What may be?

Several weeks ago Disney announced that Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot was closing down to be replaced by a Frozen attraction. In fact much of the Norway pavilion will undergo changes as they add more Frozen merchandise locations and a meet and greet as well.

Norway-Frozen

We did not have too much to say about it around Parkeology because frankly those actions speak for themselves. To be clear we think it is an idiotic idea that undermines everything World Showcase stands for, continues the “dumbing down” of all of Epcot and is yet another example of short-sided thinking on the part of Disney’s parks division… and we think it will be a massive success that will have them laughing all the way to a very large bank. You see while the competition has to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to painstakingly create incredible realms of immersive fantasy while overcoming crazy logistical obstacles, all Disney has to do is stick two college girls in some costumes in order to create 5 hours wait times.

anna-and-elsa-norway-epoct-meet-and-greet

I’ll wait four hours but that is it, not one second more! I mean come on… you have to draw the line somewhere.

Disney has an unfair advantage; they have source material, name recognition, generations of trust and industry leadership that any other company on earth would kill for. But that advantage is too easy to rest on… it is tempting to look at the bottom line numbers and see that despite Universal’s Potter additions Disney is enjoying record attendance and easily coasting past everything thrown at it… in fact when you factor in actual revenue spent (meaning not just bodies in the park but how they choose to spend their cash) Disney is so far ahead of anyone else that it is almost a bit sad. It would be like Apple worrying that the latest Casio calculator watch may steal some of the Apple Watch thunder. But guess what? When you rest on your laurels and get lazy that is when Casio comes up and surprises you… and then it may be too late.

casio-calculator-watch-2

Not new and not from Apple

A Frozen attraction is a great idea. The movie is more than just a huge hit, it is more than just the biggest animated movie of all time (think about that a minute) and one of the biggest movies overall ever. It is a legitimate cultural phenomenon that will go on for generations to come and is a touchstone of young girls across the world. It has the potential to be THE movie for a generation of kids (mostly girls), it may very well be their Star Wars… the movie that they recall seeing as a child that transformed how they saw movies from that point forward. No doubt about it, Frozen deserves it’s own attraction, what it does not deserve is being shoe horned into a fairly small existing space in which it makes no sense to be and has all the ear marks of a rush job retrofit.

Lets get this out of the way… Frozen is not set in Norway. They can say all they want about the fictional local of Arendelle being “inspired” by Norway but the fact is that it is not Norway (and Shane and I know all about Norway!) So now sitting among the really for real locations all around World Showcase we have a purely fictional cartoon location. How is this different than our little April Fools joke a few years back when we broke the news that the many worlds of Star Wars were being placed around World Showcase? It is exactly the same and exactly as stupid (it sucks when your crazy jokes become reality). I guess it is not too much different than Donald Duck and company invading Mexico (another move I hate) but at least Mexico continues to be a real country that exists on this planet… unlike Arendelle.

landscapes_norway_europe_church_1920x1080_23891

Here is a quaint church in really for real Norway. An actual place on this planet.

Does anyone think that the ride will be reworked in any real way? My guess is that the ride system remains the same; they paint the boats “ice blue” add a bunch of mostly static figures and replace the troll with Olaf. Oh and lots and lots of “Let it Go”. Your head will be ready to bust open it will be so full of “Let it Go” by the time you get out of there. You will leave through the new Frozen gift shop taking place of the current and much loved Exit Theater. Then you will have the chance to queue up for 3 hours to meet “Elsa and Anna” and if you are lucky maybe they will have a boutique to get your little girl made up to look like the queen as well. Screw Norway and its centuries of proud history… this will be a Norway pavilion in name alone; and it will crush all attendance records. The pavilion will instantly become the most popular in the park and Disney will tout how they are giving fans what they want because they are so in tune with the pulse of the fan nation… sigh.

24332011

Here is a quaint(ish) church at the Norway pavilion in Epcot. A really for real representation of an actual place on this planet.

I can’t blame Disney on some level; Norway has been in need of refurbishment for many years and the actual country of Norway or its industrial leaders seem unwilling to pay. Here is an opportunity to spend very little and create a massive hit… one that surely will score very highly on every exit survey they take (lets face it, getting a 9 year old girl excited about Frozen is not all that difficult, and if the little princess is happy so too are the parents of said princess).

