Splashy Walt Disney World Future Projects Announced

Written by Kevin Yee. Posted in Kevin Yee

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Published on May 06, 2014 at 3:00 am with 96 Comments

Last week, Disney released plans for several upcoming attractions at Walt Disney World which were previously shrouded in the mists of rumor: Rivers of Light water fountain show at DAK, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Polynesian, and Harambe Nights in DAK’s Africa. Taken together with the previously-announced AVATAR expansion at DAK, the Mine Train in Fantasyland, and the Disney Springs expansion, that’s a lot of activity happening around WDW all at once. And the newly-announced offerings, though smaller in scale and import than the other construction projects, are encouraging and positive developments indeed.

The Polynesian, which is also changing its name back to its original moniker (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort), will be home to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Disney didn’t announce the location, but it’s a safe bet it’s going into the former video game arcade – Moana Mickeys, which closed when Capt. Cook’s main location went under the knife. That begs the question – will Capt. Cook’s be rethemed to fit the tiki bar better?

Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel works extremely well, but it has some tight quarters. Here in WDW, where in theory they have the blessing of size, you’d think they’d want to enlarge the establishment. But the bar is not going into the larger – and unused for public purposes – Tangaroa Terrace, which is just outside the main Ceremonial House. If the former arcade is indeed the new location, it may not be much roomier than Anaheim’s version. (Of course, there may be additional backstage space I’m not seeing).

polynesian 2011-10-15-6948

The Rivers of Light show borrows the name of a previously-proposed nighttime parade for DAK (part Light Magic, part SpectroMagic, and part its own thing with more embedded lights in the pathways), but it’s not a parade. The closest analogy would be World of Color from DCA – fountains and giant waterscreens to tell stories.

The World of Color technology would be welcome indeed in WDW – the Florida Fantasmic! looks dated by comparison in many ways. The most obvious effect for WDW is that DAK will now be open longer (possibly only on weekends, holidays, and summer?) Being open longer is certainly a win for the customers – the park is way more stunning at night than you’d expect, and with the blistering daylight heat and humidity brought down to tolerable levels after sundown, DAK will become a more welcoming place.

New Details on ÒRivers of LightÓ Nighttime Spectacular Coming to DisneyÕs Animal Kingdom

In fact, the nighttime DAK is in many ways an undiscovered gem. More than any other parks I’ve been in, DAK changes character completely after the daylight is gone and artificial illumination takes over. The park is not covered in floodlights. Rather, it has spot lighting on ground level, creating mood and atmosphere that is pretty unexpected for a park that makes you swelter, sweat, and perhaps curse during the daytimes. This weekend I ran the nighttime Expedition Everest Challenge and took the opportunity to ride Kali in the dead of night (it was 1am), and I was floored. The buzzsaw/destruction sequence was misty and mysterious, with red lights establishing a whole new atmosphere. And just after the big drop was a set of waterfalls on the side of the raft lit by dazzling colored spotlights. I’d never given this spot a second glance in the daytime, but it was breathtaking at night. So the chance to make many more similar discoveries in a nighttime DAK leaves me pleased.

I only hope Rivers of Light (RoL) is not a victim of its own success. The park obviously wants to keep the masses late because that would lead to additional food sales (people have to eat dinner) and maybe even some additional merchandise. But the narrow strip of land that would ideal viewing for RoL – on the banks in front of Expedition Everest and facing the Boneyard at Dinoland – is even smaller than the inadequate viewing area of World of Color in DCA. If the show is anywhere near as good as World of Color (and I hope it is), there are going to be major shortages of viewing space. Maybe they plan to add bleachers? Reclaim land?

asia 2013-09-15-9811

The Harambe Nights announcement was the one that interested me the least initially. At $119 per adult ($134 for the premium seating), this struck me as particularly expensive. It promises all-inclusive appetizers, beer, wine, and later food in the street party (buffet style?) but $120 for a meal is rich even by Disney’s standards. The included show in the new Harambe Theater didn’t sound that interesting initially either. The fact that it would be offered only on Saturdays, and only June 7-August 9 2014–to me implied they did not expect big crowds.

The more I pondered this event, however, the more I was willing to give it a shot. As with anything, what matters most is the execution. The show in the theater is new, and re-tells the Lion King story in yet another new way, with live performances and a live orchestra (and screens?) and a celebrity narrator:

  • Viola Davis – June 7, 2014
  • TBD – June 14, 2014
  • Montego Glover – June 21, 2014
  • David Alan Grier – June 28, 2014
  • Michael Beach – July 5, 2014
  • Harry Lennix – July 12, 2014
  • Joe Morton – July 19, 2014
  • Alfre Woodard – July 26, 2014
  • Brian Stokes Mitchell – August 2, 2014
  • Patina Miller – August 9, 2014

If you think about it, the price can be broken down into chunks that do, upon further reflection, line up with Disney prices. It’s unlikely the new show will be Cirque-du-Soleil quality, but a $30 upcharge for a show isn’t too extreme. That leaves $90 for the food and drinks. If the alcohol is truly unlimited, that could easily be another $40 (five $8 beers), leaving only $50 for the food. If there are just appetizers and finger foods, this won’t be worth it. But if the street party includes enough food to add up to a full meal. Dinner at Boma costs $40 per adult, so we’re only talking a $10 upcharge (in terms of the food), and you’ve got the street entertainment (character appearances) to factor in.

Harambe-Nights_Full

Of course, your mileage may vary. One could easily quibble about the dollar values assigned in the example above. Maybe the show will feel like a $10 value instead of a $30 one. Or, if it is long and well-done, perhaps $40 would be a more appropriate approximate price tag. But the larger point is that the big price tag MIGHT be uncalled-for, or it MIGHT be right in line with other Disney offerings.

That last point is the real crux of the matter. Disney has lately been pushing the envelope in terms of up-charge events. Harambe Nights resembles in some ways a more upscale version of the After Hours Wind Down at Epcot, which so far appears to be a success among visitors (though I haven’t tried it myself just yet).

On balance, these announced additions are positive developments. The one with the most far-reaching consequences is clearly Rivers of Light, but the other additions are significant enough to warrant close attention.

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About Kevin Yee

Kevin Yee is an author and blogger writing about travel, tourism, and theme parks in Central Florida. He spent more than a decade working at Disneyland and cultivating a never-ending fascination with that park’s rich traditions and history. Now relocated to Orlando, Kevin enjoys the Disney offerings on both sides of the country. Kevin is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History. Readers are invited to connect with him online and face to face at the following locations: UltimateOrlando.com – Kevin’s personal blog for daily WDW updates Public Facebook page – or friend his personal Facebook account, Twitter feed (user UltOrlando), Google+ account (user cafeorleans), Email at [email protected], Weekly Walt Disney World, a Facebook group of regulars who visit Disney World each weekend. Visitors from out of town are encouraged to come and say hello when in Orlando! Join the FB group to learn when/where the next meet is. Kevin’s books on Amazon

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96 Comments

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  1. Guys, this one isn’t even worth taking a swing at.

    A new hotel bar, but WDW has to tear something out to add it?
    A water show.
    An expensive dinner.

    What will the WDW imagineers come up with next?

    2002 and forward will never be referred to as “The Golden Years at WDW” will they.

    • CaptainAction, staying true to form!

      • But he’s right here- an upcharrge event which doesn’t seem as price worthy as the after epcot event. a new bar to replace one capt’s cook’s took over (what are they using the old tangarora cafe for btw). But that bar seems to be well done at Disneyland.

        The only real interesting new is the rivers of light i think.

      • I agree with met19, just the water show is the only addition. A bar replacing a bar?, a $120 upcharged event only happening during the summer? – the water show is the one thing being added.

      • I agree with captianaction’s astute analysis.

    • I don’t know… if you heard about Imagination (as Fantasmic! was called in pre-production in 1991/1992 at Disneyland), your first thought might be skepticism too. “A water show?” But it proved worthwhile, obviously. Then with World of Color, I had doubts too (“no fireworks? no lasers? no barges?) but it too, surprised me on the upside in a pretty big way.

      As with anything, what matters is the execution. And if this one delivers, it really will change DAK (probably permanently) into a full-day park with evening hours.

      • As you stated correctly Kevin, the Fantasmic show isn’t that fantastic anymore. It need a lot of love and care to make it fresh and beautiful again. That’s why I just have a problem with the dwarfs in the minetrain or this new show. It’s all about upkeep. Sure you can build a complex AA but if it’s broken 9 out of 10 times when I visit from Europe I start to wonder if Disney cares enough.
        Then the point you make about World of Colours. I’m glad you like it but I think it’s a huge disappointment in the same respect the castle projection is a huge disappointment. Compare the castle projection to the Paris Disney one and you know why. Not only because of the “plussed” execution but it has a STORY. Yes, Disney portrayed himself as a story teller (or at least a re teller because it’s hard to find a original story). The Paris one has a story (like Fantasmic) but Word of Colour and the castle projection at WDW are tech demo’s. A collection projected images on a large surface. I think that is very sad. It’s not that they can’t, really the Paris one is stunning, but they don’t feel the need.
        I’m afraid the AK show will be another demo reel. Nice images projected on water pared with a bit of fire and characters in boats. If the viewing is going to be a problem there will be another extra money squeezing area for premium viewing and another upcharge for something that should be within everybody’s reach if they are prepared to for out a hundred bucks to enter the park and pay for overpriced meals, drinks and hotel rooms.

        But on the other hand, I guess Disney can push the money envelope as far as they want. Together with booking a Disney vacation people are clearly leaving their common sense behind. Take the “don’t leave Epcot with the cattle upcharge event”, you are seriously an idiot if you buy into that. I’m leaving Epcot as last person for as long as I can remember. I make sure I have a bite and a drink and sit relaxing in Italy or China and watch everyone leave the park. When the crowd is almost gone (takes between 20 and 30 minutes I leisurely walk to the exit. Costs about $8.00. It’s nothing special, just relaxing. Guess what, you can do that in every theme park!

    • To be fair to the Captain, he’s correct in that this is ‘merely’ Animal Kingdom’s version of World of Color.

      Something to ponder as to WHY consumers aren’t abandoning Disney for their lack of investment. From the Georgetown Institute of Consumer Research:

      “Contrast this with Extremely Loyal brands. “Fiercely loyal consumers are more likely to see their brand positively and they are more likely to see competing brands negatively,” notes Kurt Carlson, Associate Professor at the McDonough School. “It’s as though one cannot become fiercely loyal unless he or she believes both in the good of their own way and that other ways are bad.”

      Participants in the study demonstrated high positive emotions and attitudes towards Extremely Loyal brands, as well as very high levels of negative emotions towards the main competition of the brand, suggesting that even if the competition offered a better product, they wouldn’t buy it, because they are Extremely Loyal to their preferred brand. “You’re not going to just feel warm and fuzzy toward your brand,” said Banerji. “You’re going to actively dislike the competition. Believe that those guys are worse off for going with the other brand.”

      Participants who were Extremely Loyal to a specific brand led them to recommend it to someone else 71% of the time. That means that these people would suggest the Extremely Loyal brands to others more than 3 times as often as the brands that are merely Frequently Bought. Nearly 80% of the volunteers trusted these brands as well, compared with the Frequently Bought brands, which less than half of them trusted. “

      • Well in that case let’s hope it’s better than Universals version of World Of Color what a joke that was.The only good thing was nobody stays for it so we got front row with nobody standing anywhere near us every night

      • This study explains why people loyal to political parties love everything their party does, no matter what, and despise everything the opposing party does, no matter what.

        But Disney Uber-Fans aren’t so gullible. We respect and expect high quality. That’s what made us fans in the first place. We’re more like fans of the opera. We appreciate and applaud great work, but will boo mediocre work.

      • Two thoughts:

        1) I said this in the comments of another article, but it bears repeating here. When you talk about WDW and its appeal, you’re not talking about JUST WDW. You’re talking about ALL of Disney’s product. You’re talking about Disney’s films, television shows, online products, and all the warm, fuzzy, multigenerational nostalgia for it. The Disney parks fit into a whole Disney brandscape, and you can’t meaningfully talk about nor understand the appeal of Disney parks until you take that entire brandscape into account.

        When these guys here feel the need to dump on anything that isn’t an E-ticket thrill ride, they’re completely missing the boat. Yes, Disney is trying to figure out ways to diversify the offerings of DAK to keep people on property and give them a more satisfying experience (and spend more money). They’re taking that approach because people aren’t COMING to WDW because there’s a new E-ticket thrill ride at DAK. Sorry guys, E-tickets aren’t the all-purpose response to every question. People are COMING to WDW because they love Disney movies, TV shows, Princesses, Mickey, and so on. They’re coming because the parks are the peak Disney experience. The question is now that they’re coming, what else do you provide for them?

        This is what I observed as Universal’s #1 problem: nobody cares about the stuff Universal is making. You could have the best Popeye ride in the world, full of animatronics and 3D movie screens and loop-de-loops and water spraying all over you and whatever else they want to throw at you, but who the Hell cares about Popeye? The arrival of Harry Potter gave people a reason to go to Universal AT ALL, and to their credit it brought in people who weren’t coming to Orlando before anyways. But they aren’t coming because they love E-tickets. They’re coming because they love Harry Potter. That is a CRUCIAL distinction to make.

        2) Oh man, the “Extremely Loyal Brands” paradigm TOTALLY explains the Universal fanboys WAY more than the Disney fans. You can’t even say anything nice about WDW without the stench of dead horse filling the air. EVERYTHING Disney does just sucks so, so hard and EVERYTHING Universal does is just so, so awesome. They complain about Disney sucking money while discreetly ignoring Universal up-selling $50 wands you waited an hour in line to buy. They complain about Disney building beautifully themed, E-ticket “kiddie coasters” while discreetly ignoring Universal just renaming a couple of bare steel “kiddie coasters.” They complain that Be Our Guest is merely some restaurant while having the sheer audacity to suggest that I’d be totally into a restaurant whose “theme” is “old monster toys in display cases.” On and on it goes. They just hate on Disney (and anyone who likes it) because its Disney.

      • @Cory Gross Your reply is exactly what AaroniusPolonius is pointing out lol. Are are the apologist in every respect. You talk about all of you and all of them. It’s all them against all of your kind of people. lol.

        You know I had a deep loving relationship with Disney AND Universal AND Sea World. Now Disney and I are in a divorce. I really hope Disney can fix our relationship by offering more excitement without asking for more money.
        On the other hand my love for Universal, and all the work those many talented former Disney Immagineers came up with, is seducing me to go 3 times in a row from Europe to Orlando without stepping a foot in WDW. They excite and delight me with a comber free, stress free, relaxing vacation with offerings and new experiences I can get nowhere else. And yes I think the Popeye water ride is the best in the world, I love Suess, love ET, and have a big hart for the old monsters.
        Universal is doing well, and it deserve it. Competition is a good thing and I dream about the day I can come back to Epcot and be as excited about it the same way I was when I visited it first and it has fixed the many problems it now has. I hope to visit MK once again and see a ride that is as good as Splash Mountain and I dream about the day DHS is the place where I can visit Star Wars Land and shows that I haven’t seen 50+ times already. But until then I won’t buy a ticket or stay on their property in the 8 weeks I’m on vacation in Orlando.
        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want you to visit Universal, please don’t. It’s clearly not for you. As Disney isn’t for me anymore.

      • I’m in the same boat as Tielo.
        I’m not a lemming.
        WDW, espescially began pushing many fans away 10 years ago. I kept hoping the execs would quit making me feel like only my money was appreciated and not my family.
        I seriously wonder what it would take for some of the “WDW Can Do No Wrong” folks to get upset with WDW?
        No new rides ever?
        $1,000/day?
        Slap you in the face when you enter and kick you in the rear when you leave?
        They’ve already dropped to a value version of Avatar. Avatar? This sounds like an SNL skit. I heard the boat ride is gone.
        A fountain show to try to get people to stay away from Universal? What are guests going to do for 6 hours while they wait for the show at AK? AK is a half day park and the traffic flow is toward the exit after lunch.
        How much can you ignore?
        How long can you ignore?
        How long can you pretend Universal isn’t doing anything new?
        How long can you pretend that WDW parks were negative, flat, or had 2% growth between 2009-2013?
        How long can you pretend Universal didn’t grow 39% between 2009-2013?
        How long can you pretend Universal had only opened 10% of their new plans between 2009-2013?
        It’s fun to VISIT Fantasyland but it’s not a great idea to LIVE there.

