Monday, February 18, 2008

Will Disney World Go Boutique?

The internet has been in a buzz over the past week because of an article over at Jim Hill Media all about the new 5th gate he claims is coming to the Walt Disney World Resort. Let me start by saying I have been a big Jim Hill fan for a while now, read the articles on his website daily and listen to him once a week on the exceptional Magical Definition Podcast, but I am skeptical on this one.

I mean i DO think that if WDW is going to build a 5th gate it will be something like this kind of "Niche" park. They already have 4 traditional parks on property and that is enough, I mean the Disney World 5th gate is probalby the oldest rumor on the internet. And all the rumored themes weve heard a million times just wouldn't work:
Villans Park: would scare the children
Coaster Park: would scare the children
Sports Park: not sure how this would work & wouldn't appeal to females
Orlando Disneysea: the one all disney fans would want, but I mean the original Disneysea cost 4 billion dollars to build. Yes, its incredible but the disney company wouldn't drop that kind of cash on a new park.

So I think the Boutique park would be a good place for expansion of the great orlando resort, but I don't think Jim got the theme ride. In his article the main attractions of this new extra hours mega dollars park would be up close encounters with wild african animals. Now this sounds like something much more like an exclusive after hours tour with trainers over at Animal Kingdom (which closes earlier then the other parks and has no nightime spectacular). I could see them going forward with this idea though, and i could certainely see it being sucessful. I mean if 15 million people a year visit Magic Kingdom, don't you think 73,000 people a year would shell out the big bucks for night kingdom?? The price tag of $520 million also seems reasonable for a project of this size.

The problem I see with this park would be marketing. How do you market this to the public? And then if you only have to attract 73,000 guests a year to sell out every single night, would it really require that much marketing considering all the millions of guests that visit the resort each year. And a project with this much intamate interaction and superior service would proably have great word of mouth.

Myself I don't care much for the theme, I mean it seems like animal kingdom without the people and everyone gets a guide. I love the idea of a broadway style disney production and gourmet meal being included. And they got the property open that would be great for a limited attendence style park over at the old river country and have boat launches over to the old discovery island.

NOW if i had to design such a 'niche' park I would make it some sort of Disney Ultimate Dream Park. Think about it using the old Discovery Island, which could be transformed into a pirate island hideout and your party can board none other then a replica of the black pearl of course captained by mr.sparrow himself. Once arriving at the island Jack will lead your party on an adventure thru caves, lookouts and re-creations of some of the movies scenes. I don't have any other genius ideas for my high end disney theme park, but i just can't see animal encounters being the basis.

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