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Is cars land a disappointment or a success?

Disneyland: What do you think?

From Giovanny Cruz
Posted July 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM
this is for all of you that have been to cars land is it really a good expirence or is it just another land


Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.

From Jay R.
Posted July 6, 2012 at 4:30 PM
I'd call it a huge success.

While it only has 3 "rides", the land itself is the "4th" attraction (and can be enjoyed on it's own)

I'd go as far to say, in terms of "themed lands" it's easily #1 at DLR.

Even if you've never seen the original Cars, it's still easy to experience & understand this world of Radiator Springs. And if you have seen the movie, that just makes everything even more enjoyable.

Plus, the experience is completely different at night, so you'll certainly want to return.

And RSR is a fun ride!

From M. Ryan Traylor
Posted July 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM
Cars Land is a success as is the whole DCA renovation. Between the addition of WOC, Little Mermaid (a classic omnimover), Buena Vista Street, Cars Land and the re-theming of the Swings (Silly Symphony) and Wild Mouse coaster (Goofy's Fly School) the park is something to look forward too.

The layout and paths give the park a looping feel now as opposed to the original loop and spur that existed.

From parker reave
Posted July 10, 2012 at 1:10 PM
It might be just another land, but want a great land it is! I love it. All three rides are great in very different ways, I love the themeing and the food. To me it's both - a good expirence and just another land.

From Jeremy Hu
Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:54 AM
I have been through and remember vivid of the process of DCA's renovation being from how it was as it first opened as, to detouring along the construction walls, to its final transformation. And I have the say, I am very very satisfied with the final product.

With the Depression Era theme and the new expansion of Cars Land, now DCA is even more of a living fantasy on its own. Although ride-wise it is less extensive, but with what Disney have achieved on Cars Land, I'm not worrying about its the fate at all because I am confident of what they can do to improve the place.

From James Rao
Posted August 26, 2012 at 4:11 AM
Just from the perspective of finance and attendance, Cars Land contributed in large part to the single biggest profit and attendance pop in Disney history. For a company that routinely pulls in a billions of dollars in profit every quarter and whose parks are far and away the most attended parks in the world, I call that kind of increase a MAMMOTH success.

From N B
Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:23 AM
I don't understand where the math is coming from on this... According to all of the die-hard Disney forums / websites, the attandance pop at DCA is almost exactly the same as the decline in attendance at the park next door.

How exactly is that a mammoth success?

If you look at the DCA number by themselves, they are impressive until you realize the park next door is providing those visitors.

From Dominick D
Posted August 26, 2012 at 8:57 AM
Typo of the week: Store. Don't worry Mike, I have the evidence.

From Rob Pastor
Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:19 AM
Dom; Pretty hard to beat "Sow White", or was that last week?

From David L.
Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:41 AM
NB, Check again, while many are coming from Disneyland, the whole resort's attendance is up. However, I would like to point out that overall the resort's attendance jump isn't proportionally as big as Universal Studios Resort's Harry Potter jump. As for profit, if the amount of unique items flying off the shelves say anything, then it is a massive success. In addition, all of this is happening with higher ticket prices. It's impossible to say this isn't a success.

From Dominick D
Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:43 AM
Rob that was last week I believe.

From Mike Gallagher
Posted August 26, 2012 at 9:58 AM
Dom, leave candidates for TOTW in context. Your typing the word "store" doesn't make it funny. Where was it? what was it SUPPOSED to be? I didn't notice it.

From Rob Pastor
Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:33 AM
Click; Mike: I think you need to keep Dom's "Sow White" on the list for the best typo of the year. It conjures up some great images...Off topic a bit, since you are going to Kennywood in a few. We went yesterday. Maybe the largest crowd I've ever seen there. Looked like Magic Kingdom on Christmas week. Even the upper, upper parking lot was completely filled. But it was still Fall Fantasy weekend, so perhaps the crowds will level off by the time you go. Nearly all ride wait times were 1 to 2 hours. So, we basically just enjoyed the ambiance & people watched.

From Dominick D
Posted August 26, 2012 at 10:38 AM
Mike, store was suppose to be door.

