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OK, so what's wrong with MK?

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  • [Question] OK, so what's wrong with MK?

    Yesterday, I posted something on a thread about how I had no real frame of reference to how MK was in the past (my first time there being in 2006 at the ripe old age of 34).

    I've been reading on here how MK has "deteriorated", or is "fading", or how a lot has been taken away, but I don't see any specifics in that.

    What is it that's wrong with MK now, and what could be done to get it back to the "Magic" part of "Magic Kingdom"?

  • #2
    Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

    The subs are gone, replaced by a lowly playground.

    Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was replaced by Winnie the Pooh, despite that park having less "kiddie" rides than Disneyland, and seemingly plenty of land that would allow new attractions without shuttering beloved old ones.

    Not sure what Phillharmagic replaced.

    I don't find it has deteriorated so much as it hasn't grown. I was there in 1993, and then again in 2006 & 2008. There's not a whole lot that is new or exciting. Phillharmagic is great, Buzz is fine, Monsters Inc. is okay.

    Compare that to Disneyland which has added Indiana Jones and a spruced up Space Mountain. WDW hasn't added anything close to an E ticket in, well, as long as I can imagine.

    WDW does tend to get criticized due to the inevitable comparisons to Disneyland. It just can't compare in terms of number of attractions.

    It just seems that the Magic Kingdom has not gotten the attention that the other WDW resort parks have.

    Don't get me wrong, it's still a great park, it just feels like it has so much more potential that isn't being met.
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    • #3
      Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

      ^You pretty much hit the nail on the head^

      MK is my favorite park at WDW, and though I've only been going there for a year, I know what has been replaced and what sits unused. They replaced the Subs with a The Fantasyland Skyway station sits unused. It wouldn't be so bad if it was as small and easily missed as DLs, but it's a big and in your face waste of space. They could probably fit a small attraction there, or maybe a restaurant. Autopia in DL isn't really futuristic, but has the same indefinable quality that lets the Matterhorn, the Subs, and the Monorail bridge the gap between Fantasy and the Future. The Tomorrowland Speedway in WDW however, has this rather ugly Nascar feel...ewww. My last issue is in TL as well. It's the old TL stage thing. As far as I can tell, it serves little to no purpose currently, and because of it's hight, lets in a nice view of the outside world.

      ..Oh yea.. As you walk down the main walkway into TL, the attractions on either side are very underwhelming. Stitch...meh.... darkness with speakers yay... Monsters Inc is OK, but not great.

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      • #4
        Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

        Most of the issues are neglect. It doesn't get the updates that most of the other parks receive, the cleanliness has also gone down hill. Back in the 80's you could drop a wrapper on the floor and by the time it hits the ground, cleaning crew would have picked it up, and you didn't even see them! MK has a lot of room, but where is the development and expansion? Instead, they take down rides, like Mr Toads and the subs and replace them with subpar rides or playgrounds. They replaced Alien encounter with Stitch's great escape. They took a more grown up ride and babyfied it. No reason for it at all. A lot of the rides are really dated. These are the things that have Disney fans upset.

        There are many great things to do at WDW. I love it. I love Magic Kingdom and travel there at least 1 a year. But it used to get a lot of attention, maintenance wise, which it is not getting anymore. Philharmagic is terrific. I am excited about the fantasy land upgrades. I am excited about the upgrade to Space Mountain. I hope this means more to come.
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        • #5
          Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

          What I think is wrong with it is the fact that it seems to have lost some of that lack of corporate feel to the whole thing, it used to be where you didn't see any DVC or otherwise ads if so it was one person handing out brochures (sp?) now there's an actual stand there where there used to be nada...

          The Ripping out of timeless classics like Mr.Toad and the Subs? That wouldn't have been a problem if there was something really worthwhile to replace it. Ok Winnie the Pooh's ride is basically Mr. Toad with different cars and scenery, but as the above two posters have said there's no meaningful replacement to them..though I don't agree with the NASCAR (eeww statement) actually I believe it's more supposed to resemble a LeMans type race...