      • @Klutch, it’s a study by the Georgetown Institute of Consumer Research. They took a group of 400 consumers and put them through their paces regarding loyal brands and frequently purchased brands. The study, in and of itself, has nothing to do with politics, although one could certainly argue that political parties represent “brands” and people identify with one and demerit the other(s.) [Well, "others" if you live outside the US and have a more representative democracy, anyway.]

      • Cap,

        Going to WDW is not the same thing as being hauled off to a gulag in Siberia. How much worse would WDW have to get for me to not go? A lot. LOTS worse. Universal-level worse. Before accusing people who still enjoy Disney of living in Fantasyland, you might want to keep a sense of perspective.

      • @Cory Gross, your response, as others have mentioned, entirely illustrates that you, as an “extremely loyal” Disney fan, are personifying the results of the study with your response. Because not only do you feel the need to defend and/or make excuses for the brand you are extremely loyal to, you also feel the need to demerit the work going on down the street at Universal.

        Much more so than Universal, it’s Disney fans and Disney brand advocates that give Disney a pass (and yes, Disney most certainly, like Apple, is a brand that inspires extreme loyalty.) Now, that may change in the future, in the Universal may elevate its brand image to that of one that inspires extreme loyalty, but at present, it doesn’t.

        It’s hard for me to place some distance between myself and the Disney brand to objectively look at what they do because I’m also extremely loyal to Disney. Heck, I was born, raised and educated in Florida, a mere few hours south of the Mouse, so my childhood, adolescence, college experience and young adulthood are peppered with nostalgic memories of WDW.

        But…when one steps back and looks at the situation objectively, it’s pretty obvious that for a very long time now, Disney has been coasting on and depending upon those extremely loyal brand advocates to mask obvious divestment in their theme park properties. Disney Parks & Resorts generates a billion dollars a month in revenue, and I suspect that the bulk of that comes from WDW, where the #1, #3, #4 and #5 most attended US theme parks are, or the #1, #5, #6, #7, #8 most attended worldwide theme parks are.

        There’s little to no excuse as to why all of the Magic Kingdom, at 17 million plus visitors a year, doesn’t have New Fantasyland projects all over the park, for example, except for that their fans aren’t demanding it (unlike say, Disney fans in Japan, who expect high quality and are delivered just that, at every stage and aspect of the integrated theme park experience.)

        There’s little to no excuse that Epcot, DHS and DAK basically drop 6-7 million visitors from the flagship (especially Epcot, in my opinion, as it has such potential to be one of the most unique theme park destinations in the world. To put this another way, Disney loses 35-40 percent of its guests after they spend one day in the Magic Kingdom.

        A lot of this has to do with the Disney Brand and the overall corporate synergy between all the different verticals of the business. A classic animated musical promotes plushies and television series, broadway shows and theme park experiences, all which re-promotes the original classic. Don’t get me wrong: I get it. Disney does it better than everyone else, and one of the key problems with Universal is that a lot of their intellectual properties are licensed, and they don’t get to make that synergy brand/product/character/movie loop.

        …but that shouldn’t detract from the impressive work that Universal has done over at the Universal Orlando Resort. Sure, people may not “care” about Popeye as a brand/character/franchise anymore, and even if they did, Comcast/NBC/Universal doesn’t own that IP anyways, so there would be less synergy goodness anyway. But the Popeye rapids ride is extremely well-done, expensive, immersive and dynamic. It certainly puts the truncated and more on-the-cheap rapids ride over at DAK to shame. That Popeye ride was done on the expensive, without taking the audience and their inbred love of a brand for granted, and as a result, EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIKE POPEYE, it’s a vastly excellent experience.

        And, lest we forget, there was a period of time where the franchise, the brand and the overall Disney brand love weren’t so at the forefront. Pirates of the Caribbean was just a kick-tush ride before it became a multi-media franchise under the Disney umbrella.

        I agree, Potter was/is the intellectual property that people care about presently, and that’s most certainly driving attendance to the resort. What people are finding once they’re there is that the REST of the resort is pretty darn amazing as well, and even if one doesn’t have brand umbrella affection for Universal, or individual affection for the intellectual properties that they’ve assembled to craft rides and experiences around, those rides and experiences (and thematic realization of said rides and experiences) is pretty darn amazing, and that Universal isn’t taking your vacation dollar for granted due to extreme brand loyalty.

        What’s more, while Universal Studios Florida was kind of a turd for its first few years, Islands of Adventure was fantastic right out of the park, well before the arrival of Potter. It amuses me to no end that the visible coaster tracks always gets a SixFlagsEsque diss from an extremely loyal Disney fan, but they’ll totally give a pass to DinoRama or the now FOUR spinner rides at WDW (as well as skimming by how those rides set up the story that ‘explains’ the track, and that those rides feature elaborate, brilliant queue areas.)

        Do I think Universal faces an uphill battle, simply because they’re not Disney? Yes, absolutely. Do I think Universal is treating its guests with less cynicism on a macro scale than Disney does? Yes, absolutely.

        Finally, while Disney may have brand and longevity advantages now, that may very well change due to that cynicism towards its consumers. Ain’t nobody clamoring to buy an Oldsmobile or Pontiac “excitement” because GM viewed its consumer base as not discerning and went into badge engineering cheapness and irrelevance. Do I think Disney is there yet? No, of course not. But they really do need to step up before cracks in the brand loyalty begin to show.

      • Cap,

        I know people are joking about you just copying-and-pasting your replies, but I can’t believe that it only took you 6 minutes to write all of that.

        “Because not only do you feel the need to defend and/or make excuses for the brand you are extremely loyal to, you also feel the need to demerit the work going on down the street at Universal.”

        I think there is a crux of it here.

        Let me tell you where I’m coming from. I love Disney, sure. Not because I’m just irrationally attached to the company come Hell or high water. I have my criticisms of Disney as well. But Disney is selling a product that I WANT to buy. So much so that I’m spending several thousand dollars to go to WDW on my honeymoon, EXPLICITLY TO SEE THE STUFF YOU GUYS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT.

        And then here you guys are, being total buzzkills about it, because you have nothing nice to say about WDW no matter what. You’re loyal Universal fanboys now, so Disney can do no right and Universal can do no wrong. And it’s not just that you like Universal. You HATE Disney, and you apparently won’t rest until we are all coerced into sharing your HATRED of Disney. Maybe you feel betrayed by Disney, maybe you feel like they slapped your mother or something. I don’t know. You’re obviously pretty hard up. But not everyone feels that way and not everyone appreciates people completely dumping on something they love, all the time. Y’know?

        Of course you know, because let’s look at the other side of the ledger: it apparently drives you up the wall whenever anyone says something uncomplimentary of Universal. All I have to say is that I just DON’T CARE about Universal and you get up my nose, man. When I say you can like both, you’re get all up in there saying that we can’t and that if we like WDW we’re just enablers making excuses for Disney (FYI, I don’t have to make excuses for Disney because it’s MY vacation, and I’m not answerable to YOU for it). And God forbid if I apply the same merciless criteria to Universal that you apply to Disney. When I start pointing out that Universal is not all that and a bag of chips, you try to one-up me about how you apparently have the time, money, and lack of priorities to have visited every theme park in the Western world. Even giving Universal the credit it is due for being a nice little park that finally has some stuff worth caring about isn’t enough: I have to LOVE it like you do, and I have to HATE Disney, or else you start personally insulting me.

        Seriously dude, we don’t all feel as betrayed by Disney as you apparently do. I’m not a jilted lover.

      • @Cory,

        Some things:
        First, this “takedown” of Disney has been a long time coming, from the early 1990s at least. There’s a lot of pent-up flotsam, I suspect.

        Second, Disney is coming at this from a place of power. They’re the market leader by a long shot and they have an extremely loyal brand, to boot. Universal doesn’t have any of those things, and after many years of them not being able to dent…they finally are. From a theme park fan perspective, that’s astonishing.

        Third, you CAN like both Disney and Universal, you can be dismissive of both, or you can love one and not the other. I, at least, try to look at both objectively, even though my Disney brand loyalty sometimes gets in the way.

        Quote from you:
        “Of course you know, because let’s look at the other side of the ledger: it apparently drives you up the wall whenever anyone says something uncomplimentary of Universal. All I have to say is that I just DON’T CARE about Universal and you get up my nose, man.”

        But, you don’t just say that. You demean the offerings of the resort, the intellectual properties they have and place them in a context of negativity. Sure, the pro-Universal people do the same thing, but investment numbers bear them out: Universal, at least in Florida at present, has spent quite a bit more on their parks and resorts than WDW has. The investment in tech and the consumer is, on the whole, much more substantial and less cynical towards the guests in attendance. Universal has to EARN your money, where Disney can feel as if they just expect to TAKE it.

        Another:
        “So much so that I’m spending several thousand dollars to go to WDW on my honeymoon, EXPLICITLY TO SEE THE STUFF YOU GUYS ARE COMPLAINING ABOUT.”

        Well, that’s your vacation money! Go forth and spend it at the mouse! But, this is MiceAge…founded by the guy who basically called out Disney for being douchey with their fanbase.

        And finally:
        “Even giving Universal the credit it is due for being a nice little park that finally has some stuff worth caring about isn’t enough.”

        See? That’s pretty demeaning. You’re not giving credit to Universal for (a) opening up two complete theme parks on Day One and (b) investing heavily in the consumer experience from Day One. As I said years ago, IOA should have really changed the game when it opened.

        Granted, Universal has fanboys that snark on the Mouse. But do two wrongs make a right?

        Also, look at this OBJECTIVELY within the context of DAK, which opened a year before IOA, as a quarter-day park with next to nothing to do, and fifteen years later, is finally getting to the “75% day” stage of their development.

        Disney brand loyalty aside, should we not be crediting Animal Kingdom with “being a nice little park that finally has some stuff worth caring about?” (See what I did there?)

        Should we be critiquing the company behind the theme park, that dribbled out investment to the theme park, ranging from super-expensive (Everest,) to super-cheap (DinoRama,) that collectively didn’t remotely provide an entire day of activity at the theme park?

        Should we be critical of the fans of the company behind the theme park, who, despite this obvious lack of investment, went to the theme park anyway for a (quarter? third? half?) day, in lieu of superior offerings both in that thematic family or just in pure content?

      • “First, this “takedown” of Disney has been a long time coming, from the early 1990s at least. There’s a lot of pent-up flotsam, I suspect.”

        Oh, I’ve been in Disney fandom long enough to know that there is always an element that will never be pleased no matter what Disney does.

        “But, you don’t just say that. You demean the offerings of the resort, the intellectual properties they have and place them in a context of negativity.”

        I don’t. I apply the same critical eye towards Universal that these guys are putting to WDW. If Universal ends up looking worse for doing that, it’s not my fault. Do you dispute that when Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, it consisted of 1 new ride, 2 renamed bare steel roller coasters, and, what, 6 stores and a restaurant? Or that Diagon Alley is offering 1 ride, 7 stores and 2 restaurants? Or that it’s a pretty cynical trick on their part to force you to buy their parkhopper pass just to see all the Harry Potter stuff? Or that they don’t make you wait in line for an hour to hawk a $50 resin wand? Harry Potter Land is, PRIMARILY, a means for Universal to separate the money from your wallet, which is EXACTLY the thing that these guys are complaining that WDW does. Could you imagine if New Fantasyland had 7 stores for every 1 ride? They would lose their minds.

        It could go on, with me dissecting every bit of Universal with the same severity the Universal fanboys dissect Disney. If they want to throw down, let’s throw down.

        “Universal has to EARN your money, where Disney can feel as if they just expect to TAKE it.”

        No… Disney ALREADY EARNED my money. Universal has to invest as much as they do because they’re playing catch-up. These guys can bawl all they want about how Disney hasn’t done anything they’re into lately, but it’s not Disney’s fault they built so many lasting, classic, outstanding rides 10 and 15 and 20 and 40 years ago. When they ask what WDW has to offer anymore, I feel like just linking a list of all the rides and attractions that WDW already has right now. That. That is what they have to offer. We’re talking about DISNEY here, not the bloody Gulag Archipelago.

        “You’re not giving credit to Universal for (a) opening up two complete theme parks on Day One and (b) investing heavily in the consumer experience from Day One. As I said years ago, IOA should have really changed the game when it opened.”

        Should have, but didn’t, because most people don’t care about that stuff. Get up my nose about how Gringott’s will redefine roller coasters, and I’ll remind you that one of my favourite rides at Disneyland is the Mark Twain Riverboat.

        “Also, look at this OBJECTIVELY within the context of DAK, which opened a year before IOA, as a quarter-day park with next to nothing to do, and fifteen years later, is finally getting to the “75% day” stage of their development.”

        There is nothing whatsoever objective about being so cynical that you think zoos are boring. DAK is the next thing I’m looking forward to most after New Fantasyland, and I don’t even care all THAT much about the rides. I love zoos. I work in one. I’m stoked to see African elephants for the first time and go on the Wild Africa Trek. The “DAK is a quarter/half/seven-tenths-day park” meme is 100% subjective.

        “Disney brand loyalty aside, should we not be crediting Animal Kingdom with “being a nice little park that finally has some stuff worth caring about?” (See what I did there?)”

        Go for it. I’m not going to be offended. You’re entitled to your views and passions and I’m not going to get up your nose if you think that DAK is a “nice little park.” I’m going to wager that its intended purpose was to diversify and extend what the resort as a whole offered rather than be it’s own attraction in itself.

        “Should we be critical of the fans of the company behind the theme park, who, despite this obvious lack of investment, went to the theme park anyway for a (quarter? third? half?) day, in lieu of superior offerings both in that thematic family or just in pure content?”

        Well, no, because it’s none of your business how people choose to spend their time and money. Disney fans are not answerable to Universal fans.

      • @Cory Gross:

        First off, I think we’re getting waaaaaaay too heated over theme parks! Know that, at least, when I post my critiques, I’m at least attempting to come at them from a place of respect.

        QUOTE:
        “Oh, I’ve been in Disney fandom long enough to know that there is always an element that will never be pleased no matter what Disney does.”
        Agreed. The complete defecation upon New Fantasyland is basically insane, as it is thematically complex, complete and an expensive investment in the overall experience. It’s Disney doing “Disney” again, as is CarsLand in DCA.

        However, I think that because so much time has past where Disney wasn’t doing “Disney,” that fans are coming from the place of “not enough.” And considering how much money Disney generates from their theme park division, I suspect they’re looking for an overcompensating investment.

        It also, incidentally, implies a Disney fan! Someone who loves Disney, who has respect and admiration of the Disney heritage of excellence, and someone who is on a sliding scale of disappointment to rage regarding how Disney itself hasn’t been honoring that heritage, especially pre-New Fantasyland.

        QUOTE:
        “Do you dispute that when Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, it consisted of 1 new ride, 2 renamed bare steel roller coasters, and, what, 6 stores and a restaurant? Or that Diagon Alley is offering 1 ride, 7 stores and 2 restaurants? Or that it’s a pretty cynical trick on their part to force you to buy their parkhopper pass just to see all the Harry Potter stuff? Or that they don’t make you wait in line for an hour to hawk a $50 resin wand? Harry Potter Land is, PRIMARILY, a means for Universal to separate the money from your wallet, which is EXACTLY the thing that these guys are complaining that WDW does. Could you imagine if New Fantasyland had 7 stores for every 1 ride? They would lose their minds.”

        Agreed. My primary critique regarding Potter and Universal in general is that they don’t have enough “gentle” stuff to do, especially in PotterLand.

