Saturday, February 07, 2009

When Gods Speak



On Friday, February 6, 2009, it rained at Disneyland.

.

78 comments:

Anonymous said...

In response to an earlier story about the new additions to "it's a small world", I must say that I don't believe it to be quite as bad as it was made out to be.

The new additions are both tasteful, and respectful to the attraction. They aren't merely plastic type additions with no style, merely meant to sell merchandise.

In design, I think the White Rabbit was my favorite. It took a concept drawing by Mary Blair, and replicated it exactly.

The first Disney characters I spotted were Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell. In that moment, my heart warmed, and I gave a huge sigh in the spirit of "Aaahhh!! Whenever Imagineering touches something, it does indeed turn to gold!"

So, folks, go see for yourselves, and generate your own opinions.

And, finally, for the skeptic of skeptics - just as the addition of Jack Sparrow and cast to Pirates added wonderfully to The Pirates of the Caribbean, so too are the additions to "it's a small world" done in the same spirit.

Signed,

Daniel L Rappaport
Renaissance Man Designs
http://www.RenManD.com

P.S. The rain was romantic!

Spokker said...

The characters are absolutely the focal point of this attraction now. Fears that it would become a character hunt weren't quite true. You don't have to hunt for these babies. The spotlight is on these characters, literally. In some cases they are lit brighter than the rest of the cast. In some cases they sit alone with nary another figure near them. The children of the world just can't compete.

The attraction, now, is quite literally a clusterf---. What we have here is character clutter, basically. The Disney melodies are horribly placed and lead to further clutter. I had to be told that the flute I heard at one point was supposed to be "A Whole New World".

It's funny, Walt Disney originally wanted all the anthems of the world playing at the same time in Small World, but it became too much and asked the Sherman Brothers to compose a single tune. I guess Disney's strategy for this makeover was to follow Walt's book of what not to do.

The USA scene not only feels out of place but it lacks the plushness, lavishness, whatever you want to call it, of the rest of the attraction. Its inclusion on this voyage through the world still doesn't feel right, considering the historical context of the attraction.

There are technical improvements everywhere, especially the lighting. Everything looks like it's in good working order, but it should have never gotten as bad as it did.

I'll tell you what though, after riding the new version of It's A Small World, I don't feel all that bad about the changes to Pirates of the Caribbean. Disney sure did outdo themselves this time.

Anonymous said...

I watched a video of the ride. As a designer and student of both Disney and Mary Blair, I find this offensive in the extreme!

All this is, is a cheap attempt at product placement.

I predict these scenes will be riddled with spit wads and chewing gum in protest until removed.

Anonymous said...

Meh, not impressed. Crass commercialism at it's worst. The alice in wonderland were the best because of the original blair design, but stitch, peterpan were mediocre attempts, and the toy story was just laughably badly designed. No, it IS merely ment to push plush and They wrecked it.

Funny story, my late mother took us to disneyland one day it was storming and raining and the only place in LA it wasn't was over disneyland. I think the headline tells it all.
Welcome to the Meh-gik kingdom.
It's all downhill from here.

Spokker said...

"Funny story, my late mother took us to disneyland one day it was storming and raining and the only place in LA it wasn't was over disneyland."

Let me give the obligatory "not that I believe in this sort of thing" disclaimer, but I remember as a kid my dad was taking me to Disneyland and it was storming where I live. He remarked that it's always sunny at Disneyland no matter what the weather is.

Of course, the rain yesterday (and today, it's pouring out), and Small World's opening are simply a coincidence. But the symbolism is there and it's a strong one.

Anonymous said...

As usual, all the Disney preservationists can't contain their hate for any change to the park at all.
Folks, 1966 was 43 years ago. Even Walt would have made changes to the attraction.
Too bad most of you have prejudged this without really looking at it.
Spokker, you really need to get a life.

Daniel L Rappaport said...

"The attraction, now, is quite literally a clusterf---. What we have here is character clutter, basically. The Disney melodies are horribly placed and lead to further clutter. I had to be told that the flute I heard at one point was supposed to be "A Whole New World"."

I don't recall any themes from any of the films represented. All I heard was "it's a small world". Did we not ride during the same part of the loop in that section, perhaps?

What I did notice was the audio that plays in the front of the attraction was re-done, and cleaned up nicely.

And how, on Disney's green earth, are characters in "it's a small world" commercials for product? Is the music secretly saying "buy me, buy me" to you?

Are there hidden magical vending machines throughout the attraction that I missed?

Funny. I left the park without purchasing a single Jessie doll.

Ron Schneider said...

I may not agree with a particular assessment of the additions to iasw, but at least we're now hearing from people who are judging it after they've SEEN it.

Spokker said...

