WDW complete overhaul?

Edited: October 27, 2014, 12:38 PM

I have been among those complaining about the slow pace of growth and upkeep at the WDW parks for several years now. But recent events are making me wonder whether there is a new master plan in place for every park in the resort, and whether we have reason for hope.

Here is my evidence:
-New Fantasyland. Obviously Disney started upgrades with their flagship park, which (it must be admitted) is in pretty good shape at the moment. But, more telling than the upgrades was the decision to go to a higher one-day ticket price. That's almost an admission that this park gives greater value in its current state than the others, and perhaps a threshold of quality they will now attempt to meet at the others?

-DAK expansion. This was definitely the park in most need of work. Between Avatar-land, a nighttime show, and a series of smaller upgrades, this is on track to be a truly spectacular park. I believe this will be the DCA of 2017 (or whenever...).

-DHS changes. Obviously big changes are afoot at DHS. They wouldn't be taking out the sorcerer's hat if they didn't have a wholesale re-imagining (or return to the old imagining) in mind. With the backlot tour going away, they have space to play with. This park could go in for a very literal DCA-style makeover. (and possibly a major star wars land).

-EPCOT. Here is the tricky one. But I see reasons for optimism here too. The current Iger-era pattern is to build up the strength of your IP from a film, TV and media perspective, then to build. The Figment comic series, the upcoming film Tomorrowland, and even Big Hero 6 represent IP-strengthening moves that could support and benefit the overhaul of FW. Honestly, the World Showcase is, I believe, very successful in its current incarnation, a food and entertainment pull that keeps people in the park late into the day. I am an optimist, and I even believe that the crappy multi-colored paint job around Innoventions could even be a last low-budget fix before something more ambitious.

-Disney Springs. Obviously this will help build bridges between Disney and major retailers in ways that have been lacking in recent years, and keep more people on property and in the parks more of the time.

-Shanghai Disneyland won't be under construction forever. 'Nuff said.

-USO had great numbers last quarter. Double 'nuff said.

What do you think?

Replies (6)

October 27, 2014, 8:02 PM

I think Disney was finally able to right the ship in DLP and DCA so now they are turning to WDW.

October 28, 2014, 5:23 AM

I guess I'll know in 2017.

October 29, 2014, 10:04 AM

Yeah, for sure it's nearly impossible to guess, especially for someone as unconnected as I am. But that's part of the fun, right?

November 10, 2014, 12:41 PM

That's definitely part of the fun.

The thing to me is that there is so much work that needs to be done - constantly. Sure, Disney has a ton of money, but like owning an old mansion, you can only fix so many things at any one time.

HKDL just finished Mystic Manor and Grizzly Gulch and is about to start building a $220m third resort hotel. WDS just finished Ratatouille, but from what I can understand, is awesome, and I love the faux Paris they built. But as a whole, Walt Disney Studios is still the most lackluster park in the portfolio. DLS is not complete yet.

And speaking of China, if you Google Map HKDL, you'll see that there is a clear piece of land adjacent to the park that is certainly set aside for an eventual sister park, and I'm fairly certain Shanghai will also include a sister park.

There are just way too many projects to tackle, and on a larger scale, thinking about how to "fix" EPCOT or DHS may not be at the top of the list.

DCA, DLR, MK, HKDL and DLP are all set. I don't think Disney will touch those for a while. Tokyo is being handled by the Oriental Land Company and we all know about the $4.5b infusion that park is getting, so that's off the table as well.

But there are still so many areas that need refurbishment, fixing, and replacing, as well as completely new projects and expansions. As a Disney fan, I just have to be patient and have hope that they will, in time, get around to the parks I enjoy and am able to visit regularly.

November 11, 2014, 5:08 AM

You say Animal Kingdom needs the most work, but I think it's incredibly hard to compare with other theme parks. You aren't supposed to spend the day riding the four decent rides. You're supposed to take your time, do the walking trails, and see the ANIMALS. It's in the name. It's really somewhere between a theme park and a zoo. The only really comparable theme park is either SeaWorld or Busch Gardens. It's certainly doing far better than any of those. I'm not so sure as everyone seems to be that Avatar Land won't be the Frozen of Animal Kingdom.

November 11, 2014, 2:43 PM

I contend that DHS is the park with the biggest need for an identity. I think there is so much potential for this park that is being missed, but I believe they are working on it. Obviously with Star Wars looming on the horizon, it is definitley looking up. I am satisfied with the progess at Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. I agree with DPCC about Animal Kingdom being a different animal (no pun intended) than the other parks. I really enjoy Epcot, but it could probably use a tune up.

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