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Old 08-06-2012, 12:43 PM   #106
ChipnDale79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
No...this is where the bottom falls out of your argument.

WDW has always "kept people from going to universal"...or to be more specific - they have either:
A. kept them away in the first place
B. managed to get people to extend their stays and in many cases STAY LONGER on WDW property than they normally would have even if they go to universal or seaworld or (now) legoland.

This is not conjecture - its the documented business history of Orlando.
WDW has benefited (aka..higher attendance and higher profits) from both: A. the opening of Universal in 1989-90 and the opening of IOA in 99...
and indeed, there's no indication at this point that they - WDW - have suffered at all from the Harry Potter expansion at IOA.

It's entirely possible - check that..."likely" - that the potter expansion has actually helped WDW with their attendance and earnings in some of the worst travel years in the history of orlando.

Islands of adventure experienced a whopping jump to 7.5 million visitors in 2011....great news for them and orlando as a whole...

BUT...they had experienced a 1 million visitor shortfall between 2007-2008...and were still off their "peak" number of close to 6.8 million in (2003) by about 1.3 million.
Universal studios had experienced a less severe drop...but still was not advancing.

So...here we are now...6.0 million annual for Studios...an impressive 7.6 for IOA...for the combination of 13.5 for the two...pretty good huh?

except for two things:
1. Universal Studios Orlando once drew 6.9 million (i think that was the 03 or 04 number)...which means that they are being pilfered at one gate to the tune of 1 million ticks...guess who's doing that? i'll give you a hint: look for the wand. that is textbook park cannibalization that we often discuss around here.
2. There's just no way to state this any clearer: that 13.5 million combo number is utterly destroyed by the two "little" guys over in lake buena vista...almost 19.5 million visits to DHS/AK...and even if it is some parkhopping effect (though not as much as people probably assume)...6 million is no small number. It's not close without even mentioning the big dogs.

URO has rebounded from a significant drop due to potter....WDW has not declined...at all...in that time frame. With many economic indicators in the toilet. This is being dismissed in this conversation and should not be. They are still bullet proof...as it stands...today. That may not always be so - but it can't be argued today. The numbers don't support it.

Lots of people HAVE stayed away from WDW the last 4 years due to their consistently rising prices and lack of money in ma an pop's bank accounts. Yet their numbers are not dropping. They are just replacing some new for some of the old...the formula is still working. As evidenced by the earnings reports. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

I guess we're back to square one here: you have to understand a few things to look at the situation in the florida market properly:
1. WDW is has enjoyed the lions share of the patronage and by doing so exerts controlling interest over everything that has transpired.
2. WDW sucks way more money out of the competitors than they out of it. That is a fact since day one. That's putting it simply - the deeper take is that behind the board room doors - they are both fine with each other...because they've all made more money this way.
3. Since WDW does command the majority market (good comparisons that people don't fully recognize is that UPS controls 80% of the market to Fedex's 15 and Coke 60-70% to Pepsi's 20-30...yet most people consider them "equal competitors"...there are countless others) Capital Investment is up to them and them alone...to determine if its valid or necessary. And it has to do with statistics, trends, and longterm forecasting...not the threat of butter beer or the need for rides to tie to cars merchandise.

And just a final couple of quips...
It has been mentioned that WDW is having a hard time drawing customers on several occasions here. That is in the running for perhaps the most incorrect statement in modern history. An argument can't be based on that.
The second is that somehow cars land will pay for itself in extra days/ trips and or merchandise.
Not true...WDW tracks average stay/ per night expenditure as if its gold...because its how they guess (almost to the nickel) how much gold they're going to make. And that first number (the most important one) is butted up against the magic 7 day mark. That is a cultural barrier that neither mickey mouse nor buzz lightyear can climb over. On average, the total vacation time is not going to move into the 8,9,10 day range where huge capital construction would be profitable. They saw that they hit their own glass ceiling at AK and have not spent the big bucks since...because there is no profit in it.
And what of this idea that WDW doesn't sell cars stuff and needs a "land" to do that? Have you been there recently? The reality is that they are still going to outsell cars stuff over the park with the cars stuff. Any indication that WDW isn't fully maximizing ALL disney characters in merchandise is off base...they have made a science out of it. It's a public company...its in the annual reports. Disneyland is a more regional market that visits with more frequency...WDW is a tourist audience that go for 7 days on average and are a captive audience within a 40 square mile compound of giftshops...hmmm...let me think about this one.

ok...breathe.....breathe......breathe....Namaste:a ngel:
To be perfectly honest with you, I stopped reading after you said my argument didn't hold water.

I decided to visit this board and post here because I thought it might be fun, you're taking this "argument" and going so far with it that it's almost like a political debate, this is no fun at all.

I'm not going to provide a novel long response, the issue isn't that important to me.

But it's ok to have a different opinion.

