For those of you who have mentioned the prices, keep in mind, Disney is going to keep raising prices until they see a leveling in demand. As long as they have a net gain in attendance, prices won't drop, because they know enough people are willing to pay it. Look at the vast difference between Disney and other parks prices and then look at how Disney has net gains in attendance and is firmly in the top 5 attended parks each year. As long as that keeps happening, it means that, sadly for our wallets, they aren't close to pricing themselves into a decline.
It's actually a sound business philosophy. Charge people what they are willing to pay and then funnel any surplus into maintenance and improvements. Until enough people stop buying passes that it starts making a dent in the crowd control problems (a minimal attendance decline would actually be a good thing for operations), prices will keep rising. Bet on it.
And while the turnstiles may indicate that attendance is down, my sense of personal space tells me differently. And maybe the problem is simply an issue of crowd flow, and congestion in the common areas.
The prices went up this year but nothing is finished... it's been nothing but scrims and construction walls at WDW this year. Big Thunder was down half the year, Test Track and Country Bears the other half, Tree of life is falling apart, the yeti's still broke, Splash Mt. and FL is a mess, my family is just waiting till it's finished. It's just not worth the trouble to go and see nothing but the "sorry this area isn't ready" signs everywhere
It is interesting that people are coming from Canada, the Pacific Northwest and even the East Coast to DL/Cal Adventure over WDW.
I have to admit I enjoyed the diffrence in the crowds at MK vs DL. One year @ DL I could not tell where the lines started and where the crowds ended. (almost no where to walk).
Alot of talk of vacant showrooms at EPCOT, and something about a hat at DHS, and a Disco Yeti thing.
One day I will get to see them all. Mabey when I see a good deal on tix./hotels that I can afford.
I really do not think that the new Fastasyland will drive that much new attendance. The bigger factors is the down economy along with the higher prices. That affects the infrequent family visits. But for those who enjoy going regularly one has to see that new offerings are few and far between. Also some of the old favorites are getting removed or reduced. So for repeat visitors, it seem less valuable. Disney needs some new attractions at several parks, geared to different age groups, not just small children, to drive attendance with Potter in the neighborhood.
Here's another piece of confusion introduced to this thread: believing there is a "point of concern" with regards to the growth initiatives. Here's what's happening: in 2013 there aren't going to be any big major new investments in domestic parks. This will help the bottom line, and WDW will benefit from FLE, to one extent or another, over the following years. Not a big mystery, and something that the company has already addressed to shareholders and analysts.
I am happy that Burbank has revitalized Disneyland & DCA & is continuing to put money into maintenance, upkeep, & new offerings, but I feel that WDW has been totally neglected in the process over the past decade & more. Yes, WDW has added little things here & there, but I think a major overhaul is well past due for the older parks. Meaning MK, Epcot, & Studios. Avatar land & a possible Star Wars land sounds great, but the current quality of the parks in general cannot be ignored just to accommodate these huge additions that may be coming.
Magic Kingdom has been in desperate need of upgrades for many years. There is so much unused & wasted space that could be completely utilized. This is still a magical park, but has lagged behind the other Magic Kingdom style parks around the globe which is a shame especially when WDW is supposed to be the #1 tourist destination in the world!
Starting with Adventureland, the whole first half of this land is nothing but wasted space. The Swiss Family Treehouse takes up way too much real estate for what it is. There is room to still have the treehouse in the area, but the majority of that space could be utilized for a unique Indiana Jones type ride or something else awesome that themes with Adventureland that would welcome guests upon entering the land instead of guests having to walk half way through the land before they find something interesting to do. I believe the Aladdin/Agrabah area definitely has its place, but is completely out of place in its current location. It completely breaks the flow of the theme of the area.
Pirates of the Caribbean at WDW has always been a hot mess compared to Disneyland in California. Even Paris was on the right track with its incredible theming of the attraction on the outside. This attraction should be taken completely down, gutted out, & re-built. The company should take the opportunity to fix this beloved attraction that was done wrong from the get go. I would love to see them go underneath the train tracks like at Disneyland & build a brand new state of the art show building backstage with state of the art effects & new show scenes that enhance the original theme of the attraction as well as give it the ride length it should have. Meanwhile the whole entrance area to the ride on the inside of the park could be totally transformed & made similar to if not better than Paris.
