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  • [Chat] The Problem with Epcot

    As the second most visited park in Walt Disney World and Orlando it is hard to say that Epcot has an attendance problem, but please hear me out.

    Here are some historical figures for Epcot's attendance:

    2010: 10,830,000
    2009: 10,990,000
    2008: 10,935,000
    2007: 10,900,000
    2006: 10,460,000
    2005: 9,900,000
    2004: 9,400,000
    2003: 8,600,000
    2002: 8,300,000
    2001: 9,000,000
    2000: 10,600,000
    1999: 10,100,000
    1998: 10,600,000
    1997: 11,800,00
    1996: 11,200,00

    These have been pulled from various online sources. (1996 is a far back as I could go)

    So when you look at Epcot there are 2 major attendance events effecting hits.

    1998 - Disney's Animal Kingdom opens
    2001 - 9/11

    No matter how you slice it Epcot is far from their attendance high of 11.9 million in 1997.

    Now here are the years major attractions opened

    2006: Seas with Nemo and Friends
    2005: Soarin'
    2003: Mission Space
    1999: Test Track

    Now when you open up a major attraction the intent is to create an attendance boost. So people who weren't planning on visiting, plan a trip specifically because that attraction opened.

    Between 2006 and 2007 Epcot saw a 4.2% attendance boost. Now if we look at Magic Kingdom it saw a 2.4% boost in attendance that year without a major attraction opening. So we can extrapolate that the attendance boost for Epcot was 1.8% or 196,200 people.

    In 2005 the whole resort was packaged for the 50th Anniversary so that year it is too hard to parse out what is what.

    2003 Disney opens an attraction that cost more than 100 million dollars to build. Mission Space.

    From 2003 to 2004 they saw a 9.3% attendance boost. However the Magic Kingdom saw an 11% attendance boost with no new major attractions. So there was no real draw due to the attraction opening.

    This gets me to the point of this rant. Has Epcot's place in popular culture passed? Can Disney add any attraction to Epcot that would bring people into the park just for that attraction? Or is Epcot just a park that happens to be there when you take your vacation to Walt Disney World?

    I am inclined to believe that Epcot has just become a park that is part of a park hopping package that has no unique draw that is it's own.

    Thoughts?
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  • #2
    Re: The Problem with Epcot

    Epcot was such an incredible park back when World of Motion, Horizons, Wonders of Life and the Original Journey Into Imagination were all around, and I was very lucky to go to the Epcot of old back when I was a kid. Now Epcot is a big joke, The Living Seas is now a pixar attraction when it's not supposed to be, Ellen's energy adventure is way outdated now, Mission: SPACE can't hold a candle to Horizons, and the current version of Imagination is one of the worst eyesores to ever dawn a Disney park. I want the old Epcot back, the way it's supposed to be, fun, educational, innovative, and all the old Future World attractions as well.

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    • #3
      Re: The Problem with Epcot

      Wow, good points, nice research. Honestly (just my opinion), with the vast majority of visitors to WDW being from places far from Orlando, I think WDW needs to be looked at differently in regards to "Per Park" attendance. Visitors to WDW are mostly families. I would guess that almost all the families that came to WDW and went to Epcot.....also went to the MK. It's too far away for most visitors not to do more than one park. I think almost all of the families who come to WDW visit MK, so I would be curious to see how much of an increase in attendance Epcot had in comparison to DHS and AK. anyway, just thinking and rambling at this point......sooooo.....

      I think on a personal level, EPCOT still has a lot to offer, but it has to be done right. And advertised correctly, not just character overlays or refurbs, but something truly new and spectacular. unfortunately the parks RARELY get advertised as individuals theese days. most people have NO IDEA what new attractions are available in WDW. Everyone knows about Wizarding World because the boy wizard appears as the main point of every add for Islands of Adventure (actually for ALL universal adds come to think of it). On the other hand people know all about "let the memories begin" and whatnot.

      ---------- Post added 01-26-2012 at 02:44 PM ----------

      Originally posted by edward1978 View Post
      Epcot was such an incredible park back when World of Motion, Horizons, Wonders of Life and the Original Journey Into Imagination were all around, and I was very lucky to go to the Epcot of old back when I was a kid. Now Epcot is a big joke, The Living Seas is now a pixar attraction when it's not supposed to be, Ellen's energy adventure is way outdated now, Mission: SPACE can't hold a candle to Horizons, and the current version of Imagination is one of the worst eyesores to ever dawn a Disney park. I want the old Epcot back, the way it's supposed to be, fun, educational, innovative, and all the old Future World attractions as well.
      also this.

