What's the biggest mistake ever made by a theme park?

January 6, 2017, 12:11 PM · What's the biggest mistake you've ever seen by a theme park?

With The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror closing this week at Disney California Adventure, I'm sure that many fans would cite Disney's decision to replace that attraction with a new Guardians of the Galaxy theme as their pick for biggest theme park blunder. Taking it back several more years, I'm sure some fans continue to insist that Disney blew it by building California Adventure in the first place, instead of going with competing plans for Westcot or even a Long Beach DisneySea.

I'm on the record as supporting Disney's call to swap The Twilight Zone for Guardians of the Galaxy on DCA's Tower of Terror. But that doesn't mean I agree with everything Disney decides. (I'll wait a moment for long-time Theme Park Insider readers to stop laughing.... We good now? Okay, let's move on.) In my Orange County Register column this week, I list a few of the attractions removals from the Disneyland Resort that I think turned out to be actual mistakes for the company.

It's too early to tell if The Twilight Zone removal will turn out to be a mistake or not. After all, we can't honestly make that decision until we see the Guardians of the Galaxy version of the ride. Let's face it — sometimes when fans complain about an attraction's removal, their complaints end up being drowned out by the cheers of other fans who fall in love with that attraction's replacement. (Heck, sometimes, even the people who complain about a removal end up flipping when they see the new ride.) Epcot's Frozen Ever After provides the most recent example. Even though many fans decried the removal of Maelstrom for a Frozen-themed makeover, the much longer lines and higher ratings for the replacement demonstrate that the majority of Disney visitors are not only just fine with the switch, they prefer the new version.

You can see the same thing up the road at Universal Orlando, too, with some fans continuing to insist that Universal made a mistake removing its Jaws ride, despite the wild popularity of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley, which replaced it. No one who has responsibility for Disney's or Universal's bottom lines would argue that replacing Maelstrom or Jaws was a mistake. But some fans still do.

I suspect that we'll see the same thing happen with Guardians of the Galaxy in a few months. As long as the wait times got for Tower of Terror since the announcement its closing, I'll bet you a TPI button that the wait times for the Guardians ride will exceed that when it opens this summer. Disney's replacing a pretty-much forgotten old television franchise with one of the most popular movie franchises in the world right now. Throw in a more coherent storyline and a company that's much more in the mood to invest in its theme parks than it was back when the ToT opened at DCA in 2004, and I'm very hopeful that Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout will over fans the way that Frozen Ever After did at Epcot.

But that doesn't excuse the fact that getting rid of the PeopleMover for Rocket Rods at Disneyland really was a mistake. ;^)

So let's get back to the question I asked at the start of this post. What's the biggest mistake you've ever seen by a theme park?

Read Robert's column:

Replies (53)

January 6, 2017 at 12:17 PM · I am still upset they replaced Ghostbuster at Universal Studios Florida with Twister: Ride it Out. Replacing a show/ride based on a timeless classic for a movie that clearly was not going to be remembered beyond the five years it came out was a critical mistake. Especially now with the the Ghostbusters reboot, the park missed out on having that access again. What will currently be in that building -- The Jimmy Fallon ride -- probably will not have the same lasting power either. In five years, everyone will be antsy to see it replaced.
January 6, 2017 at 12:21 PM · WDW getting rid of Mr Toad for Pooh, 20000 Leagues for that cheap little mermaid ride or replacing a ride with a forced photo spot like Snow White to Photopass princess hall
January 6, 2017 at 12:32 PM · Superstar Limo
Rocket Rods
Journey Into Your Imagination
World Of Color- Celebrate
January 6, 2017 at 12:41 PM · I still say Disney closing down the Pleasure Island clubs was a terrible move. Comedy Warehouse and Adventurer's Club were institutions, a huge fanbase that should have been kept on and terrible to see them go for something not nearly as fun.

