The WDW Radio Show Disney Podcast Discuss Jungle Trek/Night Kingdom - For or Against and why? in the The WDW Radio Show forums; Hi Everyone,
This is my first post on Lou's forums (in fact, 1st Disney-related forum post ever!). I felt compelled to post my thoughts and would be very interested in ...
Jungle Trek/Night Kingdom - For or Against and why?
This is my first post on Lou's forums (in fact, 1st Disney-related forum post ever!). I felt compelled to post my thoughts and would be very interested in everyone else's thoughts regarding the proposed "Jungle Trek/Night Kingdom Premium-exclusive Experience".
For some background, my first visit to WDW was June 1973 with my family. We would continue returning approx every 2 years or so from then on. On our family vacations out west (I live in OH), we would also visit Disneyland. As an adult with a brother now working at WDW and a mother living in the Orlando area as well (I still live in OH), I have now visited WDW more times than I can count.
As someone who has been a disney fanatic since seeing my first Animated cartoon in the theater (which was Lady and the Tramp, by the way!), I am now bothered by the approach Disney seems to be taking regarding things like "Premium-exclusive" experiences.
Animation is at the heart Disney's core values, and not far behind it are the parks. I can remember in 1973 how relatively high ticket prices and hotels were on property as compared with other vacations we would take. With that said, I believe what continues to make the Disney parks beyond compare is the overall family experience.
Although I don't know how accurate this is, I have seen that WDW's most recent attendance figures (from various web sites) are somewhere in the neighborhood of 46M people/year, which averages about 126,000/day. From how Lou described this "Premium experience", there would be groups of 8 people leaving every 15 minutes starting at 9 AM. Assuming the last tour departs at 10 PM, there would be a maximum throughput of 424 people attending this experience in any given day. 424/126,000 is 0.34%...
So, 0.34% of the guests in any given day could experience this "premium". I think most of us have a better chance of hitting tonight's lottery. I do not believe this type of premium or eliteist experience is at the core Disney's values. The parks are successful for a lot of tangible and intangible reasons, but I believe Disney needs to focus on it's core value of building a park for all to enjoy - this is in it's best long-term interest.
Of course Disney has always evolved and been at the forefront of family entertainment. They have done this by using their core values of animation, story and imagineering to create an experience beyond compare. By focusing on creating great animated movies, those properties (story, characters, music) has been a continuous pipeline of new material from which to evolve the parks.
The Disney experience has always come at a premium, but accessible to virtually all guests. An experience that is going to be enjoyed by a few elite guests and take a lot of resources to create (money, time, land) does not sound like Walt Disney's original vision to me.
Again, as a life-long Disney fanatic, I realize Disney needs to evolve - they cannot stand still and there is a lot of competition. My believe however, is that Disney would be keeping to it's core values by continuing to put resources into the existing parks and continue to build new parks which are accessible to all guests, not a select few.
It is frustrating to see the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Skyway to Tomorrowland sitting idle. Rides like this need to be re-engineered or torn down and new attractions put in their place. Imagineering needs to think out of the box on new parks (Villian park anyone?)
As a guest, the last thing I want to see is valuable Disney land being taken up by a "Premium Experience", rather than a new park or addition to an existing park. What has worked for Disney since 1955 is creating experiences all can enjoy. Today's children turn into tomorrow's adults - the great circle of life...
We seem to be on the verge of another golden age of animation now that John Lasseter is running animation. Because he is also running imagineering John needs to ensure these new assets are harnessed into new rides and new parks - not exclusive to a few but again, a place for all to come and enjoy. Focusing on these values will establish Disney for generations to come.
Disney is expensive. Some people save up years to go to the most magical place on earth and I feel that having this premiere is almost discrimination that some people couldn't afford it and not be able to experience all the magic. I would of course want to do it, but feel that is completely unfair to charge people even more money to experience this premiere. I really hope Disney decides not to do it.
The core of what Disney does best will always be in the parks, and specifically the Magic Kingdom. New attractions open every year, and programming and activities are offered depending on crowd levels and times of the year.
