MiceAge Update: Marvel-ous Plans for DCA, Diamonds Ahead for Disneyland

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Published on July 01, 2014 at 3:00 am with 135 Comments

Disneyland Resort heads into its 59th full summer season, and the pace of planning and preparation for the 60th anniversary and beyond has become noticeably more intense in the last month. In this update we’ll fill you in on why the Burbank executives have repeatedly been spotted wandering the parks in recent weeks, what that means for the 60th Anniversary and beyond, and how the recent Annual Pass price increases seem to have backfired on TDA.


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Tour de Force

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Since last fall we’ve been telling you how the financial and operational issues with MyMagic+ out in Florida have put almost all major spending for all American parks into a deep freeze. Then this spring the financial freeze began to thaw, at least for Anaheim, as scaled back plans for the 60th Anniversary and beyond got tentative green lights. In early June, Parks Chief Tom Staggs visited Anaheim for a walking tour of the various locations that have now been moved back into line for funding, and the stops on Tom’s tour will be familiar to our regular readers; Soarin’ Over California for HD and onboard effects upgrades, Paradise Pier for more placemaking theme upgrades, MuppetVision and the Hollywood Backlot area for the delayed Monstropolis project (that’s still simmering), Main Street USA for the backstage bypass alley, Fantasyland for the technical upgrades to the Fantasyland dark rides, New Orleans Square for the expanded Club 33 complex, and Tomorrowland for the latest chapter in the never-ending saga of how to salvage and/or rebuild that troubled land.

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But one of the stops on Tom’s parks tour wasn’t technically inside either of the parks, as the group went to the remains of the Timon Parking Lot behind Tower of Terror and Flik’s Fun Fair in DCA. There they looked over the space for a new idea that is rapidly gaining steam within WDI and TDA; a new Marvel Studios themed mini-land shoehorned to the southwest of Tower of Terror as an off-shoot of the existing Hollywood Land area. This would be a narrow strip of studio buildings that piggybacks on the 1930’s old Hollywood feel around the Tower of Terror, where the most popular new Marvel characters would set up shop in a series of meet n’ greets and interactive experiences. There would be no actual ride here, just a series of walk-thru exhibits and a theater space that would give the Innoventions type meet n’ greet experiences a more purposeful home. If this one gets the green light it will be rushed into DCA quickly to give the lucrative and popular Marvel characters a bigger presence inside the Anaheim parks. Although it would obviously strip Innoventions of the only real draw it currently has, and hasten the closure and/or removal of that otherwise ignored Tomorrowland facility.

Diamonds are a Park’s best Friend

Once Tom Staggs gave his blessing to all of those plans, then it was time to get his boss and the Board of Directors down to Anaheim for another walking tour and series of conference room presentations before they gave their financial blessing. That all took place last Tuesday, with Bob Iger and Staggs and Anaheim executives wandering the parks. Iger also went over the proposals for the nostalgia-laden 60th Anniversary, which now include a new Steve Davison night parade for Disneyland, a glitzy new Castle show, new fireworks, an update to World of Color, and lots of diamond décor for what we’d told you will be branded as Disneyland’s Diamond Anniversary Celebration.

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The work on the modestly themed backstage alley on the east side of Main Street USA began when the new night parade received initial funding this spring, since the return of nightly parades at Disneyland will require help with the nightly migration of tens of thousands of people from two Fantasmic shows to the anniversary fireworks to two showings of the new night parade. The backstage alley will help, but wish Disneyland’s crowd control team luck with the nightly crush of people leaving Rivers of America hitting the sea of folks waiting on Main Street for parades and fireworks! Perhaps this will also give Mary Niven an excuse to try a Fastpass strategy for Fantasmic! as well? It’s time the Rivers of America blanket brigade, who still camp out hours before showtime, move into the 21st century and just get a Fastpass ticket.

Annual Problem

TDA has had another ongoing issue they’ve been grappling with; the surging demand for Annual Passes and the crippling blow they give to the Resort on Friday nights and Sundays. While the news of increased prices and a suspension of the Southern California resident level of passes back in May was met with the typical criticism online, the reality at the ticket booths in the weeks following the change was the opposite. Instead of seeing the slight decrease in renewals and sales that TDA was hoping for, in the three weeks following the change there was actually a big jump in AP sales for both renewals and first time buyers. And in June the Disneyland ticket booths set an all-time high sales record for Annual Passes, with many Southern California residents trading up to the Deluxe level.

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This sales surge continued right up until June 26th, when the SoCal and SoCal Select levels became blocked out for the summer. TDA planners ran the numbers each week through June and were horrified to learn that the price increase and sales suspension didn’t decrease the numbers of AP’s, and in fact there are now a record high number of Annual Passholders who still have access to the parks on Sundays and Fridays when the Resort can least handle them all. The cancellation of blockout tickets also now seems a moot point, as more APs don’t need them to visit on weekends or holidays now with their Deluxe and Premium passes. The numbers went from around 950,000 APs earlier this year, to 990,000 by the end of June. And this was all during an off year when nothing new was opening or debuting in either park! The incredible entertainment value of a Disneyland Resort Annual Pass is obviously understood by Southern Californians, even with a price hike and a sales freeze.

TDA will continue to watch the surging renewal rates of the Deluxe and Premium levels over the summer, and then watch the renewal rates of the lower levels intently when they return this September to see if this baffling trend holds out. As it stands now, the whole plan to scale back the number of APs backfired on TDA and they have more APs now than they did in May before the price hikes. And even more of them can now get in on Sunday or Friday, the days when the Resort’s parking infrastructure can’t handle the crush.

Theme Parking

There is some recent good news for parking, however. TDA has been working quietly to purchase additional land around the Resort, and for the most part they have been very successful. In a quiet transaction through a third party, Disney now owns the property directly to the north of the Pumbaa parking lot, which houses a business park currently home to a large US Immigration and Customs office. Now that this land is in Disney’s portfolio, they can move ahead on a joint project with the city of Anaheim to level that business park and combine it with the Pumbaa lot to build a large parking structure. The new structure would share its ground floor footprint with Anaheim’s planned streetcar tracks, a streetcar maintenance facility, and a streetcar station connected to Harbor Blvd., where the Park Vue Inn and IHOP currently stand. As TDA pieced together this land purchase, and a few others around the Toy Story lot over the last few months, they now have the extra land needed to rethink their current parking strategy for both visitors and Cast Members and build a larger complex of parking and transportation infrastructure, adding upwards of 10,000 spaces to their inventory within a few years.

But for now Disneyland’s summer season will barrel along made up primarily of tourists, while Saturday will be the least busy day of the week through August because all but the Premium passes are blocked out that day. If you are planning a summer visit to the Resort, take advantage of at least one Saturday to hit the parks as that is always the least crowded day of the week.

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This upcoming Independence Day weekend will also be very lightly attended inside the parks due to AP and Cast Member blockouts, while Downtown Disney, the parking lots and the surrounding surface streets will be a complete zoo on the evening of the 4th as locals pour into the area to catch the free fireworks show from outside the berm. But inside the parks it will look like a slower weekday of yesteryear this weekend, at least before everyone crowds onto Main Street USA at fireworks time, and this weekend at Disneyland will be an enjoyably patriotic way to celebrate Independence Day.

Oh-KAY, that wraps things up for this update. Let us know your thoughts on the proposed mini-Marvel land at Disney California Adventure and what you would like to see Disney do about the unsustainable number of Annual Passholders.

If you enjoyed today’s update, please be sure to share with your friends on Facebook and Twitter and leave us a comment below.

 

 

About MiceAge

The MiceAge crew was started by Al Lutz in 2003, and is committed to bringing you the inside Disney story that you just can't get anywhere else. As much as we'd all like to see more frequent rumor updates on the site, we only publish when reliable news and rumors are available to share. The MiceAge news Editor can be reached at: [email protected]

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  • Susan Hughes

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it…STOP THE MONTHLY PAYMENTS FOR ANNUAL PASSES!!! That is the only sure-fire way of cutting down on the overcrowding caused by APs. You’ll also get a better “quality” of passholders and hopefully reduce the number of “Annual Passholes”.
    And NO…this is not about shutting out the low income folks. If they’re capable of making a monthly payment, then they there’s no reason to take that same amount of money each month and save it to pay “in full” for an AP at the end of the year.
    Those not disciplined enough to do this (in my opinion) are not the type of person I would want to deal with in the parks. The Disneyland Resort is NOT a right. It’s a privilege!