        Also agreed that two of the three rides in Potter 1.0 were repurposed from The Lost Continent (Unicorn, Dueling Dragons,) and that they are exposed roller coasters, although that comes with a caveat. Dueling Dragons in both iterations also comes/came with a highly detailed and thematically complete queue that tells the story of the coasters that you are about to ride, and in the Potter version, also features thematic elements on the coaster itself in an attempt to “blend” the track into the story (it fails in that regard.) And lest not forget that Dueling Dragons pre-Potter was a superb coaster experience in its own right. To put this another way, this isn’t Mulholland Madness becoming Goofy’s Sky School.

        Agreed about the shops as well. I’ll one-up the Potter critique: you go from a highly detailed beginning of queue environment to, uh…a giant cement plaza overlooking a giant cement wall to, uh…the top of that cement wall into a sort-of themed courtyard back into a highly themed environment.

        And agreed that Universal fans would trounce Disney regarding the shops. This, of course, also implies that the Disney fan would just, you know, shop.

        QUOTE:
        “No… Disney ALREADY EARNED my money. Universal has to invest as much as they do because they’re playing catch-up. These guys can bawl all they want about how Disney hasn’t done anything they’re into lately, but it’s not Disney’s fault they built so many lasting, classic, outstanding rides 10 and 15 and 20 and 40 years ago. When they ask what WDW has to offer anymore, I feel like just linking a list of all the rides and attractions that WDW already has right now. That. That is what they have to offer. We’re talking about DISNEY here, not the bloody Gulag Archipelago.”

        I think the argument is more that because of that heritage of classic, outstanding rides, one would expect Disney to continue that tradition with new classic, outstanding rides. The argument may be presented hyperbolically as a gulag (which is absurd,) but there’s some truth to the argument. Disney itself via its history has set a high standard, and in many ways, they haven’t lived up to said standard, despite making money hand over fist. The marketing people and the bean counters, sadly and cynically, already know that they’ve earned your money, so why (depending on the era) make measured or any investment? You’re already coming already, anyway.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““You’re not giving credit to Universal for (a) opening up two complete theme parks on Day One and (b) investing heavily in the consumer experience from Day One. As I said years ago, IOA should have really changed the game when it opened.”

        Should have, but didn’t, because most people don’t care about that stuff. Get up my nose about how Gringott’s will redefine roller coasters, and I’ll remind you that one of my favourite rides at Disneyland is the Mark Twain Riverboat.”

        Well, there are many reasons that the launch of IOA didn’t change the conversation. Universal Orlando made a big marketing FAIL when they launched with some naming confusion over what everything was (Am I going to Universal Studios? Or Universal Escape? Is IOA at Universal?) The parks went through ownership changing issues and differing levels of marketing and investment. Disney pulled their powerful package levers up the street (which they will do again and it is very effective,) offering up 4 parks to 2, a gazillion hotels to three and so on.

        And you’re right, perhaps people just didn’t care about that stuff, as well. Or at least some of the IPs anyway. It could very well be that IOA just wasn’t Disney and Disney via its heritage and via established visitation patters will always pull the market to them.

        It, of course, doesn’t detract from the fact that IOA opened complete on Day One and DAK, whether one looks at it as a zoo or a park or a hybrid, didn’t. And that perhaps Disney was counting and banking upon their brand to drive visitors to a park with not enough to do…but we’ll get into that later.

        QUOTE:
        “There is nothing whatsoever objective about being so cynical that you think zoos are boring. DAK is the next thing I’m looking forward to most after New Fantasyland, and I don’t even care all THAT much about the rides. I love zoos. I work in one. I’m stoked to see African elephants for the first time and go on the Wild Africa Trek. The “DAK is a quarter/half/seven-tenths-day park” meme is 100% subjective.”

        And here we are!

        First of all, on every level save thematic excellence (outside of DinoLand USA), DAK opened, operated and continues to operate as an incomplete park. It has nothing to do with my cynicism nor with that its a zoo. I love zoos, too!

        Having said that, a couple of hours west of DAK is Busch Gardens in Tampa. Even if one doesn’t go on a single ride in the park, they have more animal experiences to enjoy. A few hours south of DAK is ZooMiami (formerly the Miami Metrozoo,) which is actually up the street from my childhood home, and also features many more animal experiences than one would get at DAK.

        Plus, since Disney itself wants you to think that DAK is “Natazu” (remember that?) we can look on DAK regarding non-animal exhibits. If one goes to DAK and avoids all animals entirely, there’s just not enough there there to warrant an entire day of visit.

        DAK actually marked the beginning of a turning point for me as a Disney fan. I was once much less critical of the Disney parks and resorts, but then, DAK opened with basically limited experiences of any kind in a stunning environment. Even Disney-MGM, when they opened, at least featured really long and informative trams, tours and attractions that may have not been the most thrilling but were really interesting and complete.

        Now, as a Floridian, I had both San Diego styled zoos and other animal themed parks to compare DAK to. And it really failed in that comparison, outside of thematic beauty. Busch Gardens, for example, which is nowhere near as beautiful as DAK, has just more there there, whether you’re a ride person or an animal person. DAK should have put BG out of business when they opened, offering a singular “Disney” take on the animal theme park…and there are elements of that, but not enough.

        Over the last decade, I’ve been back to DAK three more times (twice on a multi-day “deal,” and once because a friend wanted to go on Yeti, which had just opened.) There’s still, after all this time, just not enough to do, see or experience at DAK as compared to both other Disney parks and other parks in the area.
        QUOTE:
        “I’m not going to get up your nose if you think that DAK is a “nice little park.” I’m going to wager that its intended purpose was to diversify and extend what the resort as a whole offered rather than be it’s own attraction in itself.”

        THAT, in and of itself, is a prime example of excusing Disney for less-than-”Disney.”

        Disney is charging you full price for an admission to DAK (or the same discounted price per day as the other parks in a package deal,) and yet, DAK isn’t “it’s own attraction in [and of] itself.[?]” C’mon. Moreover, this implies Disney-as-corporate-cynic: we’re marketing DAK as a whole other park, but really, it’s just the “fourth day” for a multi-day guest, who will hopefully be tired and grateful for the few hours they’ll only have to spend there.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “Should we be critical of the fans of the company behind the theme park, who, despite this obvious lack of investment, went to the theme park anyway for a (quarter? third? half?) day, in lieu of superior offerings both in that thematic family or just in pure content?”

        Well, no, because it’s none of your business how people choose to spend their time and money. Disney fans are not answerable to Universal fans.”

        I’m both, and on boards, if I practice respect, I reserve the right to critique. Also, this is MiceAge, right? Home of “declining by degrees,” right? Founded by Al Lutz, who trashed the deserving to be trashed DCA upon opening, right? It’s not the non-critical total fan brainwash sites, right?

        Just checking.

  2. Great article Kevin. Don’t bother responding to the Captain. His same tired posts will just keep popping up every day, no matter what anyone says or how they respond.

    • Sometimes I wish Foxfire had a Captain comment filter. Sigh…

      • Too bad, because inherently he is correct whether you like it or not. This announcement is basically saying WDW is adding a water show and that’s it. Of course unless you want to pay an extra $120 for the upcharged party……

      • He’s a little bit right. A new water show and Avatar make this a very exciting time for DAK, but by no means does that make it an exciting time for WDW as a whole.

      • Cruise, good comment. But I am unrealistically hopeful that Disney will announce a Star Wars land at the studios that will dwarf DCA’s Carsland.

  3. The World of Color is a huge success at California Adventure. I’m glad that Animal Kingdom will get their own version! Animal kingdom is our favorite park at WDW, and we’re real glad that the park hours will be extended. I’m looking forward to this!!

    • You’re right. It’s a nice show. But have you seen it during the daytime? It’s UGLY! I mean really ugly.

      It’s mostly stuck in the maintenance position, out of the water. Even when it is submerged you can seen all of the ugly mechanics, gas pipes, and nozzles. Can you image walking through a lushly vegetated path and you stumble across a huge pile junk sticking out of the DAK lagoon/pond/swap? And we all know how they do maintenance at this park. “Hey just strobe some lights on it and people will think the Yeti is moving…..Sell them more Churios, faster, faster!”

  4. Yawn.

  5. That many new attractions would seem like a lot if it were at 1 park… Disney now seems to look at “property” and not “park”. So not really much to get excited about.

    When they built DCA, many folks thought they were adding onto Disneyland and were shocked to hear they had to pay a separator entrance fee. Disney wants the revenue from charging for a second (or third or fourth) gate, but is not treating each individual park they way that Disneyland and MK were treated when they were the only gate in town. Epcot, Hollywood Studios and DAK have been lacking a major addition for years.

    I know…Disney doesn’t need to add anything. The people just keep on coming anyway.

  6. Give them less, charge them more, get them to stay late and they’ll buy more Churios. (kinda rhymes).

    Big deal. DAK is out in the middle of nowhere. If WDW guest want a night time show, they’re going to EPCOT or MK or the Studio. OK call the World of Color a nice water show, but if you’re a WDW Hotel-ee, you’re going to take the easier choice. DAKs World of Color will have to be over the top and get a Over the Top guest reaction. They’ll need the world of mouth, to get guests to go to this half day park, late at night on a Bus trip to h@ll.

    Where’s the Jungle Book Dark ride for DAK?
    This place needs more. I’m sure the Budget people think they’re doing us a favor by moving the Lion King recycled parade float show, to Africa. While building a less than stellar Avatarland. And I’m sure they’re spending lots of money on the lights for the Disco Yeti. But the whole attitude is just underwhelming.

    The fancy dinner package will just die. $500 for a family of 4???????? This thing will last one season.

    All of this would be fine, if not for all the other small, cheap, pacifying and expensive; things Disney is doing in both US Resorts.

    • That doesn’t rhyme at all. :)

      • You’re right. Maybe I should have left off the ” Churios” :)

    • A Jungle Book dark ride in DAK would be GREAT! But you know what? People would absolutely start complaining that it is only a B-ticket and is no kind of competition for Harry Potter. Boo! Hiss!

      Anyways, if it was running while we were going, my fiancee and I would totally do this Harambe Nights thing. I’m going to guess that we are squarely in the demographic this is meant for, being adult couples with (at least some) disposable income making infrequent trips to the resort. It sounds like fun!

  7. Well, seeing Viola Davis, Harry Lennix, Joe Morton, or Alfre Woodard in-person for a play-type performance of the Lion King (ish) would be well-worth the admission. They are all amazing talents.

    However, seeing TBD live – well, I have mixed feelings. TBD doesn’t belong at Disney. He’s more of a Universal park type artist – or worse – Old Town. That trash doesn’t belong at a family park.

  8. [...] (Of course, there may be additional backstage space Im not seeing). The Rivers of Light show borrows the name of a previously-proposed nighttime parade for DAK (part Light Magic, part SpectroMagic, and part its own thing with more embedded lights in the pathways), but its not a parade. The closest analogy would be World of Color from DCA fountains and giant waterscreens to tell stories. The World of Color technology would be welcome indeed in WDW the Florida Fantasmic! looks dated by comparison in many ways. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://micechat.com/66219-splashy-walt-disney-world-future/ [...]

  9. ON THIS NEWS:
    I think the “World of Color” at Animal Kingdom will be a great, much needed addition to the park (although pretty much ANYTHING would be a “much needed addition to the park.”)

    I don’t think it’s ENOUGH of an addition to the park to transform it into a full-day experience, which is to say that just because an attraction takes place at night doesn’t detract from the dearth of attractions and experiences, in general, at AK. What is one going to do in the at least three hours (and I’m being generous here,) between doing everything there is to do at AK and the start of the night showcase?

    As excited as I am about the eventual opening of Avatar, that entire land won’t be enough to transform the park into an all-day experience, either. Each of the existing lands needs one other attraction, AT LEAST, PLUS the night show PLUS Avatar to remotely approach DHS’ level of 80% of a day. (And I don’t count the petting zoo with train as a “land.”)

  10. A nighttime show and a restaurant. Once again, Disney fails to understand the severity of the competition it is facing. Announcing a nighttime show and a restaurant as “big deals” while other parks announce major attractions and full-scale developments is indicative of Disney’s current mindset: “We’ve spent $1 billion on a marketing tool and can’t afford anything else.” To add insult to injury, Disney will introduce a new “experience” … and will charge an arm and a leg for it, on top of admission. I’m guessing some marketing executives have recently joined Disney from the airline industry? Charing $120 for what should simply be an enhancement of the overall guest experience is a lousy concept, I don’t care how well-executed it is. Can you imagine if Disney had announced back in the 1990s that Fantasmic would cost an extra $30? Or that you could see World of Color as long as you paid $50 more? Maybe they should just start charging for the privilege of being in the park during the fireworks! Wait, I shouldn’t suggest that, they might think it’s a good idea.

    Then again, people keep PAYING for these add-ons, opening their wallets. As long as they do, Disney bean-counters will continue to think about ways they can provide the least for “regular” guests and save the good stuff for the rich folks. What a real, real shame that completes the transition away from the company’s origins and guiding philosophies.

    • “Once again, Disney fails to understand the severity of the competition it is facing.”

      I suspect that Disney fully understands the severity of the competition they’re facing. It’s us who have a distorted, overblown impression of it.

      • As a Stockholder, I love the Disney cheapness. My dividends go up and up, while the Wallets keep coming. I agree with you, don’t give them anything. Those lousy customers…..they’re spoiled!

      • Tooncity, what exactly do you mean by “don’t give them anything”? When I look at the full list of everything there is to do at WDW as we prepare for our honeymoon there in September, I see WAY MORE than we can realistically DO in the whole week and half we’re staying there. You make it sound like going to WDW is worse than getting thrown into a gulag in Siberia. How about some perspective, hey? If anyone here is sounding spoiled, it isn’t people like me.

      • Cory, I think we’ll have to wait a few years to see how it all plays out. I suspect people are sensing a paradigm shift here, although it will take longer than one year to see if that’s the case. Thus far, for example, IOA’s higher attendance numbers (from next to nothing, before Potter, placing the “high growth percentage” factoid into perspective,) have done nothing to WDW’s numbers but have (a) grown the market [itself super impressive] and (b) taken visitors from SeaWorld.

        We’ll see if the Potter magic works on Universal Studios Florida, raises those numbers, encourages guests to look around at a highly complete, invested within and state-of-the-art theme park next door to another state-of-the-art theme park and starts to crib guests from Disney. Thus far, it’s too early to tell.

        Again, as a lot of people seem to forget, when Islands of Adventure opened, it was considered to be the state-of-the-art, creme-de-la-creme of theme parks (until DisneySea opened in Tokyo.) It was supposed to be the “game changer.”

        It wasn’t. Heck, both parks were regularly out attended by SeaWorld, for tuna’s sake! SeaWorld, that lightly themed oceanic university campus and plushy factory. SeaWorld!

        It took Potter to awaken IOA and schedule a visit (to the now, what? 2-plus billion dollar invested theme park and counting?) But…it’s the REST of the superb stuff at the park that’s keeping them happy and coming back.

        Just for perspective, USF spent most of the last decade turning out their side of the pond. If Potter opens and gets the people into the park to see all of that investment, if may very well be (finally) the game changer that IOA was originally meant to be.

        And here’s a fun thought experiment: what if IOA WAS the game changing theme park success it was expected to be, so much so that the mouse launched their last, final push of rides to combat it? Would we, as theme park fans, as DISNEY fans, gotten more premium investment out of a fearful, defensive mouse than a complacent one?

  11. ON DISNEY IN GENERAL:
    While I’m glad that we’re in the Iger/Lassetter era of measure, but complete and expensive investments, it’s getting hard to excuse the company for not spending more.

    In the first place, they’re currently coming from a place of catch-up with regards to attraction development. They really need to drop some cash into these parks, and that includes existing, iconic attractions.

    Case in point: Spaceship Earth. Yes, I understand that Disney-plus-corporate-sponsor glammed up the ride recently, but have they done anything about the teeth shattering track system or the aroma of leaking oil? (The answer is “no.”)

    In the next, according to their most recent quarterly report, Disney Parks & Resorts division generates nearly ONE BILLION DOLLARS A MONTH in revenue.