It's ok to have an opinion that Cars Land would be a great addition, for my family it's a win. Cars Land would work perfect for us, and to be quite honest with you, if I flew my family to CA, we would only spend 2 or 3 days at Disneyland and do other things in CA. We've never been to CA, so if we made the journey over there, then we are going to be doing a lot of non Disney stuff as well. My budget doesn't allow me to go to both WDW and DLR in one year.

If we are going to WDW yes there is enough at WDW to stay there the entire week, however Universal has added and very well could be adding a lot more things that will entice us to visit their park. So what does that do? It takes 2 to 3 days away from our WDW vacation, so less money for Disney. If you dont add things and change them, then things do get stale and people will go other places.

Stay tuned with what Universal is doing, there's a lot going on there.
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Old 08-06-2012, 01:16 PM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipnDale79 View Post
But it's ok to have a different opinion.
Yes, yes it is. But that's true on BOTH sides of the issue.

Quote:
It's ok to have an opinion that Cars Land would be a great addition, for my family it's a win.
I know you're talking to lockedout, but I'm going to chime in:

Again, I agree. It would be a great addition. My family, as guests, would love it.

I'd also love them to add another gate, with even MORE stuff to do, but continue to charge the exact same prices they currently charge for tickets.

As a CONSUMER, it's OK to want that stuff.

As a BUSINESS, it's OK to not provide it, when it doesn't make fiscal sense to do so.

I try to look at what Disney's doing (or might do) from both angles. First off, because it helps temper expectations. Second because it's just interesting to do.

Quote:
Cars Land would work perfect for us, and to be quite honest with you, if I flew my family to CA, we would only spend 2 or 3 days at Disneyland and do other things in CA. We've never been to CA, so if we made the journey over there, then we are going to be doing a lot of non Disney stuff as well. My budget doesn't allow me to go to both WDW and DLR in one year.
1) Disney would be OK with you spending the other 4 or so days doing "other stuff". Because they've designed the 2 parks to be done in about 3 full days...so they're built to be supported by that model (and the scads of local AP holders who are there constantly). In addition, you'll find stuff to do in and around Anaheim (and food to eat!) that is a LOT less expensive than WDW captive audience prices. It's win/win!

2) Very few people's budgets would allow them to do both. That's part of the point in all this. Disney WANTS you to choose DLR, over WDW (when practical), right now...because they want to justify the expenditures at DCA. Sure, it looks zero sum (or, maybe, weighted in your favor slightly)...but it's not. Disney made "the game" this way for a reason.

Quote:
If we are going to WDW yes there is enough at WDW to stay there the entire week, however Universal has added and very well could be adding a lot more things that will entice us to visit their park. So what does that do? It takes 2 to 3 days away from our WDW vacation, so less money for Disney. If you dont add things and change them, then things do get stale and people will go other places.

Stay tuned with what Universal is doing, there's a lot going on there.
Maybe. Possibly. But not yet. That's the rub.

I'm following the logic, but the problem is the logic hasn't borne itself out in practice (yet). Disney hasn't seen attendance drops, so, conversely, either folks are extending their stays to cover Universal OR there's not as much cannibalizing as we all think there should be and the universal interactions are "unique" OR guests are doing a partial day at a Disney park and a partial day at a universal park (so they're double dipping) OR some combination of all of those.

We know IOA has seen a significant bump.

We know NONE of the WDW parks have declined.

We're left to postulate on the why's and wheretofores, but the bottom line is Disney's not going to worry much given the above...because the above tells them not to worry much.
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Last edited by pilferk; 08-06-2012 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 08-06-2012, 02:29 PM   #108
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Late to the game here.... But thought I'd chime in a couple things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by pilferk View Post
The only way Disney invests in the parks is
a) they see significant slippage to Universal over the next 3 to 5 years
b) the typically vacation duration gets longer
c) Universal announces another gate

I worry about a) (and not because of WWOHP, per se, but more because of those new value rooms Uni announced...we'll see how they price them). I think b) and c) are unlikely.
I could see Disney reinvesting into the parks some for a reason just outside of some of your scenarios. If WWoHP was a one-time thing, they could easily sit on their butts. The Fact Universal, under the new ownership of Comcast (And Blackstone's pulling out of the USO venture) is ramping up the reinvestment to the parks with the Spiderman refresh, the new mini-golf at Citywalk, and the multiple large construction projects at USO, I can honestly See Disney making the decision to reinvest in their parks as well.

There are a couple caveats though. 1. It could just be a matter of timing since all the capital expenditures for Disney due to the DCA Re-do and the 2 new DCL ships have ended, which could free up some $$ for WDW. 2. I don't expect them to reinvest in the park with any real MAJOR "OMG! Look what's new" expansions. I'd more expect just small bits like a refreshing some of the attractions which are in desperate need of an update.... and maybe finally making use of some underutilized areas.