January 6, 2017 at 12:45 PM · While not maybe the biggest mistake ever,the replacements for "Journey into Imagination" at EPCOT have been major steps backwards. I would go a step further than your great example of Rocket Rods replacing the PeopleMover. The entire Tomorrowland makeover during the Rocket Rods era was a disaster. Would like to see Disneyland have a comprehensive plan to "fix" Tomorrowland. Starcade - even yet another meet and greet is better than boarded up walls!
January 6, 2017 at 12:48 PM · Epcot's Wonders of Life replaced with nothing.
January 6, 2017 at 12:51 PM · 1st incarnation of DCA. Though I like what's it turning into now over Westcot. DL has never been the same to me since they closed Tahitian Terrace; ditto Country Bear Jamboree.
January 6, 2017 at 12:52 PM · All upgrades/re-fittings/changes for Epcot's Future World where not very successful. Not to say attractions need to stay forever or shouldn't be changed but these weren't a improvement: Nemo in The Living Seas, Ellen in Universe of Energy, Soarin, the whole Imagination! pavilion, the replacement of Horizon/World of Motion, the update for Test Track, replacement of the planters for gravestones at the entrance, change of the narrator's voice in Space Ship Earth.
January 6, 2017 at 12:53 PM · There are far worse rides they've replaced or shut down over the years than the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Just off hand, I can think of several: Horizons, Imagination, Wonders of Life, Alien Encounter, the People Mover over at Disneyland, Back Lot Tour, Timekeeper, 20,000 Leagues.. I could go on and on, but I won't.

Honestly, the fact that other versions of Tower of Terror will persist as Tower of Terror softens the blow. You can always go to those other parks and ride the original version, at least 'til the Disney executives see the massively improved numbers of the Guardians ride and green light the other ToT rides to get the same treatment.

January 6, 2017 at 1:03 PM · I still think the ToT removal is the worst. I hate Frozen ever after, but at least Disney can claim that Malestrom wasn't popular and had to go. ToT was one of the more popular attractions.

Also, the Twilight Zone is not a forgotten franchise. It's an iconic TV show that fit in DCA and DHS.

January 6, 2017 at 1:14 PM · As regards DLR; the end of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show - it was a regular stop for us during every visit and with the comdey show in front of the Golden Horseshoe it was a complete package. The closing of the Country Bear Jamboree and the closing of the music shop on Main Street where you could get CDs custom burned with music from the shows past and present that were one-of-a-kind. I'm glad I got my Country Bears CD when I did.
January 6, 2017 at 1:34 PM · You guys in the States are probably less familiar with this, but I actually think a more regrettable change than Mission: Breakout was the permanent re-theme of Space Mountain in Paris replacing the original story, "De La terre à la lune" (heavily integrated with the building and Discoveryland itself), with the much more generic "Mission 2". Even the name of Mission 2 sucks. De La terre à la lune is a name that sounds inspirational and whimsical (even translated to English it has an adventurous charm). "Mission 2" could not be a more generic and less evocative name for its followup. Some of the changes to the ride experience itself are pretty good, but overall Mission 2 just lacks the magic of De La terre à la lune. To the point that the imminent overlay of Hyperspace Mountain (which sounds like it may be essentially permanent in Paris) could wind up being a marked improvement, even though it diverges from the steampunk Jules Verne aesthetic, just by virtue of the cultural resonance of the Star Wars saga.
January 6, 2017 at 1:40 PM · One reason that Frozen Ever After has such long lines is the limited capacity of the attraction. Sure, it's more popular that Maelstrom. However, I'm not sure it's really as big of a hit as it seems. If they were drawing those lines with 2,000 riders an hour, that would be different.

The mistakes for me have mostly been in Future World. Horizons for Mission: Space is bad, but the Imagination and Living Seas replacements were even worse. Removing the Spaceship Earth descent for the screens was also a mistake. Innoventions was also a big step backward and now is gone. Disney has made few changes at Future World that really click. Test Track and Soarin' are the exceptions, though I wish they could have existed alongside World of Motion.

January 6, 2017 at 1:51 PM · "Also, the Twilight Zone is not a forgotten franchise. It's an iconic TV show that fit in DCA and DHS."

Anthony - Not forgotten by people who know what it is, but there are a lot that don't. As for my own anecdotal evidence, my 32-year-old wife LOVES the Tower of Terror. It's one of her favorite rides. I showed her a picture of Rod Serling the other day ... and she didn't know who it was. And she's never seen an episode of "The Twilight Zone." She's excited about the Guardians makeover.