    • OperationsSupe

      Working at a Six Flags park, I seem to be the only one that shares your opinion in terms of the monthly payment passes. They are an unbelievable mess for Guest Relations, and they actually hurt a lot of people who either don’t understand how they work or get mad because, “They’re here repossessing my TV, and you’re seriously going to make me pay the cancellation fee?” While it looks great to corporate executive who want to pack the park as much as possible, it isn’t worth the cost.

    • LoveStallion

      OR keep the monthly payments, but actually finance them. Right now it’s way too good of a deal and there’s no trade-off for the convenience of paying monthly. Tack on 15% interest and you’ll see those numbers slide. And Disney could make upwards of $1,000,000 per year extra just from that. Boom. Free money.

    • Anonymouse

      The true solution is actually to build a time machine.

      I completely agree that the current solution is to stop the annual payments for AP’s, the TRUE solution was to go back to the mid 2000’s where they started heavily advertising Annual Passes in the first place.

      When I first moved to SoCal in the late 90’s then I was shocked at how many of my local friends didn’t have Annual Passes or even know about them so the surge of AP crowd levels were manageable. And it remained that way until the mid 2000’s when they started putting huge AP posters at the ticket booths and then introduced that awful awful monthly payment plan that invited every single financially irresponsible person within earshot (many of whom I call “friends”) into getting a pass and flooding the parks.

      [BTW, I know people get offended when you lay blame on different class levels but what I refer to isn’t a financial status but a mental one. People who buy annual passes for anything tend to hold a stronger sense of entitlement and by introducing these “affordable” plans then you aren’t necessarily getting people who love and respect Disney, you get people who say “I prefer Magic Mountain but hey, it’s cheap and it’s closer so let’s all drive individually, meet up there, complain about everything and not buy a single thing”. ]

      • daveyjones

        i do miss the late 90s when a premium pass cost $200 and very, very few locals had APs because they were not marketed or advertised. it was very much a word of mouth thing. and a very special time. CMs were not trained to ask if you were an AP when buying something, so even the discounts felt super hush hush and elite.

    • Park Hopper

      It’s not about having the discipline to save up for a pass, it’s about instant gratification- a society wide problem. If you decide you want something, then you want it today, and with the payment plan you can have it today. As a society we want things now, we don’t want to wait for them.

      And of course, often times the decision to purchase an annual pass is an impulsive one, made under the delightful influence of a day at Disneyland. And of course, if you buy it that day, you get to apply your ticket price to the cost – another incentive to make an impulsive decision. Add the payment plan on top of that and who could resist?

      Of course, the healthiest attitude would be, “I had such a good time today on our annual trip to Disneyland that I’m going to go home and save up so that next year I can buy an annual pass.” But a year is a long time. As time moves forward a person’s enthusiasm for Disneyland will cool, they may save up for a couple of months, but then other things could come up. They may decide the Disneyland pass isn’t what they really want, and use the money for something else.

      TDA does not want this to happen. They can’t bear the thought of turning away anybody who wants to give them their money.

      The downside of this is they are destroying the atmosphere of the place. It gets so crowded there on Sunday afternoons that I can’t stand being there. I have to leave.
      I think ending the payment plan would help, but there are always credit cards, so it wouldn’t be a solution.

    • Marko50

      “Those not disciplined enough to do this (in my opinion) are not the type of person I would want to deal with in the parks.”

      So being able to pay for something in one shot and not in payments turns one from an Annual Passholder into an Annual Passhole?

      Pfffft. I see no reason to add anything else. Except most of the Cast Members I talk to disagree with you.

    • ericmryan

      If the AP “situation” is really a problem, then simply stop advertising them! As long as the AP prices continue to be listed above the ticket booths and the giant posters on the side of the booth continue to suggest upgrading your day pass to an annual pass, then I think it’s really a non-issue.

    • disneyland255

      I agree with you. Eliminate the monthly payment plan. Hopefully it will cut down.

    • Disneymike

      “You’ll also get a better “quality” of passholders and hopefully reduce the number of Annual Passholes”

      Wow, just wow……… talk about generalizing.
      If it means getting rid of guest’s like you I am all for it.

    • jchamb268

      I live in Northern Ca and my family has AP’s and we pay monthly. We only get down to the park twice a year but when we do it is for 4 days at a time. So for us it is a great thing.

      • daveyjones

        me too, norcal monthly plan here. we visit three or four times a year, but always stay multiple days. i ran the math recently, and our average cost-per-day in the parks (and this is hopping) was about $19. definitely worth it.

    • Algernon

      The best thing that could happen is for Las Vegas to go back to being “family friendly” like it was in the 1990’s. Right now, there aren’t that many family friendly places to go. Every place has either thrill rides for teens or moronic kiddy rides for children, nothing for the whole family. Even Disneyland is going that route by turning the Submarine Voyage into a kiddy ride. A family friendly Las Vegas would be far more affordable than Disneyland, and city-sized. The Genting Group is going to build a huge, family-friendly Asian themed resort next to the Circus Circus. If MGM were smart, they would build a fantastic new Circus Circus, or they should sell it to somebody who will do it right. It would draw a lot of the crowds away from Disneyland.

      • Klutch

        The Las Vegas “family” experiment was a huge disaster. Casinos want people with money to drop their dough gambling. What they got with the family thing was low-income parents of young children who would dump their kids off at the free day care, go partying at the clubs and fail to pick up their kids on time. The day care centers had to stay open far beyond their scheduled hours because mom and dad wouldn’t stop partying.

        Also, the people who do drop a lot of dough at the casinos didn’t like have kids around everywhere. So, they started to go to other gambling towns where there weren’t a lot of kids around.

        It didn’t take Las Vegas casinos long to figure out the family-friendly thing was a horrible idea. They couldn’t shut it down fast enough. Don’t expect it to EVER come back to Las Vegas. As it is, Las Vegas no longer promotes itself as family friendly, yet, you still see parents pushing strollers and dragging their little kids around The Strip all hours of the night.

      • daveyjones

        indeed, if you go back and read the history, the family-friendly experiment in vegas was a total disaster.

    • VintageMouse

      I agree about stopping the monthly payments, but I won’t step into the minefield about its ramifications about the quality of the passholders themselves. If Disney truly wanted to reduce the number of passholders, this will cut the number down. Here’s an idea: Disney announces that any AP purchased after September 30, 2014 will not be eligible for the payment plan. If, after a full fiscal quarter, the total number of passholders decreased to the level that Disney is comfortable with, then no further action is needed. If not, then either the prices must be increased substantially, or they need to implement quotas for each tier.

    • LD1984

      “A better quality”? Are you attempting to sound classist, racist, or elitist? I need to know exactly which group you’re offending here.

    • armyofrobots

      as somebody who pays monthly for an annual pass, I’ll kindly ask you to get rid of your elitist attitude.

      People who pay for their annual pass on a monthly basis aren’t the problem, people like you are the problem.

      • Baloo

        I agree with you, I also pay for my pass in monthly payments because it’s convenient and this is coming from someone that makes enough money to pay for the pass with One days worth of my pay check. It amazes me how some people on this site generalize people just because they like using the monthly payment option

        Only go once every other month because that’s enough for me

      • FixitKronk

        My family are exactly the people disney wants to root out of the system. Me my wife and son have deluxe passes. We usually go for 5-6 hours and bring snacks and drinks in with us. One meal and maybe a bucket of popcorn is all we buy. No merchandise except for maybe a $5 toy for my 6 year old. Oh and we bring the stroller too!

        That said ending the monthly payments wouldn’t make us give up the passes. What’s the difference of paying disney $105 a month or my credit card $115 a month?

        The fact is when you compare a few hours at disneyland to almost all other “family” entertainment the value of an annual pass is self evident. There is so much to do or see no day is ever the same. The staff is customer service oriented and that’s hard to find. The parks are clean and safe, have plenty of shade and benches and air condition buildings.

