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Who is trying to mess with who?

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  • Trip Report Who is trying to mess with who?

    Hello everyone,

    I know this will be a controversial post, but I feel compelled to express my feelings about my last Orlando visit during this past week and out of which I have very mixed feelings.

    Let me begin with by developing the reason of the topic of this thread. My first visit to WDW was in 1997, I was 7 years old at the time and I absolutely loved it. I remember everything in Disney being so amazing, spectacular and with a sense of unbeatability that made me grow into a huge Disney fan. This sense of what I first experienced comes back every time I see home videos from that vacation or when I go through park guides I still have saved from back then. Back then it seemed that nobody messed with Disney, We didn't even considered going to Universal Studios.

    My second visit was in 2002. I was 12 at the time and I remember most things seemed to be just "as I left them". I was still impressed by the parks and attractions, slightly underwhelmed by Animal Kingdom, but yet Disney seemed to be the best. We visited Universal for the first time and although the main Universal park did not impress me at all, I was amazed by Islands of Adventure. It seemed that with this park Universal was trying to mess with Disney. I know the story of the park being built by laid-off imagineers and whatnot, but I have to say Islands of Adventures is massively themed with relevant and innovative attractions for each of the lands it has. Disregarding the Dueling Dragons and Hulk Coaster (both prime examples of smooth thrilling roller coasters), Spiderman, Poseidon's Fury, Jurassic Park River Ride, the Popeye rapids etc etc etc, all have a level of detail and innovation that seemed to be the first time I felt a theme park was seriously competing with Disney.

    I visited Disneyland Paris (not the WDS) during the winter of 2010 and I absolutely loved it. Apart from maintenance problems (some peeling paint, garbage floating throughout the day in water bodies) the park is absolutely stunning. The rides and theming prove to be of Disney Quality. I was 20 at the time and I absolutely loved it. It is a must on my next visit to Paris.

    And let me express what I felt with this current visit to the Orlando parks. I visited Islands of Adventures first. Everything seemed to be "as I left it". I am not personally a fan of Harry Potter and I was yet so impressed by the Wizarding World. All shops, the land itself and the Forbidden Journey are serious additions to an already great theme park. I was very happy at the merchandise choices throughout the park. All of it is very relevant to the land in which is located and features a wide array of themed products that made me feel very satisfied. Next I visited DHS and let me say, I was very underwhelmed by it. Nothing has changed since my 2002 visit with exception of the Motors, Action! show (direct import from Paris) and the Toy Story Midway Mania which featured a long queue throughout the day. I was not even sad to miss it because I know a ride relying on 3D projections and shooting at targets to earn points was not appealing to me. Everything else seems extremely stale and old. Great Movie Ride? looking good but rode it in 1997 and 2002. Muppetvision? I had seen it in 1997 and 2002 and remembered enjoying it, but right now it seems extremely old (the part of the video in which you see some "guests" from the park features extremely 90's fashion, effects were turned off...) In the end, Rock and Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror seemed to be the best rides in this whole park. I loved Fantasmic but I could also note some effects missing (no sparks coming out of Mickeys hands and several low rise fireworks were missing such as the sparklers during the Sorcerer's Apprentice scene).

    I did not buy any merchandise at all as it seemed that most stores carried the same over and over. Today I visited Downtown Disney with the intention of buying several articles but guess what, Once Upon a Toy, World of Disney, and all the other stores around, even the Christmas store, featured the same merchandise. I wanted to get some plush and I ended having to tell one of the employees "I am looking for something I cannot get at any Toys R Us". It seems all the merchandise is extremely generic to the point that several of the merchandise currently at World of Disney is also available at the Character Warehouse at the Orlando Premium Outlets. We had lunch at Rainforest Cafe (I know it is not operated by Disney) for which we made reservations at 8:30. We ended up getting our dishes at 9:45. I was outraged to pay almost 20 dollars for a dish which featured small pieces of chicken and that was accompanied with CHIPS with the option of getting french fries for an extra fee. We ate at a restaurant at City Walk this week and for around the same price I got an extremely large and satisfying HALF CHICKEN with a mountain of stuffed rice and vegetables all over. Is this the Disney Experience I remember and treasured so much? Nope.