Frontierland desperately needs more river traffic to help liven the area up. Tom Sawyers Island looks too overgrown with foliage & neglected. Frontierland has always suffered from a break in theme flow as well. Splash Mtn & Big Thunder are misplaced. Meaning, thematically, thunder should be where Splash is & Splash should be where Thunder is. Since we know the placement cannot be fixed, I think Big Thunder should be re-themed to more of a smoky mountain feel like Splash since thematically, Frontierland stops at Splash Mountain. Maybe re-do Thunder similar to the new Grizzly Mine Train ride that just opened up at Hong Kong DL. It would fit better & looks like a great ride.
Fantasyland at least is finally getting some help with the new addition of Little Mermaid, the entire B&theB area, & Storybook Circus. So far, Disney has done an incredible job with the detail of the area. I still feel Fantasyland needs more though to bring it way above the other MK style parks. I do feel they dropped the ball with not having a Beauty & the Beast attraction in that huge area or they could have wedged a theatre in there & moved the Beauty & the Beast show from Hollywood Studios into it or some other Fantasyland themed show of high caliber. MK has always been missing an Alice in Wonderland ride to go with the lonely Mad Tea Party. Since they have never had one, they could put one in that has state of the art effects & ride system. There is room. The building could have extended into what is now the entance area to Storybook Circus & there still would have been room to have the dual Dumbos & Barnstormer in the rear.
Tomorrowland has the biggest waste of real estate of any land in the MK. The biggest culprit being the Tomorrowland Speedway. It is time to either retire the Speedway or re-rout it farther back so an incredible, cutting edge attraction can be put in this huge space. The possibilites are endless & should be considered! I know many will agree with me that Stitch needs to go!!! It is a joke. Something cutting edge & futuristic needs to be put in this space. Tomorrowland needs to become Tomorrowland again & not become cartoon city. Many fans miss Alien Encounter like I do, but I do believe it did not belong in MK. I think it would have fit better in Epcot. Since they insisted on replacing Horizons with Mission Space, they should have made the entire pavilion a Space themed pavilion. They could have had multiple attractions & exhibits. Alien Encounter would have fit perfectly as well as Mission Space the ride that we currently have now.
Space Mountain-I do enjoy the nostalgic feel of this origianal 1975 attraction just like the next guy, but it's time. Time to bring this attraction completely into the future. Just like I mentioned on Pirates, Space Mountain should be completely gutted out & re-built as well as the entire entrance area for the attraction. This attraction should be blowing everyone's socks off in today's times as it did way back in 75 for those times. Disney could make WDW's Space Mountain the benchmark that all the other ones look too. Brand new track, brand new ride vehicles with side by side seating instead of the single seating it currently has, state of the art futuristic effects, & on board soundtrack. With the size of this mammoth building, Disney could make a Space Mtn to end all Space Mountains.
The Main Street areas are ok for the most part. One attraction that I wish would return, but I know won't is the Plaza Swan Boats. What a unique boat ride & scenic tour experience. This attraction really added some charm to the whole area & another great way to take a break & relax when you have been on your feet all day walking around MK. The Swan Boats I'm sure cost a lot of labor, but we are in 2012 now. They can make boats that are operated by computer if they do not want to pay for cast members to operate the boats. I just think it's a special & charming experience that should have never left the park.
Parades-Please! Please! Please! It is time for a brand new day parade with brand new floats! These same floats have been used for way too long now. Step it up Disney! If guests are going to be spending thousands of dollars to come spend their vacation at WDW, at least offer up a new parade every few years so your returning guests will still want to come back because they have something new to look forward too. I may be the minority on this, but please bring back SpectroMagic!!! I love MSEP, but it belongs at its true home at Disneyland in California. SpectroMagic is unique to WDW & is loved by many. It needs an update as well, so do it! Updated floats with new LED light technology, new floats with new scenes, & they could finally add Sleeping Beauty & Phillip to the Sleeping Beauty Garden sequence which should have been done a long time ago. They could make a big marketing push with the return of a new & updated SpectroMagic Parade!
