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A Spirited Valentine ...

WDWFigment

Well-Known Member
In my post on DLP entertainment, I neglected to mention one star that shines brightest. It's because the show was introduced a year ago (after my last visit in January) to the WDSP. I'm talking about Mickey and the Magician. One of the finest Disney stage shows at any park. It replaced the entertaining, but tired, black-light Animagique show.

Mickey and the Magician would have people going nuts if they had something like this in the swamps. Half English, half French, it tells the tale of Mickey longing to be a great magician, only to find out that the MAGIC lives inside all of ...well, you've heard this tale before. The staging, effects (there are lasers), music all combine into a show that simply makes you smile. Segments are based on Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and ... of course ... Frozen. But this group all works. It is staged like people were actually serious about putting out top notch entertainment and they did it. Like many things at parks not in the swamps, it is something that would make WDW fans drool with envy. I had only intended to see it once. I saw it twice and really tried to fit in a third showing. It was/is that good.

Totally agree on this. Mickey and the Magician is the best attraction in WDSP now that Cinemagique is gone. (Sorry, not a Ratatouille: the Adventure or Crush's Coaster fan.) It demonstrates how these montage stage shows can be done at a high level that does not feel contrived.

Mickey and the Wondrous Book (same idea) at HKDL is also pretty good, albeit a bit too zany at points.
 

MerlinTheGoat

Well-Known Member
Breaking: Bob Iger resigned from Trump's economic advisory board over him pulling out of the Paris accords. Kudos to the Weatherman for showing some spine and some decency. He's still scum, but a little less so today!
Still scum to me, and not even any less so IMO. You have to remember why he joined Trump's board in the first place. It was an attempt to kiss Trump's butt to make money. Money is also why he's leaving. Not morals.

Being on Trump's board has not turned a profit for Iger, associating with Trump is probably losing him money due to public image (tainting future business/political endeavors). Trump's departure from the Paris Treaty provided a strategically timed opportunity. Cut ties with a monetary liability, while also capitalizing on the public praise that follows.

Iger should never have joined Trump's board in the first place. He still has neither spine or decency, he's just abandoning a sinking ship. I'm not falling for that.
 
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ParentsOf4

Well-Known Member
I believe it's just under the magical B number.
Large projects have many cost components, including shared costs, that can balloon any budget. WDI in particular is infamous for spending money without much to show for it other than a bunch of pretty drawings.

In recent 10K and 10Q filings, Disney reported increases in Parks & Resorts (P&R) operating expense (opex) and selling, general, administration, & other (SG&A) due to inflation, higher volumes, MyMagic+, Shanghai Disneyland (SDL), and generic "new guest offerings". If Pandora was a significant portion of these costs, Disney would have identified it as Disney did for MyMagic+ and SDL. Since Disney did not identify Pandora in these costs, it appears the lion's share of Pandora's costs were in capex. To be clear, some of Pandora's costs are in opex and SG&A, but not enough for Disney to disclose in its 10K's and 10Q's.

(Note that Disney does not report domestic/international opex and SGA separately; these are reported only for P&R as a whole. However, Disney does report separate numbers for capital expenditures and depreciation.)

Focusing on domestic P&R capex, there have been several projects drawing funds since Avatar was announced in September 2011:

Disney P&R Growth Capex.jpg



Looking at 2015, 2016, and the first half of 2017, there's about $1.6B to pay for a number of projects. Work on Pandora started before that but between the Disney Fantasy, Cars Land, New Fantasyland (NFL), and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, there's not a lot left over for Pandora prior to 2015.

This is just growth capex (i.e. capital expenditures less depreciation). However, even in Disney's darkest years when nothing was built and quality noticeably dropped, the difference between capex and depreciation was only about $100M annually, so it does appear that Disney spends an amount roughly equal to depreciation on theme park maintenance. This is important to understand since it supports the notion that amounts spent above depreciation are for new projects.

Could Pandora's total costs be approaching $1B? Possibly. Could it be north of that? It would be tough to see it much higher based on Disney's numbers and the known projects.
 
