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A Spirited Valentine ...

HauntedPirate

Sheltered-at-home Park nostalgist
Premium Member
Why would they need to be weatherproof? The Dino's on Disneyland railroad are entirely indoors.

Because TDO can't seem to properly protect anything outside against the Florida elements? :p I would expect them to build something to protect any recycled AA's added to the railroad.
 

UpAllNight

Well-Known Member
So what's going on with Universal then? It all looked so promising circa 2014-2016 with Diagon open, Kong and VB on the way and aggressive expansion declared.

I've posted about it elsewhere but the studios park is a shambles at the moment and there's large sections of Islands that are ageing quite badly. Add VB to the mix, which I experienced first hand, and they're looking like Potter was the exception and not the rule.
 

twebber55

Well-Known Member
So what's going on with Universal then? It all looked so promising circa 2014-2016 with Diagon open, Kong and VB on the way and aggressive expansion declared.

I've posted about it elsewhere but the studios park is a shambles at the moment and there's large sections of Islands that are ageing quite badly. Add VB to the mix, which I experienced first hand, and they're looking like Potter was the exception and not the rule.
i think VB will be fine because its a great park but they need to get rid of or adjust tapu tapu quickly
 

Absimilliard

Well-Known Member
There is far more good than bad these days as Disney gets closer to its goal for the last decade-plus: total ownership. Still, I can't help but think that the 25th Anniversary Coverage you may have gotten from the handful of American bloggers may have been ... a bit over the top? I also wonder if it wasn't predicated on having an amazing Foamheads on Parade on the actual 25th (April 12th) AND on being in a castle park that has never looked better in their experiences (as far as I know, none of these people actually ever visited when the park was new or anytime in the 90s for that matter) AND (this is the important one) got to spend day after day in a park with no heat, no humidity and small crowds.

You take all of the above and it isn't very hard to see park paradise in the former beet fields 35 minutes east of Paris.

Things are better than at any time this century at DLP, but ...

That said, the problems of DLP run deep because -- almost from Day 1 -- complete neglect became part of the business model. DLP has never looked better to me, but I've only been a regular in the 21st century. I've seen it at what I feel was rock bottom (about 2012) and I've seen steady improvement since then. But, understand this, at the rate they're going it will be time for the 50th anniversary before all the decay and deferred maintenance are taken care of.

Let's start with Project Sparkle (famously borrowed from DL's 50th behind the scenes campaign to bring the park back up to standards). It is a very here and there project. I've heard about how great Main Street looks, for example, and from a paint standpoint and major lighting that is true. Just don't walk into what was supposed to be the hat shop and is more like a Christmas shop now and look at the lights above because half the bulbs are dead (I'm sure Iger and Chappie and even Jack Sparrow never entered this shop and not sure that new CEO HotCathy Powell even knows what it is). Same with many of the facades on MSUSA, which you'll not see in any blogger's pics.

Just like the restrooms, Disney has had a massive effort to replace 25-year-old, never refurbished, facilities with new ones. But it seems like the project is literally one or two a year. That just doesn't fly. They aren't dirty, but imagine 25 years of ... toilets and well, they should have been able to rip and replace all of them within 18 months IF they had spent the money to.

Some of Project Sparkle's funds went to things that sorta make you wonder ... yes, it's great to see the. Frontierland geysers look brand new and provide kinetics to the land. But were they necessary and will they be maintained when history has shown the opposite? Would those funds have been better served elsewhere? And why put money into the Studio Tour? You ripped out the FL one years ago. That place actually was a studio. WDSP never has been beyond being a HQ for Disney Channel in that park's first 2-4 years.

Attractions like Adventure Isle and the Treehouse also got lots of love. Even the effects in the pirates caves were upgraded or replaced.

Yet, much of it, still has that half-arsed Parisian feel. Small World looks amazing since its redo, yet they recently decided to remove popcorn lighting on the channels the boats travel into the show building that they have had issues maintaining in the past. One wonders if they'll be back or simply another detail gone. And whatever you do, don't look up when in the show building. Sure, they made the sets bright and vibrant and, mostly, operational. But no one told the workers they might want to clean up after themselves, so in the areas where the lighting comes through and the ceiling is simply mesh, the mesh is covered by trash ... literally everything from supply and construction refuse to coffee cups just sitting there. Ah, the Disney Details.

