Archive for May, 2008

Space Mountain and TTA news

by on May 29, 2008

Strong rumors are beginning to indicate a January 9th, 2009, closure of Space Mountain for a long refurbishment period (a year or so) and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority will also close for periods of this refurbishment as the track runs through the Space Mountain building.

Permits were recently filed to replace all of the speakers in the TTA ride, likely preparatory work for the larger refurbishment for both attractions.

Updated Disney Resort Transportation Chart

by on May 24, 2008

We’ve been riding the Disney bus system between resorts and parks since March, trying to determine how Disney’s new bus scheduling program affects the time it takes to get you from your resort to the parks. The new Transportation Chart is now online.

In most cases the new system will cut down on your transportation time by around 8 minutes, on average.

Toy Story Mania updates to Studios touring plans

by on May 8, 2008

We’ve started updating the Studios touring plans to include Toy Story Mania and should have everything done this weekend. Adult plans are being done first, then parents, then everything else.

April Disney Crowd Level Predictions

by on May 5, 2008

As we noted on the News page, our crowd level predictions for the second half of April underpredicted crowds by about 1.0 on our 10 point scale. We’re looking at three possible causes:

1) More visitors than usual for this time of year.

2) The effect that shortened Magic Kingdom hours for Grad Nights and Pirates and Princess Parties have on our crowd prediction algorithm.

3) Warmer than usual weather.

We’re looking at hotel occupancy rates to determine whether #1 had any effect. Occupancy was up around 4.6% for all of Orlando for the week of April 20 versus last year, but that alone doesn’t explain the gap. And the effects of weather is easy enough to determine.

The effect of Grad Nights and Pirates and Princess may be more interesting. Two of the things that we use to measure crowd levels are the number of hours the Magic Kingdom is open on a given day and in a given week. For April 2008, the Magic Kingdom was open a total of 371 hours, and closed early ten times (4 grad nights and 6 PnPPs). The Magic Kingdom was open significantly more in past years – 437 hours in April 2007 and 430 hours in April 2006. Granted, Easter was in April in 2007 and 2006, but the extra hours for Easter don’t account for the difference: there were only two Grad Nights in April 2006 and no Pirates and Princess Parties. So for now we’re thinking that the early closings for these hard ticket events caused the crowd prediction algorithm to underpredict the actual crowds. We’re still looking at this.

A couple of other notes:

1) We’re forecasting a 12% crowd increase for Free Dining in late August and September 2008, and the crowd calendar takes that in to account.

2) We’re still not sure of the economy’s effects on summer crowds. As far as we can tell, demand for WDW hotels remains strong. We’re continuing to look at this.

3) We’re going to start providing wait time forecasts for the other parks, using the Magic Kingdom as a guide. That is, we’re going to provide a chart that says a 5 at the Magic Kingdom is equal to X at Epcot, Y at the Studios and Z at the Animal Kingdom. We’re going to need some time to adjust the chart, so consider it “beta” advice for now. Also, we’re only going to use the Magic Kingdom to determine whether the crowd calendar is correct.

Thanks for your patience while we sort through all this.

AFI Showcase reopens

by on May 4, 2008

The AFI Showcase (American Film Institute) reopened after a month long rennovation at Disney Hollywood Studios. To our surprise, not much seems to have been done during the long closure. They have added costumes from Enchanted and Narnia.

As well as adding a large scenic piece from Pirates of the Carribbean.

They did also move Darth Vader over a few feet.

Animation Archway unveiled

by on May 4, 2008

New signage for the Animation Courtyard at the newly named Disney Hollywood Studio was unveiled recently.

Backlot Theater progress

by on May 4, 2008

The work to enclose the Backlot Theater (previously home to the Huncback of Notre Dame stage show) is progressing nicely.

The venue should reopen to host special events like the cheerleading competitions and the concerts for Grad Nights.

No word on wether the current front facade of San Fancisco will remain or be rethemed as sort of actual entranceway.

Tom Morrow 2.0 laid to rest, no mourning please per his request

by on May 4, 2008

Hyper-active and happy-go-luckey robot Tom Morrow 2.0 is no longer part of Innoventions at Epcot. The area is slowly being rethemed and he is apparently not part of that future vision.

Spaceship Earth making progress

by on May 4, 2008

Though the Spaceship Earth at Epcot is open regularly, workers are still insisde making changes to the show. In the post show, large rear-lit panels now depict a futuristic cityscape.

A closer view of the cityscape.

There have also been many touch screen information kiosks spread around the Project Tomorrow area so that guests can learn about Siemens and it’s offerings. In the ride itself, the paper boy animatronic has been removed (will he return?) as well as the renaissance musicians.

What the future holds for Spaceship Earth is uncertain. They appear to be working daily, or atleast Mon-Fri, to improve the attraction. Several lines of audio have already been modified or cut to make the narration less patronizing and some new lighting and set pieces are partially installed in the descent.

We will keep you updated on the progress on the attraction.

Fig-in, Fig-out

by on May 4, 2008

Though having been touted as a way to bring the character Figment back for the masses to enjoy on a permanent basis, the Figment meet and greet (with the giant fur character commonly refered to as Fig-zilla) has been removed from the Imagination pavilion. Even the signage on the building has been removed, suggesting this rumored entertainment budget cut is permanent, more permanent then his return as a meet and greet character apparently.

Strangely enough, without Figment himself to see, people are apparently still buying Figment merchandise in droves.

As new Figment merchandise appears in the stores and continues to sell quite well, rumors persist of a major rennovation to the attraction.

It seems the populatirty of the little spark will overcome all adversity. Dreamer indeed.