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  1. #1

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    11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Al visits WDW: The Year of a Million Deferred Dreams, A Look at what's gone wrong in Orlando. Discuss it all here of course...

    Full Story HERE
    Last edited by Dustysage; 11-03-2006 at 08:17 AM.
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  2. #2

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Wow. Tell us how you really feel, Al. lol!

    Love this review. It's the kind of review the Mouse suits need to hear. I hope fixes are in the works asap.

    It's sad to hear that the Yeti is already not working. For the amount of money and effort put into that aspect of the ride, you'd think that they'd insure that it is always running. Which makes me wonder why it was open at all if the main reason to ride it is not operational...

  3. #3

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Quote Originally Posted by Gemini Cricket View Post
    It's sad to hear that the Yeti is already not working.
    Yeah I'm really sort of pissed off about that. I saw a yeti flash in a strobe light for a second (and after reading spoilers I KNEW where to look in advance). It could have been one of the stuffed animals from the gift shop up there, and would have looked the same....

    Anyhoo, I personally had a great time on the trip since I hadn't seen many of the attractions before (or wanted to see alternate versions of Disneyland favorites), plus (and this is the biggest factor) that the MiceChat crew that went on the trip were a bunch of crazy fun people.

    IoA was a definite highlight tho -- I was actually much more impressed with the Universal parks than I was with the Disney parks. And that had to do with ride quality plus maintenance. All of the parks except DAK *really* need some freshening up in the faded/dated showscenes department.
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  4. #4

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    I'd have to say that over all, we had an amazing and enjoyable time on this trip. It is undeniable that the maintenance of the WDW parks is appalling and that they suffer from stale, and in some cases boring, attractions. However, we still had a great time!

    The highlights of the trip for me were the amazing service and groundbreaking rides at Universal's Islands of Adventure, and the always fun Food and Wine Festival at Epcot. We also love just love the Animal Kingdom. As new rides are added, this park just gets better and better. The new Nemo ride at Epcot is spectacular, and the mood and quality of the cast members throughout the WDW property has been steadily improving for years.

    What Disney World is doing right: New attractions, great employees, friendly service, excellent food service and options.

    What Disney World is doing wrong: Aging attractions lacking maintenance and upgrades, confusing themes at Epcot and the Studios, Terrible parades (but I love Spectro). And the most egregious problem at the WDW property - BUSSES. The bus system is an abomination. Making tired tourists stand in a lurching buss for 20+ minutes on the way back to their hotels every night is not only dangerous but totally lacks Disney "Magic". Year of a million dreams indeed. Build some more monorails already!

    I'm ready to go back to Disney World right now. It was really sad to come home so soon. I love me some Walt Disney World. But I'll appreciate the splendid and well maintained Disneyland even more after this visit to WDW.

    -The Dusty Sage
    Last edited by Dustysage; 11-03-2006 at 08:34 AM.
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  5. #5

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Great update Al!

    Dusty, I totally agree with you on the buses, that was our main complaint in August also!



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  6. #6

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Al, I usually cannot stand your rantings about WDW,... but after reading this you have really hit the nail on the head. WDW is a mess when it comes to how it is run, I love the place to death, but I have slowly watched the quality decline it seems ever since around the 25th anniversary/ Millinium Celebration era.

    That said there have been some signs of a turn around, closed attractions are being re-done and re-opened such as the Living Seas and Timekeeper and the food quality and prices have also improved. However like you pointed out for all the good there is an ever worse bad. The parks are looking more and more unkept, ecspecially Magic Kingdom, maintenence is at its worst level ever and nobody really seems to care. You drop a suggestion to Guest Communications or anyone else for that matter they just turn a deaf ear like you are some loony trying to just be difficult. It was not always that way.

    I can remember back in the mid to late 90's thinking how great we had it over here and that it sure sucked to be Disneyland. Well I guess what goes around comes around, because we are in exactly the same boat. I have been to Disneyland multiple times over the past 3 years and yes it is so small compared to what we are used to over here, the overall experience is just so much better. The parks are clean the rides work and you just don't notice as many problems it seems, but that could just be me being a tourist over there and a local over here.

    I guess my question to you is, what can be done about it. To me the answer seems simple trim the fat starting in the executive level, there are way too many hands in the pot. Why do we need multiple people to go through to get somthing as simple done as painting a building? It just does not work in any efficient manner. We need to have park presidents that can be just that park presidents, let them make their own decisions and be accountable for what they do, not just smiling figure heads that do nothing. It just very frustrating! an elementary school is run more efficiently.

    So Al, is there any hope of this mess getting cleaned up, Iger certainly seems to be attempting this in Burbank, can they clean house down here as well?

