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Disney's missed opportunity with the New Fantasyland

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Published: December 6, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Disney's getting a lot of press today for its media events over the past two days officially opening its latest expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom (which actually have been open to the public for nearly a month - check out post yesterday for links to all of our coverage.)

Opening Ceremony
Actress Ginnifer Goodwin, Disney Parks Chariman Tom Staggs, Mickey Mouse and singer Jordin Sparks open the New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom this morning. Photo courtesy Disney

Here's my take: Disney reduced what could have been a rim-rattling slam dunk to a layup. Yeah, the additions shown off today still score, but they don't get people out of their seats and shouting to their friends the way a complete new extension of the land - with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train mountain at its center and not a construction wall in sight - would have.

Disney chose to save substantial construction costs by building its new Fantasyland in phases, rather than paying the extra expense to build all four components - Storybooks Circus, Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - at the same time. So we got Storybook Circus last spring, Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast last month, and we will get the Mine Train in 2014.

That's spreading the impact of the new land over two years. It's as if Universal had opened the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Hogwarts still under construction, then debuted Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey 18 months later. No, I don't expect the Mine Train to be as spectacular as Forbidden Journey has been, but I think that makes Disney's position even weaker. The Mine Train could have been the final piece to really wow people today. Instead, it's presence in the middle of the New Fantasyland simply serves to remind everyone that today's "premiere" isn't. The project won't be complete for more than another year.

I love what Disney's done with New Fantasyland - so far. But I want to raise the missed opportunity here. Opening Fantasyland in dribs and drabs might please the hard-core fans, who are always looking for something new. But that decision kept Fantasyland from having the critical mass that allows a project to appeal beyond established fans and grab the attention of other potential visitors - the way that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and to a lesser extent Cars Land did.

The Magic Kingdom will get an attendance boost over the next year as people who put off visits in 2011 and 2012 to avoid the construction begin to return. But some will hold out until 2014, further dampening the impact that the New Fantasyland could have had for the company.

Yes, building it all at once would have been more expensive. Substantially so. But theme parks have always been a business where you have to spend money to make money. Contrast Disney's relative caution with Universal's damn-the-budget drive to get Transformers built and open within 12 months.

A complete New Fantasyland would have convinced more Orlando-area visitors reason to come to the Magic Kingdom in 2013 - not 2014 or beyond. But with construction walls remaining in the middle of that area all year, I wonder how many of those potential visitors might choose to spend a day over at Universal's completed Transformers in late 2013, instead.

Readers' Opinions

From Anthony Murphy on December 6, 2012 at 8:19 PM
What's with all the negative Disney stories,
From Andrew Carrieri on December 6, 2012 at 8:41 PM
I don't think this is that big of a deal. I'll admit it made me less interested in today's press event, but I question how many non-diehards are really that into this anyway (such as to postpone a trip to 2014 as you suggest). Potter was different because the movies and books were a cultural phenomenon.

I think that if any group was going to complain it would be the die-hard WDW fans (who often do complain), and there doesn't seem to be much of that.

From Eric Malone on December 6, 2012 at 8:58 PM
I think Disney deserves the criticism. I don't think in the end it'll impact them all that much, but it's still worthy of questioning their judgment. Imagine if their Avatar deal finally goes through and they decide to build it in three separate parts, with their E-Ticket ride for the last?

Yeah, I think that's a better comparison than Potterland, but the fact that they built it in three separate phases should still draw criticism. Disney isn't infallible and this shows it.

From Tracy Bates on December 6, 2012 at 9:10 PM
I'm disappointed to have missed the flying dragon. I was there a few days before that, but didn't stay for the 'official' opening because they hadn't announced anything special.

Not announcing one of a kind events at all isn't a great way to endear yourself to your fans, Disney.

From Dominick D on December 6, 2012 at 9:18 PM
Remember that SDMT didn't start construction with the others. I also highly doubt Transformers will rank in enough guests to beat a Disney park.
From Amy Smith on December 6, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Using Universal as a construction free alternative is a mistake. Even after Transformers opens, there will still be a giant area under construction - Potter for sure and most likely some other areas as well.

I do think Disney should have opened New Fantasyland all together, but Universal has perpetual construction - there are never not construction walls somewhere.

From Eric G on December 6, 2012 at 9:52 PM
I have to agree with the first commenter that this article is overly critical of nothing and I disagree that the phased construction saves money. That doesn't add up. Doing it all at once is easier done than working around an on going operation. You can easily argue that the phased approach takes longer and thus it would seem it would be more costly as well. Ultimately, who really cares!

In part, I agree that they may have been better to wait for the entire project to be finished before holding the grand opening. However, Fantasyland isn't new per say and what Disney is doing in this case is very similar to what they did in Anaheim with California Adventure. With the upgrade and expansion of DCA they opened attractions in phases that were ultimately part of the grand re-opening of the park. I think it's save to say now that the DCA upgrade is a huge success, so attempting to repeat that success in Orlando really isn't a bad approach.

The problem seems to come from calling it the "New Fantasyland" when a major attraction is still unfinished. But on the other hand it would be easy to be critical two years from now when it's all done that calling it the "New Fantasyland" then would be two years too late.

Lastly, the dragon only debuted to guests attending the private party at the Magic Kingdom last night. It has yet to make a public appearance.

From 209.60.118.115 on December 6, 2012 at 9:55 PM
While Seven Dwarfs did get added late to plan and appease the boys in theory.

The Princess Fairytale Hall not opening today leaves a second constructions site inside the NEW Fantasyland

Yes I know it got added on late too...

I dont think the goal of Transformers is for USF to jump a Disney Park in attendance by itself. I think its more of a "stop gap" for 2013 before London opens in 2014 instead of everyone delaying their vacations. And once Potter opens it will help balance guest traffic and retain the guest longer in USF instead of Muggles just riding Hogwarts express between each park all day.

From Tony Perkins on December 6, 2012 at 9:59 PM
New Fantasyland is a disappointment. No Beauty & the Beast uber dark ride is a big fail. The casual visitor will expect a ride when they see all the other B&B trappings.

A park that is already very crowded and needs extra attraction capacity lost three solid attractions with the Snow White ride (a true classic), Mickey's house and Minnie's house. Before we could meet Mickey in his house, which was great for setting the stage and creating anticipation. Now we meet him in a hall with a queue on Main St., that's a fail.

Don't get me wrong. What Disney built is very nice but it simply falls far short of the 'Wow' factor they needed and hoped for, and we lost too many other attractions in the process. What a shame...

From 72.197.30.46 on December 6, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I completely agree with the author, If SDMT is the biggest attraction of new fantasyland, then the grand opening shouldn't occur without this ride.
Also I gotta say Enchanted tales with belle is laaaaaame! Instead of a ride where animatronics could play all those roles they get the audience to "participate". Sorry but when I visit a theme park i go to be entertained, not to be part of the show! I hope that garbage never makes it to Disneyland(CA) or any of the other disney parks for that matter. Walt Disney was designing better attractions than that 60 years ago!
From Tim Chatlos on December 6, 2012 at 10:37 PM
They're just waiting to electrify the world with the AVATAR attractions.
From 70.118.58.18 on December 6, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Avatar sucks!

