How about a cost effective land that makes Animal Kingdom a full day park:
Here's the plan two dark rides clustered in forest area for Bambi and Fox & the Hound,
A Jungle area with of course Lion King & The Jungle Book.
A city area featuring 101 Dalamations, Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats
This creates family fun as many children can't ride 3 of the 4 major attractions at this park much less the upcoming Avatar signature ride.
Would it be Beastly Kingdom? Nope... but I think that ship has sailed or it would already be built
To flesh it out
Lion King Stays in a better venue with a indoor water ride for the Jungle Book in the Jungle and yes I know its India & Africa (but when has geography ever really been an issue)
Bambi as a dark ride with a Fox & the Hound Playground nearby in the forest
Aristocats as an interactive stage show in a Jazz Venue, 101 Dalmations dark ride along with a Lady & the Tramp Dark ride
Obviously built out for each sub-land with shopping and dining options
What I wouldn't mind seeing is an area that showcases the animals of North America. That would include gators, deer, bears, bufalo, racoons, etc. My local Zoo (Brookfield Zoo right outside of Chicago) has an exhibit like that could fit in AK.
While it was a weak show, the Pocahontas show in Camp Minnie Mickey that was closed a few years ago did a pretty effective display of NA animals.
Like a Fox or Deer habitat in the forest, but I think a North American Zoo while nice wouldn't spike the meter to attract guest.
This would be more to drive traffic and keep guest from parkhopping therefore extending there stay on site
While I am excited about Pandora, I would have liked to have seen another country represented. I feel Africa and Asia are the two strongest areas of the park.
Also remember Disney gets all the money from merchandise from this, unlike Avatar
Mike, John Carter Land would be epic! John Carter Adventure would be the main ride!
Dom, you do (I think) so I'm sorely disappointed in your response, young man. :)
Maybe it's because I did not place a smiley face after my comment??
John Carter was a very good movie, regardless of the expense of the film ($300M) or its box office take ($281M). I urge you to see it if you have not.
I enjoyed Fox and the Hound as well, but its paltry $43M in box office receipts, even if adjusted for inflation, would probably put it in the same "flop" category as John Carter. Meaning, it is doubtful we will ever see it featured in the parks as an attraction.
The rumored budget for James Cameron's Avatar Land is closer to $500M. It will be an expansive project larger than even New Fantasyland (rumored at $400M), and twice as expensive as IOA's WWOHP (which was about $250M). I for one am looking forward to whatever they decide to do in the Camp Minnie Mickey area, whether it be Avatar (which I am not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoyed in 3D at the theater several times), or some other version of Beastly Kingdom.
Lastly, I like your ideas, but I would like to see them up in the Rafiki area (which is also in need of help) or as a redo for that awful Chester and Hester Dino-abomination area, rather than take up the space earmarked for Pandora.
& 101 Dalmations are all in Disney's Top Ten Performers at the Box Office
With Lady and the Tramp and Aristocats somewhere in the middle
While Fox and the Hound adjusted for inflation is almost 160 million domestic so not bad and that's why it got the playground and not a ride.
But was used more to accompany Bambi in the forest aspect.
Could see Jungle Book in Asia or Lion King with Rafki but the forest and city animals would just not fit.
It just seems like Avatar was knee jerk reaction to WWoHP but now there's buyers remorse by Disney...
As for your final statement about buyer's remorse, it is pure speculation. The only fact we have right now is that Bob Iger has publicly stated Disney is moving forward with plans for James Cameron's Avatar at DAK. Sure, things can change, but as of right now I am looking forward to what Cameron and WDI have in store for us in 2015/16.
Now, back to the topic of this discussion...
Since this thread is really a "FIX THIS PARK" type of thread, here's what I would like Disney to do to fix Disney’s Animal Kingdom (with parts of Robert's great ideas thrown into the mix).
Let me first state that I have no issue with Discovery Island or the Oasis. There are plenty of hidden gems in these areas if visitors take the time to explore, but since most people don't, I love having the area all to myself. Besides, if one thinks of these areas as Main Street, USA, and the central hub of the Magic Kingdom, then it really doesn’t make sense to have a lot of traffic-stopping attractions along the way. No changes needed.
I also think that for the most part Asia and Africa are fine. Yes, Expedition Everest needs an extended refurb to repair and improve all the special effects as well as its beleaguered Disco Yeti. And yes, Kali River Rapids needs to be extended and invigorated. But wholesale changes in these “lands” are not required.
No, where DAK needs help is in three areas: Dinoland, Rafiki's Planet Watch, and Camp Minnie-Mickey. The latter is (as of this writing) being taken care of as part of the Pandora/Avatar expansion in 2015 / 2016 (previously discussed), and I am sure whatever James Cameron and Disney’s Imagineers cook up will be way better than my musings here today. So that leaves just Dinoland and the Rafiki area that require fixing.
Dinoland USA needs a major overhaul. Chester & Hester's Dino-abomination does not meet Disney standards and must be replaced. Carnival games, carnival rides, and a horrific color scheme - that’s the type of "theming" that sends Walt tossing and turning in his cryogenic freezer. As part of the Chester and Hester area, Primeval Whirl is guilty by association and must be demolished as well. The ride itself is ugly, no fun, and the height restrictions (48" tall) are way too high. The younger kids are the only ones who MIGHT like this crappy coaster, but most of them are not tall enough to ride. At any rate, keep the Nemo musical (though I question how it thematically belongs in this section), Dinosaur (spruce it up and ensure all the effects are working properly again), and the Boneyard (although this play area should be enclosed and air conditioned), and build originally planned attractions like the Excavator (a runaway mine car roller coaster through an abandoned dinosaur dig), and for the kids, the Dinorama Meteor Dark Ride (a tamer version of Dinosaur). These changes should bring this section of the park up to Disney standards.
