MiceAge Disney Parks Update: Iger’s Ire

Written by MiceAge. Posted in Disney, Disney News, Disneyland Resort, Features, MiceAge Update, Walt Disney World

Tagged: , , , , , ,

Published on November 26, 2013 at 3:00 am with 225 Comments

The holiday season is in full swing, and huge crowds have descended on the Disneyland Resort this week. Both parks have never looked better with Christmas decorations covering nearly every land and corner of the resort. The new Winter Dreams and Viva Navidad shows in DCA are wowing audiences while the older Christmas classics still shine at Disneyland Park. With DCA now fixed and on a path to pull in over 10 Million visitors in 2013, it almost seems as if the Disneyland Resort has entered a new golden age. But in just the last two weeks dark storm clouds have gathered on the financial horizon, and a cold wind is blowing in from Burbank this winter that will be putting an immediate chill on Anaheim’s future. In this unfortunately downbeat update, we’ll fill you in on why so much of Anaheim’s future is now on hold, why it all happened so suddenly, and what just got the axe and what is hanging by a thread.

 

There’s bad news ahead. Got that comforting bowl of oatmeal ready? Oh, heck, might as well skip straight to the Bloody Mary, you’re going to need it.

 

My Magic Bust

Ever since Cars Land and the refreshed Disney California Adventure opened to rave reviews and huge crowds in June, 2012 the question in TDA has been “What’s next?” for Anaheim. And as the Disneyland Resort pulled in profits much stronger than predicted through 2012 and into 2013, Burbank and TDA were comfortable enough to let the Imagineers come up with plenty of new projects for both Disneyland and DCA. And we’ve been here to fill you in on which of those projects were moving forward and that had both the Imagineers and TDA planners so excited. But while times were fat and happy in Anaheim in recent years, the mood has been darkening this year out at Walt Disney World. While Anaheim spent the last few years investing heavily in new rides, shows and expansions for the parks, the Orlando team was investing in sterile technology and decidedly un-glamorous infrastructure needed to run the massive NextGen programs. The NextGen additions have only shown up in the parks recently as MagicBands, gateless theme park entrances, Fastpass+ entrances on rides as minor as the Teacups, and some interactive queues.

 

The NextGen project kept demanding more money and more time, as internal deadlines to go live with key elements of the plan tied to the MagicBands went by the wayside and were replaced by an endless series of small-scale tests instead of broad implementation. With each key element going live, the Operations teams in the field would report back with a laundry list of problems and customer aggravations with the system. It should be noted that the Operations folks saw all these problems coming years ago, but their protests and suggestions to not ditch time-tested procedures or overly complicate the customer experience fell on deaf ears.

 

But what the NextGen backers like Jay Rasulo lacked in basic theme park operations experience, they made up for by being high up the food chain in Burbank, and the program kept pressing forward while it went over budget and behind schedule. The execs pushing NextGen and glossing over its early failures have no front line experience running a theme park, nor do they have passion for providing the park visitors with a great experience, which is the fatal flaw behind the MagicBand’s problems.

 

The end result is that as Disney entered its new 2014 fiscal year a month ago, the results of years of NextGen investment weren’t paying off as they’d been promised to do strongly by Fiscal Year 2014. Not only is NextGen not paying off financially yet, it’s created a laundry list of additional fixes that will require more investment into 2015. While the executives in charge of the NextGen project have been dancing around the issue for the past year, by November the results thus far were clearly a disappointment to Burbank. And while the NextGen project was rolled out first at WDW, it was sold to Burbank and budgeted under the assumption that most of the concept could be duplicated in Anaheim as well. But one thing the NextGen project has done well is churn out tons of customer data and given the Operations folks lots of new experience with frustrated visitors and knowledge of what doesn’t work with the system. Much of that data conflicts with Anaheim’s demographics (dedicated locals and casual tourists on a bigger California vacation) and makes NextGen even less workable for the Disneyland Resort. Which makes the WDW financials look even worse to Burbank.

 

IMG_3182

 

Some in Anaheim will breathe a sigh of relief over that, like the Operations folks who took one look at the plans for a new Disneyland main entrance devoid of turnstiles or gates just steps from Harbor Blvd. At WDW the theme parks are relatively protected by being deep within Disney property, and behind layers of protection in the form of parking toll booths and various transportation systems required to get you to the entrance. But in Anaheim, the park main entrances sit on the busy Esplanade that has no safety valve to prevent large crowds from walking in off the street. The recent crowds who crushed against the park gates trying to get in to the 24 Hour Party would be uncontrollable if the gateless MagicBand system proposed for Anaheim was installed at Disneyland’s main entrance.

 

IMG_3286

 

Under this darkening cloud of financial news, Bob Iger and all of Disney’s top executives had a very tense series of meetings and presentations in Orlando two weeks ago. The NextGen program was discussed at length at this executive gathering, on the record and off, and it was impossible to sugarcoat the fact that the NextGen program is wildly over budget, way behind schedule, and not pulling in the extra profits it was supposed to. A furious Bob Iger returned to Burbank and has now told WDI to halt all work on all major projects planned for the American parks, Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland. And in a follow up meeting with Tom Staggs last week, WDI and TDA had the financial rug yanked out from underneath all of the smaller projects being worked on specifically for Anaheim and Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary. The result is that dozens of Imagineers who were working on Star Wars and other plans for Anaheim have now been told to stop their work and are reassigned to work on Shanghai Disneyland (and its conveniently separate budget) for at least the next 90 days.

 

Luckily, there are still some key attractions for Shanghai that are behind schedule in Imagineering and could use the extra help, like the Steve Davison produced musical boat ride through the massive Fantasyland Castle there. But after the 90 day hold period, if the moratorium on theme park spending isn’t lifted, layoffs will begin to spread through the Imagineering campus in Glendale. The financial freeze isn’t exclusive to Glendale either, as Disneyland President Michael Colglazier is now tasked with carving out as much extra savings as possible from the 2014 operating budget for Anaheim, and those cuts will be coming this winter.

 

IMG_3204

 

This is a big deal folks. While individual projects at WDI have had their budgets put on hold in the past, sometimes never recovering, this is different. The concept of stopping all work on all projects for all existing theme parks, except for the Oriental Land Company owned Tokyo property and Shanghai Disneyland, is a rare wide-reaching blow to WDI. What follows is a status report on the various projects and rumored plans we have been telling you about for Anaheim over the last year.

 

Star Wars in Tomorrowland – On Hold

Originally the plan to add Star Wars to Tomorrowland was going to be divided into two phases; a first phase involving some placemaking and a replacement for Captain EO to be finished prior to the 60th Anniversary, and a second phase kicking off in late 2015. The second phase included the Speeder Bike E Ticket ride, Ewok village and forest where Autopia currently is, a Millenium Falcon walk-thru where the PeopleMover platform is, tearing out the decaying PeopleMover tracks and moving the Astro Orbiter up on top of the Space Mountain concourse, and turning Tomorrowland Terrace into an interactive Tatooine Cantina restaurant show. All of that is now on hold indefinitely. Although Anaheim gets off a bit easier with its Star Wars plan on hold, as the plans for many of these Star Wars elements coming to Disney Hollywood Studios in WDW have just been cancelled outright.

 

Monstropolis in DCA – Cancelled

IMG_3291

This was the plan to turn the sleepy and decidedly unattractive corner of DCA’s Hollywood Land section into a Monstropolis mini-land. The existing Monsters Inc. dark ride was to remain, but MuppetVision and Stage 17 would be torn out to become an elaborate family-coaster based on the famous door sequence from the Monsters Inc. film. A new restaurant was planned, and that entire section of the park was to be reskinned and extensively rebuilt. This one got cancelled outright rather than the hold status of Star Wars, as Cars Land looks like it can continue to headline a very profitable DCA for at least several more years. There are some in WDI who feel the completed plans for Monstropolis at DCA will never see the light of day again.

 

Fantasyland Dark Ride Re-Imagineering – On Hold

IMG_2785

This is the plan to plus up and dramatically upgrade the five classic dark rides in Fantasyland; Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinnochio’s Daring Journey and Snow White’s Scary Adventures. This was being lumped into a marketable plan for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary, and the five major refurbishments were to begin in phases this winter and be completed by early ’15. The only thing still a go is the outdoor track replacement this January at Alice In Wonderland. But all of the show upgrades once planned for Alice, like the impressive new Queen of Hearts animatronic with the digitally rear projected face, are now on hold.

 

The Little Mermaid Re-Imagineering – On Hold

IMG_2028

This was the concept to fix the big Under The Sea room in this Omnimover ride with new lighting and less obtrusive infrastructure for the ceiling-mounted mechanics. New projection effects, tweaked animatronics, and reworked staging for several of the smaller scenes in this ride were also planned. A three week rehab was going to be needed, which particularly dooms this one because the Orlando team hates the idea of closing this ride in Magic Kingdom. This had to pencil out for installation in Anaheim only in 2014, with Orlando not willing to commit, which makes it iffy if this plan will be reborn.

 

Soarin’ Over California HD – Still A Go

This is the plan to close Soarin’ for almost four months, from early February to early June of 2014, to install all new digital projectors and upgrade the audio and theater experience. This would be phase one of the project to switch over to the new world-wide Soarin’ film that will debut first at DCA in 2015 before it opens at Shanghai Disneyland in early 2016. Soarin’s HD upgrade is still happening at DCA since the projectors and new equipment were budgeted as part of the Shanghai project. Although the mandate to stop all work everywhere at WDI has key Imagineers wondering if Soarin’ HD will also end up being put on hold a week or two from now, if the sharp pencil boys can figure out a way to delay the equipment contract for the DCA theaters. In Soarin’s favor, the new film in ’15 could be puffed up into a major marketing push for Disneyland’s 60th, due to the sudden lack of much else for that anniversary.

 

60th Anniversary Plans at Disneyland – On Hold

Anaheim’s planning for these concepts had just kicked off, with the first 60th Anniversary confidential strategy meeting in TDA’s executive conference room held back in early October. Just seven weeks ago the TDA executives were upbeat and planning for a big party in 2015. A new nighttime parade for Disneyland, a new day parade for DCA, plus new fireworks and various décor packages around the Resort were all being planned. The Fantasyland dark ride project was also going to be included in the 60th from a marketing standpoint, but that money was coming from a separate budget.

 

But everything for the 60th is on hold now. It’s the new parades that are most in jeopardy, as they have a much longer lead time for design and construction than new fireworks and decorations. Unless Burbank lifts the spending moratorium by spring, the new parades won’t make it. TDA is now working under the assumption that there won’t be much of anything for the 60th. With nothing new of any substance, the 60th Anniversary might devolve into a few sparse decorations, Twitter meet-ups from the chirpy Social Media group, and 60th logo t-shirts for sale in The Emporium.

 

DIVE! DIVE!

IMG_3195

 

This full-stop from Burbank has taken lots of folks in TDA by surprise. And there’s already a few glaring examples of this sudden mandate from Bob Iger. Most notably, the Submarine Voyage just showed up on the latest refurbishment calendar for Disneyland.

 

By now Bob Iger was supposed to have announced the plans for the Star Wars invasion of Tomorrowland. Bob had said on an investor conference call back in early August “We’re going to continue to invest in Disneyland. We’ve got some pretty exciting things that we’ll be announcing over the next couple of months.” And even as recent as November 8th Bob told Bloomberg News “The only thing I can share, which actually I don’t think we’ve talked about much, is there is a fair amount of development going on at Disney Imagineering right now to expand the Star Wars presence in California and in Orlando and eventually in other parks around the world.” But that statement was a few days before he flew out to Orlando and was updated on just how dire the situation with NextGen was, and then became quite aware that the Board of Directors was not going to allow him to keep spending on the parks with NextGen in such a sorry state.

 

The Submarine Voyage was already slated to close in January as a cost-saving measure, in advance of work beginning on the Ewok village and Speeder Bike course above. The subs are currently showing up on internal planning calendars as being closed for refurbishment from January 4th to September 26th, 2014. But that’s just a result of the clumsy way TDA’s planners track unknown refurbishments, as they slot it to run for the rest of the fiscal year until a real end date can be decided on. Friday, September 26th is the last working day of Fiscal Year 2014 for the cubicle worker that publishes the planning calendars, and thus that shows up as the end date for this fake “refurbishment” that is really just a permanent closure.

 

IMG_3201

 

But that plan to close the subs had been approved by TDA last month when they were working under the timeline that had Star Wars being announced before the holidays. The submarines themselves are in dire need of repair, mainly due to their electric propulsion system and the batteries that power them. When the submarines were brought back in 2007 for the Finding Nemo voyage, the old diesel engines were scrapped in favor of new electric drive motors powered by batteries that are charged underwater via a type of linear-induction system. This made the submarines cleaner and earned the Resort smog credits with the Southern California Air Quality Management District, which allows Disneyland to perform many more fireworks shows per year than they normally would. But the batteries and power systems are not aging well, and the submarines are in constant need of repair. Many times, a submarine can’t make it through an entire operating day and has to be towed back to the dock for maintenance on the battery packs.

 

IMG_3196

 

The lagoon itself is also an expensive facility to maintain, and is due for a full draining and refurbishment if it’s to continue as an operating attraction, especially one with a Pixar connection. Add in the fact that the submarine operation requires a huge amount of Cast Member labor to keep running, for a relatively small hourly capacity of just 800 riders per hour, and the Submarine Voyage has the distinction of being Anaheim’s most expensive attraction to operate by far. That makes it an easy target for panicky TDA executives looking to cut costs, and the Star Wars announcement was supposed to give them the cover they needed to quietly close the 54 year old submarine attraction for a second time.

 

Unlike in 1998 however when Paul Pressler weaseled his way into the first closure with no replacement plan, this closure would be permanent as the caverns show building was to be demolished to build the Ewok’s forested home planet. But now that the Star Wars plan is on hold thanks to the horrible condition of WDW’s NextGen project, TDA is going to go ahead with the closure falsely labeled a “refurbishment” with the hopes that Burbank will reopen the purse strings later in 2014 and the Star Wars announcement can finally be made to save face. Fans of the submarines would be wise to get in their last rides before January 4th.

 

None of this is good news, obviously. Disney’s Parks & Resorts division is the goose that lays the golden eggs for the company, routinely bringing in Billions in operating cash fiscal year after fiscal year, while more volatile divisions like the Studios or TV networks can go from feast to famine and can bleed money suddenly. But the NextGen project at WDW has already cost so much money, and is so far behind schedule, that the lack of profit being generated by its stunted condition is now too glaring a problem for Burbank to ignore. Until the Florida team responsible for getting NextGen off the ground and getting all those tourists to happily plan their vacations down to the minute months in advance can show some real progress and profits from the system, there will be little to plan for at most of the other Disney parks around the world. There are now nervous senior executives with careers on the line, not to mention Bob Iger’s stellar record of wise investment that could be irreparably harmed if the word MagicBand joins New Coke and Edsel in the history book of corporate failures.

