EDITORIAL: Five Fixes for Magic Kingdom (Over) Crowding

PHOTO REPORT: The Magic Kingdom 10/13/17 (Alien Encounter, Passholder Lines, Splash Mountain Closure, Etc.)
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When Hurricane Irma rolled toward central Florida last year, something very rare transpired – an almost-empty Magic Kingdom. Though we don’t ever hope for a hurricane to hit, it was an odd moment where the resort’s flagship park lacked the wall-to-wall crowds it normally hosts, and it put into stark contrast the difference between what Disney considers acceptable crowd levels and what, in reality, the kingdom can comfortably hold (at least comfortably for the park patrons).

But it’s not like you didn’t already know that. We’ve all zigged and zagged past strollers and crowds or found ourselves herded onto a ferry post-fireworks like cattle to slaughter. The Magic Kingdom is the busiest park in the world and it is going to only get worse when the Tron Lightcycle Power Run opens sometime in 2021. I’ve identified five very problematic areas in the Magic Kingdom that are near their breaking point now, and to alleviate the overcrowding Disney must do something soon. And that something may be rather drastic, and surely will be expensive.

 

5. Tea Cups to Tomorrowland

The Problem: The pathway connecting Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, between Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe and the Tomorrowland Speedway, has two parallel paths separated by trees. From a traffic flow standpoint, the separation leads to efficiency due to the natural tendency of people to walk on the right hand side. However, the space available simply isn’t enough to match the traffic coming in and out of Cosmic Ray’s at meal times, plus the entrance and exit of the Speedway. With the Tron coaster under construction, you can bet crowds will only grow along this route.

The Solution: When the Tron concept art emerged, some in the fan community assumed this meant the end of the Tomorrowland Speedway, but alas, it seems that it’s staying. That smelly and hardly-futuristic attraction should still be bulldozed. Not only would they be able to significantly expand this pathway, but also open up a huge plot of real estate for future development.

BEFORE
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4. Adventureland

The Problem: Perhaps the theming is supposed to make you feel you’re in some sort of crowded marketplace. It sure works well. Maybe too well. With three entry points, Adventureland can be hit on all sides with crowds, but the worst of it is in the direct center and the east side (towards the Hub).

The Solution: The issue with congestion in the center is easy: take out The Flying Carpets of Aladdin. It’s an eyesore to the rest of the theming and eats up a terrible amount of space. It’s not like it’s an opening day attraction, and we’ve already got Dumbo and Astro Orbiter anyway.

The eastern path toward the castle hub calls for a more controversial change. To really open up that area, the Swiss Family Treehouse should be removed and the waterway around it diverted. It’s a beautiful attraction to be sure, but its inaccessibility to some guests along with a lack of general appeal (how many 10 year-olds have seen Swiss Family Robinson?) makes it a regrettable target that, with it’s removal, would open up the land around it.

BEFORE
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3. Fantasyland West

The Problem: Possibly the worst bottleneck in all of Walt Disney World, the popularity of both it’s a small world and Peter Pan’s Flight, along with its proximity to the Haunted Mansion, makes this area almost unbearable.

The Solution: Back in 2013, when the Tangled Toilets opened on the old Skyway site, the additional pathway behind Yankee Trader directly to the entrance of the Haunted Mansion alleviated one bottleneck on this side of Fantasyland. But they left the worse bottleneck in place, likely because there’s nothing easy about fixing this problem. You’ve got two very popular attractions with their entrances situated across a narrow path, way too close to each other.

Without removing either of the rides, the only real way to solve the problem is to move or reduce one of the queues. As Pan just recently saw a queue refurbishment, Small World is the more likely of the two and it would be a doozy – gut Pinocchio Village Haus replace it with a new Small World entrance and queue. Instead of turning left as your boat enters the ride, you now go in from the right. The ride itself doesn’t need to even change with this configuration and, once you demolish the old queue, you’re left with much more traveling space. And who would lament the loss of Village Haus?

BEFORE
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2. Frontierland / Liberty Square

The Problem: The crescent moon shaped pathway, traveling around the Rivers of America from Big Thunder Mountain all the way to Haunted Mansion, is thick with rides and eateries. Add midday Country Bear dance parties and parades and things get crowded quick. A few spots, such as Liberty Square Market, clog quickly, but major issues stem from Big Thunder dead ending the trail and leaving guests no choice but to double back. Add another influx of people from the train station near Splash Mountain and things can get pretty hairy.