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      • #4
        Re: The Problem with Epcot

        I think you are missing the point of EPCOT. It wasn't ever intended to be MK. It was from the start aimed at a different audience. It was intended for older patrons and shouldn't be compared to MK. You also forgot that the economy has had some major hits during that time which also will impact attendance.

        And if you are a parent that now has only enough money to go to one park, which one are you going to go to? I'm guessing that most parents would think, "gee I guess we will go to MK we can always go to EPCOT another time but little Billy is only 7 once."

        What numbers would be more telling would be attendance figures of people that only went to EPCOT... then you would be able to better gauge the rise or decline of EPCOT on its own.

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        • #5
          Re: The Problem with Epcot

          Honestly EPCOT is my second favorite Disney park next to Disneyland. The major problem for families with kids is the lack of transportation rides. If there was a way to go from the front of the park to the back of world showcase without walking so far I think it would have higher attendance. My family is always exhausted by the time we get to American Adventure we rarely spend any time walking through the shops and trying food. Maybe they could add a bullet train that went around the park. It's futuristic and if you put a stop at Japan it would not impede on the theme of world showcase.

          Another problem EPCOT is facing is the lack of rides on the east side of World showcase. Mexico and Norway even out the number of shows vs rides on the west side. But on the east side there no actual rides. By the time I get to that side of the park I usually am so tired of shows that I just skip them all together. Idk whether this means Japan gets the rumored Matterhorn style attraction on mount fugi or change maybe canada into an omnimover as opposed to a circle vision film but that side of the lagoon needs a big draw.

          Obviously JII needs an overhaul but I don't think redoing this attraction would have that big of an impact on attendance. What would boost attendance is reopening WoL pavilion. My idea is to open it as a weather themed pavilion. Compltely redo all the interior and rip out all the old infrastructure and start over. First off I would put in a new interior with a domed LCD screen covering the entire dome above the interior of the pavilion. The screen would show a constantly changing sky. Throughout the day different weather conditions would role in and simulated rain would pour down and lightning and even wind coming from hidden fans. the weather themed exhibits in Innoventions would be moved inside the new pavilion. A new unique ride would take guests on a journey through the severe weather of the world. This E-ticket attraction would be a new ride system that would go from land to water and even switch from lower suspended to upper suspended (inverted). Scenes would include going through a hurricane on the ocean, being stuck in a sandstorm in the Sahara desert, spinning through a tornado in kansas, being hailed on, and going through a blizzard in antarctica. The pavilion would also be home to hurricane play area where smaller guests could create different types of levies for a city and test which ones would survive in a hurricane.

          Honestly the major problem with EPCOT is not the amount of attractions just the lack of certain rides that would help to make your experience more enjoyable and because of this many parents skip the park because of how difficult it is to do the park with children. One or two more transport rides would help to increase guest satisfaction and thus increase attendance.
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          • #6
            Re: The Problem with Epcot

            The Magic Kingdom will probably always be the most popular park at WDW, for two reasons: it's the most family friendly park, and it's based on Disneyland. Since most WDW visitors don't go to Disneyland, this is the closest thing they will get to the original.

            They usually visit the other parks, but many will only spend one day each at them, whereas they will spend 2-3 days at the MK. As for EPCOT, it hasn't had a new attraction in almost 6 years now, unless you count the Spaceship Earth refurb. If it wasn't for the huge popularity of Soarin', many might skip this park altogether. Plus, how much appeal does the World Showcase hold for children? Two rides, a great AA show (which I love, but probably bores the kids). I suspect that many parents of young children will bypass the Showcase altogether, and that's almost half the park right there.

            EPCOT needs a new E Ticket. Mission: Space was the last one, almost ten years ago.

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            • #7
              Re: The Problem with Epcot

              From past thread discussions, it seems that TDO has been trying to turn Epcot into a park in the same style and context of Magic Kingdom or even DCA 2.0 heavy on the characters and the Disney-fyin. Therein lies your problem. Epcot is meant to provide a unique experience different from the Disney-fication of MK and DHS. To me, I think Disneyfication is what's lowered this park's status as a "there when you are" park. Epcot needs to be that one of a kind place that you're willing to travel there for much as families would for MK. They're halfway there with World Showcase but even that portion needs to be expanded to get attendance going up again.

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              • #9
                Re: The Problem with Epcot

                Originally posted by disneyfann121 View Post
                The Magic Kingdom will probably always be the most popular park at WDW, for two reasons: it's the most family friendly park, and it's based on Disneyland. Since most WDW visitors don't go to Disneyland, this is the closest thing they will get to the original.