 

IMG_2659

 

In the short term, the Disneyland Resort will still have a sparkling holiday season this year, as the Resort has never been more popular with locals and tourists alike. Winter Dreams is so popular that a third show has just been added nightly through Christmas, and the wonderfully festive Viva Navidad show in DCA is rating off the charts on visitor satisfaction surveys. And Disneyland itself has never looked better this season with lavish decorations over freshly maintained facilities, and finally an end in sight for the fall protection work at older rides and buildings around the park. But when all the Christmas decorations are packed away in January and the crowds go home, this will be a long winter that could lead to a much bleaker future for Anaheim. We will keep you informed if anything changes, but for now there’s not much for Disneyland fans to look forward to through at least the 60th Anniversary.

 

Well, that’s our unfortunate update for today folks. We know this was painful to read, but once you’ve recomposed yourself, we’d love to hear your thoughts below. How would you like to see this situation resolved and how can Disneyland recover in time for the 60th anniversary?

 

We are often asked how you can contribute to help keep these updates coming. Today, instead of sending money, we simply ask that you share this column with your friends and family. It’s as simple as clicking the social links at the top of this page!

 

 

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: Editor@MiceChat.com

Browse Archived Articles by

  • Kevin Yee

    For a decade, DCA was the “heroin monkey” on Disneyland’s back. Is MyMagic+ now playing the role of heroin monkey, stealing all the infrastructure/investment money?

    • parker4fm

      I question how long DCA will continue to see the attendance levels that it is currently enjoying? The park still has a lack of attractions in my opinion. I was never a fan of Monstropolis, but at least it would add another layer to the park. I would much rather see something that better fits thematically for Hollywood Land. I give it another year before the popularity of Cars Land fades…

      • chesirecat

        That’s a very good point.

        If a Star Wars land comes to DLR, it might well go into the Simba parking lot (more space than Carsland), and that the Paradise Pier hotel might well be demolished, or even re-skinned. If Star Wars land goes there, then they have enough space for WDI’s *very* lavish plans, and guests are kinda forced to walk past Paradise Pier and Mermaid. The Viva Navidad celebration was strategically placed in one of DCA’s least visited areas for a reason.

      • Puck2DaHead

        I completely agree with you parker4fm. I would go so far and specify that it has a lack of attractions with a re-ride-ability worth paying the admission price. Many of the attractions are fun and entertaining, but there is something about the DL attractions that allow for them to be re-ridden, over and over again. I’ve been to both parks way too much, and I have to say that there is almost never a time where I’ve brought guests to RSR in the morning, and they beg to go on it again before they leave, unlike Pirates, Mansion, Space, Splash, Thunder (when it was/is open), and a few other attractions that hit the spot.

        I think the allure of Carsland will wear away sooner than later.

      • Tinkerbell

        I completely agree. I think going forth with these projects might be too much too soon. While the attractions at DCA are great for a first-time experience, I don’t know many who really have much of a desire to go back for more as they do the attractions in DL. I have always expected Carsland’s popularity to wane because of this. If they must install a Star Wars anything, I think it’s more important to put in DCA, where more attractions are definitely needed. There is room, and I think it makes more sense going there thematically.
        Where the rest of the article is concerned, I’m not very supportive of the NextGen things at the moment either. Some things need to be kept simple.

      • jimijam27

        I agree with you, I thought that a Monsters Inc. area did not make sense. Unless they have a third successful Cars movie than I also agree with you on your Carsland point.

    • Indeed. And we all saw this coming a million miles away. You can not add significant value to a theme park by building a better way to squeeze money out of your guests. At least build some rides before you shake them upside down to see what’s in their pockets.

      Ideally, MyMagic+ should have rolled out with a massive expansion like Star Wars Land instead of pretending to be its own draw (which it will never be on its own).

      The sad news here is that instead of rapidly redirecting his attention to other projects and firing everyone involved with the MyMagic+ decision, Iger is instead canceling the thing that will really drive revenue and increased attendance (new attractions) so they can pump even more money into MyMagic+. My hope is that he will get over his anger and sort out the priorities logically. You can’t grow a theme park empire without new attractions!!!

      WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME DISNEYLAND PARK GOT A MAJOR ATTRACTION MR. IGER???? YOU ARE FAILING TO MAINTAIN YOUR BRAND!!!!

      That’s Billions (with a “B”) of wasted money for Disney while Universal rapidly builds Massive Harry Potter expansions in both California and Orlando. At least Universal will have something new for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary. Perhaps that’s the message Iger should be taking to his shareholders.

      • Puck2DaHead

        +1 Mr. Sage….

        The with WDI and ‘new’ DL attractions is that they probably classify the ‘re-imagined’ attractions towards their ‘new’ major attractions list. While there is some weight behind that thinking, there is no allure that will bring the new guests. Obviously, RSR was a success, as it continues to spark curiosity and forces guests to purchase a ticket to a park that they’d probably pass up; however, when they open the ‘re-imagined’ Thunder Mountain, do they really think that is going to boost attendance away from the guests that were already planning a trip to the parks??

        I agree whole-heartedly with you when you say, “You can’t grow a theme park empire without new attractions!!!” Disney needs to understand that…Walt did, and that empire grew annually. This regime grows in profit (as we’ve seen with this past fiscal year), but comes up short with ingenuity, creativity, and experience. It’s a shame. I’m not the only person who will see their pass expire in the coming weeks and not renew.

      • MarkW

        AGREED! The way to add value is to add attractions. While adding infrastructure that helps better schedule your visit might be welcome for some, it’s not going to drive attendence. New rides and attractions will. Hopefully, they can put a relatively-cheap bandaid on the Next Gen program and draw a line under it, thus freeing up money for future park investment like the remake of Tomorrowland.

      • LoveStallion

        Amen to Puck2DaHead. The new Star Tours is terrific, but how are lines now? Busier than before 2011, sure, but are we talking seven-hour waits nowadays? Nope. Reimagined rides just don’t have the same pull as new ones.

        RSR has shown pretty good staying power, as has Midway Mania. Disneyland hasn’t received an all-new attraction (excluding anything at Innoventions) since… Pooh? Correct me if I’m wrong, people.

      • gabriel velez

        Why does this news feel like we will be seeing the Disneyland Resort in dire need of repair, paint jobs and everything else in between? I thought those years were long behind us, but it seems like they will be rearing its ugly head again. Is TDO that incompetent to run the WDW Resort?

      • Sifferz

        Nail on the head. I mean, I wanted to comment with my thoughts and frustrations, but you really said it all. I can’t believe how pathetic the past this guy and Eisner have been at adding attractions. They get handed a parks brand that has been the world’s premiere example of a theme park and the universal favorite, but then they don’t take a look at what made it that in the first place. Turn your eyes on merchandising, focus on keeping them on site, do everything possible to monetize every square foot and trust the existing attractions to bring them in, while everyone around you starts to catch up.

        I’ll always love Disneyland, but this just hurts to watch sometimes, especially when an angry exec tells WDI to halt their projects. They are the ones who make the attractions that bring in the money… they are the key, and he just shuts them down while trying to fix what was a stupid idea in the first place.

      • SpectroMan

        Well said, Dusty!

      • pinkertonfloyd

        They thought that people would swoon over the tech… I bet ipods and iphones came in as part of the pitch. Problem is that most people don’t trust technology, and always wonder what is going on… basically people see it as “great this is helping disney, but does it do anything for me”. They also get confused (just remember, no matter who “idiot proof” something is… you’ll just find either a better idiot or a better scammer to get around it.

        Like Dusty said though… people aren’t going to go over some cool electronic tracking/reservation system… they’re there “for the rides/experience”… 99.99% of people are just fine with the tickets.

        If Disney really wanted to go with the new bands, they would have been better off using them in the same way at first (like a ticket, get fastpasses by swiping them on a machine, etc) and slowly adding new features to them over time.

        It’s funny… Disney is starting to become like Government, they need to break themselves up a bit and work on projects separate… it seems the more Burbank gets involved, the more things get overblown… too many people want to share the credit for that new fangled thing that’s going to make them rich $$$.

      • Gibson510

        Good point.

        The NextGen project seems to have developed into a cancer that needs to be cut loose. However, it would be difficult for Iger to justify all those losses in response to cutting the program.

        To me, it’s more of the same dumb decision making that’s gone on recently. Continue throwing money away on NextGen while cutting programs that will drive future revenue..

      • Goofy Daddy

        Yo9u are right on the money with this one Dusty!

    • chesirecat

      LOL, heroin monkey, I had to google that!

      MyMagic+/NextGen, IMHO, isn’t stealing money from the budget for theme park attractions, the seemingly big $1 billion price tag is for the roll-out of the whole program to all Disney parks, and there isn’t a $1 billion hole in Disney’s budget, which is public information as Disney is a publicly traded company. MyMagic, like the RFID at Great Wolf Resorts, will make money for the Disney parks, so it will pay for itself, and will even pay for future attractions as it will improve the bottom-line for the resorts. Construction of brick and mortar rides costs money, the RFID technology itself not so much, and it has cost savings with regards to hotel room locks/maintenance.

      The Nemo Sub system actually has less maintenance costs than the older one, and uses inductive charging technology that is efficient and reliable, as proven in many other Disney attractions. So, Nemo will probably get a lengthy refurb to bring back some missing effects and for a top to bottom cleaning and other improvements, especially since the ride is one of Pixar’s babies and Nemo 2 is coming out. Yeah, there are broken effects to fix on Nemo, but they’ll have the ride looking great for Finding Dory.

      WDI is steadily working away on a Star Wars land, and as others have noted, the WDI budget isn’t tied directly into MyMagic which doesn’t appear to have any major unexpected costs and is a kinda self-contained infrastructure project which will make money for the parks.

      Iger is a big tease, he hinted at more Star Wars in domestic parks, and hinted that the company hadn’t announced what was going into Shanghai (maybe Star Wars land!) and that Hong Kong might get a Star Wars land as well . . .

      • How can you say that Next Gen isn’t hurting theme park investments when the biggest things to open during it’s expenditure are Mickey and the Magical Map and a Jack Sparrow walkthrough at Hollywood Studios?

      • DLFan1995

        WDI ISN’T working on Star Wars Land. All work for Star Wars has been halted. The budget isn’t the issue. It’s that Iger said to stop all work.

        Hopefully, the Star Wars for Disneyland will be PERMANENTLY stopped. It should go in the WDW Studio Tours park where it belongs.

      • richboi117

        But it’s cost $1 billion and it’s still not entailing everything originally planned. MM+ has to be pulling funds from these development projects or else they wouldn’t be put on hold.

        And I agree with you, DLFan1995. Star Wars Land should go to the Studios park– It should be their Cars Land. Let’s face it, the only thing that could trump Harry Potter is Star Wars! If anything should go into Tomorrowland it should be Marvel; it would be a marvel staple in Cali, since it’s already in Universal FL. A star Wars in the Studios would give West Coasters a reason to go to Florida and Cars Land should be a draw for East Coasters to come to Cali.

    • jcruise86
  • BigBearLA

    Thank you for the thorough reporting on this truly unfortunate and discouraging news. I hope that after a number of months the executives at the Parks will reconsider future projects and improvement plans. I’ve been a Premium AP holder to the Southern California Resorts for many years. Premium APs are expensive, and though it may be a rose-colored glasses way of looking at it, I feel a full AP is almost like a contract with the Parks to maintain a high level of entertainment value and park experience. This news, as all of the reporting you’ve done on the whole MyMagic mess and the cost cutting in Florida, does not sound like the Executives at Disney are living up to their part of the contract. My hopes for the next year and beyond are that a balance is returned to the upcoming improvement plans for Disney Resort. And I hope that the win-win success of Carsland and the new DCA is repeated – giving people new, truly well thought out and well-realized Park rides and experiences.

  • parker4fm

    Would Parks & Resorts ever consider going to a separate budget per park mentality? They may have operated this way in the past. From the outside looking in, TDA knows that “if you build it, they will come” has worked very well with DCA. They also know that they are a locals park. If their budget is cut due to something in Orlando, this is a very big blow to them. This could ultimately hurt their attendance numbers and revenue, which would bring everyone down. A classic case of two wrongs don’t make a right. So, from that perspective, wouldn’t it be financially logical to separate budgets so that TDA has something to work with to keep their attendance and revenue high? The same thing could be said for Paris and Hong Kong. Disney Studios Paris will still be in rough shape after the new dark ride opens. The park is weak on theme and attractions. Paris overall continues to lose money because it does not have enough to entice guests to come back. Hong Kong will eventually see trouble when Shanghai opens. Each park should be able to utilize some separate budget to keep visitors coming in the gates.

    Yes? No? Fire Jay Rasulo?

    • BrerJon

      Shifting to per park would only work if each area was doing well, but WDW often has terrible numbers and relies on DCL and Anaheim to make the overall pill a less bitter one in the financials.

      • parker4fm

        The sad truth is that if investments were made on quality attractions, more people would come, attendance and revenue would rise. DCA is a shining example of this. Keep in mind that this isn’t a call for a new ride or attraction every year. It’s a reminder that quality can top quantity. The question still remains, for how long? How long will Cars Land sustain DCA?

  • coasterandrew

    Extremely fabricated article. And MyMagic+ rollout has been doing well in many areas. High percentile rollout in table service locations? Merchandise success? Fastpass+ team hiring in the last month providing role promotion for younger cast members?

    It is an exciting time in Orlando and this article is just lies.

    • “Extremely fabricated”? I’m sorry but this is what’s happening. This isn’t our observations, we are reporting on the actual meetings that Iger had in Disney World and their results. We don’t like it any more than you do.

      You may very well have had a great experience with MyMagic+, but that doesn’t change the statistics and budgets that Iger is working with.

      Don’t shoot the messenger.

      • Kidgenie

        Dusty, with all due respect, there is “information” in this update that is clearly inaccurate. Bob Iger was not, and is not in the dark about the My Magic + roll out. He did not fly back from orlando so shock, frustrated and angry about the “failures” of my magic + that he took the actions stated here. Budgets don’t work like that and would be actions like that are public information with a company like Disney which would have ripple effects on Wall Street that would make the news, and Disney’s Stock Price would be negatively affected. This is now the second major article in the recent month I have seen that I absolutely KNOW Miceage got it wrong. Its not about shooting the messenger. It about being accurate and trustworthy. Please, as an insider I choose to not say what I know, but its pretty easy to find out. Please, Miceage needs to go back and do some research about what is really happening at WDW. Looking at the top of Space Ship Earth might be a good start.

      • I respectfully disagree with you Kidgenie. There’s nothing that we’ve gotten wrong. Disney changes things from time to time and we report on that. But that doesn’t make us wrong. We stay on our toes and report the things that are happening right now in the halls of Burbank, TDA and Imagineering. We realize that there are many who don’t want to hear anything negative, but this is some very big news which needed to be shared. And it fundamentally changes what the Imagineers were working on and what we have already reported.

      • Disneylandguest

        So Dusty, If I am to interpret your reply to Kidgenie correctly,

        When you say;

        “There’s nothing that we’ve gotten wrong. Disney changes things from time to time and we report on that. But that doesn’t make us wrong. We stay on our toes and report the things that are happening right now in the halls of Burbank, TDA and Imagineering.”