Like it or not, TTZ is not as well-known as you'd like it to be, particularly overseas. Given that no one complains that the Tower of Terror in Tokyo is missing the "Twilight Zone" theme, I suspect this will be easily forgotten when the new story / theme is added and people realize that the ride hasn't changed, just the presentation. And Guardians has the benefit of being a more recent franchise, as well as IP owned by Disney, and has worldwide appeal.

January 6, 2017 at 1:54 PM · Creature from the Black Lagoon: The Musical, anyone? How about Superstar Limo?

Actually, the biggest mistake of all time, to me, will be Disney's Poop Brownies.

January 6, 2017 at 2:17 PM · Son of Beast
January 6, 2017 at 2:33 PM · I can forgive them for shutting down the submarine ride for they brought it back. They could bring back the People Mover if they wish to invest the money. Another classic ride to bring back is the Rocket Jets on the PM platform. Maybe one day. Classic Tomorrowland will be what can save the land.
January 6, 2017 at 2:40 PM · I still stand by the fact that replacing Maelstrom with Frozen was a mistake, I think these lines die down over time when more is added to the park and the craze dies down when the younger generation grows out of the movie. Maelstrom was a disney classic like The Three Caballeros or the Jungle cruise.

But if I cant pick Maelstrom, easily replacing Extraterrorestrial Alien Encounter with Stitch's Great Escape was a HUGE mistake. The ride was clearly labeled as being scary and the people who loved it, always came back. Theres room for rides that stand out Magic Kingdom, and not rides thats are this terrible.

January 6, 2017 at 2:53 PM · I think what we look at as mistakes may actually be common sense though. 20000 leagues was a great ride, an icon. It also had a lot of down time, a small capacity and had an outdated IP (but a really cool one - look at Disneysea to show that Verne can still rock it). Replacing that ride made sense. Little Mermaid is not nearly as good, but still very popular and reliable, with a much bigger through-put.

January 6, 2017 at 2:57 PM · From what I understand, Florida's water tables made 20000 Leagues both an operational and potentially hazardous nightmare.
January 6, 2017 at 2:57 PM · Here's a shout out to "Under New Management" a Tiki Room replacement so bad that Disney actually returned the classic version.

I miss the People Mover and the high up Rocket Jets very much. They gave the land it's neat inviting kinetic energy and functioned as the weenie to pull people away from the hub.

And can I agree that Pooh Bear is utterly wrong for Critter Country. His British roots and whimsicality would've been a perfect fit for the old Motorboat attraction space between Alice and Small World. But maybe that's just me.

January 6, 2017 at 3:21 PM · Yes to losing the People Mover... such a tragedy. I really miss the loss of Universal's original Kongfrontation... that was a blast! And of course the loss of Horizons and World of Motion is still devastating. I'm all for new rides, but I hate losing classics to make room for them.
January 6, 2017 at 3:24 PM · It's tough to say it was a mistake due to the popularity of the attraction, but in my opinion replacing Terminator 2: 3-D with Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at USH was the most disappointing change. The old show was one of the best 3D presentations in any theme park (and the only one that incorporated live actors in a significant role), while the new ride is just a standard simulator that is inferior to Simpsons Ride. The attraction may make more sense in Florida, but in California it just reduces diversity among the park's attractions in favor of an additional IP.

As for a true biggest mistake, from what I've experienced I'd say either PeopleMover to Rocket Rods or Main Street Electrical Parade to Light Magic. Both of these cost Disneyland a beloved attraction for a replacement that failed to impress and lasted a very short time. A runner up is the Windjammer Surf Racers at Knott's Berry Farm, which was plagued with technical problems and gave a very rough and unpleasant ride. Also, it's impossible to leave the Cedar Fair Windseekers out of this discussion, as all of them have been problematic for their respective parks.