                They usually visit the other parks, but many will only spend one day each at them, whereas they will spend 2-3 days at the MK. As for EPCOT, it hasn't had a new attraction in almost 6 years now, unless you count the Spaceship Earth refurb. If it wasn't for the huge popularity of Soarin', many might skip this park altogether. Plus, how much appeal does the World Showcase hold for children? Two rides, a great AA show (which I love, but probably bores the kids). I susrpect that many parents of young children will bypass the Showcase altogether, and that's almost half the park right there.

                EPCOT needs a new E Ticket. Mission: Space was the last one, almost ten years ago.
                hmm.....I think I'm about to both agree with you completely and prove us both wrong. Well, to be more specific my kids proved us both (at least partially) wrong. You see, the first time we went as a family to WDW we skipped EPCOT completely. It's an adult park, nothing for kids. That was exactly our thoughts. Well, needless to say that trip started my love of the parks, so next time I wanted to go to EPCOT for myself......and the kids ended up loving it. 3 and 6 years old! They are now 4 and 7 and continue to have a ball at EPCOT. They are amazed by spaceship earth, love Figment, could spend hours in innovations and turns out, Test track is a great thrill ride for a 4-7 year old. My wife and I are stiil amazed by this. So I in the end, I think your right. A lot of families skip out on EPCOT thinking its an adult only park......but, our assumptions that children are not able to enjoy this park may need some tweeking

                ---------- Post added 01-26-2012 at 06:20 PM ----------

                Originally posted by toonaspie View Post
                From past thread discussions, it seems that TDO has been trying to turn Epcot into a park in the same style and context of Magic Kingdom or even DCA 2.0 heavy on the characters and the Disney-fyin. Therein lies your problem. Epcot is meant to provide a unique experience different from the Disney-fication of MK and DHS. To me, I think Disneyfication is what's lowered this park's status as a "there when you are" park. Epcot needs to be that one of a kind place that you're willing to travel there for much as families would for MK. They're halfway there with World Showcase but even that portion needs to be expanded to get attendance going up again.
                Originally posted by sbk1234 View Post
                ^^^^Very good point!
                agreed

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                • #10
                  Re: The Problem with Epcot

                  Originally posted by KingEric View Post
                  1997: 11,800,00
                  1996: 11,200,00


                  No matter how you slice it Epcot is far from their attendance high of 11.9 million in 1997.
                  Don't you meant 11.8 million.
                  Favorite Ride: Tower of Terror

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                  • #11
                    Re: The Problem with Epcot

                    I still find it crazy that it has never hit 11.8 million again.
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                    • #12
                      Re: The Problem with Epcot

                      Originally posted by Bronco21 View Post
                      Another problem EPCOT is facing is the lack of rides on the east side of World showcase. Mexico and Norway even out the number of shows vs rides on the west side. But on the east side there no actual rides. By the time I get to that side of the park I usually am so tired of shows that I just skip them all together. Idk whether this means Japan gets the rumored Matterhorn style attraction on mount fugi or change maybe canada into an omnimover as opposed to a circle vision film but that side of the lagoon needs a big draw.
                      Mexico and Norway are on the east side of World Showcase.

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                      • #13
                        Re: The Problem with Epcot

                        It costs 100 million dollars to build Mission: SPACE? How much did it cost to build Horizons?

                        If you haven't seen the thread titled: My ideas for a new Epcot, it shows you my idea for a massive overhaul of Future World and some new pavilions for the World Showcase, the first thing that need to go is the current version of the Imagination ride and ImageWorks, because it is absoultely disgraceful and bring back the original JII with Dreamfinder and the original Imageworks, next build a space themed pavilion and move Mission: SPACE there, next rebuild Horizons, next put a weather themed attraction in the old Wonders of Life pavilion. I might repost my entire Epcot ideas just to refresh your memory, and I have also made a few changes as well.

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                        • #14
                          Re: The Problem with Epcot

                          Originally posted by DRSeeker View Post
                          Mexico and Norway are on the east side of World Showcase.
                          Nope! Look on google earth. When you enter EPCOT you are walking South not North. That means rides to your left are on the West side of the park. Its confusing because MK and AK are both set so that you enter and head into the park north but EPCOT is the opposite.
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                          • #15
                            Re: The Problem with Epcot

                            Originally posted by Bronco21 View Post
                            Nope! Look on google earth. When you enter EPCOT you are walking South not North. That means rides to your left are on the West side of the park. Its confusing because MK and AK are both set so that you enter and head into the park north but EPCOT is the opposite.
                            Try Again!! You are right about when you enter Epcot from the Main Entrance
                            you are walking South SO that means everything on your left side is on the EAST side and everything on your right hand side is on the WEST side.