    My next rant is Disney's future. I have concluded that with the Fantasyland expansion and Avatar land, it is now Disney who is trying to mess with Universal. A vast majority the "new" Disney attractions of the past decade or so have been unimaginative formulas that are repeated over and over, sometimes making even no sense whatsoever (Soarin' at Epcot is the exact same at Soarin' over California at DCA, with the same movie of CALIFORNIA. What does this have to do with Epcot? Nothing. They could not even bother to use the same ride system to conceive a new movie that would be relevant to Epcot. The Fantasyland expansion in my opinion is a joke. How innovative is the Dwarves coaster? Not much considering the modern coasters and experiences you are getting everywhere else in non-Disney parks. It will be an up and down coaster with swinging cars which will probably just go through stiff seven dwarf dolls using song that have existed for more than 80 years. Dueling Dumbos? I even find that to be a stupid name. Why would anybody be excited of having just a double spinner of a ride that has existed since 1955? The Great Goofini is just a "re-theme" (read: new coaster cars and a couple of new signs) of a pre-existing attraction. Get a cloned dark ride of the Little Mermaid (I doubt they will even bother with fixing the rushed finale of the current version) and then add a couple of restaurants and that's it. Nothing new, nothing exciting.

    I won't talk to fast, but to be sincere, Avatar was a fad that lasted something around a month and a half and I do not know if two following movies will justify me getting excited about a new land for it at DAK. Also something that annoys me, instead of investing on fun or innovating things, there seems to be a trend with pointless "improvements" such as the Haunted Mansion queue and the new "Next Gen" Its a Small World interactive elements (characters created on Iphone apps that appear on screens, fantastic!)

    Call me a cynic, pessimistic, or whatever you want, but I feel WDW has become a stale rip-off that relies on the Rizzo Effect previously discussed and that has made all new additions just a facade for cheapness and lack of dedication and imagination. On my next Orlando trip, I don't think I will even consider going to Disney Parks whatsoever, apart from maybe the Magic Kingdom for me to enjoy all that had been built since the 70's. This concludes my post.

  • #2
    Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

    A lot of blame seems to come from current WDW management.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

      I could not agree more with your post. I spend my time and money at Universal Studios Orlando Resort because they seem interested in earning it.
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      • #4
        Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

        I'm with you on the Avatar land. For one I hated the movie, and two I feel the exact thing on the Fantasyland expansion. DW needs to step up their game if they want to stay on top.


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        • #5
          Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

          This is so sad. Each time I read one of these trip reports, I'm hoping that Disney has stepped up their game and brought back the magic I experienced when I was a kid visiting the parks.

          And I keep reading about this Disney magic in a lot of posts here. Where did it go?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

            cvonrec, so sorry you were disappointed with the WDW experience but honestly... i haven't been impressed with anything in WDW since I rode Tower of Terror for the first time and Rock'n'Roller Coaster. Everything has become stale, old, tired...and it's clear that it's a lack of effort more than anything else.

            I go to Disneyland and now DCA to see more and more Disney magic come to life each year. There was a bad ten years (1996-2005) but they've overcome it. WDW hasn't seemed to rise out of it, even with these additions, I'm afraid it's a little too late to really impress anyone. It's still absolutely necessary, but they need to act faster on further developments or risk losing more of their fanbase.


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            • #7
              Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

              Frankly, you just might be surprised at how many people agree with your post, rather than disagree with it.
              BarbaraAnn

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              • #8
                Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                And all this mediocrity is brought to you by the cash-flow of 10 billion dollars a year.

                It's criminal the way the board of directors is mis-managing the company.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                  It is good to know that I am not alone! I have questioned my feelings to the point I have thought "have I grown up too much for Disney?". But then I assure myself that that won't ever happen. Disney's target audience is not "kids and tourists" but true fans who notice things and appreciate Disney for all the things they are known for. Some points you have replied make a lot of sense such as Disney still making a lot of $$$ in revenue lately, not an excuse to think that they don't have the money. I feel OLC in Japan does a lot what Disney used to do for us back in the day.

