Monday, February 3, 2014

What's Taking Disney So Long?

In 1954, Walt Disney started construction on a park that would change the way people vacation.  One year later, Disneyland was opened. Disney saw the potential of what an even bigger park could do, and planned the "Florida Project." As we know, Walt never saw his Florida dream realized.

The Florida Project turned into what we know as Walt Disney World, with what would be 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping district, and 23 hotels.

Disney World is still the number one in theme park destinations in Orlando, but they are losing ground due to the work that is being done down the road, at Universal Studios.

In 2009, Disney announced that they would be making the largest expansion to the Magic Kingdom that they had ever attempted, the New Fantasyland. This area was designed for the ever popular Disney Princesses and Fairies, but was revised in 2011 to omit the Fairies, A Dance with Cinderella, and Celebrate Sleeping Beauty's Birthday and added the Fairytale Hall, and Seven Dwarf Mine train. It would also include the Storybook Circus with the Barnstormer, double Dumbo Spinners, Casey Jr. splash pad, shopping, and meet and greets.This addition to Fantasyland was the answer to Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter that was announced in 2007 and opened in 2010.

Construction on New Fantasyland began in early 2010.

Here we are 5 years later, and while New Fantasyland has been open for over a year, it's still not complete. We are looking at late Spring for the last piece, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, to open. In this time frame alone, Universal Studios has revamped an area to be the Simpsons land, and will have announced and come close to finishing the Diagon Alley expansion to Wizarding World by time the first guest will possibly get on to a single roller coaster.

While the imagineers want to make everything look amazing and authentic, they are taking a lot of time to get this right. Universal announced the London/Diagon Alley expansion last year. They are building a huge environment that is extremely detailed, from what early reports are saying,  in a 2 year time span they will have completed this land.  They have workers on site at all hours so they can open this up.

In 2012 we also saw the announcement of the Transformers ride coming to Orlando. Construction had begun well before the announcement in November, and by June 2013, a year after construction began, the doors were open to this attraction.

What does this mean to us as Disney goers?

It means that we have a company that is taking their time to give us a quality that may or may not meet expectations to its guests. When new environments are announced we know that we won't be stepping foot into the area for at least 4 years. Take a look at Avatarland. It was announced by Disney in 2011, construction started earlier this year, and is expected to open in 2017, 6 years after the announcement and 3 years after construction started.

Universal has thrown down the gauntlet and Disney has just kicked it to the side.  While tourists are going on their Disney trip, they will slowly be taking time out of their vacation to spend more time at these new lands that Universal has created, and Disney will be constructing a land for a few years before the benefits are seen.

We love that Disney wants to give us the most impressive experience that we can handle, or not handle, but I do believe that we can all agree that Disney needs to hurry up on their plans, and let us get into these lands within a reasonable timeframe. Universal has shown that the time it takes doesn't take away from the detail or innovation that is included in a land.

I do believe that Disney is learning from their mistake. The Star Wars area of Hollywood Studios has been rumored since they bought Lucas Films in 2012.  At D23 last year, they had easter eggs to the future of Star Wars in the parks, but no announcements have been made. This could be so they have their droids in a row and can have a quick construction time instead of an announcement, 2 year planning, and a 3 year construction. This could also be said of the rumored Carsland expansion in Hollywood Studios.

My faith is still in Disney, and I believe that Disney will soon be getting on the right track and once again be on top of their game.

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