Tuesday, March 04, 2008

A World of Tears


She was Walt Disney’s favorite conceptual artist, a woman whose sense of color and design influenced the look and feel of numerous Disney projects from 1942 to 1970.

Inarguably her crowning achievement was the 1964 New York World’s Fair show “It’s a Small World”, which later moved to Disneyland where it’s been enchanting guests for more than 40 years. By this summer five versions will exist, the newest appearing in Hong Kong.

The classic model, Mary’s pitch perfect original at Disneyland, is now down for ten months so that the boat flumes can be replaced with a deeper design more appropriate for todays heavier boatloads.

Unfortunately W.D.I. has taken ill advantage of the downtime by staking out areas throughout the attraction to place a selection of smiling Disney characters to spice up the proceedings. Imagine a grinning Stitch in Hawaii, a demure Belle in Paris, a Peter Pan in London.

And in one of the most egregious and downright disgusting decisions in Disney theme park history, the gorgeous New Guinea rainforest scene, replete with some of Mary Blair’s most whimsical character creations (a crocodile with an umbrella, colorful birds hatching from eggs) and her drummer children with Tiki Masks on the opposite shore will be replaced with a Hooray for U.S.A sequence.

Mary Blair’s formidable legacy has taken enough of a beating with the destruction of her Tomorrowland murals back in 1998. This recent move, if it goes through, would be nothing less than a brutal dismissal of her profound and enduring influence on the Disney aesthetic.

The insertion of Disney characters into this classic E-ticket is troubling enough. “It’s a Small World” may be a color and design masterpiece but more importantly the show’s simple message of shared humanity using children of the world and their innate innocence as the metaphor makes it a cultural touchstone and a casebook example of uncluttered visual storytelling. Cute as they may be, Belle, Mickey, Stitch or Nemo have nothing to do with selling the core values of UNICEF, the show’s original partner. Their appearance not only trivializes the central theme but more disturbingly seems to emphasize global brand marketing and franchising above all else.

When the attraction re-opens several months from now this salute to the children of the world will have turned into yet another guest search for hidden Mickeys, the earlier cleaner message all but lost on future generations. Here, also, is where Small World finally becomes yet another prelude to selling more plush, having now devolved into an elaborate hyper commercial window display, all charm and sincerity leeched from its bones.

It’s hard enough to stomach the addition of completely out of place Disney characters in this visionary gem of an attraction, harder to fathom the removal of the rainforest sequence but all out infuriating that it will be replaced with a loud, garish, tacky and aggressively incongruous Hooray for U.S.A. set piece. Nobody does Mary Blair quite like Mary Blair, but the concept art released by the Walt Disney Company for this section of the ride appears to have been designed by artists not even aware of her existence, let alone her singularly specific design sensibility. Gone is her use of a harmonic color palette, gone is her keen eye for shape and form, gone her impeccable taste and theatricality.

And when the rainforest goes, it goes for good, replaced with a group of sets never intended for American audiences from the show’s very inception. In consciously excluding a large scale U.S.A.-land from It’s a Small World (a lone cowboy and indian in the finale was just enough), the original show writers were asking American audiences to step away from their own national consciousness and take stock in the wider world around them. It’s a Small World was never about nationalistic fervor. It was about finding our common humanity outside our own borders.

This is not a change at Disneyland to take lightly. Letters should go out to all corners of the company pleading for a halt to the desecration of Small World once and for all. A campaign to “Save Our Rainforest” is appropriate, one with tee-shirts, wristbands and a countdown clock. It’s safe to say that with enough of a hue and cry from those of us who actually pay the bills at W.D.I the company might do an about face. Fortunately this was a concept that was pitched to executives before Bruce Vaughn and Craig Russell took the reigns at Imagineering so there’s still room for hope.

“It’s a Small World” is a work of art. Those fortunate enough to be the caretakers of a masterpiece are more than welcome to try on a new frame once in a while, to carefully restore its surface, switch out the lighting or even move the piece to another room.

But even the most fool-hardy owner knows not to paint over the original canvas.

Disneyland is your land. Don’t let this happen.


143 comments:

Spokker said...

What?! You guys don't love America?!

For shame!

Adding Disney characters is dumb but it's not really the part of this rumor that makes me angry. It's the whole USA scene.

What I find funny are all the comments on Disney message boards accepting and even welcoming the changes. Some of them baffle me like this one, "The USA room sounds good. Better than the rainforest room. I never liked that anyway. And it does sound right to put the US in it's a small world, since that's what most people believe is the greatest country on Earth."

Yes, because the attraction was always meant to showcase how great the United States is. Do people just not get it? Where are the purists that usually decry these kinds of rumors? Have the Defenders of Mediocrity, as Al Lutz puts it, taken over?

mr wiggins said...

If the addition of Disney characters to It's a Small World becomes reality, it will mark the moment where the world's premiere entertainment giant jumped the shark. It will be the place where a company's historic tradition of excellence was sold out for short term profits, by a management whose creative vision has all the depth and scope of a kiddie wading pool.

And it will be time, once again, to rally.

Kevin Kidney said...

Not only am I concerned about the pointless destruction of original scenes in the attraction, I feel the placement of a "USA" scene right before the grand finale does kind of awkwardly imply "we saved the best country for last." It's embarrassing.

moochie said...

I agree Kevin, it is embarrassing. I don't know if this is the moment that Disney jumped the shark though. It seems to me that there have been lots of jumping of lots of sharks. One of the odd things to me is that there's no real reason to do it. Was It's a Small World losing popularity? Has the audience been demanding something new here? I've always thought it was still one of the main attractions in the park...
It's just too damn bad.
I'm still getting over the friggin' Johnny Depp figures in Pirates. I can't stand it. Disneyland is dying the death of a thousand paper cuts, and in my opinion It's almost to the point that it's not worth going.

Anonymous said...

I'm too disgusted to comment. WDI should be ashamed of themselves!

mr wiggins said...

> One of the odd things to me is that there's no real reason to do it.<

Exactly. Which to me is precisely why such a change to IASW would signal a fundamental shark jump: it is internally driven, an expression of Disney's own corporate culture, a poster for how Disney sees itself.

The physical size of the revisions isn't the issue. It's the story, the symbolism, of the proposed changes -- and that they are proposed for that attraction -- that heralds a new voraciousness in the company's self-consumption. The IASW revision, on the surface of concern only to rabid legacy fans, would symbolize the domination of Disney's marketeering culture over Disney itself.

It would signal an acceleration of Disney's consuming of its own core values -- literally, the gnawing of its cultural foundations -- to feed its present greed.

If approved and built, the IASW revisions would mark a profound shift in Disney's history. Not because of what the revisions represent to us, but because of what they represent to Disney.

Brian said...

I am wondering if the Disney characters being added are mostly happening because they are all ready creating them for the HKDL version of the ride which will also have the America scene too. That might mean that they all ready have a set of figure made since that version will open in a few months time. At least we'll know what the new version will look like before the DL version opens.

I wonder if the Disney characters their adding to the ride are only the popular ones or if they would included characters from less popular films?

I am sort of glad they are not going to repeat the Paris version of the ride, the sets reminded me of clip art for some reason. The America scene photo above is from the Paris version I believe.

Anonymous said...

"Defenders of Mediocrity"

What a stupid and insulting concept.

jeffk said...

I had a chance to see the fantastic Mary Blair exhibit at San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum last month. Until then I hadn't realized how profound an impact she had on the entire Disney aesthetic--looking at all those sketches and concept art was pretty enlightening. It's sad that her legacy is being neglected. (If you're in the Bay Area, by the way, that exhibit runs until March 18, and I can't recommend it highly enough.)

S.T. Lewis said...

What's the best way to contact Disney about something like this? Is there an email address or a mailing address that is likely to get through to someone important? This is a terrible idea, and I want to make sure I cast my vote against it.

Ken said...

They are missing a golden opportunity here! They can have a U.S.A. scene with a models of - and promotional posters - for Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts! They can do the same for France, Japan, and Hong Kong! Maybe even a stylized interpretation of the Team Disney Anaheim building. Then the attraction could be renamed "it's a small world with a lot of disney."

Maybe they can represent all of the locations of the Disney Vacation Club, starting with Hawaii.

I should shut up now before I give them too many ideas.

In all seriousness, I think there's nothing wrong with celebrating the better accomplishments and ideals of the U.S.A. - but that is NOT what the attraction is supposed to be about. How about building a really good version of Liberty Square, instead? LEAVE SMALL WORLD ALONE!

Anonymous said...

Although UNICEF is only tangentally involved in the Disney "Small World" ride any more, it is planning to announce a formal complaint for the very reasons you mention. If the changes go through, they will most likely publicly distance themselves from the project.

Barkalounger said...

I grew up on Disneyland, even worked there for a bit (had the good fortune of working with Mr. Kidney), and -- with the exception of my sullen teen years -- Small World was always my favorite ride. Now, I'm not naive enough to think Disneyland should stay exactly as it was so I can relive my childhood, but I always had faith that the idea of Disneyland wouldn't change. So sad to see I was wrong. The changes to Small World are the tipping point for me.

Oddity said...

I have no problem with them changing the ride. Even if it's a "work of art", it lasts far too long, there's nothing really spectacular, and it's outdated. The real attraction of "It's a Small World" is that it's original.

What concerns me about Disney is the lack of imagination in the imagineering. Seriously - their idea for "updating" an attraction is to stick the latest appropriate Disney character in?

