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WDW has lost much of its magic.

Missing_Aria

Active Member
You are absolutely correct that they have always been corporate. However... up until the Eisner era, their business as far as the theme parks went was in creating new forms of entertainment experiences with an eye on quality, rather than capacity and synergy. The Disney parks gained the reputation they have based upon the pre-Eisner era. Walt's original impetus for wanting a park was that he wanted to provide a place where people could go as families that was the opposite of dirty and, often, shady amusement parks and carnivals. Was either Disneyland or MK perfect when they opened? Heavens no! They were laboratories for experimentation with entertainment. Walt was always eager to try new things and failure was almost more of a learning experience than success. He never shied away from eliminating or changing things that didn't work. The main difference between Disney of old and Disney of today is that, originally, the goal was to always strive to "plus" things in order to achieve something as close to perfection as possible. You know what? It worked. People LOVED the Disney parks and they developed a fanatical following all over the world.

Now, the goal is monetization and if something legitimately great happens, it's usually either by accident or because whomever was in charge of the project was able to figure out a way to let the skills and artistry of the Imagineers shine through whilst under tremendous pressure and, often, with a budget that is much smaller than would be desirable in order to fully realize the project.

Please don't misunderstand me. I truly believe that the folks at Imagineering are incredibly talented and, given the proper funds, time, and creative control, could likely create new attractions that stand shoulder to shoulder with the greats. The reality, though, is that the current corporate leadership do not provide an environment wherein quality is more important than a quick buck.

I dunno, I think that's gonna have to be an agree to disagree thing. I mean, remember this is the company that pumps the smell of baked goods onto main street to try to get you to come in and spend spend spend and that's not even remotely a new thing. Heck, the very Mickey Mouse ears we allll have to have is another perfect example, or Disney Pins (which I'm a total sucker for btw)? None of it is new.

I do believe Walt was a dreamer, but he was a dreamer who saw dollar signs and there's nothing wrong with that. People should rewarded for their accomplishments, especially someone who did as much as he did. He made insane amounts money while making his artistic visions a reality and honestly I can't think of a life more fulfilling than that. Every aspect of the park had tiny touches that made the whole package immersive and awe inspiring. So far as I can see this is still true today.

I can't honestly look at the new Toy Story addition and NOT think that boatloads of money went into design elements that were all about magic and immersion. Close to 3 billion went into the design of Pandora and I'm willing to bet most of that was on the exact type of detail that Disney himself would have demanded like the floating islands which alone must have cost a fortune. Disney was a firm believer in no half measures when it came to his park and for me they still seem to be going all out to live up to that expectation.

I get why others might feel otherwise though. It sucks to see beloved elements of the park changed or ripped out in an attempt to be relevant to today's younger crowd. It seems cold and callous but go on the Wheel of Progress on a day when people have any other ride option. The only time it has a line is when people are desperate for A/C, and kids do not care about that ride at all. The ride always has to be stopped (often multiple times in 1 ride) because someone's kid is either trying to run around or needs to leave the theater. I wouldn't be surprised if they changed or removed it completely in the fairly near future. I'd miss the old ride for it's witty nostalgia factor, but I'd understand.

It's hard for me to weigh in on the same level as some of you though. I know a ton about Disney because, like most kids who never got to go, I breathed in and clung to any Disney World info I could get my mind on growing up. I didn't get to go until I was an adult and paid my own way. But I've seen what it looks like (through Carowinds) when a corporation guts a park and replaces the elements it gutted with nothing. And I've seen what it looks like when they instead start gutting that same park to replace it with rides that are cool but have zero theme. I literally watched in person day by day as they hauled out the beloved, southern manor style gate and replaced it with something streamlined and modern. And I watched in person as they broke down my beloved Thunder Road that I used to be able to see my house from and haul it away.

I don't see the same kind of thing happening at Disney. I do think they're getting more greedy with all of these added fees (parking at resorts for example), but I think the parks themselves are still amazing and magical.
 

BASS

Well-Known Member
Had a thought this morning actually, it really wasn't pertaining about Disney but I think it may relate. When we were kids, everything was different. We perceived things much differently than adults. We saw greatness and had less understanding of the man behind the curtain so to speak. As we got older, we thought daily that things were better yesterday. Honestly, no matter how old we get, we will all at some point look at today and think of a better yesterday.

