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Walt Disney World Epcot Discussion Thread

P. 116: Space 220 Restaurant Grand Opening report posted!

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I think some of you are putting the sled before the reindeer here. This is Disney. How long does it take them to build new rides? Several years! This ride is scheduled to be down for just over a year. I would not expect any sort of crazy awesome ride system, I would expect an updated version of Maelstrom.

 

As for Imagination, I agree it needs a complete redo, but for whatever terrible reason KT *LOVES* it and wants to ride it every time. So again, we have to remember the core demographic before bulldozing rides in our heads.

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With Gringotts casting a shadow next door

If there is one thing I know for certain about Disney and more specifically Disney World. They do NOT consider Universal to be their competition or worry about what Universal does. Case in point - Diagon Alley. I saw WAAAAAAAAY more people flood the streets of Hollywood Studios and the Frozen shop during their "Frozen Summer Fun" event than I saw in Diagon Alley or at the registers of those shops in that land the entire summer. How many trains did Seven Dwarfs run and what was their hourly capacity compared to Gringotts?

 

Again, I don't personally feel that either of those things should be compared to begin with, but I'm just using it as an example of why the two resorts are so different. Disney focuses on THEIR guests and what they want, not what guests going to Universal are interested in.

 

IMO, they are two very different markets, even though they are both theme park resorts in Orlando.

 

--Robb "And technically Gringott's is not next door to Disney, Shamu is!" Alvey

Edited by robbalvey
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IMO, they are two very different markets, even though they are both theme park resorts in Orlando.

 

--Robb "And technically Gringott's is not next door to Disney, Shamu is!" Alvey

 

And variety is a good thing. I enjoy both Universal and Disney.

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They do NOT consider Universal to be their competition or worry about what Universal does. Case in point - Diagon Alley. I saw WAAAAAAAAY more people flood the streets of Hollywood Studios and the Frozen shop during their "Frozen Summer Fun" event than I saw in Diagon Alley or at the registers of those shops in that land the entire summer. How many trains did Seven Dwarfs run and what was their hourly capacity compared to Gringotts?

 

This is one of the reasons why it makes me laugh when another, considerably more hysterical website occasionally rants about how this or that Potter whatever is going to kill WDW, or is *the* sign that WDW is on some huge nosedive into oblivion.

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I think some of you are putting the sled before the reindeer here. This is Disney. How long does it take them to build new rides? Several years! This ride is scheduled to be down for just over a year. I would not expect any sort of crazy awesome ride system, I would expect an updated version of Maelstrom.

 

As for Imagination, I agree it needs a complete redo, but for whatever terrible reason KT *LOVES* it and wants to ride it every time. So again, we have to remember the core demographic before bulldozing rides in our heads.

 

I've always wondered why it takes Disney so long to open some of their attractions, not to compare Universal and Disney again but Universal completed Transformers in just over a year and all of London and Diagon Alley in just over 2 years. If Disney really wanted install a totally new ride system in the given time frame they could get it done. Just seems like the capacity of the existing ride system is a disaster waiting to happen if they re-use it as is (I honestly don't know what the existing capacity is but I'm assuming it's not as significant as some of their other major attractions.). Maybe they can re-work the existing ride controls and increase capacity somehow.

 

Call me crazy but I still love Imagination haha, I always take time to ride it whenever I'm at Epcot but yeah a complete re-do there would be welcome.

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I've always wondered why it takes Disney so long to open some of their attractions, not to compare Universal and Disney again but Universal completed Transformers in just over a year and all of London and Diagon Alley in just over 2 years.

I think most of it comes down to the fact that Disney doesn't *NEED* to rush projects. Case in point - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - They didn't *need* that ride to bring in guests, they were going to plan their Disney vacations anyway, and having a new attraction like Mine Train is just a bonus.

 

On the other side of I-4, people were planning vacations based on Diagon Alley, maybe even some on Transformers. Universal *needed* to get those attractions open because they need to attract more guests. (whole reason why they are called attractions!)

 

Disney on the other hand, if they opened nothing for the next ten years, I doubt we'd even see much of a drop, if any, in attendance at the parks. And that's exactly why Disney can take a more relaxed approach to opening new rides.

 

Just seems like the capacity of the existing ride system is a disaster waiting to happen if they re-use it

I think the "capacity nightmare" is the boats. Didn't the Maelstrom boats have one or two less rows than something like Pirates or Small World? So maybe a solution is to increase the number of passengers in the boat, and maybe even create a dual loading platform so they can load two boats at once like they do on Pirates and Small World.

