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The 5 Biggest Busts at Walt Disney World This Year (So Far!)

Walt Disney World has had a lot of successes this year, including the recent announcements of Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land projects. However, for every rousing success, there is always a project that doesn’t live up to expectations. Though we all knew 2015 would be a quiet year at Walt Disney World, this year has seen a number of projects fail to impress. While none of these "busts" have been an outright failure, they certainly haven't had the level of success that Disney was likely hoping for either...

1. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

Earlier this year, excitement was high for the new “concept” bar at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Guests (especially those who live near the resort) couldn’t wait to try this highly themed bar experience that promised handcrafted cocktails, playful staff, and plenty of special effects that referenced classic attractions like the Jungle Cruise, the Enchanted Tiki Room, and even 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

However, though this location has a blockbuster opening earlier this year (guests waited over three hours to be among the first to have a drink at the Grog Grotto), enthusiasm for this new location has cooled in recent months, with this bar barely attracting more than a handful of guests most nights.

Interestingly, the outdoor Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace has actually maintained decent guest levels since its opening, which highlights the failure of the indoor Grog Grotto even more. Though Disney spent a lot of time and effort creating an immersive experience for Walt Disney World that is comparable to the Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland, this project has simply failed to meet expectations, instead becoming something of a curiosity instead of the highlight it was clearly intended to be. 

2. Guest “lounges” at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios 

Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot both have a lot of unused space on their hands. Though new attractions are coming soon, this past summer Disney tried to capitalize on all this extra unused space by installing special “cool down” lounges that featured places for guests to sit, snacks for purchase and perhaps most importantly, air conditioning!

Unfortunately, it was clear from the moment these lounges started appearing that Disney hadn't put much thought into them. The Soundstage Lounge at Disney's Hollywood Studios sat inside the former location of the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction and actually still had props from that attraction inside that no one ever bothered to clear out! Unsurprisingly, guests responded to these hastily-thrown together areas by simply staying away. Though its unlikely that Disney was seriously planning on keeping these rest areas for very long, guest reaction was so negative from the start that these "lounges" were shuttered almost immediately. 

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There are 11 comments.

Any word on when Pirates of the Caribbean will reopen?

I'm surprised by some of these! I never had luck getting into Grog Grotto. The place is so small that there's a very limited capacity. When I had dinner at The Boathouse, it was quite busy. Of course, many people are simply avoiding the area due to the construction!

I'm not sure your opening statement is accurate. Making announcements doesn't constitute success, it's just a well received announcement.

Trader Sam's Grog Grotto was a HUGE disappointment. Drinks were outrageously overpriced [even by WDW standards], food was just ok, not great. The 'interactive' portraits on the walls are HORRIBLY outdated tech. Avoid the 45+ minute wait for a seat; there are much better venues on property to spend your money

Walt Disney World won't get another dime from me .....I go on non disney cruises now with my family

Just curious; what has been your negative experience with the Disney Cruise? It's the parks & resorts that have been a bit of a disappointment for us. WeI've completely enjoyed the Disney Cruises, having done the Panama crossing 4x, as well as Hawaii, & Castaway Cay. Never had a bit of trouble on any cruise

We have reservations for the Boathouse in January, and we can't wait to visit Trader Sam's Grog Grotto. To me this just means we won't have to wait 3 hours for a drink!!

I was there this summer. Despite the disappointment of not being able to walk through the castle, the trip was highly enjoyable. I think it is unfortunate that so much hype gets put on a hotel bar, which should be an afterthought rather than a primary vacation plan. I am certainly not going to waste time hopping bars at hotels I am not staying at. There is too much to do in the parks and at the resort that I have already paid for.

Totally to number 5. We went this summer to be met with construction in 3/3 parks visitited (we didn't go to Disney's Hollywood Studios), as well as Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. I asked a Cast Member at one point, who claimed that there is always construction going on in the Parks, but I don't know. This seemed different. And I think Downtown Disney loses its charm when its openness it previously boasted was removed; instead we seemed left with something that felt cramped and resembled more of a large shopping walkway instead of a cool, open area that felt very free.
Also got really annoyed at how loud the guests were and how they seemed to uh, talk over every ride audio. What's with that?

Yes I think this year there were several things that are not going Disney's way! I sent them an email after our trip but never heard back! Ticket prices are ridiculous along with the construction! Half of Hollywood Studios seemed to be out of commission! WHY did I waste my time planning and making Fast pass reservations for everything to be shut down and not available and then them tell me the few things I could use my Pass for......which we had just ridden!! No Small world....No Jungle Crusie.....No Pirates of the Caribbean. ....couldn't get Fast Pass for Snow White & Seven Dwarf Mine Train! I have been there many many time and this year people were not friendly & the Park was not taken care of! I was very disappointed! I am a Season Passport holder.....and I am reconsidering! Just got back from Disneyland and it is way cleaner than Disney World! :(

I was at Disneyworld this August 2015. #5 I was aware of, except the front of the castle was blocked off with the repairs/construction. YOU CAN enter the walkway under Castle from the back side to see the Mosaic Tiles. When I went, I was aware of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride being closed for renovations from the Disneyworld Website and checking out the attractions.
I was there for 3 days spending 2.5 days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot and 0.5 day at Hollywood Studios.
Disappointments for me somewhat were Epcot in General (compared to my 2 prior visits pre-1999). Many of the hands-on attractions within the Future Pavilions themselves are gone. If you look at the east/west communications or w/e they're called now. The interactive attractions at the end are somewhat busy. You need them to entertain the younger kids in Families. Otherwise, it's quite boring for them.
Hollywood Studios (prior times I had gone it was called MGM Studios) - the Indiana Jones Stunt spectacular was running, but the Boulder Stunt (where the boulder chases indy) wasn't working which was disappointing. Hollywood Studios feels a bit longitudinal due to land constraints I guess vs the Roundness of Epcot/MK and maybe Animal Kingdom which I have never been to. Hopefully the build out of Star Wars land and Toy Story land help it out.
All in All, I still enjoyed Disney and will continue to return. I think people have expectations at times that everything is perfect there and there are no wait lines etc etc. It is still basically a Big Amusement park with larger crowds. Is it Expensive? Yes, but most large amusement parks are, However, They do offer a few different things. I have never found the employees to be rude (maybe lacking in knowledge regarding a particular subject) and occasionally even helpful.

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