Thursday, August 2, 2007

Future Fun Factories...

When will Disneyland get its Third Gate?

When will Walt Disney World finally build a Fifth Gate?

When will Disneyland Paris decide to build its own Third Gate?

When will Hong Kong Disneyland burst through the berm and construct a Second Gate?

When will the Tokyo Disney Resort reveal its Third Gate plans?

Truthfully, there are no solid answers to these questions. Not because they won't or couldn't happen... because they inevitably will... but it would be like wanting to read the final chapter of the new Harry Potter before the opening paragraph.

So I guess we should have a little discussion as to the current status of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and the theme parks and resorts that it will build in the coming years. Theme parks or as a friend referred to them: "Fun Factories" are an expensive endeavor and as you've seen over the last few years it takes a while for a company like Disney to swallow hard and fork out the cash.

Those five questions I asked about future Gates? The only solid answer to that is the next decade. Through the latter part of this decade we'll look forward to shoring up the state-side parks(DCA in particular), Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland will focus on expanding their current offerings before any plans get approved for more fun factories. Think of it as repairing a fleet of cars that have been abused for a decade before you go out and buy a new series of cars. Lots of refurbishment and expansion ahead of us friends...


I'd say that until DCA's tenth anniversary in 2011 we won't hear anything about a Third Gate in Anaheim. There are blue sky plans going on right now for a third, but it will be years before anything solid is announced. For the next few years the resort that Eisner wanted to turn into a mini version of the Florida property will finally get the resources to actually make that come to fruition. With The expansion of DCA, new hotels, expansion of DD, New night shows and parades, we have a busy time ahead of us... there is simply too much on TDA's hands to announce a Third Gate in the middle of this. I'd be surprised if we hear anything until 2012 at the earliest. That puts a new fun factory opening no earlier than 2014 I believe.


It appears that as we get seriously focused on the Anaheim property, the mistakes of over growth in WDW will begin to be addressed. While it is true that Disneyland is getting the majority of the care over the next few years, Uncle John is going to focus on getting Orlando headed on a more cohesive direction. A lot of people are worried about the appointment of Tom Fitzgerald to the post overseeing WDW(sans DAK of course), but with Lasseter looking over his shoulder I don't think everything will turn into 3-D Land. It's just going to start after projects in Anaheim are further into construction. This will mean that WDW will be moving about two to three years behind the Disneyland property. So any new fun factory will likely not be there before the middle of the next decade. Perhaps 2015 at the earliest, but 2016 or so later. The blue sky plans for this resort have been worked on, but most designs are on the back burner for now. If the economy expands more than it does right now things might change, but the WDW property is considered fully developed at this time. If you want a sign as to when more expansion is going to happen then watch the occupancy rates at the Resorts. When they start approaching Disneyland levels(above 90 percent) then you'll see the executives in Team Disney Burbank start putting those blue sky plans on the front burner.


The European Resort is having a great year and if it continues into next year then the resort will be getting the much needed attention that people have been hoping. The focus will be on expanding and layering more detailed theming on WDSP so that come 2012 the park will have a dramatically more appealing experience for the guest. Any plans for a Third Gate are way off. While Anaheim is in the blue sky phase, Paris hasn't even focused on that much development. Once the Studios get to a credible level there could be proposals, but not that is far off. Should the European economy keep going and the Paris Resort getting at least the level of attendance it has now then we can expect ideas to start surfacing the early part of the next decade. No third Gate is expected for DLRP though, until the latter part of next decade.

Hong Kong

Disney's newest and smallest Resort has much growing up to do before it gets a little sister. Now that being said, it won't be waiting until Paris gets its new Gate. Truthfully, blue sky plans have been going on for HKDL since its concept development. Since there was plans for a "Phase Two" of the area, Disney's intentions have always been to have another park across the Esplanade. Once HK gets filled out a little more with the Adventureland expansion that comes in a few years the plans will start to solidify more. Don't expect an announcement until early next decade though... as we've said in some of our "Blue Sky Alerts", Disney is in the process of leveraging a better deal for itself. As we get closer to the 2013 date news should start to be released as that is the "put up or shut up" year. Bob Iger has major growth plans so don't think that the initial disappointment Disney had means a pull back. Disney wants to tap all those potential Chinese guest. Don't worry about Shanghai putting a damper on HKDL's growth either... when that park finally gets the go ahead there will be plenty of room between the two Resorts. If North America can have two Resorts in a nation of 300 million people, China can have two parks in a nation of over 1 billion...


There are no current plans to add a Third Gate at Tokyo Disney Resort. Someday there may be a Third Gate for TDR, but at this time there are no plans for more land fill... at least not in the next decade. Things can always change since we're talking about the Oriental Land Company which spends enormous amounts of cash with its deep pockets. There are plans for a Third Gate in Japan, though. It's just not going to be in Tokyo. There are several sights that the OLC is looking at. This Gate will not be the same as the other two in the sense that it will be mainly be an indoor park along the lines of Jay Rasulo's Urban Entertainment Centers. This site will be seen sometime around 2011 or 2012 depending on plans being drawn up now.

Hope that give you some idea as to Disney's road plan for the next decade. It should be thought of as a guide post and not as a road map that cannot be altered. Plans will change depending on events or situations that happen over the next decade... but this should give fans a better perspective of what could await us in the future.


Anonymous said...

