Source: Avatar project for DAK postponed indefinitely

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by topolino, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

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    As of right now, I disagree.

    It all depends on how the market as a whole has grown and/or shifted. If Wendy's sees an increase in their revenues, it doesn't necessarily mean that McDonald's has lost anything. Nor does it mean that McDonald's had any shot a taking those gains away from Wendy's.

    In this case, if people were coming to Orlando specifically for WWoHP and have no history of visiting WDW, there is no reason to believe Disney could have gained that business instead of US. (Aside from Disney having contracted for HP in the first place, of course.)

    The other likely scenario is that Disney has itself benefitted from the presence of WWoHP (and Legoland, and others.) If WWoHP is the draw, chances are some of that business spilled over into Disney's parks. In other words, family goes to central FL to see Harry Potter, but also decides to spend a day at the Magic Kingdom since they've already in town. Some will get multi-day passes and visit multiple Disney parks.

    It's hard to draw any firm conclusions--even uneducated ones--because of the state of the economy over the last 4 years. Universal's numbers look great when expressed as a percentage but reality is IOA still draws 2 million fewer guests per year than either Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios. Universal Florida is 3.5 million under those two parks.

    Disney's 1-2% increases don't look all that great but in the wake of record unemployment and underemployment, any gains at all may be laudable. And Disney's average guest spending has consistently risen.

    That said, I do think Disney has reason to worry in the coming years. Guests taking a one-day pit stop at IOA for WWoHP may have a negligible impact. But, when more HP is added to the USF park combined with Transformers, Despicable Me and value-priced hotel rooms....suddenly Disney could be faced with losing guests entirely. Instead of staying on Disney property and popping-over to USF for a day, they could find more and more people staying at a Universal hotel and making day trips to Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. That hurts hotel occupancy, restaurant revenue, park admissions per guest, etc.
     
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  3. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    If its a nonstarter...then prove/quantify what they lost. Nobody has done that with hard numbers or an explanation that passes the reality test. And THAT is what the Disney execs have shown they care about.

    Wdw was not seeing 10% to 12%, annually, prior to WWOHP. More like 1% to 3%. Since WWOHP....1%...in line with prior years.

    Since WWOHP, wdw resorts saw a 21% increase in profits. They have seen an 8% increase in per capita guest spending. And neither of those increases are from bottom feeder years.

    Its not a nonstarter...its history.

    You can speculate all you want, you can bet anything you want, but you have to try to account for the info we have, when doing it.

    Down the road, we will see. But not yet. That value resort uni is building would be my concern, were I a Disney exec.
     
  4. Peter Pirate 2

    Peter Pirate 2 <font color=red>I may be a Disney curmudgeon but I

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    Well, there is no sense in attempting intelligent discussion from either POV then because the information that would be necessary is not available to us, as you well know.

    Tjkraz, I understand your point but McDonalds v Burger King or Coke v Pepsi are hardly the same as the theme park business in one particular city. I agree to disagree with you but it seems odd to me that you can't fathom that at least a percentage of the HP goers wouldn't have come to WDW had there been no Potter. They are theme park people for the most part I am sure. Do you disagree?
     
  5. Fantasmiss

    Fantasmiss DIS Veteran

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    Thank for for saying pretty much exactly what I wanted to say, I'm very tired and now I don't have to type so much! All well said :) :D
     
  6. fuzzlekins

    fuzzlekins Mouseketeer

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    I'm going to take a guess here that over half the multi-day tickets include the DP. Since DDP prices have risen around 18% (saw that elsewhere on this board), it makes sense that Disney profits are up. They seem to be pushing the envelope to see what they can get away with before people start foregoing the DP. Just an observation.
     
  7. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

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    Some, yes.

    But the question is how many of those WDW "losses" are offset by "gains" from people who come primarily for WWoHP and then visit one or more of the Disney parks.

    The simplest Disney-damaging scenario is the guest who claims "I always go to WDW for a week--this time we are only doing 5 days and then going to Universal for the other two." And I'm sure there are people who have done just that.

    But there are also people who come specifically for Universal but also spend a couple days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. In that manner, the existence of WWoHP has actually brought new business to Disney. Without WWoHP, neither Universal NOR Disney earns this customer's business.