I don't expect Disney to do a big response directly to Universal spending money on their parks, But I can see them investing enough so that with Universal's expenditures and changes Disney does start to look completely stagnant as a result. (Hell... Remember the ad campaign when TSM opened at MGM? It was one simple ride that was pretty much crammed into an existing underutilized building, but was able to drive a lot of guests to the parks and fill the "Look what's new" advertising needs)


Quote:
Originally Posted by pilferk View Post
FLE is a nice refresh that's probably overdue and will generate some interest in MK. It's not going to, LONG term, bring more visitors to WDW. It's not going to convince visitors to extend their length of stay. I would be SHOCKED to see (in sum total) WDW park attendance to raise, considerably, at the resort..especially long term..because of FLE.
Personally, I don't see the FLE's primary purpose being as a "Response to the WWoHP", or to generally raise park attendance (directly).

I tend to think of it's primary purpose as being 1. to add an additional much needed TS choice to the park [you know... to keep people inside the park to use their DDP credits, instead of forcing them to resort hop or leave because everyone else with the DDP already booked up the TS restaurants], and 2. To add additional capacity to the parks.... both so they have more space to cram people into the place around holidays when the MK closes due to capacity... and also to add additional ride capacity to keep those guests happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipnDale79 View Post
I don't have the numbers in front of me, but i have heard attendance is up 25% each year the past 2 years at IoA. I know that's only 2 years, but it'll be interesting to see where that levels off and when it does level off, how long they can keep the numbers there.
Yes... IOA did see double-digit attendance percentage increases, but it isn't hard to get a big percentage increase when you start with a smaller number.

More telling is that the WDW resort saw a small jump in increased numbers at the same time, which could be easily translated as people who decided to make an Orlando trip for Harry Potter, and decided to do Disney while in the area. The Central Florida tourist market is VERY Symbiotic between the different major theme parks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pilferk View Post
We know IOA has seen a significant bump.

We know NONE of the WDW parks have declined.

We're left to postulate on the why's and wheretofores, but the bottom line is Disney's not going to worry much given the above...because the above tells them not to worry much.
What's more telling is the major shockwaves seen in several communities when the annual attendance figures came out and EPCOT's numbers appeared to be Stagnant. It's ranking didn't change... and the WDW resort as a whole still increased, yet EPCOT's numbers remained practically the same and surprised a LOT of people.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:05 PM   #109
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChipnDale79 View Post
To be perfectly honest with you, I stopped reading after you said my argument didn't hold water.

I decided to visit this board and post here because I thought it might be fun, you're taking this "argument" and going so far with it that it's almost like a political debate, this is no fun at all.

I'm not going to provide a novel long response, the issue isn't that important to me.

But it's ok to have a different opinion.

It's ok to have an opinion that Cars Land would be a great addition, for my family it's a win. Cars Land would work perfect for us, and to be quite honest with you, if I flew my family to CA, we would only spend 2 or 3 days at Disneyland and do other things in CA. We've never been to CA, so if we made the journey over there, then we are going to be doing a lot of non Disney stuff as well. My budget doesn't allow me to go to both WDW and DLR in one year.

If we are going to WDW yes there is enough at WDW to stay there the entire week, however Universal has added and very well could be adding a lot more things that will entice us to visit their park. So what does that do? It takes 2 to 3 days away from our WDW vacation, so less money for Disney. If you dont add things and change them, then things do get stale and people will go other places.

Stay tuned with what Universal is doing, there's a lot going on there.
sorry...i tend to be a blunt object...

Its not personal (though it may seem so)...

It's mostly just my own experience talking - unfortunately Disney's motives and choices can barely be called "thinly veiled" at this point...they're fairly obvious.

For the last several years...its been "whoah...harry potter...disney's gotta respond"...

No...not really. And though i would almost never take what the PR department says at face value - i do take the statement that the fantasyland construction was "not a response". Because its not...it is meant to steal swagger...but the work itself is just to refresh and refortify their core park persona...and that is the disney "classics"...no matter if they put the cutting room floor material from A Bugs Life in 3D and try to sell my 4 year old a ticket or not. One thing that you can say about Iger is there has been renewed focus on the core brands...in TV, movie franchises, and cross-connecting everything that disney owns in the park.

More recently it was " woah...avengers is worth 100 bazillion dollars...disney's gonna have to exploit that"
Again...nope. They're content to have someone else push their products and collect no overhead percentages of the fees and box office receipts.

And now...though admittedly it makes more sense...its "carsland is coming".

Its just not how it works in orlando...they will only invest that kind of cash if theyre is strong evidence of a significant long term earning because of that investment. And carsland won't move the needle in florida as it did in california.
As has been said...they've already got everyone in their snare and can't justify adding a very expensive (i.e. much more than the orignal park cost) addition to the smallest park that serves its function well as is.
It makes them money...and the limited size/scope of the park does its hidden objective very well: funnel people to 1. Downtown 2. EPCOT 3. Magic Kingdom (that would be disney's choice if you left it up to them).

