Friday, September 5, 2008

Happenstance (Part Two)...


"Tokyo DisneySEA is a place of staggering beauty and amazing wonder that shows you what Walt Disney Imagineering is capable of if you give it the freedom to dream and the funding to build it." - A Bothan from deep inside the bowels of WDI

First of all, thanks for all the positive comments regarding part one of this posting. Even those that have pestered me asking when the second part would come out. I appreciate your interest in Blue Sky Disney...

The East, particularly the Far East are of great importance to the Walt Disney Company. Actually it's not just the Mouse... for most companies, American and otherwise, the East is where the opportunity is. That's where the growth is. It is the emerging market in the world today. Bob Iger and Disney understand this and are taking the company and its many brands into those markets which are ripe for exploration.

So where do we go from here?

Asia



There are many things being planned for the only Disney resort not owned by Disney. But not all, or even most of what is planned is in the original park, or Tokyo for that matter.

Tokyo Disneyland has preliminary plans for at least one new E-Ticket to open after the elaborate "Monsters Inc." attraction opens up next year to the delight of TDL fans and the chagrin of the rest of us. This attraction will make DCA's Monster's Inc. attraction comparable to the Disneyland's Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction versus Tokyo Disneyland's Pooh's Hunny Hunt argument. And that will be a valid comparison in terms of quality of attraction, but not so in terms of comparison to the Suits in charge of approving what the parks get. Let's be clear here, the Suits at Team Disney Burbank/Anaheim right now are a world apart from the motley crew in charge of creating new Disney delights under Pressler. Clear? Ok, now back to Japan...

The plans for TDL are still being worked out, but many projects are in an embryonic state that my Bothans believe make predictions very dicey right now. But a little note for those of you that don't like character based attractions... you will be sorely disappointed in many(but not all) proposals. Sorry.

As for the other park in the resort... Tokyo DisneySEA, my favorite park outside of Disneyland will definitely be getting an E-Ticket. And it will get get it before TDL gets theirs. But the sad news is that it won't be the "Soarin'" attraction that everyone was hearing rumors about going into the Mediterranean Harbor Port. It will be an attraction based on the technology and development of "Toy Story Midway Mania." The executives from the Oriental Land Company were presented with the plans for the project a while back and have been given a demonstration of the technology and alterations that would be needed should they approve it. There is talk of possibly one or two C-Tickets getting approval as well, but nothing has moved forward on these plans for quite a while as the OLC actually has a great deal on its plate.



The other exciting news from the Oriental Land Company is the project it's working on that won't be in Tokyo. We probably will have to wait till late this year, but more likely earlier next year when the OLC's new Disney resort burst onto the spotlight in an official news ceremony. The Urban Entertainment Center(UEC) which will occupy another city to broaden OLC's branding will not be a giant sprawling resort like what TDR or WDW is of course... The UEC will be closer to a large and elaborate, Disneyfied mall type experience. If plans go forward with what a Bothan told me, the UEC will be like a mail with somewhat of Victorian themed exterior and between 10 and 12 attractions(more could follow) upon opening. There would be elaborately themed food areas and typical Disney entertainment(think of something similar to the shows put on at the TDR now, but in more a confined space). There is the possibility of a theater like experience that has a Broadway style show similar to TDS's Little Mermaid show or DCA's Aladdin show. Expect OLC to take advantage of the limited the space it will have available in Japan's heavily populated area. Come late 2011 most Disney Fans/Geeks will have another destination in Japan to make us envy them...



Disney's smallest "Magic Kingdom" styled park is scheduled to receive a good deal of TLC over the next few years as well.

Much has been made about a new hotel, but truthfully there have always been plans for more hotels once attendance picks up. There is a preliminary plan for a new hotel to be built but the final decision has yet to be made. If rooms start being filled more regularly in the next year and the parks streets and walkways become more crowded then a green light could be given in time to see a third hotel by late 2011/12.

By then, people could be wandering up and down the Esplanade shopping and eating in the restaurants and stores that would be lined along this resorts version of a more understated Downtown Disney(again, if plans continue).