Disney continues to get worse. Whether it's beating up the classics ("Cinderella 3". "Fox and the Hound 2". Please...) or investing in the tired and bored, Disney has very little imagination left.

As an adult, I never had a problem with going to Disneyland, as I enjoyed it as much as my kids. But Disneyland is aiming to become just another theme park - nothing special or unique - that makes me want to go once or twice in the next ten years, if that.

Anonymous said...

This announcement wouldn't have surprised me at all during the Michael "Let's put the characters in EVERYTHING" Eisner years. That it is happening now is mindblowing. And I love my country, but, uh, guys... it's a small *world*. You have an entire park to wave the flag and you do it at the drop of a hat.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland is completed. There is no longer imagination in the world.

Tim said...

Discussion is great - but what are we going to DO?

WHERE do I send an email?

What ADDRESS should I use when I write a letter?

Is there someone willing to be a CHAMPION and create a website?

I'm on board! How can I help?

Tim.

Anonymous said...

I don't really see what the big deal is. The rain forests are shrinking and the US's influence (and military presence) is spreading at a similar rate. Seems to me like they're just trying to reflect a more accurate picture of the world. ;)

disneynorth said...

All I have to say is....WOW! What a horrible shame.....

Hmmmm... said...

Why is this setting off my hoax alarms? Can anyone give me a primary reference? Something FROM Disney?

Anonymous said...

Han shot first....

Anonymous said...

This is a tragedy!!!! Please don't taint the purity of this attraction.

Aimee said...

Now we're even destroying the pretend rainforest in favour of our pretentious United States? That just figures.

/bsdb said...

So... Tony Baxter spent six long years fighting to regain creative control of Disneyland... for this?? And Lasseter the Ultimate Fanboy isn't trying to stop it??


I'm simply gobsmacked.

Destino said...

Well, to make some sense out if this, one has to assume Disney decided that IASW was in need of something they could publicize other than the deeper canals needed because the boats are being overloaded with fat people. That doesn't sound good. It was the opportune time to actually add something to the attraction. They were already doing the Disney character thing in Hong Kong, and somebody holding the purse stings saw an opportunity for a twofer. And it's something they could publicize. But it just isn't enough. So they figured that adding in an America scene would be a great idea. Well okay. If an America scene is done really well in the Mary Blair style, it could be a nice addition. And if the Disney characters are used in a way that wouldn't overwhelm what's already there it could work. Problem is, if the rumor is true, the RAINFOREST scene is going to be missed far more than anyone will like the America scene. Based on the picture posted, the America scene looks to be lame and embarassing. And unless the Disney characters are done in a SMALL WORLD style, they're going to look way out of place. Which is a problem with Jack Sparrow in Pirates. I don't mind that he's there. I mind that he isn't done in the same style as the other pirates. So. I suppose we'll have to wait and see, unless we can write millions of letters of complaint. But hey, it's couldn't be worse than the ending to Spaceship Earth, right? Right?

Stephen Worth said...

Linked from the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive.

Anonymous said...

it's a MALL world after all

It's a MALL MALL world......

Anonymous said...

What is the big deal? The ride is old, sad and boring. Disney: Tear the thing down and put in something more interesting please!

tiajuanabible said...

if only there were more mary blair! i adore her art and her vision. its a small world wont be true to itself or the magic of its original ideals if we plaster it with more mouse ears and a hokey USA A-OK! theme. some things need to stay the same!

borisdag said...

My constant gripe is that Disney feels the need to overlay their characters into EVERYthing. Sure, I love Stitch and the Fab Five as much as any Disney fan, but I don't need to see them every four feet when I visit a Disney property!

I'm guessing that in a few years Mickey will pop up in Everest to reassure guests when things get too real? Or perhaps a Small World Hanah Montana overlay entitled "It's a Small Mantanna World Tour"?

This is blasphemy to the art (and memory) of Mary Blair who devised a fully realized and conceptualized attraction that has stood the test of time.

If the the story aint broke-don't fix it!

Anonymous said...

If this blog is really written by "Pixar and Disney Professionals" -- which, given its inaccurate or at best incompletely informed postings makes me seriously doubt at times -- it is not conceivable that it exists without the knowledge of Lasseter, or at least someone very close to him like Pete Docter.

It is hard to believe that John would allow something like this to happend under his stewardship, so I would like to hear from this blog if somebody's had his ear on this subject. (Come on, all you "Pixar Professionals!")

As it happens, I do (intimately) know somebody close to the refurb who has heard nothing about this desecration. So, while it is not too much of a stretch to believe this could happen, I would very much like to see some primary source on this as well before I take it as more than rumor-mongering, or perhaps someone's "blue sky" (much as I hesitate to use that term for something like this) that the blogosphere somehow got hold of and blew out of proportion.

Pixar said...

Pixar has gotten the word.

Mouldey said...

well, considering IASW depicts an americanised view of foreign nations, it would be appropriate fot the US expansionist zone to be based on a consensus view from the rest of the world of America. Perhaps a wee visual wake up call. Gather some deeply rooted steretypes the outsiders hold true. That's not France, that's not Africa, oh, and here's not USA.

Personally I'm from New Zealand and I've only seen the french version which was pretty abysmal. It seems to me that the meaning behind a statement like Disneyland will never be finished, is that there will always be new ideas to showcase, not just the rehashing of the old. Maintenance is blatantly important, but when it comes to creative focus it would be better targetted toward entirely new and fresh projects.

Anonymous said...

Yes, John Lasseter has the power to stop this - and he should.

mella said...

A dream become reality!

Mike said...

If this rumor is indeed true, the Disney brand is pretty much dead to me.

As Disney continues to make abhorrent, marketing-driven decisions with their dismissive and downright smug attitude towards the legions of loyal fans, I have a solution:

STOP GOING TO THE PARKS.

I'll have no problem doing so if this is true. They continue to shit on my childhood memories, so it's the least I can do.

Now I'm waiting for a rumor that Pixar is making a movie about ghosts so they can do a complete overhaul on Haunted Mansion.

Brian said...

BTW did everyone see the model of the French section of the ride. This is the HKDL version which, I am guessing might be very close to what Disneyland version might look like.

http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2007/06/22/why-for.aspx
(scroll down to the photo of the model)

giddygirlie said...

I am a fan of preserving the past as much as one of adapting for the future, but what doesn't make sense to me (as many Disney projects don't) is how did the proposals even get considered? I mean, from a Marketing standpoint, you're painting a target on your back. I'm sure that the concept being sold was that "Disney is recognized globally" and thus, they can insert their characters into any "country" and make children happy. I may not agree, but I can see where they're coming from (with their sales pitch).

But the Rainforest scene just seems like a giant PR blunder. You really want to destroy the rainforest to show how awesome America is? REALLY? If anything, you'd think they would go the opposite route and show a rainforest FULL of plants and animals (disclosure: I never cared for the rainforest scene as it was, it always felt a bit sparse), and show an optimistic view for the future. Heck, maybe even choose that as the place to insert Mickey - planting trees or something. Sell seedlings in the gift shop! Offset your carbon footprint shaped like Mickey's shoes! I think even some of the purists and fans of the original Mary Blair characters would have less to complain about if it was a Mickey addition that was in good conscience.

As far as the USA scene: it seems appropriate to have the USA represented in some way, outside of cowboys and indians. But it should be an insert somewhere between Canada and Mexico, and it doesn't need to be such a large scene, because the US is such a 'melting pot' of other cultures, so you will see the people of America reflected in the people from around the world.

Guin said...

I am seriously dismayed. Mary Blair is one of my biggest influences, and that ride is sacred to me. Even if it wasn't, this is so...UNNECESSARY. They are missing the whole point of the ride itself, I agree. How on earth will this do the ride any good, if they don't pay respect to Blair's vision and the ride's intent?!

shannonslocker said...

Next thing you know they are going to replace the surfing Hawaiian kid with hannah montana.

Anonymous said...

IASW is one of my favorite attractions, because it has such a heart to it. I'm mystified by the idea of adding a USA room to the Anaheim IASW- because first, there are more appropriate places in the park to do a salute to the USA. Second, (with the exception of Native Americans) Americans came from other lands, so in a way Americans can already see themselves via their ancestry. Third, what will be our native costumes be? It would be out of place from the rest of the ride. The photo from the Paris ride is good evidence to that.
Actually I am more depressed by the thought of adding Disney characters to IASW- that sounds like a decision made by some moron in marketing who probably says the words "synergy" and "cross promotion" a lot
I kind of hope this turns into a nightmare for them, I hope every possible ethnic/religious/socioeconomic group demands inclusion in the USA room, joined by proponents of every architectural landmark in the US, and the resulting commotion drives the Disney people nuts as a result.

Anonymous said...

I heard about these proposed “updates” to it’s a small world a few days ago and I was pretty dismayed.

The intrusion of Disney Characters into this attraction is just crass product placement. Perhaps Disney Inc. should drop the other shoe and really push the commercial angle with Coca Colas in the hands of the Taj Mahal dancing girls, or have Lilo and Stich sipping Dole Whips.

When I was a child I took the ride and noticed right away that the only US characters were the cowboy and Indian discretely inserted into the grand finale. When I asked my Mom about the omission she said “American puppets don’t belong in this ride… in this ride you leave America to go see the rest of the world. When we went to the Grand Canyon last year, we didn’t take pictures of our own house because home really isn’t part of the part of the trip.” I was very satisfied with the answer.