The Solution: While Disney could simply widen out the worst areas, the dead end at Big Thunder is the main issue. The easiest fix is to use a large chunk of space left pretty much abandoned – Tom Sawyer Island. Here again, like the Speedway, is a huge plot of real estate just begging to be redeveloped. By adding two bridges, one connecting at Big Thunder and another at the current Riverboat dock or just north of it, you would create a straight shot from Thunder all the way to the Hub via Liberty Square.

This would mean a complete redo of the island, but it needs it. Level the thing and start over. It can still be an interactive area, but adding the bridges would completely change the island’s traffic flow. Yes, the Liberty Belle Riverboat could no longer run, but it could sit near Liberty Square and make a rather nice resting spot or even a small snack shop. In the process, this eliminates the need for the slow and crowded rafts to access Tom Sawyer Island, meaning the new awesome attraction they build there would be much easier to access.

Although more expensive, if one was intent on keeping the Liberty Belle running: drawbridges. This would slightly reduce the efficiency of travel across the bridges, but not significantly since the riverboat runs only limited hours anyway.

BEFORE
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1. Main Street USA

The Problem: The Magic Kingdom’s main thoroughfare was never designed for the capacity and flow that is currently demanded of it. This is the main artery of the entire park it’s can’t handle the crowds, with all the strollers, ECVs, and PhotoPass photographers in the middle of the road. And that’s just mid-morning. Once early afternoon rolls around and people start staking out spots for the parade, you’re basically guaranteed a shoulder-to-shoulder struggle, especially on the sidewalks. And then the nighttime spectaculars jam up the whole thoroughfare, sidewalks, street, and all. From an hour or more before the fireworks, to an hour after, it’s really in your best interest (for safety reasons, as well as your sanity and your ankles) not to make the dangerous trek from the Hub to Town Square.

The Solution: One could suggest a second entrance to the park, but nobody wants a different experience entering Main Street than to see the castle as they come out from under the train station (except maybe those staying at the rumored Volcano Hotel behind Adventureland). So what can be done? The solution is an exhaustive one, involving lots of bulldozers. You’d make the space by pushing back both sides of shops to match the setback of City Hall and Town Square Theater.

It’s a bonkers solution, but it allows you to quadruple the width, and have plenty of room down the middle for PhotoPass and selfies. It also means major overhauls (if not complete demolitions) of The Crystal Palace and Tomorrowland Terrace, not to mention much less backstage space all around, but something’s gotta give somewhere.

BEFORE
AFTER

 

Final Thoughts

None of these solutions fully take into account the architectural and aesthetic demands of the park (but these unfortunately seem to get way more relaxed as time goes on). It is also likely that there are building codes and safety laws that I haven’t addressed, not to mention issues with drainage, wildlife, and other naturally-occurring obstacles. There would be hundreds if not thousands of issues that could come up, but if Walt Disney World continues to grow, then demand for the Magic Kingdom will rise right along with it. No matter what Jedi or Guardian shows up elsewhere, people will always make a day for Walt’s last park and it must meet the demands to come. If Disney doesn’t make plans to accommodate larger crowds at the Magic Kingdom, then the only alternative is to reduce demand by raising prices, blocking out passholders, giving priority access to those staying at Disney hotels, and other such methods. Otherwise the Magic Kingdom will literally burst at the seams.

 


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About the author

Nathan Hartman

A sunshine state resident, Nathan is an avid Disney parks wonk as well as a university film professor.

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  • While I cant disagree with the Swiss Family Treehouse being obsolete. Kids still REALLY enjoy Tom Sawyer Island and Speedway. They gotta stay. Aladdin is repetitive and an eyesore but I’m sure Disney needs it for capacity. Same for the Haus….sucks but necessary. I think the best idea for No.1 is to “theme” the spillway alley behind the east side of Main Street. Put up some DHS Streets of America-like facades and no bulldozing necessary. If you want to get crazy the build backdoors to the those shops currently on Main Street and actual shops on east side of the spillway.

    • Yes, this! They added that walkway for crowd control when leaving the fireworks, creating a 2nd main street with back doors to the shops, maybe another small street and more shops back there would be great.

