Saturday, February 07, 2009

Born Every Minute

"The addition of Eddie Murphy into Disneyland's Haunted Mansion is absolutely amazing! He's so lifelike and so well done. Audio Animatronics have reached a new peak!"

-Disney Fan

"The Eddie figure added to Haunted Mansion doesn't at all take away from the crazy fun of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion. He's so funny, and so much of the ride is funny too!"

-Defender OM

"It's so clear that Imagineers worked over-time to assuage all those ridiculous fears Disney purists had about Eddie Murphy's appearance in the Haunted Mansion. He fits in perfectly! His costuming, his manner, his funny ad-libs as you pass are all top notch! Bravo team WDI!"

-Not a Museum-goer

51 comments:

Chris Weigert said...

Don't give them any ideas!

Digital Jedi said...

Are you trying to give me heart attack?

Nevertheless, point taken.

tonecapo said...

wtf people...just...wtf. seriously. I don't completely understand the complete hierarchy but, could lasseter or rohde have prevented such a catastrophe? or are they just a couple of cogs in a hopeless machine?

Spokker said...

As long as we're talking about Haunted Mansion, would most of us agree that the additions to that particular attraction were tasteful and enhanced the original vision of the ride?

Anonymous said...

You're missing the point. If the film would have made big money they would have done this. Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business.

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said...
>>>You're missing the point. If the film would have made big money they would have done this. Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business.<<<

You're missing the point. These decisions are terrible long term investments. What's hip and current now, goes stale in a few short years. Timeless attractions not only don't need major renovation every few years, but they form a connection between multiple generations. Engendering the loyalty of generations of patrons was one of the most brilliant business ideas Walt Disney ever had. Yes, modern day Disney is a business. Just not a very good one if their not thinking of their long term financial health.

Bill Wilson said...

Good grief--I had to look at my calendar to make sure it didn't say April 1.

Kurt said...

Dude...not even funny.

Tom Slick aka alot of aka's said...

Hahaha....I've been arguing this point on messageboards throughout the inet since the Depp/Nemo abominations. The point to this is that; and let me add "most people just do not get it" for some reason or another... Disney WILL butcher other Attractions, period.

If you look closely at Disneyland, Anaheim track records on refurbishments over the past 15 years, you'll start to see a gross pattern of "plussing". Plussing is NOT creative, nor does it take any imagination, and that is why it is so easily carried out at the themeparks as of late.

Plussing is the equivalent to the word "plus", which is a synonym of "addition". By simply adding something to an already popular attraction just for changes sake is in the long run, detrimental to the rides simple balance and story.

Tragically, in my opinion, two extremely talented Imagineers, bamboozled or not, directed the IASW project: Company heels, Tony Baxter and Marty Sklar, led by that one broad who overseen the IASW refurb( I can't think of her name, but she is obviously the stereotypical "Blonde").

Tony and Marty could have both taken a stance against the "plussing", especially after witnessing the way POTC turned out. Pirates will always be a "Where's Waldo?" attraction. I still hear people to this day pointing out the mulitple Jack Sparrows, and Barbossa, yet the lines are no longer than they were before the ride makeover.

Most "Honchos" just want to add their "footprint" into the Disney Legacy anyway possible,regardless if it is going to be shortlived.

The problem is that; It is like a footprint in a bountiful garden. But the garden is receiving too many footprints, which is killing it off little by little. To top things off, these are some heavy footed people, mind you.

Another thing that really gets me, and that I've been in arguments over is the overly used quote from Walt Disney when he stated:
"Disneyland will never be completed as long there is imagination left in the world".-

I know deep down that dumbing down attractions by "plussing" was NOT what Walt had in mind when he stated that, but the Company loves to play that line to a "T", as a defense!

I can however, support my feelings by making FACTUAL observations from the time when he was alive, and note the things he did NOT do that would shadow today's decisions.

1. Walt did NOT add the Mark Twain steamboat with reference to his original cartoon short "Steamboat Willie", nor did he have any intent to do so, FROM THE GETGO.