January 6, 2017 at 3:51 PM · Six Flags over Georgia replaced its stately columns, gardens and fountains entry plaza back in the mid 1990s with an abbreviated version of a Main Street USA concept. It added shopping opportunities at the entrance, but took away a stately entryway that set a pleasant tone.
I also really wish there was a PeopleMover at Disneyland. Tomorrowland is the least enjoyable land at that park visually because of the lack of any kinetic excitement. Those trains moving above head would really bring back a lot of pleasure to Tomorrowland, as would the sky-way.
January 6, 2017 at 4:18 PM · The awesome, amazing, and wonderful Alien ExtraTERRORetrial Encounter for Stitch. Please bring it back.
January 6, 2017 at 5:35 PM · Original Soarin in DCA and Epcot... RIP
January 6, 2017 at 7:07 PM · Stitch for Extraterrorestrial - wow, what an awful decision.

The Mummy for Kongfrontation (I like the Mummy, but boy do I miss the old Kong)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for...Pooh's Playful Spot and a character Meet & Greet...?

And Jaws. Yes, Harry Potter is better. It was just such a cool experience to be attacked by Jaws in a boat. Not so much as a mistake as a lament.

January 6, 2017 at 6:11 PM · Peoplemover -> Rocket Rods
Snow White's Scary Adventures -> a meet and greet
Country Bears -> Pooh (Disneyland)
Astro Oribiter -> A bunch of rotating, fake satellite dishes
Universe of Energy -> Elen's rapidly outdated adventure

There are a few others which I personally view as a mistake, but still acknowledge that they were either popular with the general public or good for the company. These include..
Rainbow Caverns Mine Train -> Big Thunder(probably alone on this)
20000 Leagues -> Little Mermaid
Horizons -> Mission Space
Kitchen Cabaret -> Food Rocks
Tusker House - Character meal
Crystal Palace - Character meal

January 6, 2017 at 7:08 PM · Anyone that truly LOVES "The Twilight Zone" cannot be sad to see this travesty go away. Besides the fact that the ride makes ZERO sense, it's disgusting how Disney uses Rod Serling without his permission. Especially since there's about a 95% chance that Serling would've HATED this ride.

Rod Serling was, first and foremost, a WRITER. He wrote 99 of the 156 "Twilight Zone" episodes. No writer would be proud of the slapdash "plot" of this ride. Even when Serling didn't write an episode, the show was still his baby and endings were VERY important to him, especially those with twists. Just think of many of the best-known episodes and the third-act twist: Man hates people, just wants to read, world ends, he's happy, then breaks his glasses. People start accusing each other of being aliens, we find out it's aliens playing games with them. A woman who has gotten plastic surgery is unbandaged and her human face is considered monstrous by the monsters who inhabit this world. Those aliens that are being so nice to mankind don't have a handbook on how "To Serve Man" but a cookbook! Astronauts who have landed on a desert planet are killed off for their water, only to have their killer discover they never landed on Earth, and a town was just over the ridge. And so on... Even his most famous movie - "Planet of the Apes" - is most famous for that Statue of Liberty twist ending.

So how does anyone think he'd actually approve of this "story"? "These people entered a hotel, and fell into the Twilight Zone... by going up and down a bunch of times, I guess? Though it's hard to tell since we don't know who these people are. Maybe they deserved to go up and down a lot? And the elevator shafts have been clearly been sent to the Twilight Zone also - you can clearly see they are missing as you approach the hotel - yet somehow you will stand in line to get onto an elevator! That then basically does what an elevator is supposed to do, except a little faster and more often, and then you return to the real world because... ummm, lightning? Oh, and because it's Disney, who loves immersing you in a complete experience, they will open the doors of the elevator so you can see a replica of the Matterhorn a few times because... some of those people were Swiss? You know what? I'm going to go haunt whoever came up with this idiocy!"

The ride will still go up and down. There will still be some "magical" film footage when you aren't going up and down. You actually won't be taken out of the experience by being shown that you are still in a theme park. You just won't have an extremely talented dead person being forced to "host" a ride he would be embarrassed of. Win/win.

January 6, 2017 at 8:19 PM · Continuing AJs point, Universal has lost so many great live action shows: Wild West, Conan and Miami Vice. Losing something real for something 3D is never a good thing imo.
January 7, 2017 at 11:59 AM · Runner up (Disney): Miscalculating the support system necessary to maintain an "A Mode" Yeti on Expedition Everest.