                  Is it lame imagineers? Greedy budgets set for them? I think at some points as a Disney fan I get very frustrated as for me "what they should be doing" comes almost instinctively. Fantasyland needed no much of an expansion like this one, why not have made such an effort to fix Dinoland U.S.A? If they really wanted to improve Fantasyland, why not build an actually NextGen attraction (think something along Mystic Manor or Pooh's Hunny Hunt, let us say, a trackless vehicle attraction through actual 3D environments with animatronics, effects and a great climax point using any, any of the material pool they have for such a project (beauty and the beast, tangled, alice in wonderland).

                  I would wish to stop the comparisons but have the Imagineers even taken a look at what "NextGen" means in their neighbouring park? Even the queue for Forbidden Journey feels like an attraction itself. I feel there is a "mall factor" to Disney parks lately that is just at some points unbearable. Additions such as the Haunted Mansion or Its A Small World improvements seem to me to be comparable to mall kiosks offering tacky entertainment for people "who don't know any better" (hope this makes sense, I am trying to say that they are satisfied with it because they have never visited anything more than a mall).

                  But well, after my report I can conclude to Disney that they have not lost a fan, they have lost a costumer. Maybe that is what would hurt them more nowadays?

                  ---------- Post added 02-25-2012 at 07:32 AM ----------

                  and for the record, this is how my conversation with the cast member at Downtown Disney went:

                  *after having walked around for some good 45 minutes looking for souvenirs*

                  me: excuse me, would you happen to have more unique items or something with the Disney World logo or related to attractions?

                  cm: what do you mean?

                  me: I don't know, I would like to bring something to my friends that says WDW or something related to the parks *I was specifically looking for plush*.

                  cm: hmmm apart from what we have here there is no much. our merchandise all features the Disney Parks tag but that's it.

                  me: as an example, there used to be some merchandise related to attractions such as the Haunted Mansion

                  cm: have you tried the Christmas Shop down from here? They might have something with Disney World engraved on it.

                  me: I am just looking for something I cannot buy at Toys r Us, I'll keep browsing thank you.


                  ....really? I remember World of Disney in NYC having huge amounts of great merchandise!! I returned to NYC last spring although WOD had left and been replaced by a significantly smaller and lamer Disney Store, they seemed to have more relevant merchandise! I bought an Oswald the Rabbit and a Steamboat Willy plush toys. The most "unique" item I found this time seemed to be a St. Patricks day Mickey Mouse.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                    Sites like this, LP, and WDWMagic, have been lamenting this for years. I mean years....I mean since the days of Pressler at DL in '95. The problem, for WDW, at least is TDO for sure. Meg has NO CLUE and has been an unmitigated disaster (mono deaths, bus deaths, broken show FX and AAs w/ guests on rides, etc etc etc.) New Fantasyland was FORCED on TDO by Iger and Lasseter because of having heart palpatations over Potter. Queen Meg didn't want to do anything for any park. Also, TDO,IS, for all intents and purposes a real estate/timeshare/hotel property/comapny. It is NO LONGER a theme park resort. To them the theme parks are simply anciallary activities so resort guests will have something to do. To them the parks are no different than the mini-golf course.

                    This is why they think investing any money in them, for the guests enjoyment, is not worth it. They don't care about show or quality anymore. Not when you run an E-Ticket like Splash w/ broken, headless chickens in the grand finale. TDO only cares about the money at this point. That's why they keep pusing DVC and Next Gen as if they are actual additions that we will make special trips to visit. Let's face it, this is the SAME company that and "leadership" that closed P.I. KNOWING full well they had not signed ANY third parties but simply wanted to close it before the fiscal year ended. There was NEVER ANY plan for P.I. They simply did't want to run it anymore PERIOD.

