Thursday, March 06, 2008

There's so much that we share...


THEME

The original intent of this attraction was clearly to suggest the core similarity of many peoples inhabiting a single planet. The evident implication is that we should be able to share the world in equality and peace.

Walt Disney chose children as a metaphor of humanity and innocence, and as a symbol of hope. Having discarded several unsatisfactory designs, he finally chose Mary Blair’s innocently simple dolls with distinct ethnic differences, but inescapable overriding similarities.

He presented these "children" in a panorama of colorful landscapes, and then united them in a spectacular all-white carnival of peace. And yes, in that more innocent age of America in which the ride was conceived, perhaps the admixture of cultures in the finale did subtly suggest America the "Melting Pot" at its happiest harmonious potential. The figures, unique to this one attraction, have sustained it for 43 years.

The "improvement" vulgarizes the theme and essence of what has given this ride its irresistible appeal for millions and millions of people.

STAR PLAYERS

The introduction of the joyously irascible Donald, the mischievous Stitch, the regal Simba and other Disney characters with their distinct attributes and back-stories destroys the unifying and equalizing anonymity of the original Small World population.

They introduce a perverse divisiveness diametrically opposed to the original import of the attraction. Once a select group of special privileged inhabitants of the World are distinctly identifiable Disney Stars, the remainder are necessarily relegated to the status of homogenous background bit players.

The audience, too, becomes divided into the "haves" who have seen the films and focus on identifying the stars while neglecting the supporting players, while the "have nots" are left out of the game: the very antithesis of the attraction's original thrust.

Moreover, Stitch, of course, is not a peaceful citizen of planet earth, but a blue alien, described by the Internet Movie Database as a “notorious extra-terrestrial fugitive from the law.”

Simba is an animal who fought off a relative in in order to claim his throne, in a kingdom clearly ruled by force rather than civil discourse; hardly an exemplary citizen for a human world at peace.

DIMINUTION OF CHARACTER

The Disney characters are, of course, one of the Company’s chief assets. But they are suffering homogenization, as the Grimm Brothers’ royals cavort with Minnie, Ariel and Jasmine in the Tween Spa Make-over Afternoons. Their insertion into A Small World is one more inappropriate and exploitive over-exposure.

HOMOGENIZATION OF THE PARK

Once the familiar “stars” invade Small World, the attraction loses its individuality. Guests are no longer transported into a unique festival of humanity, but find themselves in a continuation of the Fantasyland milieu of cartoon characters. The ride forfeits its distinct ambience and the park loses a singular different environment.

TRIVIALIZATION

The ride as originally conceived gives both children and adults a thrilling vision of the possibility of an innocent and unified world at peace, and this theme is clearly confirmed in the farewell salute of "Pax" in many languages. Beneath the pretty gaiety of the attraction is a stirring, serious and inspiring metaphor and message of hope for a troubled globe. Once the ride is reduced to one more panorama of the much-exposed Disney stock company - now with a supporting cast of singing dolls in an incompatible design style - any unique, innocent and important concern is compromised by intrusive celebrity and imposed familiarity.

May cooler heads prevail.


-Bravoman
March 7, 2008


85 comments:

Spokker said...

It just doesn't make any sense. It's a cruise around the world. On the show "Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair" during the It's a Small World segment Disney narrates, "Here we enter the children's world of fun and laughter as we start our globe circling tour..."

You don't get halfway across the world and end up back in America.

Maybe people should learn themselves some history and find out why this attraction means so much that it should not be tarnished with Disney characters and new show scenes that have no business in there.

Small World Opening Ceremony - http://youtube.com/watch?v=p-4-xSIyq7A

Disneyland Goes to the World's Fair - http://youtube.com/watch?v=yKt_o6AflbI

They dumped water from around the world into the flume for God's sake. You don't touch something like that, not 42 years later, not 100 years later.

Anonymous said...

Once they add characters to this ride, it will become a search for characters and the children will be ignored. Try to ride through Pirates without hearing: "look there's Johnny Depp!", "There he is in the barrel!"

All the rides are starting to look more similar rather than being unique..

The imagineers are fools.

Josh said...

This bothers me on a lot of levels. I really hope they just leave it alone. This is a classic attraction that continues to pack in the numbers at both DL and WDW.

Where is the value added in this addition of film characters? Are people going to visit this attraction because of them who wouldn't visit it anyway? I think not.

Less is more, sometimes, and people too often forget that can be the case.

Anonymous said...

Bravo to bravoman! Hit the nail on the head. I for one, am sending a letter of disproval to ALL involved at the top. For nothing else, to get it off of my chest. Do I expect Disneyland to stop construction on account of my letters?...Of course not. But seeing how Disney makes 75 percent or better in annual revenues off of "regular joes" and "John Q. Citizens" like myself, I'll alert them that the masses are watching their every moves very closely with very deep concern. Not only will I cover the IASW rededign idea, but also cover the POTC and other non needed refurbs to classic rides. A man named Jim Horning once said:
"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement".
Hasn't the park gone through enough "Bad Judgements" already?

Lou said...

""I never called my work an 'art' It's part of show business, the business of building entertainment." -- Walt Disney

Anonymous said...

I found your site after reading the Small World posts on the DisneyLies.com blog. I agree with your overall point, but think you must take a little care. By characterizing Simba as "an animal who has murdered a relative in in order to claim his throne," you are overstating your case. This kind of thing can make people think you're ranting or being silly instead of making an informed argument. You don't want to be confused with sites like Disney Lies!

brian said...

>By characterizing Simba as "an animal who has murdered a relative in in order to claim his throne," you are overstating your case. <

But didn't Simba initiate a stampede that killed his brother so that he could claim the throne? Did you see the movie?

> ""I never called my work an 'art' It's part of show business, the business of building entertainment." -- Walt Disney <

I would love to know what the context of this statement was.


Bravoman - the "special" treatment to your post was worth the wait. Thank you for the post. Gives me some inspiration for the letters I'm writing :)

Anonymous said...

>>But didn't Simba initiate a stampede that killed his brother so that he could claim the throne? Did you see the movie?<<

That was Scar. Simba was the cute baby lion who grew up and fought Scar, his uncle, to win back his kingdom. However, Simba did NOT kill Scar, he beat him in the fight, refrained from killing him, and left him to his former allies the hyenas. It's only implied that Scar died.
I can't believe I know that much about it. I need a life. :)

brian said...

> But didn't Simba initiate a stampede that killed his brother so that he could claim the throne? Did you see the movie?
<


Now I'm going to argue with myself...no he didn't - that was his uncle ...

Anonymous said...

Look out world, here come the non-children loving leave my Disney alone forever folks!!!!

Anonymous said...

as sad as this is...i think that the real meaning and metaphor behind the ride still gets lost on some people - not all - but some.... I'm sure lots of people view this ride as the "creepy kids with the annoying song"...

which leads me to my point - If Disney wants to update the attraction, why not enhance the show, strengthening it's metaphors and meaning instead of destroying it all together?

I'm also half-convinced that these rumours are false.

Anonymous said...

Dear Disneyland Resort,

I write this with a few tears falling down my face.

I am in shock, and cannot believe what I just got through reading.

If you take a look at the website -

http://imagineerebirth.blogspot.com/

you will educate yourself as to the atrocities that are currently happening at "it's a small world".

The article at that page explains everything.