How is it a mid-60’s housewife and a 6 year old boy get this instinctively and the well-paid professionals at Disney don’t?

Alas, poor Mary B. Her reputation is worth strip mining for a book or two - her name is used in DisneySpeak as a cardinal point on the compass of good taste - but the art that she herself produced is treated as completely disposable.

-Katella Gate

brian said...

I think the proof that this decision has been so poorly thought through is – as has been pointed out – the irony that Disney is supporting the removal of a rainforest for the inclusion of a USA scene. I’m amazed sometimes at how Corporate America just doesn’t get it – but it’s totally astonishing how a creative part of Corporate America is so blind. It’s difficult to believe that creative people actually sat around in a room, discussed the decisions around Small World and then gave it all a “thumbs up.” What are these people thinking? Or better yet, why aren’t these people thinking? Has the Disney Corporate structure become so twisted that creativity has been jettisoned for idiotic decisions?

I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when these Small World decisions were made – just so I could understand what objective is trying to be filled. Is putting Stitch in the attraction going to sell another plush? Surely they can’t think that ruining the artistic styling of the piece will encourage people to embrace Disney. Does Disney know that on the whole, people just don’t care and will still fork out the money to come to the parks, no matter how badly they ruin them? I can’t fathom what objective would be the result of this kind of action.

It seems that other versions of Small World don’t have the Mary Blair styling – and I can accept putting the Disney characters there – these are attractions based on a theme, not the original piece. But sullying the original artistic work and the message that it sends is reprehensible. Rather than defacing Blair’s work, they should just gut it all and put one of their new versions of Small World in. How misguided we’ve been to think that the Baxter/Lassiter team understands. How disappointed Walt must be.

brian said...

Never mind - I just read the Jim Hill story at the link the other Brian posting here provided. So now I know the objective - marketing and revenue. But in this case, the ends don't justify the means.

Anonymous said...

You people need to get over youselves. Every time anything changes at Disney it's "Waa waa, boo hoo, the original designers were gods, the new people in charge don't get it, waa waa"

Walt himself designed the park to be constantly changing. When things change some people will like it, others will not. But you Disney geeks (of which I am embarassed to be counted in that number) find fault with everything and whine and complain.

Just like the last post about Spaceship Earth and interactive screens...um, wasn't that how your precious Horizons ended? And when no one went on it and it got closed, suddenly everyone waxed philosophical about how it was their favorite.

Life is change...it's a damn theme park, for crying out loud. I love it, it's part of Americana, but it was designed to evolve and change. Get a life!

Mickey said...

To the above anonymous:

I wish there was something I could do to help you. I'm so sorry.

brian said...

Walt himself designed the park to be constantly changing. When things change some people will like it, others will not. But you Disney geeks (of which I am embarassed to be counted in that number) find fault with everything and whine and complain.

Walt Disney also appreciated artistry, history, nostalgia and providing opportunities to learn about ourselves and each other. He didn’t design Disneyland never to be completed, but he said it would never be completed as long as their was imagination. What imagination is needed to stick a Disney character in the middle of a highly artistic, stylized, nostalgic and global affirming attraction for the sake of some senseless corporate mandate that requires everything to be attached to a merchandisable entity? It would be one thing if It’s A Small World was being plussed. It would be one thing if it was being removed for a more promising attraction.

I don’t for the life of me believe that Walt Disney hoped that Disneyland would continue to change for the sake of merchandising opportunities. That’s not how the Park was conceived or built.

Forced Downtime said...

I'm so disgusted by this news that I don't even know WHAT to think. I loved Small World because it was an interactive art installation. It was like riding through a painting, seeing all the colors and shapes and everything made real.

I can't believe this. I can't goddamn believe this. This is beyond disgusting.

mr wiggins said...

> You people need to get over youselves. Every time anything changes at Disney it's "Waa waa, boo hoo, the original designers were gods, the new people in charge don't get it, waa waa"<

TDA is hiring for middle management -- run, don't walk, your resume over there. You'll find yourself in good company.

And don't accept a cubicle. Just give a sardonic chuckle and a roll of the eyes when anyone mentions "Walt," a weary sigh when "fans" are discussed, and you'll have a window office for sure. ;)

Carley Mouse said...

I'm kind of half and half on this.

While I dearly love "old" Disneyland and the attractions that have been updated or are extinct, I do welcome new changes. I love Jack in the new Pirates of the Caribbean. The new age of AA's amazes me and I think they did a very good job of combining the old with the new to satisify everyone.

Hopefully this will be the same, if it's good, it's good, we gotta give the new imagineers a chance, ya know? maybe someday people will be saying they're the gods, and maybe it will pay tribute enough to Mary Blair, which her designs are amazing. But, if the ride doesn't come up to par, I wouldn't stop going to my favorite place in the world over it.

change isnt always bad.

Stone said...

Walt himself designed the park to be constantly changing.

true enough, but don't be so dense as to think Walt intended those changes to actually ADD to the taste and culture the park represents.

Walt was NOT about marketing and promotion just for the sake of it. In fact, he built his empire on the belief that good taste and QUALITY of product would outlast and outsell any mass marketed and shallow product.

Hence why he reinvested so much of the money made for Disney early on into training artists to get better and better technically (working at a loss for a good length of the company's beginning). Meanwhile many other studios simply pocketed their profits without putting much back into strengthening their talent pool and they simply ended up being derivatives to Disney or, even when achieving great things, they never quite reached the heights that Disney did.

When things change some people will like it, others will not. But you Disney geeks (of which I am embarrassed to be counted in that number) find fault with everything and whine and complain.

The discussion is about the eroded values of today with regard to things once taken as common sense and was respected yesterday. This is not about obsolescence and simply "wanting to go home again." Why do these decisions suddenly make sense to executives now when years ago this would've been a painfully obvious social and cultural faux-pas? It undermines any meaning the attraction used to have and replaces a part of American Culture no matter how cheesy and supposedly outdated it may have been, with a hollow and superficial marketing scheme that will look even sillier 5 years from now than the original SW could've looked in 50.

A lot has to do with people just not giving a damn about history and the context of decisions made before their time. People are only concerned with what happens today and think that yesterday has no relevance whatsoever on their lives, when that is just completely untrue. Why have an attraction that supports a world view, is intended to take the viewer out of America, of which they are surrounded by 24/7, so that they may at least be reminded that we are people sharing a planet and not just shut-ins living on our own personal islands and then completely contradict it's original intent?

Yeah, old things die and get replaced, but this is altogether gutting the old and trying to make it something it was never intended to be. In essence, REPLACING and REWRITING history. Walt stood for change, but he didn't stand for that. Not without cause. Not if it didn't enhance the quality of the product.

There are better ways of restoring classics. However, it's not done like this: Let's put billboards on the Washington Monument. Let's give Lincoln's statue at his memorial a soul-patch because his boring old beard just isn't "hip" enough for today's tourists.

To be so glib about the subject just makes the discussion even sadder. Yeah, you're right... no one will care if it does happen. Except the ones who didn't take it for granted. You like to point out how pointless everything is I hope one day you don't look back someday and realize how much you actually miss what you once had not as far as Disneyland attractions go but in your own life. It just starts here, but keep in mind that there are people who will just as easily dismiss the history of family, town culture and the country's pride all to replace it with a marketing strategy. I hope you won't miss it as much as we do.

Chris said...

Just like the last post about Spaceship Earth and interactive screens...um, wasn't that how your precious Horizons ended? And when no one went on it and it got closed, suddenly everyone waxed philosophical about how it was their favorite.

No, actually Horizons didn't end with an esurance quality animation about a fake future that could have been totally drawn in one sitting.

Horizons had an elaborate and very realistic vision of future transport in 3 ways. To even begin to think they can be talked about in the same breath is not really understanding the sheer quality difference.

(Back on Topic)
I have not yet seen the DL version of IASW but from the pictures, I don't believe they're really planning to have that USA section...IF they are really planning this, then it is becoming very clear that they have no idea what a lot of these attractions stood for to begin with.

Please give us names and addresses to write to about this.

Anonymous said...

I love this. It just goes to show you the company could care less about the likes of you people. All of you, so proudly hanging on to your history books. The imagineering you're all in love with is dead.

Its hard enough that they're trying to be a museum, innovator, and a marketing company at the same time, but now Disney is basically admitting that art isn't as important as sales. You really think any non-Disney nut is going to give a crap about Mary Blair's art? Its about selling tickets and getting people in and out. If any of you really cared about art, you'd probably wouldn't be Disney fans anyway. Disney is a company that has been known to mangle some great art and literature to spread their own messages.

I'm so sick of you hypocrites on these blogs. You're happy to see the company succeed in sales, yet, you're opposed to change. "Crap" like Hannah Montana keeps things like Its a Small World open for 30+ years. Likewise, shoving Mickey Mouse into an attraction and cutting down a pretend a rain forest keep the whole thing from being replaced by a Disney Princess or Tinkerbell ride.

For all the talk on this blog, I have yet to see anyone use their money as a bargaining chip to show how you feel. 101 Dalmations was just re-released on DVD...I'm sure you'll all buy that despite this announcement. Carry on "art lovers."

brian said...

<"Crap" like Hannah Montana keeps things like Its a Small World open for 30+ years.>

While I can't admit to knowing attendance figures, I would venture to guess that if It's a Small World had been reduced so far that crap was required to offset it's revenue losses, it would have been replaced with a Disney Princess or Tinkerbell ride. And frankly, if the attraction has to be turned into crap in order to survive, it's better to pull the plug on it and revel in the memory.

