Friday, October 10, 2008

World Gone Wild...



Well, it's been an interesting past couple of weeks. I've had many readers give me grief for always saying in my Blue Sky Buzz reports: "if the economy stays healthy".

THIS is exactly why I always made that statement. Not because I was trying to have an out if some of the projects I've talked about don't happen. As the title of the blog says, everything discussed here is from the "Blue Sky" phase that WDI goes through. Everything that's been talked about has been proposed, but not everything that's been proposed will get built.

Now, we're at a time where the economy is going in the tank. We've had a slowdown over the past two years. It's not like we've not been through this before though... if you look over the past quarter of a century you'd notice that this type of situation has happened four times. The first was back in 1987 when the stock market lost twenty-five percent of its value in one day. The second was the "Dot-Com" bubble at the end of the 90's. The third was after 911. And now we come to the fourth, with this economic downturn that's more than likely going to be a recession by the end of the year. It's happened before, it'll happen again, and America will come out of it. Such is life that when there are good times, they won't always last. The biggest problem right now is a lack of confidence in the markets. There isn't a lack of money. The money is out there... with an estimated four trillion dollars waiting to be spent. The world market has the jitters right now, and given some time it'll settle down. Sadly, that always happens. It's not fair and it's painful, but if you follow history you'll notice that life is cyclical.

So it's with that statement that I mention what some of you have already heard as rumor...

Changes are in the works. Thankfully, for the time being, we here in Southern California haven't had our projects changed. It doesn't mean it won't happen, but as of right now the DCA Extreme Makeover is still on. Much of the budget was already approved on this before many of the other Mouse projects around the world were...

Of course, not everything here has gone untouched. There will be some blowback from the economic bad news. The hotel projects at the Disneyland Resort have been put on hold with the exception of the Grand Californian expansion which is already underway. The additional hotel that was going forward, as well as the situation with the hotels at the Garden Walk have been put in a holding pattern while the Mouse assesses the need for these expenditures over the next year or so. It's going to depend on how much demand for rooms there is over the next few months to see how the downturn has effected the resort. So, ironically, if you want to see those new hotels in a few years then perhaps you should go stay at the old ones to show your support. Just a suggestion...

All those changes we talked about for WDW have been put on hold indefinitely. The face lift that we mentioned for Tomorrowland months ago has been set aside while the situation with the economy is the way it is. That doesn't mean these projects have been canceled, they haven't. They've just been put in a holding pattern. If the economy settles down and we start to grow by the end of 2009, then more than likely they'll go forward. Unfortunately, that makes the completion dates in 2011/2012 move as well. If everything goes well, you're now looking at more of new date of 2014/2015. Not that you won't see a new face on some or many of the attractions, you'll just have to wait a couple years more. Remember when I always say patience? Well, this is why...

Over in the land of the rising sun projects have been affected too. That massive project that the Oriental Land Company was going forward with that was supposed to open around 2011. It's been canceled. When the Suits at the OLC got a look at the price tag for this little project they had to justify the expense of building this quasi/mini-resort and when the economic turmoil happened a couple weeks ago, the company decided that it just didn't meet the criteria for profitability that it had set... and it was gone. At least for now. It could show up again, maybe a year or so later or more likely a project like this will wind up in Singapore or somewhere else in Asia. But as of now, this Disney project is gone... not postponed, but actually gone.

It's not known yet how this has affected the redo of Tokyo Disneyland's Tomorrowland that WDI is working on. When I last talked with my Bothans that was still on. The project that Imagineers have been working on for the redo of TL was/is a welcome thing. It was originally going to be done back in the late 90's when the remake would be known as "Sci-Fi City", but because of the OLC deciding to spend that money on Tokyo DisneySEA, those funds were diverted to the expansion of the park in general. Hopefully, this project hasn't died because WDI was going to use all the R & D from this to justify the makeover here in Anaheim. This was going to make it easier to justify the large redo of TL in Disneyland as the development cost would have been subsidized by our partners in Japan. The status of this project is unknown as of yet.

Other projects around the world may be slowed as well, but don't expect expansion to stop. The plans in Hong Kong have been moving forward and as of the last I heard, they haven't been put on hold. We'll find out between the holiday season and early next year as that was the actual time period when the expansion was to be announced. It's also the time period within which we would finally hear about that new resort in Shanghai that Disney was working on...

Time will tell.

As for Europe and Disneyland Paris? Well, from what I've been told, the projected expansion of Walt Disney Studios is under review. No final word is in until they figure out how the economy is going to affect the resort. Much of Europe has been hit by this tide of economic turmoil as well and the Suits are waiting to see how the situation in the resort is by the end of the year. So far, for the last two years at least, the Paris Resort has been doing fantastic. If the situation doesn't change drastically, then the plans won't change drastically... but we'll have to wait and find out as we weather this storm over the next few months.

By the holiday season next year, we'll have a clearer picture of what to expect. But remember, on many of these projects, the pause button has been punched, not the delete button. You will seen many of these attractions/rides in the future...

