5 Things Disney Doesn't Want You to Know Right Now
Thinking of planning a vacation to Walt Disney World for the next year? Maybe you should think again. Here are a few things that Disney doesn’t want you to know about what they are up to in Orlando.
5. The Mouse is being generous with mosquito repellent. Suspicious.
Disney has stationed cast members all around the parks with complimentary mosquito repellant in response to Zika. Now, let’s think about that for a minute. Nothing is complimentary at Disney. They will turn you upside down and shake you for loose change before you get to the exit gates, but all of a sudden they decided to invest heavily in mosquito repellant and just give it away?
That makes me think the Zika virus problem is much worse than anyone will publicly admit. Disney is notoriously cheap, but here they are spending payroll hours staffing mosquito repellant stations in their Florida parks and giving away free repellant. To me that’s a big flashing red light saying that if you’re someone who is pregnant or hoping to get pregnant in the next few years, taking a trip to Orlando might be too much of a risk until this Zika thing is more under control.
4. Hollywood Studios is a ghost town.
There’s almost nothing left to do in the Disney Hollywood Studios park, yet they are still selling full-priced admission. Don’t waste your money or your park hopper. It’s not worth it. They are building a Star Wars Land and a Toy Story Land and some other things that are bound to be fun, but Disney has a track record of dragging out construction and taking forever to build anything.
Again, that’s Disney’s cheapness on display. How many years did it take them to build the new Fantasyland? More than I can remember, but I was there at least twice with the construction walls still up (and there are always years in between our visits).
Disney builds things in stages, then waits for another financial quarter to head onto the next stage, all in some corporate accounting shell game. Down the road at the Universal parks, which are owned by Comcast, they just build whatever they are building and don’t play these financing games. Universal is going to have an entirely new built-from-scratch water park called Volcano Bay open before Disney finishes a single new attraction at DHS.
3. Something is wrong at Animal Kingdom.
The Rivers of Light show and extended nighttime hours at the Animal Kingdom park aren’t turning out the way Disney promised. The new light show, which is supposed to happen in a lagoon near the big Tree of Life icon with the Expedition Everest coaster in the background, didn't debut on schedule. Disney won’t say what the hold-up is, but there’s some technical problem that kept Rivers of Light from opening this summer. There’s not a lot to do at the Animal Kingdom park and it’s so spread out that it’s exhausting to walk, especially if you have little kids.
The only two rides that are great are Everest and Kali River Rapids. But are two rides worth the extra cost and trouble of park hopping? I say skip it until Disney gets its act together and finally debuts Rivers of Light or opens that Pandora: The World of Avatar nighttime “bioluminescent” expansion that they are building (but taking forever to finish). I also think they should consider building a Zootopia World at AK, connecting it to the Magic Kingdom by monorail. What is the purpose of the monorail if they're never going to expand it? Have you ever tried to take a bus from AK to anywhere else in the park? It's impossible. They forget about you way out there. The transportation is slow, inconsistent, and needs updating.
2. The alligator problem has not been solved.
In response to a little boy tragically being killed by a large gator this summer, Disney put a bunch of rocks along some of its hotel beaches along the Seven Seas Lagoon, along with some rope-fences. Who are they fooling? Psychologically, this looks like it did something, but really all the rocks and the ropes will do is discourage people from getting too close to the water. None of this will really discourage the alligators from coming out of the water and going to where the people are.
Did you know that alligators can climb fences? I was surprised to learn they could, but I’ve seen them do it on YouTube (so it must be true). Rocks are not an alligator’s natural nemesis, either. I’m not sure what Disney could ever do to permanently solve its gator problem, but giving people a false sense of security that the rocks and these flimsy fences “solved” anything is the wrong move. Maybe they need to rethink everything about allowing guests anywhere near water that feeds into the marshes and swamps.
1. Giving Annual Pass holders the shaft.
Disney just did a survey gauging the public’s response to blocking out more days on the Annual Passes that it sells to Florida residents. Apparently, they want to block AP holders from being able to go to the parks on their passes a month or two after a new attraction like Star Wars Land or Avatar (finally) opens. While this doesn’t affect my family, since we are not pass holders and only make the trip down to Disney every few years, I do feel bad for working families who invest in those APs but then constantly have to engage in this tricky dance with Disney on when they can use the passes they paid for. Mickey Mouse might be adorable, but sometimes he's a rip-off artist.