                    I also have to place the blame on Iger and his tech obsession. Iger is the worst thing to happen to WDW. He trylu believes that every WED/WDI experience from 1955-2006 is irrelevant and "passe" and he truly believes that video screens in rides, queues, have an entire vacation on a 43sqmile resort pre planned 6mos in advane is the future. And unfortunantly there ARE people in WDI-FL who agree with him. Why do you think think they went on an apology tour for the HM queue during the "Room for One More" event? Cause they knew what they'd done has sucked and bombed w/ the very people they were making it for. WDI-FL does NOT understand the basic design princliples and aethetics of the parks. I dare say they think MK and the rest are old and passe as well. I see no respect from them. We've suffered through Stitch, Imagination 3.0, Judi Dench and TV screens in SSE, and daycare nursery games in Pooh, Space, and HM queues.

                    Also, TDO no longer cares about people like us. They just PRETEND to. Do you REALLY think they care because they put out ticket book magnet sets and the Orange Bird or a poster collage shirt for the 40th? Did anyone SEE MKs 40th?? A DISGRACE. They only care about the stupid guests who have NEVER been and don't remember what WDW was before 2001. They want only guests who know TWDC as Princesses, Pirates, Pixar, Hannah Montanna, HSM, and the fab . They don't want people like us who are fans and purists. They'd rather take the people that are NOT going to complain that MK has been running the same parade for TEN YEARS (the LONGEST run of a MK Park day parade EVER). They also only care about the sports even people and the South American tour groups because they bring in major cash.

                    So until Meg leaves or Iger leaves in '15 I don't see much changing. We'll have DLR, which under George K. has continued the wonderful work of Ouimet and Grier. And never having been to DLP or TDR, DL is truly the only MK park I can feel like a kid again and not be despressed and angry over how things are. I feel like i'm 8 when I am there. Nothing got done at DLR until the fans complained and (sort of) stopped going. The complaints from 1995-2003 on the boards plus the PR debacles forced Eisner to bring in Ouimet, but somehow Meg has been immune to this even after the Mono crash. So really, it's all The Weatherman.

                    ---------- Post added 02-25-2012 at 11:30 AM ----------

                    I really can't wait for Potter Phase II because that, it's THAT project that TDO is REALLY having panic attacks over. Avatar prob has a 40% chance of happening. They know UK guests are already starting thier vacations at UO rather than WDW and that guests are skipping MGM and DAK to daytrip (or two?) at UO. UO has "broken the spell". People are finally seeing you get a full massive meal off property for a THIRD of the price, not have fake magic shoved up our behind, and see more different experiences that are cheaper. This is, techinaclly, why WDW is losing and why the only game they have left is Next Gen. Cause they know see that people are staying in REAL 4 star hotels (Lowes), getting a park experience like WDW had in the 80s (UO, SW), and going down I-Drive and who knows where else. This is what has them spooked. And they do not like it. The children are breaking away from the autoritarian "parent"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                      Originally posted by TONY THE BEAT View Post
                      I'm with you on the Avatar land. For one I hated the movie, and two I feel the exact thing on the Fantasyland expansion. DW needs to step up their game if they want to stay on top.
                      I never even saw the movie - just the trailers and promo clips and didn't really care to see it at all...Now a land? are you kidding me? Next they will be making lands from Old Saturday NIght live episodes.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                        All these posts are very well put. Sadly, the WDW we grew up with is long gone. Current management could care less. We've endured a (nearly) 20 year cycle of deliberately downsizing maintenance and show quality standards, removing beloved attractions and systematically replacing moving parts with video screens. Now we're seemingly in for an extended cycle of aggressive price increases. As one of the top-level execs said on a conference call last year, "we'll see which side blinks first." So there you have it. We're not guests, not even customers. We're on DIFFERENT SIDES. That's how the people running DisCo think. They really do believe their customers are ADVERSARIES.

                        How long can a company deliberately and systematically tick off its core customer and still survive? Or, as the OP asked, who is trying to mess with who?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                          The lack of area specific merch is one of the biggest crimes to me! I use to love exploring the stores in each land and park and now i know i can go to the emporium and get all the same items!
                          BGood! It's not just my motto its my name!