Vikings are fierce and all but they are about to get their asses handed to them by an army or pre-pubescent girls and there is not one damn thing anyone can do to stop it.

dollman.img_assist_custom

Here is a man wearing a suit made of dolls. It has exactly as much to do with the really for real Norway as Arendelle or Frozen do.

Just as the Disney fans were calming down after the Frozen freak out Disney came along last week and announced that the Backlot Tour at Disney Hollywood Studios was also closing… effective pretty much immediately and with no replacement yet announced. Unlike the Norway situation most fans (including us for the most part) welcome shutting down the Backlot Tour. Yes, this was an original attraction dating back to 1989 but really it’s just a shadow of its former self. When it was new the tour was great fun. It featured not only the water tank and tram tour (then a bit longer than the most recent version and with the promise of more to come… that of course never did) but also special effects demonstrations and extensive walking tours through sound stages and post-production facilities. A bevy of late 80’s celebrities guided us via video screens and the whole affair took several hours to complete. But over the years it was scaled back and simplified, parts were removed, the walking tour was deleted and in general it became just an excuse to bus people out to see Catastrophe Canyon (itself a blatant rip off of the superior Universal Earthquake attraction). The tour takes up a huge expanse of space and the possibilities of what may go there have fans very excited indeed.

DatelineDisneyWorld3272013-P3270033

Screw you tram tour… apprantly no one cares.

So here we are, at a crossroads. Is Disney going to blow us away by doing something truly amazing with this land? Are they going to play it safe and do something pretty good or are they going to pull a Frozen on us and stick some cheapie nothing back there so that (on paper) they can point to the expanded attraction count and market the hell out of in essence nothing?

Lets look at the possibilities:

Dream scenario:

I think there is very little chance of this coming to fruition… but it’s not impossible and it is fun to imagine what could be.

If you look at an areal view of the park you can see that about 30% – 40% of the park holds more or less nothing. Starting just past Star Tours you have Muppetvision 3-D, some shopping and dining locations, then the car stunt show “Lights, Motors. Action!” and then a bunch of now closed space that the Backlot Tour took up. Imagine if the closures were not done? Imagine if Disney announced that both Muppets and the car show were also going away. This would free up a huge expanse of space that would be absolutely perfect for the Star Wars land that we all know and hope is coming. It would give them the space to do something amazing. It would be an opportunity to show what they are capable of and with any luck they would nail it. Sure losing Muppets would be sad but it’s old and in need of a refresh… maybe they could even movie it over to the Animation Building and re-theme that area a bit?

Star-Wars-Land-Possibility

Yes it’s a crazy dream that never is going to happen… but come on, THIS would shut up critics once and for all.

Star Tours would stay exactly where it is likely with a re-worked exterior (sorry At-At), it would serve as the entrance point to a massive world that could span multiple Star Wars locations and truly be a park within a park; beyond anything they have ever done before. Streets of America, Honey I shrunk the Kids playground, Catastrophe Canyon…. it all gets bulldozed. There is so much land there that they could fit half a dozen major rides. There is room for restaurants, shops, attractions, meet and greets and more… all perfectly situated off on it’s own and with endless possibilities… eat me Potter!

More likely scenario:

Alas the dream scenario also would cost a billion or so… well worth it in my mind but since when has Disney been into spending that kind of money at Walt Disney World? Sure, new Fantasyland is nice and all but at the end of the day it is one dark ride a kiddy coaster and some meet and greets… it is not the scale of what Star Wars begs to be. So what else might be going into that now suddenly available space?

Lighting & Mater

They could do worse.

Probably an expansion of Pixar Place… this may not be all bad. For a couple of years there have been rumors of a version of Carsland coming to Florida and clearly there is space to do that now. Muppets would stay, car show would stay (and I guess possibly, just maybe, could even be re-designed into a “Cars” theme. The park would get the major ride from the Carsland expansion at DCA (Radiator Racers) and it would be a big hit. I’d much prefer keeping that unique to California but it certainly would do well in Florida and we know how Disney likes amortizing it’s development costs over multiple parks… and here they certainly could do just that. We also know how they like jamming the animated films everywhere they possibly can (cough… Frozen… cough) and there you go. A nice major addition that few could complain about even if it is not the absolute greatest thing they could do.

