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  1. #1

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    Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Hi!

    So I live about 20 minutes from Disneyland, and have gone there all of my life, and in December of '09, my family and I took a trip to Walt Disney World, and being a huge Disneyland fan, I was very excited to be there, and we all had a great time (especially at EPCOT).

    But, anyways, my sub-question is, is it easier for someone who doesn't go on even a monthly basis to WDW to have a good time? Because I assume most of the complaints about the place are from regulars.

    Like, for instance, from an outsider's perspective, I found Spaceship Earth to be a fantastic attraction, and I bought the WDW soundtrack mainly for the music from that ride (which I listen to quite often). But a lot of people seem to dislike the ride in it's current state. Or is much of the hate towards new-ish attractions fueled by nostalgia for the previous attractions or incarnations of the same attraction?

    So I guess my question is "Is much of the criticism towards many of the attractions based out of nostalgia for the past"?


    **I can definitely understand criticism towards Journey into Imagination, which, imo, was pretty horrible!

  2. #2

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Hello,
    I think you make a great point. Too much of the same things and you start to pick apart the minute details. We only get to go every few years so when we go, it all seems new to us. I would say it is like having a car or house for a long time and you start to notice all the creaks and scratches.
    Regarding nostalgia from the past, where things start is only for a while. Then an evolutionary process takes place and it gets modernized, changed, updated. Then the people who like the original complain about the new. The new people like the new. THEN after enough time passes, the RETRO look and feel comes back. All things in time.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    The whole "familiarity breeds contempt theory" doesn't hold water with me

    When Disney pushes DVC as a way to visit WDW every year or two (at least), I think TDO needs to step up to the plate to keep attractions running in peak condition. You can't entice people to pre-pay their vacations and let things slide down hill (and not add on to the current half-day parks). But currently, they are having their cake and eating it, too.

    Since I've become a parent, we've been visiting WDW annually since 2002 and I can see the decline. It's not nit-picky stuf , like "OMG, one of the hitching posts on Main Street, had a scratch on it!!!!111" Things I have seen are cut backs in entertainment, food, and of course, attractions.

  4. #4

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Can we ever be 100% certain whether something that seemed better in the past actually was?

    I think I have a sort of insight on some particular stuff, because I didn't get to visit EPCOT as a kid when it was new. When I look at pictures and video of EPCOT in the 1980's and compare them to modern ones, the older ones seem better. Heck, when I compare them to the experience of actually being IN modern EPCOT, they seem better.

    I DID get to visit the Magic Kingdom back then, and while I don't think the actual attraction design was better, I can objectively say that the maintenance was. I have no memory of anything being dirty, broken, or malfunctioning from back then. Maybe it's hazy memory, but pictures SEEM to bear it out.

  5. #5

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    In my house we don't live in the us, so we are not regulars but our first visit was in 1992.

    I agree that in the latest years is declining, the people mover brakes down everytime we go , the last time broke 3 times when we were ridding it.

    In this visit it was the first time we get into country bears, and we could saw some of the bear coats ripped, hair falling...

  6. #6

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Some people don't want to admit it, but nostalgia plays heavily into our feelings of a place like Disneyland or WDW. Things that would seem sub-par if they are new feel benign and cozy after years and years of exposure.

    That's not to say new things don't have genuine problems or that certain older things are genuinely better, but as human beings our judgment is always clouded by past experience.

    I too love Spaceship Earth in its current form. Maybe the older versions were better or maybe not, but since I never rode them i suppose that doesn't matter as long as I like what I have now.
    Last edited by WED; 09-02-2011 at 01:53 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Yes and no.

    First No....

    There is definitely a factor that repeat visitors may notice declines, perceived or otherwise, more then occasional visitors. I hate it when I call attention to an issue to someone who does not go nearly as often as I do and in hind sight would have just as likely not noticed it had I not brought it up. So yes, frequency of visit does breed "contempt", but it also breeds accountability.

    Lets face, if we all visited at the frequency of once every one or two years, we'd have a lot more chalked up to false memory. Would we be 100% that:

    "seems like this parade use to be longer"
    "I remember the rocks shaking on this ride"
    "I think all the hens use to move more"

    But the repeat visitor doesn't think the above, they know it as fact. The Parade IS shorter, the rocks on Big Thunder DID shake, and the hens on Splash use to ALL have mouths that moved.