Beauty and the Beast dark ride? I don't see why that is necessary. Little Mermaid is a fine dark ride and superior to Snow White and a significant increase in capacity from that lost attraction. While Snow White may have been a classic it was dated and the least visited of the Fantasyland attractions. In a little over a year the new Seven Dwarfs coaster will open offering another significant increase in capacity. Dumbo also doubled in capacity.

Mickey's house and Minnie's house were not what I would call attractions.

From Andy Hoffman on December 6, 2012 at 10:56 PM
The casual visitor to Disney will not even know they are adding anything or that anything is new. Families that plan a once-every-decade or once in a lifetime trip won't even realize what is going on. My family has only been to Disney once even though I have been there three times. My mom would not even care that this is happening. The tourists that go won't notice because they don't go all the time or follow the industry nearly as closely as we do.
From 98.68.148.92 on December 6, 2012 at 11:52 PM
I agree. Remember when Disneyland stepped up construction of the new Space Mountain so that it would be ready for the 50th Anniversary? THAT is the correct move. The Seven Dwarves Mine train and the Princess Hall could have been ready... but it would have been expensive.

I'm torn on what I think of the land.. in some ways I'm glad that Disney didn't just build E-tickets... because parks need atmosphere and variety of attractions. But it seems to me all 3 princesses (Belle, Aerial, Snow White) could have received more royal attractions. What we are getting is most likely 2 D Ticket rides, and a A or B level walk through with a meet and greet. Please don't get me wrong.. I like the Belle meet and greet idea. But all of this fuss over a restaurant seems odd... yes I've been there.. I went twice. I like it.... but I really want a ride.. not a restaurant. Beauty and Beast could have been a legitamite family E-ticket but instead they went with a restaurant (which makes money $$$) and a meet and greet (which makes money $$$ through photopass).

There is nothing overly critical about this... it's just stating facts. And yes.. Universal is busy building legit. E-Tickets at a breathtaking fast pace.

From 99.194.126.137 on December 7, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Disney should have definitely completed the land before opening it. I thought Disney was the king of theme. Now we have a few new attractions, yay, but where's the rest? And what's with the construction walls and crains? I just can't stand business decisions like this. Sorry to be so negative, I'm as big of a Disney fan as any, it just irks me.
From David Brown on December 7, 2012 at 1:59 AM
I have to agree you are being unnecessarily 'down' on Disney over this. Over here in north Wales there is a new tourist railway - the Welsh Highland Railway. The final 12 miles of this line could have been opened in one push but the company decided to open in in a total of 4 phases. If they had done it in one they wold have had a massive burst of publicity and a real 'wow' but by doing in 4 stages they got 4 pretty big bursts of publicity and an almost constant 'wow' from the press and public for over 2 years. Sometimes it pays to stagger openings.....

As for the whole 'Disney needs to stop people going to Universal instead' debate. Really? Universal has deeply impressive attractions but there simply isn't enough in the parks to keep your interest over more than a couple of days. I find they give great 'wow' but grow stale very quickly. Disney meanwhile offers 4 parks, at least two of which are deeply and wholely immersive environments that repay lingering and repeat visits, plus they offer a whole heap of resorts to explore. Having seen New Fantasyland on preview a few weeks ago I have to say I'm blown away by the attention to detail. Yes it will only feel complete when the Seven Dwarves Mine Train opens but once that is there the whole area is going to be something exceptional. And frankly you don't need E tickets when the level of themeing and environmental detail is so high - Disney understands that people love to simple soak up their parks and have designed accordingly.

You are out of step with the vast majority of the theme park press here Robert who love New Fantasyland even as it is and I think you know why...

From TH Creative on December 7, 2012 at 2:52 AM
Robert writes: “Disney chose to save substantial construction costs by building its new Fantasyland in phases, rather than paying the extra expense to build all four components …”

Robert continues: “Yes, building it all at once would have been more expensive. Substantially so.”

I Respond: Writing as a guy who has worked in commercial construction for 15 years (a background that includes building attractions as a project manager and estimator) How do you figure this strategy saved “substantial” (emphasis on the word “substantial”) construction costs? How would that have made construction "... more expensive. Substantially so"?

From Tom Cunningham on December 7, 2012 at 4:23 AM
Just one point SDMT will open in 2014 so will Gringotts if they open anywhere near the same time SDMT will barely get a mention Disney should speed up the build or it will get lost in the Wizarding World expansion
From O T on December 7, 2012 at 4:44 AM
I think Disney did a wonderfull job with New Fantasy land. It all looks wonderful. That said, attraction wise, there is nothing to be very excited about except for the (still under construction) seven dwarfs coaster ride.
I think it's especialy difficult for Disney to have a contruction site in the middle of a (what will be/already is) very crouded area.
I think, if you want to fault Disney for something, it's that they are building a awesome coaster/darkride attraction with very low cappacity. This isn't a e-ticket rides but guests will see it like that (and they should) but it lacks the scale.

The only thing I realy don't get is why Disney has chosen the already succesful MK to invest in when their other parks could do with some tlc. Making a less succesful park more interresting (like California Adventure) who takes the heat from their most succesful park and adds excitement to another one.

From 70.127.63.182 on December 7, 2012 at 6:19 AM
Absolutely right on. We are Orlando residents and we are opting for Seaworld and Universal passes this year instead of Disney due to Antartic at Seaworld and Transformers at Universal and won't do Disney until seven dwarfs rides opens in 2014.
From 84.56.104.201 on December 7, 2012 at 6:34 AM
Should Disney even try to get more visitors to Magic Kingdom? 17 million a year seems quite enough to create very long lines.
From 72.204.131.120 on December 7, 2012 at 6:58 AM
I don't think it was construction cost. More likely an inept Disney planners/imagineers whom wasn't prepared to compete against Universal.
I cannot understand how Disney fans are not outraged over the Fantasyland expansion. Enchanted Tales is an F. Mermaid C-. No Beast e-ticket ride? Are you kidding me? Restraunt A. A ride in 2014? Universal will soar in 2013/2014.
From Tim Hillman on December 7, 2012 at 8:03 AM
Let's see. Disney has six parks in the US, and Universal has three. Robert writes 2 articles with criticism about one of Disney's attractions and an expansion of an existing land. He writes one article slamming the food at an entire Universal resort....and all of a sudden he's being overly critical of Disney?

Right.......

Looks to me like some of y'all need to get a perspective.

Gotta agree with THC though. It would have been less expensive to do all of the Fantasyland expansion at once instead of doing it in phases. Part of me suspects that they were planning to do the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster a few years out but decided to add it in now because of all of the construction at Universal.

From Don Neal on December 7, 2012 at 8:33 AM
Getting tired of what feels like a majority of the front page stories being negative. Criticism is fine when merited but as the foundation for all stories, it's so annoying and wears on people.

Comparing this to Transformers totally misses out on the reasons for these two projects. While both business decisions, Fantasyland expansion is to deal with large crowds at an already successful park. They weren't doing it to attract more people. It might but the point is to alleviate the pains at peak seasons. So the business goal is to keep customers happy and from staying away from the park.

Transformers is an aggressive move to gain market share. Timing is important. Completely different objective and therefore completely different approach.

