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View Full Version : DEBATE: Why is Epcot the appearant focus of future expansion efforts?


TigerLaw
09-27-2002, 09:33 AM
Given all the recent expansion rumors, why does the appearant focus seem to be epcot and not AK? I mean, isn't it obvious to everyone that AK needs more help than epcot? Is the answer simply that since AK can only be open for two-thirds of a day, its OK that the park only be a two-thirds park? As I understand it, there is only one attraction addition on the board for AK. Even if it is the best attraction of all time, one ride will not be enough to make AK more than a 4-5 hour place to visit? I know epcot is showing its age a bit, but isn't mission-space supposed to be the answer there?

MHopkins2
09-27-2002, 09:43 AM
I mean, isn't it obvious to everyone that AK needs more help than epcot? Before my Labor Day trip this year, I would have totally agreed with you, and been mystified at this choice. But since my trip, I am totally unsurprised. Epcot was EMPTY. This was a Sunday (no work, no school for locals) and a holiday weekend to boot. For example, around 11:30/12:00 we exited the Land pavilion, and walked over to the Living Seas pavilion while passing literally maybe 10 people. It continued to shock us all day long. Even leaving after Illuminations, normally a time when I want one of those child-leash thingies for myself so I don't get lost, there was plenty of breathing room.

Re the comparison to AK, I think you hit the nail on the head: the park can't be open long hours anyway without disrupting the animals' schedule, so why sweat it? Particularly when the largest park (in terms of guest areas) is in such serious decline?

mjstaceyuofm
09-27-2002, 10:13 AM
I think MHopkins2 has it....

It's the largest park, and has a huge capacity, but rarely comes close to being full. It's just there's more room to put people and people=$ in this equation...

WDWHound
09-27-2002, 11:43 AM
During our visit last week, AK was actually the most crowded park we encountered. Our third longest wait for the week (approx 10 minutes) took place in AK.

Epcot was a ghost town. Test Track was a walk on. I'm not talking 5 minute wait here. I'm talking walk through the cue and directly into the preshow, watch the preshow with perhaps 5 other people, then exit the preshow and walk directly into the waiting vehicle. Every other attraction was the same story. There were never more than 4 other people on Journey into Imagination with us and Spaceship Earth never had a line.

The world showcase was no different. We grabbed a premo waterfront spot to watch Illuminations (right by the gondolas in front of Italy) just 15 mintutes before it started.

Every park was empty (we rode Tot 12 times), but Epcot was by far the emptiest. The place had crowds levels that one would expect in California Adventure. Hopefully Mission Space will help (BTW: Space's Building is breathtaking), but I think several more E-Tickets will be required.

One last note: I hope to post my observations from last week's trip here sometime this weekend. It was an unusual trip and we observed many encouraging and discouraging things. Stay tuned for more details.

Another Voice
09-27-2002, 12:32 PM
First off, appearances can be tremendously deceiving. Epcot is HUGE with the land area and the ride capacity to swallow up masses of people. Animal Kingdom, however, is the exact opposite with extremely narrow corridors and pitiful ride capacity. Dropping 30,000 people into AK will choke the park and make it unpleasant, but the same number of people in Epcot will create a ghost town.*

The deal with Epcot is its age and Eisner’s attitude to the place. Epcot’s last addition (not a remake) was ‘Norway’ over a decade ago. And the original concept for Epcot called for revisions to all of the pavilions every ten years. So far only ‘Motion’ and ‘Horizons’ received major changes, and in the Horizon’s case is was complete demolition. The other Future World pavilions received minor touch-ups and nothing in World Showcase – even the films – has changed in twenty years.

Since theme parks thrive on newness, this has been a killer to Epcot’s attendance.

The reason for the neglect is Eisner. He hates Epcot. He really does: he hates the theme, he hates the education, he hates the layout, he hates its location, he hates it finances. One of his very first moves at Disney was to try and sell the place. And like anything the Eisner doesn’t like, it gets ignored. It’s been impossible to get any project approved for Epcot except for those paid by other companies. Eisner simply refuses to spend a dime of “his money” on the place.

But the people at WDW know the problems at Epcot. They keep trying, desperately trying to help the park despite Corporate’s “let it die” attitude. The recent activity is all based on the hope that Burbank will let Orlando back into the decisions making process and let WDW decided where to spend the money.

* - an interesting bit of info: it’s rumored that on a typical day ‘Spaceship Earth’ hosts more guests in it’s first two or three hours of operation than all of California Adventure sees in an entire day. If you want to talk about empty, let’s start there.

