My family went to Busch Gardens this weekend for the first time in over a decade. How it has changed! A very large area for small kids, new thrill rides, surprisingly good food, good service, and clean. An annual pass was the same price as a single day ticket!! The "infrequent park visitors" in our party commented that they preferred Busch Gardens to Disney.
After the new year, my family will make our highly-anticipated trip to Harry Potter in IoA. We will most likely get annual passes, as we have enjoyed those parks in the past.
Where does this leave our Disney annual passes? Quite possibly in the trash. Every trip reveals a new disappointment with a disappeared food item, broken effects that are still broken, and very little new attractions to keep things fresh. I can't believe that I, of all people, am considering not renewing those passes. But there it is. I can't see forking over the cash for the unmistakable decline in value.
I have read in these forums that we WDW guests are like the frog in the pot of water slowly getting hot. As the parks decline slowly over the years, we don't notice. I suggest that the frog is actually WDW management, not the guests. As the number of disenchanted guests grow, they still make money, so they don't notice. But one day they will find themselves in a hole to deep to climb out of.
Disney, Disney, Disney, you must step up your game! Your guests are becoming more and more disenchanted in larger and larger numbers. Your competition is working hard to take advantage of your laxness. By the time the decline in your parks drives enough people away to really hurt you financially, you will have to sink incredible amounts of money and time into WDW to restore your position as the Flagship of Themeparks.
The Fantasyland Expansion is way too little, way too late. You need Big Picture thinkers in your management to re-invent the way you are doing business, to restore your reputation with the casual guest and the passionate guest alike. It's not too late to turn things around, but it will be, sooner than you think.