        Take a family to a movie and buy drinks and it’s half the cost of the monthly payment for two hours of what may be a bad movie! Go to a carnival or faire and pay $20 to ride 3 or 4 30 second rides? And those places are dirty with no security to be found (not to mention port a potties).

        Nope your not getting rid of families like ours until you get rid of passes or our children get old enough to enjoy more grown up faire.

      • ranman101

        Well said armyofrobots!

    • pinkertonfloyd

      I’ve also heard some people will buy it on the plan… Disney doesn’t do a credit check, and cancel the credit card (or use a debit type card). Yes, Disney will suspend the pass, but still you can get 3-4 months at a lot less than one set of tickets would cost at full price…

      I get the monthly cost, but they should run it like Paypal’s program where they allow you to spread the payments, but they run a (basic) credit score check beforehand. Disney from what I can tell, just wants a CC number that works.

    • c j princess

      this is not so much about the monthly payments as it is the prices . The more they keep raising the daily prices the better annual passes look . The passes seem to be a better deal because its one price for the whole year as compared to the daily price . The solution is to LOWER the daily price so the passes look expensive by comparison . That also helps the daily people have more money available for merch .

    • Gibson510

      “You’ll also get a better “quality” of passholders and hopefully reduce the number of “Annual Passholes”.

      Right, so everyone who does monthly payments is a horrible person. They should get rid of people like you.

      You’re right, Disneyland is a privlage. Just like having the park “not crowded” is also a privilege. Crowds = money, DEAL WITH IT.

    • Susan Hughes

      FYI: The term “Annual Passhole” isn’t one that’s used by the general public to describe APers. It’s what Cast Members call Annual Passholders who are, well…”Passholes”! Scroll to 2:51 of this video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=811dtzWSIWI

    • wedfan

      I am a devoted Disney fan, and have been an Annual Passholder for decades. Before the monthly payment option was available, I paid for my pass once a year, but it truly was a blessing when I was able to spread the cost out over the year when the prices got as high as they do now. And no, I am not one of those who feel they are entitled to anything because I have a pass. I don’t expect a lot of perks as a passholder – just the chance to visit my laughing place when I need a place to de-stress from job hunting or raising my son.

      As for the problem with the huge number of passes – instead of trying to price them so high no one can or is willing to buy them, why don’t they simply cap the number, and stop selling them? They can keep waiting lists so when the numbers fall below the caps they want, they can invite those that are interested to join. It would be a bit of a logistical nightmare, I’m sure, and might invite some bad press at first, but constantly raising entry fees just makes the company look greedy, and that’s not good publicity either, right?

      Of course, I’m speaking as someone who has his pass, and plans to keep it as long as he can afford it. 😉

    • ranman101

      “Better Quality of pass holders”, seems a little nose up in the air O.C. attitude. I can completely afford premium passes cash up front, but use the payment plan so I have more spending money through out the year. The real problem is all of the local O.C. peeps that think it’s their park. Walt made it for everyone.Pass holders have a bad name for the cast at the resort because pass holders, not all, act like it’s their park and they should get special treatment. The fact is, as a pass holder we are getting a discounted price. The truth is that at 699 a year for premium pass, it’s still a great value. Payments or not. I might add that Disney still heavily advertises Annual Passes. If it was really a problem, they should stop selling them altogether and just allow renewals, till the numbers drop. The truth is as a pass holder you want it to be less crowded for yourselves. Allowing payments on passes allow people who couldn’t afford to go at all a chance to enjoy what Walt wanted to share with everyone. All kids should be able to share the magic that is Disney.

    • in2puck

      AGREE 100% ELIMINATE IT COMPLETELY!!!! This is freaking ridiculous!!!

  • Bfscott77

    Not the Door-Coaster in Hollywoodland again!!! It’s just not the right theme!!
    As much as I love Marvel, I don’t want it in DCA. Give Marvel and Star Wars a joint 3rd park – it would certainly help spread out people in the resort. That land behind ToT could house an amazing attraction – and there are parts of California not represented very well in the park that the land could be used for.
    Said it before and I’ll say it again:
    – Close Autopia, give it a Cars overlay in Carland (electric cars please!)
    – Put the door coaster where Autopia was but with an opening in Fantasyland (deal with the subs under it if you can – if not, get rid of the subs along with Innoventions and build something new for Tomorrowland).
    – 3rd park of Marvel and Star Wars (now that they have new land for the parking structure – the existing parking lot can be made into a park).
    – Save the land behind ToT for expansion area. Keep a California theme and make an awesome attraction.
    – Clean up Hollywoodland’s studio area. Make it work the way New Orleans Square works. I don’t think people really find the “fake facade” studio stuff interesting – they want to be transported to another place and time.

    • Anonymouse

      While I’d love a Star Wars/Marvel park, the best solution is still to make New Tomorrowland. Sure, people have all sorts of odd nostalgic love for some of those attractions but I guarantee you that if they replace things with Star Wars or Marvel themed attractions then people will quickly forget the joy of inhaling car fumes or being trapped in a slow moving underwater coffin.

      Just grab a map and take a look at how much space the People Mover, Captain EO, Innoventions, Subs and Autopia. It’s really hard to claim that Tomorrowland’s space is well utilized in exciting attractions (or in anything actually actually representing ‘The World of Tomorrow’.

      • Bfscott77

        I’m all for rebuilding Tomorrowland!! – but with the theme of tomorrow. I wouldn’t mind a retro 1960’s version of Tomorrowland actually so long as it had amazing attractions and had a WOW factor look to it!! I still think Marvel and Star Wars should have their own park – not only so that both franchises can have enough room to grow (both are pretty big universes to draw inspiration from) but also to spread out people in the resort.

      • Marko50

        There are certainly lots of California not represented in DCA – thank God! That’s why it didn’t work in the first place, even with great attractions like Soarin’ over California and California Screamin’.

      • Marko50

        Um…”There IS certainly lots…”

        [Blush]

      • Cory Gross

        There’s lots that can be done with Tomorrowland that is original and keeps it in the theme of science fact and science fiction. If you go back and look at what was planned for the 1998 refurb, before the bean counters got at it, it would have been awesome. My favourite was importing Dinosaur where Captain EO is and meshing it with the existing diorama to make a Primeval World attraction. I think we can all armchair Imagineer a slew of ideal attractions for Tomorrowland that don’t involve Marvel or Star Wars in any way.

    • Park Hopper

      It doesn’t seem like this Marvel area is going to be a permanent installation, just a place holder to placate the stock holders while they develop something bigger and grander for the third gate.

      • themur

        Marvel characters need to be in the parks now while the movies keep coming. They are very popular. I am all for building a Marvel meet and greet area. That allows for the removal from Innoventions which would be the first step for repurposing or getting ride of that building for something new in Tomorrowland. I think that is the best news in the update!

      • Eddie Davidson

        Actually I don’t think this move has anything to do with placating stockholders or a 3rd gate. I suspect it has more to do with the plans to eliminate Innoventions and the DL meet-at-greet for Star Wars expansion.

    • Golden

      We need to be realistic. Armchair imagineering of a third gate is nice, but the reality is that best case scenario is that it would be ten years away, even if they were genuinely thinking of doing it. And they want Marvel and Star Wars content now.

      And its not as though “Marvel and Star Wars” are are exactly easy bedfellows for theming a gate (throwing Avatar in and just calling it ‘the gate where we stick all our major movie franchises’?. The desire for sticking them in a gate together is more based on not putting them in the existing parks, and on doing each of the franchises justice, than it is based on them being an easy fit.

      Also, part of Disney’s reality is that Tomorrowland does not work in its original conceit any more. For Disney to continue with the concept is for them to commit to needing to do a complete overlay every ten years; and that by the time they get there every single time Tomorrowland will seem dated. A radical and complete reinvention of Tomorrowland is likely to be the only way forward; if its not based on Star Wars, I think its concept will still change radically – and I think its the concept that people are most protective of.

      My guess? We will continue to see small changes to the existing gates to allow the Marvel world to be reflected, but no e-tickets. Tomorrowland will get significantly more Star Wars content (even if it falls short of the initial idea to turn it into a Star Wars land) – and any third gate, should it happen, may well have lots of Marvel stuff but not Star Wars stuff.

