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A Few Controversial Opinions from a Disney Lover

I love Disney more than any sane person should. I can look around my house and see literally dozens of Disney-related trinkets. Several of the items in my wardrobe are Disney apparel, including my favorite hoodie. I try to visit the parks at least twice per year and am a proud member of the Disney Vacation Club. And even I, as diehard a fan as there is, have some complaints about Disney. After almost five years of writing at Theme Park Tourist, I’m finally ready to get them off of my chest. Here are a few controversial opinions from a Disney lover.

Disney transportation just isn’t good enough

Image: DisneyI’m a monorail guy. One of my favorite articles that I’ve ever written explains the history of monorail service. As a kid, I felt like Disney was the future because it had a transportation service that I’d never seen before. As an adult, I still love the monorail so much that I have a toy Walt Disney World monorail on one of my shelves.

Even as a passionate fan of the monorail system, I know the truth. The current line at Walt Disney World is dangerously old. When doors come off or open in the middle of a trip, we’ve gone past a maintenance issue. Disney needs to replace the current monorail fleet, preferably soon. It’s the longest a fleet has run in the history of Disney theme parks…by a lot.

While the age of the monorails is troubling, my biggest problem with Disney transportation is the bus system. We live in an age where I can break out my phone and watch live video from the other side of the world in real-time. Why, then, is Disney fundamentally unable to provide quality bus updates to guests waiting at the parks or Disney Springs?

Image: DisneyI call the entire situation the Disney Bus Lottery, only it’s closer to Shirley Jackson’s lottery than the one where you win a prize. During my most recent visit, a bus driver closed the door while staring at me as I approached. Another waved me away, saying that they were only dropping off, not picking up. On several occasions, I waited 20 minutes or longer, valuable time that I could have spent at the parks, places where I’m, you know, likely to spend money.

Disney's maddening lack of information about bus/boat arrivals and departures continues to infuriate. They have made some in-roads, of course. Most resorts have monitors that show this information now, and the My Disney Experience app also includes it for guests staying at official resorts. What about the people at the parks and Disney Springs, though? These are the places where most Disney transportation occurs yet guests remain entirely in the dark about when a bus/boat will show up. It's utterly inexcusable. The undeniable truth is that Disney transportation and its notification system have improved only fractionally over the past decade despite revoutionary advancements in technology and communication.

Stitch and others deserve better attractions

Image: DisneyEveryone has a favorite Disney character. Sadly, few of these characters get rides based off of their stories. In the early days, the choices were easy. Disney had released only a few movies. Characters from those stories were likely to get a park presence, which explains why Mr. Toad is just in half a movie but gets a full Disneyland attraction.

In recent years, Pixar and Marvel characters have heightened their profiles at Disney parks, with Star Wars Land coming soon. Similarly, original intellectual properties (IPs) like the Yeti have starred in rides. Somehow, actual characters from Disney animated movies have gotten the short end of the stick. During the 2000s, the only non-Pixar films with a significant park presence are Dinosaur, Frozen, and Lilo & Stitch. The DINOSAUR attraction barely bears a resemblance to the movie on which it's based, also. That leaves Frozen Ever After, a thoroughly satisfying ride, and the since-deconstructed Stitch's Great Escape!

Image: DisneyAs a Disney fan, I’m frustrated by this situation. During the 2000s, quality films like Meet the Robinsons, Bolt, Moana, Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, and Zootopia are all lacking theme park attractions. While Disney prioritizes all things Pixar, a casual glance at the parks will prove a passion for Lilo & Stitch, too. Stitch has got to be one of the best-selling IPs in the entire Disney catalog yet it had a TERRIBLE ride. When that ride understandably got shut down, the number of attractions based on 21st century Disney films fell from one to zero.

Recently, the only Disney movie that’s gotten any major park attention is Big Hero 6. You may not even know it, either, because this attraction will open at Tokyo Disneyland in 2020. Park officials have done a terrible job in prioritizing high-quality Disney animated films at Disney parks. It’s frustrating. We deserve an excellent Stitch ride, and a Zootopia one would seem like a natural at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, too. And where is that long-rumored Wreck-It Ralph ride? Disney, you have a lot more great IP than just Star Wars, Marvel, and Pixar. Pay more attention to it!

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