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The turtle and the hare

mwlillie

Member
Original Poster
I’m sure other people have noticed that other theme parks (Universal in particular) seem to be able to build new attractions, parks, etc., three to four times faster then Disney. Do you think this is because Disney tends to stretch out construction over several fiscal year to reduce risk, or they do this to basically pay for new attractions via cost increases (tickets, rooms, refreshments) prior to or very soon after opening of new things.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
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I’m sure other people have noticed that other theme parks (Universal in particular) seem to be able to build new attractions, parks, etc., three to four times faster then Disney. Do you think this is because Disney tends to stretch out construction over several fiscal year to reduce risk, or they do this to basically pay for new attractions via cost increases (tickets, rooms, refreshments) prior to or very soon after opening of new things.
There's a lot of things to consider. Pixar Pier and Mission Breakout over at DL didn't take long at all, and it shows. But SWL is most likely taking a long time due to the technological advancements and the amount of detail going into the project.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
This has been discussed quite a bit and while we will never have an official answer, the prevailing wisdom is that they do it to spread costs over multiple quarters to keep the capex numbers low.

Project complexity can also have a fair bit to do with it as well. It takes much less time to erect an unthemed coaster in a field or an attraction inside a warehouse style building vs a fully themed environment with tens of thousands of square feet of rock work.

There is also the simple reason that they don't have to build fast. They build using cash and they are in no way hurting for paying customers.
 

DVC4bestvacations

Well-Known Member
It's Disney hanging the carrot in front of us. They did the same thing with the Fantasyland expansion. We'll come back when the 7DMT opens. Will come back when SWGE opens. They've done this for years. I've been visiting WDW since the late 70's. Big Thunder Mountain RR, Splash Mountain, Test Track 2.0, They wave the new attractions in front of us nice and pretty but unopened. Leaving all us Disney junkies jonesing for our next new fix.
 

larryz

Can't 'Member Anything
Premium Member
I’m sure other people have noticed that other theme parks (Universal in particular) seem to be able to build new attractions, parks, etc., three to four times faster then Disney. Do you think this is because Disney tends to stretch out construction over several fiscal year to reduce risk, or they do this to basically pay for new attractions via cost increases (tickets, rooms, refreshments) prior to or very soon after opening of new things.
Quality.


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AJH219

Well-Known Member
Well the attractions that are tossed up seemingly in a year or less are typically trash so I dont mind Disney taking the "hare approach" if it means they are quality
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
It's Disney hanging the carrot in front of us. They did the same thing with the Fantasyland expansion. We'll come back when the 7DMT opens. Will come back when SWGE opens. They've done this for years. I've been visiting WDW since the late 70's. Big Thunder Mountain RR, Splash Mountain, Test Track 2.0, They wave the new attractions in front of us nice and pretty but unopened. Leaving all us Disney junkies jonesing for our next new fix.
But that also causes the issue that many people put off going as they are waiting for the big new thing, there is some evidence that fewer guests are planning to visit this year as they are waiting for Star Wars land at the end of the year. The carrot of a new attraction works, but it also means people wait for the carrot rather than taking what's currently offered.

Universal might not build all that much faster, but they don't dangle the carrot as far in advance.
For example, Lights Motors Action closed April 2016 to make way for Star Wars Land, which is opening Nov/Dec 2019, so three and a half years of construction. But the project was announced at D23 in August 2015. So there was another year of the "carrot" being out there before anything happened.
Dragon Challenge at Universal closed September 2017 and the new Forbidden Forest coaster is expected this summer 2019, so less than two years construction (but for a slightly less heavily themed project than Star Wars to be fair). However there is been no significant announcements from Universal on this, just one image that came out October 2018 (and may have been a leak).
Universal are better at not showing everything early on, meaning fewer people delay trips waiting for new attractions and it feels like construction is even quicker than it is.
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
Well the attractions that are tossed up seemingly in a year or less are typically trash so I dont mind Disney taking the "hare approach" if it means they are quality
It doesn’t take three years for quality though.

Splash was built in 22 months. For example.
Conversely, how long did it take to build Toy Story Land?

Having finally visited it for the first time yesterday, “fine” is probably the nicest objective adjective I can offer. I enjoyed myself, but by Disney standards it’s not special.

And it was built neither inexpensively nor quickly, so you’d hope at least the quality would be high. Six months in, the land is showing signs of serious wear.