Another option would be a similar major expansion with Pixar but with an all-new ride, perhaps the Monsters Inc. coaster we have heard a lot about over the past few years. Either way the location of the Backlot Tour lines up perfectly with Pixar Place and would make for an easy expansion while losing very little and gaining a lot. Of course this makes less room for the eventual Star Wars addition (unless they are thinking much larger… like expanding outside of the current park boundaries or- gasp – it’s own park altogether).

Most likely scenario (and please let this not happen… PLEASE):

Years ago I would have bet Disney would aim high and go for one of the previous options… but Disney of today especially in Florida seem to have very different priorities… and spending a lot of money is certainly NOT one of them. So this leads to what is actually the most likely scenario and the absolute worst one I can think of: Adding a cheapo Pixar expansion; a clone of those in Paris and Hong Kong. Listen, I have been to both of those parks and I can tell you unequivocally that the Pixar Place kiddy areas are amongst the worst things Disney has ever done. They are going back to the original execution of Disney’s California Adventure by taking off-the-shelf amusement park rides, painting them Disney colors and slapping a cute name on them. They have no business being in Disney parks and exist solely to add capacity and to give the marketing guys some quick ammunition. It is easy to pass them off as something new and special but they are not special… they are as far from special as you can get. But I know that the similar Bugsland stuff in DCA does reasonably well for them and the Pixar stuff in both Hong Kong and Paris have served an effective purpose. By far the easiest, cheapest and worst option would be duplicating it at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

GarbagePile

Here we see the Pixar Place expansion Disney added in Paris and Hong Kong… oh wait, this is a pile of garbage. Our mistake.

This puts us in a bad position. It would be very hard to maintain any amount of enthusiasm for the park if this is what they decide to do. Perhaps this in addition to one of the other expansions would be OK but this alone amounts to more or less a slap in the face. It would be clearly announcing that they no longer care about the fans or even future fans… that they are going for the simplest and easiest way to market without any real desire to deliver unique or deep or creative experiences for guests. They might as well light a match to the park.

Who knows what will actually happen? I guess they will announce something soon and all we can hope is that they choose wisely. I think the D-23 Expo next summer will bring big Star Wars park news… whether the Backlot Tour closure is connected to that or not we will have to wait and see. Maybe they will announce a modest Pixar Place expansion now only to surprise us with a larger Star Wars expansion later?

What we know is that change is afoot and they have the opportunity to do something great here… or to do something that disappoints many for an easy short-term gain.

Is this going to be more of the same or mark the turning point when they get serious about the new properties they have and how to incorporate them into the parks?

Will they squander the one property they have that has the potential to redefine what a theme park experience can be or will they blow us all away and re-establish their position as the leaders and innovators of the industry?

Keep your fingers crossed… and May the Force be with them.

 

35 thoughts on “What may be?

  1. Thanks for your great post. I’m relatively new to your site and have really been enjoying your opinions. I guess I have a question. My understanding of what you wrote above is that SW was only in your dream scenario. I’m wondering why some form of SW additions isn’t in your most likely. I guess I thought was SW was coming in one shape or another, but your post leads me to believe that it is less likely than pixar stuff and cars stuff. With the popularity of SW Weekends and the movie coming out next year…I guess I thought it was a no brainer.

    • Don’t get me wrong Jen… Star Wars in some capacity in some way IS coming.
      I don’t think you have to sweat that. When, where and to what degree who knows but I would be stunned, shocked and out right angry if it never came at all.

      My post was directed specifically at the space formerly used by the Backlot Tour. I think it is most likely to be filled with something Pixar related. My dream scenario was for Star Wars to use that space and more because I think SW is so deep that they can exploit it in amazing ways.

      If I had to bet I would say SW comes to DHS to a smaller degree closer to the existing Star Tours and Pixar Place expands into the Backlot space… Possibly enlarging Toy Story Mania as well.

      I guess we will see but I am as sure as one could possibly be that Star Wars is coming in a much bigger way then we see today.

  2. You guys are awesome, the best Disney on the Internet, you can’t get rid of me!

    Your love for the parks is seen clearly, and your collected wisdom is astounding. Teach on Master,

    Padawan Ben

  3. Yes I agree on many fronts. Being critical doesn’t mean you dislike something….But being ONLY critical can lead some to believe such. I never thought of you as the “more negative” one until your comments you made after your Top Ten Controversies list followed by this post. Perhaps it was just the proximity of the two.

