Is the MAPO division of Imagineering gone? It seems Disney does not doing anything in house anymore. They don't build their own audio-animatronics anymore, they don't build their monorails anymore. Is it all a thing of the past?
That is really too bad. Some of the best imagineering stories come from those men/women that built steamboats, mechanical elephants and hippos, created and hand sewed costumes for pirates and singing dolls.
As far as the new AAs go, does another company design and built them and then ship to off to Disney to be programmed/animated?
Not even Disney can afford to pay the insane prices that Disney charges for things.
While Disney is more than willing to dump boatloads of money on projects by Bruckheimer on spec, Imagineering has to make an excessive profit just to exist. If corporate would allow Imagineering to create - they are there and getting paid to be there, they might as well use their time productively - instead of wasting time waiting for "authorized" work.