Have you ever been underwhelmed at a Disney park?

Edited: March 25, 2015, 1:15 PM

In continuing the conversation from Robert's Top 10 Disney attractions, have you ever been disappointed by a ride or a Disney park in general that has received praise and in turn hype that did not match your expectations? Being a WDW veteran, my first visit to DLR was underwhelming with a couple of exceptions. I felt Pirates of the Caribbean at DLR was a disappointment and did not add much to my ride experiences of Pirates at WDW despite all the hype that surrounded the original ride in Anaheim. What examples do you have with similar experiences?

Replies (23)

March 25, 2015, 3:11 PM

Were you underwhelmed or were you looking for flaws than going with an open mind and you set yourself up for failure. What I get from what you wrote is you were looking for flaws than going with an open mind. Personally think DLR is superior because of how much they put in a smaller space and how close the 2 parks are. Now if your only goal was "E-ticket" rides you missed out.

Edited: March 25, 2015, 5:34 PM

As I stated in the other thread I had the opposite experience coming from DL's Prates to MK's Pirates.... The WDW version was very underwhelming.

On the other hand after hearing so much good press about the DL version of Splash Mountain, I was very underwhelmed compared to MK's version.

Another ride that disappointed me was the Houdini thing at Six Flags New England. It seemed so unique, but after about 15 mins of pre show and build up, it was just a gentle swing ride in a somewhat fancy box. Very disappointing.

March 25, 2015, 6:09 PM

OVERwhelmed list: Splash Mountain, Radiator Springs, Animal Kingdom, Tower of Terror-WDW, Wishes fireworks, Horizons, Test Track, Thunder Mt-DLR and WDW, Disney MGM Studios-1994, Blizzard Beach, Harry Potter Forbidden Journey, Spider-Man, Hulk Coaster, Diagon Alley, Cabana Bay Resort, Manta, Hershey Park (better than expected).

UNDERwhelmed list: DLR Haunted Mansion and Pirates, Disneyland (felt claustrophobic), Paradise Pier, Fantasmic, New Fantasyland, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the redo of Journey Into Imagination, Toy Story Mania.

March 25, 2015, 7:33 PM

Walking into California Adventure in 2001...

Walking into Hollywood Studios in 2011...

March 25, 2015, 9:33 PM

You don't know what "underwhelmed at a Disney park" means until you've visited Walt Disney Studios Paris.

Edited: March 25, 2015, 11:59 PM

I can't think of many Disney attractions that I've found significantly underwhelming, as usually I have a pretty good idea of what to expect. The closest example would probably be World of Color as I heard the majority of people claiming it was the best nighttime spectacular ever created, but after watching the show I thought it was just a glorified fountain show that ran at least twice as long as it should have. Despite being an on-and-off passholder and often staying until closing, I've only bothered to see the show once more after the initial viewing, and it was to see the Christmas version (which I didn't care for one bit). For rides, I guess you could say Star Tours: The Adventures Continue was underwhelming because it focused too much on scenes from the prequels everyone would like to forget, but I still like the ride and find it better than the original version. I also do find some of Disney's coasters underwhelming from a coaster enthusiast perspective, but the complete attraction is usually top notch.

However, of the four Disney parks I've visited (the two California parks and two Paris parks), two provided an underwhelming initial experience...

Disney California Adventure: While this has become a great park, back when it opened DCA was a joke. Other than Soarin' Over California and California Screamin', there wasn't a single attraction in the park that I felt justified more than a 15 minute wait. In addition, all of the theming was tacky California postcard theming that was nowhere near the quality expected of a Disney park, and the only dark ride DCA opened with (Superstar Limo) is possibly the worst custom attraction Disney has ever cranked out. For the first few years of its existence, I rarely visited DCA even though it was included with my pass, and when I did I would rarely be there for more than a couple hours.

Walt Disney Studios Paris: This park gave me flashbacks to the original quality of DCA, but worse. About 3/4 of the park had theming of a quality I would expect from Six Flags and there were only a handful of attractions that even seemed worthwhile. Since I only had one day for both parks, my initial plan was to do this park from opening until mid-afternoon, then hop over to Disneyland Paris, but I ended up only doing two attractions here (Crush's Coaster and CineMagique...Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was down for the day) before moving to Disneyland Paris before lunchtime. Since I visited, the park has added Ratatouille and will be beginning a ten year revitalization project in 2016 (expected to include Toy Story Midway Mania, Marvel Land, and Avatar Land, among other improvements), so hopefully the park will be better next time I happen to visit, but based on the state of the park in 2012 it was little more than an embarrassment to the Disney brand.