Maybe this same thing can be said for Disney. You have kids of today's time that will one day look back at the rides of today when they are much older and think how great they were after more changes have been made for the kids of that generation to come.

Think it is a human cycle. We are born. When we are adolescent, we can't wait for tomorrow. And then we end up missing yesterday.

There. There's my philosophical moment of the day.

Correct. Nostalgia has a revered, sacred effect for all of us. It's why, no matter what decade you were born in, music was better "then" than "now." Same goes for sports and our favorite athletes. Your favorite athlete as a kid will always be better than the latest and greatest (despite the fact they're all faster, better, and stronger now!). Hell, not to get political, but the current president ran on a slogan of reverting America to some time of the past.

Our perspectives change as we age. In particular, so does why we visit Disney. As a child, it's for pure enjoyment. As a parent , it's to create memories and enjoyment for your children and family. In that latter stage, for many, it's difficult to divorce your efforts to create enjoyment for your children and family with the money it costs. But that doesn't mean that the experience is any different for the children. And ultimately, at least for me, all that matters.
 

Willmark

Well-Known Member
I have to general statements when this thread comes up.

1. Disney IMO looked at the airlines pre and post 9-11. Before 9-11 flights were half full. Now they overbook the flights. Disney does the same with the parks.

2. Related with #1. WDW has packed in the cattle to the parks and are now shocked the cows are starting to moo about the over crowding. * Hence why they are hurrying to expand the pastures (i.e SWGA and TSL for example).

* pretty sure I was a cowboy in a previous life.
 

KrzyKtty

Well-Known Member
It's not that I don't understand the feeling of missed nostalgia. That is part of the reason why I'm feeling flying my family across the country to go to Disneyland next year. I remember things from Walt Disney World when I was a kid that my family will never experience since they didn't get to go until much later. I want them to be able to ride some of the rides that Magic Kingdom Fantasyland no longer has.

However I am definitely still a pixie duster. I still love so much about the parks and I look forward to all the new things they do. Is everything they've ever done the best? No, obviously not. However, as much as the new Fastpass system might annoy me in some ways, it did allow me to manage the trip to the point where my family never had to wait in line for more than 30 to 40 minutes for anything. For my husband and kids, that was a godsend. And this was in the middle of June.

Disney obviously still can create that magical experience for so many people. My husband never really got to go to the parks until he was 22. Until I took him he never saw the point and didn't think he was missing much. He is now the one that asks me every time when are we going to get to go back. My kids are pretty obsessed with it too. It's the perfect family vacation while they're younger for us. When they're older we want to see the world, but I don't see the point in flying a 4 year old to Japan. Granted knowing my husband and I, we will go on an international trip one year, then Disney World the next.
 
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geekza

Well-Known Member
However, as much as the new Fastpass system might annoy me in some ways, it did allow me to manage the trip to the point where my family never had to wait in line for more than 30 to 40 minutes for anything.
Just curious, how often did you have to wait that long for attractions before the current FastPass+ system went online? To be fair, I haven't been to the parks nearly as often as a lot of folks on the boards, but the only time I can remember waiting that long was in Epcot the year it opened. Since it was the first brand new, totally different from MK and DL park, the opening of EPCOT Center was a real event. Other than that, I can probably count on one had the number of times I had to wait longer than 30 minutes for an attraction. Now, if you can get under a 30 minute wait without a FastPass (for anything that isn't a show) it's like winning the lottery. I really liked the old paper FastPass system as it still allowed for some spontaneity and didn't seem to back up the lines like the current system does. I do get that the crowds have become much larger, though, so no system of crowd control will be perfect. I'm realistic that huge crowds packed into spaces that rarely expand or add new attractions mean that the days of relaxing in the parks and riding everything as much as I want are gone, but I still don't see anything wrong with wishing that Disney would improve the current system and being sad that the "good old days" are gone. They were truly great times to go to Disney. It still is great, just not as great.
 

KrzyKtty

Well-Known Member
I remember there were quite a few lines that were an hour or more during my honeymoon and the trip we went on after. The only reason we didn't end up waiting in those lines on the second trip was because we had a baby with us. We didn't have that big of a problem when we went in late September 2012, but back then the park was still a lot slower during that month.
 

pax_65

Well-Known Member
I really liked the old paper FastPass system as it still allowed for some spontaneity and didn't seem to back up the lines like the current system does. I do get that the crowds have become much larger, though, so no system of crowd control will be perfect.