    That being said, your right, MANY websites just sing and sing the praises of Disney and none of those are my favorite Disney website, you guys are! Thanks for all you do!

    • I can tell you this in all honesty Ben:

      You would be very hard pressed to find a person with as much admiration for the Disney parks and with as much respect for what they can be than I have.

      I have been visiting them and specifically WDW for nearly 40 years and I have learned a tremendous amount about them and those who built them. Simply put I do love them.

      But I am not blind to their flaws and knowing what they are capable of makes those flaws worse to me. I actually get angry when I see them do silly things.

      If I did not care I would not be here or critical of them. I like Universal just fine but they don’t really mean anything to me so I rarely write about them good or bad.

      I do care about Disney and therefore you see that care come out often expressed as frustration and even anger because I don’t want ok or average or pretty good from them. I want to be blown away again. I know they can do it. Sadly at WDW I’m seeing a lot of just ok or worse.

      When they kick ass trust me I will be leading the cheers.

      Glad you enjoy our stuff and don’t let a few down posts throw you. We have some other stuff cooking as well!

  4. Also Ben regarding the Top Ten Controversies… by its very nature that is going to be a somewhat negative list because it is about mistakes that the company made and things that they had to redo and so on.

    When they close beloved attarctiosn for example that causes disappointment and there is no way to spin that as a positive or good thing.

    Perhaps I will do a Top Ten Disney Triumphs list in the future. Many of my fondest memories can be sourced to Disney and WDW in particular. You can find many of my posts here where I take a generally happy P.O.V. with the park… it’s just jamming a quickie Frozen ride in Norway does not elicit happy thoughts for me and so I use this forum to talk about it.

    Lastly I certainly have been wrong before about many different things they have done… I hope I am wrong about Frozen for that matter. I want DIsney to do great things and I want them to create things to the best of their ability… I think I am just starting to see behind the curtain a bit too much recently.

  5. Well Ben it’s interesting to hear an opposing point of view and suffice it to say that you are correct I do not think all of those other examples you mentioned are good things either.

    To me Epcot was never designed to be a cartoon filled park… in fact that is really the direct opposite of its intentions. And while it is true that things grow and mature and change, and I am OK with that, I hate to see them change in ways that I feel are inferior, cheap, marketing driven or otherwise just plain bad.

    You would not be the first to interpret my posts as “negative” or accuse me of not liking WDW. The truth is that I honestly do love it but I also have enough history with it to recall a better time. A time when decisions were made to give the park guests a better experience, not simply to wring some extra cash from them. I enjoy Disneyland more than WDW at thing point because there tends to be less of that and more of an old school feel. I adore the Tokyo parks because there is virtually NONE of that feeling of things being done cheaply just to get soem quick cash… it feels like WDW did 30 years ago.

    Being critical of something does not mean that you do not like it, it often in fact means that you like it enough to want it to be its best and when it falls short you point those shortcomings out in hopes that they improve.

    I generally like a lot more about WDW than I dislike… but there are a LOT of websites where people just fawn over Disney and we don’t need more of that… and Shane certainly has a generally rosier disposition than I do regarding WDW so he can cover that. I just tend to point out things as I see them and I would love nothing more than for Disney to surprise me… give us an incredible Star Wars land or whatever and I will be the first in line touting how cool it is. But give us a clone of the Paris Pixa Place and I will be the first to say it sucks because… well it does.

    • Ted and I complain to each other about a lot of the same things and with the same passion. I actually live near WDW though so I have more opportunities to do little posts on specific details, whereas Ted sometimes tackles more wide-based topics, that are more open to some negative opinions.

      Ted and I first met on AOL message boards, which were essentially precursors to the massive fan forums on micechat and wdwmagic, etc. I read forums occasionally today, but almost never post anything, mainly because it is impossible for anyone to have a discussion. It’s just an endurance test, whether you’re the detractor or the defender. I have grown (marginally) more philosophical over the years when it comes to changes at WDW. While some decisions still anger me (I am forever offended by Paradise Pier, Dinorama and the Hat), I’ve lost my drive for trying to convince people why something is bad. Either they get it or they don’t.

  6. And also, I should have mentioned before, great job on the Backlot Tour possibilities. I for one am hoping for the best option they have the lets up keep the Muppets.

