"Star Wars" is fine. But it's not The Pirates of the Caribbean. It's a reverse-life-cycle product: Disney bought it at the end of its life, hoping to revive it, rather than creating something brand-new that would sparkle and shine, then work itself to a lustrous, long-lasting finish.
People also like Twinkies and McDonald's. Doesn't mean the best, most memorable, most impressive foods aren't the ones made from scratch.
Originality DOES sell as much as IPs do, otherwise J.K. Rowling would never have written about a little boy wizard and there wouldn't be any "Cars" for Carsland.
Star Tours is only one ride and Star Wars is not a land in any park. There is much they can do to expand the Star Wars Universe in the same way to get fans excited.
It's amazing that you said Star Wars isn't Pirates. Disney paid $4 Billion for a 20 year old property. They are creating a new trilogy and then some. You said its at the end of its life, sort of like Pirates? Their lives are still beginning at every new generation of fans.
Like I said in my same post, the people that came to the Wizarding World grand opening weren't just theme park fans--they were fans who couldn't care less about theme parks but went to see their favorite area come to life--it was the unoriginality that brought those guests to the parks. And that (the non-theme park fans) is what makes the difference between crowds, and Harry Potter insanity.
Original stories vs intellectual properties are just scenery. A ride about James Bond can be just as good or terrible as a ride based on some brand new secret agent. The only reason to get the Bond name is the hope that some people will be interested because they like everything Bond related. It lets you kid yourself into thinking what you're making is somehow less risky. It's not really true. Is Dueling Dragons now somehow better because it's now a Harry Potter ride? Nope, it's actually worse because they don't run both tracks at the same time anymore, which is what made that ride unique.
Rides that are unique and innovative are better than ones that are not. If Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was a slow moving omnimover book report with 1970s level animatronics, the Potter fans would probably love it, but it wouldn't be the phenomenon that it is. It would have gotten the same reaction as the Little Mermaid. If the Wizarding World gift shops sold the same Universal Orlando junk as all the other gift shops would people wait in line for hours just to take a look around?
Disney doesn't need Star Wars, Avatar, Cars, or anything else, they just need to realize that the parks are supposed to be an escape from the real world and the more you do to make that escape seem real, the better the reaction will be to it. New Orleans Square isn't great because it reminds everyone of the New Orleans Square movie. It's great because it tries its best to be convincingly somewhere other than Anaheim.
Now that they own Lucas Film ..... a "Star Wars" land would do it. But it can't be modest. They have to live up to their founder's (Walt) original motto - EXCEED expectations. Not - Just barely meet them.
Now, after the fact I wrote that, I read through the whole topic. I, also, am in agreement with "originality" over IPs. In future generations ... people may care less about IPs older generations gravitated to. But you can sure count on ... generation after generation ... those attractions established without an attachment to an IP are well loved, generation after generation: Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion, PotC, Space Mountain, It's a small world, etc.
An original immersive world, done properly .... with attractions on the same scale and level of ambition to PotC/Haunted Mansion would be the "Potter Swatter".
But since Disney of today is ignoring originality for the time-being - I think Star Wars is their best bet.
I equate the staff of TDO to Kirk Kerkorian to MGM in 1969.
What he did to MGM in those years is shocking. And look where MGM is today!!
This could be the 1940s ... and we are all part of a "MGM Studios Discussion Board" .. thinking ... MGM is so big ... and so well established ... and so wonderful ... It could never be dimished!
Yeah .. well .... it's DEFINITELY not what it was .. when Louis B. Mayer ran the joint ... by a loooong shot!
So .... if Disney execs just want to coast ... with WDW .. as is - And just ignore the rest of the Themed Entertainment World ... go right on head!
And we'll all become Universal Theme Park Discussion Board patrons ... wondering what they'll do next ... someday!