    Even if up to 90% of that is operating costs (I doubt it,) that’s 1.2 billion dollars in profit, per year, that they could be investing in the parks.

    So…its a little bit absurd that they’re dabbling out teeny tiny improvements here and there, when they should be dropping a LOT of cash into each and every park, and most certainly those in Florida.

    CaptainAction may be abrasive in his tactics, but he’s right with regards to Disney taking advantage of their history and brand heritage to keep on attracting visitors, versus significant investment in rides and attractions to do so. And he’s also right in that it won’t be until enough people actually stop going to the resort because of that divestment that they’ll change anything.

    Which is to say that perhaps the best way to get “Disney” back is to not go.

    • Aaronius, I really don’t mean to be abrasive. On my side of the posts I’m really laughing a little and trying to do it with a sense of humor. I understand it comes off abrasive but I’m really not shooting for that.
      I really love Disney as much as a lot of folks here but I just don’t have the patience or ability to overlook the way I think current WDW leadership is treating one of my favorite places.

      • Captain, love ya, but I smell bull feces. You mos def mean to use abrasion to provoke and move people.

      • Aaronius, I understand. I’m really using humor. Maybe it’s Don Rickel’s humor but I’m having fun presenting my case with it.
        I’m trying to come at this with angles that make people think.
        I feel like I’m trying to wake some folks up who have the ability to wake up and that takes some energy.
        I think if you are on my side it can seem funny and abrasive to one on the other side.
        Not my goal though.

      • Cap….you SHOULD laugh alittle, because all your anti Disney, hip, hip, for USO is a joke !! This topic was about Mr. Yee reporting on this weeks offerings on Disneys announcements, NOT for the hATERS TO COME ON HERE AND DISRESPECT Mr. Yee and the hard work he puts into his reports. I like Universal, but they have done stuff in the past, that if Disney did it, you haters would, and do, jump all over them.Oh boy, The Alley is almost done. 2 rides and a crap load of stores, whoopy…………..

      • Hey Red, why single me out?
        Most of the folks posting here are different degreas of disappointed in the execs at WDW and the way they are resting on the laurels of others before them.
        How about responding to the substance of the posts?

      • Cap, I think on this thread, I took over your role!

      • Aaronius, I think you did take over my role.
        I’m just enjoying reading now.
        I don’t even have to get creative or think.

      • Alas, my approach still reaches ears most deaf, Cap.

    • I don’t think Spaceship Earth will ever be much of a priority for investment. It’s a landmark building but not a marquee attraction.

      • Turn Spaceship Earth into a Deathstar and the Tourist can pay an upcharge to fire planet destroying laser-beams at Harry Potter. It could work.

      • Deathstar idea is great!

    • Disney hasn’t gone anywhere. Sure, they don’t always make the best decisions, and they can be rightly criticized for it, but going to WDW isn’t exactly like being sent to a Siberian gulag either. Why SHOULD the #1 theme park in the world spend billions of dollars to compete with the #10 theme park in the world? To satiate a couple of people online who will never be happy with what they do anyways? If IOA starts to outpace DAK or DHS, THEN they would have a justifiable reason to turn on the spigots, but until then, why not just rake in the profits? We might like them to be “competitive,” but realistically, who are they supposed to be competitive with? Universal is an also-ran and always will be.

      • Cory, you haven’t even visited Universal Orlando or Islands of Adventure yet.
        You refuse to ride 85% of their rides whenever you do go for one day in September.
        It might be better to have visited and been on the attractions before dismissing both parks.

      • Cap,

        I don’t care about Spiderman or Bayformers or Popeye or restaurants whose “theme” is “old monster toys in display cases” or boat rides with scenic views of parkades. I don’t think you realize that every time you try to sell me on Universal, you just make it sound more and more like an also-ran. Maybe you missed my speech before about how it’s not E-tickets that bring most people to theme parks, and that I haven’t been to every theme park in the world because I totally have better things to do. I need a compelling reason to go, and Universal finally got one with Harry Potter. Monster Café and a Simpsons spinner ride were not.

      • Again, this indicates the proof that extremely loyal customers to a brand will defend it while demeaning the competition.

        There’s just no way, NONE, in any objective fashion, that one can look at what they’ve done at the Universal Orlando Resort and call them, objectively, an also-ran.

        NONE.

        Now, they may not be a threat to attendance numbers (and considering the passionate, extremely loyal Disney fan base, perhaps they never will,) but “also ran” is so entirely off the mark. Perhaps “over-achiever, desperate to prove its mettle.” Perhaps “over-dependent on the big E-tickets versus the smaller, more charming Ds.” But “also ran?” Like this is Boardwalk & Baseball? Not even close.

        “I don’t care about Spiderman or Bayformers or Popeye or restaurants whose “theme” is “old monster toys in display cases” or boat rides with scenic views of parkades.”

        Again, this is an example of demeaning the opposing brand for no reason other than to elevate the one that you are extremely loyal to. Universal Orlando’s attraction are, in general, much more than that. Spider-Man is an amazing ride (you do realize that’s a Disney franchise now, right?)

        Let me put this another way, suppose those rides were themed to The Incredibles, Wall-E or The Little Mermaid characters, respectively. Would that make the rides “better?” Well, it might make them appeal to a different demographic, but they would essentially be the same, well-done, expensive, brilliant rides that they are.

        The argument from the Disney nay-sayers would be that considering Disney’s past decade of divestment, you wouldn’t GET these well-done, expensive and brilliant rides, regardless of whether or not one likes the characters or brands better or worse than the others.

        I don’t think you realize that every time you try to sell me on Universal, you just make it sound more and more like an also-ran.

      • “There’s just no way, NONE, in any objective fashion, that one can look at what they’ve done at the Universal Orlando Resort and call them, objectively, an also-ran.”

        Sure there is: Magic Kingdom is the #1 theme park in the world with 17 million visitors. Islands of Adventure is the #10 theme park in the world with 7 million visitors. In global ranking of tourist attractions, IOA is #33 and Magic Kingdom is #8. IOA would have to grow its audience by 10 MILLION to be competition with Magic Kingdom. That’s the combined visitation of Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks. That’s a touch more than the total annual visitation of the Louvre and a touch less than Notre Dame de Paris. That’s the entire visitation of the Great Wall of China.

        If you want to say that Universal is creatively the equal of Disney, sure, you might be able to make that SUBJECTIVE argument. But OBJECTIVELY, looking at the numbers, Universal is the definition of an also-ran.

        “Again, this is an example of demeaning the opposing brand for no reason other than to elevate the one that you are extremely loyal to.”

        Actually it was an example of me reacting against people making Universal out to be better than it is, as they go about attacking Disney and Disney fans. Don’t confuse “extreme brand loyalty” with “defending yourself from unprovoked attacks on things you like by people who have nothing nice to say.”

        “Universal Orlando’s attraction are, in general, much more than that. Spider-Man is an amazing ride (you do realize that’s a Disney franchise now, right?)”

        Spiderman is Marvel, not Disney. Same parent company, different brands. But if we take them as the same brand now, I guess that shoots your argument in the foot.

        “Let me put this another way, suppose those rides were themed to The Incredibles, Wall-E or The Little Mermaid characters, respectively. Would that make the rides “better?””

        If they were Pixar, I wouldn’t care about them either. So no?

        “The argument from the Disney nay-sayers…”

        No, that’s not their argument. Their argument is that they don’t like Disney anymore, so nobody else should either, and if you still insist on liking Disney after they’ve told you that you shouldn’t, there is clearly something morally wrong with you.

      • Brilliant last paragraph Cory
        I find it highly amusing the way they keep explaining why you feel the way you feel and why you are wrong to not completely agree with them.
        I personally spent 14 nights at Royal Pacific Resort last year and REALLY didn’t like the place and the Universal Resort in general .In fact despite having the 5 park 14 day flex ticket (and express pass)towards the end my family was fed up with the place so we went for a day of exploring WDW resorts

      • Cory Gross, an also ran can be defined as:
        a person who has taken part in an election or contest and did not win.
        a horse or dog that finishes out of the money in a race
        a contestant that does not win
        one that is of little importance especially competitively

        “If you want to say that Universal is creatively the equal of Disney, sure, you might be able to make that SUBJECTIVE argument. But OBJECTIVELY, looking at the numbers, Universal is the definition of an also-ran.”

        OK, I’ll concede that. How about this: by calling Universal an also-ran, one is implying that Universal is of lesser worth than Disney. Now, of course, you’re right, the OBJECTIVE numbers bear this out, but the implication that because Disney’s Magic Kingdom laps out Universal’s IOA by 10 million visitors a year implies less worth to the competitive effort up the street suggests that Universal is just not worth it, and nor is the effort worth it on both sides of the fence: Universal’s at trying to build a premium, competitive product, or Disney’s in trying to improve their already objectively superior theme parks, because, after all, people keep on keepin’ on.

        Moreover, this entirely plays into the “lemmings just go to Disney without thought or reason” way of critique. Don’t get me wrong: I agree with you. A lot of folks go overboard in their critiques of Disney. For the life of me, I can’t understand how one can look at the New Fantasyland expansion without seeing the detailed, integrated brilliance of the entire thing. Sure, there’s not a big “Test Track/Radiator Springs” E-Ticket, but after a long while of really cruddy investments, this looks and feels complete and “Disney.”

        But…there’s a whole lot of WDW, including the Magic Kingdom, where they’ve just not done a lot for a very long period of time and yet, people keep coming.

        The Imagination Pavilion at Epcot demonstrates this completely, in my humble opinion. There’s a main ride that hasn’t been upgraded in at least 10 years, an early 90s grade 3-D film themed to Honey I Shrunk The Kids, of all things, and an entire interactive playground upstairs that’s been closed since the mid-1990s.

        So, it’s a very real, very tangible critique: people may be coming for “Disney” the brand, but Disney the corporation is giving them less ways to either experience the brand, and frequently, the way in which they do, is dated and minimally invested within.

        Moreover, the Imagination Pavilion USED to represent a pinnacle, signature “Disney” experience, where the thematic exploration of imagination was playful and layered, current and classic. The current state of the pavilion just looks like 90s drag on an 80s dead mall atrium, complete with a ‘closed’ wing. So, in both a real (one less thing to do) and an implied (attractions left are dated and divested,) manner, one is getting less “Disney” for more money going to Disney.

        “Actually it was an example of me reacting against people making Universal out to be better than it is, as they go about attacking Disney and Disney fans. Don’t confuse “extreme brand loyalty” with “defending yourself from unprovoked attacks on things you like by people who have nothing nice to say.””

        I suspect that it’s a little bit of both. And since you’ve yet to go to Universal, how would one know if people are making out the parks to be better than they are? That’s yet another example of the distortion that extreme brand loyalty can bring.

        “Spiderman is Marvel, not Disney. Same parent company, different brands. But if we take them as the same brand now, I guess that shoots your argument in the foot.”

        Well first, since Disney Animation’s next movie is based on a Marvel franchise, I suspect that the brands are blurring. Indeed, since Merida from Pixar’s Brave is an official Disney Princess, and Marvel characters are coming to (for now, just) Hong Kong Disneyland (and one can experience all of them on Disney Cruise Line,) it cements the support of my argument: its that the current Spider-Man ride isn’t at Disney that somehow diminishes its worth, all because of extreme brand loyalty to Disney.

        It’s why this line “If they were Pixar, I wouldn’t care about them either. So no?” rings false, as the Pixar characters and movies (not to mention the bought creative team itself) have become a part of the “Disney” that Disney promotes. In Florida, Pixar characters are the basis for three attractions in three of the four parks, and I believe a robot Remi still makes appearances in the Paris pavilion in Epcot, so four of four. What’s more, in two of the parks, the Pixar attractions take on significant importance, with one being at the center of the park (DAK) and one being the last significant addition to the park (DHS.)

        Look, I get that Universal’s collection of intellectual properties might not have the Disney touch behind them (and I totally get how not having these closed synergy loops doesn’t help Universal in the least,) but the thesis remains: whatever characters are being promoted via the attractions at Universal, they’ve clearly spent a ton of time and money on them. They have something to prove, and they’re spending and investing quite a bit to prove that to the public…to the benefit of their park attendees, I might add. As much as I love Disney, they could use some of that competitive spirit, and their guests would benefit from that.

        “Their argument is that they don’t like Disney anymore, so nobody else should either, and if you still insist on liking Disney after they’ve told you that you shouldn’t, there is clearly something morally wrong with you.”

        I think you might be going a bit hyperbolic with this one. I actually get the opposite out of them: that they LOVE Disney, that they too, grew up with Disney-as-theme-park-par-excellence, and that they are so saddened by the current state of affairs that its coming out in anger.

        Again, perhaps the approach is wrong, but the underlying thesis is sound, which is that Disney is providing less “Disney” than they have in the past. And there’s a degree of truth to the idea that to continually reward the resort via attendance and spending just means that the company doesn’t have to go full “Disney” to make money.

        In this case, DAK and IOA offer a profound contrast, where the prior is Disney providing less “Disney” and yet people still attend, despite that there’s not remotely enough things to do there. IOA most certainly has too much focus on thrill rides, but there’s a lot to do there. Without the Express Pass, you’ll spend an entire day at that park, and you would have in 1999, as well.

      • “OK, I’ll concede that. How about this: by calling Universal an also-ran, one is implying that Universal is of lesser worth than Disney.”

        That is correct.

        “Moreover, this entirely plays into the “lemmings just go to Disney without thought or reason” way of critique.”

        Not really, because the people who make that “critique” (personally I don’t think of childish insults as being salient critiques, but whatever) make no effort whatsoever to understand the motivations of Disney fans. Even you were saying how it is far more interesting to ask why people are being so loyal to Disney, and I guess you settled on “Extreme Brand Loyalists” as a means to dismiss them (or at least furnish the Universal fanboys with a weapon, as though they’re not “Extreme Brand Loyalists” for Universal and are going out of their way to insult WDW at every chance they get).

        “So, it’s a very real, very tangible critique: people may be coming for “Disney” the brand, but Disney the corporation is giving them less ways to either experience the brand, and frequently, the way in which they do, is dated and minimally invested within.”

        Which is nonsense. I won’t disagree that lots of parts of the parks could use improvement. But those rational critiques are totally getting lost in the narrative that “OMG! WDW JUST HAS NOTHING TO DO!!1! EVERYTHING THAT I USED TO LOVE ABOUT IT ALL SUCKS NOW!!! HOW CAN ANYONE STILL LIKE THAT PLACE?!? IT’S A TOTAL DUMP!! UNIVERSAL RAH RAH RAH!!” As I said, during our honeymoon planning we’re discovering that there is more at WDW than we can realistically do in the week and a half that we’re staying there.

        “I suspect that it’s a little bit of both.”

        I wouldn’t even be talking… or thinking… about Universal if these guys weren’t accusing me of moral failings for not caring about it.

        “And since you’ve yet to go to Universal, how would one know if people are making out the parks to be better than they are? That’s yet another example of the distortion that extreme brand loyalty can bring.”

        No, it’s called Google and YouTube. It’s not hard to look this stuff up. First of all, after visiting Universal Hollywood, my expectations for a Universal park are pretty low. As Cap is going on incessantly about how superior Universal is, I’m just hoping the rides I want to go on actually WORK. I have reason to lowball my expectations for Universal. After Cap recommended the Monster Cafe to me as some great accomplishment of Universal’s, I looked it up. And then I started laughing, because I couldn’t believe that people who complain about Be Our Guest would in turn be seriously recommending the budget “Hard Rock Cafe” of old monster toys.

        “its that the current Spider-Man ride isn’t at Disney that somehow diminishes its worth, all because of extreme brand loyalty to Disney.”

        Well now your argument makes no sense. You COULD have made the argument if you accepted my compartmentalization of Disney brand from Marvel brand. If you don’t, then it’s apparent that I’m NOT an Extreme Brand Loyalist for Disney, since I don’t give a hoot about Marvel, Lucasfilm, or Pixar (actually that’s not entirely true: I actively dislike Pixar). I’m actually glad that the Spiderman ride isn’t taking up space at a WDW park. You’re going to have to find some other way of dismissing my opinions, I guess.

