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Old 04-09-2013, 03:02 PM   #61
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The whole Chester&Hester thing is odd. If you take what the theme was supposed to be, they seem to have got it right. But very few seem to know what the theme actually is - a pop-up carnival-type place that decided to move next to the Dino Institute in order to cash in on the curiosity of people interested in dinosaurs...

Now, whether that theme was simply a way to install cheap carnival attractions around CTX/Dinosaur, that's different...
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:26 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by lockedoutlogic View Post
wow...i have nothing to say/type

did love the "recycled parade floats" line...i bet many people who defend AK "because its disney" (lets face it...that is the typical argument behind the argument...often by employees) don't realize that festival is just a thrown together shelter with surplus parts...a "good save" for disney in this particular case....but ultimately still damage control.


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I'll admit... Since I managed to get over there to see it, Festival is a decent show and I enjoy it. The Imagineers/show producers did a great job in creating something enjoyable and memorable with what they were given to work with..... But sadly, they were given scraps to work with.

It's similar to the Imagination Version 3 at EPCOT situation. Version 2 sucked so bad they had to do SOMETHING... but the people behind Version 3 weren't really given any real resources to work with in "fixing" the pavilion from the previous update..... So they managed to create a halfway decent show with a new script and some paint.... but it still pails in comparison to what they could've accomplished if they were given the resources to truly fix the problems with version 2 (or even just restore version 1)


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Originally Posted by doconeill View Post
The whole Chester&Hester thing is odd. If you take what the theme was supposed to be, they seem to have got it right. But very few seem to know what the theme actually is - a pop-up carnival-type place that decided to move next to the Dino Institute in order to cash in on the curiosity of people interested in dinosaurs...

Now, whether that theme was simply a way to install cheap carnival attractions around CTX/Dinosaur, that's different...
Chester&Hester does an amazing job in the detail an design of the area.... So much so that many people not in the know seem to give Disney the bad mark for just "building on a old parking lot".... even though there wasn't a parking beforehand there.

The problem is it just feels cheap and cop-out-y. Especially when you see some of the concept art and plans of what Dinoland was supposed to be before the budget cuts.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:28 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by doconeill
Now, whether that theme was simply a way to install cheap carnival attractions around CTX/Dinosaur, that's different...
I think you might be on to something here...

Anyway, there was a rumor (never confirmed) that in the exit feedback that Disney collected -typically the "is there anything else you would like to add?" Question at the end of surveys - that they got alot of "we'll comeback when the finish the rest of the park" AFTER Asia opened.

...in seriousness, not sarcasm. "Anaheim, we have a problem"

just never fixed it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:40 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by doconeill View Post
The whole Chester&Hester thing is odd. If you take what the theme was supposed to be, they seem to have got it right. But very few seem to know what the theme actually is - a pop-up carnival-type place that decided to move next to the Dino Institute in order to cash in on the curiosity of people interested in dinosaurs...

Now, whether that theme was simply a way to install cheap carnival attractions around CTX/Dinosaur, that's different...
I appreciate the details but with Disney I expect a real life Jurassic Park type environment. The rest of the park is about being completely authentic down to the smallest detail. Then there is Dinoland with a well themed throwback to 50-60s road side attractions. It is completely wrong. Heck I prefer the "museum" they had before the carnival theme. Maybe they thought they needed to lighten things up in the park and go a different direction?
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:55 PM   #65
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Originally Posted by doconeill View Post
The whole Chester&Hester thing is odd. If you take what the theme was supposed to be, they seem to have got it right. But very few seem to know what the theme actually is - a pop-up carnival-type place that decided to move next to the Dino Institute in order to cash in on the curiosity of people interested in dinosaurs...

Now, whether that theme was simply a way to install cheap carnival attractions around CTX/Dinosaur, that's different...
You hit the nail on the head. It is very well-themed, the problem being who really comes to Disney for cheap carnival thrills. And it clearly comes across as a "let's do something that won't cost much."

It's the same generation of leadership that brought you Paradise Pier in DCA.

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Old 04-09-2013, 06:46 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by skier_pete

You hit the nail on the head. It is very well-themed, the problem being who really comes to Disney for cheap carnival thrills. And it clearly comes across as a "let's do something that won't cost much."

It's the same generation of leadership that brought you Paradise Pier in DCA.