      • Freddie Freelance

        The original idea for Disneyland was a small park next to Walt Disney Studios with a train and exhibits based on their movies, so a Movie Franchise Park would still line up well with that (so long as they somehow include a train!).

        Go ahead and put Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Marvel, Avatar, and movie previews for the next blockbuster into one park, throw in ABC TV, ESPN, Walt’s office, and a cartoonist making hand drawn Mickey watches in a building based on Walt’s uncle’s garage where Walt & Roy started the Alice comedies.

      • Darth Goofy

        And if the third gate was to be done right it could help with the artery clogging crowds at Disneyland…..But what piece of land would this rumored third gate go. not alot of open land in SoCal.

      • Golden

        @Darth – my guess is, even if the third gate is done right, it just means more crowds. I’ve been a Disney visitor for a long time, and I just think having more gates mean the same people spend more days attending the resort (even locals). While this may not be a huge net gain in terms of unique individuals attending the resort over the course of a year, I think it would be a significant net gain in terms of the number of people attending the resort each day.

    • jimijam27

      I agree!

    • FixitKronk

      Agree, the door coaster seams lame. I say bring mickeys philharmagic to the muppet theater and construct an autopia behind tower of t(since what’s more Californian than driving!) and make them hybrid vehicles too.
      This allows you to rip out the huge environmentally unsound autopia at disneyland and the submarines too! In that area create a Frozen lagoon that thematically matches the Matterhorn. You can even have the que for the Matterhorn run thru it. Build a ride based on frozen there and move the frozen meet and greet there. That area is so huge all this would only take up about a third of it. You would still be able to build the endor speeder bike e-ticket ride in the east side of that area.

  • LoveStallion

    I’m troubled that the Monstropolis overlay is back in the mix. Perhaps the greatest blessing of the MyMagic+ fiasco was the cancellation of Monstropolis. The whole idea doesn’t go with the area, and it’s milking a franchise that is only moderately popular. Please, for the love of all that is holy, kill the door coaster.

    And I hate to be negative in this post, but the Marvel news seems so phoned-in. It has zilch to do with California, except for Iron Man. It’s wasting space to just plop in more meet-n-greets. We are clearly the vocal minority, though, if the lines for Frozen or Marvel meet-n-greets are any indication.

    The AP news is pretty shocking. Go figure.

    Either way, most of this news for park “work” doesn’t excite me.

    I now leave it to CaptainAction to post his inevitable comments on Disney’s short-sightedness and Universal’s eternal wisdom.

    • Marko50

      Don’t poke the troll.

      I really don’t see what having to do with California has to do with DCA anymore. One of the greatest recent developments is World of Color which I don’t think has much to do with CA, except it’s in DCA.

      And, although Monsters Inc may be – arguably – only moderately popular, it’s certainly more popular than Cars is (well, not including my grandson). And we know how Cars Land worked out.

      • cruise

        WDI just redid the entire entryway to explicitly have to do with California.

        But then on the other hand the park is home to a bug’s land and we get ideas like Monstropolis. I wish WDI would just commit one way or the other, and stop skating the middle line. Either honor the CA theme or get rid of it entirely.

        I though the lack of name change indicated they had intended to stick with the CA theme, but I can’t tell anymore.

      • LoveStallion

        MI is by no means on this green earth more popular than Cars. The movies are better than anything in the Cars franchise, for sure, but overall popularity? It’s not even a contest.

      • Bfscott77

        Actually, it has a lot to do with California. 1920’s and 30’s Buena Vista Street, 1940’s Hollywoodland, that tiny, tiny section of San Francisco bathrooms (San Fran would be a good expansion behind ToT), the Pacific Warf, 1920’s Paradise Pier, and 1960’s CarsLand is a stretch (but maybe it’s on the border of California and Arizona?), 1950’s Grizzly Peak, 1940’s/50’s Condor Flats, 19?? a Bug’s Land (they needed a place for the kids…).
        I look at the park as a kind of homage to the decades that Walt was in California, 1920’s to 1960’s

      • Bfscott77

        Oh, and World of Color is a salute to … 1960’s World of Color which was used to promote Disney on Television – now it’s used to promote Disney in a show at the park.

      • Bfscott77

        And Disney itself and himself are a big part of California / world of color was produced by Disney in California. It fits…

      • Eddie Davidson

        Actually, Monsters Inc. did better at the box office than Cars did. And Monsters Inc is set in a parallel ‘world’ with no specific location in the human world. Although Monsters University was visually modeled on UC Berkeley (located down the street from Pixar studios). So Monsters Inc. is as Californian as it is not. That part of DCA is DOA so it wouldn’t hurt if the Monsters took it over. But I think Pixar is over-represented in the park and would prefer to see a little more sophisticate, grown-up attractions in the future. Seems like they’ve swung too far the other way now.

    • Marko50

      Oh, and as far as Iron Man being the sole CA rep, I seem to remember the West Coast Avengers, the Defenders, Daredevil, Black Widow…I could go on and on. But maybe not at 7:00 AM.

      • LoveStallion

        Sorry, I should have said “Marvel properties that have any relevance in the MCU at present.”

    • Golden

      I have no problem with the construction of a door coaster – its pretty much the one part of Monsters Inc which was a ready made Disney resort attraction, and I’m amazed it hasn’t happened yet.

      The popularity of the franchise is irrelevant. What matters is whether or not they make a ride that is good or not. I dare say (from the tone of your comment) you are someone who likes original concepts unlinked to franchises – but they start even further back in the food chain than something which is built on a franchise.

      Finding Nemo was wildly popular, but the subs overly is just not that amazing. On the other hand, Turtle Talk with Crush is.

    • jimijam27

      Maybe they could build a mini land based on Universal Studios, it is in California, and that way they could have Harry Potter in the Disney parks too

      I always thought that extending the monorail to the back side of CA, so you could jump parks would help with the overall flow of bodies. This would also be a nice perk for Annual pass holders. Why not build a silicone valley area, with a crazy robot ride themed after Wall-e would be cool. Apple computer could be the sponsor.

    • Tinkbelle

      I agree about Monstropolis! I groaned when I read that they are thinking of doing this again. I also agree that a new Marvel meet and greet land is a waste of money and people would be perplexed and disappointed that there are no rides. They should keep the meet and greet in Innoventions and save that land and their money for something better.

  • Ravjay12

    I too am not excited about the new offerings that Disney is coming up with. The cheap Main Street backstage facade, the cheap Marvel meet and greet behind TOT, and they still have no urgency to redo the Esplanade between the parks. The Monstropolis overlay is a waste because Monsters Inc is not that popular. A Frozen ride would have been better. But there is tons of money to make sure the rich people are comfortable in Club 33. C’mon, Disney! I know you can do better!

  • TheBig2na

    Having never been to Disneyland, I wonder why they wouldn’t fill in the Rivers of America and tear down Innoventions. IT seems like they could add a few attractions there to add capacity. It always amazes me when I see just how tight that resort is with its surroundings.

    If they were to expand into their parking lots, is there a place maybe a mile or two away where they could build a transit hub with a giant parking lot? I see some lots that are close which would be great for expansion pads or a whole new park, but I wonder what they do with parking if they remove them. They would need some sort of light rail system to transport people. Its a shame they are so tight for space, but at least they seem to have a high level of quality. Almost made it out there last year but a 1 year old on a plane for 5 hours didnt seem like a fun idea. Hopefully soon.

    • LoveStallion

      Because despite its current lack of vision, Disneyland is about something more than shoddy everyday theme parks. The RoA add so much ambiance and life to the park. It’d be terrible to lose it. Water is a bonus in any park. Why do you think Magic Kingdom has even more water than Disneyland?

      Building massive parking lots is much more difficult in Orange County, as land comes at a premium and pretty much everything is developed. Disney learned from its mistakes in Anaheim when it approached the Florida project.

  • eicarr

    Marvel needs to go in that Hollywood backlot area(with the Iron Man ride being built in Asia). The electric Autopia is a much better fit behind Cars Land instead(to free up tomorrowland space for Star Wars). Gas powered cars are out of place in tomorrowland.

    With HUGE hits like Frozen, Marvel and Star Wars, I don’t get the push for a Monsters Inc land.

