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The Neighbor Lady and TP2000 Walk Into a Bar...

#2
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Well, it wasn't actually a bar. But on Saturday afternoon I was chatting with the neighbor lady as she was walking the dog and said she was overdue for a cocktail and a chat. She said her husband was going to a game that evening and would I like her to bring over a homemade cheesecake so we could catch up. Would I?!?

We've been talking in numerous threads about the Neighbor Lady and her very solid TDA connections after several decades working in upper management in TDA. I'm just going to dump those various items here, as I can't think of a better way to deposit them individually in the various threads: Marvel Land, Parking Structure, Star Wars, 4th Hotel, etc., etc.

Over a few glasses of Moscato D'Oro and a very healthy slice of cheesecake out on the back deck we settled in for a nice late summer evening chat. After the neighborhood gossip was covered, I slyly turned the conversation to Disneyland when the 9:30pm fireworks began over the horizon and poured her another glass of Moscato. I'm going to paraphrase here, and in no particular order;

  • Marvel Land. Is planned to open with a "C Ticket" in the Bugs theater in 2020, but she doesn't know which one they landed on after the big Avengers E Ticket coaster was cancelled due to being hugely expensive and ridiculously low on rider capacity. She said there's a lady VP in TDA named Chris who hates that all WDI designs nowadays are big budget rides that have horrible ride capacity. She said that when Richard Nunis was running the Parks Division in the 1980's and 90's it was all about ride capacity, but the new crop of Imagineers are all 23 year old interns who never worked in Operations or middle aged celebrity Imagineers who sniff their noses at the lowly theme park operators and their bosses as they glide away in their Tesla to a swanky west LA home. She said the average salary at WDI could pay the salary of three or four theme park managers, and WDI currently is really out of touch with how theme parks operate. It's a big problem, but at least their visually impressive but operationally flawed Avengers coaster got cancelled just in the nick of time thanks to the work of the VP Chris and others who rallied around the glaring capacity problem. Marvel Land will be completed in phases that will stretch into the 2020's, but how much money it gets and how many rides get built will depend on Anaheim politics in 2019.

  • Anaheim Politics. She said that Josh Dimaro the new DLR President is a breath of fresh air. Mr. Colglazier, whom Mr. Dimaro replaced, was out of touch and got too caught up in the hoity toity world of charity balls and celebrity visits. Mr. Dimaro is smart, but he also has a more egalitarian view and has no problem interacting with front line CM's of the type Mr. Colglazier was happy to avoid. Mr. Colglazier always needed to remind everyone he was the smartest guy in the room, that he went to Stanford and was better than you, and that he was above you socio-economically. And Mr. Colglazier's wife was an absolute snob and a real bore to have to talk to. While Mr. Dimaro has a more natural ability to connect with blue collar and front line CM's. Mr. Dimaro's wife is charming and fun to talk with, and she is thrilled to get out of sticky and boring Central Florida and live in Southern California. There were very few people in TDA who were sad to see Mr. Colglazier leave, while a growing group of old-timers are warming quickly to Mr. Dimaro. He scored big points by throwing out the divisive political agreements that Mr. Colglazier crafted in 2015-18, and while things are still icy with Anaheim City Hall, things are definitely better than they were before he arrived. It will depend on which way the election goes in November to see if Disneyland moves forward with some very big investment plans for the parks and the western edge of the property along Disneyland Drive.

  • Fourth Hotel. It was a sigh of relief for many in TDA to back away from the 4th Hotel because they felt the design and placement were second rate. There's a hope that the delay, which may be years long, will allow WDI to rethink their design and certainly the placement of the 4th hotel. A version of the Star Wars Hotel boutique experience is also tentatively slated for Anaheim in the early 2020's, but it depends on Anaheim politics. The talk of Disney building something in Garden Grove is not just talk. Bob Chapek and North American parks boss Catherine Powell personally visited a big chunk of land on Harbor Blvd. in Garden Grove this summer that could become the site of a new Disney hotel if the Measure L passes in Anaheim this November. Garden Grove politicians are being very quiet, but they'd love to pull the rug out from underneath Anaheim and score this Harbor Blvd. property. It's a real thing, not just bluster. Burbank is ready to pull the trigger on Garden Grove expansion if Anaheim turns Socialist this November.

  • Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Scary reality is setting in with the Operations teams. The hourly capacity of both of the Star Wars rides combined will be barely more than the hourly capacity of Pirates of the Caribbean, but with five times the demand. "Ops" (And by "Ops", she means the managers who control the rides who apparently also control crowd control and land entry processes) is trying to decide how the land entry strategy will work, and they fully expect to have to close the land continually due to overcrowding. There's also concern that the Battle Escape attraction has very sketchy reliability and will have long closures each day; it has three different ride systems and the trackless system is very touchy and will stop working for long periods of time. The walkways and passageways on the eastern side of the land are very narrow. The courtyards and inner arcades are also small and narrow.Think New Orleans Square size. The fear is that the land will fill to capacity within the first hour or two of park opening, then people in the land won't want to leave, and lines will form to get in on the Big Thunder Trail system. It will be ugly and it will be very crowded. WDI is not being very helpful and keep insisting that no CM's be allowed inside the land who aren't in Star Wars attire. The Star Wars CM's won't even wear Disneyland nametags, but a new Star Wars nametag to identify them as CM's. There's currently no plan on how to manage the park entry turnstiles and Esplanade in the mornings next summer. It's getting kind of scary because it's only months away and too many important departments still don't have a hint of a plan on how they will manage. The current goal is a Memorial Day Weekend grand opening, but that may slip to the first week of June. If it rains a lot this winter that could impact the opening date.

  • Bob Chapek. She says it's becoming apparent he is absolutely clueless on how to run theme parks. It's been a couple of years since he arrived, and all he knows how to do is cut budgets and see what's the least he can get away with. He's not as bad as Paul Pressler was 20 years ago, but it's not good. Mr. Chapek rarely visits the parks, and when he does he valet parks his car at the Grand Californian and gets a VIP attendant who ushers his family in through the exits on all the rides and saves them reserved seats for every parade. And then on Monday he pretends to talk about how he "experienced the parks" based on that white glove treatment, but all that really does is remind everyone in the conference room that he is clueless and has no idea what the experience is like for paying customers who wait in long lines and over-crowded facilities. He still focuses most on the Consumer Products division that he also oversees, and they are losing a lot of money there. No one has any idea who may replace him, but his 1st lieutenant is a woman named Catherine from Disneyland Paris who is thought to be savvier and smarter than him.

  • Odds N' Ends. Mickey's Runaway Railway is still slated to take over the northern flanks of Toontown and pushing the park boundary north, forcing the existing rehearsal halls and Entertainment Dept. offices off property. Bob Iger has visited Disneyland several times this past summer, but few people recognized him and it never really got out that he was there. Disneyland continues to rake in huge profits, at a clip higher than WDW currently is. The pop culture in SoCal is at a frenzy for all things Disneyland, and Burbank execs love that Disneyland has been able to thread this fine line between All-American Nostalgia and Social Media Hipsters. WDW is far less successful at that, and the New York hipster crowd doesn't care about WDW like the Los Angeles hipster crowd adores Disneyland, and Burbank can't understand why WDW leadership is so frumpy and clueless on that.

  • Neighbor Lady's Cheesecake. It was excellent. I highly recommend stocking a few bottles of Mondavi's Moscato D'Oro, a light dessert wine that goes wonderfully with rich cheesecakes, decadent chocolates, or more humble berries and cream.
Nice to hear the Nice Neighbor Lady makes a good cheesecake, my favorite dessert.

Now onto the real dessert....

Nice to hear something will open in 2020 in Marvel. And hopefully WDI can get their act together on ride capacity so the Avengers coaster can move forward and not be cancelled completely.

So SW:GE attractions are higher capacity like Pirates, but not enough for operations wants, which is understandable. Hopefully the crowds won't last long term, and a couple months after opening it'll settle into a nice "normal" crowd level. And if what is said is true, it does bring it into what I was saying, a May opening, specifically Memorial Day.

Its not surprising Chapek is still clueless, but I don't know if he was really meant to be that "in-touch". I think he was tasked with finding ways to get more money out of the parks, and then find lieutenants that have experience to really run things. Hopefully the former head of DLP knows what she's doing.

Anaheim better wake up before they start losing out on the Disney money printing press. If GG gains the 4th or even 5th hotel, what else might Disney be willing to build outside of Anaheim. A 3rd park perhaps with its own connecting hotel...

I'm happy to hear Mickey is still on deck and that Iger is personally involved. He might try to make that his swan song as CEO, opening Mickey in the original park start by a mouse.
 

