pumpkin spice latte, because this is going to be a wild, and only partially accessible ride. . .

DAS is the New GAC

We’ve been covering the coming demise of the Guest Assistance Card (GAC) since we broke the story in early summer that Disney execs were horrified over the embarrassing expose’ of the issue on The Today Show back on May 31st. The New York Post covered the story first at Disney World earlier in May, but Orlando execs felt the issue was contained to East Coast traditional media and not worth doing any major damage control over. But when The Today Show, and less savory news programs like Inside Edition, showed undercover footage of the rampant abuse taking place daily at Disneyland, the Burbank bosses got clued in to the issue and execs in both Anaheim and Orlando suddenly scrambled to fix the problem. Local theme park managers on both coasts had been complaining for years that the GAC was a broken system filled with growing fraud, but no executive wanted to risk career suicide by taking on disabled children and their protective mothers and so the pleas for help from local management went unanswered for years. The Today Show changed all that, and now the issue is so high profile that executives on both coasts have quickly jumped on the DAS ship to boost their office image. Their managers can only roll their eyes and smile bravely at these newly interested executives.

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The outcome of all this is the new Disability Access Service, or DAS, which is an acronym that has gone through a few wording changes in the last month and replaces the GAC system entirely. The exact phrasing on the DAS card was chosen purposely, to stress that this is a card specifically for disabled people to access a facility, rather than just “guests” receiving “assistance” as the old GAC stated. The DAS card has several security features built in, most notably a color photo of the card holder and a QR code that will instantly identify the user and their history in the parks. The DAS card also has “Terms and Conditions” sternly worded on it, and all DAS holders must sign and date the card to acknowledge they’ve read those conditions and agree to abide by them.

It’s hoped that the photo and information attached to the card will also weed out a growing group of fraudsters in Anaheim; otherwise healthy Cast Members or Disney employees from Burbank who have figured out the GAC was their golden ticket on top of the free admission passes they already receive. The QR code on the DAS can also be used via internal communication to alert a Disney employee’s supervisor of a potential disability that may put them at a health risk on the job, assuming that employee hasn’t already made their supervisor aware of the disability.

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On the back of the card is a spreadsheet with space for 40 attractions, where Guest Relations CM’s at kiosks around the park will issue boarding times for high-wait rides based on the current Standby wait at the attraction. Kiosks will be placed around both Disneyland Resort parks, and any member of the party can go to a kiosk and get a boarding time for any ride in either park. The disabled member of the party does not need to be present at the kiosk to get a boarding time, so Dad can run junior’s DAS card to the kiosk in New Orleans Square after riding Splash Mountain and get a new boarding time for Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land. But when it comes time to enter Racers via the Fastpass queue, the person the DAS is issued to must be present and must ride the attraction for the card to be honored. Only one boarding time can be issued at a time, and while they won’t allow you to use the boarding time early, unlike a Fastpass window there is no limit to how late you can be. But to get the next DAS boarding time, the current boarding time must have lapsed and that ride have been lined out by the CM’s at the ride. A spot on the DAS card will be used for a daily CM code word to start, while they await the arrival of infinitely variable ink stamps to use as another fraud prevention tactic.

The DAS program will work differently at WDW, where instead of kiosks staffed by Guest Relations the CM’s at the attractions themselves will administer and manage the boarding times given for each ride. The reason for most of the major differences between WDW and Disneyland is due to some shocking statistics that were compiled on GAC usage at the two properties earlier this year. While DCA heads towards an annual attendance this year of over 10 Million people, with the wild success of Cars Land holding steady after its first full year, Disneyland continues to pull in close to 15 Million per year for a total of 25 Million annual visitors to the Anaheim property. And at Walt Disney World, the combined attendance for all four theme parks per year is holding steady at 48 Million annual visitors. So you would think that almost twice as many GAC passes would be issued at Walt Disney World, right? Wrong.

On recent autumn Fridays, as attendance at both Disneyland and DCA quickly swells by 30,000 or more after 5:00 p.m. when the local Annual Passholders get off work, TDA asked Guest Relations to compile statistics on how many GAC passes were issued daily now that GACs were no longer being issued for months at a time. Meanwhile, Team Disney Orlando staff were compiling the same types of statistics on GAC passes issued out of the four WDW parks on their typical busy days. The answer was shocking to the execs in TDA, but not at all surprising to the Guest Relations CM’s who crank out hundreds of passes per hour from the desks at City Hall and Chamber of Commerce. On the average Friday in autumn, when few if any Annual Passholder blockouts are in effect, the Disneyland Resort was issuing just over 2,000 GAC passes per day, roughly split evenly between Disneyland’s City Hall and DCA’s Chamber of Commerce. On similarly busy days at Walt Disney World, the four theme parks combined were issuing just 250 GAC passes, with about 100 passes going out of Magic Kingdom’s City Hall daily, and the remaining 150 passes split between the Guest Relations offices in Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.