They can do both better and faster. At least Star Wars Land will be worth the wait.
 

MisterPenguin

Rumormonger
Premium Member
While I no doubt that Disney has slowed construction to spread costs in the past, I also think it reasonable that there are other factors. The first being Disney's propensity to spend the big bucks because they can which makes them a bit bloated. Several insiders have mentioned Disney changing specs on the fly as something is being built, which costs money and time... but Disney does it anyway.

Another factor is spreading out openings. That wasn't much of a concern in the past decade when hardly anything was being built, but now that there are a lot of projects at all four parks (and DS, and waterparks, and resorts), WDW would want to make sure something new and big is opening each year. That's why I think TRON and GotG Coaster are taking so long. TRON to time it with MK's 50th, and GotG to provide a counterbalance draw from MK. We've been told by our insiders that WDW sped up Rat's opening so that there's something in 2020 that will open -- imagine that, a project going faster, not slower.

Also, one needs to be careful of bias in quoting construction timelines. I've often heard that the Potter Lands were built in 2 years while Pandora in 4 years. But that two year difference is a big ol' huge lie. The Potter Lands took two and a half years and Pandora three and a half years -- that's just a one year difference, not two. But, for some unknown reason, certain people will round down for Universal and round up for Disney.

Here are some stats:

1547131508543.png
 
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Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
While I no doubt that Disney has slowed construction to spread costs in the past, I also think it reasonable that there are other factors. The first being Disney's propensity to spend the big bucks because they can which makes them a bit bloated. Several insiders have mentioned Disney changing specs on the fly as something is being built, which costs money and time... but Disney does it anyway.

Another factor is spreading out openings. That wasn't much of a concern in the past decade when hardly anything was being built, but now that there are a lot of projects at all four parks (and DS, and waterparks, and resorts), WDW would want to make sure something new and big is opening each year. That's why I think TRON and GotG Coaster are taking so long. TRON to time it with MK's 50th, and GotG to provide a counterbalance draw from MK. We've been told by our insiders that WDW sped up Rat's opening so that there's something in 2020 that will open -- imagine that, a project going faster, not slower.

Also, one needs to be careful of bias in quoting construction timelines. I've often heard that the Potter Lands were built in 2 years while Pandora in 4 years. But that two year difference is a big ol' huge lie. The Potter Lands took two and a half years and Pandora three and a half years -- that's just a one year difference, not two. But, for some unknown reason, certain people will round down for Universal and round up for Disney.

Here are some stats:

View attachment 339963
This is a very big time suck for any construction project. To make matters worse, Disney bureaucracy is turned up 11 in matters like this. This makes a minor change that might involve a couple phone calls and/or emails to get approved for any other project turn into something that sits for weeks to months as it filters through multiple levels of decision making.

I am currently involved with a project that has a management structure similar to Disney in this regard. Simple questions take weeks to get answered. This project should have taken me 2-3 days tops to complete. It has been on my desk for just shy of 6 months now.
 
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marni1971

WDW History nut
Premium Member
This is a very big time suck for any construction project. To make matters worse, Disney bureaucracy is turned up 11 in matters like this. This makes a minor change that might involve a couple phone calls and/or emails to get approved for any other project turn into something that sits for weeks to months as it filters through multiple levels of decision making.

I am currently involved with a project that has a management structure similar to Disney in this regard. Simple questions take weeks to get answered. This project should have taken me 2-3 days top to complete. It has been on my desk for just shy of 6 months now.
You ain’t kidding.
 

Jon81uk

Well-Known Member
Also, one needs to be careful of bias in quoting construction timelines. I've often heard that the Potter Lands were built in 2 years while Pandora in 4 years. But that two year difference is a big ol' huge lie. The Potter Lands took two and a half years and Pandora three and a half years -- that's just a one year difference, not two. But, for some unknown reason, certain people will round down for Universal and round up for Disney.
Pandora also felt even longer as Disney announced it years before any ground-breaking took place.
 

Big Phil

Well-Known Member
What usually happens is that Universal might build it faster just because they usually take something out to make room for it. This is the biggest problem Universal has because they don't have that aura of nostalgia to their parks like Disney does. What else except E.T. is there from opening day? You don't have that whole "oh, my grandpa rode this ride" type of thing with Universal.
 
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