    But then yes...


    Now in the OP case of spaceship earth, there is sometimes where the repeat visitor will call a decline when really there is not. I don't really think SSE is a lesser version of any previous one. Just many get use to their favorite version. Frankly I rather enjoy the current version. There are part of the old decent that I liked, but overall, I kind of like the cartoons on decent now. It took me a few ride to warm up but no I prefer them because of the variety they provide. Yes, I still miss the futuristic city scape shotting fiber optic lights over the cars, but it was exactly the same each time. I also like how the cartoon ending is somewhat jetsons looking, which I think is a rather timeless view of the future and so in 5 years from now, still will not be "dated". And so I do not find SSE an example of "Decline" at WDW. Some will always be nostalgic for their old version, but its not a decline.

  8. #8

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    To add a little...

    When repeat visitors come back, and instead of seeing the same thing, see cuts and changes, like the parade, which has been running for what, 20 years now, and it's slowly cutting out floats, dancers, etc. Then the criticism is warranted. Clearly, the original product was better, and the replacement is a cost cutting most. The same could be true of the parade at DHS.

    Also, when an inferior attraction replaces a popular or perceived superior one, such as Alien Encounter vs Stitch, or Timekeeper vs. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor, then there is an issue as well. Of course part of that is perception; I know a lot of people love Monsters Inc, but I think Timekeeper was far superior and intelligent, but that could be more my opinion than anything else.

    Also, I also enjoy the new Journey into Imagination and Spaceship Earth, though I findly recall the previous versions and the new ones, IMO, pale in comparision. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the newer attraction, it just means I remember what Disney used to do and how it used to wow us. While the screen is cute and while Figment is fun, they are nowhere near as visionary, imaginative, or creative as they used to be, and I think that's where the gray area lies.

    Also, it should be noted that frequent visitors can recognize postive changes as well. As much as I ADORED Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, Play It, I think Toy Story Midway Mania is a definite positve upgrade.

    In summary, I think it's partly nostalgia, partly perception/opinion, and partially familiar with the way things used to be and the quality WDW used to provide. It's not that we don't love it, it's just that we want it to remain at its own lofty standards.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    People can choose to decide whether it's nostalgia-based or not, but all I can say is, in many (most?) instances, I prefer the original attractions ...

    I liked Cronkite SSE better than current SSE.

    I liked the World of Motion better than Test Track.

    I liked Journey Into Imagination better than the current Imagination pavilion.

    I liked Sea Base Alpha better than Nemo-Seas.

    I liked original Universe of Energy better than Ellen.

    I liked Horizons pretty much better than any attraction Disney has ever built.

    In each instance, Disney chose to alter something I liked, and imho made it worse. I enjoy the experience less. Does that make me nostalgia-obsessed? Yes, No, Maybe. The truth is, I don't really care. All I know is I was more content with the way it was than the way it is.

  10. #10

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    It's two things, Buh:

    1. Nostalgia for the way attractions were in their original form, or a longing for attractions that have been replaced with new, allegedly inferior ones

    2. Poor maintenance of attractions, especially as compared to Disneyland.
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  11. #11

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    I went to WDW a lot as a kid, and I got to see the park evolve and change each time I went. My first couple of trips was when EPCOT was still being built. After university, I didn't go for a long, long time, and I moved out west, where I got to explore DL/DCA.

    Now, after a great experience at DL/DCA last year over the fourth of July, I made plans to hit WDW and Universal during the time of Food and Wine Festival. Given how great of an experience I had at DL/DCA, and given that prices were still low due to being in a recession, and due to the Harry Potter stuff opening up, last year seemed like a great year to go.

    But my experience at WDW was pretty awful from the time I stepped into my hotel room until I left. The place just looked run down, and the resorts looked dated and not very well maintained. Now, I used to travel a lot for business trips, so I had certain expectation for the quality of a hotel room. WDW rooms looked like they were stuck in the 80s and hadn't caught up with the rest of the hotel industry. And the parks closed fairly early during that time of year, so since neither my girlfriend or myself really drink, there wasn't much to do in the evenings. I really wanted to hit up the Adventure Club, but to my dismay, Disney shut down their nightclubs. This bites if you're an adult and theme parks close early in the fall.