Since the average GAC in Anaheim is valid for 5 people, that means that 10,000 people out of an average Friday’s combined two-park attendance of 75,000 visitors is roaming the parks using a GAC to enter any Fastpass lane or ride exit they want with no questions asked. Assuming the average GAC party boarded 3 E Ticket rides during a four hour Friday evening visit, that’s 30,000 Fastpasses per day that couldn’t be issued to the tourists who got to the park much earlier in the morning. (No wonder the Fastpasses for Radiator Springs Racers are gone within two hours every morning) Out at WDW, barely 1,500 people using a GAC were creating vastly less impact spread amongst the 150,000 visitors roaming the four parks of Walt Disney World on a typical day.

The same type of GAC impact is repeated in Anaheim on Sundays, when few AP blockouts exist and the parks swell with 75,000 people from late morning through early evening. In short, the purely statistical take away was that the GAC problem in Anaheim was driven largely by Annual Passholders, and to a growing extent by Disney employees, and the Anaheim parks deal with a much higher percentage of visitors accessing attractions using a GAC than the WDW parks do.

Using those shocking statistics, which had TDA executives first wondering if the numbers were in error (they weren’t, and the tracking continued for weeks), it was quickly decided that the DAS program in Anaheim must be applied and policed throughout the process by Guest Relations CM’s. The other deciding factor was that Disneyland’s Fantasyland has twice as many rides as Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, and at Disneyland none of them have Fastpass and most queues aren’t wheelchair accessible, where at Magic Kingdom even basic spinners like Dumbo and Teacups now have wheelchair accessible Fastpass queues. Disneyland’s Fantasyland will have its own DAS kiosk to help manage entry to the five different dark rides, three spinners, two big E Tickets, the various Princess meet n’ greets, and the 1950’s era Storybookland Canal Boats and Casey Jr. Circus Train.

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The existing Radiator Springs Racers Kiosk

What will prove to be very challenging the first few weeks is issuing hundreds of DAS cards per day. The new reservation concept will take some explaining, the terms and conditions must be gone over and agreed to by each DAS holder, and then a photo must be taken and the info attached electronically to the persons Annual Pass account or ticket. The DAS cards will only be valid for a maximum of 7 days in Anaheim (14 days in Orlando), but once an Annual Passholder is in the system on future visits the QR code can be scanned on the old DAS and a new one printed out quickly.

Because of the increased transaction time a DAS card takes, lines are expected to be epic at Guest Relations, especially this upcoming Friday evening and Sunday afternoon. To combat that, every Guest Relations CM is working overtime for the next few weeks and a “task force” of TDA managers has been enlisted to roam the parks the first two weeks helping with problems. It goes without saying that it’s expected there will be quite a lot of upset people at first, especially this Friday night and Sunday afternoon, and Disneyland’s Security team has also quietly beefed up staffing to wait in the wings at Guest Relations in case things get out of hand with a specific person or group.

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The other bit of drama is also expected to play out primarily at California Adventure, where every line and facility was designed to be wheelchair accessible. Effective with the DAS rollout, being in a wheelchair or ECV while in DCA no longer means you can use the Fastpass lane. If you are in a wheelchair and want to go on Soarin’ Over California, you either need to get a Fastpass or wait in the Standby line, no exceptions. If a person in a wheelchair also has a DAS, then that can be used to access Fastpass in DCA using the DAS procedure. A few newer attractions at Disneyland with wheelchair accessible queues, like Star Tours and Winnie The Pooh, will also play by this rule. But it’s at fully accessible DCA where it will be a blanket policy. The DAS card will also be harder to get from Guest Relations than the GAC was, as they are using a new set of questions to weed out those with anxiety or stamina issues, which would trigger the instruction to use a wheelchair or cane, or to plan the day in advance using Fastpass.