Peter Pirate
09-27-2002, 01:38 PM
as an interesting bit of info: It is rumored that on a typical day 'Spaceship Earth' hosts more guests in its first two or three hours of operation than all of California Adventure sees in an entire day

Voice, that is truly ridiculous. Testing the waters of gullibility?;) If not, don't listen to rumors from these people any more...:rolleyes:
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

Another Voice
09-27-2002, 01:48 PM
Well....

'Spaceship Earth' can handle 2,500 people an hour. The average attendance at California Adventure is under 5,000 a day (often times under 3,000).

There's a reason why all those discounts are in place for DCA and not for Epcot.

wdwguide
09-27-2002, 02:01 PM
There may not be many discounts, but Epcot is the only park in that offers dining discounts for Passholders, and it is the only one that has anything like the Epcot After 4 pass for FL residents.

WDWHound
09-27-2002, 02:16 PM
AV - I understand Epcot is huge, but that doesn't explain what I saw. The World Showcase doesn't open till 11, yet Future World was still empty all morning. I have been to Epcot in both peak and low seasons many times in the past 3 years, and I can't recall a single time before this when a fast pass wasn't required to ride Test Track, much less being able to just walk on the ride.

Perhaps the best indication of Epcot's deserted status was the parking lots. Epcot has two sets of parking lots, which are divided by a row of trees. While we where there, only 2/3 (at most) of the nearest parking lots (the parking on the Epcot side of the trees) were used. The parking on the far side of the trees was not used. This was true when we parked at 9:30 in the morning and on a later day when we arrived at 2 in the afternoon. Both times, the parking lots were practically deserted. I have never, ever seen Epcot's parking lots this empty.

In contrast, Animal Kingdom had more people in it than I have ever seen in an off season. The crowds weren't huge (our max wait time there was only 10 minutes), but it was more than I have seen before at this time of year. Only Dinorama seemed deserted.

I agree that Animal Kingdom needs help. Even the larger crows we saw there were not very large. Still, I think Epcot is in worse trouble. I think crowds are staying away for the exact reasons you mentioned. There is no way there were enough people in the park the days I was there for the place to be generating a profit. I'm not exagerating when I say that we ate in empty restaurants, shopped in empty stores and walked through empty queues throughout the day and a half we spent in that park.

Peter Pirate
09-27-2002, 02:35 PM
The crowds at AK are definately up comparatively speaking and I agree Hound, Epcot lately is a ghost town.

Voice, While I understand that SE is a fast loader the fact remains that nobody is visiting Epcot either. Further, your 5000 daily figure for DCA certainly wasn't indicitive of what I saw during my 5 days at DLR, although if you're talking current September traffic, then I have no point of reference - But as noted by Hound and myself Epcot isn't even shoulder to shoulder at the bag check. :p
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

OnWithTheShow
09-27-2002, 04:08 PM
Voice,
Epcot's attendance these days is also around 5000.

airlarry!
09-27-2002, 04:19 PM
If all of this is true (and we have no reason to doubt Mr. Voice nor Mr. Show), what scares me is that Cou$in Mike could use this supposed 'dwindling interest' in EPCOT as a reason to wreak havoc on that beloved park.

His plan? Strangle it to death by scaling down or eliminating any additions/refurbishments (where possible and without too much consumer outcry like in the JIYI fiasco), and then say, "See the concept is flawed, so let's try it MY way."

Can anyone see that I am shuddering at this very moment?

DVC-Landbaron
09-27-2002, 06:39 PM
The reason for the neglect is Eisner. He hates Epcot. He really does: he hates the theme, he hates the education, he hates the layout, he hates its location, he hates it finances. What an idiot!!!! The most daring and innovative concept in theme park entertainment EVER and he doesn’t “get it”. Figures!!!

One of his very first moves at Disney was to try and sell the place. Anyone still want to argue that he turned stupid only recently? As I’ve said for two years now, he’s been inept and never “got it” from day one!!

No wonder the stock is in the toilet!!!

doubletrouble_vb
09-27-2002, 09:54 PM
Isn't wonders of life the newest? Granted they've done nothing with what could be a fabulous pavillion.

...Newest in the sense it was built brand new...or maybe I'm wrong and they replaced something?

Anyway...I love EPCOT but they aren't doing anything with it. The place should be a veritable cornucopia of changing culturally based shows... I mean come on! Do you mean they can't get acts from Canada and Mexico to come on over & perform for next to nothing? The exposure would be priceless for whomever.

Planogirl
09-27-2002, 10:52 PM
Originally posted by doubletrouble_vb
The place should be a veritable cornucopia of changing culturally based shows... I mean come on! Do you mean they can't get acts from Canada and Mexico to come on over & perform for next to nothing? The exposure would be priceless for whomever.

I agree so much. The thought of what Disney could do with World Showcase alone is staggering. The talent, the food, new films and this doesn't even begin to consider adding new countries and expanding with new rides.