I love this site but if the front page is going to take on this critical approach instead of what used to be informative articles then there should be some effort to focus on real facts and compare apples to apples.

Also Disney's decision to phase in the project did a couple of things for them. It spreads out the capital investment, opened up areas to help increase capacity throughout the project and not just all at once. There was a large section of fantasyland and toon town taken out for this so it was important to get back what they could to help with crowd capacity. There is a lot more strategic thought put into this than this article gives them credit for.

Now don't get me wrong, there may be room for criticism that says Disney may have missed the boat in the past five years and this project should have already happened so that they could be working on newer rides to increase interest to compete with HP and Transformers and what looks like a soon to be upgraded USO park. At least now we are comparing apples and apples.

From Eric S on December 7, 2012 at 8:35 AM
I think that everyone is missing the main point of the expansion. They aren't worried about more attendance, although that would definitely be a plus. They already dominate that metric. They want the people that come to enjoy their experience more so they'll come back and spend more money while they're there. Be Our Guest increases spending and the two new attractions increase capacity over what they create, just counting the enchanted forest. It also helps to look at the total package, including Sorcerers, the interactive queues that they have been adding, and possibly other aspects of NextGen that accomplish similar goals. On top of that, they're increasing the atmosphere of the park with increased theming and street performers like the clowns at Storybook Circus and the Fantasyland people (I have no idea what they're called, I hope you know what I'm talking about). It would be great if SDMT opened right now for multiple reasons. However I think with the way that Universal and even SeaWorld are playing the market, Orlando theme parks (and possibly California by extension) being under construction may be the new normal.
From James Rao on December 7, 2012 at 9:12 AM
What Disney built looks great to me, and the fact that there is more on the way is even better. I have no complaints.

And I really don't want to debate Disney and Universal again. Ugh. Such a tired conversation. They're both great - let's leave it at that.

From Anon Mouse on December 7, 2012 at 8:45 AM
I think the criticism is legitimate. The fact is the filler is opened while the marquee attraction is delayed until 2014. As a better analogy, it's like they opened Carsland with Radiator Springs Racer delayed until 2014.

The prior phases of DCA has already opened like the Little Mermaid attraction, the Bugsland spinners, and other various attractions. DCA did their grand opening for the entire land, including the E-Ticket Ride.

Now, Fantasyland has NO E-TICKET ride regardless of when the Dwarfs ride will open. It is still a small upgrade to the Magic Kingdom although it looks big. Its still a big disappointment in all respects. There's lots of empty space there and plenty of walls.

From Todd Donahue on December 7, 2012 at 8:48 AM
I'm pumped I don't know about the rest of you.....

Man I can't wait until 2014 to ride a ride that Walt didn't see fit to build 50 years ago, that no other Florida maybe the world has. I mean look how excited the people are in the test video riding in the back of a pick up swaying back and forth. I mean I'll be getting all my jiggle jabbles out from the water park if this happens in 2014. This is my high priority, second is getting my butthole pierced. When it takes less than a year to build a world class roller coaster at Cedar Point in the brutal winters of Sandusky, OH with lake effect weather and it's taking Disney more than 2 years in Florida to build a kids ride.... I'm so going to be there! ......Sometime in 2014.....riding a kids ride......that was lame in 1960......and still lame today.

From 108.132.95.188 on December 7, 2012 at 8:51 AM
they probably decided to hold off on the mine train attraction so they could have something to go up against the harry potter expansion in USF.
From 220.121.5.217 on December 7, 2012 at 9:07 AM
i agree 100% not only did disney miss an opportunity to give us the full fantasyland experience, but they missed an opportunity to give us a true e-ticket attraction. I will definitely wait until the end of the expansion because i want to enjoy this expansion in it's full glory. I thought the whole reason for expanding is so that I could see the fresh vegetation of an enchanted world, not construction walls.


Disney has better theme. Universal has better rides. I don't understand why I should pay money to see something that isn't complete (scenery is the only reason for me to visit).

From TH Creative on December 7, 2012 at 10:44 AM
I think it is reasonable to assert that all of the attractions in Fantasyland and Storybook Circus can be classified as "E-Tickets" if the park is targeting a demographic that consists of families with children.

I also think it is reasonable to assert that by adding these attractions the Magic Kingdom will remain one of the most (if not THE MOST)successful theme park business models on the planet.

Slightly related: I would not be surprised to see Disneyland outpace the Magic Kingdom in the annual soothsaying,bone tossing, guess-timate published by TEA/AECOM. The expansion of California Adventure could have sent enough bodies next door to Disneyland to unseat the Magic Kingdom's from the number one ranking in attendance.

From N B on December 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Oh my........ (at the above post)
From Rob Pastor on December 7, 2012 at 10:53 AM
The articles I have seen on Disney oriented sites indicate that while California Adven. attendance is way up, Disneyland attendance is down a bit. Many guests go to California Adventure for RSR fastpasses first, which counts as Calif. attendance, even if they go to Disneyland later. So, its doubtful Disneyland will pass up Magic Kingdom in the near future, even though Walt Disney World attendance is flat at this time.
From 50.88.11.143 on December 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM
NEGATIVITY!

You honestly expected them to not open anything until the 7 Dwarfs ride is finished? why? That ride is a long construction project, you want them to keep everything else 'under construction' for another year for no reason other than to satisfy your negativity, what about all those families and guests who would be denied access to New Fantasyland for possibly their only vacation for no reason whatsoever. Get real.

From robert morris on December 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM
First Seven Dwarfs will probably open in late 2013 not 2014, remember original plan for Little Mermaid and Be our Guest was 2013. Disney plays it safe as not to make thousands of hotel guest mad. If attractions don't open as scheduled.

Second Seven Dwarfs isn't the only problem, I count three construction sites in the just opened New Fantasyland and three in the Under construction Studios of Florida

and wouldn't expect them to hold the opening up for one ride, but having the Tangled area and Princess Fairytale Hall open is more a planning issue than anything else

From Dominick D on December 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM
50.88.11.143 has an excellent point. Would you really expect them to keep a finished project waiting?
From David Kirby on December 7, 2012 at 2:22 PM
I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed when Seven Dwarfs finally opens. It's not going to be much more than a themed children's coaster.

I can't help but look at the new Fantasyland and think what a waste of space it is. It's a disgrace that MK hasn't added an E ticket in 20 years and in that time has actually axed one without replacing it. To develop such a large parcel of land and not include an E ticket seems like a missed opportunity. Give them another 20 years and they'll have demolished the Jungle Cruise and replaced it with dueling magic carpet spinners and an Aladdin meet and greet. But hey, at least we'll have interactive queues!

From 108.128.192.195 on December 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM
I heard SeaWorld's Antarctica land could be better than MK new fantasyland because in 2013 Antarctica in SeaWorld will open around the spring. Transformers in universal studios Florida will open in the summer of 2013 as well. That will damage disney world's attendance significantly for the next two years.
From TH Creative on December 7, 2012 at 3:08 PM
Mr. Kirby writes: "I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed when Seven Dwarfs finally opens. It's not going to be much more than a themed children's coaster."

I Respond: Exactly! A children's coaster which will draw millions and millions of families to the most popular theme park on the planet.