Now as for the park, well the expansion of that large plot of land will continue and if the wrangling between the Hong Kong Government and Disney settles down then a great deal of growth will have transformed the park to where it would be twenty percent bigger by then. Wanting to go ride that new Pirates right? Sorry, but because of the squabble between the Mouse and City that won't be the next one built and doubtful will it be built or done by 2011... or 2012 for that matter. Instead, the next E-Ticket will be a intricately designed, incredibly detailed version of the Haunted Mansion designed specifically for this area of the park. Oh, and fans of a certain white capped mountain will be very happy to see it jutting into the sky under the current direction. By this time at least a couple of C-Tickets or another D-Ticket should grace Fantasyland as well should plans keep moving forward and the economy not turn everything around.

Should all this happen and the crowds start to come and they open their wallets and purses then the preliminary designs for a second park will move into overdrive... the Mouse has until 2013 for that second park or the land will be sold to someone else and it would be very awkward for a Disney park to have a Universal Studios Hong Kong or the like right next door. Plus, Hong Kong residents will want to have something that their competing Disney park to the north doesn't...



As I just mentioned, there will be another park in China by 2012 and it should be deep in the process of being built by then. Only an unforeseen circumstance would stop this park from going forward and unlike the park down in Penny's Bay on Lantau Island, this one will not be a miniaturized version. It appears Iger and his Suits have learned from the mistakes of his predecessor... or at least for the present it appears so.

The deal with the Shanghai government appears to be different than the one with Hong Kong. My Bothans say it's more of an arrangement with the Walt Disney Company where it has much more control, possibly similar to the deal with the Oriental Land Company, but not exactly like it. The exact details aren't available, but it won't be long before we know what and when Disney plans on building this park. By this time next year at the latest you can probably expect some form of public announcement. The grand ceremony should come sooner rather than later unless China does something politically(think: Taiwan) to spoil the business environment for this and other projects. Disney has been working hard at getting its brands and products into China and working on these details to familiarize the Chinese people that don't know much if any about Disney was a large part of coming to an agreement for Team Burbank. It appears that those negotiations are dotting their final signatures and coming to a very happy Disney ending.

There are plans right now for three hotels of which one will be a Disneyland Hotel and the other two themed to appropriate Disney styled designs. As for the proposed shopping district that corresponds to a Downtown Disney I'm not sure, but hopeful it will be done by the opening unless design changes are made.

So what about the park that will built? All of the details aren't available but the basics will include a much larger "Magic Kingdom" style park with no large chunk of land set back to be built into a regular sized park later. Not that there won't be plenty of room for expansion as the entire resort should be quite larger than the one in Hong Kong. The lands will be more elaborately detailed versions of the lands we have all seen at other parks, but unlike HKDL, we should see Frontierland on opening day unless the Mouse gets cold feet. Now that Pixar is part of the Disney family and not just a leased property expect no idea of separation in lands throughout this kingdom. Buzz and Wall-E will feel right at home in Tomorrowland just as Woody feels right at home in Frontierland. We may even see a few attractions that are at other non-MK parks put into these lands should work continue. There are plans for at least one new original E-Ticket, but the Bothans were tight lipped so as not to jinx its approval. They would only say that Disney Geeks/Fans would squeal if Iger gives it the green light. The plans should not limit this park to having to wait for rides the way Hong Kong did and with any luck Jack Sparrow's attraction will be there on opening day. Sorry HKDL... but you still should get it, but probably not till after it opens at your sister park. Don't blame the messenger, blame the Eisner...

The park itself should reflect differences in design that reflect a difference of management... and this is only the beginning. Let's cross our fingers because the plans the mouse has for the East, particularly Asia are bold and we should see a couple more surprises should the good times keep rolling. As the announcements get closer, expect more details to follow...

I hope you enjoyed this glance into the future. By 2011/12 it may truly be a Disney World...

15 comments:

underage gymnast said...

hopefully we'll be hearing more about the future of hong kong disneyland on september 12th.

and please let the shanghai rumors be true! i am greatly anticipating a new lavish magic kingdom park that will rival the beauty of DLP.