  7. Fjords, Rosemaling, Hans, Kristoff, Anna, Elsa, Sven, Ice Harvesting, Trolls…..It is an absolute lie to say Frozen has NOTHING to do with Norway.

    Currently at Epcot, Belle meets in France, Alice in England, Snow in Germany, Aladdin in Morroco (not Agrabah), and so forth, and this makes sense based on fairy tales they were inspired by, the look of their movies, etc. ( I am assuming this point doesn’t matter to you as you have mentioned before how meeting characters is not a “plus” for you )

    In my opinion, while the plot of Frozen doesn’t have much to do with Norway, the movie itself was much more inspired/has a Norweigian “feel” to it than any of the others I previously mentioned, and thus I think a ride in Norway makes sense.

    Now where I agree with you is that I dislike that a ride that was about the really for real Norway is being replaced by this. I bet if Disney announced a ride built in Norway based on Frozen that DIDN’T replace Maelstrom there would be a LOT less controversy over this. Now was that ever going to happen? Probably not.

    Also, this, coupled with your Top 10 Controversy post (and comments on), has me putting Ted in the “Resident Parkeology Negative Downer” role. I know that’s not fair, I know you think Disneyland is better based on previous posts, and that you have said you still LOVE the parks, but I would be interested to hear what in WDW you like/love/enjoy?

    Is it just stuff that used to be there like 20K, Toad, etc.?

    • My 2 cents on Frozen… As a fan, I am against the following:

      1) Frozen anything – I find the movie to be very blah
      2) Norway placement – There are better spots for it (Fantasyland? Hollywood Studios?), since it was only “inspired” by Norway
      3) Replacing Maelstrom – I love old Epcot and don’t like to lose another classic 80s ride

      If I were Bob Iger, I would have the following responses to my complaints:

      1) A giant laugh right in my face and threaten to not even continue the discussion. Frozen is massively popular. He’d be an idiot not to put in a Frozen ride.
      2) Might consider this a valid complaint, but pragmatically would point out that Magic Kingdom just got a big expansion, Animal Kingdom is in progress with a big expansion, Hollywood Studios is clearing room for a big expansion. Spreading out capital projects to the different parks is perfectly valid, and if you’re going to put Frozen in Epcot at all, Norway makes the most sense.
      3) Probably another laugh in my face. I’m sure they have mountains of survey data that shows that vast majority of their audience doesn’t have any great love for Maelstrom, and maybe even find it dull, silly, or worse.

      Bob would have a point, I guess. But I still think I’m holding a trump card:

      Given the massive popularity of Frozen, it’s almost inevitable that Frozen-Strom will become the must-see ride of the park, dethroning Soarin’. This will now be the FastPass everybody covets, the place where they’ll head first at rope drop, the ride that will have an hour long wait within minutes of opening, and stay that way all day long.

      Do they really want to put that kind of burden on low-capacity Maelstrom?

      If I were the CEO, I wouldn’t want to force people to stand in 2-3 hour lines (or not see it at all), for what is going to be one of the top must-see attractions in all of WDW. It’s bad business to say “we know you want this, but you’re going to suffer for it.”

      • Not to mention Shane that Frozen has the potential to be a Potter killer- but not in the form. For all the reasons you mention it has a greater potential to disappoint rather than delight.

        Now build a giant Frozen world. Use the trackless ride technology to send guests careening through “frozen fractals all around”. Have them eating at the coronation ball. Have some cool living character deal to meet Olaf. Freaking make it snow everyday in Orlando! The possibilities to make Frozen HUGE are endless and powerful. Instead they are jamming it in a small section where it has limited potential and no business being. Even if they gut the whole deal and expand it (very doubtful) they cannot do it justice.

        See this is exactly what I mean. They do enough to make it marketable; they will do massive media blitzes when this thing opens and grandparents everywhere will scurry to take the grandkids. But is it really the best they could do?

        Is it even 10% of the best they could do?

        To be fair we have no idea yet… Let’s talk in a year.

  8. yup, it’s a shame that Maelstrom at the Norway Pavilion is going away, it was a neat ride

    but whatever they do at DHS I really hope they don’t get rid of Muppet 3D and it’s surrounding area, for me personally the late 80’s vibe of that part of the park is nostalgic for me, taking that away would cause DHS to lose a lot of it’s “flavor” for me

    I’m confident though that Disney wont just repeat the stuff found at Hong Kong Disneyland, that kind of stuff might fool the Chinese who probably don’t have much experience with Disney theme parks and don’t know any better, but I don’t think they would try to pull that kind of stuff in America where people know better, at least that’s what I like to think

    • I don’t think Muppets is really in any fear of going and in fact I love it as well.