This is obviously a huge change, and it didn’t help that the story got away from Disney once it leaked on the Internet. North American parks chief Meg Crofton attempted to gain some goodwill by releasing a letter last month to amateur Disney bloggers who use the GAC program primarily for their autistic children. It’s important to remember however that Meg Crofton didn’t actually write the letter at her kitchen table, but that it was crafted anonymously in an office cubicle by TDO’s Executive Communications team and Meg simply reviewed it and approved its use. The result of this fake olive branch extended to the bloggers was not constructive however, as most bloggers took even more offense to the sterile corporate letter than they did to the leaking info on the Internet. The TDO team was reported to be dismayed at how poorly the letter was received, but instead of backing off they continued with the plan by the Communications team and quietly released the letter again last Friday afternoon with some DAS info on the Disney Parks Blog in a stereotypical Friday afternoon bad news dump. They just don’t seem to understand how sterile and tone deaf they appear out there in Team Disney Orlando’s cubicle farms and executive offices.

Back in Anaheim, thousands of Guest Relations and Attractions CM’s have now all had hours of classroom training on the new DAS program. The executive teams on both coasts have had daily conference calls on the rollout plans. And staffing at Guest Relations, Security and Attractions has been boosted through at least the first weekend of DAS. They’ve spent a huge amount of money, energy and human capital to get this rolling, and wise observers are now simply wondering how strong the executive team will stand behind the DAS program once the complaints start rolling in. It should be remembered that the GAC program started the same way with high hopes and strictly enforced rules back in 2004, to replace the rampant abuse of the Special Assistance Pass that came before it. It didn’t take long before Guest Relations caved in to the complaints and folks figured out the code words to use to get a card, and the GAC program was a sham by the time the 50th Anniversary was wrapping up in 2006.

A New Hope?

While the Disneyland Resort waits anxiously to see how the DAS rollout goes, there’s much happier plans being cooked up for Anaheim for the future. Last week TDA’s executive team held their first regularly scheduled meeting about the 60th Anniversary, as they plot out which new parade and fireworks show and marketing slogan gets chosen for the party in 2015. The 60th is also a bit of a speed bump for Imagineering, who have to figure out how to kick off two major construction projects during that time; Monstropolis at DCA and Star Wars Land at Disneyland.

The Star Wars project for Disneyland’s Tomorrowland has the most logistical hurdles to overcome, as Monstropolis will be able to hide behind construction walls in an otherwise abandoned corner of the park. But the Tomorrowland project will require major reconstruction of existing E Ticket attractions, as things like the permanent moving of the Space Mountain entrance and queue must now be figured out. The aesthetic of most of the land will change to take on the appearance of the Star Wars universe, particularly in the back eastern half of the land.

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Disneyland fans will cheer when they learn that the Astro Orbiter will be torn out and removed from its current location at the front of the land, which only served to make that area of the park feel more congested and claustrophobic instead of kinetic and full of energy. The re-Imagineered Rocket Jets spinner is currently planned to land up on top of the Space Mountain Concourse, tying in with a repurposed Starcade upper level next door.

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And the old Rocket Jets spinner and PeopleMover platform gets an extreme makeover, as a landing pad in the Star Wars spaceport that forms the loose theme for the new land. And what’s a landing pad without a spaceship, right? The craft that will have landed there won’t be any old spaceship however, but will be the famous Millennium Falcon that will act as an elaborate walk-through attraction and meet ‘n greet location for your favorite Wookie co-pilot. In the shadow of the landing pad is the old Tomorrowland Terrace dining facility, made over into the rowdy Cantina on Tattooine where we’d told you previously that those tests in the Golden Horseshoe last month were for an interactive dining/entertainment concept using the Star Wars universe.

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The back of the land is where the big new headliner attraction sits, in the place of the existing Innoventions and Autopia. After abandoning previous attempts to utilize the existing PeopleMover track and loading area, the Innoventions building gets gutted and in its place is the pre-show and boarding area for the new Speeder Bike thrill ride. The majority of the track heads outdoors and to the north, demolishing the Autopia freeways and taking over most of that area for the new ride. The outdoor Speeder Bike course is set on the forest moon of Endor where the Ewoks live, and an Ewok village and walk-through attraction will house dining and shops as the Speeder Bike ride zooms nearby. Imagineering has had dueling proposals for this area; one that retains the 1959 looping course of the Monorail and disguises it amongst the forest, and one that cuts out much of that track and shortens the Monorail route to open up more of the Ewok forest visuals. It should be noted here that Tokyo Disneyland’s Tomorrowland has an aging aesthetic with a sprawling and underutilized Autopia attraction taking up space.

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If Disney can avoid the worst of the press with the roll-out of DAS, the month of October should be remembered mainly for big announcements of exciting new things coming to Anaheim and Tokyo.

