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Why benches matter

If you follow the daily news of Walt Disney World on social media networks such as Twitter, you probably saw a whirlwind of comments centered around the news last week that Disney was adding one thousand seats to Fantasmic!.  The controversy was basically about the notion of what is actually news disappointment over the future of the parks.

In the grand scheme of things I don't think many people will care much about more benches coming to Fantasmic! but Walt Disney World fans need to look at the bigger picture at where we, as fans, are today versus a few years ago and how much better news (big or small) has come to us.  This news is by no means all that exciting, but it is important in the sense that we're kept in the loop.

If you look at the benches being added and say, "Why did they even bother to announce something as mundane as this?", then I refer you to Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort.  Many fans will recall while the building was built and nearly complete, Disney denied the existence of the building despite obvious evidence to the contrary.  That was a microcosm of the "old way" Disney divulged news, where things were announced right before they were complete.  There's no question Disney fans cannot prefer that.

Enter the Fantasmic! bench news last week and we see a proactive announcement.  It's not about the scope of the news but the fact that we're getting news in advance.  Unlike Bay Lake Tower, we didn't have to wait until the new benches were added and then get a note from Disney that new benches were added.  That sort of after-the-fact news is insulting to our intelligence that we can't figure it out ourselves.

For fans of Walt Disney World that have been following the daily goings of the park for years, the way Disney divulges news today is much better than it was five or ten years ago.  They're still tight lipped about the big projects, but more and more, Disney is announcing things earlier in the life cycle of the development stage of new attractions.  The advent of the Disney Parks Blog has given Disney a much better mouth piece to spreading news and changes at the parks to its fans in a timely manner.  After many years of resisting change, it looks like marketing department is starting to get idea that fans want to know what's happening in the parks and they want to know sooner rather than later.

We've seen that change in two current projects, Avatarland in Disney's Animal Kingdom and the Disney Vacation Club expansion at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort.  Both projects were announced at the very beginning of their development, and in the case of Avatarland before even concept art was created.  \

So while the news of one thousand new seats coming to Fantasmic! isn't exciting and it isn't the sort of news Disney fans dream of, the important thing to keep in mind is that we're getting news and setting the precedent of announcing news early in the development of changes is what really matters.  That way, if and when Disney decides to expand a land in a park or build a new attraction, we'll be in the loop much earlier than if Disney arbitrarily decides when to announce things.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by