  • MrTour

    Hate the idea of using the empty parking lot for meet and greets. If Disney wanted to make money, and they do, why not just meet and greets in big malls all over America. Save the valuable space in Anaheim for themed attractions! Use that land for the Carsland expansion; and yes, make a Cars themed autopia!

    • jimijam27

      YES! cars themed Autopia. i have two little guys that will not be able to ride Radiator Springs Racers for three to four years and these are their most favorite characters.

  • SoCalFan

    I just hope the Marvel Studios thing is temporary…if so, it’s a nice way to promote these popular characters and add some capacity in park….if not, what a waste of valuable expansion space

  • Cjedwards44

    That marvel idea in DCA sounds awful. No actual ride…then I will take no actual visit to that section of the park. What a waste.

    I know there are some annual pass haters on here but if Hollywoodland added an e ticket and the space in DCA that might supposedly be used for marvel crap put in a decent ride, wouldn’t that balance the parks better? I know its crowded but DCA handles the crowd well. Its disneyland that’s having issues. Open up Tomorrowland, add something decent to compliment space, star tours and buzz and that would balance the park better. Possibly put an attraction where the big thunder jamboree area is, that might help too. Most of the time my group rides space in Tomorrowland an big thunder in frontierland and we move on. Its the adventureland/nos/critter country area that always seems like a disaster.

    I do like the idea of fastpass for fantastic. Maybe making viewing sections smaller, walkways bigger and have people plan their trips better.

    And I hope the back alleys of Main Street turn out nicely. I’m excited for some new space to open up!

    • ayalexander

      “fantastic”? …amateur…

    • Golden

      The idea doesn’t really seem to me like it would fly with the space they have.

      It’s not like they realistically have a space in the same way they had for World of Colour that they can turn into a viewing area without disrupting traffic flows.

      • Baloo

        There is plenty of areas where they could close of for viewing area with fast pass.

        The area closer to the water already gets blocked anyways by some people that place blankets all day long and leave them unattended

      • Golden

        @Baloo – sure, but segmenting that area off with ropes, having space to have people collect the fastpasses and make sure people get into the correct sections? The amount of space it takes to use fastpass on a show is much more than just the amount of space taken up by the people who watch it.

  • Cory Gross

    The growth in AP’s isn’t all that baffling. Something I think it’s easy to forget in the echo chamber of endless online complaining about everything Disney does is that Disneyland is AWESOME. Seriously awesome. Worth-flying-halfway-across-a-continent-for kind of awesome. Disneyland (and I’m going to guess WDW by extension, since all four of its parks are in the top-ten most attended in the world, along with both Disneyland parks) provides great experiences, great rides, great attractions, and great entertainment. Sure they might do some annoying, shortsighted, ill-conceived things every now and then (and sure we may complain about total non-issues too *cough*Alice-in-Wonderland-safety-rails*cough*), but overall Disneyland is AWESOME. That is why so many of us keep on coming back.

    So keeping in mind that Disneyland is AWESOME, what is going on with the AP’s? Pretty simple: these people found out that their cheap pass was getting cut off, but they still think Disneyland is awesome, so they’re upgrading to more expensive passes to be able to keep coming. It’s an interesting social experiment, in how John Q. Public is willing to eat a $400 or $500 price increase from a SoCal Pass to a high-level AP because they value Disneyland so much (vs. people online who threaten never to return because some paint is peeling, or drink prices went up by 25 cents, or they built a safety rail on a ride, or whatever).

    • MonteJ

      Disneyland IS awesome, Cory! But … that awesomeness is currently threatened by crowds that are out of control and ruin the fun. The bottom line for Disney cannot just be “how can we make the most money?” – but “how can we keep the guest experience as positive as possible so that they still want to invest their entertainment dollars with us?”. I hope that Universal’s Harry Potter attractions will be successful enough to lessen the AP masses at Disney. I’m also encouraged by what is happening at Knott’s.

      • Cory Gross

        I totally agree that, for me as an out-of-country visitor, the #1 that diminishes my experience of Disneyland is crowds. It’s not how many E-tickets there aren’t, or drink prices, or anything like that… It’s too many darn people in lines that are too darn long. Disney’s real problem at Disneyland and WDW is not how to draw people, but how to manage being so popular that it’s actually diminishing the experience.

        I don’t think Harry Potter is going to help them out with that though. If Florida is any indication, Harry Potter will bump Universal into “what you ALSO do on a Disneyland vacation.” Disney already ADVERTISES FOR Universal Hollywood and participates in the SoCal City Pass (https://disneyland.disney.go.com/southern-california/).

      • billyjobobb

        I can’t imagine going on a summer day.

        We’ll be there for gay days in October, and our last trip to Florida was in February. Specifically to miss the out of control crowds.

        Maybe what Disney needs is a Disneyland in the middle of the country?

      • Golden

        Cory, what you just said is so correct. The idea that Universal’s strong growth is a negative for Disney is silly – each of them is far more likely to actually benefit from their competitor being strong.

  • goldenstate5

    Marvel Studios would be a PR disaster for Disney. In the wake of Diagon Alley, the press would take off with even the glimmer of a Marvel-themed Disney attraction (remember how they reacted when the Thor M&G was first brought to attention?), and then they’d face a massive, massive pushback when the public is bewildered to find out that there’s no ride and it’s just meeting guys dressed up as superheroes in a cheesily-themed studio setting.

    What Disney should honestly do is strike while the iron is hot and immediately fund a trackless 3D Frozen ride in the back of Frontierland (make it a new land or whatever), and have it open by the holiday season of 2016 as competition to Potter. You’ll at least guarantee that families will be making time for at least two days for theme parks on their SoCal vacations by then. The Ratatouille trackless in Paris proves that the technology is gearing up to involve motion simulation so it’s really the perfect next E-Ticket ride. With it, Disneyland will have its own Cars Land and the two parks will become near invincible.

    It’s gotta either be Star Wars, Marvel or Frozen to go against the Wizard. Marvel Studios would be laughable, Frozen would be a sure-fire hit.

    Also, I hope there’s more to the 60th then just the fancy shows, decor and Fantasyland enhancements. At the very least the 50th got an exhibit. What happened to the temporary Circle-Vision idea?

    • LoveStallion

      Agreed in principle. The old Skyway station could be a very natural point of entry for a Frozen ride that could take up some of the backstage area. Just don’t succumb to screenophilia like they did with the Ratatouille ride in Paris.

      • ayalexander

        I’m all about “screenophilia” -its weird because its an expensive and innovative technology for attractions…but I can’t help but feel its “on the cheap” -I mean…movie screens… that doesn’t spell “ADVENTURE” to me… it says “Well, CGI does better at creating environments than we do so… here ya go”

      • Bfscott77

        I don’t understand the allure of the trackless ride system. There is a LOT of wide open floor space opened up all around your car. I guess it seems OK in Mystic Manor, but Ratatouille, YIKES!! Big screens with BIG reflections on the floor. I still like the omnimover track system – you can’t beat the Haunted Mansion even after all these years and teh walls and floors are themed right up to your car (attic scene, graveyard scene)! Another advantage an omnimover has over trackless is the change in elevation. Trackless just seems like I’d be scurrying all over a big warehouse to me.

  • tooncity

    Sure am glad I gave up my Ap 8 years ago.

    • ayalexander

      That’s good. I’m sure you’re happier without it. However I don’t have passes or means to get into the parks anymore, but if I had the money, I’d shell out for a premium any-day. Personally, I love Disneyland. Crowds are bothersome, but they don’t phase me, and all my favorite attractions are still there and better than ever.

  • Cookie Boat

    Marvel Meet and Greet in DCA makes perfect sense. What are the popular one’s at DCA? Duffy? Doc McStuffins? Nothing pulling Frozen numbers, or even Captain/Thor. It sounds kind of like Pixie Hollow for action heroes. A small, relatively-inexpensive way to shift some more volume from Disneyland to DCA. And if it fails or popularity wanes over time, it would be pretty easy to reimagine something new (or just let it sit there unused like the rest of Hollywood Land).

  • Mousecat

    Tomorrowland: Stark Expo

    Reproduced a hyped up version of the 1967 World on the Move Tomorrowland and then they can stuff it with as much Marvel stuff that they want.