Winner (Disney): Not fixing the Yeti for going on a decade.

Runner up (Universal): Making Dueling Dragons / Dragon Challenge not Duel (a tragic mistake which will be further compounded when the ride is unceremoniously torn down and replaced with another Harry Potter screen based ride).

Winner (Universal): Charging $55 per person to ride the Hogwarts Express rather than offering a round trip option for people who don't want/need (or can't afford) to park hop.

January 6, 2017 at 9:54 PM · Biggest theme park mistakes? Shanghai Disney, Disneyland Hong Kong and Disneyland Paris. Disney's overseas parks are a bleeding ulcer; they will never turn a profit, no matter how much Disney invests.

Disney's biggest USA mistake? Underinvestment in USA parks has allowed Universal to steal market share from Disney. 2nd biggest mistake? Gutting California Adventure to create "Superhero Nerd World". Removing Twilight Zone, Soarin' Over California and Aladdin has killed the spirit of California Adventure and removed any reason to ever visit again.

January 7, 2017 at 12:14 AM · I'll offer a couple big mistakes from DCA. First and worst is replacing Aladdin with the Frozen show. I saw Frozen on my last trip, and it is a good show, with some nice visual effects. But it still pales, very badly, compared to the greatness of Aladdin. Aladdin was incredible, and its popularity never diminished.
On top of that, they never present enough shows for Frozen, so people have to scramble for fast passes.

Secondly, and on a related subject, I'm still bitter about the way Disney unceremoniously chucked the Toy Story Zoetrope in favor of an Anna and Elsa meet and greet. The zoetrope was one of the coolest things I've ever seen in any theme park, and perfectly demonstrated the art of animation. So they evict it from the animation building to make room for yet another freakin' meet and greet. Appalling.

January 7, 2017 at 8:51 AM · The biggest mistake is Disneyland Paris overbuilding the resort at its opening and causing 25 years of financial burden that prevented the right amount of investments
January 7, 2017 at 12:12 PM · adventurers club closure
January 7, 2017 at 3:35 PM · Gaylord Entertainment closing Opryland because of fake profit and loss numbers. A few years afterwards new management revisited those calculations and admitted they could not explain why it was closed as it actually was making money not loosing it. This is a case of not just a ride but an entire park.
January 7, 2017 at 6:33 PM · The entire Hong Kong Disneyland in its 2005 opening form was the biggest mistake ever. It was a disaster that Disney is still working on fixing.
January 8, 2017 at 4:04 AM · Biggest mistake made by theme parks ever?
Why, the current trend of adding and expanding Intellectual Property of course!
Not everything at Disney has to be based off a movie.
Yet most (if at all....) additions to Disney's parks in the last 10 years where just cheap refurbishments of already popular attractions( test track, etc.)
They haven't added anything NEW to be honest, which is disappointing and makes their parks look like museums.
The only exceptions being Expedition Everest, Toy Story Mania and the DCA redo but other than that there is was pretty much nothing.
Here in Florida we've got nothing...
I pay $100 per day to expect quality, timeless attractions instead of cheap, grocery style advertisements....
January 9, 2017 at 12:14 AM · California Adventure 1.0 is obviously the biggest blunder Disney has ever made. Next would have to be the 1998 "New Tomorrowland." Without question the biggest mistake made at an existing park. There was not one redeeming thing about it. (Replacing the outdoor Space Stage with the enclosed Magic Eye Theater was actually the beginning of the decline.) After Eisner, Harriss and Pressler left a lot of improvements were made to the resort. But even though Tomorrowland looks better it's never been quite the same. I think what's worst than closing the PM is leaving the tracks in place. At this point, with the Star Wars Land and Marvel Land coming I'd be OK with them replacing T-land entirely with a new land and different theme.

Hard Rock Park's concept and execution wasn't that bad. It had an edgy, adult theme and I think given time to mature it could have been a really top notch park. But the location was a big mistake and of course timing was awful.

Euro Disneyland's location was a big mistake. Should have been built in sunny, friendly Spain instead. And since many British and Northern Europeans already spend their holiday there it seemed like a no-brainer.

