Personally, I think some of the frustration isn't with quantity, but rather velocity. Universal has rolled out Diagon Alley in two and a half years. There's also the issue of perception ...
We know we'll get some amazing experiences from Disney, but while Universal rolled out Diagon Alley in what feels like overnight, Disney gave us ... wristbands. Again, not the truth of the matter, but perception. Universal is giving people more of what they want, Harry Potter, Transformers, Despicable Me ... while Disney is giving us an Avatar-land no one but James Cameron was clammoring for. Will Disney make it amazing? I'm sure, but these are all of the perception challenges they're dealing with.
Quite frankly, I'm all for giving Disney time if it means getting experiences like Cars Land, which is a phenomenal achievement. I have high hopes for what they'll do with Frozen which seems eminently bankable. It's just tough to know that there are so many other great attractions down the road, while I don't have much new to experience at WDW since my trip three years ago.
I hate the comparison to Universal as if Disney must catch up with them. Certainly, I have complained that Disney hasn't caught up with the Spider-man attraction, which is an entirely different thing. Disney does not need to catch-up with Harry Potter since it owns Star Wars, which is comparable to Harry Potter in whatever metric that needs comparison (rabid fan base, engrossing storyline, merchandising opportunity, box office powerhouse, immersive environments). We haven't given Disney the chance to exploit Star Wars since ownership.
It is funny how the fans have demanded Disney license Harry Potter and admit that if it had it, the results would not be so good with the cost cutting that they do in Disney World property. Disney should not license Avatar, yet should license Harry Potter. How contradictory.
Then again, they already fear Avatar will be in two phases, or just cut back to one phase with the anticipated cost cutting. Thus you still get a half-baked result. This lessening of ambition will likely happen to Star Wars Land and probably Cars Land in DHS. So Disney is unlikely to match The Wizarding World of Harry Potter plus Diagon Alley although the fans will get some new attractions to visit. Yet Disney won't disappoint where merchandising occurs. The stores and restaurants might actually be more interesting.
Disney has a long term plan. In the meantime, you can enjoy Universal. This competition forces Disney to execute better. It seems foolhardly to expect Disney to match Universal one-on-one when the dust hasn't settled. Universal still lags Disney in serving kids under 9 years old.
I get what you're trying to say, but the first day of Christmas is Christmas Day and the 12th day of Christmas is January 6. I promise you that no one on Christmas is impatient for January 6.
In all honesty, Universal had alot of ground to make up. Remember, it wasn't until 2001 that Universal "put their back into it" and built something remotely denting.
Personally, I agree that what is good for Universal Orlando is good for Disney World. It keeps everybody on their toes.
I think the problem with WDW is the Cali execs are looking at it and saying "if it ain't broke, why fix it". WDW makes money hand over fist.
I went to both Universal and Disney last year and actually enjoyed both for completely different reasons.
My frustration with Disney is how they are treating everything else. Mediocre food, mediocre service, insane crowds, insane strollers, dirty bathrooms, limited seating, and chopping up anything that's left over for DVC.
If I just wanted the latest and greatest attractions, I'd go to Six Flags. They add more rides more often and are a lot cheaper. But you couldn't pay me to go to Six Flags because of the horrible food, horrible service, insane crowds, etc.
I hope Avatarland is a great new addition. I still have confidence in Imagineering's ability to product amazing things. However, if the rest of Disney is left to deteriorate because of it, my interaction with Disney is becoming similar to my interaction with Six Flags. Wait a few years until they add some new "must ride" attraction, ride it, and then get the heck away from the park as soon as possible because there are much better things to do elsewhere.
I feel that Walt Disney World is about to experience a renaissance. With infrastructure improvements, hotels, Magic Bands, and Disney Springs, all being things to prepare for the mass of crowds, and excitement to come when Disney brings in the big guns.
A cast member at Animal Kingdom said that the park has a lot of, "exciting, yet to be announced, groundbreaking attractions coming along with Avatar."After Avatar comes, along with the nighttime spectacular and any of the additional things referenced by the cast member, Animal Kingdom will easily be one of the most beautiful parks in the world.
Epcot will likely be getting a completely renovated Soarin', and at least one "mystery attractions" (most likely Frozen) is in the works. Epcot is already a unique experience with World Showcase, but with these two updates, the park will be one step closer to being complete with attractions. (an area the park lacks)
If Hollywood Studios gets Star Wars, it will be the big competitor with Universal (the parks appeal to similar demographics). And in my opinion, it would likely surpass Universal parks individually. With TOT, RR, and Toy Story Mania already being some of my favorite rides anywhere.
A magical family park (Magic Kingdom), a unique educational park unlike anything else (Epcot), a thrill park that attracts teens and young adults (Hollywood Studios), and a beautiful emotional park that will stun people before getting on a ride (Animal Kingdom), these when completed, will give Disney a dream team of parks. All accomplishing different purposes.
And yes, Guardians of the Galaxy must make it to the theme parks. It is this generation's Star Wars. Simply a terrific film, and yet another money making powerhouse for Disney.
And if you don't wear your magic band pink bunny costume you cannot even see the gifts and you will be stuck at a lame 24 hour dance party.
Universal is festivious, the theme park for the rest of us.