It really is a shame that company history education does not seem to be taught to the cast member.
If the current cast members and employees truly tapped into Walt Disney's visions, instead of
using him to hide behind, your stock price might actually grow, instead of staying stagnant
for the past number of years.

Pixar, and the Cars land have absolutely nothing to do with what California Adventure originally
represents. Yes, I understand that it takes place along Route 66, which is in California. But, such
a story does nothing to begin to enhance the theme of our beautiful golden state.

Frankly, neither does Buzz and Woody.

Whatever happened to attraction design that came simply from Walt Disney Imagineering? Why did it
die alongside Walt Disney??

I am referring to wonders such as Figment and the Dreamfinder, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, The Country Bears, "it's a small world", etc..

The point of taking films that have nothing to do with the theming of the parks, and then trying to
twist and turn them into something that has nothing to do with their surrounding areas (Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage) makes little sense.

To be fair, yes, once a guest boards such attractions, the designer therein are quite wonderful.

I suppose guests shouldn't speak about how Disney handles their books, what makes money, and what doesn't.

But after all, going in and virtually raping a classic...???

I think most would agree with me that it is akin to putting a mustache on the Mona Lisa's face.

Yes, I am an annual passholder, and I enjoy coming to the parks. Before you dismiss this as
just another "annual passholder complaint letter", understand that we are a large group,
should be listened to, are generally enthusiastic about your product, and talk to not only
just a few people about it, but many.

If the company keeps on making the decisions to, for all intense and purposes, bastardize
classics, we will spread such reviews to all we know.

I would also like to include the notion that, since Mr. Walt Disney's original humanistic thrusts
seem to be largely ignored by the company where ideas of innovation are concerned, just
know that there are many out there who have studied him intently, and plan to use his original
ideas of the future, and where we are all headed as inspiration to put forth what he worked
so hard on, but couldn't finish.

It is my sincere wish that all of the right creative, and financial management teams, where
appropriate, receive my comments.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

My Name

brian said...

< I'm also half-convinced that these rumours are false. >

Wouldn't it be great if they were? Then we could all breathe a sign of relief and know that there is still sanity in the world.

theatreman said...

MODERATOR -
I am humbled and very appreciative of your illustrating and presenting my post. A beautiful and unexpcted gesture. I did overstate Simba's action and will correct that. Thanks.
Bravoman

bravoman said...

I did a disservice to Simba in using the word "murder" in my statement which launched this discussion. I should have said that "in response to an unprovoked attack by his murderous Uncle Scar, the normally peacful Simba fought back in self-defense. Scar fell to his death among the hyenas through no intention of Simba's."

It's a beauitful and moral coming-of-age story, but my point stands: it takes place in the animal world where force rather than civil discourse rules. As such, reference to this story is disruptive to the pro-peace theme of Small World. Would kids "get" the difference? Ultimately, I think they would.

As to the comment about "love for children," I think the "Disney Forever Folks," are those devoted to the protection of the proven, classic Disney creations precisely because we love children and want a beautiful heritage conserved for them undistorted. I think "Disney Forever" also implies, however, a voracious desire to see the continuation of a culture of real creativity which is the essence of classic Disney achievement, and should produce miraculous new attractions.

And yes, a dark ride similar to Small World but featuring all Disney chracters in their fanciful environments - perhaps viewed from hot-air-balloons rather than boats - would be welcome and marvelous!!!

theatreman said...

Identity confusion: I don't really blog so I just confuse "username" "Password" and "Name/URL"
I'm happy to be either bravoman or theatreman. I just get them in the wrong windows. And thanks for tweaking Simba. Without spell-check anything can happen. LOL

Joanna said...

Please say this is all some sick joke thought up by the rumour-mongers? Please say they're not going to do a 'Tiki Room' on our beloved Small World?

I have no problems whatsoever with rides being updated, improved or 'plused' what I do object to, is destroying the show by half-heartedly throwing some Disney characters at it and assuming that that will create a unified story. Why not just tweak their animatronics, maybe add some more countries to show a greater diversity (I will admit that one or two of the stereotypes are beginning to look a little dated), do what they need to to the boats to improve flow and then leave it; improved, 'plused' and still giving the world that beautiful message of hope and unity (you never know, maybe one day it will come true).

Imagineers, I have great faith in your abilities; please don't let me down!

James said...

I'd like to play devil's advocate here, and would be pleased to see the following statements torn to shreds, but know at heart that, as someone who visited IASW in New York as well as Anaheim, I'd prefer it remain the vision of its creators and not be 'updated', except for technology that now exists to enhance the light, sound, or viewing experience of Disney guests. Disclaimer over.

It's a Small World tells the compelling story that, despite differences in culture, religion, environment, etc. we are still one people, connected by transcending themes of love, hope, peace and joy. Has Walt Disney helped to improve this connection we share? Yes. The characters created by Disney are known and loved throughout the world and are one of the threads that binds us together. I can go to practically any spot in the world and have a difficult time communicating with its residence. But if I pull out a picture of Mickey Mouse there is instant recognition and we share moment of joy and fellowship. Could it be viewed as a tribute to the creators and artists who brought these characters to life to show how they have helped to make this 'a small world after all'?

theatreman said...

James asks: "Could it be viewed as a tribute to the creators and artists who brought these characters to life to show how they have helped to make this 'a small world after all'?"

This is a valid question. Mickey and his friends have made people smile the world over: a credit to their creators.

So Disney characters could lend their presence, like Angelina Jolie and others who bring attention to good causes.

But celebrities tend to draw focus to themselves, and in this case it would be at the expense of Mary Blair's less famous world citizens and their simple message of world harmony.

theatreman said...

The following letter was delivered to my home early yesterday morning with a large round of delicious Swiss cheese.

Hello!

Do you have a way to get this message to the Imagineers? Minnie and I have heard about a plan to put moving representations of ourselves, our “gang,” and other friends like Dumbo, Pinnochio and Snow White in the Small World pavilion. She, Donald, Goofy and others join we in saying that we are flattered but embarrassed about this.

We have all ridden the boats through that Wonderful World many times and while it’s a great place to visit, we wouldn’t want to live there.

We love the little dolls and think that we would be a distraction. Anyway, we would like to have our own attraction.

We ride The Great Movie Ride and we think that all of Our Movies could make a wonderful “dark ride.”

While I get to shake Mr. Iger’s hand every once in a while in a public ceremony, he is very busy and does not always have time to listen to me. If any of you have the chance, please give him this message?

Your friend always,

Mickey

brian said...

< Could it be viewed as a tribute to the creators and artists who brought these characters to life to show how they have helped to make this 'a small world after all'?>

Interesting thought - and yes, Disney is a unifying force. But I just get the feeling that what you suggest is not 'it.' In the first thread here about the changes to Small World, there is a link to - I believe his name is Jim Hill, but don't trust me...I got Simba and Scar mixed up - an article which puts some background behind why there is a connection to a Disney character everywhere in the Park now.

But if this is the purpose of the character additions, the Imagineers are missing the point of the attraction - characters from different stories and different times, even if they are put in countries of their origin, are not supporting the theme Small World presents. And especially Stitch.

I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop - Pocahontas in the Indian Village scene on the Rivers of America? The Hunchback ringing the bells from Sleeping Beauty Castle? I'm not sure where they'd fit in Hercules, but it's too bad they did away with the Parking Lot - Lassiter could showcase "Cars." Wait...isn't that what...?

