Will you be visiting Walt Disney World over the next week-to-10-days? If so, keep a close eye out for any cast members clutching clipboards. Who may want to hear your opinion on WDI's recently revamped plans for Disney's Night Kingdom.
That's right. WDW's answer to Discovery Cove has undergone a rethink. Given that those who were surveyed back in February weren't all that enthusiastic about WDI's initial attempt at a niche park, the guys in Glendale are now taking another stab at this project. Ditching many of the ideas & concepts that would to have made Night Kingdom a truly unique guest experience.
"Like what?," you ask. Well, first of all, you can forget about DNK's original operating hours. Which were to have been 4 p.m. to midnight. In an effort to increase this niche park's capacity as well as its profit potential, Disney's Night Kingdom will now be operated from 12 noon to 2 a.m. daily.
And given that WDW's newest theme park will no longer be an "it only comes alive at night" -type operation a la Pleasure Island ... Well, that means that Disney's Night Kingdom name has to go. Which is why the Imagineers are now leaning toward calling this niche park Disney's Jungle Trek.
"What else has changed about this $520 million project?," you query. Well, in an effort to keep construction & operating costs of this proposed WDW addition down, WDI has been scaling back & cutting corners wherever it can. Cutting the number of ziplines to be built in this park from 5 to 2. Changing Jungle Trek's meal component (Where each guest was to have been served an elegant dinner by that theme park's extremely attentive staff) to a do-it-yourself all-you-can-eat buffet experience.
The Imagineers have even gone so far as to remove the individual "lands" that were to have been built inside of this niche park. Now what guests will find as they explore Disney's Jungle Trek is a global village. Which will feature individual buildings & structures that then represent the four corners of the globe.
This concept art for Epcot's never-build African World Showcase pavilion offers a hint of the sort of adventurous atmosphere WDW guests can expect to encounter as they explore Disney's Jungle Trek. Copyright 1980 Disney. All Rights Reserved
The upside of this revamp is ... Most of the "adventures" that were originally proposed for Disney's Night Kingdom are still in place for Jungle Trek. You can still handfeed the hippos. You can still go spelunking in a cave and then encounter some bats. You can enjoy a dazzling stage show inside of a state-of-the-art theater (Though -- that said -- where Disney's Night Kingdom was supposed to have a 2000-seat theater which would have allowed this niche park to entertain all of its visitors at the same time ... Now Disney's Jungle Trek will have a much smaller, more affordable theater which will then present several shows daily in order to accomodate the crowds).
Speaking of crowds ... Again with an eye toward increasing this niche park's capacity, Disney will be breaking Jungle Trek's operational day into four different phases (i.e. morning, early afternoon, late afternoon and evening). With different groups of guests being loaded into the park during each of these phases to have 5-hour long adventurous experiences.
Of course, what's kind of ironic about all this is that -- while the Imagineers are increasing Jungle Trek's operating hours as well as reducing the scope of this entire project in order to make this niche park seem that much more affordable to Mouse House managers -- you know what hasn't changed about this proposed WDW addition? Its admission price. Which is still projected to be around $300 per person.
Mind you, if you aren't going to be at WDW before the end of August, you may still get the chance to comment on Disney's Jungle Trek. Earlier this week, the Mouse began reaching out to folks in the U.K. Asking them for their opinion on the revamped design for this niche park.
"Why reach out to people in the United Kingdom?"," you wonder. It's simple, really. Tourists from the U.K. make up a good portion of the folks who annually visit SeaWorld's Discovery Cove. And it's these exact folks that Mickey hopes to convince to come visit Disney's Jungle Trek.
So what do you think? Does this revamped version of Disney's Night Kingdom sound appealing to you? Or does it bother you that the Imagineers are already scaling back what was originally supposed to be a premium guest experience for WDW visitors?
How about this:
Are theme parks becoming obsolete?
I think Disney has captured something with their travel destination excursions, but to me I think once Vegas tapped into the family market and tehn retreated, the damage had been done
It seems awfully premature to judge a concept when it's in the earliest stages of development.
