I will say that last trip to Disney I took.... I had a friend who had never been to any Disney Park with me..... we went to all the four major Disney Parks at WDW resort and EPCOT was her favorite. This was an adults trip though.
I do think EPCOT could use more attractions, but I have yet to go there and feel like I did everything that day. I still feel like I have not fully explored parts of the World Showcase due to a lack of time.... and maybe money as eating at the resteraunts there is a big draw..... although paying that much for a ticket to get into a park to then pay that much to eat is a little odd for it to be one of the biggest draws of the park (the fine dining, unlike other theme parks usually).
I do think it would be awesome if they could finally put the Matterhorn type ride in that was rumored to go there at one time. Even more dark rides would be a fine addition to me.
To your specific point, most of us love the idea of Epcot. We love what Epcot once was, but the reality of today's version of the park: it needs a 1.2B makeover. It is still my favorite of the US Disney parks, but again, I love what it tries to be, more than what it is.
Looking forward to the new series...
For the past two years each time we visit and ride Soarin' it gets worse and worse. The film is in terrible shape and I actually mentioned it to guest services the last time we were there. They completely agreed with me. That seems to be an easy fix, but.....two years!
Epcot needs two new "E" ticket rides ASAP and some other sprucing as well. My own personal opinion is Disney is quite happy with attendance figures driven by the Flower and Garden show and the Food and Wine Festival and have become complacent.
We were able to get lunch or dinner reservations at pretty much any restaurant at Epcot any weekend day by hitting the priority seating website and that has been nearly impossible to do June through August in years past.
Is it a sign?
First, I think I ultimately have a problem with the critiques that are based on a sense of nostalgia. I don't think one should complain simply because a park doesn't maintain itself in some sort of timeless utopia for you alone. I also take issue with the critiques that are simply pointing out flaws with out offering ideas on how to affect change. Both of these types of critique are just downers and feel bitter.
Second, I would disagree to a certain point about Epcot. Yes, Future World needs to be hooked up to a cash infusing AED and shocked at full power But, I think World Showcase has performed its function quite well. For some pavilions (Mexico, China, and Japan) there are few spots on Disney soil where I can feel more immersed in an exotic environment than when I am there. I think the sensations of seeing, hearing, smelling, and most definitely tasting all the things the World Showcase has to offer is the main attraction. I don't need and omnimover or roller coaster to truly enjoy this trip around the world.
As for EPCOT, I love that park. But I tend to love it to walk around, not for the great rides. It absolutely does need better rides. Universe of Energy has been awful since, well, forever. The World Showcase needs a new country. Journey into Imagination should be, well, better. Regardless, I still adore that park.
And it helps with parks that really do need improvements. I look at a park like Disney's California Adventure, a park I have been to once and thought it needed a lot more to make it worthwhile. While I have not been there in years, it sure looks like they have taken all of the criticism people have given them over that park and improved it greatly. And, for us, that is a good thing.
All parks, the great ones and the awful ones, can improve. As long as you are constructive with your criticism (and don't just fire off an angry email to the park president that states 'Your park SUCKS!!!!!!1111' without stating why it may suck) then being critical about a theme park can help them see where the improvements can come.
Also, if Cedar Point people read this: Please, for the love of God, tear down Mean Streak. I know you tried to make it better, but I have never been on a more painful ride in my life. Love your park otherwise, but that thing is awful.
Epcot is nostalgia wrapped in more nostalgia, and I agree wholeheartedly - it needs a thorough upgrade, in all parts of the park. As a guest once described it, it's "just a bunch of shops around a lake".
Ellen's Energy Adventure is looking sadly dated compared to so many other new attractions these days, and installing Soarin' with a focus on California (?) was a strange and nice addition to the park - but it only added to the mellowness of Epcot. We all love Epcot, but it has few wow factors. Mission: Space is actually one of them, but it still drowns in all the other dated and "cute" attractions the park has to offer.
I don't believe the park should redefine its themes. Rather, update them like they did with Spaceship Earth.
Epcot is nice but I believe it is more geared for adults… They are in need of at least 2 more attractions. I believe Disney gets away with an average park because of the package deal when purchasing tickets. The more days you buy the average per day goes down.
Ask yourself this – Would you pay full price for 1 day at Epcot?