Edited by robbalvey
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Again, I don't personally feel that either of those things should be compared to begin with, but I'm just using it as an example of why the two resorts are so different. Disney focuses on THEIR guests and what they want, not what guests going to Universal are interested in.

 

A point that is reiterated by each parks' Halloween events. Just the names of the events show how the two chains have completely different objectives (Halloween Horror Nights v. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween). It's like when a rated G movie and a rated R movie come out on the same weekend. Do you think the studios really care about such competition? Probably not because the core demographic going to each will overlap very little. Sure, you will always have people that will see both, but that demographic is the minority. In my opinion, the same hold true for Disney and Universal. Universal caters to the teens and young adults with just enough for the younger kids to keep them satisfied if they decide to visit. Disney caters to the families and the "family experience" (meaning rides that the entire family can ride together) and includes just enough thrill rides to keep the teens and young adults satisfied that may visit. Not to mention that the Magic Kingdom pulls in more guests per year than the two Orlando Universal parks combined and Disney's least attended Orlando park (Hollywood Studios) pulls in more guests per year that Universal's most attended Orlando Park (IOA).

 

While I've been to all six of the U.S. Disney parks several times, my wife has never been to any of them. We're planning her first for next spring. She asked me what to expect... I told her, "when you go to Disney, don't expect to ride the most thrilling or heart stopping attractions you've ever been on... instead, expect to ride some of the most fun and memorable attractions you've ever been on." I'd be really surprised if Disney went in any other direction than that.

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I think most of it comes down to the fact that Disney doesn't *NEED* to rush projects. Case in point - Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - They didn't *need* that ride to bring in guests, they were going to plan their Disney vacations anyway, and having a new attraction like Mine Train is just a bonus.

 

On the other side of I-4, people were planning vacations based on Diagon Alley, maybe even some on Transformers. Universal *needed* to get those attractions open because they need to attract more guests. (whole reason why they are called attractions!)

 

Disney on the other hand, if they opened nothing for the next ten years, I doubt we'd even see much of a drop, if any, in attendance at the parks. And that's exactly why Disney can take a more relaxed approach to opening new rides.

 

Just seems like the capacity of the existing ride system is a disaster waiting to happen if they re-use it

I think the "capacity nightmare" is the boats. Didn't the Maelstrom boats have one or two less rows than something like Pirates or Small World? So maybe a solution is to increase the number of passengers in the boat, and maybe even create a dual loading platform so they can load two boats at once like they do on Pirates and Small World.

 

That's a good point, I was always under the impression that the reason Mine Train was so late was because they revised the scope of the Fantasyland shortly after they announced it. Wasn't there a different attraction originally announced for that section of the expansion that was later changed to 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, or am I making that up? Either way yeah Disney doesn't have to rush anything but I guess the announced time frame for the Frozen attraction to open in early 2016 is really enough time that they could do anything they want. New ride system, re-work the old ride system, we'll just have to wait and see! Whatever it is I'm sure it will be awesome.

 

Yeah, I couldn't remember if Maelstrom dispatched boats one at a time or two at a time, but if they do re-use the existing ride system I would expect them to find a way to increase the capacity.

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... and now I feel like I got the cone of shame. Sorta had to know that talking out of my bum would spark something.

 

It's not that I'm calling Gringotts and Diagon Alley Disney-slayers ("casting a shadow" definitely wasn't the right thing to say), but you gotta acknowledge that it's there. And it's not that Universal has finally trumped Disney or anything, but rather that they got something that grabs a lot of attention, which in any case will just encourage more ideas to be made, more rides to be built, and more happy visitors regardless of what park you go to that's nearby.

 

I have no doubt in my mind that the new Frozen ride will be a smash hit; Maelstrom was getting old and needed a good reboot. But I know what Disney is capable of, and given the absolutely monstrous, almost cult-like following of Frozen, I can't help but feel that they can really buckle-down and deliver a truly one-of-a-kind ride experience that Mystic Manor, Journey To The Centre of The Earth and other rides of the like have been able to.

 

Finally... yep, just realized that Shamu is next door to Mickey, so I'll just shut up now.

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When I first rode Maelstrom in 1990, I thought it was a good ride, but I didn't feel any thrills when going down the two ramps they had. But the fact that the boats went backwards in the middle of the ride was a complete surprise to me ( C'mon, I mean, how many boat rides in 1990 went backwards in some point to the ride?). The last time I rode it was in 2006 and that would be the last time I would get to ride it. Whatever changes they make to it, I hope the new "Frozen" attraction would provide a much worthy replacement to the Maelstrom. As for the closure of Maelstrom, I guess I have to "Let It Go"!