    I'm sure there are also many instances where a guest is staying at a Disney resort but makes a half-day side trip to IOA. They're staying at a Disney hotel...have multi-day Disney park passes...may even be on the DDP. They go to Universal in the morning/afternoon then return to their Disney hotel and even visit MK or Epcot in the evening. In that scenario, both IOA and Disney still get the attendance tick for the day. If Disney has "lost" anything, it's little more than the cost of a lunch eaten at IOA instead of in a Disney park.

    And finally, there's the business Disney never had a shot at in the first place. Some percentage of those guests who came to town for WWoHP have no interest in Disney whatsoever. Whether Disney adds Avatarland, Cars Land, Fantasyland or any other Land...Disney simply isn't their thing. Disney wasn't going to get this group into their parks no matter what they did.
     
  8. RobOnDisney

    RobOnDisney Mouseketeer

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    Realize my universe is small, but we see more Universal for guest staying at Disney World-- usually the 1-day option so they can hit WWOHP.

    We rarely, meaning I can think of one time, ever see a Disney portion of the vacation to someone who comes in wanting US for WWOHP.

    Again, our sample size is extremely small, but in real world terms I do not see WWOHP bringing Disney anything and I do see WWOHP siphoning of a day or two from visits on a regular basis. Mind you Disney still gets the resort stay, but it lost one to two meals and an opportunity to sell more merchandise.
     
  9. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    Not all of it, no.

    But we have some of it. So any speculation that it's costing Disney something quantifiable has to take it into account and explain around it.

    Speculating they would have seen greater increases, had WWOHP not been built, while not looking at historical trends (which seem to indicate otherwise), doesn't do that.

    Look, I'm not fixed to my position. But I've yet to see a case made, using any actual data, that sways me from it or gives me pause to consider it. I'd love to actually see one.
     
  10. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    I'd guess a good portion of those multi-days with DDP also got it free, via a promotion. Now, the flip side to that is...they're paying rack rate for rooms and tickets (rather than, say, seeing a discount from UCT).

    The DDP isn't the slam dunk value it used to be. How sure are we that it's still as widely in use as it was when it WAS a slam dunk value?

    And your supposition doesn't take into account that attendance is still showing growth (not declines).

    Still, not a bad point...though the 18% still only accounts for about $3 to $4 a night, per guest.
     
  11. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    See, and that's exactly where I'm at. It jives with the numbers we DO have. And it shows why there's been no real quantifiable (I bold it because I think that's where people are losing the thread of the point) loss. It explains the attendance growth at WDW, and the fact guest spending is actually increasing (which means...no real merch sales loss, either).

    And NONE of the above would give Disney much in the way to worry about.

    Anecdotally...we have added one day to our stay to do WWOHP/IOA (with a night at the HRH)...2 years running. Instead of flyling in on a Thursday and going right to WDW, we fly in on Wednesday, go to the HRH, hit IOA on Thursday, and then check in at WDW on Thursday night. We would not have added that day for ANYTHING Disney added...because we have more than enough time on property to do anything new they might add (and would be OK skipping other stuff to do it...because we go every year). I have no delusions that we're typical...because my vacation time is a lot more flexible than at most companies in the US. But there you go.
     
  12. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    And darn it...once again sucked back into a WWOHP discussion on an Avatarland thread. I feel I've made my point...I'm off the WWOHP discussions in threads on other topics. If anyone wants to start a WWOHP vs WDW thread (or if it's actually on topic to another thread), I'll bite again. But I think I'm pretty far afield of the original topic, here. Consider it self-moderation.
     
  13. EAWildman

    EAWildman Mouseketeer

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    Two points....

    You can establish that Harry Potter has taken a bite out of Disney's bottom line. Look at the past two years of Magical Express ridership data. It has decreased a bit each year. What has changed? Harry Potter. More folks are coming to Orlando and renting a car, even if they are staying at Disney, because they know they are going to need a car to get over to US for a day or two. If they are renting cars while staying on Disney property, they don't need Magical Express and ridership numbers go down. Which is what has happened for two consecutive years now.