Digital Jedi said...

I would say it's much simpler then even the breakdown of what each character represents. It's thematically incorrect.

You don't put Mickey Mouse in Peter Pan's Flight. You don't put Simba's smiling face in the center of a star cluster in Space Mountain. You don't open a Buzz Lightyear souvenir shop in middle of Frontier Land. And you don't jam random cartoons into an already distinctive cartoon that has a look all its own.

I can understand the logic, however flawed, when you try to force fit Tarzan into the Swiss Family Tree House or stick anything space related in Tomorrowland just because it's "futuristic". I can even follow the logic that puts cartoon characters in their relative positions in World Showcase.

But to put cartoon characters in, lets face it, a ride that doesn't need it, will in no way improve it and will only serve to tick a good number of fans off is beyond nonsensical, it sounds like someone is trying to provoke a reaction. It sounds like they're trying to make the fans angry. Surely, the upper management at Disney hasn't gotten to the point where they try to anger the "foamers". Have they come to loathe Disney fans so much?

Anonymous said...

Online debating is great, and a good way to communicate the news, but is anyone doing anything besides posting their frustrations to blogs? Has anyone engaged writing the head honchos of Corporate Disney? Is there email addresses we could send letters to as well as physical addresses? I'm all in for the fight.
Here's my attempt at photoshopping a banner.
http://tikiroom.com/img/3675x47d0f5db.jpg
I've worked on a letter to send already, and regardless if they don't care, I'm showing that I DO care.

mr wiggins said...

>...it sounds like someone is trying to provoke a reaction. It sounds like they're trying to make the fans angry....<

To me it sounds like management trying to score pitch-points with management. And they scored bigtime: good merch push, cheap installation costs, patriotic Americana tie-in, easy to market, 's a no brainer.

The audience segment of least concern to management are the Walties. Since '85 they've been derided and dismissed as too few, too irrelevant, too annoying and too silly. The communal curled lip became a grimace when M.E. split, but it returned with a vengeance when Johnny came marching home. ;)

Shotgunning one of the last bastions of '60's Waltism with toons reeks of Disney management playing to Disney management -- more of the internal toadying that passes for creativity at WDI, TDA & TDB.

theatreman said...

< ... Has anyone engaged writing the head honchos of Corporate Disney? ... >

This thread has now received 25 comments, and there are 109 comments on the previous thread, which deals with essentially with this same subject. With a few exceptions, this body of comment is unanimous in its general viewpoint.

Perhaps some industrious and computer-literate person should copy all the comments (pro and con to show the balance) and send them to Disney.

At the risk of repetition, here is contact information from the previous thread:

C A L L
Disneyland Resort Public Relations: (714) 781-4500

W R I T E
Walt Disney Company
Attn: Robert Iger
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-9722

Walt Disney Imagineering
Attn: Tony Baxter
1401 Flower Street
P.O. Box 25020
Glendale, CA 91221-502

Disneyland Resort
Attn: Ed Grier
1313 South Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim , CA 92802

I wrote Mr. Iger before I posted here. I have written Disney before, but have never received even a "bedbug letter." [If you are too young to know what that is, it's probably on Google, and its a fun pre-urban-myth.]

Does a company so solicitious of their guests when they are in the parks ignore them when they leave?

I would be curious to know if anyone on this site has a sense of whether letters to Disney have an effect - and whether anyone has sure knowledge that any Disney officials are savvy enough to check this site out.

I have occasionally been surprised when TIME Magazine reports with some astonishment, "We received 450 letters on the subject last week!" I would have thought that a magazine with their worldwide readership would receive thousands of letters on any controversial topic.

Point being, relatively few people seem to bother to write letters - especially in this digital age, so perhaps even ten letters to Disney make some impact.

Whether a letter would ever reach the person who has the power to make a change (and whether that person would...) is an open question. But I would say, WRITE! It can't hurt, and your letter might just be the Tipping Point missive on the right desk at the right moment.

Am I naive?

Anonymous said...

Tony Baxter is the closest thing to Walt Disney we have up there and we should trust his judgement. He is responsible to manage DL creatively and we should let him deal with this. I can't imagine this was his idea and he will kill it on our behalf. This is not a gray area, it is an obvious thing, so much so, I know he will get it dealt with. If not, Big John at Pixar will. I'm sure these posts are known to them and are fueling discussions.

brian said...

> Tony Baxter is the closest thing to Walt Disney we have up there and we should trust his judgement. He is responsible to manage DL creatively and we should let him deal with this. I can't imagine this was his idea and he will kill it on our behalf. This is not a gray area, it is an obvious thing, so much so, I know he will get it dealt with. If not, Big John at Pixar will. I'm sure these posts are known to them and are fueling discussions. <

Hopefully you're correct, but it seems that Tony has had a few missteps and John hasn't demonstrated much interest in anything but Pixar themed attractions as of yet. I think it's great that Tony has worked his way up through the ranks of the Park, but I don't get anything from him that shows he might understand or do anything about this. Besides, if characters, characters, characters is a corporate mandate, Tony isn't going to have much to say.

Cranky Attraction Designer said...

Ugh!... Not only is it ridiculous to add the money-making properties to every single attraction (as if you could forget for one second what park you were in, and what company owned it) and dilute the value of those properties by slapping them into and attraction whenever they are vaguely related to the subject at hand... Small World is supposed to be about learning to value the world and cultures around us. These characters that they want to add are a product of an American company. It seems somewhat disrespectful to say "we are representing the cultures and diversity of the world... by throwing in characters from American films..." Is this management's way of showing what they hope the future of the Disney corporation is -- that every country will share in consumption and approval of their product? I think that what has made Disney parks special in the past are the values that were infused into the attractions: hope, imagination, peace, possibility... Now it seems like the attractions must be infused with characters -- and hopefully then, with the audience's affection for those characters, they don't have to spend as much time crafting an emotionally affective and compelling attraction, and put new and original thought into it (just re-hash the film). I hope that they keep the Orlando version "as is"... my sympathy to California if theirs gets flattened into something trite...

Anonymous said...

This is all driven by statistics. Guests were surveyed as to how many Disney Characters they need to see in a day to give the park a 90% guest satisfaction quotient.
No matter how they sliced it, it wasn't enough characters to satisfy an "every 7 minute" interval. So they felt they needed to add the characters into the attractions themselves to make the numbers work. That is why the parking lot sections all have characters names on them And why there are so many hidden Mickeys. Every land will have more characters everywhere (including the ATMs) till the numbers go up. Face it.

(yeah right)

cranky attraction designer said...

Surveys are a dangerous way to make a decision... In other industries, they have realized that there are a lot of psychological factors in how consumers answer the surveys. There have been companies that have followed every result of their consumer surveys, and ended up with a product that consumers refused to buy... I sometimes wonder if those little disposable toothbrush things the lived in a plastic packet and slid onto your finger were the result of one of those survey. It sounds great on paper to have a toothbrush anytime, anywhere, and it takes up so little space... but after watching commercials, a lot of people I know were kinda grossed out... It just never took off, in spite of the marketing push.

Disney could lose big by throwing that much money into what consumers *think* they want. Why don't the executives hit the parks and see what delights or frustrates people? They might find out that the answers have to do with things that they never designed a survey for!

Anonymous said...

BTW- "yeah right" meant I was joking. There was no survey :-)

Ali said...