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Again, I don't personally feel that either of those things should be compared to begin with, but I'm just using it as an example of why the two resorts are so different. Disney focuses on THEIR guests and what they want, not what guests going to Universal are interested in.

 

A point that is reiterated by each parks' Halloween events. Just the names of the events show how the two chains have completely different objectives (Halloween Horror Nights v. Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween). It's like when a rated G movie and a rated R movie come out on the same weekend. Do you think the studios really care about such competition? Probably not because the core demographic going to each will overlap very little. Sure, you will always have people that will see both, but that demographic is the minority. In my opinion, the same hold true for Disney and Universal. Universal caters to the teens and young adults with just enough for the younger kids to keep them satisfied if they decide to visit. Disney caters to the families and the "family experience" (meaning rides that the entire family can ride together) and includes just enough thrill rides to keep the teens and young adults satisfied that may visit. Not to mention that the Magic Kingdom pulls in more guests per year than the two Orlando Universal parks combined and Disney's least attended Orlando park (Hollywood Studios) pulls in more guests per year that Universal's most attended Orlando Park (IOA).

 

While I've been to all six of the U.S. Disney parks several times, my wife has never been to any of them. We're planning her first for next spring. She asked me what to expect... I told her, "when you go to Disney, don't expect to ride the most thrilling or heart stopping attractions you've ever been on... instead, expect to ride some of the most fun and memorable attractions you've ever been on." I'd be really surprised if Disney went in any other direction than that.

 

Well put.

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It's not that I'm calling Gringotts and Diagon Alley Disney-slayers ("casting a shadow" definitely wasn't the right thing to say), but you gotta acknowledge that it's there. And it's not that Universal has finally trumped Disney or anything, but rather that they got something that grabs a lot of attention

I don't think you quite understand. Yes, Gringotts is there. And yes, the have something that grabs attention... BUT... I do not believe they are grabbing (or taking away might be the better word) Disney's customers or their attention.

 

Universal is grabbing the attention of Universal's customers, which is what they SHOULD be doing. If anything maybe people who came to spend time at Disney may have added an extra day, maybe two onto their trip. But I would put quite a large bet that the amount of business they took away from Disney was zero. If anything, I'm guessing we'll see quite a bit of growth across many of the Orlando parks this year.

 

But you can also say that Disney grabbed attention with New Fantasyland. That area looks absolutely AMAZING, like Diagon, walking around that area, especially at night near the Mermaid part of it looks like something right out of DisneySea, and there is simply more to do for guests in New Fantasyland than there is in Diagon. (There, I said it.) But having said that I do NOT feel that the two areas compete with each other just like I don't think that Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs is a movie that directly competes with Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone, but if you're talking about the "new themed areas" that both resorts recently opened, I don't really think one has that many advantages over the other.

 

And also, are we SURE that Diagon Alley went over as well as Universal had hoped? I saw several articles that suggested that maybe things weren't as "slam dunk" as they had hoped with the new land. It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next couple of years...

 

I figured the compressed timeframe meant that they already had some of the major components built and ready to go once demo is complete, but that's just my uneducated guess.

If I had to guess I would say that as soon as they closed that ride on Sunday night, they probably already had pieces they could be installing right then and there if they had the opportunity. Seeing that they wasted no time at all, I'm guessing your uneducated guess is right on the money. I wouldn't be surprised in the least bit if it turns out they've been building components for the new ride over the last few months.

Edited by robbalvey
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Whether or not Disney is competing with Universal, Universal sure thinks they are. And they will continue to pour money into the resort to do so in the near term.

 

Anyway, back to Epcot: Maelstrom was a very poor ride, the Frozen attraction is a slam dunk or Disney suits wouldn't have put it on the front burner.

 

Personally I'm expecting a pretty good ride, maybe a little more fun than UTSJOTLM but in the same vein, but with wait times of about 80-100 minutes on a normal day or solely a FP+ attraction, so I'll probably ride it very little. I don't think this re-do will be as interesting as Star Tours or Test Track, or an Imax'd Soarin Over the World could be. Probably just standard princess stuff with 1 or 2 must-see effects, and lots of people satisfied.

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I've gotta say that I love Epcot and I don't think it has failed. There is no park like it anywhere else in the world, and it certainly is my favorite of the U.S. Disney parks. For me there is nothing like walking World Showcase at night after seeing IllumiNations, which IMO is still the best fireworks show Disney has ever done. Of course I may be biased as I used to be a presenter at Innoventions (which is what my twin brother does now.) Heck my whole family loves Epcot. So much so that my twin brother proposed to his now-wife during We Go On at the end of IllumiNations. Maybe the best thing about Epcot is I feel like it is the most "repeatable" Disney park. With the HUGE variety of attractions, shows, and dining (especially dining which no other park on the planet comes remotely close to), I don't see how I could ever get bored there. Isn't repeatability the key to getting return business?