  7. #7

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    TELL IT like it is Al!!! Thanks for a most informative and very fair assessment of the WDW experience. You hit the proverbial nail's head when you commented:

    Considering a Disney vacation is not for the weak of wallet, the lack of quality and showmanship now painfully evident in Orlando is only magnified when you consider the premium costs involved.
    That has been my everlasting gripe about WDW all along, on this and many other sites, and possibly the reason why I get so much hate mail in the process... WDW is all about quantity, and not about quality. True, there are aspects of WDW that are very satisfying and worth checking out, but the neglect and lack of keep up is truly disheartening for me. I have always argue that guests are paying way too much for the WDW experience... hence the Magic your Way (let's keep them away from IOA et all agenda), so disguise the product into being a great deal. Many often ask me why I opt to pay over $650 yearly at TDR for the TDR Premium AP, when in fact...it offers nothing but entry into the parks... the answer would be quite simple: That is where I truly find the upmost quality at a Disney park/resort overall.
    I long for WDW to mimic some of that, concidering their self-proclaimed status as the World's favorite Disney property.

    Thank Al for telling it like it is.

  8. #8

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Thanks for the honest to goodness update regarding the good, the bad and the sucky at WDW. As one who has never experienced the resort, I must say that I still look forward to having a ton of fun there. The fact that you found some of the attractions (such as Test Track, Mission Space and Rock N Rollercoaster) to be top notch experiences causes me to look forward to riding them even more.

    Poor maintainance and operations will not curtail my first trip. As for additional trips, however, I might not be so anxious to return. Or if I do, I might spend more time at places like Universal, Sea World, Discovery Cove, NASA and the beaches...while investing far less time at WDW.

    The broken Yeti should climb down out of "Brokeback Everest" and kick some higher echelon management butt.
    Last edited by Ride Warrior; 11-03-2006 at 09:51 AM.
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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Definately going to have to concur with you on the buses as well. That was our major gripe in August. There were never enough buses and when you did get on a bus you always had to stand.

    I live in Wisconsin, so I am not a regular at Disneyland like many of you on this board. I visited Disneyland in March of this year and Disneyworld in August of this year. I kept saying to my wife on each ride "the Disneyland version was better". For some reason she still does not like DL (our first visit was to a very packed DL and I think it affected her opinion negatively). Everything from Small World, to Haunted Mansion, and definately Pirates had me saying "this ride was SOOO much better at DL"

    I wish that they could put as much time and effort into the attractions at the World as they do at DL. You can tell that the park takes more pride of their rides at DL than at WDW.

    Now, that said, I do find the employees at WDW a lot nicer and helpful. Many of them seem to go out of their way more often to make a guest's stay more magical. Their food options are also better, but then again, you have several hotels that have restaurants, plus four parks and a downtown area to cram dining into. To be honest, most of our meals in California were at a local chain restaurant attached to our offsite hotel.

    The other thing about Florida is that it is a much more immersive experience. When you go on Disney property you are truly in Disney. When you go to Disneyland, you are on a very large city block in the middle of the greater Los Angeles metro area. Signs of the outside world are everywhere at DL. At DCA it is even worse. Many of the attractions give you a real nice view of the world outside the berm.

    I do agree, though, that several attractions at WDW either need some serious updating or they need to be canned completely. Star Tours at MGM was tiring. You could tell that the ride vehicles were completely worn out. (Disneyland isnt much better on this, though). The Indiana Jones show needs to be reworked. Universal regularly rotates their shows because return guests will quickly get bored with the same show and the same surprises. The stunt show at MGM is a good start. The Tram ride needs to go completely and something better needs to go in it's place that still showcases the studio's operations. ToT was the one attraction at WDW where I thought it was better than the California equivelant.

    I agree completely with the AK observations. Much of the park is dead space. The walk to Camp Minnie Mickey seems unnecessary as there is NOTHING to see or do. Just trees and a walkway. There is no where to eat. Bathrooms are hard to find and almost always hidden. I will say that I am one of the only ones that does like the carnival theming of Dinoland USA.

    Epcot is a lot better than it was. It has a long way to go, but they are removing a lot of their dated attractions. The redo on Imagination sucks and they do need to get rid of the tired old Honey I Shrunk the Audience and get something based on a more recent movie. I missed the Nemo opening by a few weeks so I cannot comment. I would be kind of cheesed if I was a WDW exec and saw what DL is getting, though. World Showcase, however, needs a total redo. Everything there is dated and most of it is just dining and shopping. Yeah, just what I wanted to do. NOT!

    Magic Kingdom still has a lot going for it, I think. Yeah, Space Mountain is pretty aged and the cars at the Speedway really need a lot of work. Most of the rides have a bit of nostalgia to them. I do wish they would get better versions of the attractions like those in Cali, but the ones that are there are okay. I do think it was a crime that they tore out Mr. Toads for Pooh, though.

  10. #10

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    For years I have been a DL purist, and have only visited DL (until MHT this year in DCA). But, I have to admit that nothing has ever drawn me to visit WDW, and after this report I doubt I'll be going any time soon.

    Hopefully they will get the message and start upgrading the park. Until then I'm still planning my DLRP vacation in two years!


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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    I just wanted to pop in and also say that was a bullseye-hitting update Al.

