Friday, March 6, 2015

The Cost of Expanding Toy Story Midway Mania

Just the other day, Disney announced the expansion of two of its most popular rides on property, Hollywood Studios' Toy Story Midway Mania and Epcot's Soarin'. While both rides create long queues early in the day, is this really the answer to the problem?

In an earlier post, I talked about the imagineers getting a chance to be creative, I'm going to fall back on that point. The expansion of both of these rides shows the way Disney feels about imagineers, in my opinion. One way to deal with the popularity of a ride, introduce a new ride. In a case like Soarin, where the expansion is happening completely backstage, the issue isn't as big, but with TSMM expanding into the neighboring soundstage, this is real estate that could be used for another great attraction. 

While rumors abound of a Pixar Place overhaul in Hollywood Studios, the space next to TSMM could be used for a more imaginative and unique attraction. Walt Disney was quoted as saying that Disneyland will be ever changing, but how is expanding the same ride change to make the area greater? When building the Carsland in DCA, we can see what the Imagineers can do when they have a property to base their ideas on. 

Radiator Springs Racers is the main attraction of the DCA Carsland and, from what everyone says about it, it is an amazing ride. What does this have to do with the Pixar Place expansion at DHS? I speculate that Disney is looking at making TSMM the main attraction for this area. There is a good chance that I am wrong, but why would you expand the ride at the entrance to this area? No info is none at this time of what is being built in the area that used to be the Backlot Tour, but there have been some ideas thrown around (Jim Hill mentions some in one of his podcast), and those ideas don't seem to imaginative. RC Racer is a half pipe type ride that would bring the riders near vertical only going forwards and backwards, Slinky Dog ZigZag Spin would be a comparable to the Himalaya ride on the fair grounds, and really the other few are the same type fair or "Off the shelf" ride, RSR is also rumored to come as well, only in a smaller capacity. All these rides that are mentioned here and the other mentioned by Jim Hill all already in at least one park some where in the Disney Parks around the world. 

From the sounds of things, Pixar Place will be the greatest hits of the Pixar rides across the world. The space that is being used to expand TSMM, could be used to help bring a bigger RSR, or better yet something we have never seen before in a Disney theme park. This, however, is the cost of expanding a single ride in a well traveled area. Disney sees the dollar signs. While it will take a while to build the track and calibrate the ride vehicles to the screens, there is no new development to the ride. The game is already there, the ride layout might be a little different, but the ride vehicles will be the same as the original. Not time or money wasted on development of a new attraction so they can fit a few more people in the park and with that make more money each day. 

Don't get me wrong, I love TSMM (Beth and I ride it just about every time we go and keep record, she's winning 4-3). I just wish that Disney would become more creative with what they are putting into the abandoned buildings in the parks. I also assume, they are going to be putting more money and time in across the park for the rumored Star Wars Land, but it's really no excuse to leave the fans of Pixar with the greatest hits of other parks, not every one is a Star Wars fan, why neglect them?

What do you think of the news of the expansion of Toy Story Midway Mania? 

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