This breaks my heart. I went to Disney World 3 times as a child, and I loved it. Even though I was a fairly big fan of Disney movies (how could you help but be if you grew up in the 90's?) my need to go back to Disney World over and over again had nothing to do with Disney at all. It was the intricacy, the immersion, the magic and the obvious effort that went into every element of the place. It was also the fact that regardless of certain rides seeming a bit old fashioned and out of date, they stayed essentially the same, all 3 times that I came, making it feel like a home away from home. It was the feeling that the park had a message, in its own little way. Of all the rides I went on and shows that I saw, my favorites were Spaceship Earth, It's a Small World, Carosel of Progress, Journey Into Imagination and Dreamflight (for those of you who remember that one). When they close rides, I suppose that I understand their reasoning. But don't ruin it from the inside and then tell me to just shut up and ride it again.

I am now 23. I have begged my parents to go back to WDW with me so that we could experience it as a family one last time, before I have a family of my own. Although they have reluctantly agreed (They hate the walking.) I'm not sure that I will actually go back after this new news about It's a Small World and especially Spaceship Earth. They think that jamming some Disney characters into a ride or ruining the climax of a wonderful ride that has a message is what we need for the park. And most of all, it KILLS ME that I will never be able to show my children the glorious world I knew as a child, but instead a commercialized, overly sparkly THEME PARK, no different than a fancy Six Flags.

Call me a child hating purist if you want, but let's maybe think about what we are saying to children with this, and what they are really learning from today's Disney World. Maybe we've forgotten that there used to be something to LEARN at WDW.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who think this is a rumor. It isn't.. WDI is currently making mock-ups of the characters even now. Nemo, Toy story , the fab five all are bieng worked into the sets. and reluctantly I might add. Much of Imagineering isn't greatly pleased to do this but they have their orders. I don't know what John thinks of this but even Tony Baxter doesn't seem bright and cheery about it but he too is getting pressure.

Anonymous said...

I dont understand a couple of things...First off, We all start off on MAIN STREET USA...Then we have the hub which can take us to Frontierland, which "used" to highly represent the settlers of the American Wild West. Two lands of Americana are not enough? I mean I'm USA all the way, but not at the expense of losing heritage, culture and icons. I think that Disney Imagineering are missing the single most important factor. People and families do NOT continually return to the park because they add Jack Sparrows to Pirates, Nemo to the subs, Even a Jack Skellington theme to the Haunted Mansion...Families continue to return because the park, "for the most part", has remained intact and UNCHANGED.

From Parent to Child, who eventually becomes a Parent again, there is one thing they can share and introduce again and again. Its a story that doesn't get old, because its a connection of "I remember when my parents took me here"...Or "I remember going on this ride with my folks", as you are talking to your own children.

If it is really about constant change and that the changes are good for Disneyland, then explain why this method has not helped Knott's Berry Farm or Six Flags drastically improve revenue? They add new rides almost every two years or so, and still they barely hang on. I think that Knotts would have closed years ago, if it weren't for their Annual Halloween Haunt. Thats the niche that keeps Knotts doors open year round. You also don't hear families talking about "I remember going on this ride with my parents" referring to six flags...

There are 3 rides that should have never been tampered with:
Haunted Mansion
Pirates of the Caribbean
It's a Small World...They ARE the holy grails of Disneyland.

The park is a hands-on museum of sorts AND an American Institution, and should be treated as such.

Anonymous said...

A "Mockup" usually means they are developing the design for presentation and if the mockup isn't acceptable it does not make it into production.

I hope that's as far as it goes. Sometimes Imagineers mock things up to fail :-)

Digital Jedi said...

Theatreman said:
>>>I would be curious to know if anyone on this site has a sense of whether letters to Disney have an effect - and whether anyone has sure knowledge that any Disney officials are savvy enough to check this site out.<<<

Anonymous said:
>>>Online debating is great, and a good way to communicate the news, but is anyone doing anything besides posting their frustrations to blogs? Has anyone engaged writing the head honchos of Corporate Disney?<<<

You would think that that letter writing would make a difference in most cases. In this case, I don't think it does. Disney is in a place in this world that few corporations find themselves. They're going to make money no matter how much we complain. Hell, most of us will still go to Disney even when the last vestige of Walt is wrecked and rebuilt as something horrid, just because we're that tied to his legacy. They'll still make money. And the sick irony of it, is they'll make it off a whole bunch of us. They know they've got us by the balls, and they don't give a tinker's damn about squeezing.

But, being the Walt-a-maniac, foamer, Disneyphile (or whatever disdainful term management can think of) that I am, I learned Walt's lessons well. You don't give up hope. You see, just like these nitwits replaced the makers of the golden age Disney, I know that someone else will replace these nitwits as well.

And that's why I feel that venues like here --blogs, forums, whatever you can find that is of note in Disney Internet Land-- are the more powerful places to voice our displeasure. The next Imagineers, the next Mary Blairs, the next Marc Davis, Claude Coats, Yale Graceys, even the next Walt Disney, there is no doubt in my mind that they are listening. They are watching and they do understand. We just have to make sure they "get it" by telling them in no uncertain terms what it is that's gone wrong.

We may be going to the source by writing Disney directly. But we reach far more ears when we say it here. We impact far more consciences when we tell everyone who'll listen. I'd much rather shout my displeasure for all the world to hear, then to privately discuss the matter to closed, disdaining ears. At least with the world in the know, there's a chance for the next generation of Imagineers to hear me, before their creativity has a chance to be corrupted by bottom line thinkers and corporate politicians.

Spokker said...

My impression about writing to companies about any grievances you have is that they take your comment, laugh at it, and then throw it in the garbage.

The especially funny ones get pinned up to a wall or put in a scrapbook.

In any case I will not be writing directly to Disney about the Small World changes. I've posted my comments on the vast wasteland that is the Internet and I hope the general negativity spurred by the rumor gets back to Disney in some way.

Originally posted by cranky attraction designer:
"Disney could lose big by throwing that much money into what consumers *think* they want. Why don't the executives hit the parks and see what delights or frustrates people? They might find out that the answers have to do with things that they never designed a survey for!"

This is exactly how I feel. The often quoted Walt-ism about not "eating off the lot" has pretty much been abandoned. If only these executives were required to spend a full day at a very busy Disneyland with their families and not be backdoored onto attractions, receive special treatment, and instead spend the day as a regular guest, I'm sure they would have fun.

But I'm sure they'd also find a myriad of frustrations, problems, and annoyances. They should talk to guests and find out what their frustrations, problems, and annoyances are as well.

You know, there's a story in the John Hench book "Designing Disney" about how many guests were walking through a particular flower bed. Someone told Walt they ought to put a fence up to keep them out.

Walt told not only to not put a fence up, but to pave a path right through that flower bed.

You CAN learn things from guests, but you have to be there to learn things from them. You don't ask them. You observe them.

You know, corporations have all this data on consumers and big fancy programs to sort through it all, but I don't think they really know a goddamn thing about us.

So if I were to write a letter to Disney the only thing I'd ask them to do is to get some managers and executives to talk to us guests in the park sometime, instead of some cast member with a PDA asking us how we rate the trams on a scale of 1-10. Listen, we won't bite. We're not all there to boo your new parade on annual passholder preview night :)

Anonymous said...

