-Cost overruns in mainland China due to perhaps corruption and bribery. Now that's a new one.
-Disney spending a lot of money and Imagineering resources outside the USA while letting the Orlando parks outside of the MK languish.
-Attendance growing at a set of parks where the management company (OLC) spends the money, builds the attractions, and delivers the quality.
Meanwhile in the States, the Avatar development moves at a snail's pace while Universal builds exciting new lands and rides. Star Wars Land is still a rumor, and Epcot is left with nothing but the glory of yesteryear. I know that the Disney Corp. has to invest their money where it provides the greatest return, and obviously right now that is overseas, but can the American Disney fan be taken any more for granted?
Of which Disney itself is only investing $344M in a park that is rumored to be behind schedule, over budget, and losing opening day attractions.
Does Disney even really invest in theme parks anymore?
But nope. We're getting wristbands, longer lines, stagnating Epcot and Hollywood Studios parks, and the promise of an Avatar land coming in three/four years (and probably opening in phases, no less, with its headliner being merely a Soarin' 2.0), with nothing substantive coming before then, attractions-wise.
I hope Universal's Diagon Alley is a smash hit this summer, and that - even if only in a small way - it serves to remind the WDW brass that consistent investment in park attractions can still pay off in big ways. I want to see WDW do great, amazing things again.
Even some of the smaller things like the blown out speakers in Living with the Land, the dirty projection on Soarin', screens not working on Spaceship Earth, empty tanks in the Living Seas etc. which should be no brainers to maintain are being neglected. It looks like money is being invested in great restaurants but the attractions/areas that don't provide an immediate ROI are being forgotten. It makes me think more about an article written here that over time you start to lose that fan base as people start losing that connection.
I am starting to wonder if the effects of removing all of those mid level positions during the recession are showing up now in areas such as maintenance.
Yes, I hope Diagon Alley is a massively successful project. I hope their upcoming fifth hotel at Universal is just as amazing and well done as Cabana Bay is turning out. I hope Universal Orlando becomes a destination resort and makes Disney finally realize that they have competition that they can't ignore, spurring them to improve WDW.
If I move back to Central Florida, I will likely be a Universal annual pass holder, and stick to EPCOT After 4pm, and the other parks on the rare occasion. I do love the food options at EPCOT, afterall. But Universal has been earning my allegiance for a while now.