March 26, 2015, 9:44 AM

I don't know, I am just get frustrated with some of the comments. This is all about a theme parks. Not a ride park. People that pass up all the other immersive stuff just for a few rides miss the point. You especially realize this when you have kids. There really is just so much to do it is crazy.

On my recent trip I wasn't happy because my bro-in-law, who I do like a lot, just wanted to hit the main rides. I understand some of the kid stuff your not going to do if you don't have any and Universal does a better job at giving adults more to do. But I told my wife there is so much our son would enjoy we could spend a ton of time in one area, hitting everything, and then after that move on.

If you just want rides, just go to six flags.

March 26, 2015, 10:32 AM

Funny, when I visited Paradise Pier I felt like I was immersed in a ride park like Six Flags-VERY underwhelmed!

March 26, 2015, 12:51 PM

Paradise Pier would be so much better if it offered true gimmicky Boardwalk food as its main draw. The theming is fine for what it is trying to capture. There isn't much to a boardwalk or county fair that's why its a theme in most theme parks across the country.

March 26, 2015, 2:00 PM

I would love to have a theme park with Tower of Terror, Crush's Coaster, CineMagique, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster and Ratatouille on my neighbourhood, no matter how bad the theming was.

People from Southern California, Central Florida and Tokio act like spoiled boys when talk about Walt Disney Studios Paris.

March 26, 2015, 2:15 PM

My first visit to WDW left me with mixed feelings before I ultimately came to the conclusion that they are their own unique creations. The WDW Pirates in very underwhelming compared to DLR. The queue is fantastic, and if you factor it into the overall experience of the attraction, it is probably on par with the DLR iteration. But for sheer ride experience, the original Pirates really can't be beat. By contrast, the WDW Mansion is a real treat having grown up with the DLR mansion. The DLR Mansion has some very special and unique things going for it, but the WDW mansion is feels like a much more complete and cohesive experience.


As for the other parks and attractions, I was very underwhelmed with the overall experience offered by Hollywood Studios. Outside of ToT (which is far and away the best iteration of the ride) the park overall felt very devoid of originality or excitement. I had high expectations for the Studios version of Fantasmic!, being given it's whole own separate theater, but apart from the comfort of a dedicated stadium seating plan, the show itself lacks the charm of the DLR version. The EPCOT attractions are also absurdly outdated and lackluster. Even Test Track, for being the premier e-ticket of EPCOT, didn't WOW me like some other attractions did (I haven't ridden Test Track 2.0 so I can't attest to the new iteration of the ride). RSR, despite only reaching a max speed of about 45, is vastly superior IMO, based on immersive experience.

Islands of Adventure was a bit of a mixed bag for me as well. I thought that the Ports of Entry, HP world, and The Lost Continent were stunning examples of the pinnacle of immersive theme park design while the Marvel Super Hero Island and Toon Lagoon were cheap and underwhelming (Spidey and Hulk being exceptions).

March 26, 2015, 6:31 PM

Definitely the orange swinger and journey into imagination with figment. Do I even need to explain?

March 26, 2015, 6:33 PM

I was underwhelmed with the Marvel meet and greet in Florida. ;-)

March 27, 2015, 2:27 AM

On the opposite end of the spectrum, go to Tokyo Disney Sea and prepare to be overwhelmed. Way overwhelmed. Over overwhelmed.

March 27, 2015, 10:13 AM

Now that you've hyped it up so much, my expectations are too high and I will most likely be underwhelmed. Thanks a lot!

March 27, 2015, 10:43 AM

I'm underwhelmed by Disney's Hollywood Studios. The park as a whole is worse than the parts. The excellent rides like Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania, RnR Coaster, and Little Mermaid show are underminded by the way the park is designed and executed with poor layout, ugly buildings, and lots of filler attractions and not using the park's full acreage. Much of the west side is the studios portion and cut off from guest access. The Muppet, and live action shows are outdated. Great Movie Ride is a disappointment. They need to demolish whole sections, create wide new plazas, line up the rides along an easily navigable path.

March 27, 2015, 1:21 PM

I was definitely underwhelmed by the re-work of Test Track at WDW. Didn't like it (still don't) anywhere near as much as the original.

March 27, 2015, 4:10 PM

I was quite disappointed with walt disney studios as although there are favourites like rock and roller coaster/ tower of terro, it is still a very small park and no were near as good as the main paris park. Especially, I was disappointed with the Armageddon ride as not much really happened and the fact that backlot tours only had two centre pieces and just went around the same track was quite underwhelming against the previous one in Hollywood studios. Also I feel the layout of the park isn't very good as everything is squished together with no real themeing from land to land as the tower of terror is always visible. That being said though it is still quite a good park with some exclusive rides and attractions.