I think the way to deal with this is in the open press. If the LA Times did a piece debating "can theme park attractions can be considered kinetic art" in the "Arts" or "Calendar" section and then addressed the Mary Blair aspects of altering the art, then that takes it out of the "foamer" realm and poses a different question for the public at large to respond to. The risk of course, is that the public at large won't care, and worse may like the idea. But moving the argument into a respected public forum puts the company into an entirely different light and exerts pressure from a different source.

theatreman said...

"Nemo, Toy story, the fab five all are being worked into the sets."

Each particularization of this ill-conceived misadventure stirs up increased visceral distaste and resentment.

The potential juxtapositions are jarring:

A pop-eyed Buzz Lightyear, weapon in hand, leering next to a charming little Mary Blair Dutch Boy.

A lost fish and a mermaid swimming up against the graceful Arab dancers beside their reflecting pool, as Aladdin does a fly-over.

The Incredibles in their masks and garish body suits confronting Blair's modest Japanese maidens.

Repulsive is not too strong a word. This was a Small World of people, not of fish, mermaids, Ducks and story-book comic-book inventions.

I wonder if this vulgarization - if it does materialize - might be the Disappointed-in-Disney factor which moves the myriad complaining comments and blogs from cyberspace into the awareness of the Disney public in general. As has been pointed out, a newspaper article might be the beginning, "Is the Disney Magic Failing?"

CAUTION: ROAD OUT AHEAD

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they will interpret the characters into the "doll" glitter style. It seems jarring that you would plop them into that world with no textural or stylistic adjustment.

theatreman said...

Size is another issue. Am I correct in thinking that the dolls in the original show were all the same height?

Will Ursula , Goofy and Dumbo be reduced to the diminutive Mary Blair scale?

Shape could be equally problematic: the dolls are pudgy, in the manner of, well, wooden or china dolls. Belle, rendered at the same height, may appear emaciated. Or will there be a pudgy Snow White Doll, pudgy Jasmine Doll, pudgy Donald.... Well, he's pudgy already, so that won't matter.

Or will the Disney royals, as the stars they are, tower over Blair's gentle little people?

cranky attraction designer said...

Hmmm... that sounds quite possible. If that job were put on my plate, that would probably be my top idea to pitch... It would make the film characters slightly less obtrusive... Make them blend a lot better... And amuse people with an "awe! isn't that cute!" factor. Imagine Donald with a cute, round, wobbly head...

Still, it doesn't make it much better. This is one of those cases where they could better use the money elsewhere to delight guests... There are people who have worked in operations and out in the field long enough to know where guests spend their time, what they gravitate towards, and talk about... I hope that they are throwing a dose of reality at this, and are putting more thought into it beyond merchandising and the novelty of having an update...

I know a lot of people say, "Disney will always be Disney and people will always go..." But for me, if Disney lost their warm fuzzyness, creativity and quirky designs, it would lose appeal. There are so many other things in the world to see... Already, they have lost a lot of the whimsy in their designs. Remember the old "Journey to Imagination", "Dreamflight", "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", "World of Motion", etc.? It seems like the new designs now are either hyperreal or based directly on film characters. I really miss the whimsy and distinct styles of the old attractions. And I know I am not alone. Do they really have to add characters to one of the few distinct and wonderfully whimsical rides left? "Small World" is world-famous... Why not just let its refurbs accentuate its uniqueness and originality?

theatreman said...

"Quirky... warm fuzzines... whimsical..."

These are gentle qualities of childhood innocence which should really be cherished, valued, celebrated and protected.

Their opposite may characterize the much-heraled new "Toy Story" attracion, which seems to be all about video-game electronic noise, macho competition and, however colorfully fantasized in 3-D, ray-guns, violence and destruction of enemies.

Perhaps all Small World needs, in addition to the rumored "enhanced lighting effects" in the finale, would be an added section to the song. Everyone knows the melody, and its two parts. What about adding a third section with a congruent but totally different melody, and one that could also work in counterpoint against one of the original tunes to create a fourth part? This could be widely advertised.

And what about doing a day/night sequence, so that the lighting is continually changing as the boats pass through the rooms. In essence, a whole new overlay is created: "Now See the SMALL WORLD AT NIGHT!!!"

Lanterns and strings of festival lights, lamps and torches, campfires and stars, and moonlight: "A Whole New World" to quote Aladdin.

Then how about a "whole new attraction" for the Disney characters in Advanced Animatronics. Recycle and Re-engineer aspects of this ride in afresh way. Keep the series of "rooms" each with an array of many little sets from films set at different levels. Replace the boats with hanging gondolas, flying dragons, sky-ships.

Unlike the Peter Pan boats, these ride vehicles could be suspended on cables or pistons so that they rise and descend gracefully, and perhaps have a few slight little drops to add excitement.

Find a way to create snowfall in one area, rain in another.

Put the film vignettes on turntables, so that the passing show is a little different each time you go through. When management insists that the newest film be represented, just replace one section of a carousel.

If you can Dream it.....

Spokker said...

"Their opposite may characterize the much-heraled new "Toy Story" attracion, which seems to be all about video-game electronic noise, macho competition and, however colorfully fantasized in 3-D, ray-guns, violence and destruction of enemies."

And all those qualities already exist in Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. I have no idea why they chose to build the same type of attraction based on the same franchise.

BUT IT'S IN 3D!!!

Anonymous said...

How about adding a toothy grin to the "Mona Lisa"? Arms to "Venus De Milo"?
When the Louvre wanted to increase attendance, they improved the entry sequence and area development with the pyramid of glass, they didn't redo the masterpieces. They know what to leave alone. A lesson Disney could use to great benefit.

ohlala

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Is anyone sending this stuff to corporate people who can change things?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to dash everyone’s hope, (including mine), regarding the Disney characters not making their way into small world, but they will be. The figures are being fabricated as I type this. Sorry to be ‘anonymous’ but being inside the mouse house it is a must. The Disney characters are being constructed as toys to TRY and make them fit in the ride. All I can say is the result is just like trying to make the glass slipper fit on Cinderella’s stepsisters. It simply does not work. The word in house is all of you ‘Disney-nerds’ will get over it once you see them in place. I hope that is not true, because I’ve seen what’s happening and it is nothing short of a travesty. To make the Disney characters stand out even more in the small world attraction, the music from the movie in which each character is from will be played in that scene over the small world music. It really is heartbreaking to see this happening. It is common knowledge here at WDI that Tony Baxter is not a fan of Mary Blair and is glad to see her influence in the park diminish. This is the reason for the drastic style change in the Disneyland Paris small world both in look and sound. I’m actually embarrassed to be an imagineer when I look at what is going on here.

As to the addition of America, the scene has not yet received final budget approval so it is not clear if it will be happening. Keep your fingers crossed that it will not be given the go ahead.

The best way for this to be stopped at this point Just as theaterman posted. Speak up to these outlets. PLEASE!!!

C A L L
Disneyland Resort Public Relations: (714) 781-4500

W R I T E
Walt Disney Company
Attn: Robert Iger
500 S. Buena Vista St.
Burbank, CA 91521-9722

Walt Disney Imagineering
Attn: Tony Baxter
1401 Flower Street
P.O. Box 25020
Glendale, CA 91221-502

Disneyland Resort
Attn: Ed Grier
1313 South Harbor Blvd.
Anaheim , CA 92802

Anonymous said...