    This all started with the over-expansion, an over-expansion that is still continuing today with Disney Vacation Club. With many, many WDW visitors (the vast majority not being local like DL) being converted to DVC members for the next 45+ years Disney has less need to maintain top-notch parks.

    The dining situation is currently, imo, the most troubling trend at WDW. The menus and food quality have taken a nose dive ever since WDW went the successful route of the cruise line in offering the all inclusive Disney Dining Plan. It's the same mentality that Al alluded to with the way some marketing execs think. If tourists are willing to pay in advance for dining, why provide nice leisurely meals with a full range of upscale options. There's no profit motivation. Also, with built-in gratuities there is also little motivation for excellent service from the waitstaff.

    I'm so glad that more and more people are seeing what a great resort Universal Orlando is. Disney Dweebs should "dream" about having Disney offer attractions of the caliber of Men In Black or Spiderman. But like the Magic Kingdom's Splash Mountain, while it was built with much ambition things have become shabby recently. Hopefully GE/NBC will find a way to kick-start things there again.

    For those on this trip who noticed the aging/stale Disney attractions, I just wanted to say that it really is a catch 22. A predicament caused by the non-existent maintenance. One problem is with attractions that aren't stale but just criminally maintained. Haunted Mansion should be every bit as good as Tokyo's or Anaheim's. WDW is a top international destination. An attraction that is present in that destination's flagship park should not take a backseat for things like High School Musical or Goofy's Jamboree. I remember filing a complaint with City Hall in early 2001, not only was the audio screwed up, the stretching room wallpaper torn, but CMs were leaving both doors to the stretching rooms open at the same time and having guests just walk right through. This was not a mechanical issue as much as it was a staffing issue. I maybe have complained at guest relations three or four times in my life, and this was one of them. The line given back to me was that Haunted Mansion was planning on getting a thorough rehab in a few months. Well, that was early 2001.

    The other problem is with attractions like CoP or Universe of Energy. These attraction areas should see new concepts come about but many of us are wary simply because of Disney's track record at WDW. Stitch, Figment, Pooh's Playground, etc. leave little faith that Disney can successfully bring new attractions to the table at WDW. Even EVEREST with all of the resources brought to it leaves many with a very hollow feeling. The Soarin' installation and even M:S have very sterile undertones. So, it's hard for me at least to wish CoP away when in the past there would be suggestions akin to Little Green Men bumper cars as the replacement. Everybody would love to see GOOD change, but in practice most older attractions have seen downgraded replacements. Tiki Room being another example.

    I'm glad that those who were apart of this meet had a great experience on Magical Express, but I would say that it pales in comparison to what was originally planned in their light-rail airport-WDW solution. This goes hand in hand with how poor the resort bus transportation is.

    Lastly, I can't agree more when Al points to who really is the cause for most of the current incompetence. Marketing as well as Entertainment has way too much control in Orlando. There is a lot of ego and a lot more concern for these peoples' own interests rather than what kind of quality guest experience WDW is able to offer.
    Last edited by ChiMike; 11-03-2006 at 10:16 AM. Reason: grammer
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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Nice one, Al!

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    TELL IT like it is Al!!! Thanks for a most informative and very fair assessment of the WDW experience. You hit the proverbial nail's head when you commented:



    That has been my everlasting gripe about WDW all along, on this and many other sites, and possibly the reason why I get so much hate mail in the process... WDW is all about quantity, and not about quality. True, there are aspects of WDW that are very satisfying and worth checking out, but the neglect and lack of keep up is truly disheartening for me. I have always argue that guests are paying way too much for the WDW experience... hence the Magic your Way (let's keep them away from IOA et all agenda), so disguise the product into being a great deal. Many often ask me why I opt to pay over $650 yearly at TDR for the TDR Premium AP, when in fact...it offers nothing but entry into the parks... the answer would be quite simple: That is where I truly find the upmost quality at a Disney park/resort overall.
    I long for WDW to mimic some of that, concidering their self-proclaimed status as the World's favorite Disney property.

    Thank Al for telling it like it is.
    When I visited DisneySea two years ago, I was truly stunned at how much better it was than WDW. Here in the U.S., when park maintenance, services, or food quality slip, you get a lot of people saying "Well, it's still Disney and we still have a really good time and, gee, it's not as bad as Six Flags." The slip in quality sort of sneaks up.

    I used to hit WDW several times a year, but my last couple of WDW experiences have convinced me that, from now on, annual trips to Tokyo are the way to go. Nothing terrible happened at WDW, mind you, and we generally had a good time, but it's slipping, definitely slipping.

    By the way, do you live in Japan or do you just visit a lot?

  14. #14

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    I really wish that I could see the pictures at my work PC. Apparently they're on a different server, and my PC here doesn't like that. Not at all.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  15. #15

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    Re: 11/3: Disney's Stale World

    Wonder if any of the higher ups from Disney will read your update because that update is really really REALLY well done.


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