January 9, 2017 at 3:03 AM · The Original Soarin and Test Track rides were much better than their new versions at WDW.
January 9, 2017 at 9:13 AM · The original Journey Into Imagination refurb as well as the one that followed....so sad at the loss of my purple dragon pal Figment. :(
January 9, 2017 at 11:00 AM · As much as I feel the pain of my fellow readers, I'm thinking the topic has once again veered to that venerable favorite, Which Attractions Do You Miss Most? Believe me, the mere mention of the late, lamented 20,000 LEAGUES breaks my heart, but I'm going to take a different tack and say incorporating non-Disney properties, such as McDonald's and the Power Rangers, into Disney Parks. These outside world intrusions into our beloved, carefully crafted themed environments destroyed the atmosphere and really "took you out of" the Parks. The incorporation of Starbucks has been handled better and less obtrusively, and at least Disney OWNS Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. But the best tasting chocolate covered raisins I ever had weren't Rasinettes from my local movie theater-they were Disney Parks-branded, bought on Main Street special, and were an enjoyable reminder of my trip after I got home.
January 9, 2017 at 11:38 PM · Disney's entire overseas misadventure has been, on the whole, a colossal disaster. Besides the aforementioned Paris and Hong Kong DL, they did a great job on Shanghai and it's only a middling success. Imagine if they had built something like that as a fifth gate at WDW, or a third gate at DLR? Mobs would be busting the doors down daily. The new Pirates ride alone would have people building a trip around it. They could have replaced WDW's Pirates, and that would have satisfied fans' hunger for a new E Ticket for the next 5-10 years.
January 10, 2017 at 2:28 AM · They should totally put the New POTC in Magic Kingdom! Disneyland already has the original, and better, version! Better yet, put Tron in Magic Kingdoms Autopia space (again Disneyland has the better version) and Lost River Delta where Jungle Cruise is (again a copycat of Disneyland) and maybe even Mystic Manor in HM!! I've always said let Disneyland have the nostalgia, Disney World should always get the newest and best WDI has to offer. Unfortunately for the last 16 years that has been going to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
January 10, 2017 at 12:10 PM · Great Adventure demolishing Rolling Thunder in lieu of giving it a RMC makeover. If the old Cyclone - one of the dullest rides imaginable - at Six Flags New England could be RMC'd into something exciting, so could Rolling Thunder.
January 10, 2017 at 2:12 PM · Easy, the biggest mistake is Disney using gobs of money to "refurb" stuff rather than build new all the way.

Everytime the spend money on something like Test Track, Tower of Terror, Soarin, and Frozen (Maelstrom) that is really just new themeing rather than something entirely new is a lost opportunity to add an attraction.

I'm not saying don't maintain an attraction, but to slap a new theme on an existing ride doesn't add to your ride/attraction count. I would rather have two or three experiences of varying quality than one super duper one.

That's what I hate.

January 10, 2017 at 2:57 PM · Disney will spend gobs of money despite a refurb. Old attractions get refurbs all the time and nothing is changed. Building new will costs lots more money and take even longer. There's nothing new beyond the tech behind Test Track, Tower of Terror, Soarin' and Frozen. They are constantly duplicating the same tech in other ways. Test Track ride vehicles are used in Carsland, Indiana Jones, Dinosaur, Journey to the Center of the Earth in Tokyo. What's the difference?

What lost opportunity? If they don't refurb Test Track, it'll just deteriorate and you'll lose it forever. Body Wars went away and never to return. You lost an attraction. Not doing anything means it won't remain. The Universe of Energy ride is at its last legs. People just ignore it like it isn't even there.

What super duper one? They aren't super anymore if not updated and modernized.

January 10, 2017 at 2:55 PM · A real problem is a botched makeover. I'm glad to see that this was mainly in the Eisner era and he is gone.

Imagination turned a decent, yet aging attraction, into a horrible mess. Horizons was a good dark ride that was replaced with Space that few people actually want to ride.

The ugly New Tomorrowland 1998 at Disneyland changed out a family People Mover ride into a thrilling slow loading Rocket Rods disaster. The Discoveryland paint job just didn't work.