Rafiki's Planet Watch needs to be fleshed out into a fully realized land. First and foremost, the train ride needs to be far more interesting (an attraction unto itself), with plenty of live animals to see and watch along the route. Secondly, in preparation for more visitors wanting to come to this vastly improved area, there must be an alternate means of getting to and from the land besides the train. Most importantly, Planet Watch should keep the Lion King theme which would pave the way for Festival of the Lion King, closing soon to make way for Pandora, to be moved to the area. Next, add a Fantasyland-style, dark ride - a Hakuna Matada themed version of TKDL’s Pooh's Hunny Hunt would be a hugely successful addition. Sure some of the existing nature exhibits and meet 'n' greet areas can and should be kept, but a major new dark ride would go a long way towards making the area more inviting. Finally, build Lion King themed versions of some forgotten Beastly Kingdom attractions such as Fantasia Gardens (an indoor boat ride featuring the mythical animals of Fantasia) and Quest for the Unicorn (a hedge maze / play area). These improvements should make Rafiki’s Planet Watch one of the most popular areas of the park instead of a seldom visited afterthought.
One other change: the Discovery River Boats attraction needs to be re-implemented, perhaps as a series of floating restaurants. With these floating restaurants, the Rainforest Cafe can be dumped and replaced with a Six Flags style, parking lot mega coaster with a 500 foot drop and seventeen inversions!!!! ==> tongue in cheek, folks…… at least partially. =)
Oh, and in case anyone missed it earlier: FIX THE YETI!!!
BTW, speaking of eyesores, having a Rainforest Cafe in a Disney park is, in and of itself, an eyesore, is it not?!
But still feel that Pandora can't solve this parks problems.
In that right now all most people do is: Everest, Safari, Rapids, Nemo, Dinosaur, Lion king. Bugs Life and one or other animal trail.
Even with 1/2 attractions in Pandora its at best still a 2/3 day park.
And for 500 million is a lot for two rides, doesn't seem like good business.
Regardless, Pandora would certainly be an improvement and a bold step in the right direction.
also while only FJ was added i think many consider the shopping an attraction to it self
I dont think pandora has a "mall" that can draw that excitement
While I'm sure Avatar 2 will do well, but no where near its 1st level
You don't see the rabid fan base for Avatar you see for LOTR, HP, Marvel or even Seuss
ie fantasyland until seven dwarfs opens has the same amount of rides and attractions as it did before the expansion
that's a problem and granted its not my money but 500 million for avatar isnt probably the best bang for the buck
I would note the following seven reasons as evidence of WDI's desire to alleviate some of the capacity problems the world's most attended theme park is having:
1) There is quite a bit more space for walking and sitting in the New Fantasyland area (which is truly an expansion and not just a retrofitting of an existing area).
2) They added a second spinner for Dumbo and a next gen queuing system to eliminate the 90 min waits on all those busy, devastatingly hot, summer days.
3) They built a Mermaid omnimover attraction that eats up crowds like nobody's business - at two or three times the rate of the retired Snow White dark ride.
4) There is more to come in 2014 with the addition of the the highly touted Seven Dwarves coaster which you mentioned.
5) There is a new sit down/counter service restaurant that is massive in scope and size - able to handle huge crowds and even "hugher" wallets (although the restaurant may not be big enough as the current lines stretch for vast distances as people race to sample this delightful new eatery).
6. A tavern, that is getting high praise across the board, has been included to provide a raucous respite from the crowds that flock to the number one vacation destination on the planet.
7. Lastly, the Imaginners added the next evolution of the character meet and greet with the magical Belle's Cottage.
So in total, the defense has illustrated a +7 GAIN in the capacity department. ;)
Now, concerning your comment about $500M being too much to spend for a land based on the number one film in box office history, I disagree as well. Mostly I disagree because I find it very difficult to judge what that $500M will buy when we have not seen anything but speculation and fanboy conjecture. All we can presume is that the new land will be at least as immersive and expansive as New Fantasyland (which was purchased for $400M) and has been well received so far.
But, let's look at the money issue from a different perspective: Disney is a massively rich company that makes over $1B in profit every quarter. Furthermore, they just spent a whopping $4.05B to buy everything Lucas ever created, stating that the money invested will be recouped in less than three years. I guess what I am saying is that to Disney, $500M is nothing special. Sure, it is a lot of money, especially to people like you and me (and to other theme park chains), but to Disney it is six weeks worth of profit - which they will gladly trade for a lifetime of satisfied customers and repeat visitors.
Now, back to your original topic, yes DAK needs some help, and yes, you have some great ideas, but let's give the Imagineers a chance to produce something tangible before we write the whole thing off as a complete failure, okay?
And Robert, you never did mention if you liked my ideas for Dinoland or Rafiki's Planet Watch. I'm hurt! ;p
kid version of dinosaur not so sure
would love boneyard with ac but not gonna happen
only problem with mine train is similarity to expedition everest, seven dwarfs and big thunder...and the one rumored under construction in jurassic park
but yes dinoland needs an upgrade and yes imagineers brought us chester and hester
i still disagree that fantasyland is truly increased capacity as regards to restaurants one mk location is virtually always closed and another is seasonally
while i like the theming for many its about what rides or shows can i do
and a lion king area could help