Honor Hunter said...

It's true...

Now as to rivaling DLP, we'll have to wait and see.

Anonymous said...

Awesome sounds completely cool. well worth the wate....and is the white capped mountain everest or matterhorn?

Anonymous said...

"It will be an attraction based on the technology and development of "Toy Story Midway Mania". The executives from the Oriental Land Company were presented with the plans for the project a while back and have been given a demonstration of the technology and alterations that would be needed should they approve it."

This makes no sense.

The new E-Ticket for TDL, Monsters Inc Ride & Go Seek is supposedly using the same technology as Toy Story Midway Mania.

Why would OLC duplicate the same ride technology in TDS that they're currently putting in TDL?

IrishFinneganFAN said...

Loving the overview of Asia! Though I do wish it was possible to prevent, or at least delay, HKDL from getting the green light in the first place... It would make things so much easier. As for Shanghai, it sounds like Disney's got their next winner on their hands! Great Article!

Whatisitcomingto. said...

Horray! We are giving more to the commies! Walt Would LOVE that!!!

Anonymous said...

HKDL is getting a Matterhorn? I like the idea of having a newer version of the Matterhorn at HKDL but it's just really annoying that it's starting to become an exact clone of Disneyland. If the park even had a tad bit of uniqueness, then I might consider visiting for a while when I go to Hong Kong but as of now I wouldn't consider wasting the limited time I have in a foreign country on a park that's so similar to what we have at home. I'd rather go to Ocean Park!

Can this company be innovative and unique at all? We just see more and more of the same all the time. Victorian-style Disneyland Hotels, Downtown Disney-like districts, clones of attractions, parks, castles, etc. It's getting old.

& rumors about Shanghai have been circulating since before HKDLR even opened, so I guess we won't see a Disney park in Australia since HKDL is so close.
But why build a Disney theme park in a country that's unfamiliar with the Disney brand? Is it really worth it, or should they be focusing on improving their other parks and resorts and forget about plots at Disney theme park world domination?

Does the world, and China, really need another Disney theme park right now?

nojarama said...

The "East" definitely sounds like a winner (not that it wasn't before)! Great reports/rumours!!!

BTW, I think my head just exploded on the news about another version of THM. FABULOUS!!!

TDR Fanatic said...

"Why would OLC duplicate the same ride technology in TDS that they're currently putting in TDL?"

Perhaps you should ask the Oriental Land Company Officials that were at DCA a while back inspecting it with several Imagineering executives? I was there and saw them. Oh, and my friend saw one of the models for the HKDL expansion and he too said there was a mountain on it. Don't know if it's Everest or Matterhorn, though.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for Part II, Honor. Could you clarify why OLC would want two rides of the same technology? My understanding is that the Monsters, Inc ride does not use a points system. So I'm guessing the TDS will use one? The only way I can see a point system ride fitting into TDS might be with a carnival style / Coney Islandish ride in New York section. Also, does this mean the Atlantis area you alluded to earlier is no longer in consideration? Finally, which mountain are you alluding to in case of HKDL? Shanghai sould be something to look forward to...the first full fledged MK since DLP! Thanks again. - Tasman

Michael said...

You should ask one of your bothans if it's really true that Disney sold all that property in Florida to Four Seasons for $30.

http://allthingsdiz.blogspot.com/2008/09/wdw-and-four-seasons-update.html

Cowgirl said...

It's really cool to see WALL-E getting some kind of park presence. Now if only he would stateside...

Honor Hunter said...

The track system in Midway Mania and Monsters are different. The system used in Monsters is based more on what was developed for Astroblasters than what was developed for Mania...

Anonymous said...

hopefully all these projects mean i can actually work for wdi one day.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if they will be able to get the Shanghai park done in that timeframe, especially if it's going to be as detailed as you suggest. I believe they have already gone through one concept that has been dropped.

Shanghai appears to be significantly different and they haven't really gotten any solid concepts yet. As it takes about five years to do one of their parks, they're tight on time for 2012, let alone 2011.

How will Hong Kong be reacting to Disney doing another park that completely outshines THEIR park?