From Tasia P.
Posted August 26, 2012 at 11:27 AM
From an attendance and investment stand point no but from a fan's view I would have to say yes. It looks like you are actually in Radiator Springs and RSR seems really cool but the other 2 attractions should have been one or the other and a c ticket to replace one to help with the lines from RSR. I've never been but I heard the lines can be up to 3+ hours for RSR and the food kind of is a little to fancy.

From James Rao
Posted August 26, 2012 at 2:01 PM
In Disney's most recent earnings call they disclosed that Disneyland Resort set a Q3 record for attendance thanks to Cars Land. Furthermore, profits were up 24%. Now, for a company that routinely makes $1B profit per quarter, a 24% increase is a MAMMOTH deal. And while the whole of DLR is not up to the lofty expectations of 15k - 20k more peeps a day (at least not during pass older blackouts), it is up about 7k - 10k more per day and California Adventure is now drawing almost 50% of the total attendance for DLR. And even with the huge DCA attendance increases, the park is showing that it was well designed to handle the masses. There is now so much to see and do at DCA, with a large number of top-ranked attractions, entertainment, and dining options, that even when there are 40k visitors in the park, it reportedly never feels as busy or over-crowded as the sky-high attendance figures would suggest.

In EVERY respect Cars Land is a huge victory for Disney and for theme park fans. That victory means more money is going to flow into the company's US parks because Disney has finally seen the truth: if you build it, they will come. And they will spend!

From N B
Posted August 27, 2012 at 3:14 AM
Typos? Give me a break... I feel like I am dealing with my mother who feels the need to correct everything.

Let's do some quick math. 1 billion dollars (the approximate cost of the expansion) would need to see 10 million new visitors at $100 a head to recoup the total or 20,000 new visitors a day (every day) for 500 days straight.

I just don't see the novelty lasting that long. Same goes for USF. People are still flocking to IOA for HP, but it will start to decline at some point. That is precisely why they took the profits from HP and are pouring into the new expansion.


From James Rao
Posted August 27, 2012 at 6:39 AM
The $1.2B spent on California Adventure was for a complete park overhaul that lasted five years. The portion of the money spent on Cars Land was a subset of that amount. And since we are talking about Cars Land in this thread, your math should be recalculated. I believe the entire new land including multiple rides, restaurants, and shops, cost upwards of $350M or about $100M more than what IOA spent to add a new ride, a new restaurant, a new candy store, and a five minute wand show to IOA back in 2010.

Also, 24% (Disney's 3Q 2012 profit increase) of $1B (Disney's average quarterly profit) is $240M. In one quarter. Profit. After all the bills and greedy executives are paid. At this rate the money the company spent on Cars Land will be recouped in about two more months. Granted, only a portion of that huge windfall is a direct result of Cars Land operations, but that's why Disney is so successful, they are making money in every facet of the entertainment industry.

Additionally, admission is not the only expense you should consider in your calc. The average single Disney visitor spends about $200 per day at the parks NOT including lodging and travel expenses. The average family of four spends upwards of $500 per day, again, not including lodging and travel. I think your $100/day math may work at some other parks, but not in Disney's case - they are raking it in hand over fist. Especially now that DCA is the full day adventure it should have been from the beginning.

Lastly, I am still not quite sure why you always want Disney to fail, N B? The company's continued success is vital for your happiness. Honestly. If Disney was not making money hand over fist, Universal would not be trying so hard to copy their formula for success - and you would not have the upgrades and expansion at Universal parks that you brag about so often. Your best bet is to continue to cheer for Disney (the same way I cheer for Universal), because when both companies are successful, the clear winner is the theme park fan. In other words, you and me, bro!

From James Rao
Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:46 AM
The success or failure of Cars Land has nothing to do with attendance at a park on the other side of the nation.

From N B
Posted August 28, 2012 at 7:10 PM
But I like math.... I think Disney is robbing Peter (DW) to pay Paul (DCA) at least from an attendace perspective.

We will have to look at the figures a year from now because it's too early to tell.

From James Rao
Posted August 28, 2012 at 5:50 PM
As long as they don't rob Peter AND Paul, we're golden. Will check back next Spring!!!