        You are basically saying;

        “We’re awesome and we are never wrong.”

        Stay classy (and humble) miceage.

      • DLFan1995

        Kidgenie, while every aspect of the update may not be entirely accurate, the fact is that Iger returned from Florida and shut down most projects at WDI. That would indicate that he learned SOMETHING while on his trip that triggered those decisions.

        I have no doubt that Magic+ is in trouble (I expected that from the start). Disney has often delved into expensive initiatives that penciled out on paper but cost the company in practicality (SAP). This is probably another example. They should just scale it back to a workable, less extensive program. Use it sparingly for the resorts where it may ACTUALLY be worthwhile.

      • TheBig2na

        I was just going to ask. What is happening on the top of SSE? We noticed something different this past week.

    • red014

      Seriously. MM+ *JUST* rolled out. They’re still installing turnstiles for magic band access. They haven’t turned on any of the location based services. Right now it’s replacing your room key, and that’s it, I’m sure there’s more to come. Overbudget maybe, but way to early to call it a bust. I heard my aunt paid too much for our turkey. Thanksgiving 2013 is going to be a bust.

      • jcruise86

        Did she pay a billion for the bird that would have been better spent elsewhere?

      • Puck2DaHead

        ^ Hahahhahaha!!!

      • billyjobobb

        did she spend so much on the turkey that nothing else can be served? Will you be sitting down to a nice roast turkey, and no sides, no pumpkin pie? Me, I could go without the turkey. It’s all about the stuffing and the desserts.

        Serve just a turkey? I’ll skip that.

        And yes, this whole thing is a turkey.

    • FerretAfros

      I’m also skeptical about the NextGen project being the reason behind cancelling all of these things. Many of the projects seemed questionable to me from the start, and this just seems like an easy excuse to say they’re cancelling them

      Yes, there are issues in WDW. No, it’s not going to have the scope, schedule, or budget originally intended, but I don’t think it’s bad enough that they’re cancelling projects at other resorts as a result. If NextGen is in any way involved, it’s likely cancelling the Anaheim projects so that they’ll have more money for the Anaheim roll-out in a few years

    • 71jason

      Promotion? Hahahahahahahaha They’re bottom of the barrel jobs. One friend got rehired after being on DNR status for dropping an F-bomb on stage. WDW is desperate for bodies to take the customer service blow from this. (Clearly their standards for hiring online plants have fallen quite far, as well.)

    • Jungle Trekkie

      It looks like Disney turned their public relations interns loose to attack MiceAge today.

      What is “extremely fabricated” about the article, coasterandrew?

      Your little attack response here seems “extremely fabricated”.

      It is an exciting time in Orlando if you own Universal Studios and see how much Disney is screwing up their operations. Yippee.

      • RodeToad

        Well said Jungle Trekkie

      • Internitty

        That’s exactly what I was thinking too

  • clewandowski

    Can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get this sort of update about DISNEY WORLD? I am begging you!

  • Bfscott77

    BEST thing I read in that article: Monstropolis in DCA – Cancelled!!!!

  • JCSkipr79

    I will be LIVID if The FL redo gets cancelled. That’s all I care about. Uni. must be totally laughing.

    • Badgermann

      My thoughts exactly. It seems a dangerous path to hold off on improvements when Universal has already publicly committed a large and recurring amount of cash to adding attractions to their parks.

  • JFS in IL

    I wonder how this will affect the DAS program – I suspect it has been meant as a temporary fix to the GAC program until the Magic Bands were available, since then the accommodations could be programed into the band…. at least in my imagination this was to be the case.

    • MyMagic+ hasn’t been canceled. It’s just sucked up all the money for other projects. I’d imagine that DAS will still eventually be rolled into the Magic Bands.

  • Dan Heaton

    This isn’t surprising, though all the delays and cancellations are sad. With MyMagic+, Disney tried to squeeze money from a place where it wasn’t there. Instead of focusing on improving the guest experience on offering new attractions, they’re limiting the experience. Even guests who don’t go as frequently can recognize a con job when they see one. Disney is trying to fix something that isn’t broken and has over shot with their attempts to make money through NextGen technology. It’s been a mess from the start.

    Of course, the sensible move would be to pull back on the changes, re-think them, and then adjust. Instead, Iger is stopping the things that can actually make people forget about the MyMagic+ mess: new attractions. Brilliant.

    • Badgermann

      It seems they have spent money giving guests an experience that they could already get, for free in a slightly different form.

      The FP+ currently only appeals to the mega planners who shedule their days down to the minute, which is a very small percentage of guests. The vast majority of guests don’t even enter the parks with any idea of what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Unless the FP+ begin to suck up all of the fastpasses and standy wait times shoot up, forcing everyone to plan farther ahead.

  • jcruise86
  • Wedbliss

    [quote]But what the NextGen backers like Jay Rasulo lacked in basic theme park operations experience, they made up for by being high up the food chain in Burbank[/quote]

    Michael Eisner espoused the widely held belief that a good manager can manage anything. I would agree with this for the most part, but theme parks, especially Disney theme parks, seem to be in different category with different rules. The thing is that Jay Rasulo doesn’t lack basic theme park operation experience. How much more experience does this guy need? He’s been around theme parks for 20 years! It’s not experience that counts here. It’s something else. If one cannot appreciate the theme park experience from the perspective of the guest, and truly enjoy doing so with passion, then one ends up with what we have now. I don’t believe for a second that Bob Iger, Jay Rasulo, Tom Staggs, et al, understand the theme park experience the way we do. Let’s just say that Bob Iger is more likely to eat a fine dinner in Paris, France than in the France pavillion at Epcot. This experience isn’t even on their radar. How could it be? Live Bob Iger’s life for a couple of days and a trip to Disneyland will seem pretty lackluster by comparision.

    Not just anyone with a list of business credentials can manage Parks and Resorts properly. The whole thing was started by people who DID understand the guest experience. They understood it because they weren’t insulated from the guests they served. The difference between Walt Disney and Bob Iger is that Walt never allowed himself the luxury of being elite while Mr. Iger lives in a steel and glass box. Walt and his people were connected to the rest of us emotionally, while the modern executives are not. Walt instinctively knew what people wanted. Jay Rasulo doesn’t have a clue. Walt was a businessman and a showman. Jay Rasulo isn’t sure what a showman is.

    So what do people want? That’s a bit of a trick question, because the funny thing about Disney parks is that history seems to show that people don’t really know what they want until they see it. There was no clamoring demand for Disneyland to even exist in the first place. There was no advanced demand for AAs or monorails or Swiss mountains. There was no focus group showing POTC and Haunted Mansion would be universally popular.

    And if marketing surveys are to be believed, then guests wanted NextGen. If you ask what could be improved in a theme park, it isn’t hard to imagine that reducing the time spent waiting in line might be a common response. To simplify, it wouldn’t be hard to come to the conclusion that a new system to deal with these survey issues would be the golden ticket to a prosperous future.

    But the the real golden ticket is giving guests something worth standing in line for. But what should that be? I don’t know. Coming up with that answer is WDI’s job, which they are more than qualifed to do. Let them do it. And they will give us something we never even knew we wanted.

    New room keys, new park tickets and new fastpasses! And somehow this is “magic”. Lame. At the moment everything seems like it’s upside down. Disney is putting the brakes on the things it should be fast tracking and moving ahead with a boondoggle that I find boring and mystifying.

    The one good thing that may come from this is that I now cannot imagine Jay Rasulo ever becoming CEO of WDC. If a Walt Disney only comes around once every 100 years or so, then it’s past due time for another Walt to come along. Any volunteers?

    • KennyVee

      You got a good 30 seconds of applause out of me for this comment.

    • MarkW

      Absolutely, one of the best things I’ve read on this site! Well done! I agree wholeheartedly.

    • Puck2DaHead

      Great comment!

    • Disney excels in mass produced entertainment. The problem is they’re now thinking like someone that is mass producing entertainment. Anything that is mass produced is going to be watered down. Watering down your brand damages your reputation to a point that makes it difficult to recover.

    • connerd

      Infrastructure is never as exciting as new rides. Look at Universal’s Harry Potter, Diagon Alley and Transformers. The Fantasyland expansion that is heavy on Meet and Greets and Restaurants while short on D/E ticket rides is a perfect example of how not to do it. Unfortunately, Pandora: The World of Avatar won’t do much to move the needle.

      To answer your question about the next Walt Disney, he is already there. Scott Trowbridge is currently the WDI Blue Sky Studio leader and rising through the ranks.

    • Sambo

      Nail head – direct hit! There was more obvious wisdom in your post than much of anything Iger or Rasulo has said in the past few years. They both have outlived their 15 minutes of fame. If the Board wasn’t filled with sycophants who get their millions regardless of doing a good job or a mediocre job – they could see it is time to rehire at the top.

  • rstar

    It sounds to me like Bob Igor is throwing a temper tantrum! Halting all investment into the most profitable part of the company over one project that simply can’t work at all parks is absurd! I hope that the 90 day hold will come to a healthy conclusion and all will be restored by that time. It sounds like Igor is the new Pressler. I suppose I better sell the autograph he gave me while it still has some value!

  • LoveStallion

    No love lost here on the Monstropolis front. It was a silly idea in the first place. Give us something original and non-Pixar that also fits in Hollywood.

    Terrible about the subs, though. I don’t love the Nemo overlay, despite its technical achievements, but the subs, overall, add immeasurable kinetic energy to the park, and no other Disney park has anything like seeing the subs along with the Matterhorn. I will deeply miss them.

  • Jkom

    Hopefully the Writer of this article glances at my post…this article isn’t true, and simply makes no sense. You can’t write articles about rumors. First off, the Budget of MyMagic+ does not have anything to do with Imagineering. Second, Disney’s Profits, stock, and cash flow has never been higher. When they set aside a budget for MyMagic bands that budget doesn’t affect all aspects of the company…that is why it is called a budget. You don’t budget for $1.5billion, and then say we have to layoff people in an unrelated part of our business. Bob Iger recently said that Magic Bands will be rolling out more in the near future. And he most recently once again restated that STAR WARS LAND is still in the making. There are no “closed door” statements with a publicly traded company like Disney, especially when the Earnings call did not state anything about Holding on Star Wars Land. If your “facts” were correct about the Magic Bands were true, you would see the stock of Disney drop immediately, as Wall Street sees any small glitch in the system and reacts…at this very second. Disney Stock is up .71cents…
    You simply cannot make claims to “Monsters Inc land cancelled” as no Official statements were ever made. So they cancelled an unplanned section of the park?
    You cannot write articles based on rumors, then again, this is a website titled Micechat, so perhaps I’m going off about nothing.

    • unclemike

      MiceChat’s track record speaks for itself. They are very close to many people behind-the-scenes who are more than willing to dish anonymously on Disney’s plans. Disney plans things years in advance before they are ever ready to make an “Official statement.”

    • jedited

      To Jkom, for you to say “First off, the Budget of MyMagic+ does not have anything to do with Imagineering.” Shows that you have NO idea of how multinational corporations operate nor about finance in general.
      First, the point of this article is that MyMagic+ is way OVER budget. Second, MyMagic, WDI, WDW, DL, Cruise line, and to a lesser extent the international Disney parks ALL fall under the Parks and Resorts division. So if one of your operating units (in the case MyMagic+) requires addtional money, then that money doesn’t come from thin air. It has to come from someplace, namely the other operating units. It’s true that MyMagic’s budget was a capital expense, but what this article is saying is that Corporate Disney is halting ALL other capital expenses in the Parks and Resorts division until this mess can be sorted out.

    • billyjobobb

      When you budget money for magic bands it is under the assumption that once they roll out they will be generating money. If the money they generate isn’t there, there isn’t that money to spend.

      If a business spends a billion dollars on stuffed animals and then none sell, they don’t have the 2 billion they were expecting, so they now gotta cut more than they spent since they were expecting a profit. And if your business isn’t profitable, try raising capital for anything else.

      If magic bands tanks, then the whole outlook for disney stock could slide.

    • Dizguy34

      I would tend to agree 100% the author of this article is writing off pure speculation and gossip. How does the author know what has transpired with the CEO of one of the worlds largest companies… I find it silly to think that this is first or even third hand information. Until anything even the projects mentioned in this article is officially released, it all should be considered blue sky and not the gospel truth….

      • DLFan1995

        While there is no way to know for sure, it appears that the author received information that provided context for the content. The fact that Iger did make decisions that stopped work at WDI after his visit to Florida indicates that something was amiss that caused him to do so.

        Nobody said it was the gospel truth. However, all signals indicate that there ARE financial issues and Iger appears to be responding to them.

    • gatorgrad

      JKom, you raise some important issues, but but your overall business assessment re: stock market reaction to these problems is a little off.

      The stock market reaction is not as prompt and efficient as you seem to give it credit for here. It certainly does not update each second based on private conversations held in executives’ offices.

      As you raised in your post, a lot of this is based on rumors, even though I’m sure Micechat’s staff has their sources just as TMZ’s staff or any other site reporting rumors (a group that by the way includes WSJ, NY Times, CNN, etc.). As of right now, stock traders do not have actionable information, and thus, until the next quarter where public information must be released by Disney, or any official statements or press releases about this, the stock market cannot react. Disney, a large successful corporation, knows not to make those kinds of statements. In case you’re curious, part of my job involves tracking stock market reaction to company shortcomings and strategic changes. It’s called event study analysis. As a researcher, I can’t track the reaction until there is some tangible announcement or press about the event. Thus, I take this article as more cautionary than anything else.

      If losses continue (and if Iger indeed suspends expenditure on new attractions to cut the bleeding, rest assured they will) then Disney will need to acknowledge the reasoning behind poor quarterly performance. At that point, it is reasonable to assume these Disney World infrastructure upgrades (I refuse to use the Disney proprietary marketing terminology) will need to be acknowledged.

      I’ll conclude by saying that lots of people on this site come here because of the very things you cited as problematic, i.e., reporting rumors before they are announced. I feel this is the #1 site for that type of information, and I am glad to see that continue to be featured.

  • lighttragic

    this is very dangerous if layoffs come i worry about some of imagineerings top talent like Joe Rhode, steve Davison it would be crazy to thnink of WDI without them

    • clewandowski

      Wow you’re right…horrible thought! I love Joe!

    • It’s mostly the folks working on canceled projects who would be a greatest risk. Joe has Avatar to work on and Steve is doing all sorts of stuff for Shanghai and all the other parks. I’d think it would be other folks who we should worry for.

  • StevenW

    They can keep spending money on it or scrap it. Cut their losses. I wonder if it will turn into Disney’s own Iger-care.

  • aquila

    Hmmm…Big expensive billion dollar program that no one asked for which was supposed to make things better for the customer but really only served the interest of its creator.

    Sounds familiar….maybe we should call it “Igercare.”

  • Epcyclopedia

    The last time a decree went out to stop all spending and put all projects in indefinite “limbo” was Eisner’s rampage when Epcot went vastly over budget.

