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Is Walt Disney World past due for park #5?


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Consider:

 

Magic Kingdom (and WDW itself) opened in 1971.

 

Epcot opened 11 years later, in 1982.

 

7 years later, in 1989, we are invited to Disney's MGM Studios.

 

Finally, 9 years after that, Animal Kingdom opens its doors in 1998.

 

 

We are now 11 years after the opening of the last WDW park. Since then, Universal opened Islands of Adventure and expanded itself into a full-fledged Resort... but Disney hasn't really done anything significant. Yes, they've been working on their Vacation Club dwellings, but what will draw the crowds without fresh attractions?

 

Arguably, the reason for Animal Kingdom could be the relative failure of the Studios, and perhaps should not be considered for setting a trend. Also, the Disney company has added California Adventure, Disney FantaSea, and the Disney Studios in Paris, so it's not as if they've been sitting on their hands.

 

Of course, it's not as if WDW is leaving guests with a shortage of fun and entertainment. Their resort is the top tourist destination in the world for a reason. I just find it interesting that despite opening a new park once a decade since the doors opened, we hear no plans for a new park or even a major expansion on the east coast property.

 

With Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter set to open in 2010, one would expect a major retaliation from Disney, but nothing seems to be on the horizon.

 

Thoughts?

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My thoughts here.

 

1. When I heard about WWOHP, I was excited for it, but also for the fact that Disney wouldnt just sit by and not add anything to compete.

2.Who is to say what Disney has planned, they tend to be very secretive about their plans.

3.Like you said they still are the top tourist destination in the world, why spend billions of dollars when they dont have too.

4.I hate to say the economy plays a part in it, but I think it does. Universal had no choice to move forward, not saying they wouldnt have if they did, but I think Disney had dedcided to wait until HP opened and then fire back.

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but what will draw the crowds without fresh attractions?

 

The fact that it's Disney?

 

If the public are screaming out to them that they want another park, then it only makes sense to add one, but at the moment, WDW is easily a week stay if you do everything and I don't think that guests feel short changed.

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^ I was thinking the same thing.

 

My family has been looking at planning a Walt Disney World trip for a number years, but for a family of six it's not all that cheap, considering how long you would have to stay in order to really experience the resort. The value is fantastic, I can't deny that, but if you can't afford it, it doesn't make much difference.

 

So, no, I don't think Walt Disney World needs another park in it's arsenal. As long as it keeps its' individual parks fresh, you won't need a new park at the resort for a number of years to come.

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My thoughts exactly. Last time I was there, I didn't even bother going to AK (Though that was in 2005, before Everest was completed).

 

Right now, I don't think Disney feels the pressing need to add another park. I think they're more concerned about keeping the guests coming in spite of the struggling economy at the moment.

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I think WDW has more issues that need to be looked at then adding a 5th gate.

 

With the exception of MK and EPCOT, the other two parks are not full day parks right now. That needs to be fixed. AK needs at least another E Ticket, and more sit down eating choices. DHS needs to refocus on what type of a park it is. Since the studios left, it's kind of a lost soul.

 

I also wonder if anyone ever thinks about the staffing of a fifth gate. Where would Disney find these people?

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In this economy ABC is really hurting. Disney parks are also suffering. The company still trying to recoup the Everest investment.

 

I don't see anything being announced until at least a year after the economy turns around.

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Agreed--I'd like to see them get rid of that lame backlot tour and put that space to good use.

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Personally, I feel that with the exception of MK, all three parks need more to do. I did MGM Studios and Epcot in the same day and really didn't feel like I missed out on anything at either park. Animal Kingdom was also seriously lacking in rides. If it weren't for Expedition Everest, I'm not sure I would have really enjoyed much about the park. The atmosphere was fantastic, but the selection of attractions at these three parks was lacking at best. And I also feel the Magic Kingdom needs some serious updating. It shows its age. Some of the rides are looking tired, and some areas of the park (Tomorrowland) need major updating. I don't think that adding a fifth gate would ever be a smart investment. If a family is unable to do everything the resort offers in a week, all adding another gate is going to do is cause profit to be split between five parks instead of four. I know of several people that have had trouble fitting all four parks into their 5-day or week long vacation to Orlando. If you can barely fit four parks into a vacation, having five parks just means that you'll have to choose one park not to do. I don't think the increase of attractions would actually lead to an overall increase in attendance as much as the previous parks have done to the resort.