WDW is a cash cow...pure and simple. And it has been operated as such since April 1998...simple profit generation is what its designed for at this point.
Disneyland...it a different animal. DCA was a good strategic decision because it offered the potential of longterm gains in terms of raw numbers, repeat business, and guest stays. It was boned...but the redesign was a good decision because that potential is still there. It still has the ability to grow in a measureable way. WDW does not show that potential at this time.
Disneyland has a more discerning audience...its right down the street (figuratively speaking) from the CEO and the board...Imagineering is right there...all the players in entertainment are a stones throw away.
It has eyes on it...and pet projects will get greenlighted there with much more ease.

It's just different and hard to get around...that's all.
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Old 08-06-2012, 03:31 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTooTall View Post
Personally, I don't see the FLE's primary purpose being as a "Response to the WWoHP", or to generally raise park attendance (directly).

I tend to think of it's primary purpose as being 1. to add an additional much needed TS choice to the park [you know... to keep people inside the park to use their DDP credits, instead of forcing them to resort hop or leave because everyone else with the DDP already booked up the TS restaurants], and 2. To add additional capacity to the parks.... both so they have more space to cram people into the place around holidays when the MK closes due to capacity... and also to add additional ride capacity to keep those guests happy.
Agree...my nanosecond reaction when i heard about the expansion was "reactionary"...but that subsided quickly.
When you look at what they've built...its just adding more space, more food, and yes - more giftshops, and above all making the core "disney" part of their parks in Florida...well...more disney.

The Avatar thing - on the other hand - seems like it could be pure reactionary.
They missed...lets face it. It's gotten way more "no reaction" or "bad reaction"...from where i'm sitting...than positive.
I guarantee that the last year has had quite alot of meetings/ teleconferences about the avatar concept that have some grumpus faces and steam coming out of the ears involved.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTooTall View Post
What's more telling is the major shockwaves seen in several communities when the annual attendance figures came out and EPCOT's numbers appeared to be Stagnant. It's ranking didn't change... and the WDW resort as a whole still increased, yet EPCOT's numbers remained practically the same and surprised a LOT of people.
Count me on this list...
I was shocked when i looked at that. Mainly because the numbers haven't really interested much the last 5 years or so...other than to check and see if the real estate bubble was cutting into the cheese (which it has, well sorta)...
To see the EPCOT number flatlining while both DHS and Hakuna Mahalfday park have crept into within six figures of the lead...is shocking.

There's no way that it should be so.

I've said it before: EPCOT is the greatest amusement park ever constructed...and nothing will ever be assembled in pretty much one shot as it was, again.

But we live in a society where knowledge is far from King anymore...and perhaps the "brainiac" park is going to continue to slide/ suffer.
What also can't be discounted is the botched attempt at future world updates from1995-2005...led by the now legendary "stormrunner" concept of "Project X"? (it has all kinds of rumored code names...those ring the bell)

As much as animal kingdom NEEDS another "land" and studios would be strengthened immensely by new solid additions at all sides of the park...EPCOT (my opinion) is where they need their next hammer to fall.

It needs it...and it can be done very excitingly if they swallow the costs and see a new vision through...
EPCOT has the nostalgia/ history to pull at the heartstrings and could see a large attendance boost if it was redone correctly...while 15 million would not happen for studios or AK...it could happen at EPCOT.

So here's my plan...Iger is stepping down in about 18 months...

PICK ME!!!!

yes...who better to lead the coimpany into the future than ME!
And the first thing i would do is move into the team disney in orlando (because as any insider knows...its actually a cardboard mockup - like patton's fake army in 1944. There's no actual administration in florida )...
Then i would spend my entire tenure - exactly 3 years - watching the construction guys in a hard hat and hipwaders from the showcase lagoon. Let's just see if we can shave the budget down to under a trillion with a little motivation, shall we?
And then - after the proper decontamination procedures from the water IN the lagoon - i'd resign with my 800,000 stock options and simply walk around EPCOT all day for the rest of my life.

Now THAT'S a plan
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #111
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
Agree...my nanosecond reaction when i heard about the expansion was "reactionary"...but that subsided quickly.
When you look at what they've built...its just adding more space, more food, and yes - more giftshops, and above all making the core "disney" part of their parks in Florida...well...more disney.

The Avatar thing - on the other hand - seems like it could be pure reactionary.
They missed...lets face it. It's gotten way more "no reaction" or "bad reaction"...from where i'm sitting...than positive.
I guarantee that the last year has had quite alot of meetings/ teleconferences about the avatar concept that have some grumpus faces and steam coming out of the ears involved.
I'm not entirely sure I see the Avatar thing as being purely reactionary...Of course, I've always seen a lot of potential with the IP due to potential of Pandora. (Dances with Smurfs... not so much.).