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                            • #16
                              Re: The Problem with Epcot

                              While I agree that EPCOT Center, an icon that captured the public imagination, has become Epcot, just another DisneyPark

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                              • #17
                                Re: The Problem with Epcot

                                Wow, thanks for compiling those numbers, KingEric!

                                I know that when we made one-day visits as kids, we just went to the MK. Which is sad, because I was just the sort of kid who would have loved EPCOT Center.

                                I think the number of choices has a lot to do with it. There are four Disney parks in Orlando now, and Universal is more of a contender than ever.

                                From what I've seen in my adult trips, EPCOT seems to have developed a bit of an identity crisis. There was always a division between Future World and World Showcase, but Future World is so fragmented now that I'm not sure the general public has a clear idea of what to expect from it. Is it a thrill park? Is it an educational park? It it science-y or futuristic? Is it a second Magic Kingdom?

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                                • #18
                                  Re: The Problem with Epcot

                                  Originally posted by ttintagel View Post
                                  From what I've seen in my adult trips, EPCOT seems to have developed a bit of an identity crisis. There was always a division between Future World and World Showcase, but Future World is so fragmented now that I'm not sure the general public has a clear idea of what to expect from it. Is it a thrill park? Is it an educational park? It it science-y or futuristic? Is it a second Magic Kingdom?
                                  This is exactly what I think the problem is. People don't know what to expect at Epcot, and they are not sure what it should be.

                                  You look at Future World and you have the Seas With Nemo and Friends, then you have Living with the Land, then you have Captain EO, then you have Test Track and Mission Space, then you have what a lot of one time visitors call a giant mall aka World Showcase.

                                  I wish I had guest perception pre-trip and guest satisfaction post-trip numbers to prove my theory.
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                                  • #19
                                    Re: The Problem with Epcot

                                    Originally posted by mkcoastie View Post
                                    hmm.....I think I'm about to both agree with you completely and prove us both wrong. Well, to be more specific my kids proved us both (at least partially) wrong. You see, the first time we went as a family to WDW we skipped EPCOT completely. It's an adult park, nothing for kids. That was exactly our thoughts. Well, needless to say that trip started my love of the parks, so next time I wanted to go to EPCOT for myself......and the kids ended up loving it. 3 and 6 years old! They are now 4 and 7 and continue to have a ball at EPCOT. They are amazed by spaceship earth, love Figment, could spend hours in innovations and turns out, Test track is a great thrill ride for a 4-7 year old. My wife and I are stiil amazed by this. So I in the end, I think your right. A lot of families skip out on EPCOT thinking its an adult only park......but, our assumptions that children are not able to enjoy this park may need some tweeking

                                    ---------- Post added 01-26-2012 at 06:20 PM ----------

                                    I'm sure your experience is far from unique. What I was talking about, as you noted, is more perception than reality.




                                    ---------- Post added 01-27-2012 at 06:27 PM ----------

                                    Originally posted by ttintagel View Post
                                    Wow, thanks for compiling those numbers, KingEric!

                                    I know that when we made one-day visits as kids, we just went to the MK. Which is sad, because I was just the sort of kid who would have loved EPCOT Center.

                                    I think the number of choices has a lot to do with it. There are four Disney parks in Orlando now, and Universal is more of a contender than ever.

                                    From what I've seen in my adult trips, EPCOT seems to have developed a bit of an identity crisis. There was always a division between Future World and World Showcase, but Future World is so fragmented now that I'm not sure the general public has a clear idea of what to expect from it. Is it a thrill park? Is it an educational park? It it science-y or futuristic? Is it a second Magic Kingdom?
                                    That's true. EPCOT as it currently stands is a mixed bag -- some of it educational, some of it just intended to be fun or thrilling.
                                    You can see the science/education theme throughout the park, but it has been heavily diluted. I still enjoy EPCOT, but overall, I prefer the other three parks. They all have more thematic cohesiveness -- not to mention more of my favorite attractions.
                                    Last edited by disneyfann121; 01-27-2012, 02:38 PM.

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                                    • #20
                                      Re: The Problem with Epcot

                                      EPCOT is starting to feel a whole lot like DCA did about a decade ago. It's just a mix match of attractions that fail to fit a theme. The one exception is the world showcase.

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