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:10 PM   #67
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I appreciate the details but with Disney I expect a real life Jurassic Park type environment. The rest of the park is about being completely authentic down to the smallest detail. Then there is Dinoland with a well themed throwback to 50-60s road side attractions. It is completely wrong. Heck I prefer the "museum" they had before the carnival theme. Maybe they thought they needed to lighten things up in the park and go a different direction?
I don't remember a museum before the carnival, although we first went there about a year after opening. But I was pretty sure C&H was there opening day.

I think they could have done the Dino Institute queue area a LOT more museum like, like they did for Everest. Perhaps it was originally? I seem to recall a bit more, but I also recall needing to wait in there more, and the ride being a lot scarier...
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:26 PM   #68
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Not to throw a wet blanket on everyone's bash-Disney-execs party, but Disney IS a publicly traded company that has to answer to shareholders. Can't really toss out budgets and spend whatever whenever wherever, or there will be a shareholder revolt. The company stock price has doubled in the past 20 months or so, and I'm really happy about that.

Now, the other side of this, as someone who visits WDW one week a year, I don't really find the AK to be a poorly planned or executed park. Could there be some upgrades? Sure. But the park has the 2 best stage shows on property in Festival of the Lion King and the Finding Nemo show. It has a very enjoyable 3D show, one great thrill ride in Expedition Everest (whether the Yeti works or not, though they do need to get that fixed), a few other good rides in Primevil Whirl and Dinosaur, an enjoyable water ride in Kali River Rapids, and some excellent wild animal viewing, in the safari, the trails, Discovery Island, and the Rafiki Planet Watch.

There isn't anywhere else that you can get this sort of diverse experience from shows to rides to animal viewing/interaction.

Not going to make any definitive statements here, but just taking a wild guess, the people who've said they'd return after the park was finished probably didn't spend much time at all on Discovery Island, probably didn't go to Rafiki's Planet Watch, and probably didn't go to see both shows. Likely just went to the Safari, walked over to Asia, rode Expedition Everest, walked through Chester/Hester's, maybe rode Dinosaur, walked to the Tree of Life, maybe saw Bugs Life, then left. If that is the case, and it's pretty likely it is, then they came nowhere near experiencing the entire park.

Now whether the initial vision for the park was never realized is another issue, but things get in the way sometimes, and you can't really just toss budgets and monetary concerns out the window. They stayed pretty close to the original intent, and have a big opportunity ahead with Avatar.

Another point I saw in this thread was about the construction times and not going 24/7 to get things done ASAP. Well, for new Fantasyland, if you went in summer 2012, you saw the new Dumbo, the Casey's Jr. area, and the Barnstormer. You'd have to return to see Little Mermaid ride and the Beasts Castle/Belle. If you returned in spring/summer 2013 to see that, then you'd have to return again to see Seven Dwarfs mine train and Fairytale Hall, likely in spring/summer 2014. If they just opened all at once, there would be no extra incentive to return to see more. It's good business to open in phases, not just for this purpose, but also for cost control, not having to pay for 24/7 construction.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:06 PM   #69
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This is a very interesting thread. Many years ago on a trip to WDW, My then DH, DD10 and DS9 were given free tickets to the then (yet unopened) AK park. They explained it was "dress rehearsal". Many CMs excitedly explained the additional "lands" and attractions yet to be added. The children enjoyed the park very much but we had the sense of an unfinished park. I went back in 2011 sans kids to see what had become of the vision. Asia was added and while I enjoyed EE, Kali River was a bit of a disappointment. Dinoland seemed to have gone downhill big time. I had thought it was going to be expanded and additional attractions added. Instead, some were removed.

I was most impressed by AKL. Just walking through the facility and having dinner there was worth the bus ride from our resort. It's easy to see from my vantage point that the vision was not fully realized, but I still will visit AK on future visits.

And thank goodness they got rid of the animatronic elephant on the Safari. Even a 9 and 10 year old could see it was lame to end a safari of live animals with a fake one.
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Old 04-10-2013, 06:54 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by agavegirl1 View Post
This is a very interesting thread. Many years ago on a trip to WDW, My then DH, DD10 and DS9 were given free tickets to the then (yet unopened) AK park. They explained it was "dress rehearsal". Many CMs excitedly explained the additional "lands" and attractions yet to be added. The children enjoyed the park very much but we had the sense of an unfinished park. I went back in 2011 sans kids to see what had become of the vision. Asia was added and while I enjoyed EE, Kali River was a bit of a disappointment. Dinoland seemed to have gone downhill big time. I had thought it was going to be expanded and additional attractions added. Instead, some were removed.