          In the MK there is so much more that can be done but just isn't, including the upkeep of attractions and the park, not sure if the CMs just don't really care anymore or if it's management trimming too much fat, but alas if they refurb everything like HM and PoC was refurbed and clean up the park a bit I see much much hope in the if we could only get another E-Ticket or get Stich out of Tommorowland we'd be doing really good...and yes I'm quite excited for the Fantasyland expansion it looks very promising
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          • #6
            Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

            ^There are entire websites dedicated to this subject.

            Check out this excellent site for starters:

            Widen Your World - WDW Map

            There are a number of major, long-term "lowering of baseline" issues - mostly done in an effort to milk more money out of the cash cow:

            1. Loss of retail diversity: Whereas once there were scores of unique, land-specific shops throughout the park - many of them showcasing rare crafts (like woodcarving, silversmithing, etc.) - the trend over the last 10-15 years has been to agglomerate these great little shops into large "Disney Store" monocultures that hawk the same stuff you can buy in any mall (Hannah Montana dvds in Adventureland, HSM cds in Tomorrowland).

            2. Sacrifice of some thematic coherence: Putting Monsters Inc in tomorrowland. Selling HSM in a PotC shop.

            3. Loss of "Inbetweens": These are the small, unadvertised details with the sole purpose of surprise and delight - what separated Disney from its competitors: Examples needlessly removed from MK include the AA animal heads in Mile Long Bar that would come to life at random and sing songs (see youtube), the hidden courtyard in Caribbean Plaza with a small fountain, the antique games of the Penny Arcade, the magicians performing tricks at the House of Magic, the stuntmen that would break into gunfights on the roofs of Frontierland.

            4. Ripping out of Mature Trees: Not too long ago, the Hub and Town Square were blessed with many large, beautiful shade trees that had been growing since opening day and added something of incalcuable value to the park. Check out this fantastic essay on why their loss is a tragedy:

            The posts above touched on some of the other issues, such as a decline in upkeep and replacing attractions (and restaurants) with attractions of a letter quality or nothing at all (e.g., Explorer Canoes, Pooh, Keelboats, Adventureland Verand).

            The good news is, if the expansion to FL is done right - adding water features, trees, detailed buildings and a great new attraction - it represents a major step in the right direction. Plus, MK recently added trees to the park (near Space Mountain) rather than removing them...


            • #7
              Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

              Originally posted by BC_DisneyGeek View Post
              Not sure what Phillharmagic replaced.

              It replaced a Lion King puppet show.

              You've all nailed it on the head with what's wrong with MK. There's plenty of space to expand, so why are they replacing attractions instead of adding to it? The expansion of Fantasyland will look beautiful, but will it really expand your day? Seems like little girls and grown men who have a thing for princesses will enjoy it most, but what about everyone else? MK needs to target "family of all ages" rather than "family with the youngest children".

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              • #8
                Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                While I can completely agree with most of what has been said about the general decline of the Disney Parks, I can understand why it's necessary. It's unfortunate that corporate cost cutting measures and pandering with what's new and exciting has stripped MK of many of the "pluses", much of the uniqueness, and the strict separation of themes that Walt was so adamant about.

                While (as you can tell by my username) I'm one who longs for the past in the Disney Parks, I'm relatively optimistic about most new developments in the parks. To shift to the positive, we'll soon be getting rid of what is the most useless land in MK, and arguably the whole of the Disney Theme Park empire. Not to mention, we're getting an expansion on what I believe to be the heart and soul of the Magic Kingdom (though I can whole-heartedly agree with the whole Family of all ages vs. Family with the youngest children angle point). A new, exciting dark ride is one of the many needs of the MK, and The Little Mermaid is criminally underrepresented in WDW given its significance. It just represents Disney going back to doing what they do best.

                I also really love the revamping of Dumbo. It's one of the absolutely iconic Disney rides, and an absolute horror for any parent whos child wants to go on it. Expanding and re-imagining it is one of the couple instances of modernizing a classic that I fully approve of.