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TalkingHead

Well-Known Member
Couple of MK observations.

Mansion was running the stretch rooms before shutting the doors, destroying the illusion. Awful show. I know they've done this in the past, but hadn't read about it lately.

Splash looks pretty ratty. I hadn't been on it in years. It's still a top-notch E-ticket, but it could use a thorough cleaning and sprucing up.

Happily Ever After is going to be an enormous crowd pleaser. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets better guest reviews than Flight of Passage. For most guests, HEA is unlike anything they've seen before - especially if they haven't seen Once Upon a Time. Biggest problem is it makes Illuminiations and Fantasmic look even more antiquated.
 

peter11435

Well-Known Member
Mansion was running the stretch rooms before shutting the doors, destroying the illusion. Awful show. I know they've done this in the past, but hadn't read about it lately.

The cast members have no control over the running of the stretch rooms. They stretch automatically at set intervals. Running them before shutting the doors is not something they do on purpose, it's the result of the guests not being able to get into the stretch room fast enough before the door needs to close.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Looking forward to your update on DLP as we are headed there in the fall. But looking forward to the Dinoland news even more. Hopefully it involves a giant wrecking ball.

Thanks. And you should have a great time. Just pay attention to my comments (going to post now) on operations at DLP.

As to Dinoland or more apt, Dinorama and the space available around it, nothing has been firmly approved ... BUT ... providing Pandora does the trick and actually turns DAK into the 'full day park' that it really has been all the time, except for people who want to ride Space Mountain 13 times in a day, it is very likely. As to what will happen, plans can (and do) change. But what is likely is Disney resurrecting a name from the past, using a concept from another park in the past that was never built, and updating it with new tech and some old friends.
 

Dinoman96

Active Member
Thanks. And you should have a great time. Just pay attention to my comments (going to post now) on operations at DLP.

As to Dinoland or more apt, Dinorama and the space available around it, nothing has been firmly approved ... BUT ... providing Pandora does the trick and actually turns DAK into the 'full day park' that it really has been all the time, except for people who want to ride Space Mountain 13 times in a day, it is very likely. As to what will happen, plans can (and do) change. But what is likely is Disney resurrecting a name from the past, using a concept from another park in the past that was never built, and updating it with new tech and some old friends.

The Excavator?

Mr. Hill did mention that they wanted to reuse the Excavator idea for Adventureland in Hong Kong Disneyland (http://jimhillmedia.com/editor_in_c...er-built-at-disney-s-animal-kingdom-park.aspx), which kinda sounds like "using a concept from another park in the past that was never built".
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I saw that @WDWFigment dropped by with his perspective on DLP's 25th and since operations issues were his biggest complaint (mine too!) I think that's the next logical topic.

Simply put, they are a disaster. And not in the way I typically read on Disney forums. The ones that talk about lousy, lazy, non-English-speaking French CMs as the problem.

No, they were pretty much wonderful. The CMs now are much better than even a decade ago. And in parts of four days at the resort, we never encountered someone who couldn't communicate or understand us in English. I would venture to say that at least 75% of those we encountered were completely fluent in English, maybe with an accent but so what? I don't know how many times I've dealt with WDW CMs who had little or no English comprehension. Service is different there. They aren't going to keep telling you to "Have a MAGICal Day!" They aren't going to rush out into MSUSA to dance with your little princess. But that isn't what they're supposed to do.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with DLP right now is it simply doesn't have enough of them. The resort is woefully understaffed in a manner that can be jarring when coming from the USA, which doesn't compete with staffing at the China parks or can even compete with Tokyo's.

Crowd control during the parades seemed generally fine. Even saw CMs go out and grab people who attempted to take pics in the middle of MSUSA as the floats were winding their way down.