From Skipper Adam on December 7, 2012 at 5:15 PM
Is this the post were we get to say all our silly notions and complain about the weirdest things?

To begin with...Robert, so in the same line of logic, should Most of DCA remained closed while the rest of it was finished? Because just like Fantasyland, different elements were greenlit at different times, with different existing structures with different amounts of work. In the end, I think it will work out fine. People are coming in droves already to see a half finished area and just as the hype may fade, the centerpiece attraction will keep them coming. As for it competing with transformers, that's like comparing people who are looking for an iPhone versus a Blackberry, different audiences with different wants so why compare them?

As for the new coaster, it's a high capacity roller coaster on the scale of Big Thunder. It's not a dinky, kiddie coaster. Why some keep pointing out things lost, like the plywood low capacity Snow White ride or the oft skipped walk through houses as great losses is beyond logic.

As to why people are complaining as to why the most attended park is getting all the expansion...well it stays number one with change so get over that...

Get over the fact that there is a fantastic restaurant instead of another dark ride. There is simply not enough space for a ride where the restaurant is unless you want a low capacity dark ride the size of Peter Pan.

Just because a land doesn't have a thrill ride doesn't mean it's not what the park needs.

I could go on, and I'm never an angry person or like to argue or call comments stupid, but after working the Grand Reveal, I'm just gonna say that most comments, and even the article, just is silly, stupid and full of logic flaws.

From TH Creative on December 7, 2012 at 5:43 PM
Note to Skipper Adam: BEST POST EVER!
From Dominick D on December 7, 2012 at 6:51 PM
Skipper Adam, that was probably the greatest comment on this site ever.
From 216.81.81.81 on December 7, 2012 at 6:53 PM
Skipper...Not enough land? Really? That argument might work for disneyland but not disneyworld. Take a look at google map of MK. See that big plot of undeveloped forest and small lake directly behind be our guest and gastons tavern? Now take a look at the nearby haunted mansion show building to the left a little. You have enough room for 3 or 4 haunted mansion size show buildings right there directly in the beauty and beast area of new fantasyland! There is plenty of room for a large beauty and the beast ride. They didn't build it because they didn't want to invest in a ride and instead opted for a much cheaper, and boring, storytime with belle. It's clear to most people they just cheaped out.
From TH Creative on December 10, 2012 at 7:59 PM
Oh and look what dropped on Youtube today ...

From Eric G on December 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM
SeaWorld's Antarctica is an attraction, not a land.

I've just spent the last several days in Fantasyland and what they've done is great! Little Mermaid is a fantastic addition and the double Dumbo spinners was a brilliant decision.

Fantasyland has never really had an E-ticket attraction, so the expansion only improves not lessens the experience that was previously offered. I guess some would argue that "It's A Small World" is the Fantasyland E-ticket.

Rob Pastor, attendance isn't counted for park hoppers based on which park they visit first. That site that reports that is incorrect and that approach would make it impossible to accurately compare the performance of Disney parks against others in the industry with just a single gate. In essence Disney would be handicapping their properties. If a park hopper visits two parks in a day their visit will be recorded once at each park they visit. Re-entries are the only thing that doesn't count in a park's annual attendance. Disneyland attendance is down slightly due to the increased appeal of California Adventure. Attendance is way up at California Adventure obviously because of Cars Land and because of the longer operating hours.

From Eric G on December 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM
216.81.81.81, let me explain why your comment where's my Beauty and the Beast ride is dumb. It's because I can easily say where's my Aladdin, Pocahontas, Mulan, etc, etc, etc dark ride. Why does every movie deserve a dark ride? They're putting a mix of attractions and for the story area they chose Beauty and the Beast. Was Disneyland cheap for having an Aladdin story attraction? No!
From TH Creative on December 7, 2012 at 8:57 PM
Eric G. writes: "Fantasyland has never really had an E-ticket attraction, so the expansion only improves not lessens the experience that was previously offered."

I Respond: Brilliant!

From 206.29.182.141 on December 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM
Ok first of all it incredibly immature to call anyone's comment here dumb. If you can't respect the opinions of others maybe you shouldn't visit a comments thread? Secondly, I didn't say there needs to be a ride for every movie, but since they've build an entire mini land based on BB, most people are going to expect and want a ride to be in that area as well. Especially since its one of the best Disney movies. I think most people would prefer a ride over a cheap story time. Lastly my comment was about the availability of land for the ride, which as I said before there is plenty.
Oh and regards to Aladdin that attraction has been closed for some time now, hopefully tales with belle goes the same way!
From Stevo B on December 7, 2012 at 9:13 PM
Disney pricing model; high priced admission into the theme park of your choice followed by handing over your wallet for the rest of your day - enjoy!
From robert morris on December 7, 2012 at 9:48 PM
@eric

Antartica is opening as a land with shopping, a restaurant, habitats, exhibits and yes and E ticket attraction

I understand things got green lighted at different times but I would be curious as to why Tangled's Area (bathrooms) and Fairytale Hall if planned properly couldn't be open for the 6th...if needed be both projects could have started earlier.

I think most people are hung up on semantics as yesterday was phase 2's grand opening not New Fantasyland

From Tony Perkins on December 7, 2012 at 10:29 PM
@EricG and the other Disney apologists:

Mulan and Aladdin don't have large sections of the park devoted to them with restaurants, gift shops and meet 'n greets. Beauty & the Beast now has this, but no ride. That's a fail. Guests will see all the trappings and be asking where's the ride? And there will be none.

Losing Mickey and Minnie's house meant losing a sense of place for their meet 'n greets as two of the most important characters in Disney's history. Their walkthroughs were charming and set the stage well for meeting them and understanding the characters better for little (and grown-up) ones.

The Casey train is surrounded by an ugly fence, that's a fail.

The Great Goofini is a downgrade from the Barnstormer which had at least some animatronics. Now it's just a basic kiddie coaster. That's a fail.

The Dwarves coaster is going to disappoint a lot of people from what we know of it so far. Another kiddie coaster with only basic theming. We lost a wonderfully themed and classic dark ride with Snow White for a kiddie coaster. That's a fail.

There's plenty of room for a big e-ticket ride in Fantasyland but they built a restaurant and Photopass meet 'n greet instead to make more $$$. That's a win for the accountants but a big fail for the guests.

There are some truly excellent things they have done with this expansion, but to ignore the bad by putting blinders on and pretending Disney has done everything amazingly well is delusional and irrational.

From James Trexen on December 7, 2012 at 10:54 PM
My my, so much controversy.

And over an article written by Robert, no less.

From 206.29.182.141 on December 8, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Also Eric the Aladdin attraction was squeezed between tiki room and the jungle cruise, theres literally no place for a ride without drastically ruining the jungle cruise and its in a land that already has TWO e ticket attractions. The reason why tales with belle is cheap is because there's plenty of room for a large attraction there, which is what my comment was about, the availability of space. A quick google check u can see room behind be our guest and gastons for about 3 or 4 haunted mansion size show buildings! So its a very unfounded comparison.
From David Brown on December 8, 2012 at 3:15 AM
@ Tony Perkins.