Outside of the MK, the one biggest thing that the company should have done years ago is connect all the parks as well as Downtown Disney to the Monorail. One of the biggest guest complaints about WDW are the buses. The company really missed the ball on this years ago. I guarantee if the company would spend the money to make it even easier & faster for guests to be transported back & forth between parks, guests would be happier plus the company would be getting the guests to their destinations faster so they can spend their money at that particular park as opposed to waiting forever for an overcrowded & slow bus. A brand new Transportation & Ticket Center should be built connecting all 4 parks, Downtown Disney, & to really take it a step up, a monorail directly from the Orlando Airport to the new Transporation & Ticket Center where it is a one stop center to go to the parks & Downtown Disney via monorail & to your resort hotel & water parks via shuttle. This is the kind of stuff Disney should be investing in first to really make WDW the #1 Vacation Destination of the world!!!!
I will have to give my thoughts on Epcot, Studios, & Animal Kingdom at another time. Didn't realize I was going to get so detailed just on MK. I know all this I mentioned is just a dream, but I really feel if Disney paid attention & invested into what they already have at WDW first, WDW would absolutely return to being loved, admired, & visited as the #1 tourist destination. Once they start taking care of what they already have there, it would make more sense for them to add the Avatar and/or Star Wars lands that may be coming because everything else that is already there will be up to the quality & standards that we all expect from Disney!
You are right on the ball. Disney has been known for all the details and time the spend on what another park could throw together in just a few weeks. I afraid that TDA has become so intimidated by WDW and TDO that Disneyland could start going into the toilet like MK. Now that Disneyland has redemed DCA from the grave and has start reuse the unused space like Plaza Gardens and the Fantaysland Theater I think people from TDO need to come over look at when WDI has their way, thing start to work better and draw more people (Carsland for example). WDW has need the monorail expantion ever since Animal Kingdom because you could go from MK to Epcot by monorail and from Epcot to DHS by boat but Animal Kingdom we placed so far out of the way that its just not practical. Moving the TTC closer to center of the resort like near the Dolphin Resort would decrease the hassal of parking at MK and then taking a bus to get to Animal Kingdom. I think what would bring WDW back from the edge is just let the imagineers to run wild and let them do what they need to fix the park. Also stop forgetting Next Gen. Next Gen I think would only work at the main gate but to use for fastpass is not going to work because when you go to the parks you plan your day based on impulse and not a set schedual.
To sum. up Expand Monorail, Let Imagineering run wild, use space better, and drop Next Gen.
I was just about to say, try bringing Spectro back and you might see a nice little bump in MK attendance. Just don't forget to advertise it, as you tend to give the parades the short end of the (promotions) stick.
So yes if your willing to only do Universal it is a much cheaper option. Of course theres only 2 parks compared to 4 but personally we liked the Universal Orlando Resort More then we Walt Disney World.
From Undercovertourist (comparable options):
WDW 4 day Magic your way: $255.95
WDW 4 Day Parkhopper: $312.75
Universal 4 day Base: $152.95
Universal 4 day Park to Park: $159.95
The question of course is how many people are willing to go to Orlando and not visit WDW. I know I would.
Please know that I am not trying to start another Disney vs Universal debate - dear God, no! - my only point is that if saving money is your main focus, neither company is much of a value these days.
We tried to see the new Fantasyland a couple of weeks ago but they were having cast previews so we couldn't get in. But you know what? I wasn't that disappointed we missed it.
Ten to fifteen years ago we would have waited in line for days to see the new things Disney World had to offer. But their product has failed to amaze or impress for so long now that mediocrity is the best we expect. It's just not worth the price or the hassle.
Our family has decided to make Legoland our new park for the forseeable future. Granted our boys are the perfect age, but you know what? Given a choice they'd rather go to Legoland. Fewer crowds, less stress, fewer strollers (!) and ECVs, a more laid-back atmosphere and reasonable pricing. So there you have it.
I grew up in central Florida, have lived, breathed and bled WDW for decades, but they've just taken away, cut back, closed down and left to rot too much of what used to make the place extraordinary. WDW looks and feels tired, exhausted, weary and run down.
It's no surprise WDW attendance is declining. First time visitors may not know any better but long-time loyal customers, like our family, are starting to vote with our wallets.