    Second point....

    Everyone seems to be jumping on this one weak rumor of the whole Avatar project being shut down. Yet they ignore physical evidence. As reported, with photographic evidence, last week at mouseplanet.com, Beastly Bazaar is now officially closed as a retail location in preperation for being transformed into a character meet-and greet location. This is one of many steps necessary to shift attractions out of Cap Minnie-Mickey to make way for the upcoming Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

    So, really, are you going to believe hearsay? Or actuall, real things that are happening in the park right now that point directly to Avatar Land becoming a reality?

    Eric
     
  14. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

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    Thanks for the info but there are two questions (which admittedly we cannot answer):

    1. What was the proverbial tipping point for the trip? Even though the guests are staying at WDW and spending most of their time at WDW, do we know that all of them would still have taken the same trips if not for WWoHP?

    2. Is Disney actually losing anything? As pilferk said, some of the US/IOA stops may be add-ons to the typical routine. If a guest's typical visit is 6 days at Disney, they could simply be expanding to 6 days Disney + 1 day IOA.

    Possible but there are certainly other factors at work. For instance, how have rental car rates changed over that period? I'll give you two very specific examples from my own recent history.

    1) In December 2011 I had a 3 night stay booked at the BoardWalk. Planned to just use DME. However, a few weeks out I was checking rental car rates and ended up with a Standard size vehicle for $88. Sold. In Dec '10 I had stayed for almost the exact same dates and used DME because rental rates were twice that amount.

    2) In February 2012 we had pretty complicated travel plans involving an arrival at MCO, return flight out of Tampa, week-long WDW stay and a short Disney cruise. Suffice it to say that the original plan was to take DME one-way from MCO to WDW and then pick up a rental car locally mid-stay. Turned out that rates dropped dramatically and it make more sense to just rent for the entire trip.

    I perused the most recent DME report in the Sentinel for Jan - June 2012. While overall traffic was down 1%, it noted that traffic from Jan - Mar was actually up 2%, but then there was a steep decline in May which lead to the overall decline. Did thousands more people suddenly decide to rent in May 2012 so they could visit WWoHP or are there other forces at work?
     
  15. CandyMandy

    CandyMandy DIS Veteran

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    Maybe it's just me, but the above seems to basically translate into "style over substance." Don't worry about having a genre that has proven longevity and is of interest to broad audiences (neither of which Avatar has to yet to show). Just make sure you have lots of attractions with gimmicky virtual this-or-that or that "Avatar-land" features a big, big coaster.

    Heck, that's what Six Flags does. And they sell a lot of tickets, don't they? :rolleyes2
     
  16. Peter Pirate 2

    Peter Pirate 2 <font color=red>I may be a Disney curmudgeon but I

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    Wow. You couldn't be more off with what I said.

    Quality trumps all is my point. It doesn't matter if the land is Bushwood CC as long as it is done to Disney quality because the guests ultimately don't care what the package looks like nearly as much as what is inside the package.
     
  17. Peter Pirate 2

    Peter Pirate 2 <font color=red>I may be a Disney curmudgeon but I

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    Sorry, I had to come back because it seems to me it is you who is buying into the whole "synergy" concept of current Disney, which ultimately cheapens the experience potential and stifles creativity.

    What do you think is great about Disney. The fact that their rides, attractions, hotels and merchandise are salable to the masses? Not me. POC, HM and others have stood the test of time with no synergistic connection until current Disney mooches off their success!

    Quality will always win out and Avatar is the type of franchise that offers imagineers so many directions of creativity regardless of how good the vehicle may or nay not be. So although the driving force for Avatar is synergistic, which I disagree with, the product itself lends itself to a myriad of possibility that Disney can, if done right, make their own.
     
  18. CandyMandy

    CandyMandy DIS Veteran

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    WIth all due respect, I don't feel I'm off at all. You are saying the "theme" (package) doesn't matter but then say what's "in" the package does. The point I and many others here are making is that Avatar as it stands it is a thin foundation for Disney to work with, as far as developing truly engaging "contents." That is certainly true when Avatar-land is compared to what Universal had to work with when they were developing the "contents" for Harry Potter.