                Now if we could just replace Stitch with something unique and cutting-edge that also fits with the theme, we'd really be getting somewhere. ;-)


                • #9
                  Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                  what im about to say isnt exactly my own personal opinion...but

                  why should Disney change anything?

                  i was talking to a friend about this earlier...about how space mtn at MK even tho it has been down for almost the whole year...disney didn't change much except a little paint here and there. But Disneyland closed theirs for almost 2 years and its a completely different ride.

                  Why is this? Space at Mk opened first, arent we over due for a make over?

                  Its simple...

                  "guests are going to come anyways"

                  I'm a DL kid...i grew up on the west coast...but DL needs its Annual Passholders...they are the blood of the DL economy . So they need to keep things changing...and also...not change.

                  AP make up less than 10% of WDW guests....Believe it or not most guests who come to WDW are first and last its all new to them.

                  They dont know the difference, and they dont care.

                  So why put extra money into the parks? Are you going to cancel your AP to WDW just because the TTA has an awful voice over now?

                  it sucks but its the truth...


                  • #10
                    Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                    Originally posted by Skipper-DJ View Post
                    Believe it or not most guests who come to WDW are first and last its all new to them.
                    Can you substantiate this?


                    • #11
                      Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                      Originally posted by Skipper-DJ View Post
                      why should Disney change anything?
                      . . .
                      "guests are going to come anyways"
                      Well, that may have been true before Disney started building and selling tons of Vacation Club memberships.

                      If you are selling someone on the notion that they'll get a lifetime of "Magical" visits to the Magic Kingdom, you sort of owe it to them that their next trip will be at least as nice as the last one. Yet, I'm finding less and less to be excited about WDW every time I visit.

                      I'm starting to feel sorry that I locked myself into the DVC. Although, I'll probably start using my points to go elsewhere.

                      Yet, you don't have to be a repeat visitor to see that WDW is a stale throwback to another era. They just haven't kept it up to date. And to those of us who remember all the little magical details, it is sort of tragic what has been allowed to happen to these parks.

                      While some of us have been complaining for quite some time, the preponderance of voices defended Disney's "Need" to make cuts. However, now that so much has been cut that it is obvious to even the untrained eye, the balance has shifted and more people are becoming uncomfortable with the state of affairs at WDW.

                      If you listen to conversations at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you will often hear regular guest complaining about not enough to do or how things look, or how they remembered something from years ago.

                      It's pretty obvious at this point that WDW is in terrible need of loving renewal - along the lines of what occurred at Disneyland just before the 50th anniversary.

                      Look at it this way, Magic Kingdom is no longer a young park. It has been around long enough that many families are making a repeat visit or taking their kids for the first time, just as they went when they were young. Both the MK and Epcot are starting to earn a sense of nostalgia which comes with age.

                      It is in Disney's best interests to preserve the WDW brand and repair its image before it is irreparably damaged.

                      There is a line that you cross where something just doesn't seem worth it any more. I think that the Magic Kingdom and much of the rest of WDW is inching closer and closer to that line.

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                      • #12
                        Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                        hmmm. what's wrong with the MK?

                        For someone like me who visits once a year... nothing.

                        Now had I lived closer and was an AP and visited quite often well then maybe I would have started noticing what I like to call the "little things" that many here love to focus hardcore on.

                        I just recently took some new family members back in October for a trip and none of them complained about the up keep or look or anything of MK. They had fun, we're already planning another trip for Christmas next year with a larger family gathering.

                        So again, there's nothing wrong with MK. There's only something wrong with it for those who want something wrong with it. I'd like to think if me, a Magic Kingdom boy at heart, starts moaning and complaining about the MK well then the problems will have effected everyone, even Micoofy Duck!
                        Last edited by Micoofy Duck; 11-13-2009, 03:48 PM.


                        • #13
                          Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                          This ^ perfectly illustrates the concept of 'shifting baselines' as it applies to WDW. The baseline being a reference point for measuring the health or quality of something that provides information against which to evaluate change. Shifting baselines are the chronic, slow, hard-to-notice changes in things taking place over time.

