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

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  • 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.