    The two big highlights of my trip to Florida was that the Harry Potter stuff was amazing, and the food at WDW was fantastic. If I had to do the trip over, I would have just gone to Universal over an extended weekend and hang out at the Universal city thingy instead.

    So my plan for next year is to hit up DL/DCA for the Carsland opening and spend the rest of the year hiking through national parks. WDW really needs to step up their game and add stuff that makes me want to go back. Right now, DCA seems to have more going on than WDW with the Fantasyland expansion and Bowling.

  12. #12

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    I still find WDW as enjoyable as ever. The only intolerable thing is crowds and waits. The quality of my experience in terms of staff and attractions has been fantastic every time. I'm from Boston and I've been going pretty much every year or every other year for the past 13 or 14 years now. I still get the same feeling when I walk through the gates to Main St., USA as I did the first time I went.

    If you have never been, or haven't been for a while, your experience will be more than satisfactory.

  13. #13

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Some of it is nostalgia. The majority of it is not.

    The parks need to change and grow. Few people will deny this. The old "Disneyland will never be completed..." and "The parks are not museums..." lines are cop outs. I love when attractions are updated and plused. The key is to make sure that they are being plused and not "minused." Change is good so long as it's good change.

    Epcot's Future World in particular is one area, possibly more than any other in any Disney park on the planet, that needs to constantly be updated in order to keep it fresh, relevant, and futuristic. I do not wish that Future World were perpetually stuck in 1983 (though sadly, the 1983 version would probably be an improvement over what is there today) - I wish that Future World would be on the bleeding edge of technology and creativity of 2011, while retaining the optimistic and intelligent futurism it was imbued with from the early '80s.

    Disney has consistently fallen flat on their face whenever they've updated Future World by trying too hard to be "hip" and entirely missing what made Future World so special in the first place. Spaceship Earth is an excellent example. The most recent refurb, completed in late 2007, added some good show scenes and upgraded existing ones. But it also removed an animatronic ending with some beautiful set pieces in favor of a kitschy, tongue-in-cheek video screen presentation. First of all, Future World is supposed to be enlightening, educating, and optimistic while entertaining, but not kitschy or tongue-in-cheek. Second of all, video screens are mundane. I can watch TV at home. I don't need to go to WDW to do that. But the worst part is by far the Judi Dench narration. Where the previous narrations had a very grand presence, Judi Dench is a condescending elementary school teacher. I love to ride SSE, but it's now a painful experience for me. I cringe every time I hear "Do you remember how easy it was to learn your ABCs? Thank the Phoenicians. They invented them." Really? Does Disney think their entire audience is five years old? What happened to lines like, "Behold... The majesty of the Sistine Chapel." (Those old enough to remember the Cronkite narration know exactly what I'm talking about.) We don't need to be talked down to; even the kids. Walt recognized this ("Adults are interested if you don't play down to the little 2 or 3 year olds or talk down. I don't believe in talking down to children. I don't believe in talking down to any certain segment. I like to kind of just talk in a general way to the audience. Children are always reaching."), and so did the designers who built EPCOT Center. Sadly, the Epcot of today has lost much of the spirit that made it special. All this doesn't even begin to address the attractions that have invaded Future World that have no relevance to the future whatsoever (Test Track, Soarin') and those that have been turned into a shell of their former selves (Journey Into Imagination).

    I'd like to reiterate, the problem is not that Epcot is different - it needs to be different, but the differences should represent an improvement in show/quality/technology/relevance rather than a dumbing down of the attraction, or worse, a complete abandonment of the principles of Future World.