What is the matter with ME? If he is so into money, why can't he see what Epcot is capable of delivering?

DisneyOhio
09-28-2002, 03:25 PM
If you could see Epcot on even the "busiest" days, it is about 1/3 of what Magic Kingdom is. Epcot has alsways been the "educational" park and isn't appealing to the younger set. :eek: . Even when TT opened, it didn't pull in the attendeance that the suits had hoped for. Animal Kingdom still kinda has that new feeling to it....

That's my two cents.

Evan:wave:

space42
09-28-2002, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by DisneyOhio
If you could see Epcot on even the "busiest" days, it is about 1/3 of what Magic Kingdom is. Epcot has alsways been the "educational" park and isn't appealing to the younger set. :eek: . Even when TT opened, it didn't pull in the attendeance that the suits had hoped for. Animal Kingdom still kinda has that new feeling to it....

That's my two cents.

Evan:wave:

EPCOT Center used to pack em in years ago. I remember seeing 1/2 hour waits for 'Spaceship Earth' ,(that is a long wait for an attraction that can eat 2,500 people per hour) 'World of Motion' and 'Horizons' (all HUGE capicity attractions).


I made the same observation as WDWHound about recent attendance. I was there the week after Labor Day. I have never seen EPCOT as deserted as it was then. Only the front two parking lots in use (with empty spaces). They were not even running the parking lot trams as they were not needed.

I do believe the problem is as a few have already stated. EPCOT was allowed to sit and rot. The attractions got stale and started to feel very dated. Disney did not want to spend the money to keep it fresh and updated. It is no wonder that sponsers are dropping like flys. Since the late 90's EPCOT lost the following sponsers (read money) for attractions; GE (Horizons, rip), United Technologies (Living Seas), Met Life (Wonders of Life), and AT&T is now rumored to be leaving 'Spaceship Earth' sponserless

wdwguide
09-28-2002, 05:26 PM
Add to that list American Express, who will be dropping sponsorship of The American Adventure in the near future.

Tara8595
09-28-2002, 10:14 PM
Just an observation... If you're comparing the week after Labor Day as 'typical' for Disney, I don't think that's a valid comparison. Anytime on and around 9/11 I think would have been empty because of heightened fear of travel, and a general feeling of not really being comfortable taking vacation and being happy-go-lucky at Disneyworld while the rest of the country was mourning the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

I was down the following week, 9/19-24, and the check-in guy told me that it was really dead the previous week, but had really picked up since the weekend, and was expected to increase in crowds throughout the fall and into winter. I encountered the usual size crowds for Epcot on a September weekday, when compared to my last September trip in 2000. I think things are looking up somewhat.

space42
09-29-2002, 12:33 AM
Originally posted by Tara8595
Just an observation... If you're comparing the week after Labor Day as 'typical' for Disney, I don't think that's a valid comparison. Anytime on and around 9/11 I think would have been empty because of heightened fear of travel, and a general feeling of not really being comfortable taking vacation and being happy-go-lucky at Disneyworld while the rest of the country was mourning the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

I was down the following week, 9/19-24, and the check-in guy told me that it was really dead the previous week, but had really picked up since the weekend, and was expected to increase in crowds throughout the fall and into winter. I encountered the usual size crowds for Epcot on a September weekday, when compared to my last September trip in 2000. I think things are looking up somewhat.

No, I understand that it is not typical for Disney. I was just relating to what WDWHound observed last week. I was at WDW from Sep 2-6. It sounds like it was just as dead.

EPCOT looks like it has seen a larger drop off in attendance than the other WDW parks.

Planogirl
09-29-2002, 01:37 AM
Funny how it seems to work. You neglect and refuse to update an attraction like Horizons. Gradually less and less people go to see it. Then you can claim that Horizons doesn't attract anyone any more.

You can also neglect a whole theme park. Sure people don't go because of the 9-11 tragedy and the bad economy. But the overall neglect and lack of updates just makes the attendance even worse. See, no one goes there any more. Funny how that happens. :(

DisneyOhio
09-29-2002, 11:16 AM
Here I go again...

Disney is truly letting their parks go to waste and then when the public starts to complain about them, they say it is because no one comes anymore. They tend to wait till the last minute to do rehabs and I feel that what they are doing here is very good. Epcot needs a lot of help. Glad to hear that it is taking shape!:smooth:


Evan :jester: haha!

scooby-the-doo
09-29-2002, 05:35 PM
"...build a living showcase that more people will talk about and come to look at than any other area in the world..."

--Walt Disney

EPCOT, for it has not yet been built. But rather a traditional theme park, with vague ideas and themes that 'attempt' to pretain to Walt's original vision, but which died with him, along with any will and ability to fight the board to construct his dream.