The Disney company's fixation on the short term dollar gives up on the premise that a little quality - which requires a little investment and a little effort - will last 30 plus years - while a Disney-ized version of a classic will fade very quickly.

Tongaroa said...

To the anonymous above...

Don’t bottle it up. Let us know how you feel.

Spokker said...

The Tiki Room (the Disneyland version) is the best example of how an aging attraction should be plussed. They replaced all the AAs, remastered the soundtrack, and kept the show exactly the same. They even found a way to tie it in with the 50th.

If only that was standard operating procedure. They could have easily preserved small world as it is while giving it a full refurbishment and marketed it as "pristine" and "good as new", just as they did with the Tiki Room.

Instead we'll see billboards on Interstate 5 about the new characters and USA scene. I can see it now for 2009, "The 2fer is back, and so is small world with an all new cast of characters!"

Ugh.

ickymouse said...

OK, first - where can I sign? I'll sign any petition, wear any t-shirt or handcuff myself in a human chain to "It's a Small World" in protest.

Second - I don't know if any of you have noticed, but the brunt of "Disnerds" (I exclude myself from this heinous group, even though my Disney Nerdiness makes my friends roll their eyes when I go off on how The Disney Co. has been ruining Disneyland for years)won't ever say anything even slightly off-color about the company, as if they'll get their AP's revoked and blacklisted for life. They continue to blow smoke up The Disney Co's butt and would applaud vigorously if Sleeping Beauty's Castle were turned into "Pochahontas' Wonderful World of Merchandise Teepee". It's no surprise they'd back the bad idea of all bad ideas.

I'm seriously at the point of never going back there ever again, as it's just too painful to see that place (which had been, for the most part, almost exactly the same from the time I was a small child in the early 70's, up until the mid-90's) get sliced & diced a little more and a little more, every single time I set foot in it. You may laugh at "Pochahonta's Merch Teepee", but how is that really any different than what could happen to the Small World? The people that really need to make something happen, are a lot of you - the folks that work INSIDE the company. YOU can make people listen. YOU can make changes and suggest that Disney doesn't whore-out Disneyland, until it becomes one, giant Disney Store (which, it's pretty damn close to, already!). You can talk to the right people and make sure these things don't happen. Don't rely on the fans, because, for the most part, they're kissing too much heiny to even WANT to stop the change (these are, let us purists remember, the same people who all smiled emphatically and cheered the hideous and rampantly disrespectful vandalizing of the classic "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction by taking out the wonderful Buddy Baker theme music - and replacing it with the boring, plodding Hanz Zimmer dreck; replacing the Marc Davis-designed Captain of the "Wicked Wench" with a Geoffrey Rush-Pirate-Anim.; and littering it with the annoying, "Where's Waldo"-like re-appearances of the Johnny Depp Anim. - all through the ride).

I'm sorry - I know I'm letting my nerd-flag fly here, but anyone who says that that "doesn't really change the ride" should be taken out back of the show building and made to drink the waters of the Blue Bayou Lagoon, if they like it so F'ing much.

It's bad enough we all have to be made to accommodate those folks who can't push themselves away from the dinner table after three helpings, but now this? It's disgusting. It's appalling. it's also starting to seem like the usual S.O.P. of the greedy, Merchandise-hungry Disney Co., with their constant allegiance to the almighty Stockholders and ever-present bottom line. When will it end? Probably never. They don't care. Maybe if some of you higher-ups put a few bugs in their ears. Maybe something like..."You know, if you keep the fans happy...you know...those Professional people in their 30's & 40's, who grew up at Disneyland...who spend ,millions in revenue every year on AP's, merchandise, food and truckloads of those overpriced "Collectible" items?...they'll keep coming back and spending more and more and more...IF you keep them happy..."

Just a thought.

A Purist for Disneyland. Bring back the P.O.C.!

Anonymous said...

To all the above people stating change is not bad, and the park was meant to change with time... I'll agree with you, but butchering the friggen classic rides is Disney Blasphemy. Walt would have fired(maybe even contracted a hit) on ALL these money grubbing corporate whores. The Johnny Depp character in the POTC is incredible, but does not belong in the attraction. Just as stitch doesn't belong in IASW. If this is the standard, shouldn't Eddie Murphy be featured in the Haunted Mansion? For chripes sake, when will it stop?
Disney has become a brothel of "fluffers" just adding enough shit to make the classic rides "new and improved", but they taste like shit, and It's all bullshit and all downhill from here for the most part. What Walt was creating in the park was a sense of timelessness on the rides, by using timeless stories AND using Classic tales, most of which Disney had Nothing to do with writing wise.

Some of these rides include all of the orginal darkrides like "Alice in Wonderland" written by Lewis Carol, "Mr Toads Wild ride" aka Wind in the Willows written by Kenneth Grahame, Snow White by Brothers Grimm...etc etc...Soon all the rides and concepts that made Disneyland what it is today, will go to the slaughterhouse as well. Tom Sawyers Island and the Mark Twain Riverboat circling it. There was a method to the parks engineering and creative awareness, alot of it paying homage to early writers and storytellers. I used to enjoy the Sub Voyage...Now they added Nemo, as well as an expiration date. Pirates is on the same boat, literally.

The main focal point should be on California Adventure(I dare not put Walt's namesake in front of that travesty "addition" park). That place NEEDS ATTRACTIONS! Its a shithole, plain and simple. The only people I usually see going into that park
(notice I didn't reference the word theme?)
are visitors who do not know any better. Here's an idea...Lose the Lagoon, add rides, lose the boardwalk, add worthy attractions/ride(s)...rid some of the derelict restaurants,add a ride or three!
I'm sure the East Coasters loved DCA, as if they don't have enough Boardwalks themselves...
-Concerned again

Slick said...

If some of you are happy that Disney is going to feature a section "playing up" the USA as a finale in "Its A Small World" attraction...Then where were you when they eliminated "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" and "America Sings"?

Corporate Disney has lost the vision and it all falls on deaf ears. Anyone know how to code Braille for..Ahh forget it..They are not only blind and deaf, but they(Corporate execs) are dumb too...

Anonymous said...

My dear God in heaven.

I would write more but I am crying.

Spokker said...

Hey Re-Imagineering guys, have you ever considered creating a proper message board? As it stands now there is only the comments sections under the topics you supply. I think it would be great to speak to the like-minded individuals who read this site about a variety of topics, you know, what ever is on their minds.

The content of this blog and many of the comments is stuff that isn't well received by the usual crop of Disney message boards, whose members often strive for positivity at the expense of real Disneyland discussion.

/bsdb said...

...Disney is basically admitting that art isn't as important as sales.

Seems like a hypocritical stance to take, after spending over $7 BILLION to acquire Pixar, which has always put art first, ahead of short-term gains. That's precisely why they're a household name now. "Art isn't as important as sales?" I'm sure statements like these make the Chief Creative Officer/Principle Creative Advisor feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


You really think any non-Disney nut is going to give a crap about Mary Blair's art?

That's the thing, though. They actually do give a crap. They just can't explain it. The non-foaming park attendees do recognize the high quality of Mary's art, but can't necessarily describe the particular nuances of that quality. They simply know it when they experience it. (For more on the interpretation of quality, I recommend Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.)

This is why the attraction has been so popular for over four decades: the quality of Mary Blair's art. And to replace that art with what amounts to yet another marketing gimmick a la Stitch's alien invasion or Captain Sparrow peek-a-boo is inexcusable.

Any gains realized from these changes will be short-lived. But the changes to the attraction will continue on for years and years, long after those attendance bumps are gone. But by then, it will be too late to undo the damage.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should just pick up IASW and deposit it over at the World Showcase at Epcot. They already have all the characters there in country specific clothing.

Anonymous said...

The Mona Lisa is pretty old, attracts a lot of visitors, and is a trademark of the Louvre.

Heres a neat idea...

How about we update it so we can get press and hopefully bring in more people and make more money.

As long as we make more money, who cares what people think.

Anonymous said...

Ah Mr. Banks, your true colors finally show.
You are one of those who think Disneyland should be preserved as a museum...never changing because all imagination in the world is dead...to totally paraphrase in the opposite way what Walt said.

Anonymous said...

Mary Blair's art, and Walt's vision are international treasures.
Would you paint a mustache on the
"Mona Lisa" Give the whole attraction to the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C., they at least will treat it with the respect it deserves. It's a national treasure!

Mr Banks said...

Yes, yes, yes, THAT old tired argument. But incorrect. I'm very much open to change at Disneyland.

I was excited to see what they were doing with the Tiki Room in Florida. Then disgusted to see the result. I was excited to see the new Pooh Ride at Disneyland but disgusted with the result. I was excited about the new Lincoln at Disneyland's Opera House, then disgusted with the result. I was excited about the New Tomorrowland in '98, then disgusted with the result. And when change actually means LOSING cherished icons at the park with no hope of replacement; the Fantasyland Pirate Ship, America Sings, Circle-vision 360, the Peoplemover, the Skyway, Rocket Jets, Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln, Cascade Peak, Mission to Mars and many more, then I'm very much against 'change'.

No, when it comes to quality showmanship I'm open to change. But the endless question is, "Is it different or is it better?" Walt believed in making it better and always did.