"The Grand may have been built as a 4-star, but it's certainly been allowed to slip since then. Bottom line, it was supposed to be Disney's "luxury" hotel, but Disney cut corners"
?!?! How so? I mean I stayed there in July and the place was wonderful. My room was practically new and the service was great and super-friendly. It may not be up the standards of the super rich but then again I can't imagine a better experience. I think someone may be drinking the sour-punch...
The activity list published on Micechat for this park sounds lame, lame, lame.
What they are offering can be done in the major European zoos for free, besides: who wants to feed bats and hippos? Ugh!
Zip lines over a river? Can be done on many tree-top-trails.
Maybe this is impressive for Americans, but visitors from the UK should know better, they have this in their own zoos. They'll keep swimming with the dolphins...
Speaking as a Central Floridian, I am THRILLED that Disney is even considering a fifth gate! The construction and operation of a new park means more jobs and returning visitors.
Well done Disney!
Give me Beastly Kingdom any day over this. Let's finally do justice to the dragon that hangs over the Animal Kingdom ticket booths. I don't Hippos, I want Unicorns!
lostincrowds may unintentionally have an excellent point. Beastly Kingdom would make a MUCH better premium experience then this would. Think "ultimate renfest" where YOU fight the dragon or ride pegasus! All we need is a little genetic engineering and a dream!
Oh I got a better one! Disney should rent an island from the government of Costa Rica where they can have premium guests experience the greatest adventure of all, DINOSAURS! We'll clone them from tree sap and cage them behind large electric fences! What could go wrong?!
(Note: I didn't originally intend to get snarky there but I'm coming to the conclusion that Disney doing a premium park is a very stupid idea to begin with.)
Over at TPI a poster noted Disney has the potential to package a premium park with hotel space. This concept can travel in a variety of directions.
I don't even spend much time at Animal Kingdom. Why the heck would I want to cough up $300 bucks for more zoo time?
I MIGHT spend that much for a Beastly Kingdom experience. Disney could create a park with AA dragons, griffins, unicorns, trolls, giants...and then have a medieval-castle feast at the end. That would truly rock. But THIS...forget it. My interest in Night Kingdom is zip.
Why don't they come up with a more fun and creative theme? Recreating locations that already exist has been done to death already at the parks. Universal's got it right with Potter. Creating a totally new, original world for people to explore. Why make a theme park themed to the "four corners of the World" when you've already got World Showcase and Animal Kingdom and Adventureland and Animal Kingdom Lodge?
Negating some of what I just posted, recreating locations isn't necessarily a bad thing if it is actaully something new that isn't already at the parks, but I guess what I'm looking at from the concepts of Jungle Trek is stuff that's already around Disney World.
Why should I pay 300 dolars to get for just ONE DAY there if for that money I can buy a park hopper for the other parks for few days???
Belive me... after a full week of park hopping you want to have a deserved rest and adding a fifth park might be a big mistake for Disney....
Four parks so far is enough and remember there are many activities to do on propety... I love WDW but 300 extra dollars extra to the thousands I spend when visiting there... not atractive ...
Putting aside all of the very valid comments re. misc. issues, the bottomline here is simple: Can Disney (a) build and (b) promote a park that guests will not only BELIEVE in advance of actually experiencing it is WORTH $300 and (c) one that will SATISFY those guests who DO try it enough to spread positive word-of-mouth that it IS indeed worth the price?
Believe it or not, folks--rich people GET rich by not buying CRAP for high prices. They seek VALUE. And if this thing not only doesn't SEEM from the OUTSIDE to be a value for the money and also doesn't ACTUALLY become a value-worthy experience...it's doomed.
What I don't understand is even if you had that much money, why would you travel to Florida to do these things? Want to experience a zip line? Head over to Costa Rica and do it over an actual jungle. My wife and I went last year for our honeymoon, and the airfare was cheaper than going out to visit my family in California. (And the dollar is still strong in Costa Rica, so food and lodging were pretty cheap). Want to experience a safari? Go see the actual African savannah. In fact, British tourists can get better value for their pound in Africa than they can in the U.S. And it's the real experience!
I agree with The Dude. Disney should give us a new, original world for that price, not a clone.
Do you remember that niche park which the Imagineers toyed with building back in 2008? You know, that