    Of course, the above doesn't even address the biggest ways in which WDW has declined, which are elimination of attractions/entertainment with no replacement (Pleasure Island, a practically innumerable amount of live entertainment in the Magic Kingdom, Wonders Of Life, etc.) and poor maintenance/cleanliness. Here again, this is more objective fact than nostalgia. This is easily demonstrable as well - even if you have no memories of WDW past. Visit DLR or (especially) TDLR and you'll notice a marked improvement in maintenance. Very few effects will be broken at DLR and you'll rarely see trash. Trash/broken effects are non-existent at TDLR. Sadly, at WDW they're almost endemic. It wasn't always this way and it doesn't have to be this way.

    WDW is still a great place to visit. I love it there. But I miss what WDW used to represent and it saddens me what it has become. Most of all, I know Disney can do better. The reason they don't is because they've lost sight of (and/or no longer care about) what made them great in the first place. It's the business philosophy summed up by Walt in my sig. Sadly, TDO has chosen to chase after short term profits at the expense of the guest experience and the long term health of the brand. I hope they correct this while they still can.
    I knew if this business was ever to get anywhere, if this business was ever to grow, it could never do it by having to answer to someone unsympathetic to its possibilities, by having to answer to someone with only one thought or interest, namely profits. For my idea of how to make profits has differed greatly from those who generally control businesses such as ours. I have blind faith in the policy that quality, tempered with good judgment and showmanship, will win against all odds.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kidgenie View Post
    Yes and no.

    First No....

    There is definitely a factor that repeat visitors may notice declines, perceived or otherwise, more then occasional visitors. I hate it when I call attention to an issue to someone who does not go nearly as often as I do and in hind sight would have just as likely not noticed it had I not brought it up. So yes, frequency of visit does breed "contempt", but it also breeds accountability.

    Lets face, if we all visited at the frequency of once every one or two years, we'd have a lot more chalked up to false memory. Would we be 100% that:

    "seems like this parade use to be longer"
    "I remember the rocks shaking on this ride"
    "I think all the hens use to move more"

    But the repeat visitor doesn't think the above, they know it as fact. The Parade IS shorter, the rocks on Big Thunder DID shake, and the hens on Splash use to ALL have mouths that moved.


    But then yes...


    Now in the OP case of spaceship earth, there is sometimes where the repeat visitor will call a decline when really there is not. I don't really think SSE is a lesser version of any previous one. Just many get use to their favorite version. Frankly I rather enjoy the current version. There are part of the old decent that I liked, but overall, I kind of like the cartoons on decent now. It took me a few ride to warm up but no I prefer them because of the variety they provide. Yes, I still miss the futuristic city scape shotting fiber optic lights over the cars, but it was exactly the same each time. I also like how the cartoon ending is somewhat jetsons looking, which I think is a rather timeless view of the future and so in 5 years from now, still will not be "dated". And so I do not find SSE an example of "Decline" at WDW. Some will always be nostalgic for their old version, but its not a decline.
    Heh, the cartoon at the end of SSE is certainly different every time, because it only works half the time!

  15. #15

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    Re: Where does much of the criticism come from towards some WDW attractions?

    Here is my take on why I am currently complaining about WDW.

    Because I love WDW! Simple as that....If I didnt have the passion for it I wouldnt have the passion to join this site and write about it....There is LOTS to love about WDW even with the downsides, but thats too easy. We all have things about Disney Parks we love, and depending on what park gets more "TLC" the other tends to complain why our home park isnt getting the same love!

    Now...I have a tendancy to ramble and use run on sentences so Ill just itemize my reasons why I complain about attractions and the state of WDW. Nostalgia is a big part of it because of the direction WDW went so that cannot be ignored. Ready? 123 here we go!

    -It has been overly stressed on how much bigger the land Disney has in Florida than they have in Cali and how they have the room to do whatever they want and expand accordingly (Walt even made comments on how large it is with his queue stick and how his height vs the map makes him 6 miles long)...Yet in recent years they do more Subtracting than plussing. Bye bye Toad hello Poo. Stitch vs. Alien Encounter ( I really think this should have been moved to Epcot rather than totaly replaced, understood it was scary for MK but it was such an epic attraction). Even with the Fantasyland Expansion we are losing SWSA. In Epcot we get attractions that are subtracted or even removed with nothing to replace it (JII, Wonders of Life, countless world showcase shows going away). Then over at DHS we have the backlot area....AK with cheap afterthought attractions and a Yeti that cant be fixed due to it being the main attraction to the park.

