After the “announcement,” yesterday, that Toy Story Midway Mania was only going to be open to people who either made a Fastpass Plus reservation or were lucky enough to receive a paper Fastpass, I got to thinking about the situation. This surprise announcement caught a lot of people, myself included, off guard. There were a good number of complaints yesterday at Guest Relations about the announcement. Should Disney be obligated to inform its guests about upcoming tests to attractions at the theme parks?
Disney, already, announces a form of test to the general public about attractions…..soft openings. However, this announcement serves a purpose for Disney. It helps generate buzz about the attraction. It gives people a reason to come to the parks and hope that they can experience the soft opening. If they can, they are already in the parks and have a chance to experience other attractions and, of course, spend money on food and souvenirs.
My family and I were lucky enough to participate in a soft open for New Fantasyland back in November of 2012. Everything in New Fantasyland was open except the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and the crowds were low since it was before Thanksgiving. We, even, got to have lunch at Be Our Guest. It was a fun experience but it was something that people should go out of their way to experience. If you are lucky to participate, enjoy the experience.
Disney, however, doesn’t want the kind of publicity that can come with “test announcement” like yesterday’s. It was mostly negative and rightfully so. Guests should know what attractions are going to be open (barring mechanical malfunction), how long they are going to be open, and what the wait time is going to be for the attraction. Yesterday’s announcement threw all of that out the window. Guests had to change their plans on the fly and with the introduction of Fastpass Plus changing plans on the fly is more difficult to do. If Disney wants guests to, in my opinion, over-schedule their vacations, they should publicize queue changes and queue test periods to the general public.
I’ve had experience with this as well. In August, my wife and I took a trip without our daughter. Our plan was get a picture frame signed by Anna and Elsa with a “See you in November message.” When we arrived, we found out that Anna and Elsa were no longer together for the pictures. It was a picture with Anna and then a picture with Elsa. We needed to find a new frame like the one we had brought with us. Could not find one on Disney property. When we returned home, I had a friend create a photo collage of the Memorymaker pictures to put in the frame.
These changes should be announced publicly. Disney has an obligation to its guests to inform them about any changes made to attractions during their stay. Mechanical malfunctions and attraction malfunctions will occur during a guest’s stay at Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Those things, for the most part, are out of Disney’s control. Queue management and queue tests are within Disney’s control and, therefore, should be made public in advance.
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