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                          • #14
                            Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                            I have to say, I personally disagree. While IoA is incredibly amazing, and Wizarding World has blown my mind a million times over (I'm so excited for the expansion!), I'm just too big of a Disney fan. I've been going to WDW my entire life. My first trip was at the age of three months, and I have a picture of Mickey Mouse holding me as a baby in a dressing room. I went almost every year since then. My parents got married there at my age of 6. After countless family vacations (being a part of the Vacation Club) and absolutely loving every minute of it, I applied to work there while I was studying my first year in university. I got the job (just a summer job we Canadians can do while studying for a bachelor's degree), and I spent 3 months down there, working and playing in my favorite place on Earth. I never ever got tired of it, and I was devastated when I had to leave. Everything still amazes me, fills me with childlike wonder, and I still can't wait to go back. Sure, they've made some silly choices in the past and present (as a Haunted Mansion CM, the new queue infuriated me until I realized, at least it'll give the CMs at Queue and Greeter some amusement and keep the people waiting in line temporarily happy), but to me they're still an unbeatable company, and always will be number one in their industry. I even applied to go back for a 6 month internship so I can spend even more time there. Hopefully I make it back in!! Maybe I'm just too loyal, and while I'm certainly not blind to Disney's faults (I did a lot of complaining while I worked there, despite the fact that I actually loved every second of it), I can just overlook them I suppose, and continue to enjoy every minute I spend in those parks.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                              Originally posted by maidtaylor View Post
                              I have to say, I personally disagree. While IoA is incredibly amazing, and Wizarding World has blown my mind a million times over (I'm so excited for the expansion!), I'm just too big of a Disney fan. I've been going to WDW my entire life. My first trip was at the age of three months, and I have a picture of Mickey Mouse holding me as a baby in a dressing room. I went almost every year since then. My parents got married there at my age of 6. After countless family vacations (being a part of the Vacation Club) and absolutely loving every minute of it, I applied to work there while I was studying my first year in university. I got the job (just a summer job we Canadians can do while studying for a bachelor's degree), and I spent 3 months down there, working and playing in my favorite place on Earth. I never ever got tired of it, and I was devastated when I had to leave. Everything still amazes me, fills me with childlike wonder, and I still can't wait to go back. Sure, they've made some silly choices in the past and present (as a Haunted Mansion CM, the new queue infuriated me until I realized, at least it'll give the CMs at Queue and Greeter some amusement and keep the people waiting in line temporarily happy), but to me they're still an unbeatable company, and always will be number one in their industry. I even applied to go back for a 6 month internship so I can spend even more time there. Hopefully I make it back in!! Maybe I'm just too loyal, and while I'm certainly not blind to Disney's faults (I did a lot of complaining while I worked there, despite the fact that I actually loved every second of it), I can just overlook them I suppose, and continue to enjoy every minute I spend in those parks.


                              It's great that there are people who still love the company the way you do. And believe me, we all feel the same passion for it... which also leads to our disappointment. I'm also wondering if you've been to any of the Disney resorts outside of Florida?

                              I think a lot of it is perspective. Walt Disney World and Paris are now the least maintained Disney parks and there are members on this board who frequent all the parks so often that it's very clear and apparent what's not being done. Walt Disney himself has set the standard so many years ago. It really is a shame that Disney's #1 money-making resort isn't giving back to those who visit.


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                              • #16
                                Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                                Wait, you think it's controversial to complain about Disney on micechat? lol

                                What has become controversial is praising the company for anything or expressing your joy about your most recent trip. It's commonplace to complain about things on here and as someone who's been going on Disney trips for the past 20 years, I find many of them to be unfound. Are there some maintenance issues? Absolutely, but I find it absolutely ridiculous that people are complaining about something that won't be opened for another 4 years. Give it a chance. I never even saw Avatar but I'm willing to keep an open mind about things and see if I enjoy the park.