Of course, the answer is simple. As one Disney Lifestyler/Blogger told me when I would complain about filthy carpeting at WDW resorts, "I never look down." So, just don't look up and the problem doesn't exist.

Storybook Land largely looks amazing ... until you start seeing weeds that are huge and destroy the entire sense of scale. This is an attraction that calls for weekly, if not daily, trimming. And it clearly isn't getting it.

Let's head back to Frontierland, which truly looks like new. BTMRR is absolutely spectacular again ... but, those new effects have proven problematic and the tunnel finale was never operating correctly in multiple rides over multiple days. Phantom Manor is looking good considering it hasn't gotten the Sparkle treatment yet and won't until next year. The Mark Twain is most likely unsalvageable and will be quietly destroyed with the hope that no one asks about it for years and they can come up with a good tale.

There aren't new attractions for the 25th. Not unless you consider Star Tours 2.0 and Hyperspace Mountain new attractions.

BTW, the 25th really doesn't have a theme because over two-thirds of the budget apparently wound up going into things like replacing pothole-filled pavement with nice new pavers and rebuilding hotels and painting and ... you get the idea. If the 25th has one unifying theme it would appear to be (sigh ... sigh ... gasp ... sob ...) Star Wars. You know anything SW related gets Bob Iger all hot and bothered, so basically any/all SW entertainment from WDW and DL was divided up between the two parks in Paris and KABLAM! Chewie, We Have a Celebration!

Star Tours (already tired in the states where it debuted six years ago now) suffers from the decision to make the entire attraction in French. When half your Guests come from outside France and when you have six Starspeeders, it just defies logic to do so. It's nice and the SW gift shop at the exit is even nicer if you are in to buying SW merchandise, which I am not. Hyperspace Mountain was one of my favourite things at DLP, though it is misplaced as anything possibly could be.

I had not experienced it in Anaheim or Hong Kong and it was a kewl experience. Better yet, the new trains, which were designed with a different, yet familiar, mission in mind, will make fans very, very happy in the future. This was the first time(s) in my life that I rode the coaster and had no head-banging and no pain when I left. The new harnesses are great and the ride, while not exactly smooth, is simply worlds better than before. The only jostling I ever felt was in the corkscrew. All our rides were either in row one or five or six, so I have no idea if it feels much rougher in the back (I'm sure a fanboi can help with that one!) This was a very late addition to DLP as you can see from the trains ... the CMs are also wearing the old Star Tours costumes as the new ones originally designed were ... for a different mission. The ride experience is quite wonderful, but I am looking forward to the future and this great attraction being what it was supposed to be.

Next post will cover DLP 25th Anniversary Entertainment.

Great observations about DLP and amazing news out of the old Discovery Mountain... I am looking forward to riding the new trains and I promise this: when the originally planned Mission come back, I will be the first in line even if I have to fly overnight to Paris for one day.
 

Disneyhead'71

Well-Known Member
i think VB will be fine because its a great park but they need to get rid of or adjust tapu tapu quickly
Tapu Tapu is working just fine. It is the ride ops who, because of no training and no softs, are getting less than half the riders through the slides than they were designed for. Throw in random down times because it's all new equipment and you get the "disaster" that was opening weekend.

If anyone had told me a major theme park operator in Orlando was going to open a brand new water park filled with brand new tech with zero soft opens on a Summer Holiday weekend, I would have said, "Yeah, good luck with that" and laughed.

It was as bad as it was dumb.

I just mostly feel sorry for the TMs who are on the front line for all the blowback.
 
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flynnibus

Premium Member
One quick point before I head off to other things, but one way of supposedly improving the parks in Paris is the installation of electronic guest feedback machines (that go directly to ops management I've been told) in places including (but not limited to) restrooms. You simply push a happy button, a neutral button, or an unhappy button (smileys in an emoji era) to let people know your experience and whether something needs immediate attention. I saw them in multiple places, but can't recall all now ... I know one was in the exit walkway for Hyperspace Mountain.

Frankly, I think this is a great idea and should be expanded globally. At least, if management is going to take the feedback seriously and respond immediately.

See them all the time in non-US locales... see them sometimes domestically. Like all feedback systems, you have to be careful when weighing the results.. but with a good natured population they are nice. Now you get the 'rate your transaction' signs right on the register touchpanels...
 