If your post is true and even the MUSIC is going to be changed in certain scenes, then they are distracting the guest from the entire conceit of the ride! It's is the theme park equivalent of musical banner ads. Oh the humanity!

I have heard that Tony Baxter is not a fan of Marc Davis' contributions, but I've never heard anything about him having it in for Mary Blair. It seems he has it in for Walt now!

Toys or not (Buzz is already a toy, so is he now a plush?) Not sure I'll get over this easily, especially if they mess with the score. ( It's like Capitol Records putting sampler tracks from the Beastie Boys in the middle of Sgt. Pepper). I'm still in the process of "getting over" the Mattel Princess color scheme on the Castle. I need time to recoup, it's all coming too fast :-)

Anonymous said...

There's only two people who could stop this. Call out The Sherman Brothers!

Anonymous said...

If they want to celebrate America why don't they bring back the circle-vision "America the Beautiful" movie. And while they're at it a peoplemover return would be nice too. And how about some monorail trains that fit on the track.
Disney must give the imagineers horrible health benefits. They can't even go to a proctologist to have their heads pulled out of their asses!

theatreman said...

At the risk of repetition, let's emphasize that this move damages not only the Blair dolls, but the Disney Characters as well.

Am I right that currently, few of the DC people are seen as Animatronics? Yes: Peter Pan, Stitch, Buzz & Woody, Snow White, the Bre'r Rabbit group? Are there many more?

Once they intermix in Small World, the opportunity to showcase them Animatronically in a big new attraction of their own is forfeited.

How much better to see Snow White in her forest home, Aladdin in Agraba, Ariel "Under the Sea," Dumbo in his circus tent, and Simba on Pride Rock (surely they wouldn't thrust that into Small World?!).

Certainly, too, the contrasting evil queens, villains, witches and frightening trees would be left out of the Small World mix? So without their villains, and their marvelous castles and kitchens and ships, the characters really suffer identity degredation.

It's disappointing to hear "inside" confirmation of the Company's disdain for their most ardent fans. The "nerds" who articulate this problem may be prophetic voices fortelling the public reaction which will eventually be manifest in negativity toward the revised attraction.

Imagineering would do well to step back, halt a bad idea, and crate up the in-progress characters for a later debut in their own marvelous show, with their own signature songs, in their own extravagantly magical environments.

/bsdb said...

It is common knowledge here at WDI that Tony Baxter is not a fan of Mary Blair and is glad to see her influence in the park diminish. This is the reason for the drastic style change in the Disneyland Paris small world both in look and sound.

While I have no idea if the above statements are actually true, it wouldn't surprise me if they were. small world has always been the most "feminine" of the Disney theme park attractions, whereas Baxter's have always been the antithesis of the feminine.

I guess expecting Tony to expend his political capital to preserve an attraction not laden with testosterone would be somewhat stupid.

Innoviz said...

It is sad to say, but apparently there is no more creativity left in Imagineering. From what we have seen all they can do is "improve" things that Old School Imagineers built. Or rather bring down the quality of the old rides, so that they all match the lackluster quality of the new rides.

This is what they get from all those guys with degrees being in charge, all they can do really is design out of a prefab bag of tricks, and them export or import them around all the parks.

Almost makes me ashamed to have a degree in design, but then again mommy and daddy didn't buy my degree. For the most part the new breed of imagineers are spoiled kids, kissing their way to the top.

I wonder if they know that the rest of the Professional Industry is laughing at them?

My apologies to the rest of the imagineers who may read this that do not fit the bill. Unfortunately one bad apple ruins the bushel. In this case, a few good apples cannot save the bushel.

Innoviz

brian said...

> It is common knowledge here at WDI that Tony Baxter is not a fan of Mary Blair and is glad to see her influence in the park diminish. <

If this is true, then Tony should have the guts to completely refurbish the attraction in a style he's more comfortable with, instead of trying to kill it with paper cuts. And in essence, if Tony is not a fan of Mary Blair, then he's not a fan of her champion, Walt Disney - as much as he touts to be.

Interesting the Save the Rainforest Thread over on MiceChat. A contributor posted the letter received in response to their mailed comments. Part of it said:

>Walt Disney once stated, "Disneyland will never be completed as long as there is imagination left in the world." In that spirit, we will continue to make additions and changes to the Magic Kingdom, all with the goal in mind to keep the Disney experience new, fresh and exciting.<

The fact the Disney Company continues to use Walt’s statement as an excuse for poorly conceptualized change is getting a little tiresome. The Company obviously missed the fact that the Park will not be completed as long as there is imagination – something that seems to be missing around these purported changes. Disney could use this same statement very well to support the things that Paul Pressler and Cynthia Harris did to the park – and therefore disregard the real spirit that was behind Walt’s remarks.

It's bad enough there is no imagination left, but to disrespect Walt's meaning is a dirty shame.

mr wiggins said...

>To make the Disney characters stand out even more in the small world attraction, the music from the movie in which each character is from will be played in that scene over the small world music.<

Good lord. I can only hope that this turns out to be the fabrication that it sounds like. If it's true, forget Disney jumping the shark -- it'll be the shark devouring its own progeny.

WRD said...

What proof do we have that this is actually happening?

Spokker said...

"What proof do we have that this is actually happening?"

None.

The Internet is a place for rumor and speculation that many people, including myself, enjoy engaging in.

I doubt there are many people who don't understand that this is still just a rumor. Until Disney officially announces the changes it will continue to be a rumor.

How credible the rumor might be is up for the individual to decide.

brian said...

>"What proof do we have that this is actually happening?"

None. <


Doesn't this put some of the 'rumor' around this to rest?

>>Sorry to dash everyone’s hope, (including mine), regarding the Disney characters not making their way into small world, but they will be. The figures are being fabricated as I type this. <<

Anonymous said...

When confronted with similar presentations of creative bankruptcy, legendary Imagineer Herbert Ryman used to shake his head and proclaim heartily "Bad taste costs no more".

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the next shoe to drop will be the newly expanded "Small World of Disney" character toy shop at the end of the ride.

Digital Jedi said...

To date, I don't know of a single Re-Imagineering post that hasn't been accurate. They, in no uncertain terms, visually commented on the fall of the EPOCT wand, months before it was officially announced. So I have little doubt this isn't in the works, even though I would rejoice if they got it wrong.

That said, I don't think I'd agree with the idea that it would have been better to trash Small World altogether and start over, just to preserve the legacy of what was. I think these small changes, while grotesquely offensive, are at the very least, reversible.

WRD said...

>>Sorry to dash everyone’s hope, (including mine), regarding the Disney characters not making their way into small world, but they will be. The figures are being fabricated as I type this. <<

But Brian, how do you know this? I understand most of this is rumor and speculation but I have a hard time believing several different people from several different message boards/blogs (with good track records imo) fabricated the same idea. All Im asking is how these people came across this idea? whats their source?

even a "i know a guy whos brother-in-law works for this guy who knows someone who works in central shops and he overhead a guy talking about while giving a tour to suits from HKDL" would be better than the ambiguous notion that the people writing this and other blogs are omnipotent and "just" know these things.

Im not trying to discredit these rumors at all. Im trying to lend credibility to them so that I might persuade other (more skeptical) persons into believing that something must be done to stop this.

Ya dig?

Anonymous said...

It's time to kick it up a notch. We need some production spy photos.

brian said...

