Published: November 14, 2013 at 12:49 AMSo is 2017 the completion date or just the date of the first attraction
Published: November 14, 2013 at 1:26 AMIf Potter opened in phases with some shops and only the two re-badged rides, the Disneyphiles would have jumped all over it. I would have been severely disappointed as well.
We all know the London side hinged on whether Hogsmeade drew in crowds and generated revenue. I think it took them all of about six months to put the Gringotts ride and Hogwarts Express from paper to reality while figuring out how to fit it all in the sister park.
It would be like visiting in 2014 and only the Express and shops are open with "Gringotts Dark Ride coming in 2017" signs all over the place.
Too bad Disney doesn't move with the swiftness of Universal when it comes to construction. They managed to put up Transformers in record time while working on everything else, including the New Simpsons area and the Cabana Bay.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 1:40 AMNB writes: "Too bad Disney doesn't move with the swiftness of Universal when it comes to construction."
I Respond: Why? I mean ... what's the rush?
TPI (11/7/13): "Disney reported that theme park revenue increased 9% during the year, to $14.1 billion. The company reported that both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort hit record attendance numbers for the year..."
Published: November 14, 2013 at 3:51 AMWalt Disney said it: "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imangination left in the world."
To paraphrase: We will open Disneyland in phases forever....
Published: November 14, 2013 at 4:35 AMI am just glad they are planning on opening something new in Animal Kingdom. If it has to come in phases, so be it.
As for New Fantasyland... the awkwardness of phases seemed to be due to the late addition of the coaster more than anything else. If James Cameron's World of Avatar is planned better and phased better, it won't matter one bit.
As for comparisons to the Wizarding World, both New Fantasyland and the upcoming Avatar areas were/are entirely new expansions, while Potter was a retheme + one new ride. Sort of an apples and oranges comparison, imho.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:40 AMI dislike opening new lands in stages because the new land looks like crap when you open part of it and guests can see the construction when they visit. A good example of this is the new Fantasyland and the new Cinderella Mine Coaster.
Disney can divert attention from this a little better than USF/IOA because Disney has more going on to choose from, but regardless, if I was going to spend some fat stacks bringing my family here for a vacation and loved Avatar, I might put it off until the whole attraction is complete.
That's a dangerous game for any theme park resort because when people wait to spend money, life can suddenly get in the way and that disposable income is gone.
Just my opinion.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:27 AMI think a lot of it has to do with how you present it to the public. Sure, NBCUniversal planned to open Harry Potter in phases all along in its Orlando property, but its original opening was perceived as a complete idea. In addition, the expansion is happening in the sister park, so it doesn't feel so much like an expansion but an entirely new idea. Announcing right from the get-go that a new area will open in stages brings nothing but complaints to me.
I consider the opening of Fantasyland to be 2014, not when its first parts opened. I wouldn't take the time to visit the Magic Kingdom until all of it is there. I can't imagine having visited Cars Land without Radiator Springs Racers completed, even though its at the back of the new section.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:33 AMHee, hee -- "Gringotts Hobbit Coaster"... now that's just funny!
Seriously, I think the whole thing is a matter of approach and appearance. If Disney hadn't announced that Avatar would come in phases, and built a fully-realized entrance and nice first ride, I don't think anyone would have a problem. But going into KNOWING it's not complete is going to make some people wonder "why bother 'til it's done?". And Heaven help them if they do the same thing they did with Fantasy Land and leave a giant construction hole in the middle of the thing for 3 years, 'cause that would completely lift you out of the magic.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 7:17 AMI'm just happy to have a new land and a major expansion of a non Magic Kingdom park.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 7:54 AMI see zero reason to open in phases. NFL did it because Mine Train was a late change to the NFL lineup. They have plenty of time with no interruptions because CMM will be closed and that part of the park will have no guest access.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 8:33 AMAlso, my next question is..