I can see this as 2 big things. There are a LOT of people who believe AK needs some serious love. When you think about it, it has even less on the headline attraction front than MGM.... and the biggest non-animal attraction has been horribly broken for years but can't be taken down for the extended refurb it needs to fix the problem because there isn't anything else in the park to absorb the crowds or draw the crowds.

So since Beastly Kingdom can't really be done as envisioned (since many of it's ideas were incorporated in at least some form at IOA's lost Kingdom when the imagineers working on it got canned by Disney and then hired by Universal)... Pandora provides an existing IP for the Mythical Creatures land envisioned for AK, and since a lot of the work was already done creating the look and ecosystem for the planet, it allows the focus to be on the attractions and implementation instead of creating the backstory.


ALSO.....


James Cameron has a pretty impressive resume. I wouldn't be too shocked if this deal was also influenced on at least some level by the idea of bringing him into the Disney fold. The Lucas collaborations started with a silly little ride idea for Disneyland in the early 80's based off his cheesy space western, and look what it's netted Disney in the decades since. If this goes well there could be an upside for Disney in the future working with Cameron on other projects.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
Count me on this list...
I was shocked when i looked at that. Mainly because the numbers haven't really interested much the last 5 years or so...other than to check and see if the real estate bubble was cutting into the cheese (which it has, well sorta)...
To see the EPCOT number flatlining while both DHS and Hakuna Mahalfday park have crept into within six figures of the lead...is shocking.

There's no way that it should be so.

I've said it before: EPCOT is the greatest amusement park ever constructed...and nothing will ever be assembled in pretty much one shot as it was, again.

But we live in a society where knowledge is far from King anymore...and perhaps the "brainiac" park is going to continue to slide/ suffer.
What also can't be discounted is the botched attempt at future world updates from1995-2005...led by the now legendary "stormrunner" concept of "Project X"? (it has all kinds of rumored code names...those ring the bell)

As much as animal kingdom NEEDS another "land" and studios would be strengthened immensely by new solid additions at all sides of the park...EPCOT (my opinion) is where they need their next hammer to fall.

It needs it...and it can be done very excitingly if they swallow the costs and see a new vision through...
EPCOT has the nostalgia/ history to pull at the heartstrings and could see a large attendance boost if it was redone correctly...while 15 million would not happen for studios or AK...it could happen at EPCOT.
I can definately see that. I was talking to someone a couple months back when I realized that EPCOT has always been my favorite park. As a kid, I LOVED FutureWorld (Ok... I may have thought it was somewhat boring at times... but looking back, I loved so much about it even if I didn't realize how much I enjoyed myself). World showcase however was kinda boring.


Now that i'm an adult however, Futureworld is a sad shell of it's former glory.... but I LOVE World Showcase.

IMHO, The thing that Futureworld is truly lacking today is Inspiration. I'm not talking about some great idea for a ride or theme... I'm talking about that feeling you used to get when you left a pavilion and realize that you may have learned something.... but more importantly felt inspired by what the future could hold. Whether it was a ride like Horizons which focused on what the future could bring.... or a ride more like Spaceship Earth or World of Motion which focused on human history and how we go to where we were today (and where we are headed for tomorrow).... There was just something special in those attractions that if very obviously missing in Today's EPCOT.



Sadly.... I'm not sure if in today's society where we worship the stupid (Kardassians, reality TV, Jersey Shore...etc etc etc..), if today's guests would be able to appreciate such intelligence in a ride.
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Old 08-06-2012, 07:48 PM   #112
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCTooTall View Post
James Cameron has a pretty impressive resume. I wouldn't be too shocked if this deal was also influenced on at least some level by the idea of bringing him into the Disney fold. The Lucas collaborations started with a silly little ride idea for Disneyland in the early 80's based off his cheesy space western, and look what it's netted Disney in the decades since. If this goes well there could be an upside for Disney in the future working with Cameron on other projects.
All reports are saying Cameron and his team are walking out of meetings with Disney not happy, and this is hot off the heels with the meetings with JK Rowling being disastrous for Disney.

I go back to an original point I made. The Disney of today is not the Disney people have in their mind. They are living off nostalgia. The Disney that "spared no expense" and made sure all the little things are taken care of is gone and in it's place is a company that only sees the bottom line. JK Rowling and James Cameron come from the cloth of suit that Walt Disney was cut out from. They know you need to invest in quality, protect your brand, and not give out crap to the consumers just because you can and make a couple bucks.

I can see the Imagineers and Disney Accounting pitching some lame Toy Story Midway Mania like game at Cameron and him just wanting to kill someone. Say what you will about T2:3D at Universal Studios, there was definitely nothing like it at the time, and maybe nothing today. Cameron thinks big and exciting, not cookie cutter and squeezing pennies out of each patron.

