Rather than a typical trip report, I am writing about my thoughts on certain aspects of WDW after returning today from a 5 night trip.
First off, the good … DW, DD4, DS2 (almost) and I all had a blast!
I had not seen crowds this low since 2010. And we also had glimpses of the Disney magic that I thought had mostly disappeared the past 5 years. Example - At Chef Mickey’s DD4 accidentally bumped her head pretty hard on the corner of the buffet area (crying ensured). A CM came over, asked if she was ok, and then came back a few minutes later with a small Tinkerbelle clip for her and a Buzz Lightyear clip for DS2. DD4 learned and later used (appropriately) the term “pixie dust”.
DS2 was afraid/anxious of the rides and characters the first few days, but by our last day, DS2 overcame his fear and raced up to hug Mickey! On our last day, he also enjoyed riding PofC, Small World, the Carousel, Magic Carpets, and the People Mover.
Throughout the trip I wondered why the crowd levels were so slow when October has become relatively crowded over the past 5 years. I mean, it was great, but strange and unexpected. There are the obvious potential reasons:
(1) Guests waiting until RotR opens.
(2) Guests staying away because huge crowds were expected for SW:GE opening
(3) EEMH spread the crowds out more than usual
(4) Price hikes have started to keep some guests away … enough to make some difference in CL
(5) My TP’s were just so good
But, it also got me thinking that WDW has made some critical errors the past 20 years that have led to more significant problems that may be effecting the long term interest in WDW.
(A) AK never should have been built (I can feel the tomatoes b being thrown at me from the AK fans). But that was/is a very expense park (both initially and the upkeep due to the animals) and was built before HS was really a “complete” park. And that was about the time EPCOT started to become a but outdated. All the money from AK would have been better spent on HS and EPCOT. Example, forget about the animals and imagine Dinosaur, Kali, Everest, Nemo show, FotLK, A Bug’s Life to HS (with different themes for Dinosaur, Everest and Kali) and later Pandora were in HS … that would make the current HS a worthy full 1-2 day park sibling of MK. And the money spent on the animal portions, should have been poured into keeping EPCOT relevant.
(B) The error above was compounded when WDW did essentially nothing in terms of new attractions during the decade of 2000-2010. The result was that AK and HS remained half day unfinished parks with few attractions.
© Then the Billion Dollars spent on the new FP/Magic Band system. More money that would have been better spent at the parks … particularly when during that time (a) the New Fantasyland Budget was slashed and we got water downed versions of the supposed original proposals for Under the Sea and Mine Train, (b) AK and HS needed more attractions, and © EPCOT still needed updating.
(D) Recently we have gotten Pandora (great!), TSL (I love it, but other don’t) and SW:GE (jury is still out, but MFSF was horribly disappointing to me). If SW:GE continues to be a major disappointment after RofR opens, then this was another WDW mistake. More on my thoughts on SW:GE in PART 2 which I plan to post tomorrow.
Perhaps I’m just overanalyzing, but I wonder if the above factors which reduce the quality of the parks are effecting long term interest in WDW.