Here's hoping this tired old argument is eventually put to rest. It's just meant to stifle constructive debate.

goldenrusset said...

as much as i am completely disgusted and appalled.. i'm not totally surprised. disney hasn't had an ounce of heart since the 70's when the heart died. sure there have been a few beats here and there with little mermaid and aladdin in the early nineties... but somewhere around '96 something snapped.
It's a fitting metaphor for what's happening in America. Why there isn't rioting in the streets in major protest to the state of the country is beyond me.. any other self respecting country in the world would have overthrown the government by now. USA has become the very thing they have always fought against.
At least thats how it seems from the outside looking in.

Anonymous said...

"I'm very much open to change at Disneyland."

So your rebuttal against being strict preservationist is that you only accept change if nothing is lost? What a conflict of terms.

change: -noun –verb (used with object)
1. to make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone: to change one's name; to change one's opinion; to change the course of history.
2. to transform or convert (usually fol. by into): The witch changed the prince into a toad.
3. to substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her shoes when she got home from the office.

Those are just the first three (of 38) dictionary definitions for the word change.

You wonder why that "tired old argument" arises? Its because you claim to accept change, but in actuality you favor additions, not change. Change means there must be loss in order to make new. You can argue that some losses are less important than others, regardless, loss is a part of change.

The bottom line is that your acceptance of change is conditional of your perceived value of what's in the park. Your perception and interpretation of Walt's views are no longer shared by people in charge. Your financial stake is minimal compared to the ones being paid to make these decisions. Posts like this imply that there is some kind of democracy in art. Cute.

Mr Banks said...

I favor additions, not change? Huh?

For the record I favor quality over mere change for changes sake. The brand new Fantasyland re-do in the early 80's was a masterpeice of positive change. Star Tours taking over Adventure Thru Inner Space was a respectful change. The new Sub ride as well.

If you, personally, are looking forward to the 'changes' coming to "It's a Small World" then more power to you. I respectfully implore you to go to websites more giddy about seeing Belle twirling around Small World's Eiffel Tower.

And here's hoping your campaign to add fiber optics to The Mona Lisa goes through.

Merlin Jones said...

The anon. that posted the line "it's a mall world" and I are in sync. I posted this lyric spoof around last week (...with apologies to (Bob & Dick):

It's a world of franchise
It's a world of fun
Piles of plush mean profit for everyone
Wonder, Magic or Dream
In our marketing scheme
It's a mall world after all

It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall, mall world

There is just one Pooh
In Britannia
Tour a Hannah Montana, America
And in Europe, monsieur
You’ll find a Princess du jour!
It's a mall world after all

It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall, mall world

On the Islands your VISA can charge a Stitch
In Japan, retro Oswald will make us rich
High School, Pirates or Cars
The global ‘tween niche is ours
It's a mall world after all

It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall, mall world

While the purists hold tribute to Uncle Walt
Their disinterest in money is not our fault
Now Mary's color gives flair
To a consumer toy fair
It's a mall world after all

It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall world after all
It's a mall, mall world

It's a mall, world.... a mall world after aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall!

JohnG31 said...

THIS IS TERRIBLE. DISNEYLAND IS OUR LAND, STOP THE MBA'S from DESTROYING IT!


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

epcot81 said...

It's actually more disgusting to read how cynical some of you people are than to think of what IASW might look like with Disney characters running around.

IASW is a piece or art. Disneyland is and was a piece of art too. If you REALLY understand and cared about art then you'd be able to get this. Good art comments, makes you react and makes you feel. Disneyland - as an original concept is a triumphant piece of art. It's just getting harder and harder in today's world to connect with this thought, just like how it's getting harder and harder for every generation to really connect with how hard the war years were.

I find it hard to believe that Tony Baxter would allow this to happen, so I'll hold back my tears until it's official.

Oh, and Hannah Montana doesn't keep IASW open for 30+ years, IASW does.

Andy Castro said...

http://micechat.com/forums/showthread.php/save_rainforest_keep_its_small-91695.html

I'm tryin'.

It's a tough fight.

Patrick said...

I don't understand why there's so much surprise surrounding this. The Walt Disney Company sold its soul to the All Mighty Dollar years ago. Why would anyone think a corporate giant like Disney would have any scruples left?

Anonymous said...

This is a sad sad time in our history as a human race when we let the corprate world destroy one of the most influencial works of art in the history of the world.

If this does become a reality I hope that they at least put the original work in a museum where it will still be able to be apreciated.

We don't need to fight this on a corprate level though we need the attraction to be named a historic landmark and save this work of art.

Josh "Just What the Doctor Ordered" Heisie said...

WHAT?!? NO! Why in God's name would you change it after 40 years?!?!? It's fine how it is!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU????!!!?

Anonymous said...

Speaking about Disney changing things...
has anyone seen the new DVD release of 101 Dalmatians? Does Cruela still smoke a cigarette? Remember what they did to Pecos Bill!

Anonymous said...

I never said I was in favor of this change. I just think historical or artistic reasons are weak arguments for Disney not to do it.

"For the record I favor quality over mere change for changes sake."

Quality is perceptive. Its a matter of taste, not fact. Its the reason why some people vacation in Vegas and others vacation in the wilderness. Your assessment of what is quality is just as valid as the people that choose to change this attraction.

If you really want to evoke change with the people that make the decisions, you'll have to speak their language. For a change to happen in a company as big as Disney, there was obviously a lot of red tape to break through. There are a lot of people within the company thinking this was a good idea, enough to push this project into action.

It would be much more interesting to understand why they'd make these changes rather than to simply mourn them. You state your opposition clearly. We don't know why Disney would think this is a good idea.

What is Disney's motivation for these changes?

Perhaps answering this question might illustrate how far your's and Disney's perception of quality differ.

giddygirlie said...

Apparently this topic has struck a nerve! And I am in awe of both the people who want to start a letter-writing campaign (more power to you) and the people who urge you to move the conversation to a message board so they can more easily flame you.

Civil discourse, folks. Every blogger is entitled to their opinion. If you don't like it, you're welcome to walk away or join a Six Flags fansite or whatever. Sheesh.

"C.G." said...

I have visited Disneyland Paris twice, and "It's a Small World" was one of my favorite attractions. There are no words to describe such place, it's more than just an attraction, it's a work of art. I know my mother loves to collect dolls, and she always loved that little world. Passing close to the South American parts reminded her of her home country too.

I'm not sure about the other Disney parks, but in Paris, in the end of the tour for the "It's a small world", there was this room with lots of houses, and we could perk inside the windows, to watch animated sequences of children communicating with each other, from a morse code machine to a telephone. It was adorable as well.

Adding Disney Characters to the environment seems out of context, and it's necessary. "It's a small world" won't lose its charm just because it has no Disney characters in it.

As for the "Hooray for USA!" thing... also out of context, it goes against the principles from the attraction. Sure, it might be old, and outdated, "It's a Small World" probably would need some few modifications in order to prove itself reliable for the future generations. But slapping cheap USA propaganda in it is not the best strategy.

My suggestion? Create something more unique for each international park, without damaging its content. Someone suggested building a better Liberty Square for the USA part. Sounds good to me. In Paris, for example, maybe create a more elaborated French scene, or European.

Or if they have such need to place Disney characters somewhere, how about they design a new ride, similar to "Small World", but dubbed as "Disney World", where we can meet with the very first Disney characters, from decades ago. Many kids nowadays, because of the overload of cheap and mediocre anime in our televisions, know nothing about Mickey or Donald. Having a ride that is at the same time amusing and educates us about the past history of Disney, Animation and our old beloved characters would be a wonderful thing.

nojarama said...

I completely agree with this blog's author. Save the Rainforest!!!

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous who posted the "get a life" comment.

I guarantee you won't find a bigger fan of Walt, Disney World, and its history than me. But does anyone remember that Disney is a corporation with shareholders and intended to make money? And you're comparing attractions to the Mona Lisa? Or National (read public) landmarks like the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial? Huh? Really?

When St. Walt was alive he himself was often derided as a huckster only after a buck (purchase The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD and look for the parody episode of good old Walt selling tickets to see Sleeping Beauty lying in state). While I don't agree with that opinion, don't kid yourself that he was Mr. Completley Altruistic and not interested in profit. Was slapping together features like Make Mine Music high art or was it a convenient way to make a low priced high return feature?

I'm not saying I agree with the proposed changes, it's just that it's really, really tiring reading these types of posts. And before you say "well then go to another site", I will once I give enough opportunity to see open minded debate of my points.

The bottom line is that until you run the company your only option is to go or not go to Disney parks. If you don't like the changes, don't go.

And it's pretty hypocritical to tell me to send my resume in..I'm not the one always saying I know better and can do a better job than current management...um, that would be this group of disgruntled "ex imagineers".

The USA scene - maybe, just maybe, the message they are trying to present is a positive view of the USA, which has a pretty crappy reputation right about now. I agree it's a botched attempt, but how can you presume to know the intention?

I believe the changes made are a reflection of the changes in today's culture (i.e. they are the effect not the cause). And aren't each of us responsible for that culture...how we raise our children, interact with each other, even our choices of TV...if you've made trash TV what it is today you are to blame. Would the same TV shows that were popular 20, 30, 50 years ago be popular today? If tastes change all the time, don't theme park tastes change too? Do you really think these changes are made in a vacuum, without thought of what is popular and what is not? Do you really give Disney management that little credit?