2. Walt did NOT add any of his own peronally created characters to IASW, when he had every chance to do so, while he was alive.

3. Walt did NOT add a Sir Robert Newton character or likeness to POTC to celebrate his "Treasure Island" film classic.

You see, Walt had thousands of opportunities to self exploit his own characters throughout every attraction, but he refrained from doing so. He could have easily added Mickey in place of Peter Pan, He could have easily substituted Donald Duck for in place of Mr. Toad, he could have easily used Minnie Mouse in place of Alice in Wonderland, he could have traded in Snow White for Daisy Duck.

You see, all of the possibilities existed while Walt was in charge, yet he did not take this approach like that of the current Disneyland Resort Management is/are doing.

Do NOT think for one minute that in Disneyland today, "Jim and Sara Evers" can not ever appear within the attraction. It is much more possible today than ever, and that my friends, is a really dismaying observation....

Anonymous said...

I think it should be pointed out that Captain Jack's inclusion in the Pirates ride is a different kind of change than shoehorning Murphy into the Mansion would be. Captain Jack is a legit form of that universe; he was based on the pirate archetype already established in the theming of the ride. But sticking Eddie into the Mansion would truly be a sacrilege. His character in the film had no history with the Mansion or its denizens. He was an outsider, and that was the least of the difficulties.

If the subject of this discussion was also meant to include the Disney-character additions to the Small World ride, I can understand some of the angst that's arisen from those changes. But from what I've seen in online pics and videos, the additions are rendered in the same Small World style, and aren't particularly intrusive to my mind. Objecting to them would be like objecting to the Escher staircase in the refurbished Haunted Mansion. It's not an original part of the attraction, and it doesn't add all that much, but it doesn't desecrate the theme of the original, so basically, chill, people.

Ian said...

The Escher staircase is a good idea that fits within the theme,
not an obvious, short-sighted marketing ploy.
WDI isn't looking to capitalize on their Escher demographic.

Digital Jedi said...

Tom Slick aka alot of aka's said...
>>>Plussing is NOT creative, nor does it take any imagination, and that is why it is so easily carried out at the themeparks as of late.<<<

While I agree wholeheartedly with your point, it should be pointed out that "plussing" is a term that Walt himself coined, and it referred to a standard he held for Imagineers to not just rest on their laurels. It didn't matter if they thought they had nailed it, he expected them to keep thinking of ways to make it better. By definition, Small World, Pirates and the hypothetical Haunted Mansion are NOT plussing. They're just additions, and the two words are not synonymous.

Ian said...
>>>The Escher staircase is a good idea that fits within the theme,
not an obvious, short-sighted marketing ploy.
WDI isn't looking to capitalize on their Escher demographic.
<<<

And that's the key point being made with this post. Pirates, Nemo and now Small World are solely money motivated. These anonymous posters can keep pointing out that Disney is a business all they want. But that doesn't change the very real fact that Disney didn't become the success it was by being solely money motivated. It wouldn't have been any more special or successful then the thousands of amusement parks already out there. Disney got big because it set the standard for business, not because it pandered to the old failed policies of business.

Jon said...

Wasn't the Escher staircase actually part of one of the original designs that was axed at the time?

Anonymous said...

I think everyone knew that once the "Haunted Mansion" movie had Eddie Murphy attached to it, Murphy was going to be the predominant force, and not the story.
Hence, no Eddie Murphy in the ride. I mean the movie flopped. Had it had a good storyline, then who knows.

Lindsay Brothers Studios said...

Since we're talking about Disney excuses for doing stupid things, might I also suggest these fanboy gems:

"Why don't you wait 'til you've actually SEEN the eddie murphy animatronic before you criticize it."

and of course the perennial favorite.

"I know my KIDS sure like it."

Anonymous said...

So funny!

I'm glad they aren't clammoring to add that Shyla Buttons guy into the Indiana Jones ride too.

Can we add laser guns like on Buzz Lightyear? We can earn points when we shoot the Disney characters which don't belong.

