D23 2011 Expo: Where is the Love for Walt Disney World?
This past weekend the second annual D23 Expo was held in Anaheim, California, and it was a lovely event overall. From the Disney Legends panel where Jim Hensen was inducted for his creation of, the now Disney owned, Muppets. Along with a wide amount of information given on the Disney’s California Adventure Park mutli-billion dollar expansion and on the new Shanghai Disneyland slated to open in five years or so, and, yes, even a tad more information on the New Fantasyland expansion here at Walt Disney World in Orlando. However, there was a severe lack of announcements, or even acknowledgements, about future projects planned for Walt Disney World.
Now, no, I’m not a cry baby. I’m not someone who thinks that every new Disney attraction, creative idea or all the money should be spent here at the parks in Orlando, but I still think that Disney World, which is one of the most visited destinations in the world, does deserve someone something more than what it currently is stated to receive.
The new Fantasyland expansion is an awesome idea. Magic kingdom will be receiving two new rides, a double dumbo, and at least one new eatery and meet and greet. All of this is much needed and much welcomed. However, that seems to be it for the projects in the foreseeable future, and even the new Fantasyland will not open completely until 2014 with the opening of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster. So, it looks like the other three parks in Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios, will not receive any new additions until, depending on the scale of the project, 2014.
So, D23, where is the love? I’m not alone in this thinking. Many other bloggers, podcasters, writers, and fans are filling the Internet with this same question: why is WDW not receiving any love outside of the Magic Kingdom and the Fantasyland expansion?
This morning, August 22nd, Tom Skaggs, the Chairman of Disney Parks and Resorts, made the following announcement.
“Thanks to all of you for your responses. Your passion, energy and affection for our parks and resorts is the reason we do what we do so I appreciate your feedback. I know many of you were hoping for announcements regarding new projects from Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, especially at Walt Disney World Resort, so I wanted to take a moment to address those comments. The projects we’ve already announced represent the largest period of growth ever in Disney Parks’ history. We’re working hard to create new and exciting experiences for our guests around the world and while the timing isn’t always right to announce another big project, we like to use opportunities like the D23 Expo to update fans like you on the great progress we’re making. We have several incredible projects currently in the works and look forward to sharing more information with all of you in the weeks and months ahead, including new details regarding Downtown Disney in Florida.” (1)
Thank you, Mr Skaggs, for addressing the comments about the lack of Walt Disney World announcements in such a timely manner. Yes, this is an incredible time of growth for the Disney parks worldwide, and I think the new Shanghai park will no doubt be incredible, however I can not help but skeptical about this statement , especially the last part where you state that there are “several incredible projects currently in the works”. That sounds nice on paper, but many Disney fans now that there are always projects in the works, the question is: are they ever going to make it off of the drawing board and become reality? And even if they do, will they be much needed major additions to Hollywood Studios, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom? Only time well truly tell, and I pray that The Powers That Be do realize that in order to keep their parks on top, they must invest in all of the parks, not just the Magic Kingdom.