I was most impressed by AKL. Just walking through the facility and having dinner there was worth the bus ride from our resort. It's easy to see from my vantage point that the vision was not fully realized, but I still will visit AK on future visits.

And thank goodness they got rid of the animatronic elephant on the Safari. Even a 9 and 10 year old could see it was lame to end a safari of live animals with a fake one.
Intersting post, but mostly I like your screen name.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:03 AM   #71
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I don't remember a museum before the carnival, although we first went there about a year after opening. But I was pretty sure C&H was there opening day.

I think they could have done the Dino Institute queue area a LOT more museum like, like they did for Everest. Perhaps it was originally? I seem to recall a bit more, but I also recall needing to wait in there more, and the ride being a lot scarier...
Actually, the first time we went to AK in 2000, they didn't have Chester and Hester's at all. There was a large building with some Dinosaur skeletons in it and I can't remember what else. I remember it feeling very unfinished.

Honestly, when we went in 2000, the park DID feel very unfinished at the time. By the time we went back in 2006, it no longer felt that way to us. Again, we are not the best for being critical of DAK, because we spend 2 days in this park every time we go and it is probably our family's favorite park, even with the crapfest of Chester and Hester - where we have probably spent a total of 30 minutes in ever.

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Another point I saw in this thread was about the construction times and not going 24/7 to get things done ASAP. Well, for new Fantasyland, if you went in summer 2012, you saw the new Dumbo, the Casey's Jr. area, and the Barnstormer. You'd have to return to see Little Mermaid ride and the Beasts Castle/Belle. If you returned in spring/summer 2013 to see that, then you'd have to return again to see Seven Dwarfs mine train and Fairytale Hall, likely in spring/summer 2014. If they just opened all at once, there would be no extra incentive to return to see more. It's good business to open in phases, not just for this purpose, but also for cost control, not having to pay for 24/7 construction.
This is a really good point I didn't think about. The one side of the coin is it's frustrating as a consumer to go and only see one new attraction. The flip side is by taking three years, they are making it so there is something new each trip.

The real truth is probably in between - it's more about spreading the construction costs across multiple years. As you also pointed out, Disney is a publically traded company and they have a certain budgetary allowance. If they were to pour money into the park to get something up and running quickly, it could lead instead to a big hit against the bottom line one quarter.

However, a final reason things might be slow is the intracies of construction - you can only have so many people working in the same area at the same time.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:14 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by agavegirl1 View Post
This is a very interesting thread. Many years ago on a trip to WDW, My then DH, DD10 and DS9 were given free tickets to the then (yet unopened) AK park. They explained it was "dress rehearsal". Many CMs excitedly explained the additional "lands" and attractions yet to be added. The children enjoyed the park very much but we had the sense of an unfinished park. I went back in 2011 sans kids to see what had become of the vision. Asia was added and while I enjoyed EE, Kali River was a bit of a disappointment. Dinoland seemed to have gone downhill big time. I had thought it was going to be expanded and additional attractions added. Instead, some were removed.
Well, I can certainly see having an unfinished feeling, after being told so many times that there was more to come...


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Actually, the first time we went to AK in 2000, they didn't have Chester and Hester's at all. There was a large building with some Dinosaur skeletons in it and I can't remember what else. I remember it feeling very unfinished.
I think you are right...I don't remember a lot of it from that trip (I DO remember the boat ride, which they shut down very shortly after), and we definitely did not ride anything in Dinoland except Dinosaur (then CTX), but I don't remember another building with dinosaurs other than the CTX building, and the dinosaur that used to be outside in the pool.

Man, that area must have been incredibly empty...
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:09 AM   #73
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So on allears.net a few months ago there was a great back story about Dinoland that explained the various adds. Doesn't mean work doesn't need to be done, but is an interesting read.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:11 PM   #74
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Not to throw a wet blanket on everyone's bash-Disney-execs party, but Disney IS a publicly traded company that has to answer to shareholders. Can't really toss out budgets and spend whatever whenever wherever, or there will be a shareholder revolt. The company stock price has doubled in the past 20 months or so, and I'm really happy about that.
Personally, I'd say that this is in part a prime example of the problem with the way Wall Street views things and the current Disney management's priorities.