Hey, while we're at it why not make Hall of Presidents into an Jazz, R&B or Rap style attraction because of the new president?

Face it, there are many ideas that shouldn't be done.

They should have spent the effort cleaning and re-painting these things and fixing animated elements instead of screwing them up.

Goggles Piasano Ritardo said...

The movie wasn't memorable like pirates of the Caribbean. I am fine the way the haunted mansion was.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of blown away that people are debating the Eddie Murphy thing. To those of you who failed high school reading...it's a metaphor for Small World and POTC (and Tom Sawyer Island, etc.). The debate here should be about that, not Mansion. Don't debate the satire, folks, debate the message of the satire.

And for the record, I rode IASW yesterday. I feel bad for the cast members who had to clean the vomit off the seats, and probably many more moving forward.

Carry on...

Anonymous said...

Hey! Did you hear the latest? They're going to revise the Hall of Presidents and make it the Hall of CEO's to make it all more contemporary and relevant and cost effective. Featured CEO's will have to put up $1 Million annually to be featured. Much, much more financially feasible.

David H

dan_steinberg said...

I haven't ridden the new "iasw" yet, but the whole exercise seems a bit lacking in creativity to me. If the ride needed a little more zing to it, and the best they could think up was "throw some Disney characters in it"? Really? Now I'm sure with Sklar, Baxter and Irvine working on it, it has a level of class and good production values - but isn't that just (dare I say it?) putting lipstick on a pig of an idea?

Enough with "let's add characters" already! It's time to move on to some new and more creative ways to enhance older attractions, before someone gets the idea to do an entire attraction of second-rate characters whose 20 minutes of fame will be over before the attraction opens. Oh, wait - they already did that: the timeless classic "Superstar Limo". And we all know how well that worked out...

Tuckenie said...

BWA HAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHahA!

Oh man! You sure showed them!

I bet they'll think twice now that they know you're going to make snarky comments on a website about every single thing they do!

"What were thinking?! We took this ride the WE own and operate and had beloved characters from classic films join the children of the world in celebrating our connections! How dare we?! Then we dared to change some of the music to the most mind numbing tune in the history of the world! Why that's just terrible!"

"I sure hope nobody on the internet finds out about it. They might write something bad about us."

"Yeah or imply that we'd willingly add a character from an awful movie that made no money to a classic attraction we just did an awesome job on for the fun of it. That would really hurt our feelings."

"Yeah and I already feel mighty low about spending all that money on the improved lighting, paint, and boats."

"Tell me about it. How do I sleep at night?"

Yeah. You guys are AWESOME. Remind me to NOT call you the next time I want to see something "saved".

drew said...

"You're missing the point. If the film would have made big money they would have done this. Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business."

Then you should be pissed as hell that the direct-to-video sequels were ended. Disney has a lot of money tied directly to its image as a brand. The name stands for a lot in peoples hearts and minds. The direct-to-video sequels were a gold mine for the company, but older consumers saw them in a negative light that hurt their perception of the company.

There is a lot more than "as much money as possible as quickly as possible" at stake with Disney. The company is tied down by its image and reputation with consumers. Any smart company wants to make money today, tomorrow, and the day after that.

A lot of what Disney sells today and plans to sell in the future is yesterday's products. This model cannot work if people are no longer associating Disney with anything more than doing just what is hot today.

Spokker said...

"Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business."

Even my accounting class taught me to have respect for the brand, and the fact that you'll make money is not the only reason to do something.

Bruce said...

dan_steinberg:
Now I'm sure with Sklar, Baxter and Irvine working on it, it has a level of class and good production values - but isn't that just (dare I say it?) putting lipstick on a pig of an idea?
---------------------------

I couldn't agree more. That the characters manage to sort of fit in from a design point of view fine but that doesn't validate their inclusion to begin with. There is no reason at all that IASW needed this change. it adds nothing to the theme of the attraction (world peace). The only reason they are here is for something new to market and they provide new merchandise opportunities. It's a slap in the face to the basic ideas that build the park and made it the success it is.

