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.