Where has the Magic gone?

I am becoming increasingly frustrated/disappointed with the way WDW is being run. First of all, things are increasingly being monetized. I understand that this is a business, blah-blah-blah, but I see this more often creating a tiered experience that benefits those can pay more at the expense of others:

  • FPs used to be available to all – anyone in a park had an equal opportunity to get them. With the advent of FPPs, on-side guests were given a decided advantage. Then Club Level guests could purchase three additional FPPs per day.
  • Prime parade/fireworks viewing locations that were at one time open to all were roped off and turned into paid “dessert parties".
  • MNSSHP and MVMCP dates keep increasing, cutting into regular operating hours for MK (come on – Halloween in August? Really?) Frankly, I would not be surprised to see Mickey’s Family Friendly Mardi Gras coming soon. Hmm, gotta get a copyright on that one…
  • In addition to dessert and seasonal parties, the number of other paid for experiences keeps increasing – EMM, DAH, VIP tours, the list goes on and on.
  • DVC point costs are being reallocated at a previously unheard of degree, much to the detriment of those with smaller points contracts

In addition to this I am seeing a disappointing trend in the direction of the parks themselves:

  • EPCOT Future World is a shabby shadow of its former self, with maintenance on the remaining attractions slowly done or long overdue. Think how long it took them to replace the worn-out film in Soarin’ - digital projection systems are not that expensive, and they already had a digital print in use at DCA.
  • EPCOT World Showcase has seen a steady decrease in the number of location-specific entertainers, and the big “update” was to replace a country-themed attraction with one based on fictional Disney IP.
  • The whole HS concept has been destroyed – when are they going to rename it Disney IP-Land?
  • AK added a land based on an alien-themed movie. Granted, Pandora looks cool (and would be really cool to tour if it weren’t for the hordes of people clamoring for a measly two attractions), but WTF does it have to do with the rest of the park?
  • Imma give MK a pass, but I’m still not happy about the removal of Snow White to enable more princess meet-and-greets…

I’m usually not one to invoke Walt-Jesus, but surely his cryogenically-frozen body must be spinning like a top in the secret bunker below Cinderella Castle. However, WDW probably sees this as a big bonus and has hooked him up to a dynamo to power Tomorrowland.

Am I alone in wondering where the Magic has gone?


You are right and it has been discussed here several times. I don’t care that they want to offer paid events after closing, but I do care that they shut early or stop offering evening EMH so that they can get people to pay more to be in the park when it should be open anyway. It’s not about them trying to make more money, it’s about them taking away the value for guests who are paying a fortune to be there in the first place in the hope that they can persuade them to part with even more money.


This thread (well, ones like it) keep coming up every few months. I agree with you fully. And, the truth is, my love of Disney will be strongly tested in 2020. It will determine if I’m going to switch my focus to other magical places. Already, I’m thinking of doing trips with my wife to Dollywood and Silver Dollar City, for example, in lieu of Disney.

But we are still most definitely on for our two 2020 trips, barring any unforeseen circumstances.

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Definitely not alone. Those are the very reasons I’m likely never to return.
It is rumored that Walt-Jesus will soon replace the laughably outdated Carousel of Progress…:scream:
For me, the magic has completely gone.

Don’t forget about the elimination of lots of other entertainment, such as the Jack Sparrow Pirate Show, Citizens of Hollywood Cuts, Rafiki’s, etc.

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Honestly, so much has been eliminated is is hard to remember it all.


To be fair, Disney isn’t the only place doing it. Shortly after Disney introduced the concept of the Fast Pass, other amusement parks started to follow suit, and now it is almost expected/required that you pay for Express Passes/FastLane/whatever-you-wanna-call-it to get through the lines in a halfway decent manner. Which, of course, means that for all of those who pay for admission and DON’T pay for the fast pass end up with devalued experienced. Then again, the alternative probably is that they’d raise ticket prices more or something.

I just feel that Disney excels at it and leads the way…and then soon other amusement parks follow their lead.

Dollywood is so freaking fun and happy. And magical in a hokey, silly way.

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I agree. I can’t stand the parties and activities that affect park hours. We go in May to avoid the parties and I’m ticked off that DAH is now going to invade that time. We did do the dessert party as a one time thing for HEA, mainly due to anxiety in that kind of crowd and the desire not to lose my 3 young children. Next trip, we are watching the show from a new, less crowded angle.