I'm not a Disney 'apologist'. I speak as I find from the perspective of a UK resident who is prepared every 4 years or so to spend a vast amount of money on a couple of weeks in Orlando 'doing' the theme parks. We choose to stay with Disney and spend more time there than anywhere else simply because it offers us more than anywhere else, and generally does it better, (but that's a generalization not a definitive statement). (Oh and by the way we are both middle aged with no kids...)

You said "We lost a wonderfully themed and classic dark ride with Snow White". You are kidding right? Snow White might have been original but it was a sub-midway-haunted-house attraction with cardboard sets that wobbled and it felt like it belonged in a travelling fair. We road it once and thought 'this isn't up to Disney's standards' and never went back. Instead we are going to get an innovative roller coaster that will allow the whole family to ride together, which in case you haven't noticed is the Magic Kingdom's big market. Furthermore it's clear from what has already opened in New Fantasyland that the level of landscaping and detail in the SDMC is going to be exceptional which will transform the whole of Fantasyland into one of the most immersive and completely themed lands in any theme park anywhere in the world.

As for people getting down on Disney for adding a new restaurant (Be My Guest), a new restaurant is EXACTLY what the MK needs. We struggled to find a place to eat - for a big park it's surprisingly short of table service places, particularly as several are given over to character dining. Be My Guest is big, attractive, with a broad appeal, and I see no issue with it at all.

Disney are not perfect, (yes Yeti, we're looking at you), but getting negative about one of their finest pieces of work is just plain silly. It's not about how many attractions they have or whether they are 'E', 'C' or whatever ticket. It's about creating an environment which people, and especially families, want to spend time in and they are bang on the money with this one.

Enough already!

From Skipper Adam on December 8, 2012 at 5:21 AM
216.81.81.81 I work in Fantasyland, I opened the Circus and the Mermaid rides. Take it from me, and not Google Earth, that there is no room for much of anymore rides. To begin, with the fireworks where they are, there can be nothing built passed the service road and the railroad that runs right in hte middle of the space. Secondly, there are major utilities in that area. Just cause you see some trees from the sky doesn't mean there is room.

Tony, Are we mourning the loss of cheap animatronic chickens and plywood Snow White because the quality of Dumbo was expanded with shoter wait times and a revolutionary queue and getting a highly themed Snow WHite coaster that has a 40 inch hight requirement and real animatronics?

From Tony Perkins on December 8, 2012 at 5:40 AM
@David Brown

The whole family could already ride the existing Snow White ride so I don't understand why you believe the new roller coaster will be more amenable to families. It actually won't be since small children won't be allowed on the coaster thus separating famlilies. All the disappointed children whose favorite character is Snow White will not be allowed on her ride. Now there's another fail. In addition, the Snow White ride was not cardboard cutouts, it had sets in real physical space. The haunted forest scene was excellent. It's a shame that you will not be able to ride it again as it was better than any Midway haunted house I've ever been on. If Disney wanted to close a ride to save money, there's plenty of other ripe choices in MK such as Stitch! Disney needs to stop messing with the classic dark rides that made them famous in the first place.

I think it's safe to say that most people visit MK first and foremost for the rides, not for the restaurants and shops. The latter are the supports (and moneymakers) for the former that attract the guests to pay the heavy gate fee. Without the rides and attractions, why not just go to the mall and a Disney store with a Rainforest Cafe? In the new Fantasyland, Disney has built the supports to make the accountants happy, but failed to build the ride to entice guests to pay the gate fee or feel they are getting their money's worth after entering. I'm sure many guests will see all the other B&B trappings and environment and wonder where is the B&B ride? They will assume it will be in the Beast's Castle to find only a restaurant. What a disappointment!

I'm glad Robert posts constructive criticism of Disney and other theme park operators. That is what makes his site worth reading, and he should be applauded, not castigated, for his sincere views and opinions, in addition to the objective news he reports. There are already enough Disney apologists on the Internet who either don't want to rock Disney's boat due to fear of losing journalistic access or perks, or are simply blinded by the magic, even when it's not there. Thank you Robert and TPI, keep up the good work.

From TH Creative on December 10, 2012 at 8:00 PM
Mr. Perkins describes the Mine Train Coaster as: "Another kiddie coaster with only basic theming."

And then Mr. Perkins writes: "It actually won't be since small children won't be allowed on the coaster thus separating famlilies. All the disappointed children whose favorite character is Snow White will not be allowed on her ride."

So it's a kid coaster ... but kids won't be "allowed" to ride?

Haters like Mr. Perkins are going to hate. Even when it's directed at an attraction that they have not even experienced.

Oh and here's a video from a family with two very small children riding BTM. The Mine Train will not be a problem for families.

From TH Creative on December 8, 2012 at 6:20 AM
And by the way, didn't Snow White's Scary Adventure have signage warning parents that there were "intense" scenes that could potentially frighten small children?
From Eric G on December 8, 2012 at 9:18 AM
@robert morris This past week and next week were the last weeks of the year that Disney could hold a media event. Two reasons - crowds start to ramp up for the holidays and the park expands hours. Second reason, people get busy for the holidays and the park wouldn't get the same impact from the press reports a couple weeks from now.

Who cares that the one bathroom area wasn't done! Really?

The progress on the Snow White coaster just this past week was impressive. Within a couple of months the crane will be gone and the exterior of the building will be taking shape to the point that the construction site is a non-issue.

As far as I'm concerned very few if any of the Florida rides are classics. The originals are in at Disneyland in California and those are the classics. Nearly every attraction in Disney's Florida parks is disposable. With the exception of Winnie the Pooh Florida's Fantasyland is filled with replicas.

From Todd Donahue on December 8, 2012 at 9:16 AM
TH Creative says: something like don't talk about a ride that you haven't even rode.

Todd says: isn't that the point of most discussions on here to speculate and everyone has a right to there opinion and I really hate talking like this in third person.

Really TH I don't know how you do it. You put a picture of Cameron on here and a guy talking about Avatar land saying they are in their very early stages and come back at someone else for there comment. What gives you the right and not him? It's all speculation and least we know more about the seven dwarfs and fantasyland than Avatar.

Any of you Robert haters out there saying oh how dare he question a theme park on here especially Disney. He's been and seen more things than us combined in Theme and Amusement parks because that's his job. He has a right to speculate and more times than not he's right on the money.

Just my two cents but I think that fantasyland falls short of Harry potter. If we are comparing. It doesn't excite anyone in my family about seven dwarfs or the new fantasyland like Transformers, a new mini Springfield/Simpsons land, and a new Harry land will over at Universal will at the same or earlier time frame than the seven dwarfs does. Universal is where we'll be staying and earning my hard earned money coming 2014 because they've earned it. I love that Disney bought out Star Wars and what they are doing with Marvel but frankly there theme parks in Florida need a lot of fixes and new innovations that Universal is doing. What's going in at the other parks in the next two years? I bet it will be 2020 before we even see that Avatar land if at all. What's the rumor of anything going in these parks other than the dwarfs kiddie coaster in the next five years? Nothing and that's a disappointment to have.

From Eric G on December 8, 2012 at 9:34 AM
There is nothing kiddie about the Seven Dwarfs coaster. Comments like that just make you look foolish. You don't have to like the attraction, but it's not a kiddie coaster and that's a fact. The attraction is clearly on the scale of a major Disney roller coaster. The closest thing to a kiddie coaster is the Vekoma Roller Skater model that is used for Goofy's Barnstormer.