I'm beginning to wonder if Shanghai Disneyland isn't a disaster for building two parks that are 1000 miles apart. Not enough distance and political uncertainty as China flexes its political clout against US dominance. Disney should only build in democratic countries.

January 10, 2017 at 7:02 PM · Re: Anon Mouse

"Disney should only build in Democratic countries"

There is a reason why Disney/Universal/Six Flags woukd rather choose to build in places like China and Dubai over places like India, the world's largest democacy will over a billion people.

And that is the nightmare bureaucratic red tape and big NIMBY attitude that exists in India. Walmart and other big retailers have been trying to get in for ages with no success.

Plus most developed democracies are dealing with aging populations, declining birth rates and shrinking or stagnant disposable incomes. Why in the world would theme park operators want to enter those markets?

And political uncertainty is just made up by the media to drive ratings and circulation

No China: no walmart, dollar stores or affordable IPHONES.

January 11, 2017 at 6:53 AM · Letting the Yeti at Expedition Everest rot. The one unique thing about the ride and it just sits there in a disco.
January 11, 2017 at 9:35 AM · my vote would have to be up there somewhere with "Frozen Ever After" -not because it isn't popular, but because of what it does to the theming, which is what keeps disney head and shoulders above the rest. Frozen Ever After breaks the story. It isn't that it shouldn't have been built. Much like Mission Space - it just could have been built elsewhere. EPCOT as a whole has seen a lot of this, and I will continue to think it's a mistake as Disney continues to rake in the dollars - which seems to be the intent, rather than storytelling, in many cases as of late.

As for the ride I MISS most/think was a poor judgement call? ExtraTERROR-restrial. And let me say this - I WAS one of those kids who was terrified/probably too young to ride it. I rode it for the first time in 2002 on a school trip, and we were definitely warned that it would be that scary. The signage was very clear. I certainly wasn't itching to ride it again that trip and I tried my best not to see or hear any of it while it was happening, but I deeply regret that the complaints were such that the ride had to be "tamed". It doesn't make any sense at all. I regret never being able to go back and ride that ride again. And even though I don't hate Stitch as much as everyone else does (probably because I still remember the original..) I still think it was a mistake.

However the point I really wanted to bring up is that we're talking a lot about the Overseas "ventures" being mistakes, and talking about how all the real, full blown "new" attractions are going to these overseas parks rather than stateside - and it serves to note that this isn't happening because Disney *cares* more about expanding overseas...
It's happening because those parks are all Private Holdings. Disney's partnered with other companies willing to Foot The Bill. To my knowledge, Disney doesn't even *own* DisneySea/Tokyo Disneyland.

Imagine that - an imagineer's dream. Freedom to realize all of those awesome ideas coming out of WDI without a hyperfocus on the greed/nostalgia balance going on in the stateside parks.

It's reflected in - what I can only imagine - the broken partnerships that led to the decline of Future World in EPCOT. EPCOT got all those cool (Educational! On Theme!) attractions by partnering with other companies that sponsored them individually.

So the real mistake, I think, was moving away from the potential for those kinds of partnerships in favor of keeping as big a slice of the pie as Disney could muster.

It follows, furthermore, that the *biggest* mistake was the shift in philosophy/business model, and the CEO who made all this possible.

January 12, 2017 at 12:01 AM · I think the biggest mistakes have to be the overseas parks. Paris was a mistake from the start, and just caused a huge financial hole. This lead to DCA 1.0, the worst Disney Park in the United States. Hong Kong is a good little park, however, it has very few unique attractions and only one or two worth riding. It fails to draw tourists and is getting beaten by parks from small corporations in Hong Kong. Shanghai was a masterfully built park and well built. And yet attendance continues to underwhelm. Disney invests so much money in overseas parks, yet Tokyo is the only one that matches the caliber of the US Parks. Also, California Adventure completed a successful redesign that saw attendance increase with great new ips. But now Disney is removing or rebranding the classics. Soarin over California is gone, Aladdin has been replaced by Frozen, and now Tower of Terror is turning into Guardians of the Galaxy. They replace timeless greats with IPs that have already gone cold.

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