What it doesn't need though, is the cynical, half-glass empty, always negative, nothing-is-ever-good-enough mentality of the internet. There are always people who are over critical and just complain without giving any solutions. That's a waste of time and energy.
So yes, you are still a fan as long as it's constructive criticism.
Robert, I go to Epcot every year, and I always watch Impressions de France; it never gets old, and its so beautiful.
You don't have to patronize a bad park. There is nothing wrong with that. You said "I prefer to see fans be as willing to stand up to businesses as they are to stand up for them." Isn't that the problem? Fans are not standing up to them.
For a long time, people said DCA was a nice place to visit since it is uncrowded. This didn't exactly help DCA since few went there. So its "fans" are helping to keep a park in a zombie state. This is true for Disney Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. They are all Zombie Parks. They are on cruise control since they get plenty of business.
For other theme parks like Universal and Sea World, they don't have such fan support. They must compete. I'm glad they stepped it up and woke up the sleeping giant.
Disney's fans are doing the parks no favor.
I've never honestly been on Soarin', 'cause the lines are always atrocious, and Spaceship Earth, in spite of its apparent age and new changes, is still another cool ride to relax on later in the day after lunch, when everyone's ridden it already.
I don't think Epcot is high on the rankings for super-awesome thrills and stuff, but it's one of the few parks that engage you while it teaches you things and brings you new experiences.
As for the original question, yeah, you're still a fan if you criticize a theme park, because chances are if you're criticizing it you know enough about it to criticize it.
As far as Epcot goes, I've always thought it looked like the best WDW park in terms of theming and atmosphere, but also the worst in terms of an actual amusement/theme park. The place doesn't have a ton of attractions, and a number of them (including almost everything in World Showcase) seem like they would be boring if you aren't interested in the subject matter. Epcot has always been the park that I've said, "If I have to miss one of the four parks at Disney World, it's that one." Now that we have Radiator Springs Racers in California, Epcot really lacks appeal to me and would be at most 1 day out of a 5 day Disney World trip (unless they add a couple major, unique attractions by the time I finally get a chance to visit Florida).
I can say that Spaceship Earth, one of my favorite attractions, has become a bit stale for me. The ride is still great in the beginning, and some of the new scenes are kind of cool. I'm not a huge fan of the new narration, and the ending scene that is all on a touch screen is SUCH a massive waste of space for amazing sets. That ride was just an overdose of eye candy for me (albeit cheesy). And now, it's just pretty lights. I truly feel like the video display at the end of the ride could have easily been done in the pavilion at the exit. Find your face, and then answer the questions, and it'll show you your future.
Mission: Space is also a joke to me. I never went on Horizons when I was there while it was open. :( But, ignoring Horizons, Mission: Space is just a bedazzled spinner. It's really ridiculous how much money the ride apparently cost. To me it's a flop. It's thrilling just by pure force, but is actually rather boring. The zero G part could have the pods be turned more upside down or something. The spinning part is too forceful sometimes, and the simulation part is a snooze-fest.
As with Test Track, I'm actually cool with the updates. It looks tron-esque but from the concept art it'll just be eye candy stuff while educating about cars. I dig. Edutainment rides are one of my favorites.
Ironically, I also feel like Living with the Land, and Universe of Energy are GREAT attractions. I love that they removed the guide on LWTL, and there is something about Universe of Energy I love so much...I can't put my finger on it. Just wish there was more ride part, but I digress.
The thing that epcot needs to start learning is that it IS a theme park. It needs rides/attractions. And if Universal Hollywood can realize this-and get ride of a massive part of City Walk for rides-then so can Epcot. People were talking about a ride that was conceptualized in the Japan section (might've be shelved/not real), and a Grizzly River Run type ride in Canada. If those two attractions were created then that alone would easily make Epcot THAT much more of the park to be at.
(On a side note, I've noticed the ranking of Disneyland parks is so dynamic, that in a decade DCA could be on the bottom, and Epcot could be on the top. It changes often!)
While EPCOT could use some sprucing up, you are honestly telling me that its is the second worst park?
This website convinced me that DCA was the worst thing Disney had ever done about 8 years ago. Now it is greater than the any of the WDW parks?
I gotta tell you something that I did not like about DL the last time I was there (2010). Cast members could not stop themselves from bashing Disney World parks the entire time! It was quite unsettling. I really feel that the CA experience is much different than the FL experience.