Published: November 14, 2013 at 9:06 AMI responded with "no big deal", but that's only on several assumptions. First of all, I'm assuming that they've learned from New Fantasyland and won't be up giant construction walls while part of is open. Like you mention in this post, that was a terrible idea.
Second, I'm assuming this means certain phases will open before 2017. If they're talking about opening in phases with dates like 2017, 2018, and 2019, that is not good. Why is Disney so slow? Part of me thinks they dragged out the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to have something big that opened the same year as Harry Potter in 2014.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 10:18 AMAs I wrote earlier, there is absolutely no reason why this land should open in phases. New Fantasyland was different because it was different projects with different properties all approved at different times. However, this is still just one land based on a single property with all the time in the world to make things complete. Universal is doing a complete rebuild of an area for the upcoming Potter Land and it will open as a whole (see James, there is grounds for an apples and apples comparison). Frankly, I'm a little shocked that so many fans are willing to let Disney do this.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 11:43 AMSince Avatar is a new land at AK it should open ALL at the same time. Phases is a terrible idea for an area that no one currently has any access too. Fantasyland was and is a whole different ballgame it was something that allready existed and was just being updated to bring it more life and capacity.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 12:19 PMAs mentioned above, sometimes life gets in the way. My wife and I are looking to start a family here quite soon, but we were able to get down to Orlando twice since getting married, to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (phase one), as well as a return trip to see New Fantasyland. Sure we haven't seen both completely finished, but with the next few years looking like raising some children, we probably won't be able to get back down to Orlando for quite awhile, well after both Wizarding World and New Fantasyland are 100% completed. So personally, do I wish they had kept both of these areas closed until completed? NOPE! If so,
So for me, with my set of circumstances, despite the construction going on with the seven dwarves mine cart ride, and it not looking magical, better to see my wife's eyes sparkle as we ate our lunch in the ballroom of the Be Our Guest Cafe etc., than having to wait years to experience that.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 12:36 PMOpening in phases isn't the problem. It is how the new land or attractions are sold. The New Fantasyland was "opened" in December 2012, but the main attraction of the Dwarf's coaster was vaguely dated as ready by Spring 2014. The other attractions like the Princess Hall was opened later like September 2013.
The theme park goer can't plan for these things. Thus, I suppose that's why Disney fans aren't waiting for these projects. Maybe that's why you don't see any effect on park attendance. Either you care, or you don't. Neither will affect whether you will go.
The phased opening of Avatar will just drive me to wait longer for a vacation. The decision to go is driven by the overall increase in rides and attractions than a mere one or two new additions. I supposed Disney's goals with WDW is the tourist market where year to year changes mean little to a tourist.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 12:44 PMI usually don't stick up for Disney World. I dislike the whole taking forever to build attractions, and the whole cutback on their versions of attractions (Pirates being a prime example). HOWEVER!! I do have to say that the reason we are getting the Dwarfs coaster last is simply because the first idea didn't work for that area of New Fantasyland. Remember during the 2009 D23 Expo, there was suppose to be two top end meet and greets in that area. It was planned and ready to go, but people like myself hated the idea of changing Fantasyland into a very "girlish" place to be. I'm not saying anything bad about there not being a place for girls to like, but I do have a problem when that's all there was being added. Lots of people wrote to WDW about this problem, so they moved the princesses to the spot Snow White Scary Adventures use to be, and added a new Snow White "coaster" to where the planned meet and greets are now. That's why this coaster is taking so long to be built. It needed to be finalized through imagineering and then through the accountants before construction could begin. Now do I think construction could move a little faster, OH YOU BET YA, but I do understand if theres a little delay. But the delay that it has now, is just uncalled for. It should have opened around this time.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 2:33 PMTH, I think people are seeing how fast USF can knock out these huge projects and expect the same or better from a company who has deeper pockets and a larger fan base.
What's the rush? Well, in my opinion, it is opening a land while the movie you based it on is still relevant. What if the next couple Avatar movies are terrible?
Always some sort of defense for Disney's decisions....