So, how many times have you visited the Louvre or the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial? Did you get a fast pass?

Anonymous said...

It's a tribute to all the countries of the world... but mostly America.
-Sam the Eagle (Muppetvision 3D)

If I was in charge at some level over Disney Imagineering, and this design concept came across my desk. I would fire the person that submitted it. I can only see it as destructive sabotage to one of the classic attractions.

If they wanted to spruce the ride up, they should hire a talented designer with a style akin to Mary Blair, like today's designer known as SHAG. Then go scene by scene with very tiny improvements, smooth or sweeten the motion on a character here. Fix some glitter there. Keep it subtle. As long as it doesn't look broken or faded, a true classic never dies.

mr wiggins said...

>And it's pretty hypocritical to tell me to send my resume in..I'm not the one always saying I know better and can do a better job than current management...um, that would be this group of disgruntled "ex imagineers". <

It’s interesting that on every forum where these sorts of issues are argued (and not only on the topic of Disney), the same defense of the status quo is heard from the same Defenders of Management.

Some say they’re company shills. Others point to the general dumbing down of culture, the shallowing of artistic standards, and the ascension of money as the measure of cultural value.

I suspect it may be something akin to fear. That the vehement attacks from the "management knows better" crowd belie a fear that the wind is changing. That increasing numbers of people are growing disgusted with the pimping of ideas and institutions and standards of quality in the corporate quest for cash.

Mr Banks said...

To Bravoman,

Patience. Your comment is currently getting 'special' attention.

Thanks

Spokker said...

"and the people who urge you to move the conversation to a message board so they can more easily flame you."

Huh, who said this?

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to say the following, but it's true -

I give up. It's over. All of it. Over. Treasure your memories of the glory days of the parks. But they've beaten it too far, pushed the marketing too expansively, and made too many bad decisions.

It's over. Every single announcement - EVERY SINGLE ONE, for almost a decade - disappointment and stupidity. I can't do it anymore. I've lost my faith. They've beat it out of me, repeatedly, furiously, endlessly. The cycle isn't turning. It's not coming back. There will be no announcements, no saving graces, nobody to fight the good fight.

I worked for Imagineering, and you know what? I'm embarrassed to say it now, when I used to be proud. Bruce should take a stand, he knows better. If you have to pick your battles and Baxter, Vaughn, and Lasseter don't do so over this one...hey, I hope Dubailand has a good annual pass program.

brian said...

< When St. Walt was alive he himself was often derided as a huckster only after a buck (purchase The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle DVD and look for the parody episode of good old Walt selling tickets to see Sleeping Beauty lying in state). While I don't agree with that opinion, don't kid yourself that he was Mr. Completley Altruistic and not interested in profit. >

I totally agree - Walt was interested in profit. When he was asked why it cost so much to go to his Park, he replied that dreams cost money. The difference in Walt was that he used his profit to advance his crafts, his artistry and his quality. Today, Disney's profit is used to pay off stockholders who in turn pay off CEOs. Their objective is profit for profit's sake - their mandate to include Disney characters in all facets of their parks is not based in quality, but in pure profit for no other reason.

brian said...

>I'm tryin'.

It's a tough fight.<


We're with you, Andy!

Anonymous said...

IASW is one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland. I can accept the fact that due to the passage of time, the park is becoming less Walt Disney's vision and more the vision of the Walt Disney Corporation's. But I don't understand these changes.
IASW is one of Walt's "babies". He came up with the idea, hired the artists, supervised their work, and approved the final result. The lack of a USA room was not an oversight but a conscious decision by Walt but it didn't fit the theme. They should go to the archives and read the memos from 1963/1964 first because it seems they don't understand what the attraction is all about. There are more appropriate places in the park for a Hooray to the USA attraction.
Putting the Disney characters in the various lands is just stupid. They'll stick out like a few dozen sore thumbs, and dilute the charm.
I wonder, do you suppose the US room will have little dolls of the cast of High School Musical and the various Disney Channel shows?

Jeff Pidgeon said...

Hey - you guys made Boing Boing. Congrats!

For what it's worth, I don't think It's A Small World should be changed, either.

Adding licensed characters and celebrating the US over the rest of the world really damages what the ride is about.

I think it's meant to show that we're not all that different from one another, and depict a world of multi-cultural harmony.

I was never a big fan of the attraction until my wife and I rode it just after I proposed to her. That small world of happiness and hope was the perfect place to be!

Carol said...

This is another case of change not always being the best thing. I feel they ruined the Tiki Birds by changing it to a jazzy theme. I mean...come on! The Tiki Birds with the Polynesian theme were perfect the way they were. It was somewhere that a person could feel like they were on a tropical vacation. It would be like changing the Country Bear Jamboree to the Country Bear Rap Session. It just doesn't make sense! They can make upgrades and improvements without changing the whole theme of Small World. When they added Captain Jack Sparrow to the Pirates of the Caribbean, it was done without affecting the integrity of the attraction. I hope they will reconsider the changes to Small World.

Anonymous said...

I have no problem with adding a few Disney charactors but to take out scenes, such as the rainforest is just plain stupid.
We are in the USA, we don't need a USA land.

Anonymous said...

Save the Rainforest!

don't get me wrong America is great but the ride it about world harmony. not U.S.A nationalism.

please make them stop!

Andrew Farago said...

The Cartoon Art Museum's Mary Blair exhibition has been extended through March 30, if anyone's interested. We're looking at possible additional venues, but your best bet to see everything is to get to San Francisco by the end of the month.

Andrew Farago said...

The Cartoon Art Museum's Mary Blair exhibition has been extended through March 30, if anyone's interested. We're looking at possible additional venues, but your best bet to see everything is to get to San Francisco by the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

This is disgusting. I can't believe Disney is taking down the rainforest (of all places) for a United States display. We should be teaching our children about preserving the Earth and what better way than the "most magical place on Earth"? No one cares about America. We were once a world power and are rapidly declining due to corruption and lack of values. Hardly compares to the beauty of the rainforest that provides for this earth with gorgeous creatures and 20% of the world's oxygen.

Walt Disney is surely weeping in his grave. How can they even announce this next to hid quote about not making money through this park?

T Rex said...

It's A Small World has nothing to do with "It's A Small American World". The addition of Disney Characters to the attaction is just another affirmation that the mouse has become a fat money mongering rat, first proven by the raping of the Disney Princess's by doing the "Direct to Video" movies like Snow White VI and Cinderella IIX. Everything in this monopoly is used to promote itself...remember when they were the leaders in innovation and did a balancing act on proverty just to keep the "experience". Now the innovation and experience is being tossed aside for the cash...
I did keep hope alive when they brought in Splash Mountain, guess it's one step forward, two steps back.It's the crazy stuff like the "political correctness" revamp and the movie additions to Pirates that are frightening. Yes, probably Submarine Voyage needed to be updated, but to add Disney Charecters into Small World seems like a clash of worlds.

I love America, and wouldn't live anywhere else. But I thought they had a scene(s) with the US already in it? I didn't think that any country was specifically singled out..because it is a small world.

These Colors don't run...
the world.

Gavin Elster said...

As a "customer" of the park Even I find this disgusting.
It is easy to imagine the feelings people who work for and, care about, the park are going through. It is a shame that the parks have fallen from grace and become the money pit they are now.

Anonymous said...

1.What's the ideological/political/marketing reason behind the change?
2.Why replace something cool with something ugly (at least the beheading bride additions to Haunted Mansion improved a previously bland section)?
3.Why did they pick "urban vs. rural" for their visual theme of the USA?
If it must be done (and it doesn't):
4.Why not get one of the legions of Mary Blair worshipers to design it?
5.Why, Why, Why put ugly sculpts of Disney characters that don't go with the design aesthetic, let alone the ride?
6.Why do it at all??? WHO'S COMPLAINING?
7.And most importantly...WHERE'S THE MARY BLAIR GLITTER AND COLORED CELLOPHANE??? That cow looks like a bad Fisher-Price toy.

Anonymous said...

Putting a USA section in Disneyland's Small World makes about as much sense as putting the Golden Gate Bridge & Napa Valley Wine Bar in California Adventure, or putting a Disney's America theme park in Virginia.

Was this a left-over Eisner idea?

Anonymous said...

If this enhancement goes through, next thing you know, they'll be decorating it for Christmas!!! Now THAT is heresy!

Mr Banks said...

To above anonymous,

No comparison. The reasons why should be self evident.

Anonymous said...

Disneyland, a magical place for shareholders of all ages!

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster who posted:

"Ah Mr. Banks, your true colors finally show.
You are one of those who think Disneyland should be preserved as a museum...never changing because all imagination in the world is dead


I can't see how adding a few "Famous" Disney animitronics like "Stitch", "Depp" and the likes, to ANY Ride or attraction can be called imaginative.
If that is what is taught to Current Imagineers, and considered use of Imagination and creative talent, stop the car and let me off here, please.....
Mr. Banks stated it well, No change for changes sake should be acceptable....
-Slick

rogerebert said...

I have been a stockholder in Disney since my 5th birthday. When asked where my savings should go, I told my dad to invest it in Disney.

As a fan and now fairly sizable shareholder, I ask anyone listening at corporate to stop overselling. We get it! You are messing with a piece of American History. One "real" thing from millions of people's memories that time left alone.

You will be remembered as the team that destroyed the brand. I will will sell my stock the day this ride re-opens so you will hear the voices of your formally devoted fans.