        “I think you might be going a bit hyperbolic with this one.”

        Nope, I meant every word. That’s exactly how they come across.

        “I actually get the opposite out of them: that they LOVE Disney, that they too, grew up with Disney-as-theme-park-par-excellence, and that they are so saddened by the current state of affairs that its coming out in anger.”

        That is totally not the impression I get. These people HATE Disney. That is plainly obvious. Since the marital metaphor was brought in already, if you SAY you love your spouse but then spend all your time complaining about them to anyone who will listen, that isn’t love. Maybe they’re jilted lovers who think that Disney has to earn back their love, but that’s just another form of hate. They HATE Disney and feel that it’s very important to make sure we all know that.

      • Cory Gross,

        Again, from a place of respect. They’re just theme parks!

        QUOTE:
        “Even you were saying how it is far more interesting to ask why people are being so loyal to Disney, and I guess you settled on “Extreme Brand Loyalists” as a means to dismiss them (or at least furnish the Universal fanboys with a weapon, as though they’re not “Extreme Brand Loyalists” for Universal and are going out of their way to insult WDW at every chance they get.”

        That’s because Disney is a brand that engenders extreme loyalty where Universal is a brand that doesn’t. Now, one can easily make the argument that Universal has no choice but to overcompensate for that lack of brand loyalty in a marketplace dominated by Disney, and that some of that investment has turned over the Universal brand into one that engenders extreme loyalty, but on a macro scale, Disney is a vaunted brand and Universal, at present, is not.

        Also, I’m not “dismissing” Disney fans under the “Extreme Loyalists” banner. I’ve made my career in marketing, so this is my job. No doubt you’ve bought a car, a pizza, a software solution, a real estate development, a gummi bear or gross health food “spreads” because of my words. This be my job, yo.

        But, once you see something you can’t unsee it. So, once I read the work, I can’t not see the expression of said work. It’s like taking a course on Critical Theory and not seeing “ideological state apparatii” when watching the news. Knowledge is power and all.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““And since you’ve yet to go to Universal, how would one know if people are making out the parks to be better than they are? That’s yet another example of the distortion that extreme brand loyalty can bring.”

        No, it’s called Google and YouTube. It’s not hard to look this stuff up.”

        OK, then look up Tokyo DisneySea. It’s a prime example, if not THE prime example of what Disney’s Imagineers can do with a proper budget. What’s more, the Oriental Land Company, which runs Tokyo Disney Resort, is a prime example of a company not taking its visitors for granted, and in delivering “Disney” under the Disney name.

        Much like extreme brand loyalty, it’s hard to unsee Tokyo DisneySea, and to not compare it to the more cynical Disney-owned park openings and investments/divestments: DAK, DCA, DSP and HKDL.

        Tokyo DisneySea is also a prime example of the idea that if Disney wanted to, they could shut down this entire debate in a second. Because as talented as the people at Universal are, I don’t think they can deliver on the magnitude of TDS. That Disney CAN and DOESN’T is worth a critique or several. (And part of the reason that they DON’T is because fans come uncritically.)

        QUOTE:
        “…since I don’t give a hoot about Marvel, Lucasfilm, or Pixar (actually that’s not entirely true: I actively dislike Pixar). I’m actually glad that the Spiderman ride isn’t taking up space at a WDW park.”

        Man, you’re not going to be doing much at DHS, eh? :p

        QUOTE:
        “Maybe they’re jilted lovers who think that Disney has to earn back their love, but that’s just another form of hate. They HATE Disney and feel that it’s very important to make sure we all know that.”

        Maybe their miffed that Disney never had to earn back other fans’ love, who remain content with a declining by degrees Disney. I think the expression is wrong (and especially with a brand like Disney, which engenders generational love and loyalty, the expression makes more enemies and defenders versus encouraging rational debate,) but there’s soundness to the thesis that Disney just doesn’t do enough “Disney” anymore to earn one’s business. New Fantasyland is mos def a step in the right direction, however. As are the DAK improvements and expansions.

      • Cory as a Disney and Universal lover I can honestly say you will have a great time there. I dont see Avatar as a bad thing because the ride could be amazing. Universal has amazing rides. I liken my experiences to Universal being a high energy experience and Disney a slower paced nostalgia trip. I Wouldnt change either of them as they are a great contrast to each other. Disney will always be Disney and Universal will never have the history that they do and the attachment to generations of families. Well not for another 30 years or so anyway. But Universal is an amazing set of parks. Islands of Adventure is on par with anything WDW has done theming wise. The port of Entry sets an amazing mood to say the least. I dont like Harry Potter at all, but the ride and environment are second to none. I know enough about it to understand the story, but havent read the books. Springfield coming to life is a trip to say the least. I havent watched an episode of the simpsons in a decade or more but again it is very well done and lots of fun.

        Don’t go there with a Universal sucks mentality or a Universal isn’t Disney attitude because it isn’t. I don’t understand why people can’t love both and why we have to have a Democrats VS Republicans style debate. I respect that the Captain has taken his money elsewhere as that is what everyone should do who no longer enjoys a park or restaurant. I think he wonders why people would still go to The World when there are other options with newer rides and more investment in new and old rides and the simple answer is WDW is a trip down memory lane for people. I can go there and remember having my father with me who passed away when I was a child. I can see the characters and rides through my kids eyes and remember how I felt at their age. Having a lifelong attachment is very hard to let go of.

        I can honestly say my last trip was my favorite of all. I loved WDW and Universal was incredible. Orlando is my happy place and I have been going to both resorts since 1987 in WDW’s case and Universal since 1991. To me the place is just 6 great parks that I enjoy every time.

        Lets all hug it out a little people. hahahah

      • TheBig,

        “Don’t go there with a Universal sucks mentality or a Universal isn’t Disney attitude because it isn’t. I don’t understand why people can’t love both and why we have to have a Democrats VS Republicans style debate.”

        I’m actually not going into Universal with a bad attitude. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the stuff there that I am interested in seeing. What I am reacting against are these guys who have nothing nice to say about Disney or Disney fans. I’m even starting to find it a little bizarre that people are looking at me as the ogre for sticking up for things I like against guys who are constantly insulting and belittling it and people who like it.

        Aaronius,

        “Also, I’m not “dismissing” Disney fans under the “Extreme Loyalists” banner.”

        Yeah, you were. If you were bringing up Extreme Brand Loyalist theory as an observation on the behavioral patterns of both sides of the extreme fandom, that would be one thing. But your bringing it up very quickly turned into a “see how stupid these Disney sheep are that they’re so blindly loyal to Disney that they can’t see how much better Universal is in every possible way” meme.

        “OK, then look up Tokyo DisneySea.”

        I’ve been there. So far it is my third favourite Disney park after Disneyland USA and Disneyland Paris.

        “Man, you’re not going to be doing much at DHS, eh? :p”

        Actually no. We’ve only got a half-day scheduled for it. But that’s mostly a byproduct of our having been to actual Hollywood. A lot of that angle is lost on us because of it.

        “but there’s soundness to the thesis that Disney just doesn’t do enough “Disney” anymore to earn one’s business.”

        Considering that there is no real clear, cogent explanation of what their problems are except that Disney isn’t building enough new E-tickets to satisfy their bloodlust, all we get is an unending stream of tiresome vitriol.

      • Cory:

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““Also, I’m not “dismissing” Disney fans under the “Extreme Loyalists” banner.”

        Yeah, you were. If you were bringing up Extreme Brand Loyalist theory as an observation on the behavioral patterns of both sides of the extreme fandom, that would be one thing. But your bringing it up very quickly turned into a “see how stupid these Disney sheep are that they’re so blindly loyal to Disney that they can’t see how much better Universal is in every possible way” meme.”

        RESPONSE:
        Again, I wasn’t. Me bringing it up doesn’t dismiss extreme brand loyalists to Disney or Universal or any specific brand, but it does note how bias plays into people’s responses and reactions. That’s it.

        Considering that (a) Disney is the power brand here and (b) Disney as a company hasn’t been investing as extensively in their theme parks and resorts as (c) Universal has and (d) is still posting record breaking attendance and profits, would that not greater explain Disney’s success?

        Considering that Universal has been spending a ton of money for the last 15-20 years on their resort and to date, all that spending has resulted in the same vacation paradigm: where people go to Disney for the bulk of their time and add on a day somewhere else NOT be indicative of the power of a brand engendering extreme loyalty?

        You’re taking the results of a marketing study personally and that wasn’t my intent (although it’s clearly a sign of an extreme brand loyalist.)

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““OK, then look up Tokyo DisneySea.”

        I’ve been there. So far it is my third favourite Disney park after Disneyland USA and Disneyland Paris.”

        RESPONSE:
        I just can’t look at TDS and then look at DAK or DHS and not see the truncation of execution and/or vision. Or worse, I can’t see the truncation and just shrug it off. The same is true regarding DLP and the original D’Land. I wish I had that leap of faith, but I don’t. I truly believe that if Disney has it in them to build a TDS as a complete, complex and over-the-top thematic experience from Day One, they should never settle for anything less, and that we, as fans, should never LET them settle for anything less.

        (Full disclosure: I have a deal with myself regarding international travel, which is to never go to a theme park, a mall or any other “back home” activity. It was TDS or more of actual Japan, and I chose actual Japan. Same was true in Paris. But the pictures and YouTubes sure are stunning.)

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““Man, you’re not going to be doing much at DHS, eh? :p”

        Actually no. We’ve only got a half-day scheduled for it. But that’s mostly a byproduct of our having been to actual Hollywood. A lot of that angle is lost on us because of it.”

        RESPONSE:
        Again, that really ties into the idea that Disney isn’t really doing enough, as you could do DAK and DHS in one day or less, and yet they’re charging you as if each is a singular, holistic experience in and of itself (much like, say… Tokyo DisneySea is.) In this manner WDW cedes 6-7 million visitors per year into the ether of Florida, rather than attempt to capture them with rides, attractions and other experiences. MK gets 17 million visitors a year. Roughly a third of them don’t go to another Disney park after that day at the MK…and after all this time as a multi-park resort.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““but there’s soundness to the thesis that Disney just doesn’t do enough “Disney” anymore to earn one’s business.”

        Considering that there is no real clear, cogent explanation of what their problems are except that Disney isn’t building enough new E-tickets to satisfy their bloodlust, all we get is an unending stream of tiresome vitriol.”

        RESPONSE:
        Well, they certainly aren’t practicing the ‘more flies with honey’ rule, that’s for darned sure.

        I’ll see if I can boil down mine for you, as I can’t speak for everyone else.

        Despite my love for Disney, and despite a noted improvement regarding investments in the parks and resorts, I feel as if there’s a cynical culture at the corporation, where, empowered by their power as a brand, as the market leader, and peoples’ relationship to the brand, the characters and the parks, there’s no-to-limited-to-targeted investments rather than home runs.

        I feel as if Disney-as-company knows that people will attend their parks and resorts, whether or not they go for the home run or a bunt, and so they don’t make enough investments in the parks and resorts to warrant their place as a power brand. What’s more, they tarnish and negate the history of Disney as a theme park operator, pioneer and innovator. As such, we don’t get Tokyo DisneySea or Disneyland Paris. We either get empty, but well themed canvases like DAK, or ugly, poorly conceived hellscapes like DCA.

        Finally, I feel that while we, as fans, should reward Disney with our wallets when they do deliver the goods (New Fantasyland,) we shouldn’t excuse them when they don’t. My favorite theme park of all time is Epcot. I’m both a nerd and a drunk! (And as stated earlier, my international travels are about places beyond theme parks and malls and such.) I can still love Epcot and yet, look at Epcot at indicative of Disney not doing enough.

        Why? Because Epcot is arguably the last “swing for the fences” theme park concept until Tokyo DisneySea came along (DLP is a remarkably up-themed variant of a Magic Kingdom park, so I don’t count it.) Marty Sklar’s team really went for it, and, even on Day One, despite not all of the country’s pads being filled, despite three Future World pads not being filled, you still had an entire day of stuff to do, to experience and enrich yourself with. It was ambitious, expensive and singular. And it was all “Disney.”

        And then it just calcified. There are still a slew of country pads awaiting development (I’d even be happy with simply expanding out the existing countries into those pads.) At least half of Future World is at or near “Dead Mall” status. And it’s been a long time since Soarin’ was cloned, right?

        There’s a degree of that calcification at each and every WDW theme park. There’s “Carousel of Progress” corner in Tomorrowland.
        There’s the Drew Carey Echo Lake corner (now used for movie previews) at DHS.
        There’s the aforementioned Future World at Epcot.
        There’s Camp Minnie-Mickey at DAK, soon to be AvatarLand, and notable for being themed to be “temporary campgrounds for Disney characters.” In a way, that section was cynically dead on arrival.

        And so, while I will continue to love the Diz, I’m also going to critique the Diz for “dead mall” spaces in their parks, for cheap additions like DinoRama, for replacing rather than adding, and for not living up to their own heritage as Disney by providing less than “Disney” experiences.

      • “Again, I wasn’t. Me bringing it up doesn’t dismiss extreme brand loyalists to Disney or Universal or any specific brand, but it does note how bias plays into people’s responses and reactions. That’s it.”

        When you start throwing around the word “bias” it starts to go downhill. That’s a point I’ve been attempting to clarify. I’m not BIASED to Disney. Disney EARNED it. Disney hasn’t even come CLOSE to squandering it, even with all the petty (and not so petty) things that cheese me off about them. Keep it in perspective. Even Disney’s C-game is better than most people’s A-game. But now equipped with “You’re just an Extreme Brand Loyalist (aka: irrational, braindead sheep with no morals) for Disney,” a new weapon has been employed by the Universal Extreme Brand Loyalists who actually do go out of their way to denigrate Disney and Disney fans, which is all they do.

        “You’re taking the results of a marketing study personally and that wasn’t my intent (although it’s clearly a sign of an extreme brand loyalist.)”

        No. That’s the sign of somebody who is tired of being talked down to.

        Remember, MY experience of Universal Studios is Hollywood, where NEARLY EVERY EFFECT IN JURASSIC PARK WAS BROKEN when I went on the ride. I was stoked for JP because I am a JP fan and had wanted to ride it since it first opened in the Nineties. I knew it so well from photos, videos, television specials and so on that I could make a detailed mental checklist of everything that should have been working but wasn’t… INCLUDING THE CLIMAX OF THE RIDE. Between that and the other broken and boring rides we either rode or ignored, Universal isn’t even a half-day park: it’s a 3 hour park, at best.

        So my expectations for Universal are lowballed to “I’ll just be happy if Jurassic Park works.” Being talked down to like I’m some ignorant, immoral, low-class sheep by people who are apparently cool with ALMOST ENTIRE RIDES BEING BROKEN and entire lands being built with a 7-1 store-to-ride ratio and restaurants whose “theme ” is off-the-shelf toys in display cases IS genuinely insulting. Nobody with poor enough judgement to love Universal that much is entitled to talk down to Disney fans. Universal has spent billions of dollars and earned “it might actually be worth taking a day out to visit, but I’m not expecting much.” Sorry man, but that’s reality. Yes it’s just a theme park, but stop harshing my squee and killing my buzz, guys. Jeez.

        “(Full disclosure: I have a deal with myself regarding international travel, which is to never go to a theme park, a mall or any other “back home” activity. It was TDS or more of actual Japan, and I chose actual Japan. Same was true in Paris. But the pictures and YouTubes sure are stunning.)”

        I wouldn’t recommend going to ANY theme park unless there was something there that spoke to you. It’s not like I did (or would) got to Universal Osaka. I did ride the Galaxy Express 999 roller coaster in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel though, because that is my favourite anime. When I do hit an international Disney park, I make a point of going on the exclusive stuff and bypassing what is already at Disneyland USA. For me, the initial draw to go to TDS while I was already in Japan and DLP while I was already in France anyways was my being such a big Jules Verne fan.