"What I did notice was the audio that plays in the front of the attraction was re-done, and cleaned up nicely."

That is a technical enhancement that is entirely welcomed.

Sailing through the first few minutes of the attraction was a beautiful experience. I felt like I was in another dimension where It's A Small World was always maintained in pristine condition and the Disney Company respected its rich history. Now if only the rest of the attraction was like that. It's soiled by the very presence of characters and a USA scene.

"And how, on Disney's green earth, are characters in "it's a small world" commercials for product? Is the music secretly saying "buy me, buy me" to you?"

Not all who oppose the changes feel the exact same way, of course. I have strayed from this sentiment. The attraction isn't directly a commercial, of course. There's no subliminal advertising going on.

But there's an overall question. Why characters? Do they have to be a part of everything? Is there value in restraint, that is, not adding Donald and Stitch and Ariel and all that? There's an overall sentiment out there that Disney is "taking over the world" by spreading its properties and brands everywhere they can, "Disney-fying" the Earth. Now they've infiltrated this tribute to other countries, other cultures, and I think that makes The Walt Disney Co. look bad.

There is this argument that the one thing the children of the world has in common are Disney characters. I guess if you believe in that the changes are welcome. But I reject that sentiment one hundred percent, hence my disappointment in the refurbishment.

Mark said...

Anonymous said...
>>> In response to an earlier story about the new additions to "it's a small world", I must say that I don't believe it to be quite as bad as it was made out to be.

The new additions are both tasteful, and respectful to the attraction. They aren't merely plastic type additions with no style, merely meant to sell merchandise.
<<<

If you thought the only problem we had with the Small World additions where that they weren't going to be well done, then you only skimmed over the complaints. That was never the substance of the argument. The substance was that their very addition is tasteless and inconsistent with the ride's spirit and thematic. The question is, "Does this room really need a velvet Elvis painting?", and not, "Did they do everything possible to make the velvet Elvis painting match?"

>>>And, finally, for the skeptic of skeptics - just as the addition of Jack Sparrow and cast to Pirates added wonderfully to The Pirates of the Caribbean, so too are the additions to "it's a small world" done in the same spirit.<<<

If this is your criterion for how we should judge it, then you really have only skimmed over the issues people have. The addition of Jack Sparrow to Pirates is great. A really great painting of dogs playing poker.

Another Anonymous said...
>>>As usual, all the Disney preservationists can't contain their hate for any change to the park at all.
Folks, 1966 was 43 years ago. Even Walt would have made changes to the attraction.
Too bad most of you have prejudged this without really looking at it.
Spokker, you really need to get a life.
<<<

And as usual, another Anonymous making the same tired straw man argument.

If you'd paid even the slightest bit of attention or weren't mired down in your personal hatred of people who don't agree with you, you would see the examples of changes that have been made to Disney that we liked. Haunted Mansion for example. The reopening of the Sleeping Beauty walkthrough. Try looking at the substance of an argument once in a while. It will make your posting look less foolish. (Like, maybe, taking note of things like the criticisms above are from people who actually did ride the attraction.)

Mark said...

Ron Schneider said...
>>>I may not agree I may not agree with a particular assessment of the additions to iasw, but at least we're now hearing from people who are judging it after they've SEEN it.<<<

What does that change, though? The discussion has always been that it's a bad idea from the get go. We didn't have to see the Giant Mickey wand on Spaceship Earth for a year, to know that it shouldn't stay up for several years. When something is a bad idea, you don't go ahead and do it just so people can see how bad of an idea it really is.

dave said...

I had the opportunity to ride it's a small world at Hong Kong Disneyland last June. In that version of the attraction, the characters are very well integrated into the visual narrative of the ride. And I think it's successful because the characters were planned and integrated into the attraction design from concept to construction.

I was delighted by HKD's small world, just as I love the Florida, Tokyo and Paris versions too.

The problem with altering DL's in my mind is that a.) it's the only attraction that was designed with the UNICEF mission for the World's Fair and b.) it's the only attraction with original mary blair art (not art done by others "in the blair style").

If Disney wants to re-imagine it's a small world, with a new mission and aesthetic, I think that's great. And they did so fantastically, at Hong Kong.

The DL original should have been restored, but conceptually left alone, for the exact same reason DL's Enchanted Tiki Room has been: because they are cherished, unique originals.

I'm perfectly happy with Disneyland launching new versions and new concepts at any of the ten other parks they maintain around the world.

People often complain along the lines of "Disneyland isn't a museum," but given the breadth and reach of the Disney empire, with so many rides duplicated and re-conceptualized...yes. Indeed in many ways, the first park — Walt's park — should be.

PS. check out my blog on theming for pics of the HK version.

www.themerica.org

Digital Jedi said...