George Lucas is the PERFECT license holder for Disney. He does not care whatsoever about what he signs his name on as long as a check comes with it. And that's why the Disney ride contradicts the canon of his own movies. JK Rowling won't even let Universal sell Coke in WWOHP because it she feels it would contradict the world she created. You couldn't have a bigger 180 in viewpoint. Something tells me James Cameron has much more in common with Rowling than he does with Lucas in terms of his characters in a theme park.
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Old 08-06-2012, 09:58 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by derekburgan View Post
All reports are saying Cameron and his team are walking out of meetings with Disney not happy, and this is hot off the heels with the meetings with JK Rowling being disastrous for Disney.
This seems like speculation/ heresay...but in this case has a high probability of being dead on.
Disney's negotiations in this day and age...by all accounts...seems to be nothing but browbeating over money. Nothing else.
I don't know what exactly broke disney's back in the Harry Potter competition...most attribute it to sheer Eisner egomania - but my theory has always been that they A: wanted to pay too little for the licensing fee and the merch cut and B: wanted to deduct "operations expenses" from what they did have to pay.
I think she told them to stick it and i'm glad for it. just my theory.

Cameron is a true hollywood type...for god's sakes the guy spent ten years building subs and cruising around at 15,000 feet looking out into nothing...and i can see him having little patience for micromanagement on beans or "stressing" plush sales...

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Originally Posted by derekburgan View Post
I go back to an original point I made. The Disney of today is not the Disney people have in their mind. They are living off nostalgia. The Disney that "spared no expense" and made sure all the little things are taken care of is gone and in it's place is a company that only sees the bottom line. JK Rowling and James Cameron come from the cloth of suit that Walt Disney was cut out from. They know you need to invest in quality, protect your brand, and not give out crap to the consumers just because you can and make a couple bucks.
Disney is a publicly traded company on the Dow 30 with a dividend. Unfortunately that explains most everything and isn't going to change for any reason.
I've said this in the past: i wish the ten richest trillionaires on earth would buy the stock and take it private...at least maybe they'd have a fighting chance at real creativity and desire.

Public companies suck...they are always run by glorified accountants in over their heads who do nothing but stare at spread sheets and then use the "stockholders" as the reason/ shield against all their shortsightedness/screwups.

They're made for morons like disney "legend" Paul Pressler

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Originally Posted by derekburgan View Post
I can see the Imagineers and Disney Accounting pitching some lame Toy Story Midway Mania like game at Cameron and him just wanting to kill someone. Say what you will about T2:3D at Universal Studios, there was definitely nothing like it at the time, and maybe nothing today. Cameron thinks big and exciting, not cookie cutter and squeezing pennies out of each patron.
I thought cameron and disney were a bad fit from the start. on the surface it looks natural (so did disney and lucas)...but cameron is not going to get the two things he would need:
1. The full financial power of the disney company
2. Creative leeway/ control.

The suits guard those two things more than anything...they are non-negotiable anymore.

I bet the fuse is still attached to this powder keg

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Originally Posted by derekburgan View Post
George Lucas is the PERFECT license holder for Disney. He does not care whatsoever about what he signs his name on as long as a check comes with it. And that's why the Disney ride contradicts the canon of his own movies. JK Rowling won't even let Universal sell Coke in WWOHP because it she feels it would contradict the world she created. You couldn't have a bigger 180 in viewpoint. Something tells me James Cameron has much more in common with Rowling than he does with Lucas in terms of his characters in a theme park.
Lucas is a fraud. there is no other way around it. he will always be a key entertainment figure for the technical advances that came from his projects...but you can buy him for a dollar and fold him like a cheap suit. he has no ability to tell a story or have any principles.

He's retiring...great, i guess when you've sold all your blood to the highest bidder its time for some R&R, huh?

But you are right...lucas/modern disney are perfect together - each conversation goes something like this:

"How much money are we dividing today?"
"A lot"
"Good...lets count it out in pennies"
"Sure...my schedule's clear for the month"

And thanks for reminding me of just how bad star tours really is - a "ride"...thats not really a ride...whos characters are out of a classic, human story that deals with good, evil, discovery, wisdom, and redemption (which are elements in every good story every told from cave painting to today)...and turns it into complete corn.

This from the mind that brought you jar jar binks...it figures.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:31 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by DCTooTall View Post
Late to the game here.... But thought I'd chime in a couple things...

I could see Disney reinvesting into the parks some for a reason just outside of some of your scenarios. If WWoHP was a one-time thing, they could easily sit on their butts. The Fact Universal, under the new ownership of Comcast (And Blackstone's pulling out of the USO venture) is ramping up the reinvestment to the parks with the Spiderman refresh, the new mini-golf at Citywalk, and the multiple large construction projects at USO, I can honestly See Disney making the decision to reinvest in their parks as well.
IF Disney sees attendance or occupany rate drops, I agree.

But I don't think they'll do it just to "keep up" with Universal. Disney will need to see a quantifiable effect, first, IMHO.

