According to Al's article today the "New Fantasyland" at WDW isn't drawing in the numbers or good guest comments that TDO expected so now they're scrambling trying to assess what went wrong and what they can do about this. On the upside, Cars Land may come to DHS in expedited fashion as a result. While that may sound good, WDW already has Test Track and I'd like to see them do something unique. But then again, this is WDW I'm talking about - their only unique concepts any more are interactive games and prison monitoring bands.
At the end of the days it's all about getting the heads in the beds and pushing up hotel bookings. Now it seems these bookings are tapering off at an alarming rate especially considering a major new area opened at the park and others have also told me that panic is setting in for Summer.
WDW, however, has made the "product" so complicated to enjoy (e.g. packages, free dining offers dangled in your face, variable rates for weekends over weekdays, etc.) people are now in a staring contest with Mickey waiting for the next best offer to come around. No offer, no advance ooking - no pre-bookings, Mickey gets a rumbly in his tumbly (not Pooh's kind either). Mickey will probably balk and an "offer" will materialize. If not, you just might be able to walk into Beast's castle for lunch without much a wait in the Summer and easily secure one of those $495 Beach Club rooms without much advance planning (they'll be plenty of vacant ones to choose from ).
Honestly, though, what did Disney expect? Did they really expect that creating a cloned omni-mover attraction based on Ariel nearly 24 years after her movie debut would be that compelling to guests that people would flock to the place????
While Ariel is a great character, if she was 15 when her movie was made she'd be a 39 year old woman now - a soccer mom. Sigh. How much merchandise does Ariel really sell these days - not a material amount I surmise - nobody knows who she even is.
From the new Fantasyland we got the following:
- A clone of a DCA attraction that gives West Coast guests no incentive to visit as they've already rode at DCA
- Two "priceless" princess meet and greets (because one, or a centralized one just isn't enough - and another is on the way - yippeee)
- A roller coaster construction zone that obscures all sight lines
- A mediocre (Dining Plan influenced) restaurant that looks interesting from the outside but if you don't have a reservation you'll never be allowed to even peak inside
- A gift shop with a painting of a Narcissistic Park President as its focal point
Yes, WDW, "where Magic lives"!
I mean how could the public not just eat this up? I guess we American's have become too good for our britches these days.