 


 

Oh-KAY, that wraps things up for this update. But never fear there’s always more news just around the corner. . . in a galaxy not so very far away or long ago.  Does it seem to you that perhaps the boy wizard does in fact still have something to fear from Bob Iger and his legion of Imagineers? What do you think will be the result of the DAS roll-out this week?

You folks are the real park experts, we want to hear from you.  If you enjoyed today’s update, please be sure to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and leave us a comment below.

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. Generally, you'll find a new MiceAge news update from Al and crew once or twice a month on Tuesdays. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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173 Comments

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Comments for MiceAge Update: DAS is the New GAC are now closed.

  1. This update lost me at “Astro going on top of SM Concourse”. Ummmmmmmm…………

    • It confused me as well. it says the “re-imagineered Rocket Jets spinner” is supposed to go up on the concourse by Space Mountain. Does that mean the Astro-Orbitor or that stupid space junk thing where the Rocket Jets used to be? Then it refers to the “old Rocket Jets spinner”.

      • I think it means the astro orbiter which is in the entrance if tomorrowland will be moved to around where the area that looks like a helicopter pad in the of the outside queue on space mountain. The article also says that a new entrance for space mountain is needed which I’m sure ties in with the helicopter pad looking area. I’ve heard that area isnt strong enough to hold anything then also starcade will be upstairs where I think now is storage. Then the old rocket jets ride will be turned into a spacepad where a millennium falcon will be with a walk through meet and greet inside. I think that’s what’s the article said.

  2. And if they are truly not going to use the PPLMover tracks whats the point? That was supposed to be the big fix!!

  3. Can’t wait till star wars comes to Disneyland, it will really make a difference. It will be awesome, and congratulations to Hong Kong for getting the first Marvel ride (Iron Man) in 2016! If you haven’t seen the concept art, go to http://behindthethrills.com/2013/10/iron-man-experience-e-ticket-attraction-confirmed-for-hong-kong-disneyland-in-2016/

  4. I have just returned from WDW and I have to say right now Disney has nothing to be concerned about with regards to Universal. Its offerings do not match the standard found at Disney. And I’m not surprised Universal is needing to spend millions a year on fixing its parks. Disney just need to continue on with its own plans by planning great new offerings for the 60th and beyond. The Star Wars plans sound great and would only continue to make the Disneyland stronger in my eyes. Quick question is construction on Monsters meant to start this year still?

  5. I am so eager to see how Tomorrowland is transformed…also will watch closely how the DAS card gets tweaked between now and next spring when I bring my adult son with autism and hypotonia (muscle weakness) back to Anaheim (we live in Illinois). Our last two visits the GAC has indeed been (almost) a front-of-the-line pass, and made a visit to Disney, if not easy, at least do-able for me (I travel alone with my son, as we can’t all afford to fly out.) If the new DAS card weeds out the cheaters, I am sure I can get Joe to adjust to the new system, too. Now if only Disney still had McD fries on the parks for him, we’d be set! ;-)

    • We wish your family good luck negotiating the new system. By next spring it should have been tweaked into shape.

      Is Joe okay to wait alone? Keeping Joe company while you go to the kiosk sounds like a job for SuperServiceDog!

      Please let Joe know at least one other guest is also sad that there are no McD fries at the park. McD fries, hot and fresh, are the best fries ever! Dogs get excited a block away smelling those fries cooking! But I guess for that same reason people don’t like Disneyland smelling like McDonalds. Fortunately there’s a McD’s within walking distance.

      • Yup – we stay at the Tropicana right across from the resort entrance…and close to McD!.
        I can’t really park Joe for long anywhere in the park while I stand in line at a kiosk. If he saw a character go by he’d be following! I do have to tell him “WAIT HERE” when I use a restroom super fast – so far, so good. But I am not going to push my luck beyond that!

      • Ugh mcdonald’s ‘potato product’ fries have always been gross. They leave a funky film/aftertaste on your tongue too. Even as a kid could never stand them :-P

        What I don’t get is why even consider mcdonalds when In N Out exists? :D

      • Love the Mc D fries so hot and fresh they sizzle on my tounge. A rare treat for me.
        I too am sure that the DAS system will have all the kinks worked out when you make your trip.

      • The same Twilight Zone moral about places that don’t allow dogs applies to the people that don’t like McDonald’s french fries.

  6. Whoa…hang on….is this for real? This is about the most understated update ever!!! A full Star Wars land? With tons of specific plans? How is DAS/GAC the bigger story?! I’m still not even convinced all the Star Wars business is even true. I feel like it’s April Fool’s Day or something!