Shame on all the people to ok'd this because the characters would fit in artistically with the rest of the attraction. I can't wait for the day I get to see Stitch, Alice and Cinderella in the Hall of Presidents looking every bit as realistic as the leaders of our country.

dan_steinberg said...

Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business.

Should I pile on? Sure! Even my MBA classes taught me to have respect for the brand (okay, at least some did).

Seriously, one of the main reasons I went to b-school was to get the intellectual ammunition to prove that it *isn't* all about money. I mean do you *really* believe that Disney should do *anything* for more profit? How about tequila shot carts at every ride exit (or, in the case of iasw, maybe before you go on the ride...)? That would make a ton of profit. How about a high-end strip club in Downtown Disney? No? Well, if profit is all, why not?

Of course, you don't have to believe me. Go ask Wall Street how that "anything for a few more bucks of profit" approach has worked out for them.

Remember, Disney - and especially Disneyland - is not a hot dog stand or supermarket. It's an entertainment company; commercial art, really. But there's a very fine edge here: too artsy and it doesn't hit the mass market and can't make much money, too commercial and it's not entertaining. You ever notice how Disney's most popular and classic attractions either don't have a tie-in (Pirates until recently, Mansion, Space Mountain, Soarin', Everest, iasw, etc.) or a non-Disney tie-in (Indy, Tower of Terror)? And, ironically, many of the worst do (Stitch's Great Escape, Tiki Room Under New Management)?

So it's not just what's the most "commercial", it's also about maintaining the artistic integrity of what you create. The best Disney attractions have something to artistically-entertaining to say, and that's why these iasw hurt so much: it risks taking an important (and entertaining!) message about world peace and harmony and turns it into a "Where's Waldo?" with Disney characters...

dan_steinberg said...

Shame on all the people to ok'd this because the characters would fit in artistically with the rest of the attraction. I can't wait for the day I get to see Stitch, Alice and Cinderella in the Hall of Presidents looking every bit as realistic as the leaders of our country.

I can see it now: "Stitch's Hall of President Adventure", with Stitch giggling and belching on Abe Lincoln. Eww....

MarkTwain said...

"You're missing the point. If the film would have made big money they would have done this. Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business."

And that's the really sad, scary part. You KNOW if Haunted Mansion made a Pirates-type box office, there would have been changes to match the movie... TDA/WDI is not above ruining even more classic attractions.

On the other hand, had the Country Bears movie done well, the DL attraction might have been saved.

Anonymous said...

"As long as we're talking about Haunted Mansion, would most of us agree that the additions to that particular attraction were tasteful and enhanced the original vision of the ride?"

Spokker-
I for one would not agree. The changes made to the attic scene are so stylistically out of sync with the rest of the attraction, that I feel like I have been abruptly pulled out of one ride and thrown into another. I have no problem with the story that the scene is trying to tell, I just wish that visually it matched the rest of the attraction.

Digital Jedi said...

Tuckenie said:
>>>BWA HAhaHAhaHAhaHAhaHahA!

Oh man! You sure showed them!

I bet they'll think twice now that they know you're going to make snarky comments on a website about every single thing they do!
<<<

Remind me. How exactly does matching snark with snark prove anything?

You know what the post showed, (with some good natured sarcasm that most of us genuine adults can take without turning into Rodney Dangerfield)? It exposes the fact that tie-ins are not plussing. Adding Eddie Murphy to haunted Mansion is ridiculous, everyone agrees. And there's one reason that both the critics and critics of the critics actually have in common: The movie was a hit.

So if the sole motivation to adding Eddie Murphy to the attraction is the movie being a hit, then what do you think the sole motivation was for adding Depp to Pirates, Nemo to The Living Seas, beloved cartoon characters anywhere they can squeeze them in?

Sarcasm is only funny when there's an honest point behind the emotion. Your comments where just mean spirited, and revealed you didn't make an effort to see if there was a point at all.

Royce Mathew said...