        “Again, that really ties into the idea that Disney isn’t really doing enough, as you could do DAK and DHS in one day or less, and yet they’re charging you as if each is a singular, holistic experience in and of itself (much like, say… Tokyo DisneySea is.)”

        There is no guarantee that jam packing it full of E-tickets is going to make it a full-day experience for me either (a full day of what, waiting in lines?… It’s easy for Universal to be a full-day experience when you have to get a return ticket just to get in to Harry Potter land so you can wait in line for an hour to buy a $50 wand). As it is, we have a full day planned for DAK, because we are totally into what they are selling. I’m also kinda’ glad that it will be closing at 5 or 6, so we can get over and do the Spirit of Aloha show, because hey, there is more to do at WDW than we actually have time for. It’s not a gulag.

        “Well, they certainly aren’t practicing the ‘more flies with honey’ rule, that’s for darned sure.”

        No kidding.

        “There’s “Carousel of Progress” corner in Tomorrowland.”

        Hey, I WANT to see the Carousel of Progress! I’m also looking forward to the Country Bear Jamboree, Tom Sawer Island, Swiss Family Treehouse, and the Peoplemover, because they are amongst the classic Disney attractions that aren’t at Disneyland anymore. The only version of Country Bears I’ve even seen was in Japanese, and that was only the Christmas show.

        “for cheap additions like DinoRama”

        I’ve heard so much about how bad Dino-Rama is, but when I finally watched some video of it, I instantly got what they were doing. It’s supposed to be tacky dinosaur roadside kitsch, and I actually dig stuff like that (I like things that are good, like Disney, and things that are so bad they’re good, like tacky roadside attractions).

        “for replacing rather than adding, and for not living up to their own heritage as Disney by providing less than “Disney” experiences.”

        Sure, and I have my critiques as well. It’s just… holy jeez… being into Universal doesn’t mean you have to always be badmouthing Disney or insulting Disney fans. Through all of these comments, I haven’t heard ONE legitimate critique of these plans at DAK. It’s just people whining that it’s not what Universal would do. Of course it’s not. That’s why Universal is 10th.

      • QUOTE:
        “When you start throwing around the word “bias” it starts to go downhill. That’s a point I’ve been attempting to clarify. I’m not BIASED to Disney. Disney EARNED it. Disney hasn’t even come CLOSE to squandering it, even with all the petty (and not so petty) things that cheese me off about them. Keep it in perspective. Even Disney’s C-game is better than most people’s A-game. But now equipped with “You’re just an Extreme Brand Loyalist (aka: irrational, braindead sheep with no morals) for Disney,” a new weapon has been employed by the Universal Extreme Brand Loyalists who actually do go out of their way to denigrate Disney and Disney fans, which is all they do.”

        Well, three things.

        1.
        If you’re going to simplify consumer behavior based on brand strength down to this, on the plus side, you can easily throw back “you’re just a Universal Brand Loyalist” out in response!

        2.
        That wasn’t my intent (to simplify the discourse to pithy snits.) Disney is a power brand, one that has engendered fierce brand loyalty in its consumer base. I think that loyalty helps to explain how Disney has not only been able to “survive” as their competition gets more, well, competitive…but thrive and post record setting attendance and profits, despite laying off the gas regarding infrastructural development.

        3.
        At present, Universal doesn’t have that brand power nor that customer loyalty. If they did, the vast buckets of wealth they poured into their theme parks BEFORE Potter came along would have resulted in increased attendance. It didn’t. The general public just doesn’t have that level of brand loyalty and love for them as they do for Disney. I brought up the study because if one takes in the last 15 years or so, everything being equal, Universal spent a loooooot of money up the street on superior product while Disney didn’t, and yet, Disney keeps on keeping on. It might be a part of the WHY I always talk about.

        QUOTE:
        “No. That’s the sign of somebody who is tired of being talked down to.”

        Yeah, the “debate” approach is debatable.

        QUOTE:
        “Between that and the other broken and boring rides we either rode or ignored, Universal isn’t even a half-day park: it’s a 3 hour park, at best.”

        Well, as I tell Captain all the time, personal anecdotal evidence isn’t evidence, although it’s certainly fair to note that part of Universal Studios Florida’s failure to launch way back in the day was broken ride syndrome and a public, en masse, as a group, not tolerating that. (For example, I didn’t go back to the resort until IOA, after a day going on one not broken ride: ET…which broken down whilst I was on it.)

        Since it appears that they’ve gotten their reliability issues under control, perhaps we could assume that if the rides work, and there are more of them, we might be able to add on a few hours to the park?

        QUOTE:
        “Sorry man, but that’s reality. Yes it’s just a theme park, but stop harshing my squee and killing my buzz, guys. Jeez.”

        While the approach may be wrong, I think the intent is to challenge assumptions.

        QUOTE:
        “I wouldn’t recommend going to ANY theme park unless there was something there that spoke to you. It’s not like I did (or would) got to Universal Osaka. I did ride the Galaxy Express 999 roller coaster in the Shinagawa Prince Hotel though, because that is my favourite anime. When I do hit an international Disney park, I make a point of going on the exclusive stuff and bypassing what is already at Disneyland USA. For me, the initial draw to go to TDS while I was already in Japan and DLP while I was already in France anyways was my being such a big Jules Verne fan.”

        Nah, I love theme and amusement parks, in general. Whether something there speaks to me or not, I’m pretty sure that I’ll be…amused. I just have a thing, especially in places like Europe and Japan, where there’s a wealth of actual, genuine history and culture to explore, that I go and do that. Why see Disney’s live Hunchback show when the actual Notre Dame is actually there?

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““Again, that really ties into the idea that Disney isn’t really doing enough, as you could do DAK and DHS in one day or less, and yet they’re charging you as if each is a singular, holistic experience in and of itself (much like, say… Tokyo DisneySea is.)”

        There is no guarantee that jam packing it full of E-tickets is going to make it a full-day experience for me either (a full day of what, waiting in lines?… It’s easy for Universal to be a full-day experience when you have to get a return ticket just to get in to Harry Potter land so you can wait in line for an hour to buy a $50 wand). As it is, we have a full day planned for DAK, because we are totally into what they are selling. I’m also kinda’ glad that it will be closing at 5 or 6, so we can get over and do the Spirit of Aloha show, because hey, there is more to do at WDW than we actually have time for. It’s not a gulag.”

        Well, in the first place, jam packing an incomplete theme park full of E-tickets probably isn’t the answer EITHER. Again, look to the example of Tokyo DisneySea, where they have a balance of attractions at all alphabetic levels (or for that matter, any Magic Kingdom park except for maybe Hong Kong.) There just has to be enough to do to warrant a full day and the full price that Disney is charging you. DAK doesn’t really offer that.

        And hey! Speaking of “declining by degrees,” remember when it was Disney practice to provide TOO MUCH to do in one day in their theme parks? Where you’d come back to Epcot because you missed half of the cultural stuff around the lake? Or you didn’t get to watch the Mickey Mouse Revue or cross over to Tom Sawyer’s Island because you ran out of time?

        That philosophy is long gone, and it means that not only is Disney not holding itself to a higher standard, but its fans aren’t, either. Every single park should have so much to do, deployed in a layered, comprehensive way, that I might just miss some of it as I explore it. You won’t miss a thing at DAK when you stay all day. Heck, you could feasibly do the entire park thrice and not miss a thing three times over in one day.

        QUOTE:
        “Hey, I WANT to see the Carousel of Progress! I’m also looking forward to the Country Bear Jamboree, Tom Sawer Island, Swiss Family Treehouse, and the Peoplemover, because they are amongst the classic Disney attractions that aren’t at Disneyland anymore. The only version of Country Bears I’ve even seen was in Japanese, and that was only the Christmas show.”

        That’s fair, although is COP really ‘classic,’ since they upgraded it to Cosby sweaters in 1986 and then forgot about it? I’m all about the classics, but they really need to layer in some new stuff to become classics.

        QUOTE:
        “I’ve heard so much about how bad Dino-Rama is, but when I finally watched some video of it, I instantly got what they were doing. It’s supposed to be tacky dinosaur roadside kitsch, and I actually dig stuff like that (I like things that are good, like Disney, and things that are so bad they’re good, like tacky roadside attractions).”

        Oh, I instantly got what they were doing as well, not being mentally disabled, but come on. Should Disney, a company that supposedly holds itself to a higher standard, really use the theme of “cheap, roadside carnival” as their jumping off point? No, they shouldn’t, and we should call them out on that.

        There’s no greater apology for Disney than accepting DinoRama as “Disney.” What’s more, I’ve heard defenders note that the entire land is layered, as the carnival roadside attraction opens up in this surf town when the Dino Institute made it popular. And…seriously. One has to pretzel one’s head into an opposing opening upon one’s own body to make that link. DinoRama sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks, sucks. (What’s worse is that until Everest, it was the only true coaster in the park and one of only two thrill rides, so lines for a cheap, spinning wild mouse were epochal. At least that stretched out the day for another couple of hours.)

        QUOTE:
        “Through all of these comments, I haven’t heard ONE legitimate critique of these plans at DAK.”

        Sure you have. The legitimate critique is that it’s not enough to make DAK into a full-day park experience, even if they have something to do at night. Paired with Avatar? Possibly.

        Does it remotely excuse Disney for spending 15 years operating a full priced theme park without enough attractions to warrant that price? No, absolutely not, especially when both their competitors and they themselves (in their past, via contract to Tokyo Disney,) have lived up to the standards aloft that THEY THEMSELVES SET.

      • “Since it appears that they’ve gotten their reliability issues under control, perhaps we could assume that if the rides work, and there are more of them, we might be able to add on a few hours to the park?”

        Looking at the lines, I don’t have much of a choice.

        “While the approach may be wrong, I think the intent is to challenge assumptions.”

        I think the intent is to whine and moan and complain. There is no “assumption” to be challenged because my liking Disney isn’t built on a set of assumptions. It’s built on Disney producing things I want to buy… Again, since you brought it up, I’m not mentally disabled and I am an adult with his own mind and agency.

        “I just have a thing, especially in places like Europe and Japan, where there’s a wealth of actual, genuine history and culture to explore, that I go and do that. Why see Disney’s live Hunchback show when the actual Notre Dame is actually there?”

        Makes it easier if this is the only park in the world that has it. I’d love Mysterious Island to come to Disneyland USA or Animal Kingdom. In lieu of that, I can take out a day in Tokyo.

        “There just has to be enough to do to warrant a full day and the full price that Disney is charging you. DAK doesn’t really offer that.”

        I was thinking about this this morning. I think part of the different here is that I’m not looking at them as individually priced parks. I’m looking at them as part of a comprehensive resort package. We’ve got a 6-day Magic Your Way pass with the waterparks. I’m seeing it in terms of what those passes let us do, not if one or another park meets some absolute standard of value.

        “And hey! Speaking of “declining by degrees,” remember when it was Disney practice to provide TOO MUCH to do in one day in their theme parks?”

        No. The first time I went to any Disney park was 2005. That said, I can spend a week just in Disneyland USA easily, because I like to take time and explore. That might be why I’m not as cynical as our Universal fanboy friends. To me it’s not about jumping from 2 hour line to 2 hour line for the E-tickets.

        “You won’t miss a thing at DAK when you stay all day. Heck, you could feasibly do the entire park thrice and not miss a thing three times over in one day.”

        I guess we’ll find out.

        “Should Disney, a company that supposedly holds itself to a higher standard, really use the theme of “cheap, roadside carnival” as their jumping off point? No, they shouldn’t, and we should call them out on that.”

        That’s a matter of taste.

        “Sure you have. The legitimate critique is that it’s not enough to make DAK into a full-day park experience, even if they have something to do at night. Paired with Avatar?”

        Who cares?! Is the light show going to be good or not? Oh wait, nobody knows that yet.

      • QUOTE:
        “Looking at the lines, I don’t have much of a choice.”

        Well, actually, you do. Aside from the two Potter rides, you can get Universal Express and miss every other attractions’ lines. (It is well worth the money, as it changes your day at the park entirely.)

        QUOTE:
        “Makes it easier if this is the only park in the world that has it. I’d love Mysterious Island to come to Disneyland USA or Animal Kingdom. In lieu of that, I can take out a day in Tokyo.”

        …and miss another day in Tokyo! Or Kyoto! Or Hiroshima! Theme Park Review constantly has these international park trips that just seem insane to me. You’re going to a cornucopia of foreign countries…to go to theme parks? THAT, most certainly, is a matter of taste.

        QUOTE:
        “I think part of the different here is that I’m not looking at them as individually priced parks. I’m looking at them as part of a comprehensive resort package. We’ve got a 6-day Magic Your Way pass with the waterparks. I’m seeing it in terms of what those passes let us do, not if one or another park meets some absolute standard of value.”

        And THAT, in a paragraph, is EXACTLY the attitude that Disney wants you to have. It enables them to provide less because you’ll accept less. They want you to spend a week there and consider the entire resort holistically, rather than judge each park/water park on their individual merits. They want you to be tired out by the time you get to DAK, so you’ll be grateful for having less to try to do.

        But, let’s say you’re an Orlando visitor and you only have a day set aside for Disney, and you choose DAK because you’ve never been, because you’ve already done the other three. And you spend full price for a full day’s admission to what you assume is a full day theme park, and ideally one without an off-the-shelf spinning wild mouse coaster that one just went on at the county fair.

        You pay full price for your full day and you don’t get your money’s worth. That’s certainly not living up to the standard of Disney, and yet, here we are.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “And hey! Speaking of “declining by degrees,” remember when it was Disney practice to provide TOO MUCH to do in one day in their theme parks?”

        No. The first time I went to any Disney park was 2005. That said, I can spend a week just in Disneyland USA easily, because I like to take time and explore. That might be why I’m not as cynical as our Universal fanboy friends. To me it’s not about jumping from 2 hour line to 2 hour line for the E-tickets.”

        Firstly, you could just get the Universal Express pass and be done with nearly all the lines. Secondly, that’s the prime beef: Disney doesn’t make complete “I could spend all week at Disneyland USA” parks anymore, and that’s tragic.

        Thirdly, I’ve been going to Disney parks since I was 4, and while FastPass was appreciated regarding the lines, at the older parks, you still, for a very long time, couldn’t get it all in during one day. (Indeed, it even makes a strong argument for repeat business, as you’ll have to come back to see all of the other stuff.) That’s changed, and now you pay more for less. And that shouldn’t be Disney.

        So, it’s been a decline in thematic quality, a decline in reinvestment (remember, even Walt thought that nothing was sacrosanct at Disney and that Disneyland “would never be done,”) and a decline in just upfront, straight forward investment to begin with.

        That’s so not “Disney” its not even funny.

        I suspect the online virtual exploration of TDS really changed the dynamic for fans, especially because DCA opened at the same time, and because we had been weaned by Pressler and later Eisner to accept slightly less Disney juice each time, each visit. But when TDS opened and you saw that Disney with a backer who believed in the brand and the consumer (rather than exploiting them) could deliver something that nobody else could, man. No, it’s not a gulag at WDW, but it’s not living up to all that Disney promises and what they can do.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “You won’t miss a thing at DAK when you stay all day. Heck, you could feasibly do the entire park thrice and not miss a thing three times over in one day.”

        I guess we’ll find out.”

        You could also do some online research, where pretty much every travel website, from Theme Park Review to TripAdvisor to WDWMagic and so on boils it down to the same thing: stunning scenery and beauty; not enough to do. It’s part of the reason why 6-7 million people who go to MK don’t go to DAK.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “Should Disney, a company that supposedly holds itself to a higher standard, really use the theme of “cheap, roadside carnival” as their jumping off point? No, they shouldn’t, and we should call them out on that.”

        That’s a matter of taste.”

        No, it’s a matter of standards.

        On the company’s part, it’s measuring up to a standard of excellence set by themselves, a standard that burnished and elevated the brand name that people have extreme loyalty towards. You know, FunSpot USA is right up the street. You’ll save a ton of money and still get to go on basic, lightly themed rides. Or one could go to one of several, genuine kitsch roadside attractions all around FloriDuhh and pocket the rest of the cash. Heck, no doubt one of the roadside attractions is located near a canal or drainage pond where one can see gators and ‘dillos for free!