SuddenStorm

Well-Known Member
#5
So SW:GE attractions are higher capacity like Pirates, but not enough for operations wants, which is understandable. Hopefully the crowds won't last long term, and a couple months after opening it'll settle into a nice "normal" crowd level. And if what is said is true, it does bring it into what I was saying, a May opening, specifically Memorial Day.
I think you may have misunderstood. TP2000 said both rides combined are barely more than the capacity of Pirates.

Which means the crowds will be HORRIFIC.

No looking good for summer '19.
 

SuddenStorm

Well-Known Member
#6
I'm shocked that they would approve low capacity rides for the two biggest rides Disneyland- one of the most popular theme parks in the world- has received in 20 years. Still not warming up to Galaxy's Edge, and the information we've been getting isn't helping my outlook on the project.

The idea of Mickey's Runaway Railway coming to Disneyland sounds excellent - if, and only if, the ride is top notch. Hopefully they're willing to alter the ride or built a different one entirely if fan reception in Florida isn't what was expected. We've waited 63 years for Disney to build a Mickey Mouse dark ride, and they need to do it justice.

Hearing her thoughts on the current generation of Imagineers seems to line up perfectly with what we've seen recently with Pixar Pier and GotG MB.

It's interesting how fans can name many Imagineers from the decades past- Tom Morris, Tony Baxter, Marty Sklar, Bruce Gordon, Rolly Crump, etc.- but the only Imagineer I know of who's currently active in Imagineering is Joe Rohde. In Tony Baxter's biography, a story is told that in a meeting, someone announced that there'd be no more celebrity Imagineers. Which is a shame- it keeps them faceless and removes any kind of connection to the ride creators. In short, it helps remove the soul. In the good ole' days, it feels like the Imagineers were as passionate fans who valued the park and were striving to improve it. People who lived and breathed Disneyland and understood what it means to park visitors. My apologies to anyone in current Imagineering, but projects like Pixar Pier don't exactly give off the same vibe.
 

Travel Junkie

Well-Known Member
#7
The talk of Disney building something in Garden Grove is not just talk. Bob Chapek and North American parks boss Catherine Powell personally visited a big chunk of land on Harbor Blvd.

She says it's becoming apparent he is absolutely clueless on how to run theme parks. It's been a couple of years since he arrived, and all he knows how to do is cut budgets and see what's the least he can get away with.
I tend to think these are related. Chapek looking to cut costs and build cheaply are probably why the GG hotel is even on the table. Even with a higher operation cost, keeping guests on site equals more revenue and being able to charge more for rooms.

Ride capacity has been trending down for a while now. It sounds like they need more ops based people working in WDI.
 

Rich T

Well-Known Member
#11
RE: Guests in SWGE refusing to leave: Remember the electrified floors in those awful "dancing chicken" arcade cabinets? Yeah. Something like that could help...
 

Shigg. W. McGee

Well-Known Member
#12
Well, it wasn't actually a bar. But on Saturday afternoon I was chatting with the neighbor lady as she was walking the dog and said she was overdue for a cocktail and a chat. She said her husband was going to a game that evening and would I like her to bring over a homemade cheesecake so we could catch up. Would I?!?

We've been talking in numerous threads about the Neighbor Lady and her very solid TDA connections after several decades working in upper management in TDA. I'm just going to dump those various items here, as I can't think of a better way to deposit them individually in the various threads: Marvel Land, Parking Structure, Star Wars, 4th Hotel, etc., etc.

Over a few glasses of Moscato D'Oro and a very healthy slice of cheesecake out on the back deck we settled in for a nice late summer evening chat on Saturday. After the neighborhood gossip was covered, I slyly turned the conversation to Disneyland when the 9:30pm fireworks began over the horizon and poured her another glass of Moscato. I'm going to paraphrase here, and in no particular order;

  • Marvel Land. Is planned to open with a "C Ticket" in the Bugs theater in 2020, but she doesn't know which one they landed on after the big Avengers E Ticket coaster was cancelled due to being hugely expensive and ridiculously low on rider capacity. She said there's a lady VP in TDA named Chris who hates that all WDI designs nowadays are big budget rides that have horrible ride capacity. She said that when Richard Nunis was running the Parks Division in the 1980's and 90's it was all about ride capacity, but the new crop of Imagineers are all 23 year old interns who never worked in Operations or middle aged celebrity Imagineers who sniff their noses at the lowly theme park operators and their bosses as they glide away in their Tesla to a swanky west LA home. She said the average salary at WDI could pay the salary of three or four theme park managers, and WDI currently is really out of touch with how theme parks operate. It's a big problem, but at least their visually impressive but operationally flawed Avengers coaster got cancelled just in the nick of time thanks to the work of the VP Chris and others who rallied around the glaring capacity problem. Marvel Land will be completed in phases that will stretch into the 2020's, but how much money it gets and how many rides get built will depend on Anaheim politics in 2019.