Hrm, I'm usually more careful about how I use those separate accounts. Mark is me.

Sharon said...

I rode twice on Thursday (Feb. 5) for the AP review. I found it delightful, and the added Disney characters did not detract from the ride at all. On the contrary, they were tastefully incorporated into various scenes. Kudos to the Imagineers!

Virtual Toad said...

Adding Alice and Pinocchio characters to "It's a Small World" makes about as much sense as adding Small World dolls to the Alice in Wonderland or Pinocchio dark rides. End of story.

Daniel L Rappaport said...

Yes, I did think about the notion of adding Disney characters to "it's a small world", and your argument about how "distasteful" it all is.

I have to say this -

"As long as their is imagination left in the world, Disneyland will never be complete."

-Walt Disney

Yes, I get that the attraction is about peace and harmony the world over.

The company, I believe is recognizing the fact that, to be a healthy business, it must recognize it's worldwide presence.

Putting iasw characters in attractions like Peter Pan's Flight, and Snow White's Scary Adventures would, of course, be ludicrous because they don't have anything to do with those stories.

iasw's story is not from a film. It's from real life. And, HELLO!! IT'S IN A DISNEY THEME PARK! It's not like they are putting Warner Bros., or Harry Potter characters in there! LOL!!

Is the focus of the attraction changed? Perhaps. Do the kids enjoy it? If so, than that is the most important part.

Am I denying other comments made in other atricles (Sleeping Beauty Castle walkthrough, etc..)? Certainly not!

As well, the kids who ride the attraction have no clue (I would assume, most of them - as I didn't realize 'till later) who Mary Blair is, or would even care.

If you want her original art, than seek a piece out on E-bay, or purchase her book???

It isn't like Disney is denying he existence. That is why they have honored her, along with so many other Imagineers.

Simultaneously, the company is not only realizing that it is time to move on, but, also, that these attractions aren't just the work of one, or two people.

Another thing...

iasw, to me anyway, aesthetically is how the world would look if children built it (through the optimistic eye of Walt Disney). That is why it has almost a crayon drawing feel to it; a handmade "by kids, for kids" look to it. At least, that is what I always got out of it, and that is why I think you have things in there like a bit of a squashed Pinocchio, and a Mushu kite. It's cute!

If Walt wanted a museum, he would have built one.

Take care!

Signed,

Daniel L Rappaport
Renaissance Man Designs
http://www.RenManD.com

P.S. See it in the rain! :-D

Tom Slick said...

:::chorus:::
Aaaaaaa-AAaaaaa-AAAAAAAaaaaa, Aaaaamennnnnnnn.......
Amen.
::::end chorus::::
Not only are the Disney added Characters true to their own look, and NOT IN A MARY BLAIR STYLE, but they have been placed in overly lit areas, or under the spotlight, so to speak!

The boogerfaces all lied, including MARTY SKLiAR and TONY BAXSTabbER!

It isn't the end of the world, but something monumental and historic has been desecrated.

The really sad part is...."This ride isn't over"......

The park has many other areas in which it could have easily focused its urgent attention to, but alas the peoplemover track still sits vacant.

So much for the "As long as there is imagination left" spiel....

Spokker said...

"Do the kids enjoy it? If so, than that is the most important part."

No, actually, that's not the most important part. Remember that when Walt Disney got the idea for Disneyland he was sitting in Griffith park watching his kids ride the carousel on "Daddy's Sundays" or whatever the hell he called it.

His kids were having a blast. *HE* was the one that was bored.

If making attractions that kids will enjoy is the most important goal of Disneyland then The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and A Bug's Land is the pinnacle of Imagineering and they really shouldn't reach any higher than that.

Digital Jedi said...

>>>Yes, I did think about the notion of adding Disney characters to "it's a small world", and your argument about how "distasteful" it all is.

I have to say this -

"As long as their is imagination left in the world, Disneyland will never be complete."

-Walt Disney


Nice quote, but how is that a justification for tastelessness? Walt plussed his attractions to make them better, not just more lucrative. Crass merchandising was not part of his business philosophy, and is not what made him such a huge success.

>>>The company, I believe is recognizing the fact that, to be a healthy business, it must recognize it's worldwide presence.<<<

Honestly, how in the name Bill Gates does that "recognize it's worldwide presence"? Homogenizing your brand does not make your brand more recognizable. It makes it more forgettable.

>>>Is the focus of the attraction changed? Perhaps. Do the kids enjoy it? If so, than that is the most important part.<<<

Since when is Disney supposed to just make the kids happy? That may work for Chucky Cheese, but not Disney. This is what happens when you cherry pick Walt Disney quotes. Because that's not how he felt at all, and that is not what made Disney successful.