Disney has also seen success in their hard ticket events like the Very Merry Christmas Party and Not-So-Scary Halloween parties. These also have limited availability and a premium price attached.
I'll disagree with my friends here and say that I am all for additional choices. I have been going frequently since 1974, myself, and I would save up and try to have a chance to experience this offering. This goes in a similar category as Victoria & Alberts or the Breathless II. These are out of reach for most folks, but their existence doesn't detract from the wonderful things at WDW that are available to everyone. I would guess that fewer people would get into a Princess Breakfast in Cinderella's Castle than could potentially join in this offering.
I would agree more with the resistance if they weren't also putting resources into things like Toy Story Mania and the upcoming Monsters, Inc. coaster, along with major upgrades at California Adventure. Recent years brought Mickey's Philharmagic, Expedition Everest, Mission Space . . . you know where I'm going.
I can't afford everything at WDW, but when I go frequently it is exciting to have something completely unique to experience. If a family goes once every 5 or 6 years, then they wouldn't be focused on this Jungle Trek. I would tell them to focus their planning on the four main parks.
Plus 424 people at $250 a crack adds up to a daily $106,000 in revenue. That sounds to me like it could support itself off of ticket sales and, therefore, not displace development opportunities in other areas.
And welcome to the forums, tginther! Hope you can get to 100 posts in a lot less time than it's taking me!
Have you seen my dad? Would you page him for me?
Next Family trip = April 16 - April 23, 2011, staying in an All Star Vacation Home!
Welcome and thanks for such a thoughtful first post.
I can certainly understand your frustrations, but I look at the Jungle Trek as just another of the many optional experiences that will appeal to only a few - not unlike the Keys to the Kingdom tour, etc., or say Discovery Cove at Sea World.
Disney certainly isn't cheap, but I don't feel it is necessarily overpriced. Nowhere on earth does an admission ticket allow you to do so much. Resort rooms start around $82 - that's less than hotels charge in my little midwest lake town, and with the Disney perks and transportation included, it seems reasonable. You can buy very expensive rooms, food, extra activities and souvenirs, but that's the consumer's choice.
I totally agree with you on the "closed" sites - how strange that the Skyway stations, the 20,000 Leagues lagoon, the long-closed Odyssey and the often locked up Wonders of Life would be left like missing teeth for so long... one would think that a decision to close an attraction would be well thought-out enough to have an improved use for the location in the works.
Loved you ideas - keep on sharing!
I'm not sure about this one...I admit $250/person isn't cheap, but for a 5 hour tour, it doesn't seem quite so bad. Personally if this does get up and running, I'd take a look at doing it, even if it meant possibly postponing one WDW trip to afford it.
It is after all just another tour option, if people decide they can afford it, then they'll do it, simple as that.
Just my .02.
~*~ Amanda *~*
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I am also torn about this idea. I think it sounds like a pretty cool experience. However, certainly not worth $250. I guess I am just jealous of those who could afford it but I thought everyone was supposed to be able to enjoy Walt Disney World. The throughput is also pretty terrible. As a shareholder, I really don't like this idea.
After reading the other great comments that have come in up to this point, I would just like to mention I am not against Disney offering various premiums of one kind or another, and certainly let them charge what the market will bear. I'm all for capitalism and have no problem taking advantage of premiums myself on occasion. My main point is the original intent & vision of Walt Disney in creating Disneyland, WDW and EPCOT have created a set of core values for the Disney Company that should have them focusing on keeping the current parks updated and refurbished (no old, abandoned rides staying that way for YEARS) and always looking toward the future at what new venues make sense as additions. I don't believe Walt would ever take land and resources to create something that could only be enjoyed by 0.34% of his guests.
Maybe I'm not understanding something here - I thought this Jungle Trek/Night Kingdom would take up a good amount of land. I mean, if this is going to be some type of expedition it would have to. I would also imagine if you took a poll of the 46M people visiting WDW asking them to choose between another park or a specialized, exclusive park that realistically they could maybe visit once because of the price and the limited nature of the accomodations, I don't think there would be any question a majority of the Disney-going public would love to see a new park which they would be able to take advantage of on every visit to WDW.