Call me a fool, but EPCOT has the extremely successful Food and Wine Festival vs DCA who couldn't even get vineyards for the state to even show up!
Sorry, I had to get that out.
To answer you question, yes, you can be a fan and still criticize
The biggest problems in Future World are the same ones that have been around for several years:
* The Imagination Pavillion; The architecture is beautiful, the water portions are still original and fun to watch, but.......The ride is a mere shadow of what it once was, it needs to be entirely redone. It needs a new 3D movie (EO was always bad and I shrunk the audience ran it's course years ago)The imagination center can't keep up with technology anymore. Rethink the entire concept if necessary
* The Wonders of Life; Shut down for how many years now? DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
* Innovations East and West;They were cutting edge once upon a time, now you go inside just to cool off or get out of the rain. DO SOMETHING WITH THEM!
* The Odyssey Center;It used to be a nice restaurant and way station. Now it's only function is as a bathroom stop and baby changing center?
* Test track....cool, but way too unreliable. Just like GM cars, it breaks down too much.
* Mission Space….cool, but they had to tame it down as it was too extreme for most folks in the beginning
That said, Future World is the most visually appealing of all of the theme parks I have ever been to. Also, there are literally thousands of 'little things' to see and do in every nook and cranny of the park. which are such a big part of the overall experience and appeal (which can’t be rated on a scale of 1-10 like a ‘ride’).
And the park as a whole has more things to see and do then any other park in the world…..by far, in my opinion.
There are also many problems in the World Showcase due to lack of imagination (or money) for several years as well:
Not enough attractions or rides and some ‘countries’ are virtual wastelands (with the exception of dining/shopping areas).
* Morocco, what’s the point if you aren’t going to eat or shop there?* Germany….see above (it used to be the only place they served beer in Epcot long long ago, but now)?* Italy….see above* Japan….see above
There is so much history in all of these countries, why couldn’t they think of some kind of an attraction to put there?
USA, worst restaurant in all of Epcot. Why not put a great BBQ restaurant here? Whats more American than BBQ?
And they need at least 1-2 more ‘lands or countries’ (more if they would dump a place like Morocco which I don’t see the point of as a ‘land’ anyway)?
How about; Australia, ‘the Arctic’, Russia, the ‘heart of Africa’, several European or Asian countries, etc
IOA HP Spider Man Hulk Jurassic Park Bilge Rat Barges Dudley Do-Right
However, I disagree with you on Italy and especially Germany and Japan. Italy used to be my least favorite location in World Showcase, but its really turned itself around with the Via Napoli. I was lucky to be able to eat pizza in the actual Naples. This folks is the real deal.
Germany is one of the underrated locations in all of World Showcase. They seem to have something for everybody: Beer, Toys, Clocks, Hummel Figurines, Christmas. They also have the best snacks in all of EPCOT with gummi bears, carmels, and real pretzels. The indoor buffet is also underrated with excellent food and music. I feel Germany really shows how they are important and how they affect American culture (then again, I am from the Midwest).
Between shopping and food, I think Japan is one of the strongest countries in World Showcase. I think we can chalk that up to the Japanese being extremly good at Guest Service. I would say that they genuinely friendly and willing to help you out! I find the candy lady also a very rare treat (I believe she is the only woman in the world to do this art). You can always rely on the store to find the perfect gift as well! Something for every person's budget!
Maybe this is actual nostalgia, but I have much more vivid and striking memories of EPCOT than I do at any other the other parks. Whether its going down the river to Debussey, watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, or Illuminaitons!
I don't need EPCOT to be Islands of Adventure, but I would like to see some improvements. They don't even need new attractions. If Disney upgraded the Universe of Energy, Journey into Imagination, and the Spaceship Earth descent, that would make a huge difference and completely change Future World. Putting anything in Wonders of Life and upgrading Innoventions would be a bonus. I don't expect this would take funds on the level of the California Adventure overhaul. The infrastructure is there for spending in the hundreds of millions to make a huge upgrade.
Disney is being short-sighted with EPCOT. They're raking in the money with special events, but they'd make it a true must-see destination for everyone with some updates. I'm trying to stay optimistic. Universal keeps pushing Disney to react, and the great success of Cars Land shows what happens when you upgrade the parks.