    Breaking the news that Autopia is going away is presented like a tiny souvenir stand is being moved backstage. Isn’t Autopia one of Walt’s classic attractions AND still a huge draw? If the lines are any indication, it certainly is! I’m not defending it, but it does seem big with the kids.

    And, what DOES happen to the People Mover track then? Anything?

    I appreciate all the info and update, even if all the details aren’t sorted out, but I think it might be important to at least mention in the update that miceage doesn’t have any other info on certain things at this time. Don’t get me wrong – I love the work, but this update seems a little half-baked. I’m still looking for the “April Fool’s!” at the end.

    • Same here – I’m a WDW person, so maybe it’s different in California, but the Speedway (as the little cars are called in Florida) is such a rite of passage for kids, and always has huge lines, that I would be SHOCKED if they ever took it out! I really can’t even see it being rethemed to a movie or anything, because the whole point is that you’re driving a “real” car on a “real” highway – if it were a spaceship on another planet, it wouldn’t be as cool. Heck, it was probably 30+ years ago the first time I went on it (and I probably haven’t been on it for 20+ years now – I don’t think I would fit!), and I still remember that feeling, and love seeing it in the eyes of my friends’ kids as they take their first Disney trips. So unless they’re planning on building a new version somewhere or it’s just not as big a thing on the west coast (and as far as I know, either or both of those could be true), I can’t see it going anywhere.

      • I agree about the Autopia being a rite of passage attraction. When my kids were small, it was the attraction they would insist on riding again and again every time we were in the park and I know this is the same for many other parents with their own kids. While I’m fine with it’s removal from Tomorrowland, I would hate to see kids lose out on such a beloved experience. It seems to me the solution is to “relocate” the attraction to Cars Land.

      • I weigh 270 pounds and if I can fit, most other people can, too.

        I’m going to miss the Autopia. After coming in by Monorail in 1976, Autopia was my second ride ever.

        So when is the destruction/construction going to start, anyway?

      • Thats the problem, it was 30 years ago and youre old now. It is nostalgia talking to you that Autopia is still a necessary ride.
        Its outdated man.

      • Didn’t they lose the sponsor? And aren’t the cars polluting the environment?

    • You’ll have to wait for our next update for more details on Star Wars. That project is steamrolling ahead rapidly.

      Long time readers know that the Autopia and even the Subs have long been on the short list for Tomorrowland expansion.

      This is mostly a DAS update since that starts tomorrow and will have a major impact on the resort.

      • Dusty, the last part of this update got somewhat confusing with Tokyo Disneyland popping into the discussion.

        Is all of this Star Wars stuff going into both California AND Tokyo Disneylands, or is some of it only going to Tokyo?

      • I assume from the update we will have more specific announcement this weekend due to the D23 in Tokyo?

      • Tokyo and Disneyland Star Wars projects are closely linked. Which is a good thing from a budget point of view.

    • I’m with you, I thought exactly the same thing, the Star Wars part sounds like an April Fools Joke. Endor in Tomorrowland? The Tatooine Cantina in Tomorrowland? IF these are true, then I would say this is the biggest news since DCA was announced in 1997. It does seem odd that it would be tacked on to another update as an aside, almost like oh yeah, and they’re painting all of the trashcans at DL white.

      • It all sounds just like the miceage April Fool’s update when they said the Jungle Cruise was going to be rethemed to Avatar! Only this one sounds too good to be true!

      • It’s not an April Fools. But we’ve been covering many aspects of the Star Wars redo for many months now. We will have more detail for you soon and announcements and/or leaks from Disney could also come very soon.

      • I know (not a joke), but I’m an everyday reader, never miss an update. I certainly knew there was discussion and ideas for Star Wars theming and a new ride, but this still blew my mind! And it seems I’m not alone reading over the rest of the comments. Amongst the comments was one also saying what an off-handed way the update was given. “Oh, btw, autopia’s going away.” And you can say this has been on the table for awhile, but everyone who reads this knows rumors are rumors, plans are subject to change, and we’ll believe it when we see it (well, most of us know this, anyway). Now that it’s happening, both the good (Star Wars) and the bad (losing Autopia), wow, big changes!!

        Still – thanks for the update and big news! Good luck to cast members rolling out DAS.

    • I don’t look forward to telling my grands that Autotpia will be no more. So many kids love this ride so much. Sad to see this one go. I wonder why everytime we take that drive I ALWAYS get the ugly brown car.