I don't think the Fantasyland expansion was Disney's response to Harry Potter. It was clearly done to address their own needs to improve the guest experience at a very busy park. Even mentioning Transformers is so out of context in this discussion. Fantasyland appeals primarily to young children and especially girls. Transformers appeals to a totally different demographic and the same with Harry Potter.

The quality of the overall execution on the new Fantasyland areas is on par with everything Universal has been doing. Disney can still build impressive attractions and themed areas with exceptional detail. Universal has proven they can as well.

From David Brown on December 8, 2012 at 9:58 AM
@ Tony Perkins

You clearly rode a different Snow White attraction to me. It was so ancient you could hear the creaking...
Families today expect rather more than it offered. I think if it had been that good Disney would still be running it....

And yes, it was advertised as 'Snow White's SCARY Adventures' and as such wasn't suitable for younger children...

But I think others have answered your points better than I...

From Tim Hillman on December 8, 2012 at 10:07 AM
Wow! Over the past decade on this site we've gone from beating Disney brass over the head about the lack of new attractions and for building half day parks to beating Disney brass over the head for not opening all of their new attractions in the Magic Kingdom at the same time.

Some small part of me is screaming SUCCESS! Disney has gone from miserly in the new attractions department to magnanimous. Disney and Universal are both kicking butt, and we are the beneficiaries. Yes!

I've got to echo one of James Rao's sentiments: it's a great time to be a theme park fan.

From TH Creative on December 8, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Anonymous post was me.
From David Kirby on December 8, 2012 at 10:43 AM
Eric G. writes: "Fantasyland has never really had an E-ticket attraction..."

I think 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would like to have a word with you.

From robert morris on December 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Curious what people think on this tangent:

If Snow White had been reworked into a different dark ride: Pinnochio, Mr. Toad 2.0, Sleeping Beauty or something else and instead the Village Haus was closed and converted into the Princess Fairy Tale Hall.

As Be Our Guest and the Tavern have turned this into more of a secondary dining option

And with Cosmic Rays and Columbia Harbor House nearby, Village Haus isn't a real need to have anymore

Heck Tommorrowland Terrace and Diamond Horseshoe don't even open anymore, and Tortuga Tavern is seasonal

Thoughts?

From 72.197.30.46 on December 8, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Skipper really? Disney can't build there is your defense? Disneyaland has 6 major attractions/lands build outside of the train track and the original onstage area as they have expanded throughout the years into back stage areas. And you think a simple service road is too hard for disney to engineer around? Attractions including took town, Indiana Jones, haunted mansion and others. They could build past be our guest and gastons if they wanted to, they are some of the best engineers on the planet. Cmon this is Disney were talking about its only a question ofof how much they wanted to spend and with new fantasy land they just didn't want to spend for a major attraction. Some of us are disappointed for that, but hey if you and others are happy then that's great just not a lot of peoples opinion.
From Tony Perkins on December 8, 2012 at 2:38 PM
Yes, it's going to be a kid's coaster with a 40" height restriction. Little kids will not be able to go on it, but bigger kids will. In other words the new ride will separate families by its very definition. Little ones who like Snow White will not be able to ride her new attraction. The old attraction was open to all, and the sign was simply a warning that it could be scary for little ones. For what it's worth, the bees' buzzing sounds on Pooh was scarier to my kids than anything on Snow White.

From what we have seen so far in the previews there is very little theming for the new coaster, just a couple of very brief show scenes in the indoor portions. Why could they not have kept both attractions? DL has two Alice attractions so there's already precedent. With this new coaster, why is the Great Goofini even still there? It would have been better to save Mickey and Minnie's house instead. The princesses could have gone into Village Haus since two new eateries just opened making Haus superfluous. Disney has made bad choices in the new Fantasyland presumably due to the suits and accountants. Some good, and even some excellent, things have been done but the Disney-does-no-wrong attitude of the apologists simply beggars belief. Castigating Robert and others for speaking the truth that hurts won't make your denial feel any better.


From 206.29.182.249 on December 8, 2012 at 2:55 PM
Perkins...you're right and its funny how people say snow white was scary and therefore not kid friendly. Since when is scary stuff not for Kids? Toad, Pinocchio, pirates and countless other rides have scary elements in them and that's part of the appeal! Disney was never worried to be scary or edgy with his attractions! Also for the record there's also 2 Dumbo themed attractions with Casey junior train.
From Eric G on December 8, 2012 at 2:58 PM
Tony, it's not a kiddie coaster. You're misusing terminology that is well defined. A kiddie coaster is typical an oval or figure-8 layout steel coaster that is about 100 to 500 feet in length and stands about no more than 15-feet tall. This is a custom ride that is on a much larger scale and will be similar in size to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

I'd like to also point out that my three year-old nephew is more than 40-inches tall. He doesn't really like roller coasters just yet because of his age, but in another year he will. This isn't going to divide families. Stop being so dramatic.

Snow White Scary Adventures is no big loss. Most kids, including myself when I was that age, hated that ride. Of all the Fantasyland attractions it was the least ridden and had the shortage wait times.

And lastly Fantasyland finally has enough dining capacity for very busy days and you want them to close one. Your logic is flawed. Be Our Guest is nearly impossible to dine in since demand well exceeds capacity. Village Haus is still needed and Gaston's Tavern is a snack counter, not a restaurant.

From Skipper Adam on December 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM
What is it with the houses? The attendance for those was so little? And you complain about how more rides could go in in stead of restaurants, but the Barnstormer should go in lieu of an unpopular walk through?

On the unpopular note, the Snow White drew some of the lowest attendance, even lower than Stitch. Two rides, both telling the same story, one with plywood cut outs and one with high end annimatronics would be the pinnacle of redundancy.

There is a demand for quick service and full service. I suppose you haven't had much chance to be in the parks to see that all the lines for food places are still long.

As for what is behind Fantasyland...my @%#*$* defense is I opened the new Fantasyland, I work in that area and I know what is back there that you do not know. On that note, just because Disney could build a skyscraper back there if they wanted doesn't mean they should because you want to. Maybe they wanted to focus on other areas besides just fantasyland. Perhaps people here simply are not comprehending that the new coaster is an E-ticket. Perhaps Disney doesn't want to create stupid bottlenecks like they did when they placed Splash next to Thunder. Ultimately, Fantasyland is on the scale they want it to be.

It wasn't suits who pushed for restaurants. If it was them looking for money, there would be more giftshops. It simply was a demand for more dining space.

On a more final note, there are expansion plans for both Frontierland and Tomorrowland. I'm pretty damn happy with the way Fantasyland is turning out, but I think other areas need more work and know it is coming, so lets share some of the funds and get the rest of the park bad ass too.

On and even more final note...we have every right to call Robert out on his criticism. He doesn't make sense. The problem isn't starting the construction at the same time and ending at the same time. The phasing wasn't a choice just because they wanted to. Plans changed, different projects started at different levels, some with dealing with existing structures and some not. Trying to keep people happy, they tried to keep Snow White open as long as they could, and open others as soon as they could. The space isn't compact as WWOHP or isn't all from scratch in a flat parking lot like Cars Land. Already Mermaid was sitting finished inside for a year and in fact the animatronics suffered from not moving.Projects like Avatar land won't be phased because it doesn't need to be like Fantasyland. And The new coaster will open sooner than 2014.