Published: November 14, 2013 at 2:58 PMNB writes: "TH, I think people are seeing how fast USF can knock out these huge projects and expect the same or better from a company who has deeper pockets and a larger fan base."
I Respond: "Expect?" Where does do these expectations exist? (Insert Seinfeld voice) Who are these "people"?
NB writes: "What's the rush? Well, in my opinion, it is opening a land while the movie you based it on is still relevant."
I Respond: Assuming the success of the finished work is dependent on the relevancy of the film and not the quality of the work (attractions, area developments, etc.) itself.
NB writes: "What if the next couple Avatar movies are terrible?"
I Respond: What if they're not?
NB writes: "Always some sort of defense for Disney's decisions...."
I Respond: Asking questions constitutes a "defense?" Um ... okay.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:19 PMNew Orleans square is the standard to which I measure all theme park lands and attractions. It is Disney's magnus opus and it rides set the industry standard for decades. Even today it remains one of the best theme park lands anywhere imo. New Orleans square actually opened without any rides. Pirates of the Caribbean opened 8 months later and haunted mansion a whole 3 years later. So with that said I don't think a phased opening is that big of a deal. Nobody likes construction walls but we all love what comes after. Misinformed guests who were expecting a complete land but disappointed at the incomplete new fantasyland are just that: misinformed. Anyone of them could access Disney's website and learn exactly what is being offered in the new land.
Published: November 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM"Opening the land while the movie you based it on is still relevant."
Published: November 14, 2013 at 11:12 PMIt's all about presentation and good show. In theory, all lands are in a state of perpetual phases, but the roll out of a brand new land, the likes of which Disney is billing as something people will have never seen before, is something I'd like to think you would make sure is as "complete" as it could possibly be. When Carsland opened up, there were immediate comparisons made to Potter as both were fully realized lands based off of a single IP. But with each one residing on a separate coast, it wasn't really the head to head match-up theme park fans wanted. With Avatar set to open on the East Coast, where the Disney/Universal competition is at it's fiercest, the scrutiny that will undoubtedly follow once Avatar Land opens will be insane. Now you can sight attendance figures and ticket sales all you like for making a case of why not to, and that's fine, if that's how you choose to gauge what ideas are good or bad. Certainly it's the way fiscally responsible companies go about making their decisions. For me though, I guess I'm just an old fashioned idealist when it comes to the creative and artistic process. I would like to see the whole section (all that we have seen thus far) open up at once and blow everybody out of the water, from the biggest nay sayers to the greatest Disney supporters. The impact of a fully realized Avatar land, on the level we have been led to believe they are trying to achieve would garner tremendous good will through out the fan community as well as an obscene amount of press from the main stream media. It would finally be recognized as that proverbial shot fired across the bow from Disney saying to Universal, "don't forget, we taught you how to do this, and we still do it better". As a realist and a number cruncher, the phases approach will be just fine in the end. As a person who prides himself on having a high level of artistic integrity, I say make a grand statement and give us all you got!
Published: November 14, 2013 at 11:41 PMMaybe they're playing the odd/even game. Last major undertaking - Disney California Adventure (FLOP). DCA expansion topped off by Cars Land (SUCCESS). Avatar - not Disney property (will probably FLOP). Star Wars Land (probably will be SUCCESS). Either that or they're already hedging or cutting their losses on what might turn out to be a loser franchise. Sort of like how the Matrix got crappy by the end of the trilogy. Unless it's the biggest con of the century. For example: In a stunning turn of events, James Cameron becomes the sole legal owner of LOTR and the Avatar project is really a front for a LOTR theme park in AK or potentially replacing AK. Imagine in the near future that society and the government will no longer tolerate theme parks that happen to have zoos in them and outlaws them. The phased approach gives time for the Tolkien family to sell out and a way to end AK if pressure on parks like Sea World gets more intense.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 12:00 AMInitially, I think it would hurt a park to open a new area in phases, especially if they've already announced everything. I've got a feeling that if DCA had opened Cars Land without Radiator Springs Racers it would have gotten a lukewarm reception versus the overwhelmingly positive one it received. The same would likely happen with Avatar: if it opens with only one of the two attractions available, that will be perceived as the entire area and met with disappointment after all the hype. Expansions to an existing area, however, can be done in phases as long as the attractions are promoted individually.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 1:59 AMTH, the spin master....