    Or put another way, in planning an entire theme park land, the breadth and depth of the range of characters and backstories matters -- and matters deeply.
     
  19. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    Not addressing the HP relation, but simply the ME portion.

    It's an interesting point...but the problem is this:

    A) It's not really quantifiable, for the Disney execs, because they could care less about fewer people using a free (aka built into room rate) service they provide. Their concern, indirectly, would be that those guests are no longer "hostages" on WDW property. See point C, below.

    B) We don't know WHY ridership is decreasing. They've also changed their effective hours, in terms of luggage delivery. Reports are that the rides, themselves, have declined in quality (and increased in duration). And we don't know if rental car rates have drastically changed. In other words...we don't know the cause.

    C) The bottom line quantifiables (attendance, profit, guest spending) aren't showing any softening....which means that even if ME isn't getting the guests to WDW...they're still getting there and spending more money.

    As an aside: You can hire a mears shuttle or a taxi at any WDW hotel to bring you to any theme park in the greater Orlando area that you want. You could take ME and still leave WDW...likely for less than the cost of a rental car for your whole trip.
     
  20. tjkraz

    tjkraz <img src="http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg

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    It's a risk vs. reward situation.

    If Disney were to wait on a second or third film--and see Avatar more fully develop as a franchise--they could be facing licensing fees 2-3x what the current agreement calls for. Or they could run the risk of a competitor reaching an agreement with Cameron.

    There aren't a lot of major franchises which are unspoken for. Universal, Disney, Six Flags, Cedar Fair and others already have a lot of them locked-up (Pooh, Star Wars, Indy, HP, Marvel, Terminator, Transformers, Dr Seuss.) US obviously has dibs on anything that Universal Studios puts out (Jurassic Park, Despicable Me, Mummy, ET and all future stuff.) For competitive reasons, Disney isn't going to touch anything from Dreamworks Animation, DC Comics and some others. And I'm sure there are studios and property-owners who are reluctant to work with Disney for a variety of reasons like the Tolkien family as another poster mentioned.

    I think an expanded Star Wars presence makes all the sense in the world for DHS. But it's such a no-brainer that the fact it hasn't happened suggests G. Lucas is putting up roadblocks.

    I still have yet to watch Avatar all the way through but everything I've read suggests that themes of conservation and respecting one's environment play large roles in the film--things which are also at the foundation of DAK.

    Personally I'd rather see some details about the proposed expansion before labeling it a bad idea.
     
  21. DCTooTall

    DCTooTall <MARQUEE BEHAVIOR=ALTERNATE><img src=http://www.em

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    The thing with Avatar is that Cameron reportedly did create a whole backstory and immersive world when he created the setting for his movie, That creative world just didn't come across in the first film due to the nature and narrative within the first movie.

    To give some perspective, Look at what Lucas supposedly had with the first Star Wars film. (which oddly enough, seems to be what most anti-Avatar people want instead). Lucas, according to reports, before building the first star wars movie, came up with an outline of the whole backstory for Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker), the clone wars, etc. That backstory was just used to help set up the events within "Star Wars", but at the time, wasn't really expanded upon or given a place for fans of the movie to understand how much work was done in the prep for the film. It's in part, because of this backstory, That when the decision to do Empire was made, the First movie was renamed 'Episode 4: A New Hope'.

    Interestingly enough.... If you REALLY want to get into it, The first Star Wars movie was also a really pretty looking movie that had a pretty cheesy space-opera type storyline that was the first of it's kind [in many respects] visually that did really well in the theater, and prompted a ton of imitators. By itself, who knows if it would've had the following it has today.... but the 2 sequels that came out after helped to expand he franchise into the cult following it has today. For all we know, Avatar COULD potentially follow a similar trajectory with it's cheesy plot in the first film that looked really impressive, prompted a ton of imitators [the need to 3d everything], and the sequels helping to flesh out the universe created for the film so that as a whole it's not that bad of a franchise. Of course, it could just be a pretty looking flash in the pan... but I think it might be unfair to call it something without any ability to last the test of time when it's still relatively new. (Hell.. we had what? 5yrs between Star Wars and Empire?)
     

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