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I agree with everyone else. Before adding a new park, they should add more onto what they already have.

 

I do think when they do need a new park, I would think it would be better to have it in another location. Maybe a Disney Park downunder? Or one a in Dubai. I don't think they need another Disney World park.

 

--James

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To me the resort feels very complete. Magic Kingdom, Future type park, Movie type park, Animal type park, two water parks, etc. Not quite sure what they could add that would truly ADD something.

 

I agree with others that I'd like to see the current parks 'beefed' up a bit instead of all the money for a 5th Main Gate.

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I think they need to add more to Animal Kingdom before adding another park.

 

I know Everest is new but the park is so lacking in rides. You have a major coaster, a safari (which I never found that great compared to Great Adventure's safari but it seems to be popular), a dumbo clone, 2 spinning mice clones that can be found anywhere a dark ride that isn't family friendly (too scary for kids), a rapids ride and a train.

 

They need another 2 - 3 rides.

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I remember them telling us on the WDWCP that they have space to build upwards of 4 additional parks, but it would be very unlikely even in the best economic conditions.

 

Part of the appeal of the resort for me is the fact that things are spread out. Granted over the past few years this has lessened due to land sales and new projects, but I personally wouldnt want to see another park OR hotel. I think plussing the parks they have and bringing back more recreational opportunities would be a better idea.

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I agree that it's unlikely to see a fifth park at WDW. The Studios needs a heavy pull on the other side of the park to help redistribute the RRC/ToT crowd, and it certainly wouldn't hurt to eliminate the fake backlot tour (side note: I really enjoyed the MGM backlot tour until I went to US:Hollywood and did the less fake backlot tour. Disney's got nothing on that (although the Catastrophe Canyon is pretty stinking cool.

 

Epcot is great, but it needs something to appeal to a broader spectrum of people. Soarin' is fantastic, Test Track is a blast, and Mission:Space is a good time, but there's not much else to appeal directly to younger adults and older kids. Wouldn't it be fun to see some sort of coaster in the World Showcase?

 

Animal Kingdom was designed to have the Beastly Kingdom situated where Camp Minnie-Mickey is now. Without it, the park is just as unbalanced as if one were to pull Tomorrowland out of MK. I'd guess that Beastly Kingdom would have sported at least one, but probably two E-ticket thrill rides. Hopefully that will still materialize one of these years.

 

Part of me wonders if Disney is biding its time to take advantage of Harry Potter losing its steam. After all, all seven books are out, and even the films can only be stretched for another 3-5 years before they're all sitting on "Previously Viewed" shelves at Blockbuster. Considering how ADD Americans are, I wonder if the Mouse isn't just waiting until the rush of Potter fans starts its downturn... and then they'll open a new section of some park to cut Universal off at the knees.

 

Oh, and in case someone in Disney is interested, I think there needs to be a Disney park in the middle of the country (Texas, Kansas, Colorado... somewhere). They're losing a lot of business simply because airfares and gas prices are climbing. Imagine how often someone like me would visit if I only had to drive an hour or two rather than 1000 miles to either coast. I know it won't happen, but a fella can dream, can't he? Maybe an English adaptation of FantaSea?

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^ Problem with that is you loose the appeal of Disney World as a vacation destination. Remember, they wanted the indoor park in St. Louis at one point and also remember how bad Disney Quest failed.

 

I am with most of the people here in saying they need to work on the other parks first. Personally, i would not mind a new country at EPCOT with a thrill ride.

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^ Problem with that is you loose the appeal of Disney World as a vacation destination. Remember, they wanted the indoor park in St. Louis at one point and also remember how bad Disney Quest failed.

 

I am with most of the people here in saying they need to work on the other parks first. Personally, i would not mind a new country at EPCOT with a thrill ride.