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                                • #17
                                  Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                                  I think that the reason why it's become commonplace to complain about things at WDW is that there ARE underlying issues there, I mean just perusing the DL board I can't find threads like this from the past few months, the odd one here and there but not commonplace like they are hear in the WDW board...there's a reason for that, it also should be said that there's a reason behind former CMs not having an AP or going to use their DVC membership for more than simply a hotel that's cheaper than the rates they'd pay somewhere else...

                                  Heck the DVC properties are well maintained is the ONLY reason I still stay on property, this last weekend I went down to WDW and you know what my friend and I did, we went out to CITYWALK to have nightlife, we went to Universal during the day after we checked in, we went to Osprey Ridge Golf Course which is now managed by the Palmer Group not the Disney Co., I believe a quote from my friend when we were passing through what was once PI, was "Why do they have ticket booths? Is there anything to do right here other than what we just walked past?" NONE of it with the exception of the Cigar Bar and House of Blues interested us, he wanted to see Potter World in Uni so THAT's What we did...

                                  To me all this above SPEAKS VOLUMES about the current resort and it's offerings...
                                  The test of success is not what you do when you are on top. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.
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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                                    Originally posted by ORD84 View Post
                                    I think that the reason why it's become commonplace to complain about things at WDW is that there ARE underlying issues there, I mean just perusing the DL board I can't find threads like this from the past few months, the odd one here and there but not commonplace like they are hear in the WDW board...there's a reason for that, it also should be said that there's a reason behind former CMs not having an AP or going to use their DVC membership for more than simply a hotel that's cheaper than the rates they'd pay somewhere else...

                                    Heck the DVC properties are well maintained is the ONLY reason I still stay on property, this last weekend I went down to WDW and you know what my friend and I did, we went out to CITYWALK to have nightlife, we went to Universal during the day after we checked in, we went to Osprey Ridge Golf Course which is now managed by the Palmer Group not the Disney Co., I believe a quote from my friend when we were passing through what was once PI, was "Why do they have ticket booths? Is there anything to do right here other than what we just walked past?" NONE of it with the exception of the Cigar Bar and House of Blues interested us, he wanted to see Potter World in Uni so THAT's What we did...

                                    To me all this above SPEAKS VOLUMES about the current resort and it's offerings...
                                    Well to be realistic there is the undertone that this is a west coast majority site, which results in less complaints for the west and more for the east. the same happens at east coast based sites in the opposite fashion. granted there are issues, no one is debating that, but not to the extent that is being illustrated here, which is what i believe Aladdin is referring to. to a certain degree with some reports WDW has become a vast dank post apocalyptic consumerism waste land and that view point is flat wrong. I totally respect your own personal preferences but those and some comments on transitional areas (that granted have been issues for a while now) do not really 'speak volumes' in my opinion about the resort. my preference would be to stay on resort for example does that mean my opinion speaks volumes? what if my friend bob spent his whole vacation swimming in bay lake and got bit by a gator so he had a bad time? I believe the current resort is fine right now, not perfect in any way but not a disaster either. ive been to disneyland and ive been to Paris, Cali and Orlando are on par in my experiences. Just some 2 cents

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                                      Yeah, I find myself wishing they'd stop trying to out-Universal Universal and play to their own historic strengths.

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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Who is trying to mess with who?

                                        Originally posted by goofy donald View Post
                                        Well to be realistic there is the undertone that this is a west coast majority site, which results in less complaints for the west and more for the east. the same happens at east coast based sites in the opposite fashion.

                                        That's not true. I've been here a while and you missed the time where Disneyland was being complained about non-stop... and deservedly so. There would be the group that would of course defend everything they were doing, just like there is here. They have their reasons for loving it regardless and that's fine.

                                        The folks that are complaining now have been around the block and have seen it when it was great. It's not great right now.

                                        Remember when Disney built MGM-Studios super fast so it could beat out Universal's arrival? They did that because they were competitive. It wasn't the best plan but they tried.


                                        Remember when Universal announced that in X amount of years, they'd have a Harry Potter land? And then Disney reacted by.... not doing a thing.


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