It's a bright future because Disney has ip's they can capitalize on. Sure but how long did they had the theme park rights for Star Wars, forever. It took a takeover of Lucas Studios for them to finaly update that tired old Star Tours (a ride type you could find in many theme park bust most of them scrapped them). They didn't want to put the money in it for what the maker believed was necessary to make it great for the fans. That is the exact same reason why they didn't got Potter. They wanted shops as big as a Wallmart and cheap out on other things. Not to build it for the fans but for their investors. Would the 3 broomsticks had a butterbeer collectible mug or one with the face of Potter on it? Look at new Fantasyland for you answer.
Then lets look at Disney history of rides. From a disappointing (but very nice looking although horrible themed mess) new fantasyland, the Nemo update for the Living Seas, Mission Space, the update for the Immagination Pavilion, Yeti and most rides at AK including Funspot USA, The Jack Sparrow Experience and even the techdemo that is Soarin or the Wii game Toy Story Mania. All rides that disappoint me and don't have a place in a world class destination. Hell even the outside of the Star Tours shop looks awful!
Then look what Disney is doing for their guests experience to reduce their construction efforts. New Fantasyland had a building pit in their for many, many years, Pleasure Island was a gost town for many year and now the whole of Downtown Disney is a building site. Even the parking garages take forever to build. And AK is one wall of many projects going on at the same time. And how long is that castle hub parkinglot going to take? They could focus on just a few projects and put more people on there until it was finished and then start a new one, they could pay crews to work 24/7 to speed things up but Disney wants to save money and don't care about the guest experience because they keep coming anyway. Or take rides like It's Though to be a bug. Need that ride to be closed during peak season in a park that already is lacking rides or could a 3th shift service that theatre at least until low season.
Again it's not that I'm worried Disney isn't building new rides it's that they lost what they where about, what Walt was about. But thankfully there is a new Walt and a new Disney World, it's called Universal Resort Orlando and it's a place where people get tears in their eyes when they step into a new world, where people cheer when the dragon breeds fire and where people are in awe after they road a new ride that is beyond what they think they could experience.
For reference the Fantasyland expansion was announced in 2009...the mine train opened in 2014.
Does anyone else think that staggering the opening of New Fantasyland may have hurt Disney? I can only imagine that if the complete expansion opened all at once that it would have been met with more excitement. If you think in terms of the project as a whole it is quite impressive, but opening the mine train years after the rest of the land seemed a bit anticlimactic.
The issue is not their intellectual property; it's the best in the business.
It's not the level of creativity; Imagineers rival Universal Creative as the best in the business.
It's the willingness of TDO to prioritize customer service and organic growth at the parks. Until that changes, it will forever be December 24 in Orlando.
Disney's had the rights to Pixar intellectual properties for how long? And we've seen what? Oh yeah, a great land that rescued a DOA park, one good shooter ride, a lame movie attraction, an overlay on an existing attraction, and a cute interactive show? (OK - good work on the West Coast; not so good on the East Coast)
Disney has had the worldwide rights to Marvel intellectual properties except for North America between the Mississippi and the Atlantic Ocean for how long? And we've seen what? Oh yeah, nothing.
Pandora has been promised to be added to DAK for how long? And we've seen what? Oh yeah, Diagon Alley added to Universal Studios Florida.
I'm 53, and I hope that Social Security will still be fully funded (Get to work you young people; my retirement depends on you!) because at the rate Disney is moving on adding rides and attractions to their parks, I may be halfway into senility before I see any of these rumors come true.
Hey, maybe the Oriental Land Company will add a third gate to the Tokyo resort, and I can go there to see all of the great things the Imagineers can do!
I live in Tampa, and as a result of our close proximity to Orlando, our family holds annual passes to WDW and Universal. Both parks have specific strengths they play to, and do it quite well. But I have to say that while I adore Disney World, I have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of urgency on display by the corporate managers, and the amount of time it seems to take for them to get something built!
I believe poster Tim Hillman expressed my very feelings about this extremely well (thanks for reading my mind, lol) so I won't belabor those points specifically.
We visited Diagon Alley yesterday for the first time, and for a second, it literally took my breath away. It's that stunning. The size and scope of it in pictures do not do it justice. The attention to detail EVERYWHERE is even better (dare I say it) than anything I have seen Disney do. And from concept to actual opening date, they did it in less time than Disney managed to roll out the Fantasyland expansion. That is insane. And yet, Universal proved it can be done!
I believe Disney has it in them to make attractions and experiences just as amazing in their own parks. But don't give me a clamshell ride and a rocking mine train over the course of two freaking years (really? Why not suck it up and build it all together, for bigger impact) and then try to tell me I should be thankful for it when 15 minutes away I can be on state of the art attractions. Both the Little Mermaid and Mine Train are fun additions, don't get me wrong- but they aren't exactly ground breaking. THAT is the kind of complacency I am talking about in terms of the management making the decisions to build things.
I am a HUGE Star Wars fans and while I'm excited for the expansion in the Studios, I'm not holding my breath for anything tangible until at least 5 years from now. And that is ridiculous.
Ok, rant over. Look forward to discussing all the fun with you!
A great example of this is the SDMT. Highly anticipated, much talked about, and in this person's opinion falls way short of these expectations.
I know every ride cannot be an E ticket like Splash Mountain, but this was the centerpiece of the new expansion.
One positive out of this is it is an excellent first coaster for kids. It definitely won't scare them. My biggest fear was a hard stop at the end because it might have broken my kneecaps as there is precious little leg room in the ride vehicle.
We've lived in Orlando for 11 years now and I feel Universal has really done some creative improvements to earn my entertainment dollar while in the same time Disney has just introduced more ways to spend it. There is a difference.