JediMasterMatt

Well-Known Member
Tapu Tapu is working just fine. It is the ride ops who, because of no training and no softs, are getting less than half the riders through the slides than they were designed for. Throw in random down times because it's all new equipment and you get the "disaster" that was opening weekend.

If anyone had told me a major theme park operator in Orlando was going to open a brand new water park filled with brand new tech with zero soft opens on a Summer Holiday weekend, I would have said, "Yeah, good luck with that" and laughed.

It was as bad as it was dumb.

I just mostly feel sorry for the TMs who are on the front line for all the blowback.

Well, product launches and figuring out the bugs after is something that Comcast/Universal has apparently learned from their gaming divisions where increasingly paid alpha/beta testing has become de rigueur.

Unfortunately, the lack of softs is nothing more than greed centered around hitting a date on a calendar. Being online for the first day of the summer season isn't quite as important as you'd think in a water park that operates year round; but, marketing a huge resort expansion like this isn't something that you can just fly by the seat of your pants with either. It was foolish of Universal to not have planned a bigger window for this. Ideally, having this online in late winter/early spring would've been the best approach.

Of course, it's pretty naïve for anyone to think that any sort of virtual queueing system would solve all the capacity woes - especially in a water park environment where good capacity is measured in improvements of tens of guests per hour and not hundreds. Even the best water parks in the world on a busy day can't handle the crowds, so everyone needs to set their expectations to "reality" and think that if Tapu Tapu can keep you from standing in long lines and instead hanging out in a wave pool/lazy river and not that it's going to allow you to ride every slide in the park, that's the reasonable zone you should be in. The reality is that on good weather days, we will still hear about people who didn't get to ride what they wanted when they wanted. Hopefully though they make it so people can at least spend their time relaxing elsewhere.

As we learned from MM+, there is no way to artificially crank more people through attractions. At best, you can entice some of the rubes away from popular things to less popular things. In a brand new water park... all things are popular though.
 

cjkeating

Well-Known Member
I'm currently at Shanghai Disney right now and it is incredible! The theming is TOP notch. From the stores in Fantasyland to each queue line, you are totally immersed. The castle is so impressive. And, as a meat and potatoes guy, the restraunt inside was terrific. A note to all red blooded Americans, there is a waffle shop on Mickey Ave that sells Donald Waffles (not Mickey, normal waffles but with DD stamped on them, tastey!) and Tangled Tree Tavern (excellent theming again) has chicken fingers. It is definitely an all day park. I would say anyone on these boards could easily turn it into a 3 day park.

Whoever approved that sight line of the Tron shed needs to get out of WDI.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
So anyone want to tell me who or what a Jeremiah Good is and where he fits into the strata of Disney bloggers/podcasters/Lifestylers? I ask because someone said he was involved in a nasty incident (near blows) with other bloggers over (naturally) positioning for the media debut of HEA at MK recently. Worse, apparently Robb Alvey (I don't know anyone who has as bad a rep when you talk to people as this man does, even Corless or Hill are somehow not viewed as poorly) was involved and helped him out as did Loveable Lou (yeah, he's not dead yet).

I have only seen him once in a while on the Tweeter, but a friend brought his name up a few months back when Good was apparently spending large sums of money to visit parks in Asia and tell the world about it. I know nothing of him and am not attacking him in any way by simply asking a question. If you have nothing to add, don't.
 

ford91exploder

Resident Curmudgeon
So what's going on with Universal then? It all looked so promising circa 2014-2016 with Diagon open, Kong and VB on the way and aggressive expansion declared.

I've posted about it elsewhere but the studios park is a shambles at the moment and there's large sections of Islands that are ageing quite badly. Add VB to the mix, which I experienced first hand, and they're looking like Potter was the exception and not the rule.

Remember what @WDW1974 says, Universal P&R/Creative succeeds in spite of their management, with VB it looks like 'The Management' won a round with the predictable disastrous results...
 