      But this is where we may disagree: your point about “fooling” those with less experience of parks is exactly how Disney views WDW.

      They would not try it is Disneyland where the average guest is s multi generational Disney fan bordering expert. When they did try it they got burned big time with DCA.

      But WDW had the vast majority of guests coming from out of state. Many for the first time it once every decade. Expectations are very different and they are frankly easy to please and or fool.

      Many honestly do expect to see a Frozen ride and to meet the girls. Us fans are drops in the WDW ocean if tourists.

      So doing a quick, cheap, capacity increasing easy to market addition may be exactly what they plan.

      Let’s hope not because I’d love to get excited for WDW again.

      • If anything, Muppets needs to be refurbished. Two years in a row something wasn’t working at the show. First it was the penguins and Swedish Chief one year, then it was Chief then it was this year.

  9. I agree that Frozen is an undeniable cultural phenomenon, but I’m just interested to see where it stands in 10-15 years, or even in less time than that. I was in the exact target demographic for “Titanic” when it came out…my girlfriends and I saw it in theaters multiple times, belted out “My Heart Will Go On” (just as unavoidable in 1998 as “Let It Go” has been in 2014) at summer camp talent shows, etc…and now everyone I know is pretty “meh,” at best, about that movie. No one I know in my age bracket looks back on it with the same fond nostalgia that they feel for, say, “The Lion King” or “Aladdin.” I do, however, have those fond nostalgic feelings for Maelstrom/the Norway pavilion, which, yes, absolutely needed a face lift, but this “Frozen” injection is really gross. Especially since, as you noted, it will likely be done on the super cheap. I’m waffling between whether Olaf or the snow monster will replace the troll; I think that whichever one of them doesn’t will then replace the polar bear.
    (PS I love this blog, every post makes me awkwardly laugh out loud at work — thanks and keep it up!)

    • Awkward laughter is a great compliment and in fact our goal.

      I hear you about Titanic and I think that is what concerns people about Avatar as well. Frozen will likely have a long life as animated films tend to do but regardless Norway is just not the right home for it for many reasons.

  10. And the speculation continues…
    Work and construction permits were filed today for the renovation of soundstage 1. This is where wandering oaken’s was, but despite the adoration of frozen the world over, I can’t see them adding two mid-to-large frozen attractions at two different parks at the same time. It’s right by TSM, soooo… Pixar expansion?

    • There was a rumor that they are actually expanding TSM…. not adding anything to the experience but adding an additional track so that the capicity would be greatly increased. I guess there is some logic to that.

  11. I was quite heartbroken to hear of the Norway fiasco. It’s one of my favorite pavillions even with the ride being in such terrible shape. It’s unique, interesting, and extremely well themed. The World Showcase is one of my favorite places.. my family treats it as a park of it’s own. We spend a large chunk of our time there on our last (21 day!) visit. We take a full day to wander from one country to the next, and come back numerous times to take advantage of the wonderful restaurants. It’s not the place I go to see princesses. Sure it’s fun to find a character here or there or some merchandise (Alice in the UK, Marie in France) but the focus is on the countries. In my mind they just erased Norway. Want to do something new with the World Showcase? Give us some more countries, or add some live entertainment or something. Even better a good transportation option so we don’t have to walk through Epcot to get to it. A monorail station would be ideal but I’d be happy with a tram. Want to do something with Frozen.. great, put it in the Magic Kingdom where it belongs.

    • Simply put the intent of World Showcase and what makes it unique is that it has tried to accurately and fairly portray the various countires represented. Frozen just has nothing to do with Norway or it’s place among nations. It just makes no sense logically. Financially it makes sense in as far as they have a problem with the Norway pavilion and here is a way to fix that and add what surely will be a huge hit… all cheaply. It’s two birds for one inexpensive stone… good for families with little girls and a lot of time to spend waiting in line… again bad for the fans.

  12. Walt Disney World, where all your dreams that deliver sufficient shareholder ROI come true.

    For all his faults, at least Michael Eisner wasn’t satisfied with focusing all the attractions only on little kids. It seems that current park management is happy with families taking out a second mortgage and coming down once or twice to dump a ton of cash on princess stuff.