But during Illuminations it was another matter. Indeed, two of the three times we saw the show, we didn't notice ANY crowd control CMs or organisation at all. The final night AFTER the show we saw two in the Hub near Discoveryland. If you don't think this is importance, why don't you ask yourself what a crowd like would do if it thought it heard a gunshot (like a balloon bursting). People also climb up into planters and other places they don't belong. One would think Disney, about to be the owner of the place, might realise the legal implications of this. Not yet.

Now, I never felt unsafe. But it also wasn't exactly a hugely busy period. A month from now will be a different tale.

Not having enough staffing pops up in other ways. On a bright, sunny, warm day, imagine kids pulling at the door to the Gibson Girl Ice Cream shop only to find it isn't open yet (was close to noon). Imagine wanting something from the Bakery at 7 p.m. (when the park is open until 11) and finding out that it was closed an hour earlier? Imagine looking for food because a fair number of QSRs are closed or on very limited operating hours.

This is the big issue. Money and people are the solution.

Even when there is staffing, it doesn't always seem organised for efficiency. Gibson Girl, for example, closed at 9:30 every night we were there. One night we walked in at 9:15. One CM was taking the orders and ringing up the Guests. One. There was another but she was busy cleaning the coffee machines for the night. So, imagine having a small line of 10 people (and twice two groups of two left and walked out). Approaching 9:30, I finally ordered and looked behind when I heard noise. People were trying to get into the now locked facility and FOUR CMs were standing around the entrance to tell them it was closed. That just should never happen. Will someone in Burbank or Georgie K please forward this to CEO HotAussieCathy? You don't screw with ice cream ... especially very good Ben and Jerry's instead of the boring crap they serve in the swamps.

Operations deficiencies move into the attractions area as well. Every day we were there the Railroad had waits of between 25-60 minutes (yes, you read that right). Being that I haven't ridden the rails since at least 2012 (maybe longer) I wanted to see how all the work on Frontierland looked from the train ... and ... like Old Dead Guy Walt ... I love the trains too. But we never rode. Why? Two lovely French CMs broke out into ABBA's "Money, Money, Money..." when we inquired. You see DLP has four trains just like WDW and DL do. But they only run one every day, regardless of crowds. At least, they say the others are being maintained and not left to rot like the Mark Twain. But they should have had 2-3 operating.

Same thing with Star Tours. You have six sims, but are running two?

Those two attractions were by far the worst examples. Everything else was better, but c'mon ...
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
The Excavator?

Mr. Hill did mention that they wanted to reuse the Excavator idea for Adventureland in Hong Kong Disneyland (http://jimhillmedia.com/editor_in_c...er-built-at-disney-s-animal-kingdom-park.aspx), which kinda sounds like "using a concept from another park in the past that was never built".

I wouldn't use him as a source of anything but PR spin from Disney and UNI and crazy made up tales.

The Excavator for DAK was supposed to be an outdoor coaster through a dig site. I can't recall, but I believe it was supposed to be like Screamin at DCA in that it was a steel coaster disguised to look like a woody. The proposed HKDL attraction was on the opening day menu, but was cut. It was a steel coaster with inversions and AA dinosaurs and onboard sound. It was supposed to exit into the kiddie play area, The Dig Site, like they have at DAK.
 

ford91exploder

Resident Curmudgeon
I saw that @WDWFigment dropped by with his perspective on DLP's 25th and since operations issues were his biggest complaint (mine too!) I think that's the next logical topic.

Simply put, they are a disaster. And not in the way I typically read on Disney forums. The ones that talk about lousy, lazy, non-English-speaking French CMs as the problem.

No, they were pretty much wonderful. The CMs now are much better than even a decade ago. And in parts of four days at the resort, we never encountered someone who couldn't communicate or understand us in English. I would venture to say that at least 75% of those we encountered were completely fluent in English, maybe with an accent but so what? I don't know how many times I've dealt with WDW CMs who had little or no English comprehension. Service is different there. They aren't going to keep telling you to "Have a MAGICal Day!" They aren't going to rush out into MSUSA to dance with your little princess. But that isn't what they're supposed to do.

