Disney attacks Antarctica with a 24-hour invasion
Disney announced tonight in Orlando that it will keep theme parks in Anaheim and Orlando open for "One More One More Disney Day," another 24-hour operating day this May 24 at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
in Orlando and Disneyland Park
and Disney California Adventure
Thousands lined up before 6am in Downtown Disney in Anaheim to get into Disneyland on February 29, 2012.
If that May 24 date sounds familiar and significant, it's because that's also the date when SeaWorld Orlando is unveiling the biggest investment in that chain's history, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
That sets up a bit of conflict for Orlando-area theme park fans, and visitors who'll be in Central Florida at the start of this year's Memorial Day weekend. Do you head over to SeaWorld for the debut of its multi-million-dollar, high-tech new dark ride and penguin exhibit? Or do you hit up the Magic Kingdom for another Disney marathon? Or do you hope that the crowds flock to those parks and head to one of Orlando's other theme parks, instead?
In Anaheim, Disney's got no competition for the day. Knott's is opening its new wild mouse coaster the next day, and Magic Mountain's Full Throttle won't be ready until later in the summer. (Universal Studios Hollywood won't have anything new this year, as Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem isn't scheduled to open until 2014.) It's telling that Disney's opted to include both parks for this go in California, while leaving the event in just the Magic Kingdom in Florida. The original One More Disney Day drew tens of thousands of fans to Disneyland, overwhelming local streets and backing up traffic for miles on Interstate 5, as Disney had to close the park's gates as after-work crowds swamped the park. The larger Magic Kingdom actually drew fewer guests, as the Orlando area simply doesn't have anywhere near as many local Disney passholders as Southern California does, and late February isn't exactly prime time for tourists in either place.
But Disneyland's largest tier of annual passholders -- owners of the lowest-priced SoCal Select pass -- will be blocked out of the parks this time. And Memorial Day is a huge attendance weekend for tourists. So I'm wondering if the Magic Kingdom won't end up the more crowded park this time. Unless Orlando-area visitors opt for SeaWorld instead, of course.
What would you choose? Let's make that our Vote of the Week.
Let's hear your thoughts in the comments. And, as always, thank you for reading Theme Park Insider!
Excellent! Disney is doing one of it's "24 hour HOLY S*** SPACE MOUNTAIN IS FOUR HOURS" party!
I would choose MK. I've always wanted to do the 24 hour event. Seems like so much fun! I'll get around to Antartica some other time, because the event at MK is only once a year.
Haven't done a 24 hour at any park, but an overnighter at DL comes close - that'd be my Grad Nite, only...uh...a bunch of years ago. It was fun, I left satisfied, but I was certainly ready to leave. I voted SeaWorld.
I'd actually like to spend 24 hours in Seaworld!
This seems like a strange move on Disney's part. Staying open for 24hrs on leap year kinda made sense... but I can not find the logic in doing it this year. Actually there is a large sense of irony in this announcement seeing how Disney's promotion this year is Limited Time Magic. There is nothing limited about staying open 24 hours... again.
It's not a "strange move" at all -- and I doubt that it has anything to do with Sea World's opening of their new attraction.
I did the 24 hour event last year and while it was fun, it was tiring.
Ultimately, anything that gets more people to book trips to Orlando is good for all the theme parks there. And perhaps the extra hours at the Magic Kingdom might encourage
I'll be going to Seaworld and will be expecting a wonderful day in that beautiful park. I fell in love with Seaworld some years back and have been a loyal visitor ever since. Seaworld does so many things right that the choice for me is a simple one. I will have many opportunities to visit Disney's flagship park and the number one theme park in Florida this summer and that allows me to be a bit more picky as to the days I attend.
If an event occurs yearly I would argue that it is less "rare" and more annual. I also find the timing of the announcement odd-- less than 30 days before the scheduled event. In contrast 'one more day of Disney' was announced Jan 1 for the Feb 29 event. With such short notice this year less out of area travelers will be able to change their plans to fully accommodate the promotion. Maybe that is how this can fall into the 'limited time' promotion!
Odd that the park hours calendar doesn't show these hours yet. I've got a flight out of LAX Saturday morning at 6AM. So this is going to be one long night for me!!!
My husband and I were In the parks this weekend discussing why it would take Universal only a few months to complete a new attraction yet Disney is taking a long time to finish the final stage of New Fantasyland. We thought that maybe Disney is trying to hold back on completing Seven Dwarves Mine train to have it open at the same time Universal opens the Harry Potter expansion. Disney's 24 hour day competing with Antarctica's opening reinforces our hypothesis. I'm curious what everyone else things about this.
I find it difficult to believe that Walt Disney World's business model is ever directly based upon the actions of another Central Florida theme park. I believe that Disney maintains a complete (total) understanding of its target demographics and makes its development decisions related to parks, resorts, food, merchandise, activities, entertainment accordingly.
In response to 126.96.36.199
TPI announced the rumored Potter project on New Year's Day 2012. It is said that it will open in the summer of 2014.
I don't know if it's a direct attack on Antarctica because in all honesty I don't think Disney really has to compete with Sea World. The real "threat" to Disney (if you can call it that) is Universal.
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