    • Rich

      I agree… Main Street must be dealt with… it’s so bad I think the west side spillway, although more difficult, will also be needed as Disney (and it’s bean counters) have lost their minds with the huge hotel room capacity increase that is coming in just a few years… It’s almost as if they can’t do arithmetic… you think it’s bad now, just wait a year or two…

      As far as the other “solutions”… as you said, it’ll just create more lines elsewhere… and even if it didn’t, the cost benefit ratio would be less than zero as this problem is way beyond those solutions being solutions… the Magic Kingdom’s people bomb wasn’t even dented with the Fantasyland expansion and this would be no different…

      The only solution, as I said in other posts, WDW needs at least one more gate (probably two), with one of the new parks so similar in it’s attractions, entertainment and night fireworks to Magic Kingdom that it draws the same demographic and thereby lessens the cramped masses that flood there every day and night…

      I’m sure their bean counters are hoping that the new attractions at the other parks (Pandora, SWland, TSland, new Epcot rides, ect…) will help thin the heard and do the trick, but again with all the new hotels going up, Magic Kingdom won’t be worth the money anymore except for that one week after Labour Day.

  • Good ideas here. Although, a lot of them are a bit too radical. Main Street, for example, has some easy fixes (well, relatively easy). If they were to do like Disneyland Paris’ Main Street and add what they call “Arcades” on the back sides of the shops, they would then have 3 walkways for traffic (down the middle, behind the right side shops where the theater was going to be, and behind the left side shops…moving backstage items here and there).

    Heck, they could even bring back the Edison Square idea of Walt’s from way back and connect the side street near the Jewelry store with the new back of shops street (and do something similar on the left side alley).

    • Always thought that would be a solution to Main Street… the problem is I don’t know if they can move or redirect the logistics that serve those shops and restaurants… I’m sure they could find a way to do it before they would ever consider moving entire blocks of buildings further back…

  • I think you’re bonkers (in a good way), but thinking outside the box sometimes is a good thing. Only one I completely agree with would be Aladdin’s ride. Unfortunately, as we are now seeing within Disneyland, most planters and trees are being removed from the walkways to alleviate bottlenecks. Some new attractions should be placed to the left of the Tron attraction where a bigger path from the Circus can happen.
    I do think that additional Exit Only areas at the front of the park could be done, especially where people can exit closer to the buses.
    Disney should expand around the Rivers of America so there could be better flow. Just not sure how to get to Fantasyland Forest from there.

  • 2-5 are actually really great ideas. #1 is obviously insane. But there are certainly a few rides in the park that can and should be removed to add to the space of the park and possibly open up for new development.

    • None of this alleviates the main problem, incredible standby wait times. I can handle the bottle necks and the shoulder to shoulder crowds on occasion but not queuing for 90 minutes for a 4 minute attraction. Making foot traffic flow more readily is fine but it does nothing to enhance the ride/attraction experience.

      • The only way to relieve that is to add more attractions or speed up rides to cater to more guests per minute. The more attractions will only relieve the lines if the park cannot hold more guests. Plus, there are very few places left to add new attractions without serious rework of the queues of current attractions or even getting rid of some of the major attractions everyone loves.

  • Add me to the list of agreeing that Flying Carpets needs to go. The space is needed and it’s a throwaway ride. The “bridges to Tom Sawyer Island” idea is one I hadn’t thought of, and am intrigued by. The chore of having to take the raft over must detour thousands from bothering with it each year. The Riverboat ride is a classic, but would not be missed by that many. I’d miss the treehouse much more than the riverboat.

  • Thank God you’re not in charge! All of these ideas are terrible because they remove iconic attractions and/or charm.

      • NH

        The major concern for many imagined changes is the disposition of the Utilidors.

        The ground level is level 2 and level 1 cannot be altered without closing the Park.

        • The only one of those that would have a utilidoors issue is number 1. The rest can be done without an issue.

      • Yeah genius, removing attractions is the best way to make for a better flow to then stand in line for a much longer time for the lack of attractions…..

  • The one thing that should be implemented immediately, is for Disney to stop allowing various television variety shows to film episodes at the beginning of Main Street. Last year that no talent hack from the United Kingdom was filming an episode of his crummy show on Main Street and the congestion was unbearable. We were trapped in the park until the twerps that were standing in the little space that was remaining finally decided to move along.

