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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Was a Mistake

TokyoMiki

New Member
1. WDW didn't really need a 4th park
2. If you were going to build a 4th park, a zoo wasn't the way to go

1. True, very true considering Studios was 35 to 40% baked and both MK and Epcot would have always needed more.

2. Aside from Disney Sea Animal Kingdom was the next best chosen theme. So maybe I agree with you, maybe I don't??? I'm good with AK. Such a beautiful lush park and a departure from the ocean of concrete and asphalt Epcot and Studios.
 

Pepper's Ghost

Well-Known Member
creating a park, a full park, dedicated to star wars based on an extrapolation of galaxy edge type effort would be disastrous.
This I agree with wholeheartedly. Any park with any theme that is based on Galaxy's Edge would be doomed from what I've seen. GE just missed the mark completely, but I don't believe it's the subject matter that's the issue. It's the effort in creating the land. No surprise there. But it's a great point that TWDC where it's at right now would completely botch a new park based on Star Wars.
 

Djsfantasi

Active Member
GE missed the point? To some people, it is the perfect Star Wars park. Just because it isn’t based on the movies doesn’t mean it missed its mark.

It is an amazingly themed land, that projects the Star Wars universe in every corner. A guest that isn’t familiar with SW still can experience the zeitgeist of the era depicted in the films.

Sorry for those who can’t enjoy Batuu for what it is because C3P0 isn’t there. And Luke, Leia and Solo don’t appear. And there isn’t a cheesy animatronic Yoda to welcome you.

I’ll enjoy the atmosphere and believe I’m somewhere else in the universe, at a different time.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
GE missed the point? To some people, it is the perfect Star Wars park. Just because it isn’t based on the movies doesn’t mean it missed its mark.

It is an amazingly themed land, that projects the Star Wars universe in every corner. A guest that isn’t familiar with SW still can experience the zeitgeist of the era depicted in the films.

Sorry for those who can’t enjoy Batuu for what it is because C3P0 isn’t there. And Luke, Leia and Solo don’t appear. And there isn’t a cheesy animatronic Yoda to welcome you.

I’ll enjoy the atmosphere and believe I’m somewhere else in the universe, at a different time.

Your last sentence is why it ultimately fails for me. Although OT characters would help (mainly because that's the only trilogy that was actually good all the way through), that's not the real issue.

I'm glad it works for you, but nothing about it makes me feel like I'm in Star Wars other than the handful of Star Wars ships scattered around. It feels like it could be any sci-fi setting; just replace the Star Wars ships with something from another IP and you're good to go (obviously the attractions and merchandise make a difference, but I'm only talking about the land itself). The whole area feels generic.

This isn't the right thread for this discussion, though -- and it's all been hashed out at this point anyways.
 

TokyoMiki

New Member
I wonder if Animal Kingdom sees the most polarizing opinions of the 4 parks. It seems it's the park most likely to see one guest saying it's his favorite immediately followed by another saying AK is the least favorite.

Whatever the aggregate opinions are I fully appreciate the place -just a beautiful park to walk around without even riding anything or sitting for any show,

so many details and such rich placesetting.
 

LittleMerman

Active Member
Lastly, If I were Disney I would have opened a new park and divided into two big lands, one would be the Star Wars land which would be much greater in size than the existing Galaxy's Edge and the other land would be around the Marvel properties.
Actually, a 5th gate to the theme of "heroes" would actually be really cool and probably very successful. A place to live out your hero fantasies - it's a very positive, uplifting idea that positions the guest as the protagonist. Galaxy's Edge and Avengers Campus could have been the two large anchor lands but that concept could lean into other IPs like Moana, Big Hero 6, Wreck It Ralph, The Incredibles, Hercules, Mulan, Aladdin, and so many others.
 
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SteveAZee

Well-Known Member
diagon Alley has one ride. people go ape

hogsmeade *HAD* 1 bona-fide ride(there was I carryover which closed and another carryover which was c level at best) when it opened and people went ape.

carsland had one bona-fide ride and 2 lesser offerings one of which failed and people went ape.

star wars guests want to saturate in the experience. the number of attractions is not terribly important. The type and quality of the the offerings are important.

creating a park, a full park, dedicated to star wars based on an extrapolation of galaxy edge type effort would be disastrous.
I'm afraid current mgmt speaks only one language to communicate star wars in their parks: galaxy edge . that "language" is all it knows and it's not good enough to justify filling a full park.
I could imagine a "Star Wars Park" with lands that address each of the trilogies as well as one or two other lands that are offshoots of the full storyline, and (of course) room to expand if/when the Star Wars Universe grows.
 

Twirlnhurl

Active Member
I enjoyed the article, and I think that there is a very compelling case to be made that greenlighting DAK in the early 1990s was a mistake. The alternate reality where Disney spent the same amount of money in Orlando adding attractions and experiences to the other three parks is probably one in which WDW is slightly more profitable, because the existing parks could more efficiently use their infrastructure.

However, DAK did grow into a full day park with lots to like. So I am not particularly upset that Disney made this mistake.