> But Brian, how do you know this? I understand most of this is rumor and speculation but I have a hard time believing several different people from several different message boards/blogs (with good track records imo) fabricated the same idea. All Im asking is how these people came across this idea? whats their source?

even a "i know a guy whos brother-in-law works for this guy who knows someone who works in central shops and he overhead a guy talking about while giving a tour to suits from HKDL" would be better than the ambiguous notion that the people writing this and other blogs are omnipotent and "just" know these things.

Im not trying to discredit these rumors at all. Im trying to lend credibility to them so that I might persuade other (more skeptical) persons into believing that something must be done to stop <


You're good intentions are appreciated. I would venture to guess that except for - as suggested, spy photos - anyone with first hand knowledge would be hesitant to post their names, who they got the knowledge from, etc., for fear of some reprisal. I've known of a couple of instances where people on the "inside" of companies have posted on message boards and blogs and when they've posted things that are less than complementary - or that question the company policies - they've been asked to cease or cease work.

It would be great to have first hand, inside knowledge - but I just don't think that's going to happen - if we ignore the rumors assuming that they aren't true without some concrete proof, they are liable to overtake us and before you know it, it will be A Small Disney Character World with a jumble of animated film theme music as a score.

I'm all for 100% proof and I hope someone does come up with it so it can be addressed as you suggest.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "Sorry to be ‘anonymous’ but being inside the mouse house it is a must."

This post is a part of the insidious nature of Disney's old style corporate politics. This "Anonymous" is violating his ethics and his contract with the company. Indeed, it could be considered a violation of the law.

Now before everyone gets all high and mighty that it's for the greater good. I would say that anytime someone violates a contract entered into in good faith, it violates ethics. Anonymous should either quit Disney and own up to who they are, or sign their name anyway.
Violation of ethics is a serious problem in this country, but we are talking WDI where the backstabbing knives are well-polished.
And don't tell me if it wasn't for anonymous sources we wouldn't have a free press. We do, in the areas it is really important...keeping an eye on the government, both elected officials and bureaucrats.
I really wish Disney employees would quit using these blogs as their personal pet bullhorns and either be constructive in moving the parks forward or go into the museum business.
I think if most of the Imagineers who secretly post here had to actually go out and do what they do for a living, like I do, they would find they have been very wasteful in their Imagineering careers, and probably go broke.
Quit crying like a bunch of spoiled brats!

mr wiggins said...

>Quit crying like a bunch of spoiled brats!<

Try serving a decade and a half before the Mouse, creative side, Director's level or higher, then come back and preach ethics.

We'll see how your sermon sounds then.

Spokker said...

If the person who spilled their guts is indeed a person who works at WDI, and if what they said is true, it might just be an example of a morale problem at WDI.

There are ways to keep your employees quiet other than making them sign a piece of paper. If workers take pride in what they do they are probably less likely to blab.

Excuse the cliché, but management just doesn't get it.

Mr Banks said...

A top level company executive stumbles upon a handful of employees screaming, tearing their hair out, going positively apoplectic over the company's recent disregard for quality.

He fires them all.

Pardon me for not wanting to 'grow up.'

Digital Jedi said...

Brian said:
>>>I've known of a couple of instances where people on the "inside" of companies have posted on message boards and blogs and when they've posted things that are less than complementary - or that question the company policies - they've been asked to cease or cease work.<<<

Which says something rather interesting to me. Someone in the higher ups must be paying attention to these blogs, if everyone with a little insider knowledge has to post as Anonymous. If no one in charge reads blogs, well then, who would they be hiding from?
___________________

Anonymous said:
>>>This post is a part of the insidious nature of Disney's old style corporate politics. This "Anonymous" is violating his ethics and his contract with the company. Indeed, it could be considered a violation of the law.<<<

By doing what exactly? By leaking confidential information, or by speaking unfavorably about his place of employment? Last I heard the latter wasn't illegal. And, somehow, I can't fathom how sticking a bunch of new dolls, however ill-conceived, in Small World qualifies as some hush-hush, top secret project. Sounds more like a worker speaking unfavorably about his company and fearing reprisal to me.

>>>Now before everyone gets all high and mighty that it's for the greater good. I would say that anytime someone violates a contract entered into in good faith, it violates ethics. Anonymous should either quit Disney and own up to who they are, or sign their name anyway.<<<

How do you know he violated any contractual information? Unless you have some insider information of the matter, in which case, you just leaked some yourself.

>>>Violation of ethics is a serious problem in this country, but we are talking WDI where the backstabbing knives are well-polished.
And don't tell me if it wasn't for anonymous sources we wouldn't have a free press. We do, in the areas it is really important...keeping an eye on the government, both elected officials and bureaucrats.
<<<

If the only place anonymous sources are of any value is in government and bureaucracy, then a Disney anonymous source shouldn't really be anything to fret about, should it? You can't have it both ways. You can't say that Disney is so important that its insiders must remain blindly loyal, and then say that anonymous sources are so important to our world that their a must in government. The most important aspects of our culture are okay to be watched, but somehow, Disney should be above that?


>>>I really wish Disney employees would quit using these blogs as their personal pet bullhorns and either be constructive in moving the parks forward or go into the museum business.<<<

A stab at Disney employees or at museums? Maybe you forget, museums are fun places, where history, knowledge and enlightenment are preserved and presented in new and exciting ways. That sounds a lot like what Disney used to be.

Besides, there's nothing nonconstructive about letting you know when you've gotten it wrong. And this Small World thing is 12 kinds of wrong. Sometimes it takes a bullhorn before anyone can get you to listen.


>>>I think if most of the Imagineers who secretly post here had to actually go out and do what they do for a living, like I do, they would find they have been very wasteful in their Imagineering careers, and probably go broke.<<<

Did you just say that if Imagineers did the same work you do, they would go broke?

>>>Quit crying like a bunch of spoiled brats!<<<

Yeah, that's what we're doing. We're crying. Anytime the world disagrees with your point of view, that part of the world is just sobbing little babies. Anytime people stand on the opposite end of your opinion on the matter, their just whiny little brats looking for attention. Anytime a group speaks out and says something is a travesty, and you don't agree, then their just nonsensical children crying their little eyes out because they have nothing better to do.

Or, you know, maybe, just maybe, your wrong. Maybe someone other then you has a point, and they're justified in making it. Maybe you could step outside your own personal bias for a few moments, and at the very least, try to see where they're coming from. And preferably, do so before resorting to tired, borderline insulting comments that denigrate both you and the people who read it.

Spokker said...

And when WDI goes to Blogger.com and demands the IP addresses of the Imagineers who dissented and badmouthed the company they'll be told to go fornicate themselves with a large stick.

But in the unlikely occurrence that Blogger.com gives up the IP addresses Disney will find out that they all resolve to the Glendale Public Library computer lab.

"Alright, all Imagineers who have library cards are fired!"

Spokker said...

In the book Imagineering by The Imagineers there is a 4-page section about It's A Small World aptly named "A Certain Style".

On page 51 there is a quote from Rolly Crump which reads, "The key to the success of It's A Small World was that in creating it, we all remained faithful to the mood and feel of Mary's design."

The book was published in 1996. I wonder what changed in 12 years.

Spokker said...

Another quote from the Imagineering book, this time by Marty Sklar, "You can dream, create new things, and let your imagination go. No one's going to stomp you because you came up with a strange, weird idea, because that's what your leaders expect from you."