    Epcot never opened the remaining pavilions that weren’t under construction or final design (with sponsor money lined up) and they sit as vacant lots to this day.

    The the thing is.. Epcot made the money back, and quickly. But those projects never came back, attention went elsewhere.

    So these projects are as good as canceled. They’ll invest elsewhere, eventually, but not in these projects.

    • airick75

      Could you clarify your timeline on this? Epcot opened in 1982. Eisner didn’t join the company until 1984. Are you saying even two years after opening that Epcot was way over budget and thus ongoing projects were cut?

      • Epcyclopedia

        I suppose it’s not fair to blame it all on Eisner, as you’re right, the timeline puts him at the end tail end of it.

        But did say “Do not spend another dime on this park.”

        That’s why Horizons opened in 1983 and Morocco in 1984. And then nothing of the 7 other planned pavilions until 1987 with Norway, more fully funded by a company than any other establishment in the World Showcase, even Morocco.

    • WDWorldly

      In this case, it might be for the best. A lot of fans were rightly unenthusiastic about Star Wars and Monstropolis. When these plans are revisited, probably under a new CEO, they could reemerge as something motivated more by imagination and original storytelling than corporate marketing synergy.

  • airick75

    I have two thoughts – one is a knee-jerk cry of frustration over the way ego-driven higher-ups work. Like, why should your incompetence affect someone else’s project, job, enjoyment, etc…

    Second, while reading this I thought, “Is it April Fool’s?” Because the article is believable, but just barely. Then I noted the number of other skeptical commenters below the article. Also, Kevin Yee (micechat weekly columnist) gave a rundown just in the last few weeks of how MyMagic (or whatever its called) does actually bring in money. However lame I, and many others, think it is, it does add up money wise. So, how in the world does this mess occur? And how could all the cost overruns and fixes possibly add up to holding and canceling all those projects? Something just doesn’t add up, and I feel like more in-depth reporting and official statements are needed. Was Al Lutz himself able to sign off on this update? Or do we have a 60 minutes Benghazi situation here?

    That said, if this all ends up being true, more power to you Miceage – I am not in complete doubt, as obviously you have a strong track record.

    • DLFan1995

      Is it certain that Magic+ actually brings in more money? Or is it just that the same money that WAS coming via other sources (cash, credit cards, etc) now passes through Disney’s hands?

  • Fans new this was a bad idea from the start. I said so on multiple outlets and have been as vocal as I can be on this very site.

    This is an embarassment for the company, and they deserve this gigantic piece of humble pie that will result from this.

    Cut your losses now Disney, it will be cheaper in the long run.

  • Algernon

    NextGen=The New Coke.

    Rip out Nemo and bring back the old subs. Make Tomorrowland the world of tomorrow again.

    • LoveStallion

      Your last two sentences seem counterintuitive. We being back the world of tomorrow by presenting a long-since antiquated version of it?

      • Seawolf

        The concept of liquid space from the original attraction was never antiquated, the rotting infrastructure and aging ride vehicles were the cause of its demise. By creating a new version of the original idea, you can bet your last bottom dollar that it would be super successful if WDI were given the needed funds and freedom.

    • jimijam27

      YES I agree!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The world of tomorrow instead of more character junk.

  • JiminyCricketFan

    While Disney has now put much of the new attractions on hold, Universal will be piling on with their expansion of Harry Potter. Delaying new rides and attractions for Disneyland will only spread the advantage Universal has in Orlando now to Anaheim. So nothing will be going on in Disneyland but there will be a major Harry Potter expansion and it universal. Sounds like soon will be the time to get an annual pass to Universal instead of Disneyland.

    The themepark business is different then television and movies. Think Parks must be planned five years in advance to fully realize what is done. The broad cancellation of all these projects only means losses for Disney later on.

    • PLAZAINN1

      Let’s not forget that Disney is on top of bringing in exciting new attractions all the time in the form of “MEET AND GREETS”. I am truly getting my money’s worth on those exciting elements. Harry Potter exapnsions and new attractions don’t even come close to those “MEET & GREETS”. What a joke.

      • jimijam27

        Maybe there should be a new land? Meet and greet world. They could have like 15 meet and greets, seven different stores selling all of the same stuff and fourteen restaurants.

        I hope they don’t read this they might think it is a good idea. 🙂

        These execs need to have more meetings with front line cast members, I bet they would have more original ideas.

  • Baloo

    If this is all true and Iger wants to save some money than maybe its time to lay off some of those executives in WDW. The problem is that if he was to do that then Wall street would react unfavorably.

    Iger is making a huge mistake with this decision if most of these things are true, holding back on an important anniversary celebration for Anaheim could end up being the worst decision he could make. Major celebrations for Anaheim are huge money makers and the 50th is a good example. The 50th celebration turned the resort around and gave Anaheim the bright future and huge revenues that it is now enjoying above and beyond what WDW could ever hope for.

    What he needs to do is shuffle things around and either give each resort its power back to run them individually with only key things kept within the one Disney park idea or turn the power around and have key executives from BOTH resorts call the shots. An even power that would help discussions on what projects might work for both resorts and which will not.

    As for the magic+ if and when they do roll it out here in Anaheim and concerns do arise over the close proximity of the open gates to the streets then maybe its time that Management here in Anaheim is given the authority to start coming up with a logical plan to help control but not reduce the flow of traffic coming in from street level. Maybe its time for a new hotel to be built over the east side transportation area and a proper transportation system that will bring in paid guests into the park esplanades. with constant thousands of guests park hopping throughout the day and guest just crossing the esplanade to get to downtown Disney control massive crowds from charging gates without turnstyle it is going to get pretty challenging

  • DCACM

    A big thumbs up to cancelling Monstropolis and Star Wars Land on hold (hopefully cancelled too)… the concepts seemed shoe-horned and knee-jerk reactions to Harry Potter coming to town). Too bad about the 60th though. Why don’t they just cut their losses on next gen and divert all that $ to actually plussing the parks?

    • MikeK

      Agreed

  • Jkom

    This article isn’t Facts guys, its a person grabbing general Rumors and opinions. Don’t take what someone on MICECHAT.COM. Magic Bands are not causing a ripple in the entire Company, this is just a blog and not official in any way, shape, or form.

    • LoveStallion

      Uh, how often has Micechat been wrong?

    • DLFan1995

      And how do YOU know that???

    • Seawolf

      Sorry, Micechat has an excellent record. Until such time when they are wrong on a constant basis you can’t take what this website says with a grain of salt.

  • DuckyDelite

    I was so happy with the last Disney update — I couldn’t believe all the positive things planned for the parks. I really can’t believe I’m reading this one so soon after. It can’t be true, can it?

    I want to believe it is a plant — Disney trying to weed out leaks in the company. On the other hand, I have worked at enough large companies to know how things work when the higher ups are failing. Move people from successful projects, like the DCA remake, to failing projects to try to fix them.

    Are they really planning on doing nothing at Disneyland for the next 2 years? Please, please, please tell me next time they are planning on doing more than tweet meet-n-greet times for the 60th anniversary!

  • Mousecat

    Rationing versus capacity building

    The current WDW model. Like a cruise ship, ration experiences to maximize internal capacity. Where else can the visitor go? If the glass is not full then you are wasting capacity.

    The Walt Disney model: Create an environment so compelling you just want to be there. Build a high capacity signature attraction then support it with secondary attractions, stores, and shops that reinforce why you just want to be there.

    Funny that Universal is committing $500 million (that’s close to $900 in Disney money) a year to do it Walt’s way.

    Sam
    http://Www.facebook.com/TheDisneylandStory

    • jimijam27

      I think that is because Universal has seen what it takes to make things work long term. Maybe Knotts can make inroads on Disneyland. They seem to keep plussing their park.

  • airick75

    You know, a few updates ago, buried in the update was a small paragraph saying Autopia was going to be closed to make way for the Star Wars project. And it was stated in such an underwhelming manner, you could almost overlook it. The headline and the majority of the update dealt with something else entirely. I commented then along the lines of “What!!?? How is that not your LEAD STORY!!?? Closing Autopia!!??”

    And while I love Star Wars, I cannot entirely bemoan the cancellation of the whole sweeping project of essentially turning Tomorrowland into Star Wars land. If you want a Star Wars land, build it as its own park, or make it part of the hodgepodge which is CA ADV.

    Something has seemed off in recent updates. Time will tell.

  • mycroft16

    I’ll be blunt. I have seen better things written by howler monkeys throwing fecal matter at walls. This article was full of fear inducing adjectives very carefully chosen. It is no secret that there is a hate for MyMagic+ among the powers that be at MiceAge. And perpetuating the idea that MyMagic+ is a minute-by-minute pre-planning only tool just reinforces that. It isn’t. Get over it.

    Not to mention the horrific misconstruing of how Disney parks are funded. Each is a separate budget. NextGen is also a separate budget. If it is over cost, behind schedule, they stop all work on it… not at Disneyland Paris. Or even Disneyland. Or even Disney World for that matter.

    And another thing, who installed the listening devices on the persons of key senior executives at the Walt Disney Company to be able to listen in on off the record high level conversations? Or is there an NSA employee at MiceAge that we don’t know about? On a similar note, such a massive, Earth shattering halt to all projects for 4 of the worlds busiest and high earning theme park resorts would have been reported on by actual financial reporters too. Especially if it included cut backs and all. Going in to a major anniversary? Yeah, yet nothing in the trades at all about this. And I promise they are better connected and far more reputable and MiceAge is when it comes to reporting on the inner financial workings of major corporations.

    • Norman Gidney

      I will be prudent. I’ve seen better metaphors used with less hyperbole. Your comment was full of hate inducing vitriol with little to back it up. It IS no secret that MiceChat is skeptical of the MyMagic+ roll out in that it offers little return for guests while being a tremendous benefit to Disney. But even Kevin Yee offered a rather favorable review of the service in his article today http://micechat.com/49032-magicbands-kevins-review/. But if MyMagic+ is not a pre-planning tool, pray tell, what is it?

      Could you please explain to me how budgets work? Enlighten me. Generally speaking when there is a struggling division of a company, there is the strong possibility that it will effect those parts of the company financially tied to it. The only parks not directly attached to Disney’s cash flow are those run, and funded, by the Oriental Land Company. Anything else that the Disney company is paying its cadre of imagineers to work on can be tooled with, postponed, or halted.

      Keep in mind, though, that this is ONLY a 60 day hold. Mr. Iger is actually taking a very shrewd measure here by attempting to find the weak spots in something that has had tremendous capital expended on it. This is not an Earth-shattering halt to the parks, it is a hold on the resources allocated to those projects in the parks. The only thing being closed, per-se, is the subs… again.

      Listening devices on Disney execs? No. But a very James Bond idea. But we report on the things that Disney will not officially communicate. Hence, there will be no official announcement from Disney on this matter until Mr. Iger has time to sift through what he finds. After the 60 day hold period, he will have either solved the issue and things will be back to normal, or the projects on hold will get a new timeline or status. The point is that Iger is tasked with delivering a fiscally sound solution that satisfies the board of directors after 1.5 billion has not fully returned as much as they hoped.

      To make an announcement and then not deliver is an embarrassing thing. Does anyone remember the Disney Decade? Iger is fully aware of that fact and does his best not to tip his hand too early. Fortunately, very few of the projects mentioned in this article were ever fully announced. So we will see what happens in two months.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • chesirecat

    WDI has been working on a highly detailed/immersive StarWarsland, probably bigger than a Carsland given how much they want to pack into it. Obviously, the company is invested in Star Wars land, and they are chugging away and designing this land. Carsland was announced in 2007, and opened five years later, it does take time to design ride system/new experiences, the deal with Lucasfilm is relatively new in that timeframe. Disney only recently disclosed that they’re working on a Star Wars land, probably to be announced after Episode VII, or even after Episode VIII.

    Fans have speculated that they’ll use a Star Wars skin for Tomorrowland, though at this point, that would be a waste of the theme as WDI is going big with this concept. Rides like Buzz, Space, Nemo Subs, rocket jets, aren’t part of a Star Wars land that actually looks like the world of Star Wars.

    DCA’s Hollywood area has a 3-D Muppets movie, so probably this theater won’t be demolished anytime soon, and since the monorail track goes between this building and the soundstage, it is hard to see how it would be demolished as part of a Monsters Inc. roller coaster.

    So . . . the Star Wars/Monostropolis rumors were probably fan generated as ideas to “fix” areas of the park which some people find aesthetically unpleasing or discongruent thematically. Now that the rumors have . . . evaporated into thin air due to rumors involving MyMagic . . .

    It probably makes more sense for Star Wars land to be the next big thing, on the scale, or bigger, than Carsland, as a major draw for DLR, which means probably Simba’s parking lot as you wouldn’t need to build the infrastructure for third gate, and to leave Tomorrowland as a “plug and play” type of land where attractions can be added and removed as needed, which doesn’t preclude the demolishment of Innoventions and a new ride experience.

  • OrangeFlash

    In 1976 I worked for a carnival in south Texas and then 2 months later worked at Walt Disney World. The carnies called the customers “rubes” to emphasize how they looked down on them. At WDW we were taught to call the customers “guests” and treat them like out grandchildren. I think the root problem is that Rasulo and co. are treating the guests like rubes.

    • Eric Davis

      This is a VERY appropriate comparison! Thank you for sharing that!

  • disneykaren

    So sad to read this. I won’t speculate but will only relate my own experience. I spent over 3 hours on the phone and many online trying to “prepare” for our NextGen experience. When we finally arrived at our resort, only a few of the 21 magic bands (we only had 8 in our party) worked. We spent another hour and a half with a CM at BLT trying to sort it out. After we finally threw in the towel, some of the bands worked for park entrance, some worked for our one and only MM+ experience (touring plans offered a much more reasonable plan than Disney) but most did work to open our resort door. So, like most others, we carried all the cards and some used bands. It was NOT a magical experience and the time spent trying to sort it all out did not pay off. We saw it as a waste of time and unneeded stress before we even started our vacation. I can’t see how it will be anything but divisive if resorts are given different allotments of MM+ attractions due to deluxe, moderate, or value and legacy FP is removed. I can’t understand why they are so invested to MAKE IT WORK regardless of financial and guest experience costs. Hope they reconsider and just let it fade away. Just because you can do something, doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea.

  • Trevor

    I’m not going to lie. I am so happy that Monstropolis is cancelled.

    As for everything else, hopefully it gets sorted soon. I can’t see them going long without some sort of plan to continue the success that previous Anaheim Investments are bringing. Only time will tell.

  • whamo

    I’m stoked “Soaring” is still a go, but the dark rides need attention. And what about Frontierland? It’s a disgrace! The Stage Coach and Mule Ride, gone with the wind. It needs a Wild West Show, Indians in war paint and feathers, and mountain men in buckskins, and a re-think. The Star Wars Project is too promising to put on hold!
    It’s the suits running the corporation. Disney needs someone with a Disney vision! Walt, Roy, they’re gone, and a need man with vision needs to step up to the plate. These Wall Street types are going to ruin things if they’re not stopped!