(Edit) I feel like I should explain myself...
Basically, because Disney has a massive fan base and the bank accounts are stocked with cash, they can deliver new projects on whatever time table they feel is appropriate because the people will show up in droves anyways. I guess "They will get it when they get it" is good enough.
I honestly think the fans are last thing on their minds... That is why I'm such a fan of Universal. I like their "Let's get this done in record time regardless of the costs" attitude.
Sorry, I guess I expect a lot more from the company I have poured thousands upon thousands into every year. Which is why we keep coming back.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 11:18 AMI voted no big deal.... but I wanted to clarify that I think it is no big deal if the phases extend outward like Robert suggested as oppose to having sections in the middle of the new section that people are walking through and around still not complete.
I agree that it would have made more sense with the New Fantasyland to have the mine train done first and maybe had the outer edge attractions open later if they wanted to do it in phases.... I wonder if the reason Disney did it that way in this example though.... was because originally the Seven Dwarfs mine train was not expected to be part of the expansion.... but actually something they came back with when they realized their first set of plans released were not impressive enough for fans and they needed the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to really make the expansion be something to get excited about for many fans.
I am excited about the new Fantasyland regardless of the roll out order though..... but I do think the idea of working toward the outer edges instead of starting with them and working inward works better. I myself though, chose to wait until the whole land was completed to visit. So I really have yet to see New Fantasyland.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 1:04 PMI think it really depends on how the land is "phased in". In my opinion, they would be making a huge mistake if they can't open a land complete with an e-ticket, c or d ticket, and a restaurant/show. Why would people go to a land just to walk around or just ride one ride? There's got to be enough there to stimulate them and enough to whet the appetite to return when the successive phases are complete. It's like building a shopping mall...Most malls can be successful if you have at least one "anchor" store and a bunch of smaller stores supporting it. However, if you just open a few smaller stores and say the anchor won't open for another year or two, those smaller stores better be pretty darn important. The converse also applies in that you can open an anchor without the smaller stores, and while that type of phasing-in is typically successful, is it really a shopping mall or just a Macy's?
I think New Fantasyland is a bit different in that the first phase was essentially a moving and reimagining of existing attractions (Storybook Circus), while the second phase brought the real meat and potatoes of the expansion (Little Mermaid, Be Our Guest, etc...) with the E-ticket (Seven Dwarves Mine Train) coming last.
With the case of Avatar, I really don't understand the need to phase it in....The area is conceivably taking space in the park that will be completely closed off, so it really doesn't make much sense to open it up unless it's mostly done. Now if one of the attractions is not quite ready when the "grand opening" happens, I don't think that's such a big deal (I seem to recall that IOA opened before Spiderman was finished). However, if you're walking into a brand new land with just a couple of things open and a bunch of construction walls up, I think that's a huge mistake and is a big middle finger to guests who can't swing a trip to Orlando every year.
However, if they have a true "second phase" of development planned for Avatar (meaning a second e-ticket, or multiple smaller attractions in a seperate area beyond the existing footprint of Camp Minnie Mickey), then it's not such a big deal.
Theme parks are always evolving, and if guests are always waiting for the newest stuff to open, they will never visit or at least never satisfied with their trip. However, to open a land with just a few things or one or two attractions just to open it; or to say "Avatar Phase 1 is open" so the marketers can spread the "newness" over multiple years, that does a huge disservice to the theme park guest, and could ultimately lead to dissatisfaction and guests not wanting to come back to see phase 2 or 3 or beyond. Avatar is a land that is unrelatable to the rest of DAK, unlike New Fantasyland, so it must have a complete narative in order to make sense. Opening it one piece or attraction at a time just isn't going to cut it. Now if Phase 1 is the forests of Pandora with the rumored "Soarin'-style" e-ticket, boat ride, and other smaller attractions and Phase 2 is the oceans of Pandora or some completely other envisioning complete with its own e-ticket and other related attractions, then Disney will be just fine with this phased opening plan.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 12:57 PM"I am excited about the new Fantasyland regardless of the roll out order though..... but I do think the idea of working toward the outer edges instead of starting with them and working inward works better. I myself though, chose to wait until the whole land was completed to visit. So I really have yet to see New Fantasyland."
