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The Spirited 11th Hour ...

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I checked it on Google Maps, and it seems the walking distance people are complaining about is approximately the same as walking from the turnstiles to the castle and back, so it seems a sensible move to me. Now cutting the Peoplemover thing from Star Wars, on the other hand... that could be really good if they followed through with it.
Sorry, but there is no good answer to cutting walkways. That's cheap and petty and small. And someone please tell the idiots in the Disney Twitverse, who have nothing better than to DEFEND this, to just let that go. This isn't about being fat and lazy (which most of the fan are anyway, even if they walk RunDisney events so they can obtain the medals) if you need a moving walkway. This is common sense building a facility of this nature at a supposedly world-class destination in 2016. It would be akin to opening a restaurant, but not having AC or working restrooms.
 

flynnibus

Well-Known Member
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Wasn't the DCA rebuild well over budget and late?
As a project? no - not from what we know on the outside
Certain projects like the flying saucers were money pits.. and some elements got pushed out (like they always do.. certain rehabs of existing areas) - but problem project? no.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Spirited change is here.....

Just one comment in the spirited thread that hopefully does not get me banned. I will respect 74 is the morning. No, really.

"All. At. The. Same. Time" Precisely spirit and pre-Eisner! All or at least the vast majority of problems that people lament here have roots in his tenure. I do not think poorly of the previous CEO. He has a likeable personality. But just as he never grasped Epcot Center, I am not personally sure he ever truly understood the Disney brand. Eventually this overwhelmed him. He had great contributions, especially when it came to animation before that house was burned down.

History will show, whether anyone likes him or not, that Iger fixed every division through a methodical well planned strategy. It had to be done in the way it was done. In my well considered opinion.

Patience is a virtue worth cultivating my young padawans. It is a virtue.

~ Pendulum ~
Ah, JT. You will always be my favourite of all the crazies here ... but I appreciate you adding your thoughts.
I disagree about MDE, but you know that and I won't have the same discussion again. I will simply state the fact that without Michael you wouldn't have a recognizable company today and Bob Iger might be running a company that owns a handful of TV stations in small markets.

I know you'd love a long back and forth between me and The Weatherman's Zealots here about his attributes. Suffice to say, if you think Thor, Hulk, Kylo Ren, Darth Vader, Iron Man etc really are DIS, then Iger gets the BRAND just fine. MDE got its roots and built organically off of them.

But more to the point of what you were (weren't you?) responding to regarding WDI and building projects, I will point to the late 1980s/early 90s when MDE's WDC was building The Disney-MGM Studios, Typhoon Lagoon, Pleasure Islands, thousands of rooms at multiple FL resorts, the entire Euro Disney resort, new major attractions in Tokyo (Star Tours) and Anaheim (Splash Mountain) all while planning DAK, BB, starting talks with OLC for a second gate, thinking about a cruise line etc. That Disney was much larger than the one I showcased in my post, yet much smaller than today's media behemoth.

I could point to the late 90s period too, but won't because if I bring up TDS, someone will bring up DCA, and if I bring up DAK, someone will bring up WDSP ... but even then, lots got done, even if the results were decidedly mixed.

When people show up here for news daily about WDW, usually they are greeted with the latest closures ... again, speaks volumes as things didn't close when Eisner (and Wells until 94) were building. They were additions, not in place of ...

The bottom line is your Friendly Neighborhood Weatherman has done very little park-wise in his tenure and if you need a decade just to start to get things right then you were not right for the job to begin with.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Kind of a separate question, but intended to relate:

Recently while domestic development has come along, TWDC sank a TON of money into FP+/new generation technology. Independent of our opinion of how useful this technology has been, do we think that money can flow more freely now that that siphon has gone (and as a corollary, one they don't have to futz with Shanghai either, though it sounds like that may be a while)?
I don't know that NGE won't be the gift that keeps taking and taking ...

It isn't close to what was planned and is/was massively over budget. That $3 billion tag that folks laughed about and poo-pood is close to the reality. It's just with creative accounting and all sorts of ways to list expenses, they can call NGE expenses something else.

But they are still futzing (to use your term) with NGE ... and SDL will be futzed with for years to come.
I am sure that $800 million is going toward building EE and not rebuilding a QSR for the fourth time because of substandard work and materials!

On an aside, I realized while at DLP one thing that greatly bothers me about SDL: No RR and no Small World.

Those two things say Walt Disney to me in a way few things in the 21st century world of parks do. I have no idea why they left out a RR. You can do one without a MSUSA or one that doesn't completely circle the park as was proven at TDL. Small World, I think, was left off because ... well, because a dirty little secret about the Chinese government is that it only cares about China (and HK booksellers who are critical of China's leadership). The attraction ... a simple one ... about children and peace speaks to me about what Walt was about, what he found important. Apparently, China didn't agree and TWDC didn't have the backbone to argue the point. Bet Bob Weis would know all the details!
 

DVC91

Well-Known Member
I am much more interested in what gets green lighted in the next year worldwide. That will speak volumes about Weis and what he may (or may not) be able to accomplish.
It will be interesting indeed. Especially to see how WDC combats the strides UNI has made in Florida. Not sure I've been at an age and awareness that WDC could very well be coming back from behind, so to speak.