  • scarymouse

    Horrible news, I am now re- thinking my 60th anniversary trip. Kinda sad really , I think all those in charge should be thinking “is this what Walt would do or want ? ” I think not. Universal is now looking like the destination to go to in socal. Disney better wake up and get back to being the premier resort it has always been. It is a shame that all the excitement of future projects are dashed for the sake of a failed system designed just to optimise maximum amount of dollars from our pockets.Walt’s legacy is being tainted by mindless idiots.This saddens me greatly. Boo to Mr. Iger . I think its time for Mr.iger to take an early morning walk through Disneyland, maybe Walt’s ghost could give him some insight on what he should be doing. I wonder if he has ever done that ?Maybe he should.

    • billyjobobb

      We already talked about buying annual passes for the 60th. And we live in Oregon. 5 or 6 trips down there through the year would be a huge expense. With plane tickets and hotel rooms, food, souvenirs… maybe 10 grand. Would it be worth it?

      • PLAZAINN1

        It would not be worth that big chunk of money. We are pass holders and the crowds have really ruined the experience for us and the money value is NOT there. We go into the parks for about an hour and leave, because we cannot do anything there.

  • ParadiseDude

    If your not going to refurb thr rest of the fantasyland ride at least upgrade alice comparing is the only to look forward to at DLR in 2014

  • MikeK

    Music to my ears. I couldn’t be happier reading that the Star Wars/Tomorrowland and Monsters rumors are cancelled and on hold. I didn’t like the direction they were going with these franchises. They don’t fit in thematically to Tomorrowland and Hollywoodland. Hopefully, Star Wars in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland will be cancelled, or moved out of Disneyland.

    I wish they would cancel Pandora too. Don’t get me started on that!

    As for My Magic or Next Gen, or whatever they call it, I heard it cost anywhere from 1 to 3 billion dollars. That’s billion with a B! How many new theme parks could have been built with that money? Let’s see, Animal Kingdom, Disney MGM and DCA each cost less than 1 billion initially, so you do the math.

  • ParadiseDude

    How The Bob Iger Stole Disney

    This is just heartbreaking

  • gadbearr

    I am really shocked at reading about all the negative issues with the MagicBands. We spent the week at WDW November 10-15 and used the MyMagic+ system and it worked great for us. The only snag was the iPhone app “My Disney Experience” that had some performance issues and before we left for the week there was already an app update that helped with this issue. We spent the entire day of November 11th at the last day of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival and not once did our MagicBands fail while paying for our food items. In fact I think we spent twice as much as last year because the MagicBands were to easy to pay with. We heard all day long… “Touch the mouse to the mouse and enter your pin number” Ha! We even made up a little song about it.

    The MagicBands worked great as our PhotoPass and our room key. Always unlocked the room every time. We even got chosen for a survey while at Animal Kingdom and made some suggestions for the MagicBands in the future. The cast member typed in every word we said. Hopefully someone will see it.

    One other BIG change we noticed from our last visit compared to our visit in February of this year was the upgrade in WiFi. It’s like they turned on a whole new system. WDW Resorts WiFi use to suck very very badly. Our iPhone and iPad would drop from the system all the time and it was a pain to stay on. This time it was much better and we didn’t have to call tech support at the resort not even once. Something big changed with the WiFi system in less than a year’s time. It can be better but I am not complaining.

  • Eric Davis

    Not to be “That” person… but I am. While Disney puts stuff on hold to figure out who it has spent 1.2 – 1.5 BILLION dollars, Universal is on a roll and will be building a new e-Ticket attraction EVERY year in Orlando AND Hollywood.

    While Disney continues to put things on hold, figure out where all it’s money went, I will continue to visit Universal every weekend, and enjoy all the new shows, attractions, dining and experiences they have created for me!

    • Country Bear

      What Eric said! Ditto.

    • Trumpet

      So true Eric!

      Maybe a link to your article, showing off how money should be spent to get the crowds back to the parks!

    • PLAZAINN1

      Eric, don’t forget about all those Disney Meet and Greets, so worth the money value. lol NOT

  • Big D

    Well, I never believed any of the new projects were going to happen anyway, but I’m very glad to hear about Monstropolis and Star Wars in Tomorrowland being put on indefinite hold (hopefully like when Rocket Rods and Light Magic went on hiatus — any word on when those are coming back btw?) 😀

  • Quitterdan

    Iger is an idiot. Sounds like his plan to “Cancel everything” except Shanghai is a cheap stab at the people who do the actual work for DL. Tantrums don’t change the fact that you have to make SMART business decisions for your company, and this is not a smart decision. He needs to re-evaluate his decision. DL is the real Money maker here, and he needs to keep moving forward on it. Or it’s time for a new leader….

    • PLAZAINN1

      Iger needs to step down or be replaced. I agree, he is an idiot, plain and simple.

  • Wedbliss

    There is another way that I look at this issue, but I come to the same conclusion. First off, I am assuming that the above article is factual. But even if it isn’t, it doesn’t matter much.

    One thing is clear. NextGen is essentially an infrastructure improvement. Perhaps it’s a brilliant idea to invest in this upgrade which could morph into something which might serve the resort well in a world where RFID is becoming commonplace. Perhaps Disney is doing this now while costs are lower than they will be in a few years. This makes sense in the way that widening roads and maintaining good drainage makes sense. But, in an industry based on attractions, NextGen is being presented as just that. This isn’t an infrastructure improvement, no this is fun, like magical fun.

    Well, no it isn’t. And the real problem is, one way or another, whether the above article is factual or not, NextGen is coming at the expense of all the great stuff coming down the pipeline at WDI. And that trade off is hard for me to tolerate. The only thing I can personally do, I have done. I did not renew my AP to WDW and for the first time since 2007, I don’t have admission to a Disney Park in my pocket.

    The shortsightedness involved goes completely against the nature of Disney Park DNA. These parks are a different business model that anything else I can think of. They were built on the principle that if one spends more now, quality will out and the later reward will be greater. And they were built by a man who knew what people wanted before they themselves did. That’s the formula. There is no way I can think of to duplicate it. And the very sound of it puts Wall Street in a foul mood. The hubbub going is because NextGen isn’t paying off NOW. NOW. Wall Street wants it NOW. And that is poison to the Disney way of creating.

    I want to see Iger suck it up. Of course, I don’t own a gazillion shares of Disney stock, but NextGen needs to be looked at as a long term infrastructure investment and if the company eats that money, then so be it. Iger needs to accelerate WDI projects for the US Parks, not put them on hold. But he won’t. Bob Iger doesn’t have the will that Walt Disney had. Oh well, few do.

    And if I had to sum it up in one sentence I would say that the core problem is that the business precepts of Walt Disney are the opposite of the business precepts of Wall Street and Wall Street is going to win.

  • Mr Wiggins

    > “It should be noted that the Operations folks saw all these problems coming years ago, but their protests and suggestions to not ditch time-tested procedures or overly complicate the customer experience fell on deaf ears.

    But what the NextGen backers like Jay Rasulo lacked in basic theme park operations experience, they made up for by being high up the food chain in Burbank, and the program kept pressing forward while it went over budget and behind schedule. The execs pushing NextGen and glossing over its early failures have no front line experience running a theme park, nor do they have passion for providing the park visitors with a great experience, which is the fatal flaw behind the MagicBand’s problems.” <

    Disney suits and fanboys may be surprised when this fiasco finally crashes and burns, but no one else will be. It was completely predictable — and predicted. The only remaining unknowns are who will be blamed internally (hint: not anyone above Sr. VP), and how the Disney PR and social media machines will spin it externally (hint: get out your hipboots, folks, the bs is going to be deep).

    Just another example of what happens when you give the keys to the Happiest Places on Earth to a bunch of beancounters (who, by no coincidence, were hired and trained by Michael Eisner).

  • OogieBoogie

    Avatar Land better be being scrapped as well. Anaheim shouldn’t be taking the brunt of this!!!!!

  • Pingback: Theme Park Rumors: ‘Star Wars’ Tomorrowland Plans Put on Hold, ‘Monsters Inc.’ Coaster Cancelled | Filmdot()

  • Pingback: Fresh Baked Disney Is Disney's MyMagic killing Disneyland? » Fresh Baked Disney()

  • Malin

    Here’s how I view the article. I think MiceChat has been very bold in predicting new attractions which were never intended to make it to the Parks this early in the development phase. This update has severely suffered since Al no longer writes it himself and MiceChat loss Tony Baxter as its main source. What the article also leaves out are the two massive projects happening out at WDW with Disney Springs and Avatar. So Disney is still doing a lot of work at WDW even if DL gets nothing. Although I think this is a case of being fed information which was far to early in development and now backtracking the story to save face.

    • MikeK

      Interesting…there’s probably some truth in you comment. This site has gotten really sloppy with rumors lately.

    • DLFan1995

      1. The new attractions ARE (WERE) being developed for the parks, Whether they actually get installed is another issue altogether. If they got installed, then they WERE INTENDED.
      2. Baxter was NEVER a source for Al or anyone else in MiceChat or any other blog.
      3. It appears that Avatar is not being impacted by Iger’s recent decisions.
      4. While the recent decisions are most likely not based on general mind changing at corporate level, they do appear to be a reaction to issues that Iger finds compelling.

  • Pingback: Rumors: Disneyland’s Star Wars plans on hold?()

  • kate-e

    Priorities VS Commitments. All these special events and procedures are starting to catch up with the resorts and becoming more demanding that they can handle and it shows.
    I think with the expected dual 24 hour days, earlier holiday offerings, and the endless trial and error of My Magic Plus causes the longest refurbshiment time ever, loss of keeping up with standards and now all these cut backs on important milestones like the 60th and new projects.
    Priorities will always include making more profit but skipping 24 hour disney days this year might help with a better 60th and shorter down time for attractions and time to focus on catching up..
    I still miss the food and wine fest in DCA but sacrifices are made for the better… 🙂

  • Pingback: Disney Parks Star Wars Themed Tomorrowland on hold/Canceled? | MakingStarWars.net()

  • disney1218

    All I’m hoping is that they can come with something within 90 days, which I’m sure they will. Something like this wouldn’t be taken lightly. Let’s just hope that they know what they’re doing.

  • Sarafina

    Very interesting as these projects were only rumor up to this point anyways. Hard to verify if this news is true or not.

    I will say that last Friday I was asked by a survey CM in Tomorrowland, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love Star Wars?” Knowing what lurked behind the question, I was quick to say 10, BUT I do NOT want to see Tomorrowland turn into Star Wars Land. I am happy with the level of SW in DLR and do not want to see it increase. The survey CM agreed with me and we parted ways.

    So we’ll see what comes of that….

  • HiddenMickey87

    This update drew anger as well. I say this as a lifelong attendee (nearly 30 years) and fan of Disneyland.

    It’s time to fire these bean counters and executives who have no interest in guests’ experience and only an eye on the money (that goes for many CEOs and politicians as well). America is suffering under this corporate mentality of money over humanity.

    These Disney execs will quote Walt as they boast on about their plans and ideas, and just as quickly operate in the opposite fashion (what most visitors don’t know about or realize). Indeed the problem is that many people won’t notice. There are so few of us true Disneyland fans who are in tune to these things, compared to casual guests. And there lays another problem.

    I expect most visitors are casual guests. (They may come once in a while or even often, but do not know a lot of Disney history or politics like many members here.) A lot of the park’s classic attractions were built at times when those ideas when those ideas were new and fresh. That’s why they’re still classics today. Nowadays the consumers’ attention span is rather short and focused on the NOW and the hype (i.e. I’LL HAPPILY STAND THREE DAYS IN LINE FOR THE NEWEST PHONE WHICH OMG IS THE COOLEST THING!!! THIS PHONE IS LIKE SO LAME, I NEED THE NEWEST ONE NOW!). Like a child. They will happily soak up and drop millions on the latest craze, be it celebrity or franchise, and the bean counters have found a comfortable niche in that.

    In addition, the pace of technology has vastly grown compared to those attention spans (let alone our ability to safely and courteously use it) and appreciation of it. Pirates of the Caribbean was fine for 40 years without Jack Sparrow and still would be. Cars Land, I predict, will fade within 5-10 years. LESS focus on the “next big thing,” MORE focus on something LASTING and enduring.

    Sadly, it’s a lose-lose. The bean counters will continue reaping from guests more focused on their cell phones than park details. They’ll lift their eyes from their text long enough to ride the new hip ride and buy $100 worth of its merchandise, before getting bored and moving on. Meanwhile, the millionaire execs who can afford lavish lifestyles and experiences the average Disneyland guest can not, think all is ok and go on plotting ways to suck more money out at the expense of the park’s details (Court of Angels and Disneyland Hotel’s waterfalls, as a few examples). They, like the politicians and CEOs, are out of touch with most of America and ought to live a few weeks in our shoes. Their true boss, although he is not here, is Walt Disney, and it is because of him they have their current jobs.

    One person earlier wrote it best:

    “Not just anyone with a list of business credentials can manage Parks and Resorts properly. The whole thing was started by people who DID understand the guest experience. They understood it because they weren’t insulated from the guests they served. The difference between Walt Disney and Bob Iger is that Walt never allowed himself the luxury of being elite while Mr. Iger lives in a steel and glass box. Walt and his people were connected to the rest of us emotionally, while the modern executives are not. Walt instinctively knew what people wanted. Jay Rasulo doesn’t have a clue. Walt was a businessman and a showman. Jay Rasulo isn’t sure what a showman is.”

    If a Walt Disney only comes around once every 100 years or so, then it’s past due time for another Walt to come along. Any volunteers?

    Iger, put the quality back in the parks. Respect your guests’ experiences and their wallets, and respect your employees as well. Walt could have made that quarter selling the Disneyland newspaper, but he knew giving them away for free would brighten the guests’ experiences and make them want to come back. I admire Walt. His generation has the Hench’s, the Blaire’s, the Atencio’s, the Annette’s, etc. Today’s corporation breeds the Miley’s.

    And while I’m ranting… Tomorrowland DOES NOT need more Star Wars. It has enough. It needs the kinetic energy and motion it had in the 70s and 80s. Today’s Tomorrowland is an accurate portrayal of the future… dismal, grim and overcrowded. Let’s fix that.

  • Indy Fan 1

    I say that it is complete BS that the Subs are closing. Al has lost a ton of credibility to me these past few years. However I will say that IF and that is IF the Subs do close, I will call for corporate raiders to step in and oust the Disney management.

  • jcruise86

    Even if MyMagic+’s Magicbands worked as intended there would be the cost of making some non-hotel guests feel like second class citizens when waiting for attractions. This damages Walt’s ideal of making every Disneyland guest feel like a VIP. Some were more “very important” than VIPs because of Club 33, but Club 33 was cleverly hidden.

    This is like three or four John Carters and Iger is ultimately to blame. If Steve Burke, John Lasseter, and Matt Ouimet were running Disney it would be in better shape than it is with Rasulo, Iger, Staggs and Crofton. Iger is charming and articulate, but it’s time for R.I.S.C. to go. I wonder if Lasseter’s power was diminished when his former boss and Disney’s biggest stockholder, Steve Jobs, died. Maybe major stockholders George Lucas, Jobs’ widow, and that Marvel guy could team up to do what Roy Disney, Jr. did when he wanted fresh leadership. (Did Lucas get stock for Star Wars?)