I honestly don't know how I feel about it. You'd think if they would do a big project like this, it would just be a fifth gate. It's an interesting concept at the least, I just need to know more about it. That is, if it's true of course.
Keep it cool, and keep moving forward!
Trips to Walt Disney World
1995: Port Orleans French Quarter - 2000: All-Star Music
2008: Caribbean Beach - 2009: Pop Century
NEXT TRIP: Sep/Oct 2011 - WDW's 40th Anniversary!
I too am not sure which way to go with this. At first, i thought, Wow! That sounds awesome. Then i heard the pricetag and thought, Oh well, wouldn't pay that much. I was thinking if they scaled it down a bit, have a greater throughput per day(don't ask me how, that would be for the Imagineers to figure out), and maybe make it the price comparable to a water park and include it on the Water Parks and More option. Or even make it the price of a theme park and use a Magic Your Way Ticket for entrance. Also they could make the feast an extra cost. Maybe like a table service credit on a dining plan. I don't know, just a way of making it a bit more accessible for people, even if it would still a bit limited with reservations being required to experience it.
Even if it were to happen like the rumor reported, it wouldn't hamper my WDW vacations in any way. It can be tough to do half the things available at WDW even with 10 days at a time. As far as the amount of land being used, they could build this Jungle Trek, make it as big as The Magic Kingdom, and still be able to build more theme parks, resorts, water parks, and have lots of land to spare.
So I guess my only complaint would be the cost to us. For just a single person it doesn't seem all that bad, but when you have a family of four or five, well that's just a bit out of reach for some. But I still wouldn't protest if they did it. I just don't think I would be experiencing it any time soon.
Previous WDW Trips
With my family(as a child; teen)
November 1976.....Fort Wilderness Campground
February 1986......Off Site
With family of my own.
November 1996.....Wilderness Lodge
June 1999.............Caribbean Beach
August 2006..........Pop Century
August 2008..........Saratoga Springs Resort
I have to admit I was disappointed as well when I heard the price point. I can't imagine many families being able to enjoy this... and isn't the fact that so much is offered to all guests (e.g. Fastpasses and Dining) one of the best things about WDW?
I am a HUGE fan of Disney, but let's be real... it's a privilege to be able to afford to go to WDW at existing pricing. My trips to Europe have cost less (with the weak dollar and escalating airfare costs) than my trips to Disney. I'd be sad to be so close to a semi "fifth gate" but to spend almost $600 for tickets per person? Too rich for my blood.
1980's 3 trips offsite - 1991, 1994 Offsite, 1997 CBR, 1999 BC, 2001 Swan, 2005 Offsite, 2006 Swan & Dolphin - DL offsite, 2008 Disneyland Paris offsite, 2009 AKL CL/Poly GVCL, Swan/Dolphin (2x/ea), 2010 WL, YC, AKV (Jambo), POFQ/BC, OKW/SSR, BWI CL/GF SL for Girl Trip 2.0, OKW Swaggervilla #augcrewunion, DL Hotel, YC CL W&D5K, Poly Dec Reunion 2010, 2011 Jan Who knows yet Feb 2011 BC www.luxurytravelgirl.blogspot.com
I have a family of five. So at $250.00/ticket, this experience is not something we will ever be able to afford to do together. So from where I stand (which is the "outside looking in"), the idea stinks. I feel like the ugly girl that will never get asked to the prom . . . not the usual warm fuzzies from Disney.
And, obviously, people see this differently . . . but I consider not being able to afford a posh meal at Victoria and Albert's very different from not being able to visit something that is a virtual fifth Disney park. They are apples and oranges to me. And the price of a family taking a special tour or eating in the castle is much more within reach (although I wouldn't mind seeing those prices come down either). For my family to eat lunch in the castle, it costs us around $200.00. This wouldn't even cover the price of one ticket to this Night Kingdom.
I don't mind the idea of having to make reservations or being on a waiting list, but the incredible price just completely puts this out of reach for some families. Being one of those families, I am against it. Yes, this is America . . . free capitalism and all that. But when it comes to Disney, I want in.
Color me bitter, I guess, but I don't like it.