  • Anaheim Politics. She said that Josh Dimaro the new DLR President is a breath of fresh air. Mr. Colglazier, whom Mr. Dimaro replaced, was out of touch and got too caught up in the hoity toity world of charity balls and celebrity visits. Mr. Dimaro is smart, but he also has a more egalitarian view and has no problem interacting with front line CM's of the type Mr. Colglazier was happy to avoid. Mr. Colglazier always needed to remind everyone he was the smartest guy in the room, that he went to Stanford and was better than you, and that he was above you socio-economically. And Mr. Colglazier's wife was an absolute snob and a real bore to have to talk to. While Mr. Dimaro has a more natural ability to connect with blue collar and front line CM's. Mr. Dimaro's wife is charming and fun to talk with, and she is thrilled to get out of sticky and boring Central Florida and live in Southern California. There were very few people in TDA who were sad to see Mr. Colglazier leave, while a growing group of old-timers are warming quickly to Mr. Dimaro. He scored big points by throwing out the divisive political agreements that Mr. Colglazier crafted in 2015-18, and while things are still icy with Anaheim City Hall, things are definitely better than they were before he arrived. It will depend on which way the election goes in November to see if Disneyland moves forward with some very big investment plans for the parks and the western edge of the property along Disneyland Drive.

  • Fourth Hotel. It was a sigh of relief for many in TDA to back away from the 4th Hotel because they felt the design and placement were second rate. There's a hope that the delay, which may be years long, will allow WDI to rethink their design and certainly the placement of the 4th hotel. A version of the Star Wars Hotel boutique experience is also tentatively slated for Anaheim in the early 2020's, but it depends on Anaheim politics. The talk of Disney building something in Garden Grove is not just talk. Bob Chapek and North American parks boss Catherine Powell personally visited a big chunk of land on Harbor Blvd. in Garden Grove this summer that could become the site of a new Disney hotel if the Measure L passes in Anaheim this November. Garden Grove politicians are being very quiet, but they'd love to pull the rug out from underneath Anaheim and score this Harbor Blvd. property. It's a real thing, not just bluster. Burbank is ready to pull the trigger on Garden Grove expansion if Anaheim turns Socialist this November.

  • Star Wars Galaxy's Edge. Scary reality is setting in with the Operations teams. The hourly capacity of both of the Star Wars rides combined will be barely more than the hourly capacity of Pirates of the Caribbean, but with five times the demand. "Ops" (And by "Ops", she means the managers who control the rides who apparently also control crowd control and land entry processes) is trying to decide how the land entry strategy will work, and they fully expect to have to close the land continually due to overcrowding. There's also concern that the Battle Escape attraction has very sketchy reliability and will have long closures each day; it has three different ride systems and the trackless system is very touchy and will stop working for long periods of time. The walkways and passageways on the eastern side of the land are very narrow. The courtyards and inner arcades are also small and narrow.Think New Orleans Square size. The fear is that the land will fill to capacity within the first hour or two of park opening, then people in the land won't want to leave, and lines will form to get in on the Big Thunder Trail system. It will be ugly and it will be very crowded. WDI is not being very helpful and keep insisting that no CM's be allowed inside the land who aren't in Star Wars attire. The Star Wars CM's won't even wear Disneyland nametags, but a new Star Wars nametag to identify them as CM's. There's currently no plan on how to manage the park entry turnstiles and Esplanade in the mornings next summer. It's getting kind of scary because it's only months away and too many important departments still don't have a hint of a plan on how they will manage. The current goal is a Memorial Day Weekend grand opening, but that may slip to the first week of June. If it rains a lot this winter that could impact the opening date.