        Sorry, but DinoLand sucks. It’s cheap, it’s done to look cheap (as a “theme,” no less) and it represents, in tangible form, how Disney doesn’t live up to the standards that it set for itself and its brand. It lowers the bar on the standard of Disney excellence and produces a ride that one could find anywhere, from SixFlags to Busch (if I’m not mistaken, Busch Gardens actually has one of these, lightly decorated to be cheetah themed?)

        The whole POINT of the Disney parks was that the standard of excellence was set so high that you had to go to Disney because nobody else was doing anything on that level of excellence.

        And as for the fans, its up to US to HOLD Disney to that standard of excellence. DCA 1.0 most certainly demonstrated how the fans held Disney’s feet to the fire, soundly rejecting the park as “not Disney,” and basically refusing to go en masse until Disney dropped 1.5 billion bucks into it.

        We need to hold Disney to “Disney” standards, period. Lowering them to “accept” anything less is exactly what they want.

        Mind you, I think New Fantasyland is really up to Disney standards. If it’s a sign of things to come, hooray! WDW hasn’t seen anything that thematically complete and complex in YEARS. And I think the DAK night show will be great. I just don’t think it’s enough to address the primary problem with the park: that there’s not enough there there.

        And really, I’d say that my primary critique with New Fantasyland involves the rest of MK, actually, as all of the lands could use an NF expansion, especially Tomorrowland and Adventureland. They laid off the gas for too long and now they really need to step it up…everywhere, across the resort.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “Sure you have. The legitimate critique is that it’s not enough to make DAK into a full-day park experience, even if they have something to do at night. Paired with Avatar?”

        Who cares?! Is the light show going to be good or not? Oh wait, nobody knows that yet.”

        Well, I care.

        And I suspect a lot of the complainers care a great deal, actually. They want the Disney that earned this brand equity back. The Disney that would never open a quarter day park in the first place or drop a fair ride into it.

        I care because installing a night showcase before you’ve filled up a visitor’s day seems really, really cynical and a really manipulative (albeit smart) way to keep people in the parks around food and merch long after they’ve done everything needs to be done. And that’s just not “Disney.” That “Disney” would focus on making the entire day so full of stuff to do that by the time the lights go down, you’re beat and you can’t wait for Disney’s Kiss Goodnight.

        Universal may have its problems, and they may never garner the loyalty and brand equity that Disney has. Or customers.

        But, at present, they’re really, really, really TRYING to be the best. You can see it in their investments and attractions and the resort itself. They may never get there. They might not have the cultural memory and/or resources to develop a truly layered, complex and complete theme park experience (I always feel as if I’m missing the quiet courtyards and sweet nothings of WDW at UO.) But, at the very least, the team over there is TRYING their darndest to hit a standard of excellence.

        After such a long time of divestment from Disney, its refreshing to see a company, at the very least, TRYING for a standard of excellence. Just as its nice to see New Fantasyland, Avatar and perhaps this light show as Disney waking up to be “Disney” again.

        Because I want the Disney that can produce Tokyo DisneySea quality material to choose to produce said material, versus the one that slaps Goofy onto a Wild Mouse and calls it a day.

      • “Well, actually, you do. Aside from the two Potter rides, you can get Universal Express and miss every other attractions’ lines. (It is well worth the money, as it changes your day at the park entirely.)”

        We’re considering it, even though it won’t be applicable on most of the things we actually want to see. I mean, I’m assuming that it doesn’t work on the new Potter rides nor the stores you have to wait in a line to access.

        “…and miss another day in Tokyo! Or Kyoto! Or Hiroshima! Theme Park Review constantly has these international park trips that just seem insane to me. You’re going to a cornucopia of foreign countries…to go to theme parks?”

        JUST theme parks would be nuts, but if the theme park is the only one in the world that has something that would be meaningful to you, then go for it. As it is right now, you’re making an argument that I should never go to a theme park ever, since I’m not American either. Dude, you have, like, all of Florida available to you! Why would you be wasting ANY time going to WDW OR Universal?!

        Incidentally, we do have days planned for the Everglades and St. Augustine.

        “And THAT, in a paragraph, is EXACTLY the attitude that Disney wants you to have.”

        I’m rightly interpreting the product the way they intend it to be understood? Okay… uh… yay me?

        “I suspect the online virtual exploration of TDS really changed the dynamic for fans… But when TDS opened and you saw that Disney with a backer who believed in the brand and the consumer (rather than exploiting them) could deliver something that nobody else could, man.”

        Yes and no. TDS isn’t perfect either, and still suffers from many similar complaints to American parks. It’s beautiful, well done, with a fantastic theme, but the layout is garbage, the individual lands can be very lightly dusted with attractions (and one whole one is all “kiddie” rides! *gasp*), and the merchandise selection is just awful.

        When you’ve decided that Disney sucks and can’t do anything right, you can bash anything, even TDS.

        “You could also do some online research, where pretty much every travel website, from Theme Park Review to TripAdvisor to WDWMagic and so on boils it down to the same thing: stunning scenery and beauty; not enough to do.”

        I don’t trust most online reviews of DAK, for the reason that they’re clearly written by people who don’t like animals. When they don’t just ignore the animals, they actually bash them. When I hear reviews from people I trust, they’ve always gushed about DAK. My coworkers from the zoo HAVE spent days there. I’m anticipating spending a full-on, open-to-close day at DAK.

        “No, it’s a matter of standards.”

        No, it’s a matter of taste.

        “And I suspect a lot of the complainers care a great deal, actually. They want the Disney that earned this brand equity back.”

        No. They’ve just decided they hate Disney now and have nothing nice to say about it. Maybe if they dump a few more E-tickets into WDW these guys will decide they like Disney again and hate Universal now.

        “The Disney that would never open a quarter day park in the first place or drop a fair ride into it.”

        That’s a pretty good description of Disneyland when it opened.

        “But, at the very least, the team over there is TRYING their darndest to hit a standard of excellence.”

        No, they’re trying to make money, just like Disney.

        “Because I want the Disney that can produce Tokyo DisneySea quality material to choose to produce said material, versus the one that slaps Goofy onto a Wild Mouse and calls it a day.”

        Who doesn’t want that? But that doesn’t mean you (the generic you) have to completely dump on Disney and make personal attacks on Disney fans ALL THE TIME. Like, okay, we get it, yesterday’s news is yesterday’s news and nothing Disney does now is good enough for (the generic) you. I too have my laundry list of things I’d like Disney to do, but them not doing it isn’t grounds for me to HATE them with the passion of a million suns like some people around here.

      • QUOTE:
        “We’re considering it, even though it won’t be applicable on most of the things we actually want to see. I mean, I’m assuming that it doesn’t work on the new Potter rides nor the stores you have to wait in a line to access.”

        Aside from that, correct. No lines. I can’t realistically imagine that your sole riding and theme parking option after spending all that cash to enter are two Potter rides and then a trip to the wand store.

        QUOTE:
        “JUST theme parks would be nuts, but if the theme park is the only one in the world that has something that would be meaningful to you, then go for it. As it is right now, you’re making an argument that I should never go to a theme park ever, since I’m not American either. Dude, you have, like, all of Florida available to you! Why would you be wasting ANY time going to WDW OR Universal?!”

        Well, I was born and raised in Florida, so I’ve pretty much done everything and anything that there is to do around the state. However, if you’re a visitor to Florida, and your entire visit involves the theme parks in Orlando, that’s just silly. As intrinsically dumb of a state as Florida is (and it really is the insanity drain of the United States,) there’s a wealth of other stuff out there to see and experience. Miami alone is worth at least a couple of days.

        Again, matter of taste. As fabu as Journey to the Center of the Earth looks, I’m doing Mt. Fiji. Don’t get me wrong, on my last cruise around the Med, one of the excursions was a day at Port Aventura…and people went in droves, so again, matter of taste.

        QUOTE:
        “Incidentally, we do have days planned for the Everglades and St. Augustine.”

        Bring a TON of Off spray and ointment with you to the Everglades. Like a whale’s worth. St. Augustine is great, although know that the “metro area” around St. Augustine goes white trash right quick. As a general rule in Florida, the further north you are, the further south you are.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““And THAT, in a paragraph, is EXACTLY the attitude that Disney wants you to have.”

        I’m rightly interpreting the product the way they intend it to be understood? Okay… uh… yay me?”

        Dude, we’re all “rightly interpreting the product.” The difference is that you’re accepting the product versus challenging the company on the lowering of their supposed vaunted standards. CapAction and the gang aren’t exactly misinterpreting what Disney is trying to do with a half day, full priced park. So, yay you for missing the point?

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““I suspect the online virtual exploration of TDS really changed the dynamic for fans… But when TDS opened and you saw that Disney with a backer who believed in the brand and the consumer (rather than exploiting them) could deliver something that nobody else could, man.”

        Yes and no. TDS isn’t perfect either, and still suffers from many similar complaints to American parks. It’s beautiful, well done, with a fantastic theme, but the layout is garbage, the individual lands can be very lightly dusted with attractions (and one whole one is all “kiddie” rides! *gasp*), and the merchandise selection is just awful.

        When you’ve decided that Disney sucks and can’t do anything right, you can bash anything, even TDS.”

        You can also look online and find this exact change of mentality regarding TDS versus company owned theme parks. And that whole kiddy land looks many money market plans more expensive than anything for the kids elsewhere. I’ll concede that The Indiana Jones and volcano lands are “lightly dusted,” but they’ve added to, versus replaced, rides and attractions at TDS. And also, they opened as a full on, fully themed day, layout and traffic issues aside.

        QUOTE:
        “I don’t trust most online reviews of DAK, for the reason that they’re clearly written by people who don’t like animals. When they don’t just ignore the animals, they actually bash them. When I hear reviews from people I trust, they’ve always gushed about DAK. My coworkers from the zoo HAVE spent days there. I’m anticipating spending a full-on, open-to-close day at DAK.”

        Since this was about an aggregate opinion regarding how DAK is a half-day park to most people who encounter it, I’m not entirely sure your anecdotal trust issues regarding online reviews and forums are entirely appropriate to the original thesis, beyond reaffirming your individual determination to view Disney’s Natazu as a total zoo and a total whole day, darn it all to heck!

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““No, it’s a matter of standards.”

        No, it’s a matter of taste.”

        It’s because you and others in your cohort misinterpret this that we get a Disney declining by degrees. Because to accept DinoLand, or for that matter, Paradise Pier, as anything less than a total urination on the brand and the fans by the company, is absurd. And frankly, I’d rather be peed off about it than peed on.

        QUOTE:
        “They’ve just decided they hate Disney now and have nothing nice to say about it. Maybe if they dump a few more E-tickets into WDW these guys will decide they like Disney again and hate Universal now.”

        Hey, that’s an idea worth exploring, Disney Parks & Resorts. And they might if enough people stop settling for less and demanding a Disney that delivers more.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““The Disney that would never open a quarter day park in the first place or drop a fair ride into it.”

        That’s a pretty good description of Disneyland when it opened.”

        Yeah, Disneyland had 38 attractions and shows to do upon opening, actually. (From MiceAge’s very own Yesterland.) DAK, including animal walk-throughs and such, had 17 “attractions,” including the petting zoo split into three. 15 years later, they have 21. Nice try, though.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““But, at the very least, the team over there is TRYING their darndest to hit a standard of excellence.”

        No, they’re trying to make money, just like Disney.”

        Well, of course. But they’re going about it in a wholly different manner.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““Because I want the Disney that can produce Tokyo DisneySea quality material to choose to produce said material, versus the one that slaps Goofy onto a Wild Mouse and calls it a day.”

        Who doesn’t want that? But that doesn’t mean you (the generic you) have to completely dump on Disney and make personal attacks on Disney fans ALL THE TIME. Like, okay, we get it, yesterday’s news is yesterday’s news and nothing Disney does now is good enough for (the generic) you. I too have my laundry list of things I’d like Disney to do, but them not doing it isn’t grounds for me to HATE them with the passion of a million suns like some people around here.”

        Dude, dumping on Disney is not really the same thing as dumping on a person. I’ll concede that the dumping on a Disney fan for liking Disney sometimes crosses the line, just as I’ll concede that perhaps people are a bit too sensitive (if I hear what I assume to be a grown person compare snark on a board to scholastic bullying, I will puke.)

        But Disney is a faceless corporation out to make money, as you said. If the only way to get the good stuff out of Disney is to critique it and hold it to the fire financially, then go for it. I’m all for My Magic+ for example, I see how it makes a ton of money and garners a ton of data for the faceless corporation. Well, OK, I get that you’re about making the money. But can I get some Tokyo DisneySea quality back in return. You’re right: Disney doesn’t owe us collectively anything (well, except for the business and profits themselves, but whatever.) But if they’re going to take that stance and practice that level of cynical business, then why not go to another place that’s not playing that same “taking for granted” game? Disney itself has set up this scenario, and they clearly feel as if their brand name and their loyal customers will enable them to “win” by providing less. It’s up to us as fans to vote with our wallets, as we did with DCA, and resoundly note that they can’t.

      • “Aside from that, correct. No lines. I can’t realistically imagine that your sole riding and theme parking option after spending all that cash to enter are two Potter rides and then a trip to the wand store.”

        As I’ve said before, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park give us our sole reasons for going to Universal at all. If those didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be bothering. So those are our priorities. If we end up having more time, we might check out other stuff, but it’s not on the priority list, and given the wait times on the rides that the “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” unlimited express pass doesn’t cover, it’s a wait and see.

        “However, if you’re a visitor to Florida, and your entire visit involves the theme parks in Orlando, that’s just silly. As intrinsically dumb of a state as Florida is…”

        I think you just answered this whole train of thought for me.

        “As fabu as Journey to the Center of the Earth looks, I’m doing Mt. Fiji.”

        Go for it. I’m going to guess you’re probably not a big Jules Verne fan either.

        “The difference is that you’re accepting the product versus challenging the company on the lowering of their supposed vaunted standards.”

        Yes, I am accepting what the product is supposed to be as opposed to complaining about it not being something else. I totally get that distinction every time these guys trip over themselves to complain that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is not a different ride.

        “You can also look online and find this exact change of mentality regarding TDS versus company owned theme parks. And that whole kiddy land looks many money market plans more expensive than anything for the kids elsewhere. I’ll concede that The Indiana Jones and volcano lands are “lightly dusted,” but they’ve added to, versus replaced, rides and attractions at TDS. And also, they opened as a full on, fully themed day, layout and traffic issues aside.”

        Ah I see, you’re just one of those braindead, apologist, enabling sheep too.

        Another thing with these guys is that not only is nothing Disney does good enough, but nothing Disney fans say is good enough either. Not only can Disney parks be dismissed, but so can Disney “apologists.”

        “Since this was about an aggregate opinion regarding how DAK is a half-day park to most people who encounter it, I’m not entirely sure your anecdotal trust issues regarding online reviews and forums are entirely appropriate to the original thesis, beyond reaffirming your individual determination to view Disney’s Natazu as a total zoo and a total whole day, darn it all to heck!”

        I’ll concede that perhaps Disney misjudged their market by building a zoo for people who are too cynical to appreciate animals, but my comments were totally relevant to the issue of whether or not DAK actually is an “incomplete” park. If you’re not interested in half the stuff there, then yes, of course it will be light. To me, Universal is two half-day parks at best. So when forming my opinion of DAK, I’m going to rely more heavily on people whose tastes I know are more comparable to my own. The person who complains that DAK is lame because it doesn’t have 15 hardcore roller coasters is not the person whose opinion I am going to be taking seriously. The person who is like “OMG! They had an okapi!! DAK is awesome!” is, because I’m that sort of person.

        “It’s because you and others in your cohort misinterpret this that we get a Disney declining by degrees.”

        I’m not misinterpreting it at all. Regardless of their motivations behind it, I totally get what it is doing thematically.