It is quite a bit of an annoyance. We happened to visit last October, right between the "soft" open and the cast member previews, so we didn't get a chance to see Phase 2 of New Fantasyland. Phase 1 was very nice, and an obvious improvement over the backside of Fantasyland from before. However, the giant construction zone right smack dab in the middle of the area was, and continues to be, quite an eyesore.
We deliberately chose not to go again this fall since the land still wouldn't be completely open, and are instead planning a trip next fall (also well after the debut of Diagon Alley) to experience the whole of New Fantasyland. Personally, I think if you should always work from the inside out, but in this case, since the former Dumbo area was so critical to the expansion plans that the ride had to be moved first and immediately reopened because of the ride's significance, the reasoning behind the phase opening makes sense. Disney has some explaining to do if the phased opening of Avatar is not two distinct sub-lands.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 3:42 PMFirst of the New Fantasyland thing is just ugly. The whole land could be opened in one fase and construction could go on not interrupting anything. With better planning the snail mini mine train could have opened much quicker but it's clear Disney pushes it to the opening of HP fase 2 and that is sad because their ride will never get as much media attention then the Potter land. Also there is no need to compete because New Fantasyland has a complete other public then HP.
Avater is also build in a place that can be locked of from the main park. It would make sense for Disney to open their night time show around the tree of life first, companioning it with the "shine a flashlight in the face of animals" thing they planned to open.
For Avatar they should open it all at once. It got only 2 simple rides and their building is part of the theme so people visiting should get the whole experience and I thing the land needs it to win the many non fans of the movie over. Disney has an enormous amount of cash so their is no need to smear this out of many years. And if the coming Avatar movies are successful they can start putting up construction walls to add some more rides for a park that need more then 2 rides added.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 8:03 PMTH, I respect you and your opinions. I just don't have to agree with them....
Nothing wrong with a little debating on TPI. That is what I love about this site. No knuckleheads calling each other vile names, just a civil difference of opinions.
I'm sure you and I will get along great when we finally met up for a cocktail some day. I'm buying... doubles.... Oh, and it has to be at Universal. I'll have your parking validated.
Published: November 15, 2013 at 8:11 PMNB writes: "TH, I respect you and your opinions. I just don't have to agree with them...."
I Respond: The only "opinion" I have posted on this thread is "Truth be told, the construction site in the middle of Fantasyland is unsightly. But whether or not Pandora is opened in phases is less important than how it is opened. If the construction does not impede site lines then ... meh."
And you disagree with that?
Published: November 15, 2013 at 10:02 PMFWIW, Festival of the Lion King's last performance will be on January 5th, 2014 and won't reopen in its new theater for six months. For me, opening Pandora in phases is a terrible idea.
Published: November 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM"Oh and while I have your attention, it's weak sauce when a theme park resort in Orlando charges hotel guests to park."
I Respond: That is your opinion stated as fact, and I happen to disagree.
Or, they could just tack on $20 a night to the room rates, like Disney does and call it "free". Recently leaked internal memos from Disney prove my case....
Published: November 16, 2013 at 3:49 PMI would rather them tack it on to hotel room costs than have to go through the pain of paying at the parking lot. Just like the dining plan, I would rather have all my meals paid for than have to pay for every meal.
Published: November 18, 2013 at 9:51 AMI voted No Big Deal, because even though we themepark nuts may find it less than ideal the majority of people, especially Disney-fanatics, will eat up whatever Disney offers up as "new".