If you asked me in 2002 if I would have preferred Disney had spend the ~$800 million building DAK up to that point instead of building five rides at DHS and two rides each at MK and Epcot, you'd get a different answer.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
I enjoyed the article, and I think that there is a very compelling case to be made that greenlighting DAK in the early 1990s was a mistake. The alternate reality where Disney spent the same amount of money in Orlando adding attractions and experiences to the other three parks is probably one in which WDW is slightly more profitable, because the existing parks could more efficiently use their infrastructure.

However, DAK did grow into a full day park with lots to like. So I am not particularly upset that Disney made this mistake.

If you asked me in 2002 if I would have preferred Disney had spend the ~$800 million building DAK up to that point instead of building five rides at DHS and two rides each at MK and Epcot, you'd get a different answer.

I think the reverse is true if you look at the time when it was greenlit, though. EPCOT was the best theme park in the world at that point and didn't really need additions -- beyond maybe World Showcase using some of the empty attraction space (which is still empty now) -- and DHS was a new park that was fundamentally different than the park that exists today because the studio was actually in use. The Backlot Tour was a multi-hour experience and Tower of Terror was also already in the works.
 

Stellajack

Lady Tremaine's School of Refinement drop-out
Premium Member
I suppose the two of us are either slow-witted or just slow, because we enjoy a full day in Animal Kingdom, even traveling over to Conservation Station to amble around, and talk to some of the interns working in the lab. Flight of Passage, of course, is extraordinarily exciting, but also UP bird show, Gorilla Falls Exploration for the gorillas, watching meerkats watch us, Safari, Kali River Rapids, TtbaB. We can barely fit in AK in one day. All your post did was to make me want to be there right now! Were you just on a fishing expedition? :D

We usually reserve this park for a "slow day" and just enjoy it completely.
 

Twirlnhurl

Active Member
I think the reverse is true if you look at the time when it was greenlit, though. EPCOT was the best theme park in the world at that point and didn't really need additions -- beyond maybe World Showcase using some of the empty attraction space (which is still empty now) -- and DHS was a new park that was fundamentally different than the park that exists today because the studio was actually in use. The Backlot Tour was a multi-hour experience and Tower of Terror was also already in the works.
Interesting point. I'm not sure I agree, but it is definitely worth considering.

I agree that Epcot was probably at its peak at this time, but a couple of new attractions at World Showcase would have probably maintained the attendance throughout the decade in the way the relative lack of new quality investment did not.

I would argue that DHS, even when it was a working studio, could have benefitted from an increase in variety and quantity of ride capacity. The Sunset Blvd expansion over the 1990s through the early '00s added two thrill rides, a relocated stage show, and a nighttime spectacular. With all of that, there is still significant expansion space adequate to add two mid-sized dark rides and a large one where the Lightning McQueen thing is now. The parking lot could easily accommodate any other additional ride capacity they could have wanted to add if they wanted to leave the studio along.

All of that could have been accommodated while DHS was still a working studio (although I believe that by '92 or' 93, the writing was on the wall about the viability of the live action studio at DHS.

But the other thing to remember is that some of the $800 million it took to build DAK was to extend Osceola Parkway a few miles east (the Orange County government paid for a lot of the cost of the I-4 / Osceola Parkway interchange in Osceola County, but I believe that Disney by way of RCID paid for the highway from I-4 west to DAK). Since DAK is there, that road is needed. But if that traffic was going to the other three parks, DHS is the only one that would have needed significant highway infrastructure spending for it to work.
 

UNCgolf

Well-Known Member
I would argue that DHS, even when it was a working studio, could have benefitted from an increase in variety and quantity of ride capacity. The Sunset Blvd expansion over the 1990s through the early '00s added two thrill rides, a relocated stage show, and a nighttime spectacular. With all of that, there is still significant expansion space adequate to add two mid-sized dark rides and a large one where the Lightning McQueen thing is now. The parking lot could easily accommodate any other additional ride capacity they could have wanted to add if they wanted to leave the studio along.

I don't disagree, but I don't think that was on Disney's mind in the early 90s. Disney-MGM was still new and the working studio was supposed to be a fundamental part of the park -- hence the Backlot Tour being a 2-3 hour experience. They filmed several movies there through 1992, and continued using it for live action filming until the early 2000s (although mostly TV shows). The animation studio was also heavily used in the mid-late 90s and early 2000s.

That was more my point -- not that DHS couldn't have still used additional investment beyond what it got in the 90s, but that Disney was still considering the studio a major part of the experience of the park as opposed to more rides.
 

Lilofan

Well-Known Member
AK is easily our second-favorite park after Epcot. Having been to East Africa, I have to say the theming in that part of AK is on target, pretty much. The Maharaja Jungle Trek is one of the best built, best themed areas in any of the four parks — the vegetation is mature, dense, beautiful and well cared for; the temple buildings are very fine, and the faded murals are quite authentic and tell a story, if you’re interested. The aviary is the best anywhere. (I must add we’re kinda strange — we just spent 4 days at WDW, didn’t go on a single ride, and didn’t set foot in MK. But we love the place.)
What is special in AK there was a time pre Covid that Disney recruited cast members from parts of Africa to work in operations at AK Lodge and AK theme park. It was refreshing to see them and hear their stories from where they came from.
 

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