From robert morris on December 8, 2012 at 5:24 PM
With all due respect too the need for restuarants...

Why is Tommorrowland Terrace always closed and why is Tortuga Tavern Seasonal?

Why is Diamond Horseshoe closed?

An my issue with the opening is in the wording as two attractions not one are still not open.

If it had been Beauty and The Beast and Little Mermaid Grand opening celebration this would be a mute point.

I do believe that 7 Dawrfs is going to be more Big Thunder than Goofy and I don't mourn the lose of Snow White, I mourn the loss of a ride area for a meet and greet.

And let's be honest the Tangled area construction could have been done regardless of when it was green lit.

And beyond that and the timing issues of construction I think we all can agree its best when have your grand opening for something to have actually completed building it first.

From Skipper Adam on December 8, 2012 at 5:39 PM
Well there has been a mistake within the media. Disney never called it the Grand Opening like the has been calling it. Disney has been calling it the Grand Reveal because it's the introduction to the New Fantasyland and its backstory. In reality, the whole thing IS moot.
From James Rao on December 8, 2012 at 6:52 PM
Oh, please, stop all the whining! Most any expansion at the major theme parks is pretty spectacular these days, so just take a deep breath, exhale all your pent up hate and jealousy, and enjoy unprecedented growth! I will echo Tim Hillman echoing me, "It is a great time to be a theme park fan!!!!"

And kudos to Mr. Niles for going to the well one more time and getting a few more miles out of an extremely tired Universal vs. Disney debate. And just in time for Christmas too!! ;)

From David Ackerman on December 8, 2012 at 6:48 PM
We've been in Orlando all week with two days at MK.

The Great Goofini? OK, but nothing really spectacular. Dueling Dumbos is nice, but other than doubling capacity, not sure what there is to be excited over. They had the opportunity to do something really interesting, but settled for a playground under the big top. Yawn.

After all of the hype about Under The Sea, I expected much more. Nothing new or exciting here. Frankly, the musical at DHS is better. Enchanted Tales with Belle? Down two of the 3 times we tried to go and had a 45 minute wait the third time.

Gastons and Be Our Guest look to be great additions. However, I predict that within 6 months the suits will rip up the menu from Imagineering and replace them with the same burgers, fries, and turkey legs that the rest of the park pushes at us as a matter of economy. Given the way that all of restaurants in MK regress to the mean, I fear for any menu that dares to be different.

Worst fail? Opening New Fantasyland as 2 separate pieces which don't connect. Seriously, making it hard to go from the "circus world" to Belle/Ariel land confuses the heck out of everyone. Saw a lot of people totally confused about how to get to Under The Sea. A little signage would help, Team Disney.

For the record, we have annual passes to both Disney and Universal. We really like Disney. But... Universal has the momentum and Disney needs to wake up. Promising Avatar (someday) doesn't make up for the lack of improvements to EP, MK, and DHS. (and no, Test Track 2.0 isn't a significant improvement).

From robert morris on December 8, 2012 at 7:12 PM
Since Disney gave the media the talking points and since GMA Disney owned show was promoting "the grand opening"

The issue is Disney's marketing since until your post haven't heard any comment by Disney that its not the Grand Opening

Also since Walt Disney World's own Facebook page uses the term "Grand Opening" on more than one post

I'm thinking you authority on this issue is in question

I'm going put also on Disney when the billboard you buy says "New Fantasyland" you've created its a grand opening

From Eric G on December 8, 2012 at 7:01 PM
"Seriously, making it hard to go from the "circus world" to Belle/Ariel land confuses the heck out of everyone."

There is no way you were at the park if you say this. The walkway are continuous. It's impossible to miss it and impossible to get confused.

From 216.81.81.85 on December 8, 2012 at 7:36 PM
They should've built a beauty/beast ride in the available land behind gastons and be our guest, and they shouldve plussed ariel and added the much needed ursula scene that DCA was missing. Goofini should be removed since SDMT will make it irrelevant.
From TH Creative on December 9, 2012 at 6:36 AM
While I am still not sure why Robert Niles believes that opening of Fantasyland in phases substantially reduces construction costs, I pretty much agree with 80% of what he's offered in the article.

Especially the part where he writes: "I love what Disney's done with New Fantasyland - so far."

That assessment seems a contrast to the collective perspective of those at the firm Perkins, Donahue, Ackerman & Associates.

But regardless of where you fall in this rich and extraordinary TPI discussion ... It's Sunday ... It's Orlando ... And I'm goin' to Disney World! :o)

From Mike Gallagher on December 9, 2012 at 6:42 AM
Does the "Comment Section" have a 100-post limit like topics on the Discussion Board? These arguments are getting boring and redundant. Of course, if it DOES end at 100, I'm sure someone will open it again over there. And tht makes me sad. You guys (and ladies) don't want to make me sad, do you?
From Dominick D on December 9, 2012 at 7:22 AM
Comments close once the article gets off the homepage.
From robert morris on December 9, 2012 at 7:28 AM
Many reasons why fast construction cost more

Shipping cost on expidted orders for supplies
Overtime for labor
Supply cost for equipment being priotized from distributors

Utilty cost from afterhours construction

Insurance rates are compounded during expedited construction

And the biggest one is related to capitalized expenses, via the corporate tax code allows companies to virtual write off profit if it is re-invested in capitalized items for the business but they have to be in the proper ratio

Meaning just because you have a billion dollars in the bank you only want to spend the proper ratio per quarter/year as you can save via accounting up 36% of your expenditures on the project

Meaning Disney could save up to 100 million by spreading it out, while Universal's business plan seems to be not to save the money on tax breaks but instead recoup it via sales


From robert morris on December 9, 2012 at 7:31 AM
Many reasons why fast construction cost more

Shipping cost on expidted orders for supplies
Overtime for labor
Supply cost for equipment being priotized from distributors

Utilty cost from afterhours construction

Insurance rates are compounded during expedited construction

And the biggest one is related to capitalized expenses, via the corporate tax code allows companies to virtual write off profit if it is re-invested in capitalized items for the business but they have to be in the proper ratio

Meaning just because you have a billion dollars in the bank you only want to spend the proper ratio per quarter/year as you can save via accounting up 36% of your expenditures on the project

Meaning Disney could save up to 100 million by spreading it out, while Universal's business plan seems to be not to save the money on tax breaks but instead recoup it via sales


From 75.89.238.111 on December 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM
This might (hopefully) be the benefit to me as a consumer from Disney opening the land in phases: While I plan to wait until 2014 to go when Seven Dwarves opens up, some people might go ahead and plan a trip because what is already open is enough to get them back into the park.... thus hopefully making the crowds more tolerable when I go in 2014.... I hope.

I do plan on waiting until 2014 when it is completed to go back and get the full new fantasyland experience, but I invite others who would like to go ahead and see what is there now to go so you will not hopefully not rush back when I am there in and be standing in my way and in front of me in line (kidding)....... lol.