Quick, someone draw a Small World proposal without Disney characters and give it to your leaders and see what happens.

Hey ReImagineering guys, have you ever done an update taking what's in this book and using it against WDI? If WDI is really as cutthroat as people say then I guess this book is just a bunch of propaganda.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that violating your Confidentiality Agreement is a big deal. And the contract does not define what is damaging and what isn't. You don't talk about what you know. Practicing good ethics is a dying art in this country and spilling NDA protected info in blogs is not the right thing to do.
The post asking for spy pictures should be removed as encouraging this is an illegal practice. I get that.

However, it is also true that if you emotionally own the hearts and minds of those working for you then they will police each other. Apple seems to keep a better lid on things than Disney for sure. Why? Because the engineers believe themselves that keeping trade secrets is in the best interests of their creations success. They are drinking the "iKool Aid". From what I've been reading here, it seems that the rank and file at WDI are not behind what they are doing and feel emotionally betrayed, so they leak. It almost a sense of duty to the Disney ideal, which they prize above the risk of reprisal. No excuses, just two different cultures.

I did have to laugh when the comment was made about Imagineers going broke out in the real world.
It's true WDI is a safe haven for waste, but these guys aren't that dumb. Most the senior guys who have left run their own companies and they don't seem broke to me. Steve Kirk seems to do pretty good.

www.kirkdesigninc.com

brian said...

> Anonymous said: "Sorry to be ‘anonymous’ but being inside the mouse house it is a must."

This post is a part of the insidious nature of Disney's old style corporate politics. This "Anonymous" is violating his ethics and his contract with the company. Indeed, it could be considered a violation of the law. <


I find it interesting that this post admonishing those who post anonymously was posted by "Anonymous."

Apparently "A" doesn't understand corporate America. I work in corporate America and while I’m sure our policies aren’t in line with Disney’s we do have an anonymous “tip” line where employees can voice their concerns without giving their names and/or positions so that management knows of the concern, but not from who it came. And, if as posted above, those who voiced concerns about the quality of a product were then released from their jobs, they have a vested interest in remaining anonymous…

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that those "tip" lines are usually used in cases of sexual harassment, corporate cover ups of gross malfeasance, embezzlement, Rats in Taco Bell, or other illegal activity.

This is worse.. It's about catching evil corporate art vandals in the act of desecrating a masterpiece with the insertion of a few choice toy Dolls.

Bring on Pellicano!

cranky attraction designer said...

I agree that it's not a good idea to badmouth your own company or spill info either online or otherwise. I can also see the other perspective though... I would imagine that Imagineer designers are like the rest of us industry designers: mostly freelancers...

I would bet that is why Apple secrets don't leak out, but Disney's do -- you have those employees whose company has a long term commitment to their success (Apple) and those who get hired short-term for their talent and then have to search for a job a couple of months later. I think most of us voice opinions about the company because we really do care a whole lot... it is sad that management takes these opinions as dangerous or rebellious because I don't think that is that heart behind it.

If the employees were allowed free dialogue within the company (and those opinions were considered and respected), this stuff probably wouldn't spill out quite so much, and the attractions would be better for it. You would see less changes that seemed half-baked because each project would have been allowed to incubate and be discussed fully before being constructed... Unfortunately, it is up to the directors and managers to decide that they are going to take the effort to protect and nurture their creative teams (and that means sometimes drawing the line on how much the hierarchy influences day-to-day operation). I think if they did that, they would find that their return-on-investment and product was better than expected. People come up with better solutions and ideas when given the space to explore...

P.S. yes, I am anonymous... But no, I don't design for Disney... yet...

Digital Jedi said...

___________________
Philosophy Dictionary:
ethics

(Greek, ethos, character) The study of the concepts involved in practical reasoning: good, right, duty, obligation, virtue, freedom, rationality, choice.

Psychoanalysis Dictionary:
Ethics

Ethics concerns mores: human moral attitudes in general and, more specifically, rules of behavior and their justifications. This system of rules attributes values to behaviors by judging them to be good or bad according to their intrinsic moral qualities or their concrete social consequences.
___________________

We're not talking about some janitor stealing the script to the next Star Wars movie and selling it on eBay. We're not talking about security guards swiping Spider-Man costumes off the set and selling them to the highest bidder. We're talking about people who are so passionate about their craft, who care so deeply for their company, that they'll risk their jobs if there's even a glimmer of hope to see a wrong being righted.

These people are treasures; an invaluable asset that any company should be so lucky to have working for them. They could never undermine the company. They care too much for it. What they're trying to undermine, is the egos of managers who's actions are spiraling out of control. Disney doesn't realize what kind of damage is really being done, and corporate politics stands in the way of it being fixed. There's no other options for these loyal employees left, and they've been forced to endure travesty after travesty.

There has to be a breaking point, and a time to no longer remain silent.

You want to talk about ethics? You ask me who the ethical ones are. The ones who will risk everything to preserve the integrity of their company, or the ones who'll fire them because of it?

Jo said...

The way the Walt Disney Company is being run, infuriates me. There aren't words large enough to express how much it pisses me off that they have, time and time again messed with the classics. The Disney I knew and loved as a I child is slowly fading away. They've lost the sight of every important element that made Disney so special and set it apart from every other theme park in the world.
This is such a disgrace.

ChristianZ said...

"It's a beautiful and moral coming-of-age story, but my point stands: it takes place in the animal world where force rather than civil discourse rules."

That's still not a correct summarization of the story. Simba attempted civil discourse to remove a pretender from the throne (and one who ruled only for selfish motives) and only escalated the force as necessary. When the threat was removed the kingdom was once again ruled without means of force. I could give a more detailed explanation or you could watch the movie again.

ChristianZ said...

"for all intense and purposes" should be "for all intents and purposes."

Signed,

The Grammar Guy (who only bothers to correct about 1/100th of all the grammatical errors he constantly sees)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know who suggested the changes in the first place? It must be Hasbro!

Anonymous said...

PUBLICITY STUNT?

Has anybody considered that Disney is doing this with the intention of upsetting the diehard fans?

Why? Because it's all over the message boards! It's made it into the Los Angeles Times! It's all free publicity.

Isn't it possible that they will aggravate the purists enough that we start giving the attraction free publicity?

Let's face it, if these changes are made, there will be thousands of people flocking to "small world" just so they can see what all the commotion was all about - whether they agree or not. I wouldn't be surprised if the madder we get, the more they laugh.

I am still not convinced that the first major Pirates makeover (when they supposedly made it more "politically correct" by adding food scenes yet still leaving the "buy a bride" scene) was not done to stir up publicity, which it did.

Any idiot would know that making major changes to a storyline or theme of a classic attraction will create a tremendous stir and will definitely upset many without necessarily bringing in more fans in the long run.

But, is it worth it to upset the diehard fans? Won't we still buy our annual passes and return to the park? Will it hurt them in any way? Probably not. Will it get them amazing publicity? Yes.

theatreman said...

"Not Done Living" on Snopes.com had this nifty suggestion:

"They might as well change the name to 'Its a Small Animal Farm' where we are all equal, but some of us are more equal than others.

Exactly.

Anonymous said...

Maybe IASM will end up being the place that all burned out Disney Characters retire to lose the remainder of their popularity and die. It could be a kind of "Stepford" meets "Arkham Asylum" for characters.

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