    • I think it is very true that how they treat Disneyland and how they treat WDW are very different.

      Disneyland has savy locals who more or less demand better.
      WDW caters to out of towners, the vast majority who don’t quite care about the details and are there for their kids. As long as the overall experience is pretty good… that it offers something more than the local Six Flags and that maybe they can get a decent dinner then they are happy.

      It sucks for the fans.

  13. You are echoing many of our opinions over at the wdwmagic forum boards about Frozen and there are people there that completely disagree and think WS should be changed to toon world.

    My thought on Frozen is this: I’m all for Frozen but build new and elsewhere. I think the former Animation building at MGM is the perfect place to add a new Frozen ride. MGM already had the Frozen presence established with the Frozen Summer, they need more rides and the Animation building is basically just a meet and greet building now. Use that area to build a new ride, a ride worthy of the highest grossing animated film of all time (not counting inflation) and give MGM the shot in the arm it needs. That will even out the park once Star Wars expands as well.

    As for Backlot Tour I’m bummed to say that it needs to go because it use to be so cool. It is just wasting space now. I’d really like to see something besides Carsland. I like it at DL well enough and the ride itself is really great but overall I didn’t think it was mind blowing. Especially not enough to duplicate it.

    If they didn’t build the Monsters Inc ride I would love to see DLP’s Crush’s Coaster duplicated next to Toy Story. I thought that was a fantastic ride and I’d like to see it state side. I think your dream scenario is, dare I say, too much Star Wars. It would essentially take over MGM and I don’t think that is a good thing. If they want to do that much Star Wars I’d rather they do a whole park to itself. The identity of the park would be really weird if SW had over half the park but still had the existing rides around. No more than 40% of any park should be one thing, just my opinion of course.

    • Yea Ryan I pretty much agree.

      I don’t really think half the park should be Star Wars but I’d be ok with 25% to 30%.

      SW is a massive thing. It is probably the biggest IP that Disney owns in terms of movies. It also lends itself to park experiences well.

      But the real point is that they need to do something great. If it’s Pixar or Cars or whatever it has to be GREAT. If it’s the over seas Pixar kiddy stuff we are screwed.

      Lastly we do disagree about the Crush coaster. Grime the warehouse its housed in to the sparse themeing I am not a huge fan.

      • That’s interesting about Crush’s Coaster. Did you not like the ride itself or just the non detailed exterior?

        • Well first of all I tend to look at attractions as complete packages so the exterior and the queue are all part of it.

          For example I think Soarin is a good ride but not a great ride specifically because they made no effort to hide the screen or better theme the theater. You just walk into a big industrial looking space, strap yourself into some odd seat and go. There was a time when Disney would have themed every aspect of it.

          So for Crush you have a horrible exposed warehouse holding it. That’s points off right there. It is surrounded by the worst park Disney has ever built (by a mile) so more points off.

          The actual ride is an off the shelf spinner coaster which I dislike both the fact that it is generic and that actual type of ride (my personal bias).

          So what I’m left with is some music and very simple set pieces / video effects. That does not cut it in this level.

          Is it better than the Pixar kiddy stuff? Yes, in the same way getting punched in the chest is better than getting punched in the face.

          • Agreed on the exterior but I find a little fault in your queue views. By your thinking that it is a basic no frills queue wouldn’t almost every ride at DL be faulted and knocked down a notch because their queue are nothing but switchbacks with posts and chains?

            I completely agree that the park around that ride is the worst Disney park I have been to and is not worth going back to, by itself.

            How is the ride generic? I have been to several Six Flag parks around the country, Busch Gardens, Uni, and of course the stateside Diz parks and haven’t ridden a coaster where the ride vehicle spins and moves forward so my thoughts are based on it being a completely unique ride. Maybe not the coaster aspect but the spinning while moving aspect for sure.

            Luckily or unluckily we were at DLP while the Toy Story expansion was being built so I don’t know the results of that build out but it does LOOK cheap and something I don’t want at WDW so anything would be better than that.

          • Yes, I would give all the standard switch back queues negative points. A bad queue in and of itself does not destroy a ride. There are many rides with bad queues that I like but they would be better with good queues.