    • I completely agree! This is really shocking news to me…I know Tomorrowland needs some serious work, but this seems like an odd way to go about it. Will it still be Tomorrowland? Because Star Wars was set “a long, long time ago.” ;)

      This reminds me of an argument I heard along the lines of, “Disney’s attractions and lands are most timeless when they’re not tied to movies but new concepts and traditional ideas.” Sure, the Fantasyland attractions pretty much all tie in to those classic Disney films, but how about all the rides where a new story is told, or you create your OWN adventure?

      Not that I don’t love Star Wars, but this is Walt’s Tomorrowland, not Hollywood Studios. It just really bums me out to see classics like Autopia get shoved aside…sure, I could hardly reach its pedals the first time I rode it, but the look on my little cousin’s face when he got to drive one of the cars for the first time shows that this is *still* a great attraction. A revamp might help it, (can someone say “newer cars?”) but the thought completely removing the ride just makes me sad.

      And the Innoventions building still has that potential to hold a great show…is that efficiency going to be sacrificed? I think it’s such a great concept and it should be utilized. Being too young to have ever seen the PeopleMover, I’ve always wished they would bring some life to its track. I’m sure whatever turns out from this project will be great, but it still bums me out to see this. I thought Star Tours and the Jedi Training Academy were a good dose of Star Wars for the area, and a much better idea than a complete retheme. We’ll see what transpires. I hope my future kids will be Star Wars fans!

  7. I’m a HUGE Star Wars fan, and I think the upcoming changes to Tomorrowland are necessary. However, I am concerned that they are too focused on Star Wars. Having Star Tours, the wookie meet-n-greet, Cantina, Speeder Bikes and Ewok Village, Tomorrowland will now have 5 attractions built around something that happened in the past (remember, Star Wars happened a long, long time ago).

    I’m sure the quality of the attractions will be great. But my concern is the clash between Buzz Lightyear and Space Mountain (which the mountain will now be blocked by the Astro Orbitor – there goes those fancy halloween time ghost galaxy projections) and the Star Wars universe. I think the speeder bikes/cantina and ewok village are great ideas. But I’m not so sure about having the Millennium Falcon as the front and center and main focal point of the land. Plus, that ship is huge and it will definitely hang way over the edges of the current platform.

    As much as it pains me to say this, I wish Disney would focus more on new original ideas for tomorrowland, not those based on Star Wars, to give us a bright shinning look into the future.

    • Wouldn’t it be great if BLAB went away?

      • Or was rethemed. Both Space Mountain and Buzz would be cheap and easy to retheme. There’s essentially no reason for Tomorrowland to keep its name at all if the project is fully realized. Disney is in dire need to go big on this project to fix the Tomorrowland problem and to counter Wizarding World Hollywood, which is going to be bigger than folks think.

      • I actually really enjoy BLAB but get where it might not be everyone’s favorite. If it stays, it almost has to be re-themed especially if Star Wars is taking over the land. Maybe Emperor Palpatine’s Stormtrooper Academy…where you miss every target much like Stormtroopers do.

      • LOL stevek

      • Rethemed, as long as it goes away! Maybe it is my non-existent depth perception that gives me a bit of a bias, but I have no love for it.

        Don’t get me started on the issues I have with Monstropolis being fit into Hollywoodland. It makes absolutely no sense. While Cars Land and A Bugs Land can both fit the park based on cultural relevance, the proposal moving ahead here avoids forming even the most indirect link to the theme of the greater park.

      • I like BLAB…always have, sort of the traditional first ride most visits. Short wait (usually) and I like the interactive element. And at this point, I’d hate to see it changed…although a Star Wars themed version does sound cool. Maybe BLAB could be moved to Pixar’s California Adventure, eh? Along with a Cars themed Autopia (that always made sense anyway).

        And yes, kids love Autopia. I have a niece and two nephews who could have been thrilled with their Disney experience even if it were only the Tea Cups and Autopia (I hang my head and weep…).

        While we’re consolidating themes and moving everything around, just bring the Mermaid ride over to the Magic Kingdom where it belongs.

        Rather than post again, let me just say one last thing b/c I’m pretty certain people at Disney actually read a lot of this: Endor and Cantina – awesome!! This is like something I’ve armchair imagineered…Anyway – to the bosses at Disney – Get this started NOW!

      • stevek, I’m just glad the sputtering coffee missed the keyboard. Good one, sir!