I have personally sued the Walt Disney Company and Marty Sklar gave his deposition. As documented Marty Sklar lied under oath. Photo proof and much details is on my website www.disneylawsuit.com - I welcome all communications and interviews etc..

Royce Mathew

Spokker said...

Haha, I love that you're going to the SEC to prove that Pirates of the Caribbean never had a story. Haha I love it!

I know you have your own copyright infringement thing and good luck on that, but I love the other aspect of this story.

" In their own published book, Disney also deliberately altered and switched certain pieces of evidence with which to make it appear that they were following Marc Davis’s designs and concepts, of which either they never existed or are not what they claim it to be."

Sounds like the Mary Blair USA scene concept art that mysteriously popped up and was used to justify its inclusion in Small World.

How fun.

Frank Catalano said...

I think it boils down to the fact that, like any good piece of fiction, a Disney attraction needs to be internally consistent. It should not have to rely on external references -- even well-known characters -- to be relevant or entertaining. It should be able to do that on its own to be a truly memorable experience.

That's the mistake being made with any ill-considered "plussing." It's not plussing the core story, as Walt implied. It's plussing the appeal by relying on something external to the attraction.

Like adding a stripper to Sesame Street. Yes, it gets your attention. But it's clearly not inside of the frame of reference.

Anonymous said...

Have you heard the latest? The new Obama AA figure originally built for WDW's Hall of Presidents will be relocated into the Haunted Mansion. In an interview, Marty Sklar stated that the Walt Disney company felt that it was time to rework the general story of the Mansion and to update it & make it relevant to today's generation. In the new story line, guests will join President Obama on a search through the Mansion to find the the Economy and attempt to resurrect it.

Anonymous said...

Did u have to put Eddie Murphy's FUGLY mug on there? Now I dont even want to come to the websit, If Im going to have to see that stupid idiot's smile everytime I sign on!

Anonymous said...

OMG. I haven't been on this blog in a long time, and when the first thing that I see is Eddie Murphy's animatronic head in the Haunted Mansion, my heart jumped and I literally yelled, "What??" And I have laryngitis at the moment, so I'm surprised that I was even able to yell.

This looks disgusting, I think that putting Eddie Murphy in the ride is an awful idea. But if people like it...*forces smile, twitch twitch*

Anonymous said...

"As long as we're talking about Haunted Mansion, would most of us agree that the additions to that particular attraction were tasteful and enhanced the original vision of the ride?"

Spokker,
I have to respectfully disagree. I think the additions to the attic scene are stylistically out of sync with the rest of the attraction. For me entering the attic now feels like I have been ripped out of one attraction, and thrown into another one, only to be thrown back into the first one as I enter the graveyard scene. The attic scene just feels out of place now. I could see this scene fitting in Tower of Terror or some recently designed attraction, but not The Mansion, that was designed 40 plus years ago.

-M.B.

Spokker said...

You're right that the bride does feel a little out of place. That part I agree with.

But I love the glassware and the portraits in the attic are so much better than the cheesy pop-up ghosts. The portraits look similar to the portrays in the hallway after the elevator.

Cory Gross said...

I thought the new attic was a fine example of how to do a genuine "plus" that is consistent with the rest of the ride. While both Constance and the portraits are improvements on projection and changing portrait technology, that technology still exists in other forms throughout the ride. Plus, the subject matter (a blue-tinged ghost spouting bad puns) is consistent.

This is in marked contrast to a projection of a squid-faced monster who is never seen before or after, whose speech contradicts the whole previous theme of the ride.

Anonymous said...

"You're right that the bride does feel a little out of place. That part I agree with.

But I love the glassware and the portraits in the attic are so much better than the cheesy pop-up ghosts. The portraits look similar to the portrays in the hallway after the elevator."

Spokker,
I agree with you that the changing portraits in the attic were a good idea, I just wish stylistically they were more like the changing portraits in the hallway after the elevator. If they had made the changing portraits in the attic paintings(instead of photos)in a Marc Davis style, I think the scene would have felt more in sync with the rest of the attraction. I agree with you that the other decorations in the attic are very well done.
-M.B.