  • I think less attractions should never be a solution. Maybe a one for one, like replacing the Speedway with the Storybook Land Canal Boats and Casey Jr. I get the size concerns, but having just a few attractions didn’t go over to well with many at Hollywood Studios.

  • In my opinion they just need to make the park bigger and more spread out. You need to push back all the lands and add another layer of stuff.

  • I agree with the Tom Sawyer Island and the dead end at BTM. The bridge idea would work but why not some type of draw bridge so the Empress Lilly could still travel through the Rivers of America. I probably only been to Tom Sawyer’s Island twice in 15 years. My kids have never been over there and my oldest is 15. Agree about the speedway it old and obsolete and Aladdin should have never been put there.

  • Maybe the answer is to get creative with ticket prices. Go ahead and find the price point that makes sense from a supply, demand and capacity standpoint. MK is no longer enjoyable. It’s too crowded, and if you have not planned your day correctly, you get packed in, long lines and 2-4 attractions.

    At this point, bring the prices up, or limit attendance in a way that allows for pure enjoyment. Use the proposed variable pricing models to let you choose when you want to go. Price the days and show you how many people are being let in, and what that means for wait times. If a $150 ticket means crowds similar to the Halloween or Christmas parties, that’s great for those who want it. A $100 tickets gets you more people and longer lines. Disney can then decide how to adjust long-term from there.

    I rather see this than a complete tear-down and rebuild for the next 10 years.

  • Instead of adjusting the Magic Kingdom, I think it’s time for a whole new park! Designed with today’s crowds in mind, and incorporating the latest technology and advancements in storytelling.

    Somewhere in Texas? Where would you put it?

  • I believe removing the treehouse is sufficient and Aladdin could remain. Kids love it and it could be spruced up. Turn Tom Sawyer’s island into a swamp themed to Princess and Frog with some pathways and anamatronics and add the bridges. The voodoo magic would be a nice tie to the Haunted House. Dock the riverboat on the island side and make it a New Orleans themed counter service restaurant. At Main Street, use the path where the now dead theater project was to go as an exit only path which would be more convenient to the buses and cut down on traffic exiting down Main Street.

  • “And who would lament the loss of Village Haus?” Well, the many hundreds of people who eat at one of the largest quickservice eateries in the MK every day, I’d say. Getting rid of it would be a terrible idea.

    And gutting Main Street to move all stores outwards? Um.

  • Here are my five suggestions to deal with over crowding in general, but mostly at MK:
    1. Increase ticket prices across the board by 50%, even more in peak times. Right now, the price is such that too many guests are going through the entrance, and not enough of a profit margin is being made. Disney can make just as much money on half as many people, and it will require less to maintain.
    2. Build a 5th gate. Guests will spread out more if there is more to do.
    3. Refurb EPCOT. Again, guests will spread out more if there is more to do.
    4. Make the most popular attractions FP+ only. If one park is far busier than another park, open some of the popular attractions in that the less crowded park to standbys.
    5. Increase operating hours for the parks. Currently, special events are causing certain parks to close early, thereby forcing guests to visit at certain times. Longer hours means more opportunity to visit at less popular times. This can also be used in conjunction with #4.

  • As a former WDW entertainer and frequent visitor I agree with alot of what you are saying, back in the day they only let a set amount of people in the park as the realization was that the park would not be safe by the overload, now all bets off and there are many areas ( especially at night fireworks time) on Main St that eventually someone is going to die…this almost happened a couple of years ago ” off season” when paramedics were impeded by crowds and almost didn’t get to the ice cream shop on time ( I was there)…NOT MAGICAL

  • While I think the intent is there, the ideas for fixing an over crowded MK are just not good. Get rid of attractions (no matter the capacity) just puts more people in the streets. And the ideas just aren’t feasible and the author is really just throwing darts at a wall. A crazy wall to boot. Why not use the Tomorrowland stage and schedule an actual decent show, not just a dance party, that people would want to see? That’s a huge area of dead space back there. Take the Casey Jr. Water play area and actually make a place that kids can play and let parents get off their feet for a bit. Also use the tent area for something functional where they have meet and greets during party nights. None of these idea would cost much money.

  • So your “fixes” consist of getting rid of Speedway, the Carpets, the Village Haus, the Riverboat ride, and make Tom Sawyer Island… not an island. In return, we’d get more space to walk from ride to restaurant to ride, all of which will be more crowded and have longer lines because you’ve removed choices of things to do from the same amount of people. Got it.

