José María Sandoval

Published: April 29, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Thanks for the anual report link.
Tim Hillman

Published: April 29, 2014 at 8:06 AM

Wow! Three things that you would never expect.

-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?

Published: April 29, 2014 at 8:41 AM

" investments totaling $5.6 billion dollars in Disney theme parks over the next decade."

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?


Published: April 29, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I agree with Tim. Disney World has gotten the shaft. (And I am a Disney fan) Some will say the Magic Kingdom got some love with the new Fantasy Land expansion, but when you do something that needed to be done a decade ago it’s kind of hard to be give them credit. Fantasy land basically got another Spinner and a tent. A cloned Mermaid ride (yawn, one ride is all you need) 2 meet and greets, a kiddie coaster that took 3 years to build and Beauty and the Beast restaurant (good luck getting a reservation to eat there) While it’s all visually appealing there really is no substance. I’m sure Avatar (if it really gets build) will be visually appealing as well. I don’t see people rushing to buy merchandise, toys, or food. (Which every attraction now needs to be build on some IP that will generate more $--no more original attractions for WDW) Hopefully they will be able to pull of the two rides in Avatar which sounds like a boat ride and a Soarin 2.0. I can only imagine what the summer crowds will be with this new Fast-pass plus. (Since it was a GF last Wednesday at 3 P.M. with moderate crowds.) I guess the WDW parks are not worthy of a Mystic Manor, Rataouille, Cars Land, or Star Wars land. I would even take a Frozen or Tangled dark ride. Disney-- get with the program or eventually the blind sheep will realized how lazy and complacent you have become, while Universal created a Transformers ride, Harry Potter land, and an entire hotel in 12-18 months!
Brett Blake

Published: April 29, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Great news for Asia, sure, but it's kind of a case of the rich getting richer; the Tokyo resort is already the cream of the Disney resorts crop, and now they're plowing ahead with continued massive investment. It's a little disheartening for Walt Disney World fans. Just imagine what $4.8 billion in new attractions investment at WDW could bring: an overhauled Epcot, a full fledged Star Wars land as part of a park-wide refresh of Hollywood Studios, much-needed refurbishments and upgrades at the classic attractions that already exist...

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.

Published: April 29, 2014 at 12:57 PM

I couldn't agree with Brett more. I wonder at times if Disney is afraid to invest in the WDW attractions (especially in the other 3 parks) as in doing so will shine a light on all the other attractions/areas that are currently being neglected...look at Epcot alone, the Wonders of life Pavilion, what it now calls the Odyssey Center, a majority of the Imagination Pavilion for biggies.

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.

Gabriel Schroll

Published: April 29, 2014 at 8:35 PM

I agree with pretty much everything that was said in the previous posts. But $344m in investment in Asia is not all that much, guys. The $4.7b is entirely funded by OLC.

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.