The new system has changed things in more ways than we realize. First, my sense is that more FPs are given out than with the old system (I don't know this for a fact but it makes sense with all the advanced planning that people are being trained to do - making FP plans months in advance vs grabbing paper FPs that day.) Second, people are learning to value FPs more and will redeem them more frequently. So more people are in the queues. This is something we've discussed before, about people hanging around the parks so they can use an FP they have for two hours in the future, looking for something to do.

Finally I sense that Disney pulls more from the FP line than in the past. Again, this is just from my own observation but I suspect people who have to wait with a FP are more likely to complain. I've heard many people complaining about the wait just to scan your band to get into the FP line (there is occasionally a several minute wait because people don't know how to swipe their band or they are in line too early, etc and the line backs up). I sense that Disney really makes an effort to keep the FP line short to promote the value of the FP system.

All of these things make the Standby Line slower, except in attractions where there is a dedicated Standby and FP line (Space Mountain, Toy Story Mania).

I don't wait in any line longer than 45 minutes. I use FP extensively, plan trips for slower times (more difficult to do these days), hit the park as early as possible and choose my standby lines carefully. On my last trip I was able to do pretty much everything I wanted to do, but the new system makes it more difficult for me, not easier.
 

KrzyKtty

Well-Known Member
One thing I did hate about the old paper system was having to walk clear across to the other side of the park to pick up a ticket for a FastPass. We would then have to walk back across the park hours later to use it because inevitably you had moved on to a new section.
 
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geekza

Well-Known Member
One thing I did hate about the old paper system was having to walk clear across to the other side of the park to pick up a ticket for a FastPass. We would then have to walk back across the park hours later to use it because inevitably you had moved on to a new section.
While that's true, you didn't really need FastPasses except for the most popular of attractions. Honestly, I do so much walking when I'm in a park anyway, it never bothered me. It's a matter of walking a little longer on one day rather than sitting in front of a computer, months in advance, hoping you can get a pass for the time you want so that it will fit in with the touring plan you're meticulously planning.
 

KrzyKtty

Well-Known Member
While that's true, you didn't really need FastPasses except for the most popular of attractions. Honestly, I do so much walking when I'm in a park anyway, it never bothered me. It's a matter of walking a little longer on one day rather than sitting in front of a computer, months in advance, hoping you can get a pass for the time you want so that it will fit in with the touring plan you're meticulously planning.
You're not kidding there. I didn't particularly love waking up at the crack of dawn to get the best Fastpass reservations.
 
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jimbojones

Well-Known Member
I have been visiting for over three decades and although I am an evangelist for people taking a non-disney vacation once in awhile, the only substantial complaint I have about WDW is the crowds. Take away the crowds and I think everything else is great, its not perfect and I intend my trip this august to be the last for a very long time, but its still great family entertainment if you have little kids. I am one of those who thinks that park tickets and season passes are underpriced due to the crowds. I'd pay $200 a day if it meant half the wait times and just visit more rarely.
 

johnnydontcare

New Member
Fanboys will say I am wrong and I do not care;
I am sick of everybody just saying how great the place is.

  • It is in Florida which means at least for me it is hard to get to and if you go in the summer do not complain when it reaches 95 degrees with 100% humanity and the daily afternoon storms
  • The crowds are terrible and it gets worse every year. Main street USA looks like a crowd of people waiting for a rock concert, the lines for attractions after the first hour when people really pack in go to about an hour just about everywhere. The few attractions you can count on are the Carousel of Progress, Hall of Presidents and the Country Bear Jamboree "maybe the Haunted Mansion"
  • The prices are out of control yet people still pack the place, over $100 just to get in, food you buy one of their terrible burgers, frozen fries, and coke maybe $15. They do have nice restaurants but unless you plan months in advance you will never get a meal and if you do plan get reservation you can spend $50 plus for one meal. The merchandise is also criminally priced, cheap golf shirt $50.
  • Experiences Magic Kingdom, Main Street stores where you can get over priced junk, push through crowds to get to other lands. Epcot Future World has been dumbed down for example Test Track, what do you learn about Transportation? World Show Case the cast is from the host countries but do not be fooled, you go to the UK IT IS NOT LIKE REALLY GOING to the UK. Hollywood Studios I can do Rock and Roll Coaster like it and this board people are always complaining about Aerosmith, I do not kid myself when the Star Wars area expands like Avatar there maybe one attraction tops worth the hype and you will never get close to it. Animal Kingdom the Avatar Land like I said been there 3 times and I am too old and fat to run to the one worthy attraction, and I am not waiting over two hours to try it. Nothing else in Animal Kingdom does anything for me.
After all my criticism why do I go ? WDW has got worse over the years, back when you had Magic Kingdom and EPCOT I really enjoyed the parks, I go now and then hoping rediscover past experiences.
Why do I still visit the board ? I keep hoping to rediscover the magic the place was in the 80s and 90s
Will I go back maybe but I will not go out of my way, if I am going to Tampa Bay for a cruise maybe visit WDW, but I will never relive the 80s again. All I have is pictures and video.
~You are quite right - it has lost its appeal. Disney parks profits doubled in the last 5 years and minimal investment. Lack lustre service, poor quality expensive products and bottles of water at extortionate prices. Best view of a Disney Park is in the rear view mirror.
 