    What drug were you on when you decided this was a plan that improved the experience? And for the people responding positively to this half-baked scheme, learn some basic math and logic skills. We’re not coming to the park to walk around. The whole purpose of the experience is the rides. Thank god no one at Disney will ever consider listening to any of you.

    • Ditto. The ideas given here are not good. The only thing I’d recommend is to add a path bridge at the BTMRR’s dead end area to get people to cross back over to the other side of the park (without getting in the way of the riverboat, and some of us do still like the riverboat being able to MOVE, sheesh). And limit capacity – they must have some kind of maximum capacity noted somewhere due to the fact that we’ve seen them close the park to new people entering at certain times (holidays mostly), when they actually “reach capacity.” Maybe they need to lower that limit a bit. And I think everyone should get 5 FPs allotted per day, not just the initial 3, that they can pick ahead of time. Let the people pick two parks per day, too, instead of just one, when booking the FPs.

  • BUILD ANOTHER “MAGIC KINGDOM”

    IMO, they reached critical mass years ago!

    While I don’t disagree with some of those ideas, most are impractical, expensive and nothing more than a band aid on a hemorrhaging wound… You can’t eliminate long standing popular attractions and the ambiance they give off (Robinson tree house, TS Island, ect…) and still be dealing with the overcrowding in the near future… The one choke point I do think MUST be dealt with is Main Street U.S.A (It’s far too dangerous during the night fireworks to ignore)… To me the only solution is, barring making MK an on site guest only park, would be to build a completely separate park that is designed to cater to the same age group as the MK with extremely similar rides, layouts and themes AND NIGHT TIME ENTERTAINMENT… There is no shortage of material for the imagineers to work with to create another Magic Kingdom, including a center hub castle, which should be designed to look like Elsa’s ice castle (just to name one beautiful possibility)… And when they are done building their newest park designed to appeal to MK patrons, they should build another park to deal with the increased demand that will inevitably come with all their new resorts they are building…

    • This misses one of the biggest problems of the park, the way too large strollers. Reducing the size of the strollers and maybe not letting kids use them when they are too old to need them. Smaller and less strollers would open up many of the current pathways.

    • My two cents, they missed an opportunity for building a “5th gate” buy putting Galaxy’s edge at HS. I 100% agree they needed to refurbish HS, but Star Wars is so epic, it could have handled an entire park on it’s own. I like it when DLR and WDW differ slightly in attractions anyway, so having an “outer space” park would have still worked, with its own connecting themed hotel. And you could have brought in guardians and even Pandora for a real trip to other galaxies, almost a nod to lost in space. Then bring in Avengers to HS, ride and stunt show (maybe like terminator at universal), adding back honey I shrunk the kids playground but with toy story overlay and put in Toon Town to tie in Mickey’s run away railroad, which should have been put into a completely new area, #keepthegreatmovie ride. As for EPCOT, I love the realistic feel in the world showcase but don’t mind IP there as well. What about the Mary Poppin’s ride for the UK that was proposed but never realized.

      But, it is what it is now, so for this 5th park a frozen themed land is not bad, esp since HKDL will be getting such and the second movie will be coming out soon. But I would make Elsa’s ice palace a ride, an updated version of the bobsled on the matterhorn at DLR. Then Tangled and Brave dark rides.

      Last point, no one has mentioned, they should bring back midday parades at ALL the parks. Back when I was an entertainment CM, I was in Disney stars and motor cars parade HS as well as Mickey’s jammin’ jungle parade in AK. This helped with crowd control and line wait times as people will park hop to not miss those.

    • FastPass has nothing to do with crowds outside the rides and I’d rather FastPass than the express pass system Universal has.

      Strollers are a necessity for children under three to enjoy the park. I’ve gone to them since I was an infant and I was around three when I finally no longer used a stroller. Banning them for older children I can agree with since it also keeps them from being able to walk and enjoy the park and build the endurance to spend an entire day at the park, but banning them altogether is selfish.