  • Bob Chapek. She says it's becoming apparent he is absolutely clueless on how to run theme parks. It's been a couple of years since he arrived, and all he knows how to do is cut budgets and see what's the least he can get away with. He's not as bad as Paul Pressler was 20 years ago, but it's not good. Mr. Chapek rarely visits the parks, and when he does he valet parks his car at the Grand Californian and gets a VIP attendant who ushers his family in through the exits on all the rides and saves them reserved seats for every parade. And then on Monday he pretends to talk about how he "experienced the parks" based on that white glove treatment, but all that really does is remind everyone in the conference room that he is clueless and has no idea what the experience is like for paying customers who wait in long lines and over-crowded facilities. He still focuses most on the Consumer Products division that he also oversees, and they are losing a lot of money there. No one has any idea who may replace him, but his 1st lieutenant is a woman named Catherine from Disneyland Paris who is thought to be savvier and smarter than him.

  • Odds N' Ends. Mickey's Runaway Railway is still slated to take over the northern flanks of Toontown and pushing the park boundary north, forcing the existing rehearsal halls and Entertainment Dept. offices off property. The Toontown expansion plan is called "Project Marceline". Bob Iger has visited Disneyland several times this past summer, but few people recognized him and it never really got out that he was there. Disneyland continues to rake in huge profits, at a clip higher than WDW currently is. The pop culture in SoCal is at a frenzy for all things Disneyland, and Burbank execs love that Disneyland has been able to thread this fine line between All-American Nostalgia and Social Media Hipsters. WDW is far less successful at that, and the New York hipster crowd doesn't care about WDW like the Los Angeles hipster crowd adores Disneyland, and Burbank can't understand why WDW leadership is so frumpy and clueless on that.

  • Neighbor Lady's Cheesecake. It was excellent. I highly recommend stocking a few bottles of Mondavi's Moscato D'Oro, a light dessert wine that goes wonderfully with rich cheesecakes, decadent chocolates, or more humble berries and cream.
👀
 

shortstop

Well-Known Member
#13
Great post. More confirmation of my beliefs that Imagineering is lost and not all of the blame can go to Chapek. WDI does not have the talent or brains it once did.
I believe they have the talent and brains they are just saddled with poor middle management. The old WDI didn't have that.
The problem is that WDI, like any other organization, is probably hiring people based on the quality of their resumes instead of their knowledge of/love for Disney Parks. Sure, Candidate X might have an MBA from Stanford, Candidate Z might have an MFA and an impressive art portfolio, but what good does that all do if they don’t know anything about Theme Park design?
 

shortstop

Well-Known Member
#15
Yes I read that differently. However I still personally believe it won't be as bad as some think it will.
I don’t know, man. Have you see how bad the line for Pirates can get on a busy afternoon? Pirates has roughly TWICE the capacity as each SWL ride with only a small fraction of what the demand will be for those rides. Throw in Fastpass and you have a definite nightmare.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
#16
Very cool read, thank you for sharing. I'd love to have a drink with the "Neighbor lady"; her opinions and insights aren't off from my personal thoughts on the parks. What do you mean by no one knows who will replace Chapek? Is he going to be replaced soon!?!? Please tell me yes.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
#17
The problem is that WDI, like any other organization, is probably hiring people based on the quality of their resumes instead of their knowledge of/love for Disney Parks. Sure, Candidate X might have an MBA from Stanford, Candidate Z might have an MFA and an impressive art portfolio, but what good does that all do if they don’t know anything about Theme Park design?
I agree. I think some resumes should include a section for "how much experience do you have with RCT2 and Plant Coaster?", and follow up with "you may be required to build a park in these programs"
 
#18
I don’t know, man. Have you see how bad the line for Pirates can get on a busy afternoon? Pirates has roughly TWICE the capacity as each SWL ride with only a small fraction of what the demand will be for those rides. Throw in Fastpass and you have a definite nightmare.
It depends on your definition of nightmare. I just don't personally believe it'll be 3+ hour waits long term. Sure maybe the first month, maybe even through the summer. But after that it'll settle down just like all things do and go into a more normal 60 minute wait.
 

shortstop

Well-Known Member
#20
It depends on your definition of nightmare. I just don't personally believe it'll be 3+ hour waits long term. Sure maybe the first month, maybe even through the summer. But after that it'll settle down just like all things do and go into a more normal 60 minute wait.
I’d be shocked if at any point in 2019 either ride has a wait below 60 minutes. Pandora opened over a year and a half ago and both of those rides have waits above 80 minutes right now.
 
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