Nmoody1

Well-Known Member
You can hear TSL construction and a shortish crane is visible. Some walls up on east side of GoI. Not sure what their about. All the buildings in that area are so beautiful. Great architecture, even on the incredibly short Mickey Avenue where murals and stonework are abundant. The Remy pastry shop is no Les Halles but it gets the job done. Great seating for a view of the castle. Most dining is quick service. The quick service restraunts are all large, well themed and generally beautiful other than the one in between Tron and Peter Pan. It wasn't open and was hideous. Each attraction is unique. The only disappointment was the Crystal Grotto because some of the pumps weren't working and almost everyone used flashed photography in the ending scene, which would have been badass. Pirates was amazing, maybe a little overhyped and the photo was completely unexpected so my shot sucked, but the queue was great and made 40 minutes feel like nothing. Tron was amazing, a little short. The queue for Tron makes what should have been a walk on like 5-10 crucial early morning minutes. So my advice would be to do it later in the morning or via single rider and use that time to do other stuff. The Captain Jack show was cool. A little weird and unrealistic but just look at the last movie. That area of the park has DAK and Disney Sea caliber theming, especially the theater's pre show area. Roaring Rapids is great. The animatronic is really large but it's like stegosaurus on Dino in that only the neck up move, so no B mode there. Peter Pan has an amazing queue (just like every other attraction here, seriously it's amazing! So much better than say the World of Motion or IASW queue) and SFX. I like how everyone is actually an AA rather than static looking doll. Their Buzz is also amazing. They should get rid of Buzz at MK and build the SDL version in the TSL. Then put an attraction there. Finally the food is good. I only ate American stuff bc Merica and my picky tastes. Be ware, the mac n cheese in the castle has peas. I almost couldn't breathe bc I'm allergic and ate 2 spoonfuls lol. The crab cake in the castle is also great. We did he special fireworks package (200 yuan per person, oh well). All I can say is not every show can be HEA. Few fireworks probs bc SDL is in a city. The SDL hotel is amazing. I've only ordered room service pizza food wise the day I got here from PVG. It's like the flatbreads at village haus. Very good. The parade is okay. Mulan float is cool. Each float has train wheels bc it's the Storybook Express, which is cool. You can grab a spot on the parade route any time and have a great spot. The parade passes Mickey Ave at like 3:45. Also, my taxi cab from PVG didn't speak English and understand "Shanghai Disneyland Hotel." Almost had a heart attack. I quickly pulled up Google Translate and typed it in, he then understood. My advice: have Shanghai Disneyland Hotel typed up on Google Translate when you get in your cab to be safe. Also, get a PVN in order to bypass the Great Firewall. I'm using ExpressVPN. It's 9 a month and I recommend keeping it bc it encrypts your data so you can't be hacked. Also, walk from the hotel to the park. Don't take the water taxi, it smells like gas and is as slow as the Friendship Boats. That's all I can think of rn.

That quick service between Tron and peter pan is temporary - it will become a proper themed quick service part of Toy Story Land.

I don't get the hype with the Peter Pan queue. I think Orlando's is more immersive and fun.
 

Nmoody1

Well-Known Member
One quick point before I head off to other things, but one way of supposedly improving the parks in Paris is the installation of electronic guest feedback machines (that go directly to ops management I've been told) in places including (but not limited to) restrooms. You simply push a happy button, a neutral button, or an unhappy button (smileys in an emoji era) to let people know your experience and whether something needs immediate attention. I saw them in multiple places, but can't recall all now ... I know one was in the exit walkway for Hyperspace Mountain.

Frankly, I think this is a great idea and should be expanded globally. At least, if management is going to take the feedback seriously and respond immediately.

Must say I found DLP toilets to be clean and well stocked. With real thickness TP. Thought the feedback machines were great!
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Let's talk entertainment for the 25th Anniversary at DLP.

A mixed bag to be sure.

Let's start with the daytime stuff and the sorta/kinda/mostly new Stars on Parade. Like most of the 25th, it feels quite cobbled together. Like the brief was "We need a new parade for the 25th, what can you do for $30,421.87?" No, it isn't bad. The music is catchy. The performers are into it. The floats are big and vibrant but ... again, what exactly is the theme ... the story ... the thing that ties it into a cohesive product? Missing in action.

Part of it might be that two great floats (Lion King and Peter Pan) came from TDL's wonderful Jubilation parade, so they are only new to this park, to this audience. Part might be that the styles are so different. The opening one with Mickey and Company is sorta steampunkish and later we have the fire-breathing dragon from MK's FoF parade. They go together. But the others ... especially the plastic Toy Story float or the Frozen finale with a scary looking Olaf attempting to straddle Sven have nothing in common with them or with the old Tokyo floats. Some people might say I'm overthinking it. But I've seen countless Disney parades across the globe over the decades and I know what works. This one gets by on lovely floats and a peppy soundtrack, but not on any sense of being.

