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Comments for Disney’s plans for a massive Magic Kingdom expansion are a strike against Universal, not a stride toward a better Guest Experience

cinderella castle universal studios

Credit: Becky Burkett

28 Comments

  1. Steve

    Disney won’t finish it for at least 10 years and it will be lackluster when they do, like GE. Universal might be thinking about a 4th park by then.

    1. Sounds like the Boston “Big Dig” project. Original budget was $1b and 4 years……Ened up costing $20B and took 10 years. By the time it was complete it was outdated b the traffic patterns had changed so much. WDW is making a HUGE mistake right now by alienating their customers. They will regret this in a very short amount of time. They think they are impervious to their poor guest satisfaction numbers and I think they will regret it

    2. S1

      Disney will be broken up under antitrust within 10 years.

      1. DeLaunhardt

        I would TRULY LOVE to see that happen S1 !! South Korea already see’s Disney as a monopoly and this has caused issues for the mouse because of it!

      2. Bob Doan

        What happened to the Mary Popins ride in Epcot?

  2. Jag

    Expansion by the Mouse means spending money which would detract from the current bottom line. I love the use of “Blue Sky” for these expansion concepts, because that’s all they are. Words and pictures of what MAY BE in the future. Look at the real plans, how long has it taken to open Tron’s lightcycles? Fans can look forward to the makeovers of Splash Mountain and EPCOT. I look to things to get worse at Disney before they get better. The Disney money making machine is in full swing. When consumers get tired of the rising prices and declining magical experiences, then we’ll see the Mouse get back to what we all know and love from this franchise.

    Kudos to Universal to raising the bar. While they aren’t as magical as Disney past, they are getting close. Their rides and theme park experiences are top notch.

    1. Mikey

      100%!^
      Remember they talked about “Blue Sky” plans for a dramatic expansion of Disneyland Cal ?
      -or- a 3rd gate ? -or-both?
      … Not a single word on that since, instead they’ve shifted attention to yet another blue sky idea that will likely never see the light of day. Even if it does happen, how many years will it take for Disney to build it AND even if they do, imagine how much will be stripped back by the time it happens?

      Chapek as CEO is reflective of a Disney Company that’s made Accounting their core Value & key driver of the entire business model.

      The Fish rots from the Head!

  3. Chris A Kinney

    Take this “Blue Sky” announcement for what it is: just big talk. Disney’s idea of real serious talks is different from the rest of us, just like when they said, a year and half ago, that the dining plan would return “soon”.

  4. Ted

    Disney hasn’t added a new Theme Park in Florida since ’98, they seemed to be on a timeline to add a park every 10 years? What happened? Yes, recession in ’09-10 but they should have had another gate by now. They’ve been bypassed by Universal in innovation and new attractions until Rise and Guardians, which are fantastic, but a new park should have already been opened. The epic universe expansion has space for 2 parks, by 2030 there’s no doubt in my mind Universal will surpass Disney World in overall experience and quality of attractions. Last year my family went to Islands of Adventure and in 2 hours rode four of the best themed attractions in the world in the same park. Hagrids, Velocicoaster, Harry Potter Forbidden Journey, and Spiderman. Amazing! Not to mention the two of the world’s best water attractions too, Popeye raft ride and Dudley Do rights. IMHO Disney might already have some catching up to do.

    1. Steve

      If I was Universal, my plan would be finish Epic (2025), overhaul Studios and fix Lost Continent (2028), build a 4th park (2023).

      If they can get the money and talent to do that right, they will completely bricolage Disney in Florida.

      1. Steve

        That’s surpass, not bricolage.

  5. Tom

    Unfortunately, all that talk about expanding the MK and adding a Coco, Encanto and Villains lands is just talk meant to pull headlines away from Universal and Epic. They already killed any Coco tie in at the Mexico pavilion a year or so ago, because they didn’t think it was popular enough. Encanto is really popular RIGHT NOW, so they threw that in. We have all been asking for a well done villains world (actually we want a villains 4th gate) forever, so they tossed that in to work us into a frenzy. They abandoned Star Wars and the big black spire outpost plans they had and value engineered all of the fun (and shade) out of toy story land. While we are passholders, my expectations for disney being able to keep up with universals immersion are on hold.