      • I think having an entire land in Disneyland dedicated to Star Wars is a big mistake (and this is coming from a big Star Wars fan). While I think it will be overly popular, it does not simply fit with the tradition and aesthetic of Walt’s classic park. Yes, there are some exceptions of where the classic park has gone astray (BLAB, MMMP, TMAOWTP), but overall each land incorporates a diversity of rides based on a diversity of stories, but no single land revolves around one story (ie Star Wars). I would must rather see a Star Wars land be built in the future 3rd park where it can fit better with the Marvel franchise.

        And for the record, I am also opposed to Monstropolis coming to DCA.

    • It sounds like there will be a name change to the land if it is being re-themed to Star Wars. Yes, Star Wars happened a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, but if you’ve been paying attention, Disney has given the green light to another movie trilogy as well as stand alone Star Wars films and an animated TV show. There’s plenty of Star Wars in the future. What do you mean clash between Buzz, SM, and Star Wars? It’s not a “do the shoes match the belt” type of thing. Back in the ’50′s and even the ’60′s, the year 2000 seemed like the future. There were things that had not been accomplished yet in the world. Television was still in its infancy. Technology was advancing quickly. Trying to keep Tomorrowland a vision of the future has been difficult to achieve. A re-theming of the land which has become so today might be just what it needs.

  8. I’ll honestly say this: not pleased with these proposed changes to Tomorrowland. It’s completely losing it’s intended purpose. Star Wars, Buzz, and Nemo? Must be the weirdest thematical mash-up.

    • What was it’s intended purpose? Exhibition (Monsanto chemicals, Aluminum Hall of Fame)? Transportation (Autopia, PeopleMover, Submarines)? Outer space (Space Mountain, Star Tours, Buzz, Rocket jets)? It never had much of a “tomorrow” theme anyway. “Science Fiction” seems to have been its closest pass at a unifying theme.

      Granted, “cars on a highway” were slightly futuristic in the 1950s, but Autopia lost its connection to the future almost instantly. PeopleMover, sure, as a forward-looking thing. But T’lans has always suffered from identity crisis.

      • If one has to go, I’d say it would have to be the Nemo subs. Yes I know that Finding Dory is in production but it’s the odd attraction out in the newly planned Tomorrowland. BLAB, Space Mountain, and even Autopia can be easily rethemed to fit into the new Star Wars style theme.

      • Buzz Lightyear does not have a futuristic connection. People say “he’s a space ranger” as their reason why they think he fits in Tomorrowland. Just because they use the words “Space Ranger”, that doesn’t make him futuristic. He’s a toy. That being said, they don’t need to re-theme Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear. It’s not a big deal.

  9. I might just pass out if I go in one day and see the millennium Falcon up there. That might be too amazing/overwhelming to take in for sci-fi fanatics like me. It would be cool to make the falcon a Micky Mouse house/house of the future type of walk thru attraction.

    Everything sounds PERFECT, including the easy Starcade access to the rockets. It’ll be fun to soar next to the mountain and above Tomorrowland. Would have thought the cantina was going in Mission to Mars though.

    Glad the autopia is going(hopefully an electric California TESLA version goes in Carsland behind Luigi’s). The monorail could loose a few loops and gain more stations and trains.

    Hope the bulldozers move in soon!!!!!

    • Having dreamed of living aboard the Falcon for decades, and thinking about getting a hug from Tall, Dark & Hairy himself, I KNOW I’ll pass out…I might even pass out now!

      • Tall, Dark & Hairy = Harrison Ford?

  10. “The QR code on the DAS can also be used via internal communication to alert a Disney employee’s supervisor of a potential disability that may put them at a health risk on the job, assuming that employee hasn’t already made their supervisor aware of the disability.”

    Is this something they are planning on doing or just something that could be done given the technology? I’m not a lawyer but that seems questionable from a legal and/or ethical point of view.

    • I wondered that too, but seeing as they are signing in to the park as an employee benefit under the terms of their employment and the park, there is no reason that Disney couldn’t track that an employee is claiming a disability and linking that information on the employee database.

      That said, while sharing that information shouldn’t be a problem, acting on it might be a bit more difficult. Even if the employee claims a disability that prevents them from standing in a queue, I am not sure how the legality of going after them either through their job, or by trying to stop them from receiving the assistance would go over, or the legality of it.

    • I think it is to prevent cast members from cheating and claiming a disability they do not have to get the pass.