March 30, 2015, 6:39 AM

Yes, the re-work of Test Track is terrible. I'm open to change but this was really disappointing as the original was a blast.

Edited: March 30, 2015, 12:19 PM

I love the new Test Track. It is much more interesting and cool looking. The building of the test vehicles were surprisingly engaging and creative. It forced you to consider the vehicle parts that improve high performance. Previously, you just went on the ride and over. Now, you have to consider what makes a car.

While the new Test Track is a terrific experience, the Radiator Springs Racers are a huge improvement. The immersive land with a nice dark portion elevated the story telling. The dual tracked racing portion made the ride a joy to finish. I would love to see it duplicated at DHS. They should remove the Motors stunt show. Why just watch the show when you can ride it.

April 18, 2015, 6:36 PM

OK, attractions that have underwhelmed me at WDW.

Magic Kingdom: Ariel's Undersea Adventure, the new Enchanted Tales with Belle and Alien Encounter. Shame 2 of the 3 are in the new section.

Epcot: Both the 2nd and 3rd reincarnations of Journey To Your Imagination, Nemo and Friends ride, the new version of Test Track (I still like the ride, but expected so much more!), Rio de Tiempo, Maelstrom (I remember reading about it when it 1st opened and thought it sounded so awesome.... what a MAJOR disappointment... so much so, I don't even mind that it's going through a Frozen transformation, and the new show in Canada (don't get me started!)

Disney's Hollywood Studios: Lights, Motors, Action, The Backlot Tour in it's most recent reincarnation, and Drew Carey's Sounds Dangerous.

Disney's Animal Kingdom: Primeval Whirl (in fact, why not just write off the whole section of Hester and Chester's?).... it could have been SO MUCH BETTER!!! Kali River Rapids- too tame, too short, and aside from Festival of the Lion King, anything else in Camp Mickey/Minnie. I was also underwhelmed by the fact that they never built Beastly Kingdom.

All of Disney Quest, with the exception of building your own rollercoaster and the white water rapids ride.

Downtown Disney: Pleasure Island, with the exception of The Adventurer's Club.

Overwhelmed:
The entirety of both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.

River Country: the rapids ride... still, to this day, my favorite!

Magic Kingdom: Wishes, the Haunted Mansion both before and after it's refurb, Pirates of the Caribbean when it 1st opened, and then again after they added Jack Sparrow, Splash Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Mickey's Philharmagic, Beast's Castle, and when I was small, Peter Pan's Flight, Mr Toad's Wild Ride and If You Had Wings, which is now Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. Also, I was really impressed with the Pirate and Princess Party they used to have in January and February for a few years.

Epcot: Test Track- when it 1st opened, Soarin', Mission Space- orange side, Turtle Talk with Crush, British Revolution, The Candlelight Processional, Food and Wine and Flower and Garden Festivals

Disney's Hollywood Studios: The Animation Tour when it 1st opened, the Backlot Tour when it 1st opened, Tower of Terror, Rock n Rollercoaster, Toy Story Midway Mania, Aladdin's Caravan (parade), and Pixar Block Party Bash, Fantasmic and the Star Wars: The Saga Continues.

Disney's Animal Kingdom: Kilomanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, Dinosaur and Expedition Everest, not to mention Pangami Forest Exploration and Maharajah Jungle Trek.

As for Downtown Disney: The Adventurer's Club, the dine in movie theater, the new parking garage, and the new theming... not done, but I can tell it will be beautiful when it is and much more cohesive.

Resorts: all are very well themed and the ones I have stayed at have been really nice, but the ones that truly overwhelm are Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge and the Polynesian Village.

April 20, 2015, 4:36 PM

I am surprised you don't like Enchanted Tales with Belle! I find it overwhelming! I do miss the Adventurers Club. It was Adult Disney at its best: Funny, mildly inappropriate, but still with some magic.

I was actually underwhelmed by Disney Studios in Paris. It was very unfinished and made AK's and DCA's disastrous rollout look even better. Lights Motors Action is actually better here (for some reason)

Edited: April 21, 2015, 2:41 PM

Yes. Just last week during my first visit to Trader Sam's at the Poly. A total "meh."

The joint is so small. The specialty drink my companion ordered had so much ice it was LITERALLY impossible to consume through a straw.

And then there are the servers ... Sigh ... Guys, your priority is to "serve." Instead they seem more focused on doing the entertainment schtick ... A very weak attempt at imitating the Adventurer's Club ... It took more than ten minutes to get a beer in a bar that's substantially smaller than a 7-11 ... Small wonder the wait time to get in is so long.

Big swing and a miss, Disney.

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