                          Originally posted by Micoofy Duck View Post
                          I just recently took some new family members back in October for a trip and none of them complained about the up keep or look or anything of MK. They had fun, we're already planning another trip for Christmas next year with a larger family gathering.
                          So for those in your party new to the park, October 2009 MK represents their baseline experience. They are fortunate. In a sense, it's the old "ignorance is bliss" theory: they are unaware of things that have changed for the worse in the past and will probably see their MK experience improve if they go back after the Fantasyland expansion opens.

                          Eventually my generation will be gone, and those in my kids' generation will only know Main Street as two large DisneyStores running the length of the street (with Victorian facades), rather than dozens of small, unique shops (with a Magic Shop, a Penny Arcade, a working Cinema, etc.). Theirs will be the new 'norm' and the baseline will have shifted.

                          So again, there's nothing wrong with MK. There's only something wrong with it for those who want something wrong with it.
                          I don't want to see anything wrong with MK, but my baseline experience (eg, impeccable upkeep, incredible retail diversity, many now-missing details, a hub filled with decades-old, grand shade trees) is such that if things are not up to my baseline standard, it's impossible for me to ignore them.

                          That's not to say there haven't been things at the MK that have changed for the better over the course of my experience there.

                          Here is one small example... this:

                          Recently became this:

                          The Haunted Mansion/Space Mountain refurbs also represent small, but significant improvements. Splash Mountain and Little Mermaid represent major improvements.

                          I'm hopeful the park will continue to improve, but I won't pretend everything is hunky dory when I know that things have been done better in the past.

                          Disney raised the bar in the first place... I want to see them back at that level.
                          Last edited by RandySavage; 11-13-2009, 04:21 PM.


                          • #14
                            Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                            Originally posted by Coheteboy View Post
                            Every land is slowly becoming Toon Town.
                            The reason MK is bulldozing ToonTown, so the "cancer" doesn't spread.
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                            • #15
                              Re: OK, so what's wrong with MK?

                              Ignoring the failure to update or maintain certain attractions (have you seen Act 4 of CoP?, The missing hats on the pirate at PotC?, The tin foil on the volcano in Peter Pan?):

                              - The afternoon parade has been run into the ground at this point with some floats begin recycled to no end or not even fixed. Entertainment in general is either lacking in areas (no Diamond Horseshoe Revue) or cringe worthy in others (Stitch's Supersonic Celebration).

                              - Enchanted Tiki Room UNM, MILF, SGE, Magic Carpets are hardly outstanding attractions despite begin more recent additions

                              - The park has terrible capacity for dining. There is a reason a 250 seat restaurant and other eateries are begin added to Fantasyland. With the DDP plan forcing guests to eat in the few locations that operate (Adventureland Veranda has been closed for years, the Diamond Horseshoe and other locations do not operate year round) there just isn't enough outlets to serve the increasing crowds. From an operational standpoint it's a major issue and clearly Disney is addressing that. Besides, from a business point it makes sense to max capacity as that ensures that revenue can be maximized.

                              - The infrastructure of the park, especially Toontown, is really showing it's age. There is a reason there are "tarps" everywhere and why the once planned as temporary kiddie area will be getting the axe.

                              - Shopping is a bland and generic as any WDW location

                              - After hours parties continue to cut offerings while increasing their prices

                              ^ thankfully many of these issues are begin addressed or will be in the next few years. However to suggest that there is nothing wrong with MK now would be ridiculous. There is a reason there is so much work begin done now and the "they'll like it anyway" excuse just shows some individual's ignorance regarding these problems. They exist for a reason and money is begin spent to address them for a reason. Besides keeping the park fresh and modernized for guest enjoyment they improve efficiency of park operations.

                              "There's nothing wrong with MK"? Please. Maybe some of you would like to see before and after pictures of the pressure washing begin done to Space Mountain?
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