I'd be very surprised at a 5th gate for WDW anytime soon (as in the next 10 years). right now, the two new parks still have room to grow, especially DAK.

now, one idea that came to mind would be to instead of trying to create beastly kingdom as a part of DAK (as originally intended), THAT could actually be the basis of a new gate, expanded with other fantasy-but-not-'fantasyland' themes, into a "Kingdom of Legends". Mickey in his Brave Little Tailor outfit could become the main mascot image and it could feature things based on the non-princess fantasy/legend films like mulan (who's *very* out of place in Epcot's China), Aladdin (if Adventureland goes all-pirate as some have hinted, this would give a new home for the aladdin carpet ride).

then it could add "homes" for Sword in the Stone (a joust sequence might be a cool thrill ride), Robin Hood, Hercules, perhaps Hunchback. (yes, i'm looking at it from the modern WDI view of "if it doesn't have a character, it's not likely to pass through the ranks to actually get made").

AND it would have room for the Unicorn maze described in MousePlanet, which in the current DAK environment, now seems very unlikely to be made.

Anonymous said...

I hope that WDI realises that WDW is literaly falling apart. They are too busy wanting to be global while this area is being neglected.

More gates? come on..they can't or won't keep the existing facilities up to snuff. I must also point out..that aside from the Japanese most not know and do not want to live in an "american world". Actually..I would like to see florida get a new transportation hub..better attractions and a lot of new paint. Tom Fitzgerald is heading this effort and I think if he can break out of the same plot lines (ie something goes wrong) in his attractions then he will have suceeded. I.E ..I would love to see some new country bears with up to date audio and motion. I also would bring back Mr Toad amongst others. I could go on and on..Tom..I know you can do this.. redeem yourself it's not too late..I knew Tom many years ago and lost contact with him..but saw good then and know it is still there..hmm sounds like star wars.. oh well we can only hope RWR

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

Thanks Honor!

Very exciting opportunities at DCA.

I agree that they need to get WDW on the right track before they add another gate. I think the Magic Kingdom needs some expansion.

Anonymous said...

They need to update many attractions. Disneyland takes much better care of their park. I've been to every park but Hong Kong. I continually go to both American parks when I'm on each coast and I can tell you the care that is put into the West Coast versus the East Coast is striking.

They get so many guests in Florida I don't think they realize that eventually the public will notice. Hopefully Lasseter will take a greater interest in Walt DIsney World once the plans for Disney's California Adventure are in motion. Crossing fingers.

FixedFoto said...

I am very disgusted at the entire concept of having a Disneyland in China. Can you please make a post aobut the ignorance of serious ethical issues of building there in the purpose of just trying to make a buck!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Joe Shelby on one thing:

Mulan is NOT out of place in Epcot's China pavilion. Her story originated in that country anyway.

Anonymous said...

2 parks for 1.3 billion people in China a good idea? Just remember that about 800 million of those people make less than $2000 a year, as opposed to 340 million Americans and Canadians who make an average of about $40,000 a year, not to mention foreign tourists.

And as China's demographic crisis reaches panic levels (half the population will be over 60 by 2040-50, with perhaps a very skewed 60:40 male/femake ratio because of the one-child policy [and the fact that wealthy Chinese are like wealthy Japanese and don't have many children]) China may not such the great expansion possibility it now seems to be.

Chris said...

I am more excited about the improvements and expansions of the current parks than any additional gates. Unless they decide to bring DisneySea stateside. I would be all over that.

Anonymous said...

my comment on mulan had nothing to do with her country of origin. it had everything to do with how i feel that disney's "characters" don't belong in Epcot's World Showcase. Artistic/abstract presentations (a-la the topiary this past summer) is one thing, but having Aladdin and the Genie in Morocco (where the legend is actually from Arabia) just bothers me a bit.

Similarly, while I love The Three Caballeros, I think they are currently wasted in Mexico's new update. The original film was all about the other two teaching Donald (and by extension, Americans) about Mexican culture(s) - it was educational. Today, their presence in the ride is a distraction to any possible educational message.

Anonymous said...

Two comments on things I'd like to know:

- Isn't there some sort of deadline for a 3rd gate in Paris due to the original agreements with the French government?

- I'm assuming there have been blue sky plans for a WDW 5th gate for many, many years now. While I'm sure no one knows what they'll eventually build, does anyone know what any of these concepts are?

Also, I'll say that I agree with those who disagree with building more parks in China. I don't like the dilution of the brand and I don't like legitimizing of the current business and social practices in China.

I'll also agree with those who have pointed out that WDW is falling apart, and needs lots of work before a 5th gate. MGM needs to be razed and totally rebuilt from the ground up (save from Hollywood and Sunset Blvds)and DAK is still far from being a whole park. EPCOT is a thematic mess now, and MK is rotting away from neglect. The resort itself is suffering from sprawl and decaying infrastructure and lack of a coherent transportation plan.

So yeah, lots to do :)

Anonymous said...

I really think they need to focus on expanding the parks that are already there in walt disney world and upgrade the animatronics and the sound quality in the rides. especially in the park staples like pirates, small world, and country bear jamboree. i aso would really like to see a new area in the magic kingdom based on the disney villains. i think they really need to do somthing more with them there because it would attract a whole new crowd to WDW in magic kingdom. also they need to get better rides. right now the rides at universal orlando are better than disney. they need to make more of their rides more of an experience more then just a ride through animatronic exibit. cause thats really all they are right now. dont get me wrong i LOVE disney world and i always will. except animal kingdom. they made a BIG BIG BIG mistake with that one! and its always to hot and too crowded there. not much shade. not enough rides that dont suck. and most of its boring. i dont care about how they operate on porcupines! when i go to disney i want rides and lots of them! and characters up the butt!!! theres more characters at EPCOT then animal kingdom! they need to check themselves before the wreck themselves! lol. funny...