It's just more than likely that it'll be a few years further out than many of us had hoped or expected.

Patience...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

The makeover of Tokyo DL's Tomorrowland that you mentioned, is that just changes to attractions/new attractions? Or are the going to change the look of the whole land. I hope it's not the latter because that is the only remaining example of a WED Enterprises designed Tomorrowland, and is by far the most beautiful Tomorrowland of all the Magic Kingdoms, in my opinion.The Tomorrowland in Disneyland & WDW are such eyesores I can hardly stand to look at them!
Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Honor.

I agree with you, its important to have patience.
Unfortunately, most online message board people have no patience. So people will ALWAYS give you grief. I'm sure you've noticed by now.

Sadly, there is simply no room on the Internet for positive thinking...If any of the comments from your past blogs are any indication. People are always so rude, nasty, and negative that its sickening.
And for those people (like Spokker, among others) who will surly give me a nasty response; well, thank you for proving my point.

Anonymous said...

Patience is good BUT would it not make sense to start to build something (not everything, but SOMETHING...for instance, instead of building the whole new Fantasyland, just build the LM ride?) right now, so that it is ready in a couple of years when the good times might return again? Otherwise if they wait for boomtimes to return, before restarting the approval process, another economic slump might roll around before they actually get something built.

Also, in reply to the first poster...if Tokyo in fact resurrects the original plans for SciFi City, I'm afraid you're out of luck...it's essentially a big-budget version of WDW's 1995 Tomorrowland. The concept art is available online, if you look around for it...

- Tasman

Honor Hunter said...

Sci-Fi City isn't what the redo of TDL's Tomorrowland will look like...

That was just what the design was going to look like when they were planning it in the late 90's. What's being planned now is more of a retro/TL 2055 look.

Sorry, that's all I'll say for now...

Anonymous said...

^^^ Although parts of Tokyo's Tomorrowland could use improvements, I do like the overall uncluttered feel...and the area around Star Tours looks just right to me. If they could just extend the level of detail around Star Tours to the rest of the land, then I would have no complaints.

I am more curious about the future of Tokyo's Fantasyland. As far as I can tell from satellite images, there's no room left for new attractions without tearing down some of the old ones. So...what will come, and will go? Also...it's surpring that, with OLC's big budgets, that they don't seem to have seriously considered a makeover along the lines of DL or DLP, to replace the current "Fair" theme.

- Tasman

Michelle said...

Bummer that WDW is on hold. It doesn't come as a surprise, but I really was looking forward to some of the good stuff. I know... patience... :)

Anonymous said...

Honor,
I think you may have meant to say the redo of Fantasyland at WDW instead of Tomorrowland.

Colorado Mommy said...

I have still heard Mermaid is coming to WDW and two new attractions are planned for Studios. Hmmm.... I am confused. So is Cars Land (eeww) still going to be done to coincide with the sequel in 2011?

Gil said...

Can somebody point me to more information about this Tokyo Urban park? Have there been articles about this before, because this seems like a surprising idea in the first place and i'd be interested in learning more...

Mr. Medical said...

Sad news. But perfectly understandable. Although, if they are waiting to see what the economy in general does, I'm afraid we may be waiting a long time.

On the other hand, when the economy is tanking, as many people as ever may find an excuse to spend the last few dimes in the piggy bank on a trip to the most magical place on earth.

I'm stilling planning on getting down to WDW in April.

Although I wake up each morning with a certain tightness in my chest. Business is hard enough when the economy is good. This whole mess makes me worry, worry, worry. And with all the nationalizing and bailing out, I'm worried about a future without Disney World. Just the "United States Official Theme Park." We'll be left with the Hall of Presidents, the "Social Justice Roller Coaster", "The Carousel of Social Progressives" and maybe a new ride, like the Whirling Wealth Redistribution Wheel.

I dunno. I certainly appreciate your qualification of "If the economy remains good" now. Sheesh. Wasn't expecting this.

Anonymous said...

This is a Disney fan site, not Fox News. Let's please not include political biases. That can get ugly.

Anonymous said...

speaking of which... taking shots at fox news is biased also. There are no neutral reporters it just isnt humanly possible get over it. great update honor as always

precinct gui said...

Exactly what political bias are we talking about here? The article or the talkback comments?

I don't know what you're reading into this. It was an article about the state of the economy and business, NOT politics.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. and World Economy will boom again, eventually, (For those who doutb, did we not survive the Great Depression and grow bigger than ever before). Unfortunately, when the economy booms again, disney will not be prepared with the necessary expansions to accomadate the boom. Don't the execs know that the economy fluxuates. If they only plan expansion when things are good, by the time they try to implement the expansion, the bubble has already burst. Good Grief. Disney should expand now in preperation for the boom that will come.

Anonymous said...

I agree. During the early 70's Oil Crises, when WDW opened, Disney cancelled several hotels planned for WDW including the Venetian and Asian resorts. Guess What, the economy came back and left Disney behind the ball on available rooms. They need to expand now for the future GLOBAL ECONOMIC BOOM THAT WILL COME.