  • SpyderJav13

    Seems to me that these are clearly decisions made out of blind anger. Why would anyone in their right mind, cancel and put on-hold, ideas that will be guaranteed profit makers? Though it is true that the My Magic+ were failures in their own right, I never thought it would be so bad to the point that Disney would lose complete common sense on the matter.
    I propose this to you Mr. Iger, that rather than cancel efforts necessary to stand against your competitors in the coming years, you should bet on them. These future endeavors will be surefire means to recover and strengthen any losses made by the wristbands and you know it. Because as things stand right now, you are punishing not only yourself, but the fans of your beloved company who will be the ones to dig you out of this mess. Don’t continue the strain of bad decisions, put an end to it and the solution will surely present itself.

  • indyjones

    You might want to know a bit more about the Magic Bands and “turnstyle-less entrance” before indicating it would not work here. I just returned from WDW where I took place in the Magic Bands trial. The one thing that they could REALLY use at Disneyland IS the no turn-style entrance. It was awesome and would work fine out here. What used to be ONE turnstyle is now 4. And no problems with pushing large strollers in. One person with a ticket issue no longer mucks up the entire line. You just walk around them to one of the 4 little poles and you touch your band to it.
    Your comments about Disneyland being so close to the streets are really meaningless as they can still have the gates that close to block things off. It’s not just a wide-open promenade out in WDW. It looks just like it used to, but no turnstyles.
    That said, the Fast Pass system doesn’t seem like it would work well out here. It is definitely more suited for the out of town guests coming for a week. We had some issues using the FP system and really only used it a few times. Other friends on the trip had nothing but problems with it.

  • blueohanaterror

    It’s AFFECT, not EFFECT. And it’s in your freaking headline. C’mon, do a better job. It immediately wounds the credibility of whatever comes after the headline.

    And I have to echo the sentiments of the poster who wrote that the article makes no sense… The moneys allocated have already cleared. So someone’s been fed a load of bologna, and what’s worse, it got printed here.

    That said, I won’t cry if that Monstropolis expansion never happens. It’s a dumb, ill-fitting concept for that area of the park.

    • airick75

      Haha – I hadn’t even seen that. Wow – and neither have the editor’s after a full day’s post. This doesn’t help the credibility issue at all.

      • CCS

        It is “editors” plural, not “editor’s,” which means “editor is” Don’t throw stones…..

  • EC82

    Well, well, well. Thanks, Jay Rasulo and Tom Staggs. THIS is what happens when the focus becomes profits above all rather than content. We’re stuck with a technology system that the marketing team can’t even communicate adequately — just look at the latest Mickey Monitor from WDW — not to mention the fact that there’s no marketing hook. In Florida, Universal will have a massive advertising, PR and marketing presence with the Harry Potter expansion, while Disney focuses on what message? “We have RFID wristbands!” doesn’t seem very appealing. “Your Disney vacation just got even more expensive” is also not terribly compelling.

    Last year, Rasulo explained the ONLY reason this was important: Disney wanted people to spend more money at WDW. He said it loud and clear to analysts and media, and was not ashamed of the fact that Disney’s investment, invisible to guests, was designed specifically to get people to spend more money … not have a better time.

    You reap what you sow.

    And that’s exactly what Disney is doing wrong with “Star Wars.” They want to strip mine the property and get as much out of it as they can, as quickly as they can. There’s one big, huge problem with this, and to know what it is, just look at the queue times for “Star Tours.” Disney cannot seem to acknowledge or even comprehend that “Star Wars” has a very specific, finite fan base. George Lucas and Lucasfilm knew this, which is why they limited the investment on the prequels to $120 million per film, maximum, and licensed out everything else. They had a constant cash flow through licensing, and the financial risk was on someone else’s shoulders.

    Lucas had many opportunities to build his own theme parks or invest in “Star Wars” directly, beyond the films, but he didn’t, with one exception: LucasArts, a division of his company that never made money.

    The “Star Wars” fan base is robust and very, very engaged, especially right now as Disney keeps fanning the flames of interest in the next movie. But, just like Paramount learned the VERY hard way with “Star Trek,” the appeal of “Star Wars” does not extend beyond those who have ALREADY shown interest.

    Re-engineering an entire section of a theme park, one with a general “futuristic” theme (well, allegedly) that can encompass many different ideas, into a single-theme area is just a terrible idea. Disneyland is NOT Universal Studios. People do not go to Disneyland to engage with their favorite characters or properties, they go there to engage with DISNEY. Disney itself learned this with Disney-MGM Studios, and changed the park to encompass more varied Disney experiences (which purists like me think ruined it, but attendance shows helped).

    The public does not equate “Star Wars” with Disney, and the “Star Wars” consumer base is as big as it will ever get. That’s not a slam on “Star Wars,” it’s just that little girls and moms and teenage girls and senior citizens don’t get “Star Wars” and never have, at least not, perhaps, since 1977. To gut an entire land and turn it into all “Star Wars” all the time is something that right now, in this moment, seems awfully appealing for financial reasons. Is Disney ready, in five or seven years, to have that entire area of the park be much like “Star Tours” itself … generating a level of interest that is at best fractional to what it was upon opening? Anyone ever see “Star Tours” circa 2007, when the entry sign was covered with cobwebs and the wait time approached 0 minutes?

    Meeting short-term financial targets and justifying massive investments are not the best motivations for the theme park business.

    • Mr Wiggins

      > “The public does not equate “Star Wars” with Disney, and the “Star Wars” consumer base is as big as it will ever get. That’s not a slam on “Star Wars,” it’s just that little girls and moms and teenage girls and senior citizens don’t get “Star Wars” and never have, at least not, perhaps, since 1977. To gut an entire land and turn it into all “Star Wars” all the time is something that right now, in this moment, seems awfully appealing for financial reasons.” <

      Exactly right. The reason Disney spent billions buying Marvel and Star Wars is to make even more billions from the boy demographic that comes with those brands. They already own the lucrative girl demographic with Princesses, the boy market has the potential to bring them even bigger bucks.

      That is, if they don't get greedy and overreach, as they're doing with NextScrewup and MyBoneheads+.

      • EC82

        Mr. Wiggins — I’m one of the few people who think they overpaid. Disney wasn’t exactly struggling “without” the boy demo … and it seems to me a great many millions of men are happy Disney fans today without having had Disney entertainment made “just for them” in the 1970s and 1980s. The key back then was to tell great stories and make great movies and build great theme park attractions. But you can’t explain that to a generation of MBA graduates. They only understand things they can put on spreadsheets. I think Disney will do fine with “Star Wars” and Lucasfilm, but I think $4 billion could have created some amazing home-grown entertainment that could have profited Disney even more.

      • Mr Wiggins

        > “The key back then was to tell great stories and make great movies and build great theme park attractions. But you can’t explain that to a generation of MBA graduates.” <

        And you especially can't explain that to the generation of Eisner thinkalikes who are running Disney Parks. When, by chance or error, they promote someone like Matt Ouimet who does understand what it's about, they dump him as soon as they discover he's not a clone of the group mind.

  • dustinwashere

    What about Avatar land and it’s massive budget? Surly if you have sources for all these other projects being canceled and put on hold then there would be news of Avatar land’s future?

    • bfdf55

      I think that Avatar is in a real of it’s own. Due to Iger’s fascination with the property and obvious support for Cameron (ala Bruckheimer and Pirates), I think there will be continues support for Avatar just as with Magic+. When they invested so much, it will look really bad if they pull the plug, even if it’s warranted.

  • Pingback: Rumour: Disney Parks’ Star Wars attractions on hold? | Star Wars... Always()

  • Disshade

    This whole update feels like a convenient way to clean up a year’s worth of bad reporting. In fact, I’m hard pressed to think of a rumor miceage got right recently other than the Jingle Cruise which they broke a few days before the official announcement.

    • jcruise86

      Micechat reporting has improved our trips to Disneyland and helped our family enjoy some of the happiest days of our lives. Thank you Dusty, Norm, Al, Eric, Kevin, and everyone else at Micechat!

  • danielz6

    Well I was planning on renewing my AP in 2015 to see the updated dark rides, guess I wont be renewing for much longer! I’m definitely getting a uni AP next year to enjoy Potter, transformers and despicable me.

    • jcruise86

      My comment is a little bit off topic, though conversations about Disneyland and Walt Disney World will increasingly contrast Disney’s American parks with Universal’s–at least for the next 2+ years.

      I hope Universal Hollywood still offers 5 visits passes at Costco. They currently cost $74 for 5 visits not including parking. I plan on getting ours 4-6 months before the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is scheduled to open because I expect a substantial price increase around the time it opens, and they might open it early to test it as they did with Transformers.

      Disney’s MyMagic+ =s less Disney magic & more attraction stagnation.

  • Wren

    Hmm, this article sounds too irrational to be true.

  • MainSt1993

    Did anyone else notice that there is this article panning the MyMagic+ bands (which I think most of us agree are a terrible idea for Disney parks), and Kevin’s article the same day realizing that in practice the bands aren’t bad and a potential cash cow? I do believe that the magic bands are a mess, and that the money would have been much better spent invested in new attractions and infrastructure. But I don’t believe that it’s enough of a mess to run the company off of its rails.

    I find it hard to believe that the company would seriously “skip” DLR’s 60th. The 50th was just too successful. Also, DLR has proven that money invested there pays off. I think they’re taking a moment of pause to re-evaluate their capital expenditures, but I don’t believe Bob Iger is having a temper tantrum. It would cost the company more to follow this plan than to spend the money of most of these projects.

  • cellarhound

    What you fail to mention here is that a particularly large inside investor dumped a large amount of stock in the previous week. Trading volume has been high… It appears some profit taking has been had. Prompting Thomson Reuters to downgrade Disney to Hold.

    I am aware of the Disney Management Confab a couple weeks ago… The reports I have where actually a lot more hopeful particularly in regards to the Disney Interactive Media… But there have been some interesting corporate moves to reduce the amount of animators in Pixar.

    Underlying all this is the fact that Iger is going to exit soon. Shareholders need to pressure the board for a succession plan. Which they may or may not have… But I have no idea where that pressure is going to come now that the most influential Disney Family members are now departed. I doubt you will see Ron Miller and Family or Abegale/Patrick stage a fight…

    China looks like is becoming a possible boondoggle due to their slowing economy and looming trade issues stemming from actions against Japan…

    R&D recently seems to been a ruthless driver – Trouble is it hasn’t helped WDW weather many storms. I guess they are pitting growth in Parks and Resorts in China, which I think looks to be nebulous. Perhaps as nebulous as Paris.

    Still Iger needs to keep looking over his shoulder.

    Truth is I am uncertain where the company is going to meet it’s growth targets, I see a cloud centered staff/management consolidation driving profits on the horizon. They are likely to redouble their efforts to move NexGen toward this end. Which is sad.

    “Squalls ahead, Lads.”

  • bayouguy

    I’m glad the My Magic busted. I’m glad that Reluso is going to have to sweat out his reasons for it failure. I’m glad that Crofton will be on her knees. Bring back some sanity and compassion back to Disney.

  • jcruise86
  • johnarodz67

    Sad to hear this. We travel south from the SF Bay Area every 12 to 24 months to visit the parks and liked the direction of new attractions on the horizon. We’ve heard about new and refurbished attractions at Knott’s and Universal, and are planning to visit them on our next trip to the south. Although we will still go to Disneyland for several days, we will be spending 2 days away from the resort at these 2 parks. Team Disney should not get complacent with their parks, the visitors expect and deserve more for the money we invest and save for in trips.

  • Larry Parker

    I’ll hate to see the subs go. The lagoon has a beautiful blue lake effect that compliments the Matterhorn. It’s one of the prettiest sights in the park, much more so than than the river in Frontierland. It’s also a part of the earlier years of Disneyland, being present for decades. And there are always massive lines for the attraction. Losing the lagoon will be a major step down in Disneyland’s quality.

    • airick75

      I agree…

  • JAG107

    This is shaping up to be like another Lite Magic, but on a much, much grander scale.

  • sean317

    This article is very confusing. The problem I have is that I do not see numbers associated with it. How much is this NextGen project actually costing? I would be surprised if they are actually losing that much money. I think they knew about this way before the convention back in August. It is very possible that CAL OSHA could also be having an impact on this as well.

  • Harbzilla

    Alright, that’s it. I rarely comment on these boards and I almost never rush to someone’s defense on them. But after reading at least three different comments about how Miceage is faking this info and that budgets don’t work that way I have to say…Newsflash! Yes they do! I’ve run the Operations of 17 radio stations and I can tell you that there is only so much money and that money is what you call the master budget. Included in that budget are smaller budgets for the individual departments and projects for that money to be spent on. If one department or project goes over budget that money has to come from somewhere. Hence the reason it would be pulled from someone else’s budget. And why? Because there is only so much money in the master budget!!! This is common sense. Geez peeps. And one last thing….once they remove the subs because it is the “most expensive attraction in the park”, guess what will happen? Something else will be the “most expensive attraction in the park”. It is an endless cycle. So they should never be allowed to use that excuse. It’s called being lazy as an executive. Dusty, thank you for an informative piece. I may not like what I read. But that is the reason I keep coming back to you guys…for the truth.

    • jcruise86

      ^^Good post.

    • stitch1085

      Let us not forget that when film, television, and the interactive group fail to produce money (or even cost the company serious capital, looking at John Carter and The Lone Ranger), cost cutting has to happen in order to keep your head above water!

  • Mark Wilkinson

    I’m curious about the profitability of each park. It would seem that attendance records alone cannot tell you which park is more profitable. You have to calculate in operating costs and sales to get a real picture of success. Walt Disney has investment the most in their WDW resort but I imagine it costs a lot to maintain. I wonder which park has the highest return on investment?

    Also I wonder if there would be any way for the two American parks to be independently financed. I mean should WDW and DLR have been made to suffer because EuroDisney bombed? And should they suffer again because everything is being poured into Shanghai? There’s a lot of money in California and there’s a lot of emotion regarding Disneyland. I’m imagining that some sort of independent investment group could be set up to buy a controlling interest in the DLR and fund it’s operations and future projects. For example Disneyland Paris is owned by Euro Disney S.C.A. 39.78% of shares are held by The Walt Disney Company, 10% by the Saudi Prince Alwaleed and 50.22% by other shareholders. What if the Disneyland Resort was bought by an independent company of Disneyland-centric investors who were devoted solely to the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim?

  • Sifferz

    I really hope that once Universal finishes Diagon Alley, they manage to beat Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios in attendance and scare the crap out of Disney. These suits have enjoyed industry dominance and a pseudo-monopoly for far too long, and somebody needs to remind them that theme parks require new attractions, and you must always be planning and pushing forward, or you WILL fall behind.