Thanks for the quick response! My first reply from you and I actually gasped when I saw my alerts.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I know this has been touched on by you (@WDW1974) and others multiple times in the past, but this post in particular has articulated the problem most effectively IMO. The examples you mention of what WDP was able to accomplish more than 30+ years ago with a fraction of the resources and time pretty much says it all. TWDC/WDI would benefit by attempting to get to the bottom of how UC can design and build one of the most immersive lands stateside for $265 mil, pump out an E-ticket like Transformers in about a year, and build a Value resort with theming that goes far beyond oversized icons and cartoon characters. If Disney wants to continue to be dismissive of Uni and their recent accomplishments then they should at the very least be motivated to dive deeper into their own company past to investigate how they too were once capable of doing so much, so fast, with so little.

It's quite baffling to me that anyone would even attempt to defend the modern day speed (or lack therefore) and inefficiencies that have become the trademark of Disney's theme park projects...but those rose colored glasses are mighty stylish I guess.

You and others have hinted that the Weis/Vaughn move isn't the end of this attempt to right the WDI ship, and I really hope this is true; however, I know all too well that issues related to organizational effectiveness run deep and go far beyond a promotion here and a reshuffling of the deck chairs there, and the issues sure as heck aren't fixed overnight. We're talking about changing how an entire division has operated and been managed for decades.

In my experience there typically seems to be a lot of talk about "change" and "transformation," but unfortunately the actual execution of that change either doesn't happen (sometimes people don't know how or even where to begin), or it's extremely flawed and misguided. Do you have any indication or gut feeling that the executive leadership team actually understands the magnitude and importance of an endeavor like this?

Either way it will be interesting to see how this plays out. As always, I appreciate the information.
My gut feeling is that there has never been a leadership team at TWDC so lacking in understanding and appreciation of the P&R business than this one. Frankly, I think Iger only cares about the Star Wars areas because he can leave his mark on DL and get significant press because of the SW marketing machine.

You can't understand the business and its history and have parks that are stale and empty and neglected like DIS does now (to be clear, the two worst offenders are EPCOT and TPFKaTD-MGMS) ... but the Weis move gives a lot of hope. He will be around when Bob and (hopefully) Tom are gone from Burbank. And the projects he gets into the pipeline will be in parks across the globe for decades to come.

So, what I am saying is ''It's a start!''
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
Thanks. And you are answering your own question. Weis isn't going to be able to do a thing about Pandora, for instance. But he might be able to shave some time (and $$$, although that is Craig's responsibility now) off future efforts ...yes, before anyone asks, even Star Wars.

I am much more interested in what gets green lighted in the next year worldwide. That will speak volumes about Weis and what he may (or may not) be able to accomplish.
That would be interesting to see. If something could get approved for WDW in the next year and is able to open before Star Wars *cough* Imaginantion *cough* I may be a little more forgiving ;)

I guess we have to accept that DHS needs a lot done before Star Wars can open :( Hopefully it can be sped up as much as possible even if it can't open with DL.
 

DVC91

Well-Known Member
My gut feeling is that there has never been a leadership team at TWDC so lacking in understanding and appreciation of the P&R business than this one. Frankly, I think Iger only cares about the Star Wars areas because he can leave his mark on DL and get significant press because of the SW marketing machine.

You can't understand the business and its history and have parks that are stale and empty and neglected like DIS does now (to be clear, the two worst offenders are EPCOT and TPFKaTD-MGMS) ... but the Weis move gives a lot of hope. He will be around when Bob and (hopefully) Tom are gone from Burbank. And the projects he gets into the pipeline will be in parks across the globe for decades to come.

So, what I am saying is ''It's a start!''

This 100,000 times. It's a farce to see people pretend they "know what's best" and have absolutely zero experience doing it, let alone the right way. I'm glad we have someone who even has you (whom I see as the ultimate critic given your connections and in-depth knowledge of a lot of the situations dealing with this company) a little more excited for the road ahead.

Here's to hoping Weis can gather up some other level-headed P&R people to get this place back on track. And now that I'm living in Florida, I see how bad the situation is at EPCOT so please please PLEASE start there.


As an aside, now that I'm living here I am now disturbingly aware of the mindless lifestylers that crawl around the parks. It's like I've got magic vision all of a sudden o_O
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Hardly. First impressions count.

For the cost of some pocket change.
This reminds me of something about first impressions so it is time for a Spirited Parisian Aside:

Not sure how many here know it but Disney has been on a major rebuilding/renewing/rehabbing kick in Paris once it became clear that they would be able to wrest full control and ownership of Euro Disney, after years of largely letting it languish.

They have redone the mid-level Sequoia Lodge (where I just stayed for the second time in three years) and the budget Santa Fe. And they just completed work on the Newport Bay Club, which basically included a total residing of the buildings from wood (or rotten old wood) to a composite material better able to take the harsh climate.

