IMO, Animal Kingdom needs a big expensive project to get it off it's feet. I really think it is just an overgrown zoo with some Disney magic in it but that isn't enough. Realistically you could
finish the park in less than half a day. I love watching animals, I love rides of all sizes, and I love shows but Animal Kingdom doesn't provide enough of any of them.
Personally I think it should build the Australia land to replace Camp Minnie-Mickey. They would have a major E-Ticket trill ride, two smaller family rides, a great show along the likes of Lion King(which would be moved to Africa) and Australian animal exhibits and AK would be a much better park
In my opinion, Epcot as a whole needs fixing more than any other WDW park. The problem with Epcot in my book is that there is no real cohesive plan. What is the park's main goal? Is it to educate, provide thrills one cannot experience elsewhere, or provide worldclass cuisine? Even with DHS and AK, which get slammed frequently, one can at least get a sense of a central theme. Not so, IMO at Epcot.
On the education angle, it does this all right but there are major problems:1)Universe of Energy is totally outdated (it is stuck in 1996),2)Wonders of Life is dormant as Mike alluded too, 3)The Living Seas has been dumbed down with the Nemo theme, 4) Spaceship Earth has been dumbed down with the rehab, and 5) While the World Showcase movies are interesting I can just watch most of them on youtube and get the same basic experience.
As far as the thrills go, they are few and far between in my book. It seems like Disney just threw in a few mediocre rides to appeal to the masses. Soarin' is the most overrated ride I have ever been on (the view from above on Peter Pan at MK and ET at USF are far more well done in my book). Mission Space did nothing for me except making me sick. Test Track, while a good ride breaks down too frequently. To be fair, I have not experienced Sum of all Thrills.
On the dining aspect, the restaurants are pretty well done although overpriced. Personally, when I go to a theme park, I want to experience attractions, not eat a fancy dinner.
Finally, World Showcase rivals Dinoland as my least favorite area of any WDW park. American Adventure is the only thing that does anything for me there. The dining and shopping may be good but that is not why I come to a theme park. Frankly,if I want to experience a park concerning world cultures I'll go to Busch Gardens WIlliamsburg
Considering only the American parks, I believe the west coast ones are OK. In the east, MK is already under big changes (although 3 of its 4 sibling’s parks are better than it, only Hong Kong Disneyland is inferior).
I agree with Anthony that DHS needs better theming, and agree with Zakiel that DAK needs more rides, but my answer to this tread is Epcot.
Epcot was my favorite park, but I have to admit that it lost it soul. It was a place where you could experience the future and travel around the world. Nowadays you can’t see any future experience anymore, many Future World pavilions are outdated and as Andrew stated many were dumbed down (I don’t think that is the case of Spaceship Earth).
The world showcase is the same for the last 20 years, no new country was added.
Epcot is not the place to cross selling Disney or Pixar movies and characters. Stop with it. Bring the dream of a better future back to Epcot. Disney could rely with some few companies in good shape (financially and innovatively) to revamp future world. Apple could take care of Imagination Pavilion. Google or Facebook could do the same with the old Communicore, or create a new Cyberspace Pavilion in the place of WOL. NGO, with the assistant of internet donors could sponsor Land and Living Seas.
Growing economies like Brazil, Russia and India could sponsor new pavilions at WS.
To me EPCOT is one of my favourite parks. Disney is about brining guests into a unique land and I believe that World Showcase is one of Disney's best themed zones. Disney is also addressing the lack of rides in WS by adding Kim Possible - which for kids and families is a lot of fun.
Mr. Carrieri writes: "What is (EPCOT'S) main goal? Is it to educate, provide thrills one cannot experience elsewhere, or provide worldclass cuisine?
I respond: Why can't it be all of those things?
Additional thoughts: I would not put another dime into DAK until the Yeti is fixed. I also prefer adding zoological exhibits over attractions.
I would add another big fat attraction or show to DHS. But I imagine that will happen after Fantasyland, after Brazil and before the 50th anniversay in 2021.
Animal Kingdom: the Yeti needs to be fixed, or otherwise the ride loses the climax that was built from the queue. It's like riding Jaws with a shark that doesn't move.