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There are a couple caveats though. 1. It could just be a matter of timing since all the capital expenditures for Disney due to the DCA Re-do and the 2 new DCL ships have ended, which could free up some $$ for WDW.
Iger has said significant domestic park spending is, outside of existing announced projects, on hold. I believe that's their plan.

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2. I don't expect them to reinvest in the park with any real MAJOR "OMG! Look what's new" expansions. I'd more expect just small bits like a refreshing some of the attractions which are in desperate need of an update.... and maybe finally making use of some underutilized areas.
Let me clarify. When I say "invest", I mean a significant captial investment. Not a single ride (TSM) or attraction refresh (Star Tours II), but something more substantial. Something even close to what Cars Land would require.

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I don't expect Disney to do a big response directly to Universal spending money on their parks, But I can see them investing enough so that with Universal's expenditures and changes Disney does start to look completely stagnant as a result. (Hell... Remember the ad campaign when TSM opened at MGM? It was one simple ride that was pretty much crammed into an existing underutilized building, but was able to drive a lot of guests to the parks and fill the "Look what's new" advertising needs)
Which is what they've been doing for years. Not as a response to USF, but because it helps bring people back. But it's a zero sum equation, basically. They remove something or refresh something...occasionally they add something brand new in "new" space, but not often.

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Personally, I don't see the FLE's primary purpose being as a "Response to the WWoHP", or to generally raise park attendance (directly).

I tend to think of it's primary purpose as being 1. to add an additional much needed TS choice to the park [you know... to keep people inside the park to use their DDP credits, instead of forcing them to resort hop or leave because everyone else with the DDP already booked up the TS restaurants], and 2. To add additional capacity to the parks.... both so they have more space to cram people into the place around holidays when the MK closes due to capacity... and also to add additional ride capacity to keep those guests happy.
I vote d), all of the above.

I think FLE was sort of in the planning stages. I think WWOHP's arrival and popularity pushed the time table up a bit, to steal some of the PR thunder. You can tell the plans, when announced, were NOT fleshed out all the way. They took what they had, announced, and then started mucking with them to fit everything into the budget.

Ultimately, I agree...FLE's PRIMARY purpose isn't a response to WWoHP.


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What's more telling is the major shockwaves seen in several communities when the annual attendance figures came out and EPCOT's numbers appeared to be Stagnant. It's ranking didn't change... and the WDW resort as a whole still increased, yet EPCOT's numbers remained practically the same and surprised a LOT of people.
I think Disney is OK with that, right now. Given their footprint, the Epoct model (sponsorship), and the current economic climate..stagnant at that park is OK. Backsliding is not! Not even a 1/4 million guests. If they see actual slippage, they'll move to do "something".
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:41 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by DCTooTall View Post
IMHO, The thing that Futureworld is truly lacking today is Inspiration. I'm not talking about some great idea for a ride or theme... I'm talking about that feeling you used to get when you left a pavilion and realize that you may have learned something.... but more importantly felt inspired by what the future could hold. Whether it was a ride like Horizons which focused on what the future could bring.... or a ride more like Spaceship Earth or World of Motion which focused on human history and how we go to where we were today (and where we are headed for tomorrow).... There was just something special in those attractions that if very obviously missing in Today's EPCOT.

Sadly.... I'm not sure if in today's society where we worship the stupid (Kardassians, reality TV, Jersey Shore...etc etc etc..), if today's guests would be able to appreciate such intelligence in a ride.
Maybe because 1/2 of the futureworld attractions are WOEFULLY out of date. Yes, you have Soarin' and Living Seas with Nemo and Space...but even the golfball update didn't modernize it enough. Test Track was getting old (the refresh should help). They've GOT to do SOMETHING about EEE. And the minor attractions are all looking long in the tooth.

It needs updating, for sure.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:46 AM   #116
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Originally Posted by derekburgan View Post
All reports are saying Cameron and his team are walking out of meetings with Disney not happy, and this is hot off the heels with the meetings with JK Rowling being disastrous for Disney.
Sort of OT, but....

The meetings with Rowling were NOT disastrous for Disney.

According to the insider reports, in the press, Rowling laid out exactly what she wanted.From layout to merch prices. Disney said "We can't do that and still operate it. Could we pitch you something else".

She left. Without hearing THEIR pitch. Her way or the highway.

She then went to Universal and it went a completely different way. She actually listened. And she didn't throw up any (many) of the same roadblocks she threw at Disney.

You can't fault Disney for Rowling being fickle. And while the loss of Potter isn't something that goes on the Disney highlight reel....I would hardly call it "disastrous".
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Old 08-07-2012, 02:57 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by pilferk View Post
Sort of OT, but....

The meetings with Rowling were NOT disastrous for Disney.

According to the insider reports, in the press, Rowling laid out exactly what she wanted.From layout to merch prices. Disney said "We can't do that and still operate it. Could we pitch you something else".

She left. Without hearing THEIR pitch. Her way or the highway.