Unfortunately, the biggest issue with DLP right now is it simply doesn't have enough of them. The resort is woefully understaffed in a manner that can be jarring when coming from the USA, which doesn't compete with staffing at the China parks or can even compete with Tokyo's.

Crowd control during the parades seemed generally fine. Even saw CMs go out and grab people who attempted to take pics in the middle of MSUSA as the floats were winding their way down.

But during Illuminations it was another matter. Indeed, two of the three times we saw the show, we didn't notice ANY crowd control CMs or organisation at all. The final night AFTER the show we saw two in the Hub near Discoveryland. If you don't think this is importance, why don't you ask yourself what a crowd like would do if it thought it heard a gunshot (like a balloon bursting). People also climb up into planters and other places they don't belong. One would think Disney, about to be the owner of the place, might realise the legal implications of this. Not yet.

Now, I never felt unsafe. But it also wasn't exactly a hugely busy period. A month from now will be a different tale.

Not having enough staffing pops up in other ways. On a bright, sunny, warm day, imagine kids pulling at the door to the Gibson Girl Ice Cream shop only to find it isn't open yet (was close to noon). Imagine wanting something from the Bakery at 7 p.m. (when the park is open until 11) and finding out that it was closed an hour earlier? Imagine looking for food because a fair number of QSRs are closed or on very limited operating hours.

This is the big issue. Money and people are the solution.

Even when there is staffing, it doesn't always seem organised for efficiency. Gibson Girl, for example, closed at 9:30 every night we were there. One night we walked in at 9:15. One CM was taking the orders and ringing up the Guests. One. There was another but she was busy cleaning the coffee machines for the night. So, imagine having a small line of 10 people (and twice two groups of two left and walked out). Approaching 9:30, I finally ordered and looked behind when I heard noise. People were trying to get into the now locked facility and FOUR CMs were standing around the entrance to tell them it was closed. That just should never happen. Will someone in Burbank or Georgie K please forward this to CEO HotAussieCathy? You don't screw with ice cream ... especially very good Ben and Jerry's instead of the boring crap they serve in the swamps.

Operations deficiencies move into the attractions area as well. Every day we were there the Railroad had waits of between 25-60 minutes (yes, you read that right). Being that I haven't ridden the rails since at least 2012 (maybe longer) I wanted to see how all the work on Frontierland looked from the train ... and ... like Old Dead Guy Walt ... I love the trains too. But we never rode. Why? Two lovely French CMs broke out into ABBA's "Money, Money, Money..." when we inquired. You see DLP has four trains just like WDW and DL do. But they only run one every day, regardless of crowds. At least, they say the others are being maintained and not left to rot like the Mark Twain. But they should have had 2-3 operating.

Same thing with Star Tours. You have six sims, but are running two?

Those two attractions were by far the worst examples. Everything else was better, but c'mon ...

Great report, @WDW1974

the constant theme is that TWDC is running the park(s) for maximum profit as seen by the understaffing and the CM's doing Money, Money about the trains.

This is the management philosophy that Old Dead Guy Walt created Disneyland in response to.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Merchandise at DLP for the 25th was ... was ... lacking. They had one nice item that appealed to me, but I passed on it. That would be a 25th Anniversary book DLP A to Z or something like that. I have the tenth anniversary one, which is one of the finest Disney parks books ever put together. And I have the 20th, which is much more a corporate timeline retelling. I like the new one, but not enough to get it ... yet.

Other than that, typical stuff from tees to mugs to pins to plush but, strangely, in much fewer varieties than you would expect. Only three lousy open edition pins (and let's not talk about the insanity over the weekend when they released a LE 25th Stitch with only 700 available...I thought I was in the US!) The design on some of the stuff (like Christmas ornaments) was nice enough.

Also, while I have often praised DLP for offering unique lines and themed items, this visit showed a lot of homogenization across the resort. And shops that had more unique stuff, for example the Frontierland shop that was at least half full of leather wear and boots and belts and hats in the past years, was almost all typical Disney stuff. Maybe eight percent of the western goods remained. ... In what once was a unique Adventureland Bazaar retail outlet, was one lonely CM surrounded by princess dresses and lots of Frozen crap.