  • OprylandUSA

    “…financial and operational issues with MyMagic+ out in Florida…”

    Uh… it was financial and operational issues with MyMagic+ setup by BURBANK!”
    always with MiceChat blaming Florida.

    • LoveStallion

      Yeah, but the article talks about operational issues with MyMagic+. Where is that program in operation? Florida. Not Burbank. The article is totally fine.

      • OprylandUSA

        Again.. not Florida’s fault. Those ‘operations’ were set by Burbank.

  • erndog

    Seriously, more meet and greets? While Universal builds amazing new lands and attraction on both coasts, Disney is wasting money on plastic wrist bands, Fastpass plus and meet and greets. Has Disney lost the magic?

    • 22branch

      Not to mention, Universal in Florida already has an amazing Marvel park. Disney’s meet and greets will look like a joke compared to Universal’s amazing attractions: Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man. Time for Disney to announce something big.

  • toonaspie

    A moment of silence please…for any salvage of theming in DCA.

  • Wren

    Strange times we’re in when Saturday is the least crowded day at Disneyland

  • FredSimmons

    I hate to say it, but they simply didn’t raise the prices high enough.

    No, I don’t want to see them go any higher, either. But looking at it strictly as a math problem, as supply & demand, if all they want is to cut down on the number of annual passholders, then obviously there is an ideal price point (from the seller’s perspective) at which they will reach the exact (lower) number of sales that they prefer (the number at which the park is just pleasantly crowded), while keeping overall profit the same or higher.

    To exaggerate, if they raised the cost of an annual pass to $10,000, sales would almost completely dry up, except for a wealthy few. And at the current price, they are selling more passes than they want. Somewhere between those two numbers is an ideal higher price that will discourage a large percentage of passholders from renewing, but which will keep enough of them that (at the higher price) will bringing in the same number of dollars. They just need to figure out what that ideal higher price is.

    They do, however, run the risk of bad public relations; of alienating customers or soiling their brand name. But ultimately, if the crowded conditions resulting from high numbers of APs is genuinely hurting the basic park experience (diminishing product quality and customer satisfaction), they will have little choice in the matter. It’s either raise prices to limit attendance, or else keep prices the same but simply limit attendance by locking the turnstiles once the park reaches its ideal population – which would also cause PR problems as people are turned away.

    Given corporate drive to profit, I think we all know which option they will eventually take.

  • WDWorldly

    Wizarding World of Harry Potter is making Disneyland look like a charming roadside attraction. The robocoaster technology used in ‘Forbidden Journey’ was initially proposed to Disney for Anaheim, but it was lost in a typical spate of bureaucracy and shortsightedness that really goes beyond the Disneyland versus Disney World narrative advanced by this site. Disney’s domestic theme parks are, for the time being, mostly being fueled by nostalgia and sentimentality rather than investments in new attractions, and attendance keeps going up. Especially at Disneyland, as we know from this article. (when’s Al Lutz going to claim that Disneyland guests deserved to be treated poorly?)

  • Susie63

    Has the property where the I hop and PVI been purchased by Disney?

  • msjstricker

    I take offense to the term “Annual Passholes”. Can we please retire that? That’s a very rude generalization of an entire group. I’ve been a loyal MiceChat reader and Passholder for 10 years now, and never have I ever behaved in a way that would warrant the name “Annual Passhole”… nor has any other fellow AP that I know. Ugh! Rant over.

    Back to the business at hand, I am concerned by the number of meet-and-greets popping up. They seem to be everywhere, and while I like that they’re there for the people who frequent them, I’m very concerned about valuable expansion space being used for these specific interactions. Time will tell, but using the remains of the Timon lot? Yikes!

    • billyjobobb

      Last time we were in Florida it was presidents day. That day was the least enjoyable of our entire visit, and I’d bet you a free trip to Disneyland that if we had looked, those assholes would have had annual passes in their wallets. Of the whole week, it was just that day that was so so horrible. 10s of thousands of teenagers without a parent on site…………..

  • bamato

    Maybe it’s just me, but I never understood why so cal locals get such better financial treatment then us tourists from out of state. You advertise lower prices and payment plans to people who don’t have to spend much to get there, but then charge premiums for people that have to spend good money on plane tickets or driving from out of state. And THOSE are the people that spend money in the parks. So essentially I have to spend more for less time in the park…. Why not just charge the same across the board?

    As for payment plans, I think charging interest or finance fees would be warranted. There have been a few times when I had to shell out 300-500$ on an AP and would have loved to have been able to pay for it over a few months. Had I been on a time crunch for planning and saw no other way, I would have gladly paid fees for a payment plan. My point being, I have to spend more money on an AP all at once, and it still doesn’t dissuade me from purchasing one (makes me feel like I’m the crazy one here). What about families that purchase APs? Buying three or four or more APs at costs a small fortune. I’d consider myself your average middle class citizen and would be hard pressed to spend that chunk of change all at once. So honestly, I think the payment plans are beneficial to Disney’s customer base. It lets everyone enjoy the magic. So I guess I’d also have to agree that if TDA want’s to lower its AP population, they could eliminate the payment plan, but I don’t think it would be fair to their customers.

    • ayalexander

      I’m a local, I live only 10 miles from Disneyland, I’ve never taken advantage of the better prices, because I actually was a cast member and got in anytime I wanted but I can answer your question. Locals are given better pricing but not necessarily better treatment. We’re given better pricing because Tourists come in seasonally, whereas locals are basically an “all the time” kind of deal. When the tourist seasons dwindle, the locals take up the slack and spend the money. PLUS if disney pisses off locals, it can create problems. Walt Disney World doesn’t have to worry too much about the implications of pissing off locals because they own and operate their own land… whereas Disneyland still requires assistance from nearby businesses to provide good service to their guests (example: when Disney hotels become full, they recommend nearby hotels like Hilton, they also recommend restaurants and local attractions)

      • bamato

        I never claimed locals were treated better outside of the financial aspects. I’m not sure how Disney would upset locals by treating everyone the same.. I still don’t agree with locals getting better pricing simply because they are locals… And I don’t care if it’s tourist season or not, an AP is an AP is an AP.

    • billyjobobb

      We had friends that were down there when something opened ( and only was open to APs ) I still hear about it, and they swear they will never go back. They paid more, and it was the locals that got the special perks.

      • ayalexander

        But AP’s aren’t always locals. Even locals would be turned away from special events like that.

  • Will G

    I think the “quality” of Annual Passport holders is a more complex question than we can adequately explore here, or in any internet forum.

    But some have suggested that those who make installment payments for their passes are a greater problem than those who save up and pay in one lump.

    Interesting.

    We also have complaints that Disney is spending money and taking away public spaces to accommodate those who are really rich and can afford the private Club 33.

    So there must be a sweet spot where the salt of the earth reside – right between having enough money to buy an Annual Passport in a lump sum, but not enough money to buy membership into Club 33.

    I think it’s more likely that there are self centered, entitled people at all strata of society.

    Of course we are all so easily forgetting those who can never afford to bring their families to just one park for one day, ever.

    The next time you’re in any Disney park – try t realize just how blessed you are. Stay focused on that and you will probably enjoy the park more. You might be more thoughtful of what impact your actions are having on your fellow park goers. And you might be able to forgive those who are still focused on themselves.

    Maybe.

    Will G

  • RSZero1

    So people dont like payment plans, can I ask, how many people here paid for their home cash in full up front?

    Most financial planners even tell you, if you can defer full payment on something so your money can earn while payments are being made, go that route, especially if there is no interest charged.

    Maybe there are just too many pass options? Our family has been going to DL for many years, we started by just going once or twice a year, then upgraded to a Deluxe pass an now a premium. We work full time jobs, pay our bills on time and same our money as well. We dont make a home payment anymore, so why shouldnt I have a choice to pay for a pass monthly?

    Everytime, EVERYTIME, we go, we treat everyone with respect and courtesy. It’s nice if we get the same in return, but it doesnt always happen. If it gets too crowded, we leave. We know we can come back another time. We dont go to the park on Fridays, or Friday nites, we don’t go Sundays, and each time we go, we do eat in the park and still buy plenty of souvenirs.