    The Mine Train looks cool and all, but it is mostly novelty and I doubt it will make true-classic status, and Avatar took way too long to come around with something of that magnitude. At least that was safe from this chopping block, but seeing the star wars plans halted breaks my heart a little. I was so excited for the Mos Eisley Cantina to be up soon…

  • solarnole

    I’m really surprised that spending billions dollars without adding any new E ticket attractions over five years on a band and an app that only works on droid and iphone would fail so badly.

    The new fastpass + is so amazing because it limits your rides to only 3 a day from a tiered list and you cannot park hop. The old fastpass system that allowed multiple parks and more then 3 attractions a day was so lame and dated. Who wants freedom and choice? Being banded is great.

    Please don’t tell me that Avatar land got delayed. The public needs Pandora. Disney needs Pandora because their properties do not have as much story and memorable characters as Avatar. Avatar is a film that stands on its own and does not need cheap 3D tricks.

    Why would people want to go on new E ticket rides at Universal instead of getting a magic band? The magic band is the best thing since magic beans.

    • Mark Wilkinson

      Yeah I’ve think you’ve figured out what kind of “magic” the Anti-Walt is conjuring up. Who exactly is paying for all their Disney’s dreams? I;m sorry but why would I want a penny of my money going to build a theme park in Shanghai that I will never visit? Understandably I’m just not as interested in building a global corporation as Iger & Co are.

    • MikeK

      Nice

    • stitch1085

      The shade of it all! But you are totally right! I loathed that I could only get 3 fastpasses per one park, so basically they were insisting I NOT get the park hopper option during my vacation since I couldn’t get anymore fast passes than the three.

      IDIOTS! IDIOTS EVERYWHERE!

  • fravitmonk
  • Wyatt Hertz

    Making the assumption that this article is factual, I would conclude that the stuffed shirts do not realize that all this NextGen/My Magic+ crap is worthless if they kill off all these projects. Where the hell is all the money going?!? With the Disney Parks having the highest admission prices in the entire country (Universal in Florida is VERY close, I think) , they should be taking in enough money to build an entire new resort bigger than Disneyland if they wanted too. When Universal Studios out here in California gets Harry Potter running, Disney is GOING to be caught with their pants down.

  • Quentin

    Well at least Monstropolis won’t happen. I really hated that idea anyway.

    • Mark Wilkinson

      Quentin maybe I’m the only one who actually liked the idea of Monstropolis. This area was never convincing as a Hollywood backlot anyway. DCA needs another E-Ticket and Monsters Inc. seems to appeal to both kids and adults. If you want more Hollywood then I’d rather see Bug’s Land (which is for small kids-only) be replaced by a new Sunset Boulevard and just forget the whole fake Hollywood studios thing.

  • Foozie Bear

    It was only a matter of time until this happened. No one wants to plan what ride they’re going on three months in advance. I’m glad this is finished with, but it’s disappointing they lost a lot of money out of this.

    Also, as much as I like Monsters Inc. I’m glad Muppet*Vision 3D will be left alone.

  • danielz6

    I agree completely with Sifferz. The absolute best thing that could happen for us theme park fans is for Universal to pass up Animal Kingdom, Hollywood studios or CA adventure. Then Disney would have no choice but to invest in its ORIGINAL Parks. Since the company leadership doesnt have the fraction of interest or talent in immersive storytelling and guest experience that its founder had, such an occurance would force them to take an interest. Until then, my money’s going to universal, Tokyo Disney, and sea world Parks. Why is it that a trackless ride still hasn’t been built in the States when every other Disney resort has at least one? Unbelievable. Tokyo has had TWO for 12 years now. Wake up people.

    • 9oldmen

      Universal Florida passing up DCA? Been there! For the first four years that they were both open (’01, ’02, ’03, ’04) IOA had higher attendance than DCA, as did USF proper. For the next four years (’05, ’06, ’07, ’08), USF still had higher attendance than DCA, although DCA finally surpassed IOA. In 2011 and 2012, IOA had higher attendance than DCA, (those would have been the first two full years with “Potter”) and DCA had higher attendance than USF. The only years when DCA did NOT have lower attendance than a Universal park in Florida where 2009 and 2010. There’s a sort of “tortoise and the hare” thing happening between Disney and Universal. You can guess who’s the slow, steady tortoise, and who’s the overconfident hare. That’s the way I see it, and the good thing is that it’s not a race that’s going to be over anytime soon.

  • Pingback: Rumor: Disney Parks projects postponed | Meet the Magic()

  • Pingback: アナハイムのスター・ウォーズ・ランド、凍結か?! | ウケウリStar Wars()

  • Pingback: MyMagic+ System isn't that Magical (Yet!) | Total Orlando Blog()

  • AaroniusPolonius

    First off, there are significant holes and assumptions in this article, so I’d take it with a grain of salt. This is almost like the theme park version of The Drudge Report.

    It’s awfully convenient that everything “cancelled” or “on hold” in the article are attractions, lands and upgrades from the “rumor mill” versus from “actual announced attractions, lands or upgrades.”

    There’s also a lack of business fundamental acumen at work in the reporting here, as well. With Disney engaged in crafting a new theme park in Shanghai from scratch, they are most assuredly looking to monetize the cost of that investment via duplicate reworks and reskins of rides/attractions in their other parks. (Bulk purchase works for theme parks, too.) The castle boat ride reskinned into the Avatar Forest boat ride, and so on and so forth. So…in order for the financials in Shanghai to work, the cost of the investment must be and mos def will be spread across the other parks. Think on the past: it’s no accident that Paris’ Space Mountain ride system was duped in Florida as the Rock-N-Roller coaster.

    And some of this is just plain silly. The WDW execs are scared of closing The Little Mermaid ride for THREE WEEKS? C’mon. They could close it in January and open it before the end of the month and they’d have minimal guest annoyance. Seriously, this is just silly.

    As is the idea that “all of Star Wars Land is scrapped for DHS in WDW.” Come ON. First of all, I love the insipid idea that it’s just “on hold” in California but totally scrapped at Disney’s largest resort cash cow on the other coast. I’m so sure. Secondly, the Mouse spent billions, BILLIONS of dollars to nab this franchise, and they “teased” an attraction at D23, so I’m pretty certain they’re going to want to activate this investment as much as possible. Also, since Disney is going to want to monetize their investment in attraction infrastructure, they’re mos def going to open up Star Wars rides and attraction clones or reskins across their theme park empire. It may be delayed, but it’s not scrapped (and certainly, it will come first to Florida, especially with Universal Orlando going strong.)

    Which brings me to the third point, and that is Universal. Disney doesn’t exist in a bubble, and while they may skew their attractions to be family-friendly over thrills, they are mos def paying attention to Universal, especially in Orlando, where they are investing $500 million a YEAR to transform that resort into a multi-day, total vacation experience, much like Disney World is now. Disney World is the cash cow for corporate because of the visitors they entrap on their property, at their hotels, at their shopping malls and boardwalks, on their golf courses, etc. So, while MyMagic+ may be costly and may not be working out as planned, that doesn’t detract from the reality on the ground, which is that Disney has a competitor not only competing for the “premium theme park experience,” but also a competitor looking to emulate their very “vacation kingdom” model of business.

    Finally, I suspect much of this article stems from the idea that “Disneyland is different.” It’s a park with high local visitation, and the attempt to transform it into a vacation destination like WDW or Tokyo Disney Resort isn’t in the cards, so we don’t have to worry about MyMagic+ in Anaheim.

    That’s absurd.

    It’s plainly obvious that Disney-as-corporation has been taking a long view on their theme park properties, and the overall game plan for each of them is “vacation destination modeled on the WDW model.” It may be taking Anaheim longer to get to that corporate ideal due to generational entrenched visitation behavior, but they are slowly and surely getting there, moving the demographic pie around, creating long-term visitors who stay and play at Disney, on Disney property…using My Magic+ to do so.

    Because, make no mistake: they’ve invested 1.5 billion into this tech. That’s $150 million in amoratized investment from each Disney owned Disney park. That’s a bunch of “band glam” to sell, and long-term visitors to entice. My Magic+ will mos def be coming to Anaheim, whether we like it or not. And it makes sense, as the program fits neatly into Disney’s long-term goals for their theme parks and resorts: to attract long-term, upscale, exclusive, on-property guests.

    Look at a company like Volkswagen; it took them three cycles of cars to convince the public that they were an upscale brand, and thus, you should pay more for a Jetta than a Corolla (which is absurd, considering VW’s average to subpar quality record, but whatevs. I own a Fiat, what do I know about logic and reason?) VW spent a lot of time and money to get there. Disney is doing the same. It may take them another decade, or two, to transform Anaheim’s visitation pattern to match WDW’s. But, it’s clearly on the map, and My Magic+ clearly is a part of that global theme park plan.

    AaroniusPolonius: Not just a pretty face.

    • Mark Wilkinson

      AaroniusPolonius I agree with most of what you said. Although I really do not know if WDW is the ‘cash cow’ you claim it is. I honestly do not know. As I said attendance numbers are only one part of the equation. And I not as interested in the value of my Disney stock and I’m my local theme park experience.

      Clearly there is potential at Anaheim to increase the non-local attendance numbers. There’s lots of Disney fans who for whatever reason are just are not that interested in vacationing at WDW. But Anaheim doesn’t offer enough for longer stays- yet. A 3rd gate, more Disney hotel rooms and non-park entertainment are all doable in Anaheim IF they can get out of the WDW model mentality.

      Also I agree that My Magic + is not going away and will eventually come to the Disneyland Resort.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        Mark,
        Oh, WDW is a cash cow, no doubt about it. The average guest stays longer, spends more, and spends more exclusively on Disney property. Indeed, WDW isn’t merely the world’s most visited integrated vacation resort, it’s also it’s own municipality, favoring their “citizen,” The Walt Disney Company, where they enjoy added benefits, milking the cow even more. WDW is more akin to Vatican City with regards to its setup and independence relative to the State of Florida. (Orlando wouldn’t exist as an actual, functioning and thriving metropolis without Disney, and they changed the paradigm for the entire state, forcing places like South Florida to diversify their economies and focus on a different visitation base…that’s how powerful The Mouse is in Florida.)

        Leaving all those municipal benefits aside, WDW and their long-term, on-property, exclusive Disney vacation focus has produced massive financial returns for the company. You can see it in their investments, from wildly expanding their hotel and timeshare base to building four theme parks, offering ‘Surf And Turf’ packages (cruise line,) convention space (Coronado Springs and others, and so on and so forth. You can see it with regards to the OLC in Japan, which has successfully implemented the WDW model (albeit with a much higher standard on traditional Disney quality,) and in some notable Disney failures in Europe, Anaheim’s expansion and in Hong Kong.

        It’s quite telling that post-WDW, not one Disney owned or crafted theme park property has opened as a stand alone park. Every single one has a large site for multipurpose vacation functions. It’s quite telling that every single one has or will open with more than one hotel…even if they only had or have one half-built theme park. It’s quite telling that every one of the resort sites has planned in, built in space to expand that complex into a WDW integrated resort model.

        I mean, look at Pressler’s and Eisner’s Anaheim expansion on the cheap, where at least half of the money, if not more, went into the hotels, the parking, the pedestrian areas and the Downtown Disney area. That wasn’t and isn’t for the convenience of the local, annual pass guest base, clearly.

        However, I don’t think that Anaheim needs another gate, at least not yet, for the WDW model to work. They need MUCH more to do at DCA and an upgraded Disneyland experience, but what they need more than anything is more hotel rooms and DVC rooms, especially the latter. I’d rather them focus on getting Anaheim to be as close to Tokyo in terms of the resort experience before they cough out another gate.

      • Mark Wilkinson

        AaroniusPolonius I totally agree with you that DLR needs more hotel rooms. I just think that in order to fill those rooms they must add a 3rd gate and expand Downtown Disney so that DLR becomes a week-long vacation destination. They can always add new attractions to CDA later.

        IMHO a 3rd gate at the Toy Story Lot/Strawberry Fields featuring Marvel, Star Wars and OZ would be better than than adding to the existing parks. Let DCA be the Pixar park and DL be Walt Disney park. I also think if you want a World Showcase like experience put it into highly themed resorts and if you want Future World experiences put it in Tomorrowland.

        But probably the biggest problem the resort has, and will have, is parking because of the limited space and huge amount of local guests. If there were some way to move the existing surface parking off of the property it would free up a lot of space for expansion.

    • Wedbliss

      [quote]It’s plainly obvious that Disney-as-corporation has been taking a long view on their theme park properties, and the overall game plan for each of them is “vacation destination modeled on the WDW model.” It may be taking Anaheim longer to get to that corporate ideal due to generational entrenched visitation behavior, but they are slowly and surely getting there, moving the demographic pie around, creating long-term visitors who stay and play at Disney, on Disney property…using My Magic+ to do so.[/quote]

      No doubt this is true. I’m surprised by how many people are in denial over what the long term plan is.

    • AaroniusPolonius

      Another example of the lack of business understanding in this article is this idea:

      “This is the plan to plus up and dramatically upgrade the five classic dark rides in Fantasyland; Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan’s Flight, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Pinnochio’s Daring Journey and Snow White’s Scary Adventures.”

      OK, let’s assume this is true, and is in the works. This is, for exclusively Disneyland in Anaheim, a moderately expensive upgrade project. But, you can’t consider the resort in a bubble. The better and more accurate “sell” is a Fantasyland upgrade project for all Fantasylands around the Disney Empire. They can buy the tech in greater mass at once to reduce the cost of said tech for each Fantasyland, so that a moderately expensive upgrade project becomes less so. It would also indicate that the Audio-Animatronics going into Dwarf Mountain in WDW and SD would make their way to the Snow White dark rides elsewhere.

      What’s more, there’s business precedent for this…in that we’ve seen Disney perform this style of upgrade, and that we’ve seen Disney spread the cost of said upgrade around their theme park diaspora. The Nemo Submarine ride upgrade used the same tech to upgrade The Living Seas at Epcot, for example. We’re all assuming that the Jack Sparrow walk-through at the Studios in Florida is the Pirates ride in Shanghai without a track or a boat to ride within. We’re all assuming that the Test Track upgrade at Epcot is a test run for the Tron coaster in Shanghai as well.

      So…this makes sense…but it ONLY makes financial sense if the cost is spread around the world, and that implies that budgets and investments aren’t scrapped at a whim. Because, in doing so, that throws the budget numbers out the window for the parks. To put this another way, if SD is the only park to get the cool new Fantasyland Dark Ride upgrades, that’s a MUCH more expensive number of the spreadsheet than the original one, where the cost was spread around.

  • disneyguest

    I think the important thing for everyone to remember here is that this is only a rumor. This is the only article reporting the cancelation of Star Wars land in Orlando (and all of the other cancellations/ things put on hold). All the other articles mentioning this are using the Mice Age article as the source of the imformation. I am not trying to say that all of this infomation is incorrect, I have no idea, but this should be treated as a rumor until other sources can corroborate the details.

  • DisneyFunGuy

    WOW…this was probably one of the worst reviews to read in a long, long time! It’s so sad and very discouraging to read how the Disneyland Resort has basically been given the red light on most everything that was previously discussed and addressed.