 

Disney Quest failed because it's so hard to stay ahead of the technological curve. We went once and it was alright, but nothing really groundbreaking. Even Disney can't keep up with hundreds of game companies spending tens of thousands of man hours developing games for rapidly improving platforms.

 

You mention an indoor park in St. Louis... I don't remember that. Hmm...

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^ From Jim Hill http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2000/12/31/272.aspx

 

After all, the attraction that Marc was thinking about had originally been proposed for a theme park Walt Disney Productions had toyed with building in St Louis in early 1963. "Walt Disney's Riverboat Square" would have been the name of the park. And - had this project actually gone forward - it would have America's first indoor theme park.

 

But - after months of drawn out negotiations with the St. Louis city fathers - Disney ultimately decided to take a pass on "Riverboat Square." Why? Well, WED could never quite work out how to cram an entire theme park full of rides, shows and attractions under one roof. (Though - 16 years later - Imagineers working on Tokyo Disneyland did consult Disney's St. Louis plans as they tried to figure out how to put a roof on top of that park's "Main Street USA / International Bazaar" area.)

 

Plus a rude remark allegedly made by beer baron August A. Busch, Sr. (At a dinner party attended by Walt, Busch supposedly said that "Any man who builds an amusement park in St. Louis that doesn't serve beer is a fool.") reportedly got back to Walt. Immediately after this, Disney lost his enthusiasm for building an indoor theme park along the waterfront in St. Louis.

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^I'm not one to buy into everything that Jim Hill says but that actually is true! Who would have thought?

 

As for adding a 5th gate, heck no. Like everybody has said, they have two half day parks and one park that appeals to only a select few.

 

Animal Kingdom- There isn't much to do. Dinosaur is a sad rip off of Indy and the Primeval Whirl area did not seem Disney at all. The Safari was alright although I liked watching the special on how they made it more than the actual safari itself. Everest is excellent, that's the only really good reason I'd go back is to just ride it again.

 

Hollywood Studios- This park has literally 4 rides. When I went we did everything in about 4 hours and this was during Christmas Break. ToT is amazing and so is RnRC but other then that they really don't have any other 'good' rides. They do have a ton of shows but in reality, there are only so many shows that people are going to watch a day. Fantasmic does draw huge crowds though.

 

EPCOT- Again, there aren't that many rides. But the World Showcase makes up for it. There is a TON of stuff to do it's a multiple day park. But at the same time the World Showcase doesn't appeal to anybody under 25 and that's half the park. I'm only 16 and was 14 when I went there so I wasn't so excited about spending hours upon hours watching every circle vision movie in the showcase. To really go to EPCOT you need a mindset of "I'm going here to enjoy all of the scenery atmosphere and only some rides" not the other way around. If you were to go there for just rides, you'd be sadly disappointed. Also, in the future part of EPCOT, about half the rides are dated. Overall it's a really good park if you're going there with the right mindset.

 

Magic Kingdom- It's showing its age. Simple as that. I'm spoiled with Disneyland but going there was like going to Disneyland in a nightmare. Half the rides were rip offs of better ones at Disneyland. To me when I went there it seemed like a half-done version of Disneyland, but that's a whole other debate. It's a nice park no doubt but it just needs TLC.

 

So there's my rant about Disney World and why they're better off sticking with plussing their existing parks and not just investing money into building another gate. They are great parks, but they could be more.

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I have to go with most everyone here and say that I see no need for a fifth park at WDW. Now granted it has been 12 or 13 years since we have made the trek sown to Orlando. But we also went three times in six years at one point early in our married and only two kid lives ( we now have 4 kids).

 

We have been to Epcot I don't know how many times and have yet to make it back to the world showcase. Maybe it was the kids being tired or what have you. The MK was great for the kids and I got the Space Mountian ride I was denied when I was there as a kid. But the wife and I had the best time at the Studios. Maybe we are old before our time. I will grant you that the backlot tour was pretty lame except for the "Golden Girls" house!!!!

 

SO yeah, no 5 th park for now or anytime in the near future.

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