        What I don’t get why you guys can’t be “the theme of this area doesn’t resonate with me so I avoid it, but you’re entitled to enjoy it if it resonates with you” and instead have to be all “YOU’RE A STUPID POOPIE HEAD IF YOU LIKE THIS THING THAT I DON’T!!!1!”

        “Because to accept DinoLand, or for that matter, Paradise Pier, as anything less than a total urination on the brand and the fans by the company, is absurd.”

        The problem with Paradise Pier is that it was done poorly, not that it was done at all. I get what they were going for with it too. Any inherent flaw is connected to the whole question of whether Disney should have built a smaller version of California inside California.

        “Hey, that’s an idea worth exploring, Disney Parks & Resorts. And they might if enough people stop settling for less and demanding a Disney that delivers more.”

        Except that, as I said before, more E-tickets isn’t the cure-all answer. Especially not when the only people it’s trying to please are a very small minority of pathological complainers online.

        “Yeah, Disneyland had 38 attractions and shows to do upon opening, actually. (From MiceAge’s very own Yesterland.) DAK, including animal walk-throughs and such, had 17 “attractions,” including the petting zoo split into three. 15 years later, they have 21. Nice try, though.”

        Is that including the Kaiser Hall of Aluminum Fame? *looks it up* YOU DID INCLUDE IT!! lol

        “Dude, dumping on Disney is not really the same thing as dumping on a person.”

        But accusing people of being ignorant enablers with poor judgement and morals BECAUSE they like Disney is.

        “But if they’re going to take that stance and practice that level of cynical business, then why not go to another place that’s not playing that same “taking for granted” game?”

        I DON’T feel taken for granted at Disney parks.

        Disney still provides one of the all-time best theme park experiences money can buy. Maybe it would be nice if I had the kind of money that I could go so often that I could start taking it for granted and become entitled and cynical and totally lack any meaningful sense of perspective about it and the world at large, but I’m not. Disney is not a gulag.

      • QUOTE:
        “As I’ve said before, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park give us our sole reasons for going to Universal at all. If those didn’t exist, we wouldn’t be bothering. So those are our priorities. If we end up having more time, we might check out other stuff, but it’s not on the priority list, and given the wait times on the rides that the “I don’t think that word means what you think it means” unlimited express pass doesn’t cover, it’s a wait and see.”

        So, the theory is that you’re going to go on Potter and Jurassic and maybe the other zillion things if the lines aren’t too long, but really, you’re spending a fortune for Potter and Jurassic? C’mon, I can’t question your judgement for that? Or for going to a theme park based on franchises versus content? Yeah, I can totally question that. And do and will.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “As fabu as Journey to the Center of the Earth looks, I’m doing Mt. Fiji.”

        Go for it. I’m going to guess you’re probably not a big Jules Verne fan either.”

        Actually, I totally am. I’ve been Maison de Jules Verne in Amiens and took the tour of his estate. Since I’ve been on both Test Track and Indy, I think I can skip the admittedly superior retheme for my several thousands of dollars in flights and hotels and such.

        To be fair to the Orlando guest coming to Florida, while there is plenty of other things to do, basically Florida fell into civilization in a large way at the turn of the last century, so one is missing less than if one flew to France or Tokyo, for example.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““The difference is that you’re accepting the product versus challenging the company on the lowering of their supposed vaunted standards.”

        Yes, I am accepting what the product is supposed to be as opposed to complaining about it not being something else. I totally get that distinction every time these guys trip over themselves to complain that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is not a different ride.”

        Well, and now you’re confusing the argument and conflating it. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in MK, as well as New Fantasyland, does meet the standards set by the vaunted Disney standards. It’s well-themed, well-designed, integrated and complex. As it pertains to the DAK thesis, it also provides a lot of things to do while at the park, which DAK does not.

        QUOTE:
        “Ah I see, you’re just one of those braindead, apologist, enabling sheep too.”

        How, exactly? Because I want Disney to actually choose to build to Disney standards of quality versus settling for less and hoping the public accepts it? Look at the attendance and profit numbers: clearly the “sheep” are sated. At least at present.

        QUOTE:
        “Another thing with these guys is that not only is nothing Disney does good enough, but nothing Disney fans say is good enough either. Not only can Disney parks be dismissed, but so can Disney “apologists.”

        Well, it’s an online board. One’s digital skin can’t be so thin. Also, as said before, it’s really hard to unsee knowledge. Once it’s there, it informs your thinking. For example, it’s really hard for me not to see you as a Disney apologist with regards to DinoLand USA. I still respect you as a person, and will generally try and not treat you with less than humanity, but I question your level of Disney brand bias and judgement, because from my perspective, that’s just an inexcusable land done on the cheap in a park with not enough to do.

        QUOTE:
        “I’ll concede that perhaps Disney misjudged their market by building a zoo for people who are too cynical to appreciate animals, but my comments were totally relevant to the issue of whether or not DAK actually is an “incomplete” park. If you’re not interested in half the stuff there, then yes, of course it will be light.”

        You keep MISSING THE ARGUMENT and DISMISSING THE ARGUMENT as “people who are too cynical to appreciate animals.”

        Dude, people loooooooove animals. Kids looooooooooove animals. Families loooooooooove animals. Old people loooooooooooooove animals. It’s why there are successful zoos and aquaria all across the world. It’s why people spend thousands to fly to Kenya and go on actual African safari.

        It has nothing to do with “cynical people who just don’t get animals and how awesome they are.” It has entirely to do with there not being enough to do whilst there, animals or not. So, if you’re “into” animals (apparently a minority group in BizarroWorld,) you’ll find less animals than you’d expect or want to full a whole day’s worth of activities. If you’re “into” rides (apparently a cynical group of tunnel visioned people, going to a theme park branded as Natazu, gasp!) there’s not enough of those, either.

        It has nothing to do with Disney misjudging their market, or those cold-hearted animal-hating theme park lovers, and EVERYTHING to do with Animal Kingdom not having enough stuff of any stripe to do and experience. It’s not nicknamed “Minimal Kingdom” because of its completed nature, look and feel. End stop.

        QUOTE:
        “To me, Universal is two half-day parks at best.”

        Yeah, we’ve already established that, and how despite significant content related to franchises that you don’t like, it’s all about the Potter and the Jurassic. That mentality is so foreign and astonishing to me, it baffles the mind and plays tricks with reason. Up is down. Hot is cold.

        I hated Potter in movie and book form, and yet, I’m not so far upside-down that I can’t appreciate what they did from a theme park perspective. Hated Transformer, and yet the ride and experience looks pretty amazing. Haven’t been into Spider-Man in years, and yet, that ride really IS amazing. I’ll give one to Disney: not a huge New fan, but the retheme and rework of the Epcot pavilion is genius.

        QUOTE:
        “So when forming my opinion of DAK, I’m going to rely more heavily on people whose tastes I know are more comparable to my own. The person who complains that DAK is lame because it doesn’t have 15 hardcore roller coasters is not the person whose opinion I am going to be taking seriously. The person who is like “OMG! They had an okapi!! DAK is awesome!” is, because I’m that sort of person.”

        Could DAK have more okapi? Or more animals in general? Or more rides and attractions, in general? Or even more restaurants and shops, in general? Anything would be an improvement. ‘Cause that’s the thesis, dude. Doesn’t have to be 15 hardcore coasters. It’s not Busch Gardens (which, for the record, has more animals, more gentle-to-medium grade rides, and, of course, more roller coasters.)

        I do love this new, absurdist tact regarding the cynical, animal-hating, theme-park going public, however. It’s so very “abiotic oil,” and so very very, Heather. How will the zoos survive the cold hearts of the carnivores at the gate, pray tell?

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““It’s because you and others in your cohort misinterpret this that we get a Disney declining by degrees.”

        I’m not misinterpreting it at all. Regardless of their motivations behind it, I totally get what it is doing thematically.

        What I don’t get why you guys can’t be “the theme of this area doesn’t resonate with me so I avoid it, but you’re entitled to enjoy it if it resonates with you” and instead have to be all “YOU’RE A STUPID POOPIE HEAD IF YOU LIKE THIS THING THAT I DON’T!!!1!””

        Because it’s not merely about resonance: it’s about a decline in quality and standards and a fan mentality that empowers them to decline in quality and standards.

        And it’s not merely about “you liking this thing that I don’t,” but rather, you empowering the decline by degrees at Disney via your checkbook. They may not be catching more flies with hot sauce than via honey in their approach, but they’re not wrong. It’s about calling oneself a Disney fan and then accepting when Disney takes advantage of you with a craptacular investment like DinoLand or a third of a day park like DAK.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        ““Because to accept DinoLand, or for that matter, Paradise Pier, as anything less than a total urination on the brand and the fans by the company, is absurd.”

        The problem with Paradise Pier is that it was done poorly, not that it was done at all. I get what they were going for with it too. Any inherent flaw is connected to the whole question of whether Disney should have built a smaller version of California inside California.”

        Again, you keep noting that “you get what they were going for.”

        Dude, we ALL GET IT.

        Paradise Pier=turn of the century, American seaside pier amusement park, right? WE GET IT.

        DInoRama as cheap, campy American roadside sideshow attraction, right? WE GET IT.

        The question is that should Disney, who is/was/will be? all about transporting guests to idealized, fully thematic worlds really be transporting guests to a carnival sideshow or Coney Island, when they can just drive up the street and see both? The question is that should Disney, who famously created Disneyland as a safe and clean escape from these cheap roadside novelties, call upon them as “theme?” The question is that should we drop cash on Disney for this continued practice of declining expectations while demanding more money?

        I GET IT. I get what Disney is doing at the parks and what they are doing to drive profits. WE ALL GET IT. Just because YOU GET IT doesn’t mean THAT IT’S GOOD or UP TO DISNEY STANDARDS. (I suppose the argument back is that it doesn’t mean that its bad, but that speaks to declining standards on the corporate and the fan level.)

        Agreed that DCA will always be a little bit struggling because of the stupidity of the theme. I love how they didn’t do a then Disney Seas there because of the location, as if Anaheim lends itself particularly to the Matterhorn of a lush jungle, either.

        QUOTE:
        “Except that, as I said before, more E-tickets isn’t the cure-all answer. Especially not when the only people it’s trying to please are a very small minority of pathological complainers online.”

        The danger is that the company doesn’t want that line of thought to garner traction in the general market. And considering the dearth of E-ticket investments throughout all four theme parks, it might be a good place to start, and typically, those rides act as weenies drawing visitors and guests into the rest of the park’s attractions.

        What’s more, that investment might fill out the Disney experience as providing both the classics and the new and now. There’s no reason that Space Mountain shouldn’t be a secondary E-ticket in Tomorrowland by now at MK, helping soak up guests into the classic, beloved attraction post-their-experience with the new, state-of-the-art one. It wouldn’t really make sense to drop in some C and D tickets, as the land already has a wealth of those.

        I love what the company did with New Fantasyland across all levels, but I’ll totally cop to the feeling that they’re missing that last, final E-ticket weenie to cement the land. A Maleficent Mountain of sorts.

        DOUBLE QUOTE:
        “Yeah, Disneyland had 38 attractions and shows to do upon opening, actually. (From MiceAge’s very own Yesterland.) DAK, including animal walk-throughs and such, had 17 “attractions,” including the petting zoo split into three. 15 years later, they have 21. Nice try, though.”

        Is that including the Kaiser Hall of Aluminum Fame? *looks it up* YOU DID INCLUDE IT!! lol Well, since I was including all the crap “attractions” at DAK, I figured I’d be fair. “The Boneyard” isn’t really an attraction, and neither are “random character huts.” But, again, things to do compared to things to do. And DAK STILL has less. That’s inexcusable.

        QUOTE:
        “But accusing people of being ignorant enablers with poor judgement and morals BECAUSE they like Disney is.”

        Well, stop being so darned ignorant! I’m kidding. I think you’re again reaching for hyperbole regarding “morality,” but it’s an online board on a site that’s generally been critical of Disney and its divestment in its own brand. If I recall correctly, Al Lutz and company founded MiceAge because MousePlanet had become too much of a corporate (Disney) shill. Judgement will be questioned. And dude. You’ve defended DinoRama. Your judgement most certainly SHOULD be questioned! :p

        QUOTE:
        “I DON’T feel taken for granted at Disney parks.”

        Then you are refusing to see.

  12. I’m excited about this new water show at Animal Kingdom, it needs ways to keep guests in the park after normal hours. I just hope that they hit the mark with the show. World of Color was successful despite its lack of a plot line and story because it had a strong (and all too familiar) theme: good verses evil/bad. And it was successful because everyone loves classic Disney movies and Pixar movies. If this Animal Kingdom show has no familiar characters to at least play host or cameo in the show…audiences may have trouble familiarizing themselves to it.

    • NOPE!
      Tapestry of Nations at Epcot had no familiar characters or any Disney movies – and it was one of the best nighttime spectacles Disney has done – same goes for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. If they can repeat those records, they’ll have a hit.

      I love Mickey (and the ‘magic’ and the memories and all the wonder, as well as pretty much every Disney movie), but they can only tell the same story so many times via stage, fireworks, lasers, or water using those tools.

      • Thats because most people who go to Walt Disney World are first timers and they don’t know that what they are about to see is a load. When I saw Illuminations, I can’t describe how cheated and disappointed I felt. It seemed all the guests around me felt the same way. If you give people a small selection of something, of course they are going to go for it, they don’t know any better.

  13. I think that WDW gets shorted on the level of details they are putting into the new “minor” offerings. For those who haven’t seen what the new Fantasyland looks like, it really is very high quality, detail, theming, etc. The Little Mermaid attraction blows away what was done at DCA, and the Mine Ride is an entire ecosystem. I have also been seeing pictures on other sites about what AK is installing around the new Festival of the Lion King theater, and this is not just a cheap building, they are spending the time, effort & money to make it an immersive area of the park.

    I guess the big attractions are a few years out, but everything they are putting in lately is of very high quality, and not being done on the cheap. there is nothing going in like the Dino Carnival of a decade ago. Again, Disney doesn’t need to spend the money, because people come anyway, but these new smaller additions are being done the right way.

  14. I’m very excited for the Rivers of Light show. I think it will be a great addition. On the Disney blog, Shawn Slater said, “While some elements may be similar to “World of Color” or “Fantasmic,” “Rivers of Light” will be completely original and truly epic. And you can certainly count on a great story being told.” Someone also mentioned they thought the preview picture had elements from Brother Bear. Shawn said, “You may be on to something there! That sequence in “Brother Bear” drew from Inuit legends related to the aurora borealis, a natural phenomenon described by some as “rivers of light in the sky.”” Along with the nighttime safaris, he said other nighttime activities are in the works. Of course, walking around Avatarland at night will probably be pretty stunning too.

  15. I have no doubt that Rivers of Light will be a great show and a wonderful addition to the Animal Kingdom. It’s also an essential element to get folks to stay in the park into the evening and capture an extra daily meal out of guests (increasing the average daily spend per guest).

    However, I find it depressing that they are removing the iconic and beautiful waterfalls at the Polynesian. I love George Kalogridis (I really do), but this is the 2nd time he’s presided over the removal of hotel waterfalls. He was also at Disneyland when the Disneyland Hotel waterfalls were removed. I’m sure the new lobby will look lovely and accommodate more guests, but it was the huge waterfall garden that made that hotel unique. Generic overly polished spaces can be found anywhere. Am I the only one who wishes they would keep the Poly quirky and unique?

    Still waiting for some major ride announcements to get excited about.

    • Really? You thought that the water feature at the entrance was what made the Polynesian unique? Unique in what way? Unique to on-property resorts maybe, but have you seen the waterfalls at the Gaylord Palms just across I-4?

      No. Waterfalls are everywhere. This is just another excuse for rapid fans to find something minor to complain about. The new lobby looks nice. I’d happily trade a waterfall for a new and exciting restaurant concept.

      What makes the Polynesian unique is the luau, the pineapple drinks, the beach, and all that great merchandise you can’t find anywhere else (ahem!).

      • Waterfalls…rapid fans….
        I see what you did there. ;)
        Whether intentional or not, thanks for the smile.