    What people are complaining about is really just this – there are masses of bodies in the parks, and when you have that many people in one place, you are going to notice higher numbers of jerks as well – passholder or not. Its percentages, increasing people in one place means increasing jerk level.

    I’m sure not everyone who complains about the payment plan pays everything in cash up front. if you do, well that’s fine for you, great life you must have, but not every one can, and just because they can’t does not mean you can look down on them like a lower class citizen. Disneyland was for all people.

    • VintageMouse

      I don’t have a problem with the payment plans, personally. But Disney has recognized that the AP system is becoming unmanageable in the long term. Their solution was to eliminate new sales of one of the Southern Calfironia annual passes and increase the prices on all of them. The solution did not fix the problem, which is understandable when you think about what the AP means to a lot of people. It’s a valuable to them. A marginal increase in the monthly payment for the higher tier wasn’t enough to deter the number of annual passes sold. I’ve already outlined a possible solution (see Page 1). I will never “look down” on those people who opt for the payment plan and agree it was probably not the best choice of words.

    • msjstricker

      Totally agree with you, RSZero1. Well said.

    • Disneymike

      Very well said.

  • Disneymike

    I say get rid of ALL passes. Then those that complain about those who had monthly payments can join the unsavory and undesirable masses.

  • Bobbee

    Since people traded up to the Deluxe (and why not, it wasn’t that much more $$, mistake #1), what they really needed to do was eliminate the Deluxe instead of the other one but charge Deluxe price for it. Basically, there should be only 2 APs, the Premium and the SoCal one that they eliminated. I am not even going to address the monthly payment issue, though why there isn’t a finance charge attached to it is beyond me.

  • ErikJung

    I stayed at Park Vue Inn this past May, as I always do, and they were in the middle of renovating all the guest rooms! I was wondering why they would do that if they were in danger of being seized by the city. My guess is to add value to the property to increase the payout by the city. I would assume, much like spending 20k on a kitchen reno can increase home value by double or more of that 20k, spending money on room renos can double that investment?

    • ayalexander

      You would be right in guessing that the motel thinks renovation may help save their lives… but they don’t realize how absolute the Disneyland and the City are an taking up that valuable land. Its sad yet… eerily gratifying to watch them squirm. I’m such a sadist.

    • C. Andrew Nelson

      So are you suggesting that the Park View was acquired through eminent domain? I thought this column mentioned it was purchased stealthily by Disney through a third-party entity.

      • ayalexander

        C.Andrew Nelson, the column didn’t say Park View was acquired, it said the industrial land just north of Pumbaa was acquired by Disney through a third party entity. But Park View and IHOP will have to be acquired by eminent domain.

  • ayalexander

    I would not even know where to start about fixing the AP problems, the idea of stopping the payment plans sounds good, but then again… there might be a consequence that we can’t see. Other than that, I have to agree that an electric Autopia should replace Luigi’s flying tires, and new attractions should take up tomorrowland. -Also meet and greets are the new fad whether we like it or not… a Marvel meet and greet BUILDING would be good, instead of a “studio”-land type thing, what about a massive show building decorated like the ‘rest’ of the Cadillac range that was never built to the left of Radiator Springs (as seen in the movie). Guests could enter through an entrance that depicts a “superhero lair”. This “lair” is basically a giant Justice League-type thing, where they can meet and greet, but you don’t realize you are in a show building decorated like Radiator Springs rock-work. -Anyway…if or when the Marvel meet and greet idea starts to wane, they can always re-purpose this show building to house a ride-though attraction of any theme they want… *cough* pixar dark ride like we haven’t seen yet *cough*.

    And I’m excited for this new 8-story parking structure at Pumbaa that will connect to the resort… but some people have it wrong in thinking this new structure will take the place of Toy Story Lot… ha! not in the least! This structure will definitely solve the parking problem on busy days when COMBINED with all of Disney’s current parking lots. But… they would have to build 2 structures of 10,000 spaces each in order to fully replace what Toy Story Lot/Anaheim Convention Center/Angels Stadium -can do.

    Furthermore, I found out some time ago that the main Resort area of Disneyland Resort -the square land itself- (not including the satellite parking places like Toy Story Lot) is zoned to allow only 1 more hotel. This means that a 4th hotel can be added within walking distance of Disneyland and DCA, but it appears that the only place they could build it is either Pinocchio Lot (next to Mickey and Friends) or on half of Simba Lot. Most likely if they do build a 4th hotel it would be on Simba Lot, but I thought it’d be nice to armchair Imagineer what this 4th hotel would be like… modern tropical/Aulani theme anyone?

  • Timekeeper

    The marvel meet’n’greet in DCA doesn’t sound too bad, it sounds like the old Disney Afternoon meet’n’greet from 1991, which was a test for multiple rooms holding meet’n’greet character(s). I’m sure once they get enough funding, then they’ll have a proper marvel attraction; heck, the marvel meet’n’greet could even be themed to a 1930’s train station such as LA Union Station or the San Diego Station.

    @Disneymike: Getting rid of passes altogether would, in Disneyland’s case, send people back to the dark ages. I think either getting rid of monthly payment plans or adding interest to them would do much better in the long run.

    This is as bad when you sign-up for membership for Anime Expo and it’s crowded, mostly because they don’t input a cap on attendance even with the blessing of convention space; because like Disneyland now, they have long lines, crowded spaces, no caps on attendance and very grouchy attendees who drop an F-bomb at the drop of a hat because they want instant gratification, acting like a bunch misbehaved kids at classical music concert (this was more true when I was at AX’s masquerade during their intermission, the judges scramble to decide and find the entrants who won in a particular category, while the host is left standing, trying entertaining the masses in the peanut gallery.) I can’t say that I haven’t been to San Diego Comic Con (which isn’t the only one as there are others) nor Gallifrey One or even having lunch at Club 33, but all of three of them thankfully put a membership cap for the sake of ease for everyone, including their members, their staff and their facility/host city. I would rather have Disneyland put a cap on the number of people attending they’d allowed into the park and funnel the rest over to DCA.

    But either eliminating or implementing a percent interest on the monthly payment plan would do them better.

    Back on the other topics: I’m glad that WOC getting an update for anything, I just hope a story ties it better then a presentation pastiche of movie clips which have almost nothing with each other and music recycled from movies as opposed to making new arrangements of said music. I wonder what we’re getting with a diamonds motif, hopefully not a James Bond spoof of “Diamonds Are Forever.”

    -Timekeeper

    • Disneymike

      @timekeeper: I’m just sort of kidding when I said that. It just rumples my feathers when some people here (and it just seems like those that just post here mostly and not in the forums) seem to think they are better than some with comments about monthly payment plan AP’ers. Most of them think out of their rear’s and don’t seem to realize that there could be a good amount of people that can afford to pay upfront that do use the monthly pay plan. But heaven forbid anyone take advantage of something Disney offers and be called “passholes” and not the right type of AP’er.

      • msjstricker

        Exactly. I can afford to pay for my Premium pass in full and I did for years until just last year when I decided to take advantage of the monthly payments, because I could. It’s offered to us, so I decided to pay for it a different way this year. If it wasn’t offered, I would pay for my pass in full like I always did.

        Just because I choose to pay for my pass in monthly installments, that doesn’t make me a “passhole”.

  • Darth Goofy

    A marvel meet and greet land? Wow, what ever happened to when the characters just roamed the Park? As others have mentioned. it would be nice to see Marvel and Star Wars in a third gate, not crammed/shoe horned in a corner as a cheesy studio meet and greet or retheme of Tomorrowland.

  • 22branch

    Have any of you been to Islands of Adventure in Florida? Of course you have. And do you think kids/teenagers/adults want to stand in line and meet their favorite Marvel characters? NO! (well maybe a select few) but my point is people want an immersive place with cool attractions. Universal hit a bullseye with Marvel’s Super Hero Island. It has awesome rides like The Incredible Hulk, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man and Doctor Doom’s Fearfall. Disney’s move to create a meet and greet area with Marvel characters just confirms how out of touch they are with their customer base. Another example of Disney opting for subpar solution. The comparisons will continue…Universal – an entire island of amazing Marvel rides vs Disney – photo ops with characters. Universal’s Diagon Alley vs Disney’s My Magic+.