She then went to Universal and it went a completely different way. She actually listened. And she didn't throw up any (many) of the same roadblocks she threw at Disney.

You can't fault Disney for Rowling being fickle. And while the loss of Potter isn't something that goes on the Disney highlight reel....I would hardly call it "disastrous".
It's pretty close to that, from what I heard she wanted complete control over everything, and Disney basically said "We've been doing this for years, you should really listen to what we have to say"

Then she went to Uni who gave her everything
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:38 PM   #118
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It's pretty close to that, from what I heard she wanted complete control over everything, and Disney basically said "We've been doing this for years, you should really listen to what we have to say"

Then she went to Uni who gave her everything
If that's the case...and its been been repeatedly pretty frequently for the last five years...then maybe we're not looking at the reason WHY it happened that way...

Maybe Ms. Rowling decided to hold the hard line with the theme park "bully"...and then went to the softer compensation when she couldn't get a promise of both generous control of the product and a reasonable share of the profits?

Cause that's what disney is...a profit bully. And everybody knows it.

It's water under the bridge...but if i could lay claim to a franchise such s harry potter at its peak of popularity - then i'd be sure that my "one shot" that i had would score the biggest hit possible.

She probably would have liked to have disney do it...but not if they would insist on being in the sole drivers seat...as they always do.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:40 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by pilferk View Post
Maybe because 1/2 of the futureworld attractions are WOEFULLY out of date. Yes, you have Soarin' and Living Seas with Nemo and Space...but even the golfball update didn't modernize it enough. Test Track was getting old (the refresh should help). They've GOT to do SOMETHING about EEE. And the minor attractions are all looking long in the tooth.

It needs updating, for sure.
Eh... I wouldn't even blame the out of date bit. Yes.... that is a factor in part of Futureworld's current blah state.... But I don't think you can blame that for the lack of inspiration.


Soarin is a cute and fun... but what do you really learn from it? Or how is it the least bit inspiring?

Nemo? They gutted any real sort of theme or educational/inspirational components from the pavilion with their Nemo refurb. You get a omnimover ride thru parts of the movie (which they blocked several windows into the tank with), ending with some projected Nemo characters in the aquarium. Outside that, You have Turtle Talk with Crush... and a few games... but generally a lot of people don't even realize they can even see into the tank, what's going on in there, and most of the old exhibit space is woefully underused.

Imagination? ugh.... don't get me started.

Test Track... Fun little ride, but doesn't really teach you anything... and I don't think anyone is going to really be inspired by riding in a vehicle thru an small obstacle course. The postshow area? other than the new cars to look at... nothing really worthwhile there either. (hopefully maybe the refurb will bring more information on how technology plays a big part in modern car design and testing, which might help).

Space? YAY! A Centrifuge. Sorry... not really seeing anything here either that truly inspires, or does much in the way of education. The Centrifuge does create some cool sensations that may help you get an idea what a rocket launch feels like.... But there so so much Sci-Fi in the story and presentation that it's hard to really pick up any actual science.

Wonders of Life? YAY! Convention space!

Energy... ok... this is just old. (still not entirely sure how I feel about the ellen version compared to the original...)


Spaceship earth.... Honestly... I still enjoy this ride. The ending though really needs some work..... and the cheese factor with their attempts to talk about "The first backup system" is just painful. But I think the real killer here is that ending. You still are exposed to the past and the evolution of technology, but at the end, you get a cute little animated cardboard cutout cartoon. It's like a great build up that could end with something spectacular thinking about what's to come tomorrow, but hits the completely wrong note with the comedic little cutesy cartoon. (Oh Wow! Now I'm inspired because tomorrow we'll be the jetsons!)


That inspiration or education you ended up getting while being entertained with the likes of Kitchen Kaberet and Food Rocks, The Living Seas and SeaBase Alpha, horizons, World of Motion, etc.... It's just missing completely in the current incarnation of Futureworld.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:24 AM   #120
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It's pretty close to that, from what I heard she wanted complete control over everything, and Disney basically said "We've been doing this for years, you should really listen to what we have to say"

Then she went to Uni who gave her everything
No, actually, they didn't. They gave her a lot..but not everything. The issue is, when dealing with Disney...it was everything or nothing. That's the point.

She pitched things like a bottle neck entrance (like Diagon Alley). She pitched things like a functioning Hogwarts express (complete with hidden platform 9 3/4) from one side of the park to the other (yet another bottle neck), and it was the ONLY way to access the Hogwarts section of the expansion. There were other things, reportedly, too. Disney tried to point out what would and wouldn't work. She walked rather than listen.

She didn't get nearly everything she insisted on having with Disney. There are some good articles out there on the subject, if you go looking.

Yes, she got a LOT of creative input with Universal. And she got to insist on some things (no selling of coke products in WWOHP). But she did NOT get everything she insisted on having with Disney. Because she listened to the Universal folks pitch and objections.

She didn't listen to Disney's.
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