johnnydontcare

New Member
You have some good points.
However, there is still some good old fashioned fun to be hard in WDW parks.

I have been to WDW parks more than 100 times - my parents started to take me when I was three. As an adult I kept coming back.
We literally tune out the crowds and cranky people. We talk to those who look like they are having fun in lines. We enjoy our little Disney bubble.

Because at the end of the day, let's be honest, there really is nothing like a WDW park.
Even with all the negatives and changes, it still is, and always will be, an amazing experience.

Try this before going on your next WDW trip. Try some meditative yoga, tuning out the exterior and focusing on what you want.
The last few trips we took, before out little one was born, we felt that the park was ours to experience.
We focused on so much more, and tuned almost EVERYONE out.

We are going back with our 10 month old this summer. We will only go to 1 or 2 parks this time but we have the same perception in mind.
We honestly can't wait to take our little guy. So much positive to experience - - - - -

I think this is why people still keep coming in droves.
Must be great in Never never land
 

johnnydontcare

New Member
I mean, WDW has always been in Florida. The weather is one of the reasons it was built there. It allows it to be open year-round and, aside from the occasional hurricane and thunderstorm, the weather is fine for tourists. Yes, it gets hot and humid in the summers but, again, this has always been the case.

I agree that the massive crowds and astronomical price hikes are disappointing, especially since it isn't like paying all the extra money has translated to keeping the parks in tip-top condition.

The loss of the individual shops along Main Street has always bothered me, but that was Eisner's doing. Everything had to turn a profit. I really miss the Penny Arcade, the Magic Shop, the flower shop, and being able to actually watch movies in the Main Street Cinema. Alas, such is commerce.

I really get your point. It isn't as wonderful as it once was, but the world has changed and the Disney company has changed. At least those of us who experienced WDW at its peak can have our memories and enjoy the things that remain. I'm still looking forward to going back after 12 years. There are new things I want to experience and classic attractions to take me back to my childhood. It's not the perfect mix, but I'll take it over no WDW at all.
Its a money making corporate that aims to squeeze every last dime out of the visitors with minimal reinvestment in the outdated parks in order to drive more and more shareholder return. The smiles have turned plastic and the service on a level with a Wendy's Hamburger joint. The corporation needs to take a long hard look at the parks.
 

LittleBuford

Well-Known Member
Its a money making corporate that aims to squeeze every last dime out of the visitors with minimal reinvestment in the outdated parks in order to drive more and more shareholder return. The smiles have turned plastic and the service on a level with a Wendy's Hamburger joint. The corporation needs to take a long hard look at the parks.

I still enjoy them.
 

King Raccoon 77

Don't buy a Honda 😎
Premium Member
Its a money making corporate that aims to squeeze every last dime out of the visitors with minimal reinvestment in the outdated parks in order to drive more and more shareholder return. The smiles have turned plastic and the service on a level with a Wendy's Hamburger joint. The corporation needs to take a long hard look at the parks.
I blame the local AP holders.
 

danyoung56

Well-Known Member
~You are quite right - it has lost its appeal. Disney parks profits doubled in the last 5 years and minimal investment. Lack lustre service, poor quality expensive products and bottles of water at extortionate prices. Best view of a Disney Park is in the rear view mirror.

I'm just curious - why would you come on to a Disney forum, where people are mostly in favor of the place, and slam it as you just did above?
 

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