Anonymous said...

Obviously this "rumor" is just a TDA "decoy" to distract us from the real crime scenes right under our noses.

The soullessly out of scale "6 Flags over DCA" slick-torian facade of "Midway Madness" (Del Coronado AGAIN?) and the "Madonna Inn approved" redo of Walt's New Orleans Apartment.

Where has the refined and rich WDI architecture gone?

inflatablesheep said...

While I myself have never been one to rush down Main St. and hop right on It's A Small World, I have always appreciated it as a design masterpiece. The color schemes, abstract proportions, and simplistic approach to the styling of this ride has been something that has stuck with me forever. Quite literally, my earliest childhood memory takes place in line for It's A Small World, I'm guessing at the age of 4 or 5. As we waited on the platform above the port where you board the ships, I remember being blasted by the sun and laying down on the ground so that I could reach my hand in to the water, and then my family making me get up and move with the line every 2 minutes. But for some reason I kept on laying down and sticking my hand in the water anyways...I might have been mildly ADD as a child. But I still have this weird succinct memory of exactly how everything looked. Everything was a sea foamy shade of blue...the ground, the canals, the boats, the bridges. The only thing that stuck out were the green bushes and animal topiaries with random yellow flowers. It sounds crazy but I can still see exactly how it looked in my mind. I guess it might be kind of advanced for a preschooler, but I swear I can remember noticing how everything was painted a different shade of the same color. I'm sure I didn't even know what a "shade" was, but something about it seemed important to me.

Cut to 20-something years later, It's A Small World remains one of the few relatively untouched rides at Disneyland. It still wreaks of mid-century design aesthetic in all its glory. Especially amongst so many other crudely updated areas of the park (ahem, all of Tomorrowland), that they have tried to bring in to the 21st century so unsuccessfully. If you think about it, they've spent millions upon millions of dollars on technically advanced rollercoasters, special effects, and smoke and mirrors, while still one of the parks biggest attractions is a ride that consists mainly of homemade dolls, plywood cut outs, Tempra paint and glitter. To me, this speaks volumes about the power of visual language. It's pretty clear that the reason for the rides success is due to Mary's design sense and visual style.

The fact that 50 years later this is being called in to question is insane to me. No one goes on It's A Small World because it's a "killer ride"...they go on it because it whether they realize it or not it's a trip in to the mind of a hugely talented artist. You are fully submersed in Mary Blair's vision for a solid 12 minutes when you go on this ride, and that's what makes it amazing. It makes me kind of sick to think that someone else, with no vision what so ever other than corporate dollars, will be going in and changing things now, not even thinking about the work that went in to it.

First it was Jonny Depp's weird ass inside Pirate of the Carribean, now it's All-American Mickey with dollar signs in his eyes, standing out above all other nations inside It's A Small World. I am seriously afraid of what's next.

Anonymous said...

If the Disney characters were to appear anywhere, it's in the Asia/China section, as "happy meal" toys being individually bagged on whimsical assembly lines by shackled rows of happy Asian children under a smiling smokestack. I think Mary would like that.

Greg said...

How typical of a big corporation wanting to destroy a rainforest, albeit a fictional one. Why are they tampering with something so beloved by visitors? Why not spend more time and effort on the wasted space in the parks, such as the old PeopleMover tracks?

Eric said...

This is a terrible and I agree with you that something needs to be done. I know a thing or two in the online marketing world (visit my blog to see the presidential campaign I'm working on). I want to help. Email me to talk about plans.

Eric

Anonymous said...

The only figure that they could add to the ride now to make it even more pathetic and shameful is to have Elliot Spitzer's poor wife standing there next to Mickey Mouse in the USA scene.

Anonymous said...

I have never contributed to this blog, but these changes just sound horrific. I will be sending my letters of protest posthaste. Thank you for posting the addresses johng31.

Anonymous said...

When are people gonna finally wake up and realize that Disney is lame, and doesn't care about any of us?

Anonymous said...

www.saveitsasmallworld.com/phpPETITION


will an admin of this site please contact me at mikeymoment@yahoo.com

so we can discuss promoting this

ickymouse said...

Wow.

I was worried my earlier vitriol might scare some away, but you guys have eclipsed me a hundred-fold. Bravo. It's nice to know that next time I don't have to hold back at all in my bitter bile spewing. And I am going to sign that pettition right now. Thanks.

You all rule. All of you (unless you like the Jack Sparrow in the POTC, in which case you're lame and should go and tie a bag around your head).

Anonymous said...

I agree with "Ken", in fact, the whole thing should be revised and only feature the countries that have "Disney" theme parks.

Lou said...

In 1978, LEGO launched itself into a whole new world when it introduced the now-iconic "mini-figure" into its sets and began a nearly 20-year run of brilliantly-designed, mini-figure-scale sets.

One of the things that was, subconsciously or otherwise, great about the mini-figure was that it was a generic person. Regardless of what color the pants or shirt, or whether the head was topped with a hat or snap-on LEGO hair, the face was always the same: A simple, yellow smiley face.

A happy, harmonious smile on a yellow face, not representing any one type of real-world person but rather all people. All living together in Legoland or in castles, in spaceships, on pirate islands and so on.

Happy.

And while the faces would, from time to time, be adorned with a goatee or eyelashes to fit the theme of the set, these extra bits were always added to the basic smiley.

Until the mid-'90s, when LEGO screwed itself by adding big, white eyes with pupils. Sunglasses. Furled brows and angry looking eyebrows. Crooked mouths.

Suddenly, Legoland became an edgier place, justified, LEGO would say, by the need to compete with dollars being spent on video games.

This was a ridiculous notion: As kids, we split our time between playing outside, building with LEGO, and playing the Atari.

No surprise, then, that LEGO's run of success started to wane at just about the same time.

And while LEGO can't touch the worldwide penetration of the Disney brand, even with it being one of the most recognizable brands in the world, there's a certain parallel here that strikes me.

This news / rumor is saddening and maddening all at once.

I can't really say anything to add to the spot-on sentiment that many people have addressed in this thread, but I will happily add my disdain for even the consideration by Disney of this horrible, awful idea.

Anonymous said...

They don't need to put Disney characters in the ride. Once you get off the boat you're a few yards next to Toon-Town that has all of the characters.

Anonymous said...

There is little doubt that Disneyland is indeed the home of Mickey Mouse. I have no problem with that. However, most attractions have a coherent theme that does not allow for Mouse placement. The theme of Small World is links between children of the world. It is no more about promoting Mickey than is Pirates of the Caribbean. And putting Donald and Mickey into Small World makes about as much sense as putting Donald into Pirates.
Disneyland has also always been unabashedly American, again not a problem for me, from the earliest days of the Park with Main Street and Frontierland and on to Rivers of America and New Orleans Square. But what is the need to add yet a Salute to America in an attraction that primarily celebrates children of rest of the world, including the children of many of the guests?
If there is such a need, what other attractions could use a bit more patriotism? Will Disneyland some day end up having the same commercialized patriotism that see in the ostentatious flag displays of car dealers?

dirtworshipper said...

When I was a child I took the ride and noticed right away that the only US characters were the cowboy and Indian discretely inserted into the grand finale. When I asked my Mom about the omission she said “American puppets don’t belong in this ride… in this ride you leave America to go see the rest of the world. When we went to the Grand Canyon last year, we didn’t take pictures of our own house because home really isn’t part of the part of the trip.” I was very satisfied with the answer.

How is it a mid-60’s housewife and a 6 year old boy get this instinctively and the well-paid professionals at Disney don’t?


The above by Anonymous really captures how I feel about the proposed changes.

Maybe the USA room could have miniature animatronic Doodletown Pipers endlessly singing "Up With Everything." Wouldn't that be swell?

Anonymous said...

I understand why Mary Blair and her family might be taken aback, but I don't understand why anyone else would get so worked up about this. It's a ride made primarily for 5 year olds! What's the big deal? If anything the ride was decidedly short of US representation. A single depiction of a cowboy and Indian at the end of the ride? How non-PC is that in this day and age? Also, can anyone tell me why the rain forest room was completely covered when the Christmas decorations were added every year, and why didn't anyone get upset about that?

I find the analogy of art reflecting reality in regards to the US scene replacing the rainforest scene to be rather insulting. The US isn't destroying the rainforests, it's the developers in the nations that contain the rainforests that are doing that. Yeah, I know, US interests, blah, blah, blah. My 5-year old doesn't care and would appreciate at least one familiar US scene more than the rain forest scene.

One other thing; doesn't each room represent a CONTINENT rather than a ecosystem? Thinking of it that way, the rain forest is really out of place. A US scene prior to the finale makes sense because you would be "returning home" before the big multi-cultural party in the finale scene.

c m w said...

As many of you already know, comedian Steve Martin worked at Disneyland as a teenager. He recently wrote an autobiography "Born Standing Up", and three deleted passages appear exclusively on Amazon dot com, which sells his book. One passage is particularly relevant to this topic. Here I excerpt a portion of what Martin wrote:

"Ten years later, after the Beatles, drugs, and Vietnam had changed the entire tenor of American life, I returned to the magic shop at Disneyland and stood as a stranger. As I looked around the eerily familiar room another first came over me, a previously unknown emotion, one that was to have a curious force over me for the rest my life: the longing tug of nostalgia....Even now when I visit Disneyland, I am steeped in melancholy, because a corporation has preserved my nostalgia impeccably. Every nail and screw is the same, and Disneyland looks as new now as it did then. The paint is fresh, and the only wear allowed is faux. In fact, only I have changed. In the dream-like world of childhood memories, so often vague and imprecise, Disneyland remains for me not only vivid in memory, but vivid in fact."