As far as FPs, at least everyone has a chance at getting some kind of FP, including extra ones throughout the day. At my local amusement park they charge an arm and a leg for 1 FP per rollercoaster.

We are going in 2020 and I’m getting concerned that I won’t be able to get into GE with my family of Star Wars fans. I can see Disney charging extra for those FPs. I understand it will be very busy, but I would at least like to try one attraction.

But as they say, Disney is a business and is there to make money. It seems these extras are doing just that.

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We were able to attend MK on a crowd level 1 day 25-Sept. My guess is that a large part of that low crowd level was because of the MNSSHP event. We RD’d and were able to ride all the things extremely quickly with run of the park until 5pm when we left for dinner at Ohana.

Touringplans is a big component of taking the break and we found that advice hugely beneficial. With MK being a good drive from most on-site hotel rooms (unlike HS/EP was for us) it is a great park for mid-day start or afternoon exit to function as that break. 12-14 straight hours in a park makes sense for few travelers (opinion), definitely not us.

DW is already out of range of many people’s budgets, so variable experiences for variable budgets makes sense to me. We definitely benefited from multiple days in each park which meant the per day cost of that shorter day in MK was negligible compared to the flights, first 5 days of tickets, hotel stay, (free dining).

The more segmentation and personalization of events, the better they are able to spread crowds and use the fixed assets they have.

Oh! Did you trademark it yet? Brilliant !

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I’m ok with the FP advantage for on-site guests (as someone choosing to stay off-site), because there need to be perks associated with that. But I see the danger of the club level paid option. The more people who do that, the fewer FP that will be available for those of us booking at 30 days. In a few years, that could be a real problem.

There’s hardly any club level inventory, so even if every single club level person did that on every single day, the effect on FP would be minimal.

That is good to hear, but based on past experience, if Disney finds this to be a good moneymaker for them, they might choose to increase that.


I am going to respectfully disagree. I appreciate that I don’t have to pay extra for fast passes, and that if I want to do something extra, it’s an added cost. Maybe it’s the CPA in me, but I like that they have the costs for add-ons separated so they know how viable the experience is. Dessert parties don’t necessarily give guests a better viewing location because there are plenty of places to see the shows with wonderful views. A less crowded experience? sure. But that’s not something I’d pay extra for, so it doesn’t bother me that they offer it to people that are willing to pay. I am disappointed with Epcot FW. I loved it before and am sad that it’s the way it is today. I am optimistic that it’s in the pipeline to address because that’s “just good business.” I love the direction all the parks are going in and I can’t wait to go back. I’m a lifelong fan.

I don’t know if I will ever be “done” with Disney. Part of my connection is the community of Disney fans (or freaks- like me).

I am very fortunate. I can afford to pay for everything Disney wants me to pay for. I will admit that I am in fact doing just that next month. I am also planning a return in August before and after a Disney cruise. Two years ago I planned a big trip because I was going to stay away. I have learned never to believe that but…

Even before the expansion of the after hour events (that I am doing next month) or the change to DVC (that I am staying in next month), I had talked to my family about not going back to a park for awhile.

I will use my DVC points, but most likely only to stay as I visit Universal or other area attractions- or the night before a cruise.

I know Disney is not concerned at all about the buckets of money they will not be getting from me for a while since there will be millions lined up in my place.

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“All the fun of New Orleans Mardi Gras without the drinking and nudity.”

In other words, not much fun at all. :wink:


I experienced the same thing a couple weeks before you. We abandoned HS around 11AM due to high crowds, and took a break at the hotel. Around 4 we decided to head over to MK. We didn’t realize it was a party night until we saw all the people in costume on the bus. Even still, crowds were low enough that in the 75-90 minutes that we were there, we went on about 8 rides. It wasn’t any of the mountains, but we did WtP, IaSW, Under the Sea, Barnstormer, Dumbox2, Teacups, and Buzz. I would think that would be a challenge most days. I got FPP for WtP and Buzz. Put that together with hitting all Toy Story Land rides in the morning and it wasn’t a bad day (well, really only 4.5 hours in the parks).

That’s my reason for getting parkhoppers even though I thought it was a waste the first time we went. Go to morning park, ride some rides. If crowds get too bad, just go to a different park later.

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And then there’s the very real magic of very real mountains, real wildlife, real nature right next door in the Great Smoky Mountains - I am so blessed that is what I see when I walk out my front door!


Wait…What??? :sunglasses:

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