General Park News - (6/22/11) The latest reports on the Disco Yeti at Animal Kingdom are not good… from what I’m told the Yeti is no longer covered up… nor does it appear to be lit up by strobes. According to two different reports, the final room is almost entirely dark… you can barely see the Yeti just standing there in the dark… doing nothing, which is kind of sad. So I guess instead of Disco Yeti... we now have Emo Yeti. At this point, I think I’d be happy to see a Stilt-Walker in a Yeti Costume dancing the to the Macarena than to have nothing at all.
Disney is going to have to remove the whole structure that supports the Yeti, disconnect him, and do work on the support structure, and then re-install everything. To accomplish this fix, the coaster would be down for up to six months. That's why it has been such a major problem.
Personally, I think it is better in the long run for Everest to be closed for several months and emerge shiny and new, than to minimize the main narrative element of a story-driven ride as they have done for the last four years.
Shame on Disney for building a park with so few attractions that a single ride closure could become such a huge customer service nightmare. Just think how much easier a few months of Everest downtime would be if the once-planned Beastly Kingdom had been built as intended...
Who was cutting corners and made the call "One single Animatronic can't possibly need that much load bearing stress resistance! Use this number, not that one!".
And, I agree with Victoria, if Dinoland was nuked and replaced with something more fitting of a Disney park (think Paradise Pier makeover), then Everest downtime would not be a huge issue.
That being said, my next visit to WDW (presuming the world doesn't end first) will be in fall 2013. Disney has at least two more years to correct the Yeti, otherwise DAK may not be on my list of parks to visit. I can easily add another day at Epcot instead.
The question I've lately found myself asking about this whole Yeti debacle, is why was there such a need to build the beast with such massive power, energy and force exertion. You always here how the Yeti is able to exert as much energy as a 747 jet. Lots of good that does you when the ride is open for only 5 years and the star of the show has been down for most of that time. Really though, it's the base of the animatronic that was under engineered as opposed to the Yeti being so powerful. What a waste of money and R&D to just have something that advanced sit around in the dark getting hit with strobe lights and fans.
It's odd that a park so financially well endowed and so highly regarded for upkeep and quality would let the centerpiece of a 100 million dollar ride dance like an idiot when it should be scaring people.
But the tide is turning. I just bought some matches and a plane ticket....
I'm sorry, but I just can't believe that the amazing Disney Imagineers can't come up with a creative solution to this problem. These guys are the best minds in the business. Maybe they don't need to rebuild it the same way it was built before; maybe they can improve the design and simplify it to work better and longer than before. The audience only sees it for a second. Maybe it doesn't need the range of motion it has. There has got to be a better fix for this than a disco ball.
Take away the animatronic and replace it with a cast member in a Yeti suit. Arrrrh!
Seriously, these Wal-Marts pop out of nowhere. Maybe Wal-Mart should fix the ride? Yes? No?
First to address the yeti problem:
Disney obviously cares what people thinks about their parks, considering they are about ten times cleaner and more efficient than Universal, with a free FastPass system to boot! We just have to look slightly beyond our comfortable world of theme park enthusiasts and look at the logic. Most people are not like you and me, most people don't know the mountain at Everest is 200 ft tall (the tallest in FL) and the trains reach speeds up to 50 mph. Another thing they do not realize is that the yeti is not in full and normal operation. Our yeti still out does Mattehorn's yeti every time. Disney knows that not everyone in the world knows everything that there is to know about Disney, and that most people (who most likely visit less than once per year) would prefer to ride Everest the way it is now than be reassured that the ride is being improved for when they visit next in 3-4 years. If you think about it, what Disney is doing about the Yeti situation is completely logical.
For those of you who think that Everest is just not a good ride, you are entitled to your opinion, but me as well as most otherrs who ride (along with a fair amount of theme park enthusiasts) are going to have to disagree).
As for you Animal Kingdom bashers, sure, we did not get the best possible experience out of Animal Kingdom, but it is still an AMAZING theme park, and hands down better than a Universal park any day. Again, you just have to get out of that ALL COASTERS ALL THE TIME mode, because you will be disappointed. If people would just slow down and enjoy the baobab trees, than they would realize that Animal Kingdom can be a great place. It has two of the best live shows in Disney history, a good (albeit small) collection of rides, a safari that can't be beat unless you travel to Africa, two awesome animal trails as well as so much more. Does Dinoland USA leave something to be desired, sure! However I will take it over hometown crappypark any day. We have been spoiled by Disney, and while its not a bad thing, we just have to realize every once in a while that we are lucky for it!
Now I will get off my soapbox before I get rotten vegetables thrown at me.
1) The Yeti Choke - a problem that is a slap in the face to Disney fans each day it does not get fixed. There is nothing logical about letting the main narrative element on a story driven ride fall into such a state of disrepair. Whether they are "in the know" or not, people should get off that coaster saying, "Wow! That was awesome! Did you see the Yeti - he was amazing!" Instead it's more like, "Meh. That was pretty good. Did you see the Yeti - at all?" The ONLY reason Disney has not fixed the problem is because they know the down time of Everest will impact attendance - or in other words, their bottom line. If greed is logical, then they are making a logical choice.
One more thing: at least the Abominable Snowman in the Matterhorn (a half century old attraction) fulfills the full measure of its creation. The Yeti at Everest is nothing more than a broken prop or a museum statue, silent, unmoving, and barely visible.
2) Rafiki's Planet Watch - a subpar petting zoo not worth the time investment of a round trip on the train.
3) Dinoland USA - a small piece of Six Flags at a Disney park. Utter crap.
4) Too few attractions (half day park syndrome). Now, I am all for exploring the park in a leisurely, zoo like fashion, as I wrote in my 2010 WDW Trip Report ("I love Animal Kingdom and think it is a near perfect mix of theme park and Zoo. Therefore, I am one of the few people who think it is a two-day park because there is a wealth of exploring to do and many hidden treasures.") However, my sentiments do not resonate with how the "average visitor" seems to feel. After the three o'clock parade guests bolt out of that park as if a real (moving) yeti was in pursuit. It is a good thing the park closes at 5 or 6 PM, cause it would be embarrassingly empty if it stayed open any longer.
Don't let your love of Disney (a love that I share) blind you to the truth: DAK needs a DCA makeover, and soon.
I totally agree with what you said about the Matterhorn. There you get to see the Yeti TWICE and it works just fine for such an ancient attraction. Maybe if Disney just did a quick fix on the Yeti so its eyes lit up and its mouth moved when it roared, this wouldn't seem like such a fiasco. The Yeti is the star of the show! I know it's very expensive running the Disney Parks, but they also make billions in constantly flowing revenue. It's embarrassing for an E ticket attraction like this one to be be so shamefully left in this state. Since when did "good enough" become a Disney ideal?