      • Don’t worry you two… strollers will never be eliminated! They are needed for the little ones, and I dare you or anyone to tell a mom and dad that their kid is too old to use a stroller!!! That has disaster written all over it… Disney could not, and would not, ever try to enforce something so complex and sensitive… what if the child has a subtle walking disability? Can anyone say lawsuit? The Rascal Scooters all around the parks AND ON THE TRANSPORTATION MODES are more offensive than that (have had some bad transportation experiences with the scooter people), and even then Disney would be out of line to try and tell people if they can use them… not everyone that uses these things are lazy or caused their reasons for using them… Also, if a parent would rather have their 5 year old in a stroller just to make better time trying to hit more rides, that is their right…

        Terrible ideas!

  • Tell them stupid was people leave their kids home if they are sick my grandson got Coup from their because of was home people…dum ass..

    • I hate to break it to you, but you get what you pay for. You made the choice to pay for a pass with blackout dates. Don’t like the blackouts, upgrade. The Gold pass isn’t that much more expensive (I’m a college kid working a theme park job and I can afford it) and has blackout dates that you couldn’t pay me to go to Disney on those days anyways. Not to mention the seasonal/silver pass has always blocked out summer, even when the parks were emptier.

  • Eliminate Swiss Family Robinson Tree House over my dead body! And changing Main Street like that would be ridiculous. It is forced perspective to look like a main street of the early 1900s. Good luck.

    • Agree. Widening the pathways would ruin the whole feel of the park. You only need to visit TDL to see it feels like wandering a open parking lot of pavement with no intimacy at all in the lands. Yes of course space, but at the severe cost of the themed experience.

  • As somebody who works at Disney World’s main competitor…this wouldn’t work. You don’t seem to understand how theme parks function at all with the experience. Yes, this would alleviate the crowds in some areas, but the damage done would be far worse. By taking away several rides with no replacements you increase the wait times of rides around the park. This is literally visible in IoA’s structure where despite people exiting in mass when it starts to rain, the wait times remain high because they are the only four rides open. Same principle is happening with MGM in its four ride state, only crowds will continue to increase creating a temporary alleviation to a much less severe problem. The same would happen with food if you remove Pinocchio, since it’s one of the most popular restaurants in the park, many of the other restaurants would see a dramatic increase in wait times. This would overall decrease fastpass availability and make the experience worse because like…sure, you can walk around, but you can’t do anything.

    The way to fix this is not to close attractions, especially since they seem more like a list of attractions people don’t like while ignoring their purpose in attracting the kids. The way to fix this is to open attractions.

    People seem to think that the presence of things to do at MGM and Epcot and Animal Kingdom will not affect the people going to the park, and that’s a boldfaced lie. People will take time out of their vacation to go to Magic Kingdom, but I’ve honestly flat out told people to skip wasting money on MGM right now if they don’t have parkhoppers when they ask for advice. When I went to Epcot last February with a few friends we spent more time walking the park and sitting and talking than actually riding rides. That isn’t how theme parks should work. These two parks are dying parks and Animal Kingdom is only doing slightly better. I hate the ideas for the new Epcot (I love IllumiNations and hate the idea of a Guardians coaster anywhere but MGM) but the one thing Disney is right on is that it’ll breathe life into a dying park. When Star Wars opens next year that will revitalize MGM and give it crowds the likes of which it’s ever seen.

    But of course the biggest solution is, as somebody suggested in the comments besides me, a new park. Be it an actual third park out of Universal (Because Volcano Bay is not a park, Idc what they say water parks are not theme parks) that contains things like the promised Nintendo land, or a fifth Disney park, the addition of another tourist trap here will take people away from Magic Kingdom as people enjoy the new shiny toy, and that ultimately will be the thing that reduces tourism. This isn’t economically viable for Disney at the moment and the rumor mill is running on Universal, but perhaps in the future an eighth theme park would be a great fix.

    Otherwise, the only potentially successful thing they could do is increase prices, but I think every single one of us agrees that a price hike is not the ideal. Everything else would be a temporary fix that will, in the long run, make the park worse.

    (On that note: Creating a closing pathway similar to the pathway that allows people to leave MGM post Fantasmic! would be useful. It’d allow people to leave the park while it’s clogged with people watching fireworks and might alleviate some through traffic on Main Street. The other best fix would be to bring back a show that can be watched over the park since I would gladly watch Happily Ever After from Fantasyland if I could just to avoid the crowding. Unfortunately that would be a much harder solution to implement than just making clear spaces. However both of these would be easier than your aforementioned solution to Main Street, which is the only one of yours that I believe is a reasonable one since it’s the only one that doesn’t gut attractions completely.)