Disney Hollywood Studios: change the Indiana Jones show for the Disneyland ride. Make some changes to The Great Movie Ride (the Tarzan portion is a joke and the Alien part needs to be scarier.) Get rid of the Studio Tour (fake!) and add Radiator Spring Racers (it would be part of Pixar Place.)
Epcot: Bring back the old Future World attractions (with updates.) It's also time to add a new country at World Showcase.
EPCOT: Good Theming and Solid Storyline, but pretty much void of Thrill rides
DHS: Great Rides, but I feel that they should work on theming (the biggest issue of the three)
AK: Great Rides and Theming, but still needs more.... AK does well with the small amount it has!
However saying that, my love for DHS means I would adore seeing it have some extra attention in a non-Pixar form. The scalebacks in the 'backstage' tour were a crime (the house facades were brilliant), the Muppets could use some love (even in the shop - where's the merch!). Even putting something like an updated version of the Monster Sound Show back in its old home would show that the Disney Team were giving DHS the love and time it deserves!
In my own humble opinion obviously :-)
Just a few quick examples:
Wonders of Life is just rotting. Do the same thing it was originally about "Healthy, Active Lifestyles!". There has to be some company out there with the money and drive to push that into a few million heads a year?
The Land, it's doing okay but it really does need another type of show somehow. Put in live action show like "Legend of the Lion King" rather then just a film. If you don't want to do that, make it interactive like "Monsters Scare Floor" is! That should haul people in the doors, I'd wait for that one!
Imagination: Opening the playground again! Update it! It's not hard and it won't even cost you a small carnival attraction! Put in the interactive play technologies out there. Teach kids they can go outside and explore that big thing we call a "world" again. Also, someone put that Channing dolt out of his misery already!
Add in a new country or two to World Showcase while your at it. As much as I love dropping a few hundred between China and Japan, something new to buy would be nice!
But changing the theme is to drastic and wouldnt make sense because the park is set-up into 2 parts. The City and backstage.
Hollywood Blvd, Echo Lake and Sunset Blvd encompass the City of Hollywood. While the rest of the park is the backstage area. There are 4 main dividers used to tell you that you have moved from Hollywood to backstage and they are 2 security posts: One right next to Backlot Express restaurant and the other in between American Idol and Great Movie Ride before ABC Comissary. The others are the Arch's to Animation Courtyard and Pixar Place.
With this said after getting this the park totally made sense to me.
-What I would do is revamp and modernize the Great Movie Ride with movies that were made recently but keep the show how it is at the end.
-Backlot Tour needs to go opening space for Marvel Studios. But I would keep the boneyard as a walk through because I would think quests would love get closer and take pictures in front of Walt's Plane and the snow speeder from Star Wars!
-Expand Pixar Place to where Ones Man Dream and Narnia are currently placed and get rid of those 2 attractions. Moving One Mans Dream to where it should be: MK Main Street USA. Then add Monster Inc roller coaster and another kids omnimover to this section.
-Indiana Jones Stunt show needs to go because of the Light Motor Action which draws more guests and put in the Indiana Jones ride from DL.
-How about fastpass for Fantasmic! Thoughts?
Here is the link...
I hear what people are saying about DHS and EPCOT, but Animal Kingdom has something those 2 parks lack: Dinoland USA. Dear lord, who thought this abomination was good for a Disney park? I mean, there might be countries you skip in EPCOT, but you can still look around for a long time (and it is a great 'rain day' park.) DHS needs to tighten it's theme, but unless you are not a thrill ride person, there is no 'dead zone' in that park like Dinoland USA is in Animal Kingdom.
And if that was not enough, then on the other side of the park you have a second area, Camp Minnie-Mickey, which exists just for the Lion King show. Seriously, 2 lands that are near useless, an E-ticket ride with it's big effect messed up, and just not enough to do in the park. Really, I go there and ride 3 rides (Safari, Everest, and Kali River Rapids), and see 1-2 shows (Lion King and Nemo, both of which I have seen enough that I can miss them.) Honestly, if it were just me going, I would get a 3 day ticket with park hopper, using extra time to hit the few Animal Kingdom attractions I find worth it.