The Disney corporation should guard its legacy steadfastly for future audiences. Longstanding attractions like IASW are the unique shared experiences that tie generations together, and should be left largely intact.

If these rumored changes are true, the result would be abhorrently tacky and destroy that timeless continuity which makes Disney theme parks so special.

Anonymous said...

NOI!NO!NO! Disney Do NOT add to It's a Small World!!!! You Spoiled the Tiki Room in Florida- This would do the same! I have been going since 1972. This would be a travisty. Why change what is wonderful? Use your ideas to create a NEW ride-Leave A Small World ALONE!!!!!!
Pat from Arizona

sharkiepatronus said...

So... I am trying to see both sides of the issue, but it is sooooo hard.

I love America, but why put an American sequence in an American park? I feel the same way about California Adventure being in California. Why replicate something that you are already surrounded by?

They should keep the Disneyland Small World as is, because it is so much better than Florida's anyhow, and put the America sequence in a non-American park...

Anonymous said...

Making ANY changes to IASW is unimaginable!!! If Disney wants to pay tribute to America, they should not have removed "America Sings"and put in that other worthless attraction!

ickymouse said...

Is there somone who works at Disney that can make sure, without fail, that they read this? Like maybe Tony Baxter, Marty Sklar, Lassiter, Bob Iger...?

Darren72 said...

I find the USA rah rah section a bit much. The Disney characters aren't as troubling. I saw a short clip of the new characters in a Hong Kong preview and they aren't all that bad. They are just the Small World Kids dressed in Disney costumes. Now putting Stitch in there seems more out of place, but dressing up those dolls in familiar costumes seems harmless. The patriotic portion does seem to be missing the point of the ride... especially since it takes away part of the ride. So I say, leave the rainforest and I'll give you the Disney characters. Seems a fair and harmless trade off.

Anonymous said...

The USA is a great country and it does not need additional help in promoting Americana. Millions of people visit the US intending to visit Disneyland. Why the hell would there be a need to reemphasize it?

The Christmas scenes was bad enough with the 'glazed-eyed' characters. This is one ride that should be untouchable.

Anonymous said...

Absolute sacrilege.

An American said...

If they wanted to do a tribute to America based on the same kinds of stereotypes as they use for the rest of the world, I think having people's fat asses getting their boat stuck in the ride was just the thing!

Anonymous said...

I agree totaly. There is a place for pixar and plastic but to be honest, small world couldnt be more different. Keep your love of America (I say your as i'm English) out of it and keep the art and the love as far away from the drills and merchise as possible!

Having only been in a copy of IASW in EuroDisney I cannot possibly say whether the current version is good or not, but it should be saved if only for the memory of Mary Blair!

Edd said...

It's pointless, unneccesary, and a horrid, horrid idea.

Anonymous said...

Personally, and I am not alone in this opinion, I believe that, although it is traditional and has wonderful scenes and art and is a must do while at Disney, Its A Small World After all can become, well, rather boring at times. The type of ride you go to once in your couple of day stay in the park. The addition of the characters, if stylized like the company has proposed, would, for me, be an enhancement and make the ride even more enjoyable. It would also increase my appreciation for the original creators design(I rather like the picture of alice posted in the news), seeing how such a template and style could be applied to multiple themes. The proposal alone and news of what was done in HKDL has already peaked my interest and desire to return to see the classic rise with this addition. Although some of the original rain forest should be maintained, the addition of an American section would also be enjoyable and a great tribute to the diverse cultures of the USA and North America. A true representation of the entirety of humanity brought together. Undoutably, the idea has potential for renewed interest in the Ride, transferring its legacy and enjoyment to New Generations of children as well as teaching that a very harshly criticized and disliked culture (that of the US) is itself part of this Small World and increasing attendance and satisfaction of the the ride itself and the park in general. The proposal is one which should be viewed with understanding as coming from a person trying to add on to a great legacy. A policy in which its merits and deficiencies are rationally and reasonably, discussed, not censored and reprimanded as coming from a fool as some news media, editorials, and commentaries of late have portrayed.

Anonymous said...

Pixney?

Disnar?

You must stop this foolish and ill-conceived modification before it becomes a repellent reality.

It is a truly awful idea, a complete violation of the concept of the ride and a scar on the face of beauty itself.

The ride, as originally conceived, is one of the most beautiful works of art I ever experienced.

Kristy said...

you know, i understand more clearly now why people are upset about this change.

and at first i didnt really understand but then i thought, "oh ****, they might change ours too" (WDW CM) and I got pretty upset... heh

I did read somewhere, and I am not exactly quoteable on this but I am pretty sure-that an Imagineer said there won't be any sign of Mickey or Minnie in the ride, and I thought I heard the USA part was a rumour too.

Is there any solid fact behind these parts of the rumours? Are we sure about it?

Maybe it's wishful thinking though.

Also WHAT? Removing the rainforest is another thing I don't quite understand.

I am a Small World hostess, ok, and I have never seen any evidence that we would need to change the attraction to boost attendance. It's very popular! So isn't Disneyland's version the same?

What I'm trying to get at is, what is the motivation? I know people are saying merch, but quite honestly, how would placing Mickey in IASW boost his merch sales? lol as if Mickey needs boosting??? As if this will really boost any characters, since they are already popular characters I can't really see the need to place them in yet another ride to boost popularity? And Id like to point out that the concept designs have already been sold in pin form, the card on the back claiming that this was an abandoned concept...I own them #._.#
My point being that they could seel IASW styled characters anyways because they would sell on their own without being added to the ride. In WDW, there isn't even a shoip near IASW so where would said merch go?

Im not arguing anyone's point really, just saying that it doesn't really make sense to me that it's a valid reason...

thanks for bearing with me

t3hgecko said...

"If the Disney characters were to appear anywhere, it's in the Asia/China section, as "happy meal" toys being individually bagged on whimsical assembly lines by shackled rows of happy Asian children under a smiling smokestack. I think Mary would like that."

Hah, yes.. so true, in a way that kind of kicks you in the gut.

I think if this is carried out, I won't be able to go on the ride without bursting into tears.

I can't even imagine what Hooray-for-USA would look like.. The United States doesn't really have the cultural richness of other countries. I can only see dozens of star-spangled banners and sequins in a startling red, white, and blue eyesore. The grand finale of the celebration of the world.. As if we're not bigoted enough.

And destroying a rainforest to make way for America.. that's just sad and ironic.

Steve Sparks said...

I rode the new version last week for the first time since the redo. Once I saw the pinocchio cut-out around the second turn I knew we were in trouble. I wanted to give the new version a chance but it was simply awful. How can the same Imagineers create a masterpiece in the new castle walk-thru and turn around a deliver a piece of junk like this? I don't believe Lassiter is the golden boy that will save disney. His new attractions lack any originality. Everything so far is a rubber stamp knock-off of his movies. Monsters, Nemo, and a whole land dedicated to the movie Cars. Sounds more like a Universal Park than Disney.

Andrew said...

With Walt "out of the way" these oblivious-upstarts are getting away with whatever they want. This 'cross-theming' idea is as stupid as blocking the Grauman's Chinese Theater weenie with that totally out of place Sorcerer's hat at the Disney-MGM park.

As much as I love Disney theme parks, isn't there enough commercialism throughout the parks without defiling the wonderful idea of what UNICEF really stands for?

And putting a "hooray for USA" section in there is as dumb as putting a California Adventure in California.

Anonymous said...

What is wrong with Americans today!!? Don't they realize that it is not all about them? This whole ride was suppose to expose them to the world around them, not disney. There is enough commercializing in Disney World already I'm sure they can do without being reminded yet again that there is merchandise to buy at the amusement park. I must shake my head and be ashamed for what they have done to a perfectly wonderous ride.

And I'm sorry folks I don't think America deserves to be in the mix until we stand up for our own country and get it together, because we are nosediving, and fast. There is so much I want to say and I am not going to write 20 pages like I could on the topic, so I will take my leave. I just hope they aren't able to make the changes, although I'm sure they already have...

Petra said...

What an interesting read, I came here because I googled Mary Blaire .I am from Germany, have never been to a Disney Land,but always wanted when I was kid. Now that I see these cool designs I would love to take a look at it but then ,they probably don´t exist anymore... what a pitty!

Crystal said...

Sorry, "It's a Small World" is one of the most boring rides at Disney. With the repeating sound track of that deathingly annoying song, and happy go lucky dolls dancing around, I felt like jumping off the boat!! I've been to DisneyWorld 4 time and Euro Disney once, and I never once realized that it was trying to send the message of saving rainforests or uniting the world. I just thought...hey look, dolls that move and sing. It was cool as a child, but now everything sings and moves on its own! People don't go to theme parks to get a lecture on how the world needs to be perfect. We go for entertainment. Get over it people! Designs change! I don't hear people complaing about the changes done to Space Mountain, and someone obviously spent a lot of time creating the original. Times change...and the Disney characters are entertainment. I'd rather be Mickey hunting, than staring at the same boring dolls the whole way through the ride!!! I was excited to hear about the change. If want to help the world, I'll donate my money to actually saving the rainforests or to starving children instead of spending my money to go watch some dolls singing about it.