    1. John

      Great post! The call out on Coco is spot on. It’s not popular enough for that kind of investment when they wouldn’t even overhall Mexico Pavillion at a fraction of the cost. The only hope for change is Epic Universe having a tangible impact on attendance/bottom-line.

      1. Steve

        It would have made sense and improved Epcot, too. I don’t think it makes sense in MK.

  6. First, Disney needs to get Ron DeSantis off it’s back. Second, Disney World needs to recreate the Submarine Voyage-as at Disneyland.

    1. LibLogicIsIrrational

      Ron DeSantis is a duly elected official in the state Disney World resides. They need to work with the ELECTED government in order to thrive.

    2. John

      Florida’s governor has literally nothing to do with Disney’s innovation and customer satisfaction issues.

      1. Steve

        I don’t think he is completely wrong. Getting into a losing fight with the governor over something you could have shut up about was a bad move. It hurt local attendance (even if they are Unfavorable to Bob), local reputation, workforce willingness to work for Disney, and complicated regulation. Disney won’t be able to approve their own construction plans now thanks to Bob’s loose lips.

        That doesn’t mean the governor is responsible for any customer-level issues, but it it means Disney significantly complicated their own operations for no benefit. They are lucky Desantis isn’t as vindictive as most Dims or they would be having serious problems.

        1. McTom

          Not vindictive? Did you miss the bit about using immigrants as political props and dumping them on an island in MA under false pretenses?

  7. Sarah

    Their Blue Sky is just pie in the sky. Even when they have something to copy it takes 5 years. Put up or shut up

  8. Antonia

    Epic universe is a real place with real buildings. In less than three years, epic universe will be completed and open for business and Disney will have a bunch of ideas. Disney will announce these projects when everyone is going to Epic Universe and the people will say we will see you in five years when you have something real.

  9. jhcg

    They need to take care of the parks they have now before ever expanding again. Put some money into rehabbing the Tomorrowlands at both U.S. parks. They are embarrassing to look at! And does everything have to be themed/re-themed to a PIXAR movie? Cars Land works because it was totally original. Ten years ago! But to take existing attractions and overlay them with a current film just strikes me as a lack imagination. Here’s an example: Overlay The Haunted Mansion to “Coco!” That’s how the company has been thinking for way too long lately.

  10. Anne

    Josh and chapek never even added the mary
    Poppins attraction to Epcot. I can’t imagine anything being done anytime soon. Just more costly popcorn buckets and dessert parties. A 5th gate should have been in the works at least 15 years ago and they don’t even talk about. Attractions are breaking down at a consistent rate now & that makes the crowds overwhelming. Universal’s resorts are amazing and clean and much newer. They are also less expensive when you stay at the value resorts. Disney needs to start feeling the pressure. The only thing universal needs to do is add fireworks and better parades and Halloween and Xmas parties.

    1. Ryan J

      Universal does do a Halloween Party. Its called Halloween Horror Nights. If you are talking doing a Not So Spooky type thing. Wrong crowd and wrong type of park. Universal has always been more of a Young Adult/Adult park. Just look to their tiny Little kids Dr Seuss section. I dont see fireworks being a thing since Universal is closer to residential areas then WDW. I view the 2 different parks as one for little kids and parents that want to feel like a kid again. The other being adult fun with more adult shenanigans.

  11. DeLaunhardt

    “Blue Sky” is only PIE IN THE SKY pixie dust laced fantasy……….

    EPIC Universe is REAL and will PROVE that no one, not even Disney, is too big to FAIL!!!

    Disney RIP 2019…..

  12. Ryan

    Knowing Disney it will be another GE. One or 2 rides that are dark rides or simulators with all the over priced shopping anyone could hope for, one eatery, and you can walk from one end of the land to the other in less than 5 minutes. I went last year with my kids and once the initial awe of GE faded (which wasnt long) I really took a long look and realized how small the new area was and what it actually was. A shopping mall with 2 rides. I wont go back till Tron has been open for a while and maybe if they get a new ride on top of that.

  13. Yes, it seems a lot of what Disney promises at D23 is later scrapped, such as Mary Poppins attraction at Epcot and Main Street Theater in Magic Kingdom. I no longer take Disney’s announcements seriously until the projects actually break ground.

  14. DM

    Disney had mastered the art of listening to the consumer. Then Chapek came in.

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