    • ayalexander

      22branch, its funny you say that because Disney makes decisions like that BECAUSE of guest research showing that is in fact what they want. The guests DO want to meet their favorite Marvel characters in a meet’n’greet. Just like many guests said they want to meet their favorite Star Wars characters in the parks as well. Meet and greets are a trending thing with Disney because Disney’s meet’n’greets involve better acting and higher quality than other parks. Its also the same effect as they say “the Mickey ears effect” where Disney Parks are the only place where people feel comfortable wearing them. Disney Parks happen to be some of the only parks in the world where people actually want to meet their favorite characters. Speak to the Guest Research department Cast Members, they often share survey information as long as it does not tread into “secret info” territory.

      • Darth Goofy

        Universal did something great with the Despicable Me Ride..”yes i know it is only a simulator attraction that was re-themed from Johnny Neutron” But they added a nice meet and greet after the attraction.. You ride the ride, you meet the characters (Minions).. complete experience….

      • 22branch

        I agree with Darth Goofy. Transformers is another good example. Great ride with a meet and greet. Point being, a meet and greet alone for such amazing franchises isn’t enough. It’s time for Disney to make an official announcement that’s going to get us excited.

  • sediment

    Regarding comments about advertising of AP’s: I don’t think the left hand (TDA) knows what the right hand (Parks Division Marketing Department) is doing.
    I get AP mailers as well, but they come from some place in the WDW-area.

    Regardless of MyMagic+’s origin, it has cost a lot of money, it has not seen the investment return that was expected, and as a result there apparently is no money left for other Park investments. (In short, someone does not have confidence in the ideas of the Parks Executives.) That is why Skaggs took Iger on a tour, to show him what is needed. Get those sharp-pencil boys out of the loop.

    And the AP “solution” had two ways to go:
    1. Make less money on APs, but maybe the parks won’t be as crowded so one-day guests can actually get near their money’s worth and spend more money (on average) in the parks.
    2. Make more money on AP’s when they upgrade to Deluxe or Premium, but the parking and crowding issues might get worse.
    I’m not sure which they preferred, but it appears that the second option happened.

    There is only one way to get the first option to happen. Only one.

    • LarryDL1984

      That’s hysterical, Tom Staggs “IS” the sharp pencil boy. He was the CFO during the entire Pressler era and is well known for cutting capital to the parks for years.

  • MikeK

    Good news. The Marvel street looks like a temporary band aid until they get something bigger. I like the fact that Tomorrowland and Star Wars aren’t mentioned in the same sentence.
    Monsters in Hollywood Studios — I would rather see just the door coaster in the studios instead of a land themed to Monsters. But, hey, at least it’s not in Disneyland park.
    It’s been almost 20 years since Disneyland had a new E ticket (I’m not including Rocket Rods). Let’s hope Tomorrowland is redone right. Whenever Disney gives the imagineers freedom, they always come up with something great. They should do something totally original without any franchises.
    I’m still hoping for a 3rd park themed to Marvel and Star Wars. And a Tomorrowland themed to the future. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

  • mickEblu

    To solve the overcrowding dilemma why not limit the number of days for the lower tier APs and maybe the deluxe as well. For every pass there can be alternating weeks where your pass is blocked. Odd numbers one week , even numbers the next and they would alternate every other week. Obviously this would take more planning before purchase to ensure your friends and family had the same passes or that your pass isn’t blocked for a key date you were planing a trip. Maybe to help avoid this problem blackout day passes prices could be lowered. It would take a little more on Disneys behalf to build a system that could make this run efficiently and a little more planning by the APers but it would definitely lead to a way better experience when in the parks.

  • HollywoodF1

    I’m fascinated by the people who want to deal with the crowds of AP’s by extensively limiting them. This is a classic demand-capacity situation, and all people seem to want to do is kill the demand. I say– capacity is the answer. Any business would kill for this problem. Spend the money, invest in the things that increase capacity. And while you’re at it, keep doubling down on the quality. The quality is the product, and the customers are voting for it.

    There is an elastic point, of course. At the point where the urinals are solid gold, people will have declined to pay for increasing quality. But until elasticity is reached—

    Make it Bigger, and Make it Better.

    “Quality will out.” —Walt Disney, on about a hundred occasions.

  • animatronic

    Maybe I am asking a dumb question but….What about the issue of opening another gate?

    Orlando has 4 gates. With all the new properties acquired (Marvel, Star Wars) and the huge fan base in SoCal – why not expand the park space to contain the interest of the people and the APs. Is there any way to build one?

  • Hakuna Matata

    I am in the camp of being an AP who uses the payment plan. Does this make me a “passhole?” I should hope not. I wanted to chime in on the reason Disney is big on the meet and greets right now. I think they know that something like 90% of the people between 18-40 that go through those lines immediately upload those pics of themselves with Captain America, or Cinderella, or whoever directly to their favorite social media platform, and that pic becomes an immediate piece of free advertising for Disney to everyone who is “friends” with that person on their twitter or snapchat or whatever.

    • Cory Gross

      I always thought of a “passhole” as a very particular type of super-entitled person who thinks that Disney revolves around them just because they bought an annual pass (like 1 million other people), not just anyone who has an AP. The in thing with passholes nowadays seems to be saying that you’re not going to renew it (or already gave it up) because Disney has committed great personal offense by not squeezing in more E-tickets recently or something like that.

    • PLAZAINN1

      agreed with your comment. My wife and i renewed after we talked about not doing so, but this will probably be the last year and yes we do spend money everytime we are in the parks. Again, DISNEY, do away with those wasteful meet and greets and build an actual attraction. I feel Universal is going to out distance you. But again, it’s all about the mgmt in charge of this company who , to me, have no sense of creativity. All about the might dollar. Maybe you should consider adding more shops into the park that sell almost exactly the same thing in every store, that’s an idea.

  • Saark

    Another solution for the AP overselling is to stop offering them in every grocery store in the form of a gift card. Limit them to on-line and ticket booth only, and yes…get rid of the monthly payments. They are only going to see an increase before 2014 is over due to the 60th anniversary events next summer.

  • PLAZAINN1

    Wow, another meet and greet in California Adventure for the Marvel characters, how original and appealing. Is that all Disney seems to do now, where is the creativity, where are the E ticket attractions. I am so sick of meet and greets. That IS not worth the cost of a one day admission or even a pass. So disappointed.

  • MikeK

    Question: Which alley behind Main Street are they now considering? The cheaper”themed fencing and music” pathways only open during parades, etc. Or are they going back to the original Victorian alley concept, with the relocated and redesigned First Aid, Locker Rooms, general service areas in addition to the newly themed backside facades of the Main Street stores?

    • Susan Hughes

      My guess would be the better looking back alley will be the west side of Main Street. It’s wider and has already been in use for overflow traffic for years. So there’s room to decorate and theme it nicely.
      The east side is a different story. The existing structures can’t be moved and although there is construction going on, it’s still hard to tell what exactly is being built. If I had to guess, it’s going to be short and narrow.

  • 4Apples4Disney

    Get rid of AP’s and pay a true admission cost per day. Problem solved.

    • ayalexander

      Except that Disney makes more money off AP’s in the long run than they do for single day visitors. So the problems wouldn’t really be solved…

  • Tinkbelle

    I’m not convinced that Disney was trying to reduce APs. I think they wanted to eliminate a lower tier and drive people toward the more expensive tiers, and it is working. If they were trying to reduce AP’s there are so many things they could do – stop advertising them, don’t list them on the ticket boards, get rid of the monthly payment plans, put a cap on the amount of passes issued at a time, triple the cost of the passes, lower the day ticket prices etc.

    I hope they do not go forward with Monstropolis or a Marvel meet and greet land. Both of those sound like colossal mistakes and money down the drain. Not a step in the right direction. They need to come up with ideas that people can actually be excited about and look forward to. If they don’t have a great idea they should be patient and wait for one instead of building the wrong thing and having to redo it all later (don’t repeat the mistakes of DCA v.1)

  • laurainwonderland

    No more monthly payments should take care of the problem. I’d buy one if I could buy an annual pass and simply make no-interest payments. If I had to pony up the full payment, I would probably hold off.

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