Way too many money people focus so much on the short term gains (in most companies and industries) that the long term suffers. We've all see how various aspects of the park experience has suffered over the past several years as Disney cuts back on staffing, maintenance, or quality in order to increase their profit margins.... which is done almost entirely for the shareholder benefit and to justify the pay/bonuses going to those at the top of the management ladder.

Disney Management isn't helping since they are so beholden to those stockholders that they are more afraid of their immediate displeasure than the long-term stability of the company. While it's a fine line, I'm of the belief that if Disney management showed more creative influence, vision, and guts, in their decisions that ultimately the markets would be willing to withstand some short-term pain in return for the long term gain that Disney could be capable of producing for them.



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Now, the other side of this, as someone who visits WDW one week a year, I don't really find the AK to be a poorly planned or executed park. Could there be some upgrades? Sure. But the park has the 2 best stage shows on property in Festival of the Lion King and the Finding Nemo show. It has a very enjoyable 3D show, one great thrill ride in Expedition Everest (whether the Yeti works or not, though they do need to get that fixed), a few other good rides in Primevil Whirl and Dinosaur, an enjoyable water ride in Kali River Rapids, and some excellent wild animal viewing, in the safari, the trails, Discovery Island, and the Rafiki Planet Watch.

There isn't anywhere else that you can get this sort of diverse experience from shows to rides to animal viewing/interaction.
Maybe not ALL the aspects.... but several of them you can get, and some to a better degree, over in Tampa at Busch Gardens. And not every guest is interested in stage shows. i'll admit the shows aren't bad though, but if you look at the left-over parade float centerpieces of FotLK it's obvious that the shows are almost an afterthought added to quickly and easily add capacity and things to do to "flesh out the park".

For example... Look at the early history of MGM. As they needed to add more capacity to the park they put in several stage shows and other scripted entertainment (the crimestoppers act on the old Backstage Tour....The Hunchback Theater, etc)..... but unlike with AK, They actually invested in the park and added Sunset Blvd... and the Muppets.... etc, and continued to invest to "fix" the problems with the park.


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Not going to make any definitive statements here, but just taking a wild guess, the people who've said they'd return after the park was finished probably didn't spend much time at all on Discovery Island, probably didn't go to Rafiki's Planet Watch, and probably didn't go to see both shows. Likely just went to the Safari, walked over to Asia, rode Expedition Everest, walked through Chester/Hester's, maybe rode Dinosaur, walked to the Tree of Life, maybe saw Bugs Life, then left. If that is the case, and it's pretty likely it is, then they came nowhere near experiencing the entire park.
And that right there is why some us feel the park does not qualify as a total success. There is a large number of Disney Guests who are looking for the headlines on the park map to see what's going on. They go from attraction to attraction. They are so focused on "experiencing everything" and "Seeing Disney", that they completely miss the small details and aren't going to take the time to explore. So much of what Animal Kingdom is left with due to it's cutbacks and lack of continued investment are those details that you really need to slow down and enjoy. It's those details that those of us who like the park really enjoy to the point that they become a headline in and of themselves.

But we are also not the norm. We are people who enjoy going to Disney, have likely been before, and know we'll be back again in the future. We aren't afraid to take time out of our "ride time" to explore the nature trails on Discover Island... or try and see how many animals we can identify on the Tree of Life. We are the type who will just sit and people watch, or notice that small little detail in the graffiti in Harambe that helps tell the story of the small african village our safari will be departing from. We are the people who actually know who that weird guy walking around with the 300 rings and feathers hanging from his ear is. We need to remember that not every guest to the Walt Disney Resort is going to judge a park's merits on the same details and history that we do.

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Now whether the initial vision for the park was never realized is another issue, but things get in the way sometimes, and you can't really just toss budgets and monetary concerns out the window. They stayed pretty close to the original intent, and have a big opportunity ahead with Avatar.
The question should be what are we considering the Original intent of the park?

Are we looking at the intent from Disney's business perspective? If that's the case, I'll agree it's a failure. Disney built the park with the expectation that it would be a big enough draw that it would increase the overall length of stay and impact the resort in a way similar to the way the opening of EPCOT impacted the resort. AK did not do this however..... though that's not entirely the park's fault as some of those expectations were unrealistic. The Economy, timing (the park's opening and initial growing pains weren't long past when 9/11 and the resulting travel decline happened), and the average american's available vacation time/budgets all conspired to limit the increases that Disney was expecting. Disney however I believe has managed to readjust what they are expecting out of the park, and with those readjusted expectations, it's doing an admirable job doing what they expect of it today.

