MiceAge Disney Parks Update: Iger’s Ire

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

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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.




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.




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.




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


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


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


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.





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.




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.




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.




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

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  • 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?

  • http://www.wdwthemeparks.com Tim Grassey

    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.

    • http://www.wdwthemeparks.com Tim Grassey


  • 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.


      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


    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


  • 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.


    • 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.