From James Rao
Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:37 PM
From Al Lutz at MiceAge.com today:

"The goal TDA was hoping to achieve for calendar year 2012 was that DCA would increase its current annual attendance of just under 6.4 Million by 1 million visitors, taking it to a level around 7.4 million per year, and then holding that level for at least 2013. With Cars Land wildly exceeding expectations on the customer satisfaction surveys by both tourists and locals alike, DCA blew the daily attendance projections out of the water all summer long...The result of the wildly successful summer is that just a few days ago DCA crested the 7 Million attendance threshold and is now easily headed towards a 2012 figure somewhere north of 9 Million for the year, and perhaps 10 Million or more."

The answer is: Success!!!

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:45 PM
James: That's great news. Let's hope the Orlando Disney suits see a need for new lands and E ticket attractions to get their parks moving forward from their long sleep.

From James Rao
Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:06 PM
I think we are already seeing a change...

- New Fantasyland's budget went from $300M to $400M to further enhance this massive expansion and add the Seven Dwarves coaster instead of a bunch of meet n' greets.

- Kathy Mangum, the Project Lead for Cars Land, was moved to the Orlando operation to presumably enhance DHS.

- Joe Rohde, one of the most respected Disney Imagineers, is currently assigned to the Pandora project at DAK.

- If we could just get a bit more love (in addition to the Tron Track overlay) in Epcot, everyone would be happy.

Contrary to some opinions expressed on this site, the Disney Giant is fully awake and building up steam...Special thanks to Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, and Universal for keeping up the pressure!

We are in a renaissance of themed entertainment, folks! What a great time to be a theme park fan!

Now if the world can just hang on for a few more years so we can enjoy all the new stuff....

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 18, 2012 at 5:49 PM
Let the THEME PARK WARS begin. It's great for the guests. By the way, today's Mice Chat's Al Lutz "The Party's Over" article is a must read. The column does a great job describing the bureaucratic tug and pull that goes on behind the scenes at Disney....And special thanks to Universal for firing the first volley (Harry Potter) that started the war.

From James Rao
Posted September 18, 2012 at 6:29 PM
Rob, if you haven't kept up on Mr. Lutz's articles before, you should. He always seems to lift the veil on the Disney juggernaut. He doesn't get the great non-Disney scoops that our beloved Mr. Niles seems to obtain, but he does provide a great Disney insider perspective.

I wish there was someone who could peel back the veil a bit on some of the other theme park chains....

Can you imagine what goes on inside the offices of Six Flags Mgmt???

"Hey, Bob, do you think the folks in Saint Louis will notice they are getting a used coaster?"

"Who cares? If people stop coming to the parks we can always declare bankruptcy...again!!! HAHAHAHAHA!"

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:32 PM
James: Yes, I read Lutz constantly. Great insight and insider info. My past is in both business, unions and government, mostly in leadership positions. His observations, in relation to what I've experienced in similar closed door behind the scenes situations, seems to be right on.I'm always a bit wary of corporation public pronouncements since they contain so many half truths and are usually self serving to make the stock look good to investors. Usually the truth is read between the lines. ...Concerning Six Flags. They are a great example of companies, like Blockbuster, Circuit City etc.,that are(or were) so leveraged out, that they only exist to pay the inflated salaries of the top executives. Their debt is too large for them to ever recover. They will just plod on,through bankruptcies and debt modifications, until one day it will all come tumbling down.

From James Rao
Posted September 18, 2012 at 7:38 PM
^Not a very pretty picture, Rob. But probably spot on. One would hope, however, that after emerging from their last debt fiasco, Six Flags has learned its lesson? They seem to be doing okay for now, although I do question some of their recent ride choices. But hey, it wouldn't be Six Flags if they did everything right! =)

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 18, 2012 at 8:27 PM
James: I share most of your observations on Disney. I believe that they are going to reverse course and start a major improvement of their theme parks. When Iger admitted that Universal's Harry Potter has had an effect on Disney that told me enough. Of course he wasn't going to make a public pronouncement saying more than that, but CEO's usually don't say anything about the competition. That one remark spoke volumns.....Getting back to Cars Land. The land and Radiator Springs is really starting to grow on me. That's why I would really like to see it come to Hollywood Studios since I have no desire to ever return to LA....And I am really excited about the Universal expansions. Some people call them half day parks but we spend ten to twelve days there on site and never seem to have enough time to do everything we want to do at Portofino, Citi Walk and the two parks. We sit back, relax and enjoy....As you said, the next few years will be a great time for Orlando theme park guests. Disney, Universal, and even Sea World will be doing some great things.