 

In terms of Universal being a threat to Disney, Universal still doesn't have a lot of repeatability compared to WDW and especially compared to Epcot. Heck, there isn't even a single coaster at Epcot and I don't think that's ever bothered me! So no way is Universal going to cause Disney's attendance to go down.

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I think I got it now. Thanks for the correction, Robb.

 

Of course, at the moment I can only dream of going to Epcot, so I can only imagine how it's like to experience it for the first time. I've always wanted to take a ride on Mission: SPACE and visit The Living Seas and World Showcase (I'd also mention Test Track, but I got a taste of that with Radiator Springs Racers... and its 2-hour wait). I remember reading about WestCOT and how epic it was supposed to be... then we got Eisner's California Adventure (oh how sad I was... thankfully Iger fixed it up). But even if WestCOT did happen, it probably wouldn't be the same as EPCOT is today: a truly all-encompassing experience blending the worlds of then, now, and what's to come, always transforming and evolving like every good Disney park should be.

 

So there. Totally different experience from Universal's experience. Not that Universal really comes close, anyways (the comparison is even worse over here).

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I do think Universal is taking away business from Disney but not in the way most of you think they are. From friends and family who have recently visited, they tend to stay at the WDW resort and spend their whole time there save for 1 day at USF/IOA. So WDW has to deal woth people spending 5 days instead of 6 at their park. A loss, sure, but not that big of a loss. It was smart for Uni to put Diagon Alley in the other park because now they capitolize on park hopping tickets.

 

While there are a good amount of people who try to squeeze in a trip to Universal Resort, there's still plenty of Disney patrons who dont even have USF tracking on their radar.

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I do think Universal is taking away business from Disney but not in the way most of you think they are. From friends and family who have recently visited, they tend to stay at the WDW resort and spend their whole time there save for 1 day at USF/IOA. So WDW has to deal woth people spending 5 days instead of 6 at their park. A loss, sure, but not that big of a loss. It was smart for Uni to put Diagon Alley in the other park because now they capitolize on park hopping tickets.

 

While there are a good amount of people who try to squeeze in a trip to Universal Resort, there's still plenty of Disney patrons who dont even have USF tracking on their radar.

 

I've actually had friends lately do the opposite thanks to the additions Universal & Disney have made. Both groups of friends had booked around 7-9 days and had planned to do 4-5 Disney, and 4 days of Universal, Wet n Wild and Sea World with a little sightseeing in an off resort hotel but after realizing they wanted to spend a lot more time at Universal thanks to Harry Potter areas and wanting to eat there one day and sample Springfield on another, as well as not wanting to have to rush each park at Disney and seeing the perks of fast pass+ decided to break their holiday up so they did everything but Disney for 7 days and are planning on saving up to come back within the next year or two and do a full 7-9 days at a Disney hotel. Granted that means they didn't spend any money at Disney this year but this would have been a one time trip that has now become two with Disney now pretty much getting all their money on the next trip since they've done everything else.

 

In this case it definitely feels more like the parks can gain from each others additions than lose competition. I'd imagine that most people who live far away and make Orlando a one-time trip were always planning both parks or were just die-hard fans to go to just one of them e.g. Disney fans/Harry Potter fans/Simpsons fans.

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The Universal/Disney "competition" is fraudulent and has more to do with people seeking validation for choices they make as consumers. Both are really good at what they do. The argument that Frozen is a reaction to Diagon Alley is ridiculous to me, but if you've decided to have emotional stake in Universal's success for some reason, you probably feel better and empowered in some way by saying that.

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I say it's just a good thing for park guests in general, no matter their preferences. Both Disney and Universal are giving their audiences the experiences they want. Nothing wrong with that.

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The argument that Frozen is a reaction to Diagon Alley is ridiculous to me, but if you've decided to have emotional stake in Universal's success for some reason, you probably feel better and empowered in some way by saying that.

 

Same principles of ignorance and self-gratification can be seen in how people think Sea World's enlarging of the killer whale habitats is a direct reaction to Blackfish. It's the same thing.

 

People are too dumb to realize these projects spend months/years in the planning stage before the announcements are made. Yet somehow people think some executive sees Blackfish or Universal or whatever, does a spit take with their coffee, grabs the nearest phone and demand these new projects begin immediately. I guess all the plans and such just magically materialize? I just don't know how they think it's even possible for it to work that way.

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