There's also a stage show at the castle (nice to see this venue finally used) called "Mickey Celebrates Disneyland's Anniversary" that harkens back to the old shows that used to play at the MK and even recall TDL's seemingly never-ending One Man's Dream II show. The premise is simple, the Big Cheese is celebrating DLP's 25th by taking you on a musical review of the lands largely based on costumes and changing hats on stage. The show is nice, but short. Again, you get the feeling they wanted to do a 24-minute show and were told "Yeah, do it in 12 instead." So, the show feels short and rushed. And having Buzz Lightyear, the Mad Hatter and Duffy on stage, but no Minnie or Ducks just seemed so wrong. But Goofy's brat makes an appearance and it would seem he is quite popular with people who were kids roughly between 1984 and 2000 for some reason. And the show actually incorporates the fountains added for Illuminations (no Reflections of Earth), which is a plus.

There also is a Princess Waltz on the same stage that loosely is tied into the 25th, but we ignored that. It seemed like very small scale in scope and audience.

Beyond lots of blue and white and silver decor, that's largely it for 25th entertainment (like 25th gift bags in shops, it just isn't all that much) ... maybe Disney Blogger to the Stars, @WDWFigment will drop in with his thoughts as one of the only bloggers I have respect for.

Am I leaving anything out? Lemme think ... oh yeah, there's that new castle projection, pyro and fountain show, Illuminations: Not Reflections of Earth. I saw the show three times just for all of you ... or maybe I just liked being in DLP so late (I've been there at the same time of year before and had the parks close at 6, 7 and 8 p.m. ... when darkness doesn't fully come until after 10).

I will describe it as I described it to my beloved Angie. "That was one jumbled mess, but what an impressive mess it was.*

Now, seven years after the start of World of Color and The MAGIC, The Memories and YOU!, we have had what seems like an endless flow of these type of shows. Some beloved, some not so much. Disney Dreams, the DLP predecessor was much loved by regulars and with good reason. It actually told a story. Used Peter Pan as the major hook (pun intended) and had properties represented that are not the same overused dozen.

I loved Dreams.

I didn't love Illuminations. But I was wowed by it.

Again, it is a cobbled together show. I'd have to do a scene by scene comparison, but I believe a good 85-90% is simply lifted from SDL's opening show, Ignite the Dream. That show was crafted to showcase Disney's top current IP, and that used in the park, to an audience that may or may not have been familiar with it. DLP was looking for a celebration show of its 25th Anniversary. It didn't get that. It got an impressive mess.

The beginning and especially the Lion King scenes are simply spectacular. But the more the show goes on, the more it drifts. The last four sections are based on the Pirates film series, Frozen (including two songs, one of course being Let It Go!), the live action Beauty and the Beast and Star Wars. The projections are the best I've seen (no, I have not seen the new show in the swamps yet). The use of not only fountains, but lasers and color-changing LEDs in the trees (not chopped down) in the Hub make each scene jump as a wow. But it's sorta like the typical Cirque show. You get tired of applauding for every act, while no real story is going on. If you want to see Disney film scenes, almost entirely of the overused (like Little Mermaid) variety on an amazing tapestry with no ties between scenes, then this is the show for you. It is a technical tour de force, but has as much emotional heart as Bob Iger standing at a teleprompter while scenes from his favourite IP blast on screens behind him. Because of this, I'm not making Ignite the Dream such a priority in Shanghai, although I want to see how the locals react.

That's really the tale of 25th entertainment. They added things like something called a First Order March to WDSP that I am reasonably sure happens in the swamps too. There are a few extra and new meet-greet-and-gropes. Captain Jack over where Cinemagique was. Darth Vader in the old Star Tours merchandise location (always listed as a 10-minute wait). ... But the whole thing felt very cobbled together, very much of the we have to do something variety. And, overall, it is quality. Absolutely. It just isn't what one would expect or hope for on a significant anniversary.

Anyway, that is that ... next time, I'll discuss merchandise ... and then operations, which will include food and beverage.
 

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