My wife and I will be back in Orlando this November. It will be 4 years since our last visit and we are looking forward not only to revisiting our favourite parks but also to sampling the new offerings opened since our last visit. And yet when I actually stop to add up what's new it's an interesting mix. Since we last came 4 years ago the following major attractions have opened:
Islands of Adventure: Harry Potter Universal Studios: Evening ShowSea World: MantaBusch Gardens: Cheetah HuntLegoland!
And then we come to Disney which has... a new Star Tours.Fantasy Land would be open if we delayed our trip by another month or two but otherwise there's nothing new at any of the Disney parks. Nothing in 4 years...
Now we are huge Disney fans and are staying on Disney World because why wouldn't you? And we#ll have a great time in the Disney parks as well as the others. But it's sobering to realise that there will have been no new attractions in all that time across any of the 4 parks. I think Robert is right - Disney needs to stop coasting and start investing in order to stay at the top.
I'm looking forward to next week and the following weeks because it looks like this could be a rowdy discussion! Hopefully we can throw in some of the "steel" parks as well! ;>)
I just looked at the prices for Disneyland hotel where it was 500 buck for "value" days to stay in a grand lodge to see cars land. I'm from Ohio so if I go out there I'm staying for more days then just two or three so I'm paying 3500 bucks for a 7 night experience so I can be close to the parks. Maybe get in an hour early on specific days and thats in value days and I'm only talking about the hotel. Prices for my girlfriend and I to eat are out of this world if we want to sit down. Sure we like self service if we are in a hurry but we also like to sit and have a nice meal too. Plus the tickets, every one says its a great value to get more days but you still have to pay for each person in your party. It would cost more than 5000 bucks to stay onsite in a normal room for just two people, me included. You tack on airfare, transportation, sight seeing, souvenirs and it goes up to maybe 7 to 9 thousand bucks, thats allot of cash in the piggy banks.
Just in comparison I could stay at The Bellagio in Las Vegas, a five star hotel that beats any disney hotel anywhere for about 100 dollars a night or the Venetian for about 150 a night. Both of those resorts outshines anything Disney has in the states, I haven't been to anything Disney outside the states so I can't judge, by service, by comfort, by luxury, and by pure awe feeling. Now I get that Disney hotels are close to a theme park but should you pay 4 to 6 hundred more for that fact.
To sum it up because I'm running long, Disney has lost its magic because it put cost to be its major concern where Walt was a genius and he wanted the imagination in all of us to shine is blocked by the dollar sign. WWWD - What would walt do? He wouldn't have prices like this I'll tell you that. Sprinkle your fairy dust kids and come to the giant black ears and have your parents go bankrupt.
It only adds to your point.
Likewise, I used to also LOVE going to Ellen's Energy Adventure. While I thought the message was a bit too political, I was always facinated by the way the whole attraction was put together... from the way the film clips were shown, to the show scenes and the way the ride vehicles moved. But again, it has become too "tired."
Everything in Epcot has become "tired" all at once.
Japan Pavillion: Add a Studio Ghibli attraction. There are two options here that have crossed my mind. One, a retelling of the popular Spirited Away story. It would be fantastic. It could use a modern version of the hologram technology in the haunted mansion. And a race to escape the witch Yubaba would add good thrill to the ride. The second idea would be a tour of the famous landmarks and scenes from the world of Studio Ghibli. You would take the tour in the famous Catbus from My neighbor Totoro. The catbus would pass Totoro at the bus stop, howls moving castle, the castle in the sky, the demon monster and forest spirit from princess mononoke, etc. It would be a fantastic adventure unfamiliar to most American guests. It would also draw other world cultures to cone see their favorite characters from Ghibli films.
Norway: spruce up the maelstrom attraction. Change the entire attraction to a Viking mission in search of Avalon. Avalon was a mythical island the Norwegian believed to be a magical and perfect world. Of course the trolls will interfere and send you home. Other morsel creatures should make appearances as well such as the fairies. Ditch the oil rig at the end.
China: Add a Mulan musical show. It is a great Disney film that needs presence in the parks. Also, add a fireworks factory rollercoaster. You are waiting in line inside a fireworks factory. You take a tour to see how they are made. Well at the end of the tour, a fire breaks loose and fireworks start exploding everywhere. You launch out of the station ad race down the great wall of China. The ride would have some great special effects and thrills for the older crowd.
I've got more but need to save some for when I actually become an imagineer. ;)