From TH Creative on December 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM
Um ... Mr. Niles, was your assrtion based upon what Mr. Morris claims?
From Tony Perkins on December 10, 2012 at 3:44 AM
The walkthrough for Mickey's house was not empty, there were plenty of people in there exploring and waiting in line to meet the Big Cheese himself. Minnie's house itself was small but could attract a crowd to that quaint attraction that provided a great back drop for photos with Minnie.

Snow White's ride and the Dwarves coaster will not be telling the same story. They will be telling two very different facets of a story. From what has been released about the coaster thus far, it will be a short ride with a couple of mine scenes. I hope it will be much more, but I'm afraid come 2014 many of you will be disappointed when it is not the E-ticket ride you were expecting. I hope I'm proven wrong though. There's no reason to have the Great Goofini when there will be this comparable coaster as well. And we lose a classic dark ride dedicated to a popular and historic character. Instead of putting a princess meet 'n greet, they could at least replace Snow White's ride with another dark ride instead.

Yes, you have the right to call out Robert's arguments and opinions for criticism but it is philistine to tell him basically to pipe down and only be a stenographer for public relations 'news' releases. Robert's viewpoints and writing are two of the biggest strengths of the site.

Some of the things done in New Fantasyland is superb, the problem is Disney shuffled the wrong attractions and neglected to put in the uber Beauty & the Beast dark ride that should have been its centerpiece.

From Tom Cunningham on December 10, 2012 at 6:46 AM
Just to put my two cent into the conversation.

I think that fantasy land has not overall been well received yes the Disney fans love it because it is an expansion of their concept of what the Magic Kingdom should be.

The non Disney fans are looking at it for what it really brings to the table and the honest answer is more of the same ....so they are looking at it as a fail and a big one.

The real question is what are the children its aimed at going to be thinking ?

Well I dont think children of today are going to be impressed by dueling Dumbo's most wont know who Dumbo is

They definatley wont appreciate fancy restaurants every kid prefers fast food and giant fizzy drinks to sitting around waiting for table service

They boys wont be pushed by the little Mermaid and alot of the girls wont know who she is(and thats a fair comment kids today watch 3D Pixar or Dreamworks even Disney have given up the ghost on hand drawn movies)

As to the SDMT well I have no doubt it will be enjoyed but I think it will fade into the background noise of everything else Orlando has to offer and it wont be what the kids are talking about after their holiday( and thats important)

So thats my two cents for Disney fans its more of the same and a welcome expasion to stuff they allready love to everyone else its a weak extension that offers noting new and if it was dropped into Universal or Sea World it would be slated by the same Disney fans who are now defending it, It works in the Magic Kingdom just...

One last point as to the disjointed building process Both Seaworld and Universal amd also Disneyland seem to be able to plan well enough to build a Land where everything opens at the same time their is no excuse for DisneyWorld's piece-meal approach

From Dominick D on December 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM
Tom Cunningham said,

"Well I dont think children of today are going to be impressed by dueling Dumbo's most wont know who Dumbo is"

I respond:

Um, yeah they do.

Tom Cunningham said,

"They boys wont be pushed by the little Mermaid and alot of the girls wont know who she is(and thats a fair comment kids today watch 3D Pixar or Dreamworks even Disney have given up the ghost on hand drawn movies)"

I respond:

Is this some kind of joke? Disney Princesses are extremely popular with girls.

From David Brown on December 10, 2012 at 11:13 AM
@ Tony Perkins:

I think you have misunderstood what the Seven Dwarves coaster is. There have been a couple of video releases showing virtual versions of parts of the ride but they only show only small parts of the overall attraction. If you visit the Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, attraction at Hollywood studios there is a model of New Fantasyland there that shows the whole of the SDMT attraction. It's nothing like the Goofini ride. The latter is a 45 second mini-coaster. SDMT is going to be several minutes in duration with a lengthy dark-ride segment, two separate lift hills and therefore two high-speed coaster sections covering the whole area currently fenced off. It's at least as big as Big Thunder Mountain and possibly bigger in footprint. It's not going to as extreme as Harry Potter but it's going to be every bit as big and impressive as Radiator Springs Racers which is easily an E-Ticket...

@Tom Cunningham:
I think you're also misunderstanding the appeal of the classic Disney attractions and rides.
"Well I don't think children of today are going to be impressed by dueling Dumbo's most wont know who Dumbo is"
The lines for these rides would suggest otherwise. Disney 'duelled' Dumbo precisely because it's so popular.
They aren't trying to attract people away from Universal. Different market. What they are doing is improving the experience for their core market and they are achieving that aim in spades...

From 71.43.251.146 on December 10, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Did anyone else think the acutall story telling with Belle was lame? The staging and the mirror entry are fabulous but the actual story telling with stick figure characters is a bit cheesy for Disney if you ask me.
From 66.158.60.61 on December 10, 2012 at 5:37 PM
so can we just all get along and love the fact that both Universal and Disney are building some real kick booty stuff at the moment. They are both attacking different audience members at the moment. I personally love Universal's attraction right now in my life, but I also love how Disney is going after little kids right now. Let's be honest, EVERYTHING at the Magic Kingdom is meant for kids. Space Mtn is a wild mouse in the dark with special effects END OF STORY. Magic Kingdom has never been after the audience that Universal goes after. Universal goes after a teenage to 50ish range of people that love thrill with immersive themeing. Disney goes after the people who do not like thrills, but love amazing themeing.... it's really that simple
From Mike Gallagher on December 11, 2012 at 3:49 AM
I'm not an expert, but I sometimes wish people would stop calling Space Mountain a Wild Mouse. Yes, it's a fairly tame ride, but a Wild Mouse is a specific type of coaster, not a generic name for a mild, one-step-above-kiddie coaster...and Space Mountain ain't a Wild Mouse.
From Eric G on December 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Some of the comments in this post are just off the mark.

"Well I dont think children of today are going to be impressed by dueling Dumbo's most wont know who Dumbo is"

Dumbo is the one attraction with consistently the longest lines in Fantasyland at MK and DL. Demand for Dumbo far exceeds capacity and kids love the ride. My nephews would ride it all day long if the lines were short enough.

Disney didn't double the capacity because kids today don't know who Dumbo is. They doubled the capacity because demand remains so great! Clearly, kids today know enough about Dumbo.

"They boys wont be pushed by the little Mermaid and alot of the girls wont know who she is(and thats a fair comment kids today watch 3D Pixar or Dreamworks even Disney have given up the ghost on hand drawn movies)"

Again, with my generation now having kids my friends who are becoming parents are sharing the movies they loved as kids with their children and The Little Mermaid is very relevant. It's a princess film as well and those princesses are very in right now. I'll also add that my three nephews loved The Little Mermaid ride at DCA. We rode it three times in a row. The only other ride we rode more was Winnie The Pooh which we did a marathon six consecutive rides on.

From Sylvain Comeau on December 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The Mine Train ride is taking this long because it was added to the New Fantasyland plans, late in the game. After the negative reaction to the "princess-centric" plans, Disney hastily added a ride, which wasn't even in the design phase at the time. So of course it won't be ready until 2014. So they should keep the rest of the expansion boarded up until then? That wouldn't make any sense.
From robert morris on December 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM
Where did Skipper...?

I was looking forward to more the "inside scoop" about how Disney never said this was a GRAND OPENING

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