Anonymous said...

I'm just glad to know that other people are as severely bothered by Disney's current obsession with self promotion as I am. To those who disagree, you're the reason that Spaceship Earth says that Rome built the first World Wide Web and your ignorance frightens me.

JB said...

Hilarious post, even if a little bit of a fallacy. You see the difference here is that almost everyone LIKES the Haunted Mansion, whereas, come on lets be honest, who liked It's a Small World? It had some nostalgiac value but please let's be honest: the ride sucked, and in all likelihood it probably stll does. Preserve a masterpiece like Spaceship Earth, bring Horizons back from the grave, but It's a Small World?

Adam said...

"Disney does anything for money, as it should. Its a business."

Gee who do you sound like, Walt or Eisner?

Just because all businesses are like that today doesn't mean it's right. Disney didn't become so huge because of greed. Walt cared about his craft and people. It's only since the early 80's that money began to matter more to Disney Co than art and humanity.

Digital Jedi said...

JB said:
>>>Hilarious post, even if a little bit of a fallacy. You see the difference here is that almost everyone LIKES the Haunted Mansion, whereas, come on lets be honest, who liked It's a Small World? It had some nostalgiac value but please let's be honest: the ride sucked, and in all likelihood it probably stll does. Preserve a masterpiece like Spaceship Earth, bring Horizons back from the grave, but It's a Small World?<<<

Remember what a fallacy is and you'll see the irony in your statement. Many of us loved It's a Small World for it's charm, it's artistic beauty and yes, even it's song. Sure there's some nostalgia there. Wouldn't be a Disney ride if there weren't. But it doesn't attribute your tastes to the rest of us.

Adam said...

"I think the additions to the attic scene are stylistically out of sync with the rest of the attraction. For me entering the attic now feels like I have been ripped out of one attraction, and thrown into another one, only to be thrown back into the first one as I enter the graveyard scene."

Exactly. It's horrible that imagineering doesn't have more respect for art. If you can't make the ride BETTER, don't touch it!

Jose Sosa said...

"You're missing the point. These decisions are terrible long term investments. What's hip and current now, goes stale in a few short years. Timeless attractions not only don't need major renovation every few years, but they form a connection between multiple generations. Engendering the loyalty of generations of patrons was one of the most brilliant business ideas Walt Disney ever had. Yes, modern day Disney is a business. Just not a very good one if their not thinking of their long term financial health."
Could not have said it any better. I could add to it, but this tie I won't. I'm very dissappointed with NeoDisney.

Tom Slick said...

I agree whole heartedly with Jose. They keep taking timeless stories within the famed attractions, and are dating them.

In 30 years, kids will be saying "Who the Hell is Johnny Depp?", Just as they do today when you ask them about Fess Parker...Even more sadly to say, the character he portrayed; Davy Crockett...

Anonymous said...

While nothing has to be considered irreplaceable, there are some circumstances where carefully restoring is better. Someone could take a carefully cared for Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, chop and channel it, reupholster it with tuck-n-roll, add some cool headers, spinner wheels and an outstanding flame paint job to make it REALLY relevant.

OR

They could carefully restore it, keeping the original integrity while improving the electronics, stereo, brakes, and other technical elements. Improving it without damaging the overall essence of the original car.

While the hot rod version may be fun for a few people, the restored version would be of more lasting value.

Xzibit said...

^ Great example given.

Disney needs to slow their roll on "Foosin'" the Park. If they wanna "OverHaul" something, why not start with the Rocket Rods/Peoplemover track? That is the real current "beater" of the Park..

Anonymous said...

I totally agree about the People Mover - I was hoping they'd use it for something with their "fairies franchise" and project tinkerbell so you could see her fly around the park (while in a car). Ah well.

But I have to say that I would LOVE to see Stitch's Hall of Presidential Adventure. No lie, I'd be in that line so fast...

tonecapo said...

haha, i'm a sucker, it just took me this long to admit it.

squajo said...

Umm, I thought the gap in his teeth should be wider.