I honestly think at this point there is no such thing as a 'Potter Swatter' coming. Maybe I'm being overly skeptical (and I love Disney so much I fervently hope I AM wrong) but I believe Disney's days of being on top are numbered. There are many, many reasons why I believe this to be so. This is why I believe that there will be no major, world changing events happening at Disney. I believe they have gone down the safe path for so long that they are no longer willing to change from that path.
Follow the path of least resistance and do what you know will keep the shareholders happy. That is the company mantra today.
Theme parks are a business. Selling Potter is a GUARANTEED way to make money. They know this.
What sells more? A T-shirt that says 'Space Mountain' on it, or a Harry Potter outfit? Yeah, thought so.
Honestly its all about marketing and while its more difficult to market something that nobody's heard about before its certainly doable especially with a company of Disney's power. Of course since they're about effeciency preexisting IP's require less theoretical risk and can work as simultaneously marketing multiple products in a single instance.
I think the main reason for lines in Harry Potters shops isn't just the IP its the unique experience around getting the product. Sure Lightsaber sales are probably brisk for Star Tours but most of the time you don't see anywhere near the lines for a lightsaber that you see for a wand I'd assume. Probably because there isn't an elaborate production that makes the purchase feel like a unique experience.
Wizarding World seems to include an effort of not just making the merchandise incredibly unique to the area but also instill a great sense of character to the shops design themselves.
Alot of Disney's shops are uninteresting because there is nothing rewarding to be found in poking around most of them so I personally tend to just zone them out. Their seem to be a few remnant shops in the resort with a few interesting things about them but it seems like Disney has an initial spur of origional products before the attraction slowly loses luster and the merchandise all shifts into some generally uncreative or bland objects.
I'm sure Space Mountain themed merchandise would get quite a boost if some unique and interesting elements was actually added to it. A Tshirt with a picture of the ride building on it and Mickey sitting in a rocket is boht uncreative and not too terribly inticing. Of course maybe not all attractions need to be tied to the exact same merchandising staples? The fact that a few years back I'd find Hanna Montanna stuff from I could find at a Target in Space Mountain was pretty dismal.
Origional merchandise is risky though, if it doesn't work out then you've just lost alot of money. Granted if it IS successful you've probably created a higher motivation to visit more shops and spend more money. Which is probably all subject to a cost benefit analysis. For now Disney seems to think it will make more money in reducing costs even if it margionally reduces sales than it would make if it increased variety and quality to increase sales.
There are areas that counter this but the overall feel seems to come of as mostly unmotivated.
Just looking at things objectively without any emotional bias its pretty easy to see that Disney recognizes itself as top brand and much like quite a few fans on here can't concieve of a reality were that can be taken away from them given the strong established foundation they have. Universal is building new reputation and wants new visiters. Weather some of us think Universal is better than Disney or not I think the thing that is undoubtibly true is that Universal is constantly outdoing ITSELF. Mainly that each new Universal attraction seems to strive to be better than what proceded it. Disney has odd moments of this but in alot of ways it feels more focused on just keeping its status quo opporating.
For me personally this makes Universal more exciting to watch and perhaps look to visit next. I've seen all Disney has to offer multiple times and their growth has slowed enough that I actually have no active plans to visit another Disney park for maybe the next 7 years? (baring a sudden oppertunity to travel overseas). Meanwhile I'm chomping at the bit to see what Universal and even smaller local parks are doing simply because the growth is more rapid and ambitious.
I feel like the main point to most of the arguments on here is regardless of IP its QUALITY that gives an attraction longevity.
Besides the technology behind the ride I think one of the nice things about the Harry Potter ride is the storyline seems to attempt to involve the riders as opposed to the paint by numbers approach I've taken with some film based rides (though those are non E tickets and its probably not fair to compare lessor rides to rides that are meant to be on the higher end).
Eh I'm probably being circular I'll just say that uniqueness and quality is what wins the day and that its my belief that Disney is unmotivated to build a potter swatter though if one were to be constructed I'd probably prefer for it not to be a franchise I've had beaten over my head too much.