Are we looking at it fro a creative intent? If that's the case, an argument can be made that it's pretty close to the original intent.... at least, some of the individual areas. The original creative intent was to include the "animals that never were".... which the closest we have is a nonfunctional Yeti in an area based on an actual geographic area.


i am however really hopeful about the Avatar Expansion and it's potential to salvage and revive certain aspects of the park...

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Another point I saw in this thread was about the construction times and not going 24/7 to get things done ASAP. Well, for new Fantasyland, if you went in summer 2012, you saw the new Dumbo, the Casey's Jr. area, and the Barnstormer. You'd have to return to see Little Mermaid ride and the Beasts Castle/Belle. If you returned in spring/summer 2013 to see that, then you'd have to return again to see Seven Dwarfs mine train and Fairytale Hall, likely in spring/summer 2014. If they just opened all at once, there would be no extra incentive to return to see more. It's good business to open in phases, not just for this purpose, but also for cost control, not having to pay for 24/7 construction.

I'm not going to really buy that entire line of thought. I don't have an issue with them not going 24/7.... but they are taking much more time building everything than you could say was just due to the actual build. Let's look at what the neighbors across town have accomplished since 2010, which is when the WWoHP opened and construction on the New Fantasyland started...

Jan 2012 - New nighttime lagoon show at the Studios
March 2012 - Refurbed "Hi-Def" Spiderman 3D ride reopens.
May 2012 - Spongebob Storepants opens [rethemed and redesigned replacement store in kidzone]
July 2012 - Despicable Me Attraction Opens.
Summer 2013 - Transformers attraction and Store open at Studios Park
rumor'd summer 2014 - Harry Potter Phase 2 opens

Also current under construction but I'm not aware of opening dates.... most likely sometime this year... New restaurants, stores, and other attractions/games around the Simpsons attraction themed around Springfield... such as Moe's Tavern and Krusty Burger.

There are also already major rumors starting to float about potential further additions or projects getting ready to start around the universal parks in the coming months, such as in the Jurrasic Park section.


So it's totally possible to get the new attraction/new things to see thing by simply having multiple projects going at once and not working at a snails pace... IF you are willing to invest the money and put the effort into it. Disney hasn't really showed either in their handling of Fantasyland as evidenced by the fact its taken so long to open the area... and other than the coaster, there isn't anything really groundbreaking or overly complicated from a construction or design standpoint in the new fantasyland. [Little Mermaid is a clone of the California ride, so all the show programming and audioanimatronics were built and done before the California version was opened months before the buildig was even ready in Florida].

Even with Avatarland, Most of the talk that fed the "Avatar is Dead" rumors and wishful thinking all stemmed from some version of "Disney doesn't want to spend the money".



Yes.... Disney is a huge publicaly traded company who has to answer to shareholders. But we are seeing them treat the parks and resorts as giant piggy banks and not really showing the guts to invest in the parks to help continue their long term growth.

When you compare that to Universal... Now owned by Comcast... ALSO a publicaly traded company... and you see a Company who is also seeing massive stock price increases while seeing their parks as something more than just a piggy bank and investing heavily in improving them.


Another big difference is that often Universal has waited until construction is well underway and maybe even a few months to open before they even announce "Oh! Guess what we are bringing to you!". Even if the rumors by that point are so strong that it's not really anything new to those who follow the rumors, it's MUCH different than what Disney has been doing where they drag out the "Look what we are doing!" PR message from almost the start of the project to pat themselves on the back for actually putting money back into their product.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:31 PM   #75
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Universal has so far to go to catch up to Disney both in terms of park content and branding/loyalty that the two really aren't that comparable in terms of ramping up construction. Universal has to do stuff like that in hopes of getting a day or two from Disney vacationers.

The Disney Parks haven't fallen off either, for Disney, they are a huge part of the success of the overall company, and, along with ESPN, are what is basically carrying them to this exponential growth. There is value in growing slowly, as Walt Disney World has tended to do over the years, and not just jam a ton of things in at once.

Just for some perspective -

Magic Kingdom opened in 1971.
Pirates of the Carribean opened in 1973.
Space Mountain opened in 1975.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad opened in 1980.
Splash Mountain opened in 1993.
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