The resort looks amazing. From the lovely yellow exterior to the brighter reds, blues and golds used in the halls and rooms to the concierge club that has taken the space of the resort's shop (yes, imagine a Disney resort that currently has NO shop at all ... don't worry as they are replacing the current lobby bar with one in the next 18 months, but for now not even a kiosk to sell you a Coke or a collectable pin!)

So, Spirit you ask (you did ask, right?) if things looked so great why do I sense a big BUT coming? Ah, because you know me better than I know myself, my friends.

The problem IS the first impression. Coming in from Lake Disney to the ground level (where the two restaurants have bee redone and look amazing, didn't eat at them because not enough time) you enter through the original 1992 wooden doors. I really, really hope that when the folks at TWDC who monitor me online read this, they send new DLP head Tom Wolber for a walk. The doors and the entrance are ghetto ... still ... like it is 2011 and the doors haven't ever been sanded down and repainted. That is your first impression to a pricey upscale Disney resort that has just come out of a massive two-year rebuild.

Then take a walk down the halls. So bright. So fresh. Even painting the ceilings a sky blue to help brighten what had been a dark and dingy place. Between it and the new carpeting and wall treatments, it looks phenomenal. Just don't look at a door if you are entering a guest room because, apparently, doors do not count in Paris. So brand new halls, brand new rooms ... but 1992-era white doors with gouges in them, uneven surfaces, marks ...they didn't even throw a new coat of white paint on them. They just redid the rooms and halls and pretended the doors didn't exist.

It's all about first impressions, and no matter how nice the new rooms are (and I have seen them, they are quite nice), what you see first would be ghetto doors. And don't even look at doors to CM only areas in the hotel ... they literally are rotting and have chunks of wood missing since 2001.

In my world, we call that a very half-arsed job. They did a 92% perfect job ... and then failed miserably to bring the project home.

Paging Tom Wolber to the thread!
 

DocMcHulk

Well-Known Member
A pair of trusted sources/friends have checked in, so I have an update of sorts.

Chappie's edict about getting projects from development to done quicker (love that autocorrect keeps turning Chappie to Crappie!) absolutely applies to the swamps as well. He isn't happy about the time Pandora is taking or the cost overruns (hey, at least the guy didn't have to be around for Disney's 'groundbreaking recreating of the theme park going experience' that was NGE).

But, indeed, the timeline still has Star Wars debuting in the swamps a full two years after Anaheim, which would be about November/December of 2020 (wasn't it just 1999?) He wants things expedited, but I've been told that based on the rebuilding/reBRANDing of The Corpse Of The Disney-MGM Studios that it would be "impossible" to open on Anaheim's time table.
It seems reasonable to me to say that basically destroying large quantities of a park, removing existing infrastructure, and building new attractions in under 4 years is impossible.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Can anyone actually pin a date down for Star Wars Land 'in the swamps'? Some say mid 2019, others are saying 2020 ... when is Disneyland's opening? 2018? 2019? It's hard to get a grasp on things. And heaven forbid they build two lands in the same park at the same time.
I already did that. A few posts above yours.
 

Mike S

Well-Known Member
It will be interesting indeed. Especially to see how WDC combats the strides UNI has made in Florida. Not sure I've been at an age and awareness that WDC could very well be coming back from behind, so to speak.

Thanks for the quick response! My first reply from you and I actually gasped when I saw my alerts.
And those strides will only continue. Rumors I've read on Orlando United say Nintendo will be on the level of Harry Potter, but here's the real kicker: more of a focus on real sets and not 3D (I hope) :D
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Been thinking about your opening post---and this accentuates the point: if Chappie is trying to get things moving faster/cheaper, Weis seems like an odd fit to head WDI, doesn't he? Wasn't the DCA rebuild well over budget and late? Or were those issues more as a result of the changing plans on the fly?

Certainly having a creative like Weis in charge of WDI is great for P&R.

Certainly getting WDI projects done quicker and closer to budget is great for P&R and shareholders.

Just not sure how the two are consistent.
No, not late. And the budget was expanded, mostly for RSRs (the most expensive theme park attraction ever built), because of John Lasseter's insistence. Wei is quite capable of delivering product on time and on budget if he is allowed the resources to do so.
 

choco choco

Well-Known Member
WDI cannot be an organization that does things "faster and cheaper" by staffing up and staffing down and outsourcing a lot. The staff up/down thing means every time a big project needs gettin' going, there has to be an influx have newbies hired and time for them to be acclimated and trained. It takes forever for everyone to get up to speed, and even longer to build a cohesive team that works as a unit.

And the outsourcing thing...that only works for commodity products where lots of vendors can provide what you want. Disney is custom. There aren't any vendors who do what they want. So now they have to ask vendors to find ways to manufacture very specific products, in low volumes, and there has to be this prototyping period and all this time trying to coordinate with vendors and getting everybody to agree on contracts and etc, etc, etc. It takes forever and vendors charge an arm and a leg and an ear and a nose and anything else they can because it doesn't make sense to overhaul their operations so that they can manufacture exactly three beautiful mickey mouse figures.

"Faster and Cheaper" for this organization, has to be bringing stuff back in-house.
 
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