            Looks at Indy in DL (or TDS for that matter) GREAT queues that enhance the rides greatly by setting a mood. Sure they would still be good rides without them but not the same. BTW: The same can be said for the Potter stuff.

            Actually the Crush queue is not bad, the coaster however is not unique. I understand that it was novel to you but they in fact exist in other parks.

            Sure they added a Crush theme and stuck it in the dark. It’s not bad, I don’t hate it. It’s much better than the Toy Story carnival rides… But it’s not exactly the best they can do. I have yet to ride the Snow White kiddy coaster but even that seems superior to me.

            Remember I’m a big themed environment guy. I much prefer themed details to thrills.

  14. I’m also really skeptical about what they’ll do with the Backlot tour in DHS. That park is in bad shape. I’m not upset they closed the tour, but it seems most likely they’ll add the mini-Pixar Place and talk about how there’s so much for kids to do in the park. That would be disappointing. What might happen is a hybrid between having something new like a Monsters, Inc. ride and the crappy Pixar ones.

    What kills me is that there are actually good things at the overseas parks for them to copy. Mystic Manor? Virtually anything in Tokyo? Instead, they’ll take the cheapest option and then have to fix it in 10 years. I really hope that I’m wrong, but the Frozen choice is giving me little faith. Is Iger’s contract up yet?

    • Theh problem Dan is that they are making record amounts of money. Why would they change when from their perspective what they are doing works exceedingly well.

      Forget Mystic Manor… I don’t think we will see attractions not tied to movie properties for a long long time. Frozen, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar etc. That is not in and of itself a bad thing but poorly executed attractions is certainly bad.

      Those overseas Pixar kiddy areas are really, really bad. I mean the set decoration is good enough to fool the average guest who does not really care… the rides are a joke. If that is what goes in and I fear it will be, then it truly says to me that they no longer care. What they care about is coasting… not creating great attractions.

      I really think it is easiest to think of it like this:
      There was a time when Disney led with quality… they made quality items and allowed the market to find them. That is just no longer the case, they now follow the market and do the least possible to sneak by… and that sucks.

      I hope I am way wrong though…. here is a chance to blow us away… here is a chance to say “Shove it Teevtee” and build an incredible expansion that makes us all giddy. I’ve never wanted to be wrong more.

      • At DHS, I don’t see an issue with using IP if it’s well-done. I hate to just do the obvious thing and cite Universal, but they’ve done some very impressive things using IP on their attractions lately. It sounds like we’re on the same page with the concerns about Disney going cheap, though.

        Disney is making large amounts of money, but I feel like they still would do even bigger numbers at the non-MK parks if they made better attractions. We’ve seen it with the rise in attendance at DCA after Cars Land. I know California is different with all the locals, but it could make a difference. Of course, the current management isn’t looking at it that way from what I can tell.

        • Yea I think we agree Dan.

          DHS is the one park basing rides on existing IP is possibly better than original ideas. But what it comes down to is execution.

          This harkens back to Shane’s recent post about Avatarland. If it is EXECUTED well it will be great. If an original idea is EXECUTED poorly it will suck. I don’t care as much what they choose IP wise as long as it is done exceedingly well. Pixar Place in Hong Kong and Paris are junk. It is filler to add ride count and aid in marketing. WDW tends to lean on marketing because they are drawing from a global market. The locals in CA are mostly too savvy for it which is part of the reason the original DCA tanked. But in Florida it is easier to trick people into visiting. Those once every decade tourists who don’t see a difference between say the Tokyo and the Florida versions of Pooh.

          But there is another thing going on. Let’s say they build a poor ride based on an original idea. It will fail (as it should). Rocket Rods is a good example.

          But now let’s say they build a poor ride based on a popular franchise. Say something like The Stitch Encounter. Even with its many shortcomings it still performs reasonably well.

          A good original ride will be popular but a good ride and a popular existing theme will be gangbusters.

          They realize this and they know that by doing very little (likely what Frozen will be) they can gain a lot.

          It makes business sense but that’s it.

  15. I agree with you completely! I also think it is the older parents & grandparents with butt loads of $$$. All they want to do is please their little ‘princes & princesses’. It seems as though Disney has lost sight of Walt’s idea of having a place where all generations can go and interact and enjoy themselves. Walt didn’t like to sit on a bench and watch his kids have fun & neither do I and I think many others. Also, why are these people so against learning something? Oh, right! It’s boring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Website