DisneyOhio
09-30-2002, 04:24 PM
:eek:


A Disney scholar....eh, did I spell that right?




Evan :confused: uh?!

TinkerbellRules
10-01-2002, 09:53 AM
Epcot does appeal to the "younger" crowd. It has been our favorite for a long time. My DD and her friend are both 11.

I'll be excited to see a "new" country in Epcot. We enjoyed the MV as well, when it was there. Too bad they didn't keep something like that there. My DD enjoyed meeting the people from other countries and getting her name written in their language.

NotUrsula
10-04-2002, 05:01 PM
If I had 20 bucks for every person who answered me with "What dinosaur ride?" when asked if their kids liked the dinosaur ride at EPCOT, I would be a VERY rich woman right now.

I have lost count of the number of families I know who skipped EPCOT altogether because they were under the impression that there were no rides or shows there, "just those fake countries."
They go for Illuminations, but huge numbers of people visit that park without ever realizing that the "ball" has a ride inside of it. I've been stopped outside near TT numerous times by people who want to know if it is actually a ride; their curiousity is piqued by the joyous shrieks that can be heard from outside.

There is really no excuse for the lack of information and advertising for the family aspect of the park. Disney just doesn't push the park as a kid-friendly place. EPCOT has been my son's favorite park since before he turned 2. He just loves FW and can never get enough of it. At 5, he's made it a personal mission to make sure that his friends don't miss EPCOT when they visit WDW; he'll even tell parents that they *have* to go to EPCOT.

doubletrouble_vb
10-05-2002, 10:26 PM
I remember the first time I went...I think it was 1989? Any way late 80's early 90's. We spent 2 hours in line for Spaceship Earth. And for years we made a point of avoiding it until last because of the long lines...now? You can walk on at any time.

No one expects any changes in the basic ridesystem but the displays need a bit more pizzazz.

anim8or98
10-07-2002, 11:32 AM
30,000 guests is a rarity for any park but the MK nowadays. DAK was actually bringing in more guests than Epcot (and on some days Disney-MGM Studios during off peak times) as of late. Word of mouth about the great parade at DAK and the great shows (Lion King and Tarzan) are what the locals are going to see. And, it's better than driving to Sanford to see wild animals.

I see DAK as more of a "work in progress" than a "we need to fix it ASAP" kind of park. Epcot needs serious help. It's pretty sad when Pin Trading is the main reason Epcot has the guests that it has. While DAK isn't finished in any respect, Epcot is a complete park. The problem is that Epcot's attractions age way too quickly. Animals will always be animals. Technology and science are always changing.

PKS44
10-07-2002, 02:49 PM
With international attendance down and with Magic Kingdom's all over (Calif, Paris, Tokyo, soon Hong Kong and later mainland China and others?) with Studios in Paris -DAK and especially EPCOT have the potential to be a real drawing card to international visitors in offering something they cannot get closer to home. In building parks all over the world Disney is making the same mistake they have made over and over with the stores, the resorts, with Who Wants to be a Millionaire, etc...over saturation and cannibalizing their own market. There is only one Epcot. As they improve and add to it - they would be wise to do so with novel rides and attractions like Mission:Space -that can be experienced nowhere else. If they just add attractions that a Japanese person can see in Japan or an Englishman can hop on the train to see in Paris, the international market will continue to be a challenge for WDW.

raidermatt
10-07-2002, 08:30 PM
Epcot has been neglected so long that people are starting to see no reason to go there.

Its that simple.

It doesn't need new attractions at a faster rate just because parts of it are based on science. But it does need new attractions at a rate that keeps families wanting to come back.

The park's concept isn't the problem. Nobody complained about the concept when the park was being properly maintained and updated.

tuck
10-08-2002, 12:12 AM
I'm a thrill ride person ... but I enjoyed the Epcot center 10 years ago better than the Crap what it is today..... Captain Eo... lots better than Honey I shunk Disney's Cash flow Eisner.... World of Motion lots better than Crap Track........ I liked Horizons ..... but hopely the Space thing will be better.......... I liked the Energy ride lots better before Ellan turned the dino's gay in jepordy.... don't let me get started on the figment ride... they should add a ride in wonders of Life how Eisner is a virus and is killing Disney... at least he has not messed up the countries yet....


Living with the Land - a unhappy boring version of the land... no happy songs no John Denver......

The Living Seas - turned into a dirty fish bowl

Space ship Earth - still a great ride

DVC-Landbaron
10-08-2002, 12:19 AM
Tuck!

How very well put!!!

:bounce:

hopemax
10-08-2002, 12:33 AM
The music is one of the things I miss the most about the "old" Epcot. Why exactly are loud crashes and booms better than catchy tunes that make you smile?