  • My two cents, they missed an opportunity for building a “5th gate” buy putting Galaxy’s edge at HS. I 100% agree they needed to refurbish HS, but Star Wars is so epic, it could have handled an entire park on it’s own. I like it when DLR and WDW differ slightly in attractions anyway, so having an “outer space” park would have still worked, with its own connecting themed hotel. And you could have brought in guardians and even Pandora for a real trip to other galaxies, almost a nod to lost in space. Then bring in Avengers to HS, ride and stunt show (maybe like terminator at universal), adding back honey I shrunk the kids playground but with toy story overlay and put in Toon Town to tie in Mickey’s run away railroad, which should have been put into a completely new area, #keepthegreatmovie ride. As for EPCOT, I love the realistic feel in the world showcase but don’t mind IP there as well. What about the Mary Poppin’s ride for the UK that was proposed but never realized.

    But, it is what it is now, so for this 5th park a frozen themed land is not bad, esp since HKDL will be getting such and the second movie will be coming out soon. I would make Elsa’s ice palace a ride, an updated version of the bobsled on the matterhorn at DLR. Then Tangled and Brave dark rides.

    Last point, no one has mentioned, they should bring back midday parades at ALL the parks. Back when I was an entertainment CM, I was in Disney stars and motor cars parade HS as well as Mickey’s jammin’ jungle parade. This helped with crowd control and line wait times as people will park hop to not miss those.

  • Really enjoyed this article. I don’t agree with a lot of your solutions but I love seeing this kind of stuff on the site. Keep it up!

  • The solution is staring you in the face, people! Expand the WEDway People Mover (or whatever they call it now) throughout the whole park-problem solved! You’re welcome.

  • While your ideas are sound on the top, you have forgotten one important factor, the tunnels under the Magic Kingdom. These radical ideas might relieve the traffic upstairs but downstairs it would mean moving much part of it, which is impossible. Disney designed the park the way it is. Unfortunately others have changed much of it, some for the good and bad. It should stay the way it is. But there is a better solutions , do not allow those large tour group in. They take up all the space, make the lines larger, and are very rude. Disney has already banded some tour groups but not all. Limit the amount of people in the parks. When I worked there 20 years ago it was never this bad. My husband now works there and we have never seen this many people in the parks except at peak times. When they limited the amount of people in the parks it was much more easier. Also lower the limit of people going through the fast passes or shorten the times, people have learned to cheat. But most of all not allowing one person to get in line then the family members or tour group cut through other people that has waited patiently in line, to catch up with there group. I have to admit that we too have done this for bathroom emergencies, but it never was the entire line.

  • I would raise ticket prices and restructure the various annual passes to address overcrowding. Have 1-day single park tickets start at $149 and double the price of all annual passes. Construction and reimagining of spaces avoided.

    • How about this….
      Raise ticket prices another $25 for a single-day across all parks except MK. Annual passes up 20%. That will knock the edge off it.

      For MK, follow Universal’s approach with Harry Potter. 2-day Park Hopper and above. Also maybe only certain Annual Passes have access as well.

  • A much easier way and does not cost anything is to reduce the capacity of people allowed. I know this may not be liked but they reach capacity at the holidays and you are literally shoulder to shoulder every where. By reducing the capacity you solve all the problems.

  • no matter how many gates the magic kingdom will always be the busiest……….soooooooo……..instead of a villains park or a coaster park, etc. build magic kingdom B……and control the tickets. for example one for day guests and one for property quests. they have the analytics to even it out.

  • Well the ideas are radical but thoughtful and make others think differently. Swiss Family Robinson and Aladdin should go away.
    How about making the parking lot smaller and allowing less private cars on site. Use the now vacant raceway and part of the parking lot for a park like CA adventure in Disneyland.

  • The two ideas that are most interesting have to be the bridges and removing aladdin. The bridges would allow for you to transform the steamboat into a Princess and the Frog themed show(ie Dixieland Band)/ meet and greet area. The island could hold a new E ticket ride or an updated kids play area that would fill a hole where children 5 and under could play. If Aladdin was removed, it would still be possible to insert an Aladdin themed dark ride that could go two stories tall in the same space. All for adding attractions or “plusing”.

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