    -Maintenance. WDW Has had its shares of ups and down in this category. We are currently on the downside of it while Disneyland is on the upside. We are both getting new lands and attractions but WDW is not getting the care it needs. DL I have noted also has the same ups and downs but as of late WDW only cares about DVC. Several attractions are not up to par and according to old standards would be shut down due to "bad show". I no longer think they care about bad show and just want to keep the people moving. This is my biggest complaint with WDW as of late. Granted they are WAY better than they were years ago with paint jobs and exteriors...but they have let the interior fall way behind (pirates, splash, JII, even BTMRR has been minused with effects to save money...)

    -Disney created the standard. Now they are ignoring that standard...or at least are turning a blind eye. I have heard talks about them cutting the costume department and making a more unified uniform for cast members. WOW NO! Disney is all about being immersed in the experience and Like it or not the way the cast member is dressed sets that mood. They took the bar and rose it to a level that makes me obsess about how amazing Disney is...and as of late WDW doesnt even need to limbo under that bar...they are walking right under it. Granted the cast members attitudes are amazing at the moment and they are doing great in that area...

    -Original attractions. Disney has always had great attractions that are from their feature films and we expect that, but we also have come to love the original attractions that have nothing to do with a film at that time. Heck Pirates wound up doing the reverse and look at the cash cow that film franchise has become. HM would have done the same but they turned it into a comedy when they had already over used eddie murphy! Im hoping this new movie does the same that pirates did...but then again pirate love is pretty universal . Anyhow, they dont seem to be adding any new original attractions and I think Epcot is screaming for these!

    -EPCOT Center! I went to this park the year it opened. Waited 1 or more hours for every attraction and was in Awe for each one.(granted my family always went the week of christmas) I remember waiting the full queue for spaceship earth, the stroller parking for Journey into Imagination was an extended queue...) Now...I cant see any attraction there worth more than 40 minutes of waiting.


    -Monorail/People Mover. Both of these attractions (well monorail isnt really an attraction) have boasted about being the future of getting people from one place to another as cost effective and efficient. AK and DHS are not connected to the monorail. I understand it is a HUGE startup cost but it has to cost less than the gas of all the busses we now so have to rely on. People mover would be a great way to move people to these parks...or at least I think so. The bus system seems so ordinary and Disney is all about innovation and yet they rely TOO heavily on the bus system. Now they need to move to the busses going to the ticket and transportation center and use innovative transportation from there.....When the place is packed the bus system is a hardcore mess!

    Since im longer than I thought I would ill do one more point...

    -WDW toys with its fans as far as notstalgia goes...and when they mess with it they offer few apologies. Looking at maps from Disneyland they really dont remove much of anything they add, and they Dont really have to room to do this...WDW does. Even when they built WDW they gave us inferior products of the original (pirates and small world come to mind, and we never even got Alice in wonderland? They gave us an improved Mr Toads but they removed it anyhow, why?) but WDW had the room and the land to do Dinsey they way he really wanted without obstruction...why? Disney World would rather remove and replace rather than add...yet Disneyland adds, why? Then they add EPCOT Center and it was loved by many and had so many great attractions and new Disney Culture and even new Disney Icons (figment, dreamfinder) and then as the years went by the removed many of the great elements that made Epcot great! Then when they do this they appease the fans nostalgia by making Pins and T-shirts....not really doing anything about realising they removed great things and they could have just added. Those that are on the West Coast have not had to deal with as much of this as we have....BUT there does look like they had some attractions people might have loved at DCA that have been removed to redo that entire park...who knows might be the first taste, but seeing these attractions on Youtube makes me think its better they were replaced anyhow.


    So In connclusion I LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney I just cant belive that they would prefer to remove attractions, replace attractions with inferior products, or downplay the nostalgia of the fans is a good way of doing business here on the east coast...something for the most part the west coast hasnt had to deal with. With some of their changes its like taking a piece of my heart and saying here is a Pin instead...

    Thats my take...long winded (as usual) but why I complain about WDW....I still would rather do WDW than Universal...but thats subject to change

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