Are Disney Scaling Back Animal Interactions?

WDWmagic.com mentioned yesterday that they ‘thought’ that Disney might not re-introduce the Shark Reef at their gorgeous Typhoon Lagoon water park when it re-opens after its current rehab in January.
WDW Theme parks went one step further and claimed that the sea water snorkelling section with sharks, would indeed be no more in 2015.  At the moment, it is however pure speculation, but I can’t help but think that such respectable publications wouldn’t go down this route without some belief in the rumour sources.

The question on my mind isn’t so much as why this is happening, but more along the lines of ‘when will it stop’.

After a truly dreadful few years for SeaWorld, attention hasn’t faded since the release of Blackfish.  Irrespective of my personal beliefs about animal captivity, or their value as a public awareness device etc, I can only describe Blackfish as a battle between two groups that are ‘managing the public’.
I don’t want SeaWorld to keep telling me how kind they are.  I can make my own mind up about that thanks.
I don’t want PETA to keep telling me about animal cruelty in the parks, I can make my own mind about that too.
What I, like most other civilized people want, is more transparency, more care and better education for our kids.  That, might mean compromizes, but not lies.

But what about Disney?  What about the Shark Reef?
Forgive me for revisiting Blackfish.  But the link is probably much deeper than any of us care to imagine!
PETA have already had a go at Disney about the Animal Kingdom Park and it’s probably safe to say that Disney Execs will not let the ‘Brand Assassination’ that SeaWorld have suffered, affect Walt Disney World and much more.
One of my favorite AK sites, also thinks along the same lines.  Disney are a much better target to go after, and no doubt, the plans are in place to pressurize Disney into realigning its business model.

I hope not.

I’d prefer for Disney to keep doing what they do well, which is entertain and educate.
I think they excel at that over in the Animal Kingdom, but I fear that no matter what they do, PETA will go for them, right down to the very last fish in the Seven Seas Lagoon that has suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during the Wishes firework display.

So, removing fish from the Shark Reef pools, surrounding by excited kids snorkelling, might just be the very first step towards an ‘animal interaction’ free Walt Disney World.
Hmmm, this seems so wrong.  Good luck Disney.

Made With Magic – After Some Time

Made With Magic Merchandize

Glow With The Show ears promised lots, but barely glimmered this year at WDW.
Instead of showing a swathe of color, the few people in the night time viewing areas kind of stood out for all the wrong reasons.

Rather like those radio controlled buckets that Plankton used in SpongeBob Squarepants, the highly sophisticated mouse ears, light up at every wireless command that Disney sends your way.  The ears worked well whenever large groups assembled in shows like Fantasmic, but at 25 bucks a pop, you’d be surprised how many (or how very few) actually bought them.
In the end, Glow With The Show was for me, the biggest disappointment of 2014.
I wanted to see a sea of LED color whenever I watched Wishes, but instead, I saw a few hundred or so scattered around the park at best on most days.  That might sound like a lot x$25, but it’s definitely not enough to create the visual wow factor that Disney were looking for.

But now Disney have worked out a solution that just might work.
Sadly it does not include any free giveaways, which would really do the trick, but at least guests can now see the effects of what they are buying, instead of the LEDs being completely out of sight on top of their heads!  (Mickey LED Ears were a FAIL Disney!)

Wands, Minnie Headbands and Mickey Gloves join those cute Glow With The Show Mickey Ears, along with a rebranded name ‘Made With Magic’.

For more on this story, visit Touringplans article by Riikki Niblett

High Traffic Attractions at WDW Will Cause Frustration!

toy-story-mania-gallery00Totalorlando.com reported that Toy Story Midway Mania is already testing over October without the use of a regular Standby entrance.  It will join the ‘Be Our Guest Restaurant’ and Anna & Elsa character greet in effectively eliminating the opportunity to just breeze by and step inside.

When Magicbands first appeared, worried vacationers expressed concerns that the spontaneity of their time in WDW world would be spoiled by Magicbands etc.
Last year Bob Eiger promised that the ability for guests to be spontaneous would be unaffected.

I would like to invite Bob Eiger to arrive through the gates, and accompany any first time visitor, who’s never even heard of Fastpass+ to see their sheer disappointment after spending $100 for a day pass to access attractions and restaurants that are practically unavailable!