      • Bingo. And these conversations are already happening. But now it’s more casual. I know girls in Guest Relations and when they see a CM they know going in to City Hall for a GAC claiming they have some elaborate disability that prevents them from waiting in a line, they tell management. I have heard of several CM’s that have been pulled in to management for “a little chat” about the disability they just claimed on their weekend.

        After all, if you can work in Attractions for 8 hours a day standing and interacting with crowds of people, why can’t you wait in a 45 minute line at that same attraction on your day off? Any company would be stupid to not investigate that for the health and safety of both the employee and the employer.

        It sounds like the QR code will make the notification of that issue to management more streamlined and automatic.

  11. I also am a major Star Wars geek and can honestly say I’m not overly enthusiastic about this. Will the new Astro Orbiter be high or low? I certainly don’t want to see it blocking the view of SM’s peaks. No Autopia? That would be a major bummer for many who will no longer get to experience their first time “driving” at Disneyland. Conceptually, pieces of it work fine i.e. a Cantina…but I’d put that at Redd Rockets, not TL terrace. Which makes me wonder if RR will go away?

    Overall, just feels kinda strange, devoting most if not an entire land to one property. Could see it working in DCA or Disney Studios but not Disneyland. It completely kills the original concept of the original themed lands. But, being in Disney’s shoes I can see where this is incredibly attractive. You’ve got arguably the largest movie franchise in history and Uni building a Potter land up the road. This won’t be a Potter killer but would likely be the closest thing to it.

    • A Cars Land version of Autopia should be built in DCA. Have it themed like it’s a nursery for little newborn cars. Make it gorgeously themed and have it replace ‘A Bug’s Land’, with a few other complementary rides for kids also in the Cars theme.

  12. Hong Kong is getting an Iron Man attraction, btw. Just announced.

  13. I really hope they tear out the looping part of the monorail to make room in that large piece of property. I have been saying that for years it is a no brainer. removing that piece of the monorail track along with the people mover track would open up a huge chunk of land for better use.

    Using the old Innovention building for a queue and load zone is one of the two parts of the idea i don’t care for. That building is huge, I wish they would just tear it out and build something that uses the property better and is designed to fit the attraction better without wasting so much property for just a queue. Hopefully they do a very immersive queue though and loading area.

    The interesting bit will be the moving of the rocket rods, it will sure change the look of space mountain from ground level

    • They are completely demolishing the current Innoventions building for the speeder bike attraction.

      • Or at least, that’s how I read it the first time. “Gutted” does mean removing the internals…so, sorry, I retract my statement ^_^

        I’m confused. In all of the other talks about what was supposed to replace Innoventions, the building was to be fully demolished and the attraction would push all the way up to Harbor Blvd. But now that I think about it, with that whole expansion that is happening for Main Street using current backstage areas, perhaps Imagineering had to abandon those plans.

      • To: Pineapplewhipaddict —

        What expansion is happening for Main Street? I have not heard anything about this!!!! It’s exciting scoop if this is true. I think I saw plans ones for adding a ChinaTown street off Main Street. Can something like that be happening?

        Please give us the scoop!!!!

    • I think the opposite – if they can build the Endor forest around the monorail rails, they are no longer using up space – plus a trip through the endor forest while on the Monorail will be cool. That section of the Monorail track is the real reason for using the monorail, to get a nice scenic view of the park – take it out, and it will only be of any particular use if they create a station at California Adventure.

      I love the idea of going through the endor forest in the monorail.

      I also love the whole idea of these changes, everything sounds amazing… but I would be very sad to see Buzz go, as that is also one of my favourite rides. And there are a lot of people who feel that way, it just seems to be polarising as they are also many who see it as a waste of space.

      Perhaps, to keep the “Tomorrowland” theme going, a Mission:Space like ride would be awesome as part of the expansion, although given the problems they have had with that one they may not want to recreate it.

      I also wonder if they will be able to take in some of the backstage space between Tomorrowland and Main Street that exists currently for additional Tomorrowland expansion.

    • They’re moving the Astro Orbitor, not the Rocket Rods. The Rocket Rods have been gone since 2000?

  14. Wow this is awesome thank you for the updates. Im excited for the future of the resort. Will you be offering any updates on Wizarding World Hollywood?

  15. Seriously, just tear down the Innoventions building and build something proper. So tired of the cost-cutting moves that just result in aesthetic band-aids. You could house an entire attraction in that building. Why waste it all on a queue?

    Probably the biggest issue with it is that it blocks Harbor Blvd. quite nicely, and that’s not something management wants to give up.

    • I think it might have to do with the Main Street expansion using backstage areas.

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