Usually, I have found treasures at the hotel gift shops. But due to time, the only hotel we spent time in was the DLH. I did find a CD (yes, some people do buy them) for a friend who requested one with the music of DLP (BGM and attractions and some parade too).

Speaking of said hotel, whether you realise it or not, the DLH is the priciest Disney resort hotel in the world by a good margin (not including crazy suites or DVC villas) and yet it hasn't had a top to bottom hard goods redo in its history. It looks tired inside. But I was surprised to find out that the lobby/stairs/halls pink carpeting had been changed. I was surprised because they put the exact same carpet in. So, it is brand new, but still has a tired, been here for 25 years, feel. I know some people might call it classic, I just thought it was a poor decision.

I had wanted to see how well they integrated the new Starbucks units in their value resorts, which are run by a different company unlike the corporate location in Disney Village, but ran out of time. Besides, DLP serves good coffee without needing Starbucks in it!
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
By similar mistake in Star Wars Land do you mean only two attractions, or one great big one and one kinda lame one?

I meant that both lands were supposed to get three attractions and are only getting two. They both need three ... for kinetics,for space/crowd distribution, for value for Guests. None of the attractions in either Pandora or the Star Wars Experience are exceptionally high capacity, something that Disney seems to have forgotten how to do stateside.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Favorite planning resources for DLP? They are not set up to make it easy for Americans to visit.

Honestly? I don't use any because I have been so many times (just bought my seventh AP in the last 12 years for less than the cost of a peak one day MK ticket). If I needed help with planning, I'd ask here. And check out Tom Bricker's blog as well.
 

EricsBiscuit

Well-Known Member
Here at the Shanghai Disneyland Hotel, the ratio of CMs to customers in the gift shop was like 5:1. I also noticed each queue line has 1-2 security people. The park is well staffed. On Tron, there are 2 loading bays I.e. BTMRR, and unless the ride was below a 15 minute wait both were running. Today I took the SDL metro station and used the metro, very fun! I went on a trip to ZhouZhang I think and it's like a 1,000 year old Venice type city like the one mentioned in the Epcot movie. One restaurant had steamed tortoise on the menu! Needless to say I had no breakfast or lunch. As soon as I came back I ate at Lumiere's and it was good. The character interaction was amazing and the theming again great but the food was subpar to average. The saving grace was the chocolate fountain and fruit and the beef tenderloin and potatoes. They put lemon on your glass (I had Pepsi), interesting. There is a piano player in the lobby (very beautiful lobby). By the elevators on each floor there is loudish background music. Also Mickey and Minny talk when you reach your floor. Just like in Japan, you must insert your room key into a holder thing in order for your room to have power. I have a park view room and ITD from my room was great. Yesterday, at the park, the castle walk through was amazing! Much better than the cardboard ride at DL. Incredible detail and queue line. There is also a single rider line for most major attractions. Although I would not recommend them because the queues are really good. The Stargazers Cafe in TL has burgers chicken and fires. Amazing. If you need the restroom and are in TC, use the one in Barbossa's Bounty. That restraunt is good. Speaking of, there are CMs that walk around and take your trays with trash at all the quick service restaurants. The walkways are elaborately themed that change in each land similar to at DAK, unlike the flat, boring concrete at DL and MK. The pathways are large and there is an abundance of rocks, trees, benches and streams. CMs understand English, mostly. Guest etiquette is good. Only time when there is huge trash is after the fireworks because people sit on their park amps and leave them on the floor. Also, when we did the stage shows people really pushed, shoved and ran to get into and out of the pre show and to get good seats. One more thing about the streets: not wheelchair friendly. No I did not being my 93 year old grandma like I do every week at WDW, but I did she would kill me. I would like to see 93 year old Bob Iger being pushed over all those bumps. Anyway, I only saw maybe 1-2 wheelchairs and a handful of strollers.
 

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