    I was so excited to read (earlier on) of all the wonderful new ideas that Disneyland/DCA was going to be getting and doing in the next couple of years. Especially all the new offerings that Disneyland was supposed to get for their 60th Anniversary in 2015. If that time comes and we have nothing new and exciting to offer, it will simply be discouraging beyond words! And that will make me wonder exactly what I’m paying nearly $700 a year for when I visit the Disneyland Resort.

    I sure hope this extensive bad news I just read about will have a surprise turn-around and good news will once again prevail. Come on, Disney “government”, make some wise decisions and do the right thing! We expeect better from you!!

  • jandm

    This article….is awfully convenient. And I’m not buying the “narrative”. It sounds to me that a bunch of info was thrown together to tell a story…a story plenty of people already want to believe. Iger was unhappy of the pace of My Magic+ but while there, also informed of the 90 day freeze on new projects and redirecting the resources to Shanghai. Probably completely unrelated…but someone put them together and wrote it to appear they were related. That’s what I’m seeing.

    Iger is not happy that My Magic+ is not up and running yet. Understandable. But just because its behind schedule and over budget does not make it a flop…welcome to the corporate world were this happens from time to time. People visiting the parks who are not locals and not using My Magic+ makes it a flop and until you see those numbers at the next stockholder call….its just speculating on what you already want to hear.

    Disney has Shanghai going, finishing up Fantasyland in WDW, and starting Pandora in DAK. Three capital expenditures all at different phases….yet rumors of Star Wars in DHS and DL, Mostropolis in DCA (just after a major upgrade to the park)…a smaller version of Carsland in DHS…..and everyone believed in addition to three major capital investments…they were just suddenly going to drop serious bank on four more simultaneously with out the shareholders taking notice? Really?

    And some of the attractions…didn’t sound like they were done deals, just pie in the sky ideas. C’mon…a door coaster right next to a dark ride that prominently features and climaxes at….doors? Ripping out Autopia…a very popular ride? Shutter the submarines yet again…right before “Finding Dory” all the while keeping Captain EO still going?

    How do we know that either a) Disney leaked info on new attractions to gauge reaction or b) Someone inside leaked it in the hopes they would get “support” for their pet project?

    And here’s another issue that doesn’t make sense, 90 day hold…just so they can start up again later? Or is the idea of transferring resources to make sure another project finishes on time somehow, sacrilegious. And of course if you do transfer resources…guess what, other projects have to be put on hold. Or does Disney dip their bucket into the magical well and poof, out comes new imagineers at no additional cost?

    There probably won’t be another announcement of a major capital expenditure until Pandora is well under the way. My first post here…and I make a point not to get involved…but this article, seemed it was taking some serious liberties.

    • bfdf55

      “And here’s another issue that doesn’t make sense, 90 day hold…just so they can start up again later? Or is the idea of transferring resources to make sure another project finishes on time somehow, sacrilegious. And of course if you do transfer resources…guess what, other projects have to be put on hold. Or does Disney dip their bucket into the magical well and poof, out comes new imagineers at no additional cost?”

      It’s possible that Shanghai has run into financial problems that requires focus on correcting them over all others.

  • Pingback: The Wednesday Tease. - Star Wars Episode 7 News()

  • PLAZAINN1

    I wonder if there should be a complete change in the executive leadership at Disney, including Iger. I don’t think they will ever keep Walt’s vision in mind. and yet these guys make millions for their idiotic ideas and wasting money. Get someone in there, like Lassiter who will make the parks better with new and exciting attractions, instead of a Nextgen technology that is BS to me. Who cares about a new way to enter a park, as opposed to turnstiles, that is not what I am paying for, with this overpriced passport. I tell you when my pass expires next July, I will not renew. Just not worth it anymore.

    • stitch1085

      Lasseter is out of ideas! Just look at the state of Pixar, sequels everywhere and hiring and firing of talent on films like Brave and The Good Dinosaur, plus they will have NO movie in 2014 to look forward to. Lasseter dropped the ball because he got wrapped up to tightly in bed with Disney and now we will all suffer.

      • AaroniusPolonius

        PLAZAINN1, wistfully wishing for the Disney that was is wasteful of your time. The Disney that was is long gone, and we perhaps have a too-rose-colored tint on that memory. That Disney was nearly taken over in the early 80s for cleaving too closely to Walt’s vision and direction post-death. Walt’s vision for Epcot would have been a sterile, Corbustian ‘modern’ dystopian ‘temporary resident’ model city, so perhaps not all his ideas are on the level of saint.

        The Disney we have now is the world’s largest media conglomerate. It’s in minimal-to-no danger of being taken over. It hosts more guests at its theme parks and resorts without a SixFlags style many-park model, than any other theme park company in the world…by a LANDSLIDE. It’s a company that is, for better or worse, responsible for its share price to its investors. That’s the Disney we have now.

        Honestly, CEOs are good until they aren’t. Eisner was a terrific CEO at Disney until EuroDisney flopped and he freaked. Up until recently, everybody loved Iger, his cultivation of talent, buying of ‘essential’ brands and reinvestment into the theme parks, which had been languishing in late-Eisner/Pressler Hell. So, Iger may be past his “drink by” date, but I think he’s done a pretty darn good job righting the ship thus far.

        As for Lasseter, they bought Pixar to spread its creative wealth around the House of Mouse. Done and done. Disney Animation is back, the theme parks have significant improvements, etc. Do I think he should run the entire company as CEO? Probably not; like it or not, Disney Corporate probably needs an MBA to navigate the hallways. But props to him and to Disney for doing what they set out to do when they bought Pixar.

  • Pingback: Disney's Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? - Crutch Technologies()

  • Pingback: [IGN] Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? | RECMD2U - Games()

  • Pingback: GamerHop » Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold?()

  • Pingback: Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? | J.C I.T Online()

  • Pingback: Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold?()

  • DisWedWay

    WED and WDI Imagineering have always had a bad adverse reaction to years ending in number 3. I remember I was always told by Disney Legend Tony Baxter that there was harmony in 3’s, but not in this series of events. 1973 was the energy crisis and layoffs when WED was cut down to less than 200 people. 1983 was the Epcot Tokyo Disneyland completion layoffs. 1993 was the Paris Disneyland Completion and no Studio Tours layoffs. 2003 was another major Imagineering layoff after Hong Kong Disneyland was out the design door. Now we have 2013 and almost a sure layoff if history continues with Disney managements course of actions and reactions. I guess the Disney Decade’s begins and ends in 3’s. Friday the 13th was once a lucky fishing day, until a huge storm came in and sunk most of the towns fisherman at sea. Maybe that was the start of the association with number 3 and bad luck. I hope Bob Iger can break this curse.

  • Gregg Condon

    With Harry Potter Phase 2 coming to Orlando and Despicable Me and Harry Potter opening in Hollywood I can imagine the execs at Universal are just sitting back in their comfy chairs and laughing.

    And that decision to let our AP’s expire is getting better every day.

    • DuckyDelite

      I really do hope that Disney has a “June surprise” up its sleeve to counter the new Potter. But I have a feeling the June surprise is going to be record breaking crowds on the new Hogwarts Express.

  • Pingback: Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? | OneBoneC()

  • Pingback: Is MyMagic+ dragging down the future plans we REALLY care about? | PSBcreative.()

  • Crazee4mm

    Disney needs to remember that these are theme parks! We, the public, come to let our hair down, enjoy time with family, experience rides we can’t ride anywhere else, and be released from the hyper-structural chains that bind us on a daily basis. This MagicPlus crap has rubbed me the wrong way ever since I first heard about it. Since then I have only had that initial reaction reinforced over and over again by Disney’s actions. I think it’s a blessing that the program seems to be a boondoggle and that Disney is struggling with it. Disneyland/WDW isn’t on the same level of The Pentagon, Capitol, or Fort Knox, so why can’t they just leave us alone and let us have fun??? God knows we’re paying for it. And if they think the guest experience is taking a beating cuz the lines are so long, then build more rides to absorb the population! Unfortunately, the general public’s main perception of a Disney park is no longer one of “Magic”, “Dreams”, or “Memories” but one of “long lines” and “insanely high prices”. Most of my friends think I’m nuts for even going there anymore. Disneyland is left to stagnate while prices skyrocket. How long can that last?

    • jcruise86

      ^^I like the post, Crazee4mm.

  • Tomorrowland_1967

    I’ve been reading Disney Theme Park Rumor Gossip for 13 years .. all over the web, not just here – I’ve learned to take it all – with varying sizes of grains of salt.

    I don’t know who to believe anymore. From the onset, at the beginning of this year .. all these Star Wars rumors for Tomorrowland didn’t make a lot of sense.
    * Putting a Tie Fighter/X-Wing Astro Orbitor on the roof above the 3D theater? Blocking views of the famous Tomorrowland icon – Space Mountain? It would also ruin the force perspective of Space Mountain’s seemingly ominous appearance! How about the shaft needed to run below the ride we see? Oh, that will look real good .. in the center of the 3D auditorium down below, blocking views of the screen!
    * Speaking of the 3D Theater – A Yoda Jedi Academy 3D movie? So, it hasn’t occurred to Disney, 3D films are so commonplace (in every multiplex, near you), and not a theme park exclusive anymore? It will become a bore within 3-5 years, as this format is not very repeatable.
    * The Speeder Bike idea – Oh … combine Autopia, Innoventions, and Peoplemover track into ONE attraction? Watch the overall Attraction Capacity in the park take a dive! A horrible idea, that would bring the number of attractions to enjoy in this land, down even less than it is today.
    * Ewok village in the Autopia grounds – So we are suppose to get excited over brown straw huts decorating the surrounding trees, and cuddle with a few Ewoks walking around? I think the old 1967 Adventure Thru Inner Space would be far more exciting for 2015, than a village made out of wood branches! Who, realistically, can get excited over that?

    When I heard all this .. this year, here on this site …. I just had to say to myself – Wherever Miceage is getting their information … It can’t be the total truth to what’s really going on in the secretive world of WDI, and the offices at the studio in Burbank … because all those ideas just sounded so utterly preposterous .. with so many logistical issues … that I (a regular person) find absurd.

    Management is going to take one of Disneyland’s original 5 themed lands .. and turn it into one giant Single “Star Wars” Franchise Land? Or a quasi “Star Wars” land .. leaving some attractions alone? And completely dismiss the huge amount of fans who don’t want to see Walt’s Original Park overrun with Storm Troopers, Sith Lords, and God knows what else, from a land meant to capture the spirit of mankind’s reach for the stars, and a better Earth, in a land meant for the whole family? Or the way I look at it – As someone’s “Star Wars Vanity project” that is more geared to young guys, and run the risk of turning off other demographics. And this is suppose to work in a park meant for the whole family – and all ages? And assume EVERYONE is a Star Wars fan.

    If Tomorrowland is not, some day, given a proper renovation .. and do something good with the Peoplemover track route .. with something the whole family can join in on, TOGETHER, then you – Walt Disney Co. are going to hear from a lot of angry fans, who think you all have lost the plot!

    It’s getting harder for me to believe what I read on the net anymore .. regarding the future of the DLR. I think there are those within .. who got their own version of reality. The company is huge. With many layers of hierarchy .. few privy to what’s truly going on … and from there .. the info gets “coded” with different people’s opinions on what they want to hear – And in the end, we are all still left not know what is REALLY going on behind closed doors.

  • Sifferz

    Let’s hope you guys didn’t get this one wrong; this story is getting picked up by several sites, including IGN (which has a whole lot of traffic).

  • airick75

    Even after 48 hours, no one has bothered to correct the subtitle from “effect” to the correct “affect.” C’mon man!

  • El Bandolero

    Sorry I missed you later night!!

  • jl925sanders

    One item I’m sure Disney has had to consider since October 1 is the cost to consumers of the Affordable Care Act. In my situation the cost is an additional $7,200 per year for health insurance. This hit to to my discretionary income is equal to two weeklong trips to Anaheim for my wife and I. So, what will give? Only time will tell and I’m sure Disney will be waiting to see what impact this loss of discretionary income for potential guests will have on future bookings and AP sales before releasing any holds.

  • Pingback: Star Wars Land Might Be On Hold At Disneyland | Giant Freakin Robot()

  • Pingback: Influence FilmThe Star Wars News Roundup - 11.29.13()

  • WDWorldly

    Seems that projects already underway aren’t casualties, like Disney Springs, Soarin, and Avatar. That’ll help Disney compete with Universal in Florida, but the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood could easily cut back DCA’s attendance gains in the future, especially with California tourists who are less inclined to spend their entire vacation within a Disney resort.

  • Pingback: Disney Delays/Cancels Plans For 'Star Wars' Attractions At Its Theme Parks()

  • Pingback: Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? | Mesh Teknologies Blog()

  • Pingback: Disney’s Star Wars Theme Park Plans on Hold? | Doohickey()

  • Lakerfan3224

    How come Monstropolis was canceled and not put on hold like the rest of the projects? Did they cancel the project because they have another one in the wings?

  • Pingback: Disneyland Construction Rumors | EarzUp!()

  • hicsilver

    Praise the heavens monsters backlot is cancelled! Now for star wars to get the same. Tomorrowland and the backlot both need MAJOR updates. Star wars and monsters are not the right updates. Monsters should not have any more movies made and nothing beyond a simple ride should ever be built with that theme. Star Wars is going to have many more movies and experiences and justifies its own land or entire park. Tomorrowland is tomorrowland.

  • Lakerfan3224

    Looks like the rumors about Finding Nemo Submarines closing are false. Some of the rumors on here are started to get debunked since this article has no factual evidence to back up their claims.

    • Norman Gidney

      Please explain what portion of the rumors have been debunked yet? We said here that the Subs would be going down for what the TDA would be calling a “Refurbishment” from January 6th to the end of the fiscal year 2014. That just occurred.

      http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2013/12/finding-nemo-submarine-voyage-at-disneyland-park-to-close-for-refurbishment-january-6/

      However, what will be happening once the ride closes is still anybodies guess and boils down to simple economics. If Iger finds more serious issues than expected with the MyMagic+ program roll out then one of two things will happen:

      A) The lagoon will sit, stagnant either with or without an obligatory draining and touch up.
      B) The cost of refurbishing and running the subs will end up being lower than announcing and beginning construction on Star Wars expansions in Tomorrowland and the ride will reopen sometime after September 26th

      But if all is fine in Florida, and major capital can again be allocated to big projects, then option C will happen.
      C) Iger will have put out the MyMagic+ fire and the Subs will be closed for good to make way for Star Wars expansion.

      Each one of those are possibilities. But, what we said about the subs going down for “refurbishment” came to pass.

      • Lakerfan3224

        The article also points out that “The result is that dozens of Imagineers who were working on Star Wars and other plans for Anaheim have now been told to stop their work and are reassigned to work on Shanghai Disneyland (and its conveniently separate budget) for at least the next 90 days.” How can that part of the article be true if imagineers just updated the jingle cruise with more holiday overlay. I thought all of the imagineers were sent to Shanghai.

Share3K
Tweet
+120
Pin113
Stumble5