Just read the excellent blog over at Mice Chat. I came to the site from some questions about the updating of the parks at Disney World.
I was there just a few weeks ago and rode Everest at Animal Kingdom and was still dismayed to see the Yeti just sitting there. Although I love this attraction anyways, I hate to see what should be the most amazing animatronic in any of the parks just sitting idle on a pedestal. What bothers me more, is that no one else seems to notice, playing into what I am sure is the park managements fears/designs that it is better to keep the attraction running with mostly happy guests, especially during the peak visit season, than to shut it down and fix it.
Of course, this summer has been a season of upping the face of the parks. Along Main Street, one by one, each of the stores received new paint and facelifts. In fact, across the face of many buildings in the Magic Kingdom, tarps went up as painting and maintenance continued. However, these are relatively low budget touch ups compared with the mechanically strained problems in the parks. Although my second home is the Haunted Mansion, the new additions are fantastic and would be even better if they could keep the Doom Buggies moving. It seems that at least once a visit, HM goes down for an hour or so. Splash Mountain may have managed to put on seat belts, but at least once a visit, I spy animatronics that just sit there not animated. I don't have to remind people about the in operation of the cave in room on Big Thunder or how the theme elements in Pirates keep getting scaled back farther and farther from the boats. (Are too many guests getting out?)
Then when we get some real opportunities for updates, it seems that Disney goes cheap or worse, they make attractions worse than they were before. Space Mountain was down for quite a while, and myself and others really hoped that it would reopen with a ride that was at least as exciting as what guests are treated to at Disneyland. And although the new projection system is nice, and some of the new theme elements are pretty. I find the line que games are the only real update and to be honest, being a fastpass ride, I never wait to play these video games. They didn't even update the exit que, and if anything is screaming for an update that would be it. Moreover, it opened without the sound effects that were supposed to be a part of the new ride. And when they got added, it seemed more an afterthought. I love the soundtrack on Disneyland's Space Mountain and the fact that its pumped right into the ride cars make it even more thematic.
I won't go into how I feel about the Spaceship Earth refurb, or how the Living Seas with Nemo compares with the Little Nemo attraction at Disneyland. Also, we never go to the Laugh Floor, it's a poor attraction and the ride que is one of the worst excuses for poor guest treatment in any of the rides. Stitch's Great Escape gets worse every refurb and many elements don't record a hit in Buzz Lightyear's ride.
Yet, the Walt Disney World resort continues to enjoy some of the largest crowds in history even with park admission prices edging upwards to $100. They have broken ground on the new Art of Animation resort, they are building a new housing development for high rollers, new Villa style Vacation Club resorts seem to open every year and Bay Lake Towers is now seeing guests. The new Fantasy Land expansion is in the middle of its construction, and the newly announced Avatar land at Animal Kingdom is definitely piquing my interest. Star Tours 2.0 is now open and is great. Watching them save and move the huge tree from the Seven Acre Woods playground to the entrance of Winnie the Pooh, continues to remind me of the parks attention to details.
I just wish Disney's attention to detail was applied to everything in the parks.