From Rob Pastor
Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:01 PM
I just read an interesting report on 2011 Best Selling Licensed Entertainment Products worldwide sales by Forbes Business Magazine. Cars merchandise ($1.05 Billion) surprisingly outsold Mickey & Friends ($750 Million). And with 2012 Carsland, that figure will probably expand. Others: Sesame St. $515 Million. Peanuts $600 Million. Toy Story $685 Million. WWE $700 Million. Hello Kitty (Beat Mickey & Friends) $800 Million. Pooh $1.09 Billion. Star Wars $1.5 Billion. Disney Princess' $1.6 Billion (that's probably why Disney has all of those Princess Meet & Greets).

From Ryan Spann
Posted September 18, 2012 at 9:08 PM
I too applaud Universal for being the first to make a move, and I must say from first hand experience, It was an extremely devastating blow to Disney East. The West Coast, however, I guess they still dominate. But for how long? Would a Harry Potter West really have the effect it did over here? Maybe, we'll see. Also, I don't know if Six Flags would ever be part of the theme park wars. It seems like they're trying more just to make it into the fray (if what their management thinks what they're doing is called trying).

From James Rao
Posted September 18, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Rob, I appreciate the info... But I do want to head back to SoCal if only to see the original Pirates again before I die. ;)

Ryan, I am not sure I understand your point. Disney has always responded well to challenges in the past and it is doing so again now. However, make no mistake, attendance at "Disney East" has been largely unimpacted by Harry Potter, and in effect, Disney still absolutely dominates both coasts. The only demographic that appears to think otherwise is the Universal Fanboy, of which I consider myself one (I am a Disney Fanboy too - and why not?). Let's not fool ourselves though, the gap between #1 and #2 is still extremely vast when it comes to both attendance and income from park operations.

Furthermore, if the unparalleled success of Cars Land is any indication, New Fantasyland is going to be huge. Fan Boys and thrillseekers may not agree, but families with money to spend will book vacations in droves. Mark my words.

From AJ Hummel
Posted September 18, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I've got a feeling that the coaster wars of the 1990s and 2000s are pretty much over, and now the themed attraction wars have begun. Disney and Universal, and to a lesser extent SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, appear to be moving away from simply building something new and are instead focusing on immersive areas and new attractions that are more an experience than a ride. Cars Land and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are just examples of this, and with the future projects known and speculated around the industry I would certainly expect this trend to continue for at least the next decade.

Meanwhile, Six Flags and Cedar Fair have both changed. Cedar Fair's new CEO has decided to take the chain in a different direction, and it is unlikely we will see nearly as many coaster additions in the future. Six Flags has cut capital investment funding significantly since emerging from bankruptcy, and with a goal of giving every park a new attraction each year, no park can recieve anything much more expensive than $10-12 million. I'm guessing that the days of record breaking stratacoasters and new prototype thrill rides are over, and instead we'll see a much more conservative approach from the country's thrill parks.

From James Rao
Posted September 19, 2012 at 3:24 AM
AJ, I completely agree with you. The trend is definitely going away from standard midway fare, which means the separation between the "haves" and the "have nots" is going to become even more expansive now that immersive, narrative, wholly themed entertainment has taken center stage.

Honestly, I would rather see Six Flags/Cedar Fair do less development at fewer parks (heck even cut some dead weight - Worlds of Fun, Michigan's Adventure, Six Flags America, I'm talking about you!) but end up with higher quality attractions. Would it be so bad for a "regional" park to aspire to be something more?

From Tony Duda
Posted September 19, 2012 at 12:31 PM
Great Adventure has apparently decided that Wild Safari is not that great of an asset anymore as it is. They will remake that part of Great Adventure into a themed safari ride like Animal Kingdom has. I expect that many more animal attractions will also be created and within a few years GA will be considered "Busch Gardens/Animal Kingdom" North. I think this fits into the big industry change from "rides" to "themes" being discussed here. However, I think this is less Six Flags changing course than it is Great Adventure being a stand-alone park that just happens to be owned by Six Flags.

From James Rao
Posted September 19, 2012 at 2:24 PM
Thanks for reminding us about the big changes ahead for that particular park, Tony. And you're right, there is hope for Six Flags getting into the "themed entertainment" game, especially in some of their most successful parks, like the one in New Jersey.

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