[[["Adults are interested if you don't play down to the little 2 or 3 year olds or talk down. I don't believe in talking down to children. I don't believe in talking down to any certain segment. I like to kind of just talk in a general way to the audience. Children are always reaching."]]]

-Walt Disney

[[["We believed in our idea - a family park where parents and children could have fun- together."]]]

-Walt Disney

Obviously, if you've missed the point of what Disney is supposed to be, then no wonder you don't think the changes to Small World are a big deal.

>>>If Walt wanted a museum, he would have built one.<<<

Keep in mind, I'm not calling you ignorant, but I am calling this an ignorant statement. It makes two asinine assumptions. One of those assumptions is that we want stagnation in the Theme Parks. Utterly ridiculous, and if you have read over the previous statements of where we think things have been done right, then your choosing to ignore them.

The other assumption it makes is the comparison of our complaints, to a museum. Actually, good museums are quite entertaining, draw quite a crowd, educate as they entertain, and are updated quite frequently. No, Disney is not a museum, in many respects, but many good museums these days do what they do because of the standards that Disney has set for the so-called "edutainment" factor. Disney is actually taking a step backwards by ignoring some of these old tenets.

Either way though, this is not what you meant, and this is not what we want. So the "Disney is not a museum" argument is utterly meaningless on several fronts and in no way, shape or form makes your point. It's a straw man argument.

CJ said...

Yes, I've seen it.

No, they don't make sense.

No, the park is not a museum.

But now answer these questions:

Where was Jack Sparrow when Pirates of the Caribbean first came out?

Where was Eddie Murphy when Haunted Mansion was opened?

Why didn't Walt add Mickey to iasw "in the style of Mary Blair"?

Why aren't Mary's characters in Peter Pan? If we can place Disney characters in iasw, then why not place Blair characters in Disney stories?

The iasw story was just as true today as it was when it was first released. There was no need to add Disney characters to it. And ESPECIALLY in today's world, the message of iasw rings through loud and clear, and needs to be heard by more and more people.

Alas, I fear that the message will be overshadowed by Disney's looming handprint on the ride. I feel that the message lost a little bit in the renovation.

A sad day, indeed, when commercialization wins over creativity; when peddling plush wins over storytelling. When that happens, some of the magic disappears from the sky over Disneyland, and it becomes a little less of an escape from reality, and a little more of today's modern reality. And people will quickly tire of that, as these attractions lose their timelessness.

Moochie said...

As if Southern California couldn't use a tiny bit of its own rain? Native Americans danced for the gods to get rain, so why would it be a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

I took my kids on the ride and they absolutely loved it! (me too, we went on it twice). I would think the bloggers at re-imagineering must feel a bit embarrassed for the causing all the commotion about it.

Anonymous said...

Since when was Disneyland not about commercialization?
Let's see, Frontierland opened with Davy Crockett. In fact the original Disneyland show on television gained popularity, so was Walt not supposed to have them on Tom Sawyer's Island?
I don't think so.
To further rebuke CJ's argument, if Walt had done a Pirates of the Carribean movie, he probably would have modified the ride to reflect the movie too, unfortunately he died before it or Haunted Mansion were completed and opened to the public.
So quit trying to put yourselves in Walt's shoes.

Spokker said...

"So quit trying to put yourselves in Walt's shoes."

Sounds reasonable. But wait a second...

"he probably would have modified the ride to reflect the movie too"

...you did it too. Seems like everybody is putting themselves in Walt's shoes. Hell, Disney even offers a Walk in Walt's Footsteps Tour!

"C.G." said...

Geesh, the drama. Yes, maybe the Re-imagineering bloggers have exagerated in some details, but those in favor of the new make-over aren't better either.

Saw the video of the new ride, and in few words: The ride looks good, polished, I didn't notice any particular anomaly with the USA part (maybe because I'm not from USA), except for the dislocated Disney Characters. Not even in doll forms, just, no. It literally f*cks up with the initial meaning of this ride.

What's the main point of this ride? Look for hidden Disney movies' references, or appreciate the children of the world dancing and singing? (Or... both?)

Yes, we need to move with the times, and adapt ourselves to new circunstances, public tastes and definitions of entertainment. But that doesn't mean we can't educate our audience with the wonderful Small World. This should be almost like a Imagineering responsibility, but I'm afraid I would be exaggerating here.

Tom Slick said...

Anonymous said...
Since when was Disneyland not about commercialization?
Let's see, Frontierland opened with Davy Crockett. In fact the original Disneyland show on television gained popularity, so was Walt not supposed to have them on Tom Sawyer's Island?
I don't think so.
To further rebuke CJ's argument, if Walt had done a Pirates of the Carribean movie, he probably would have modified the ride to reflect the movie too, unfortunately he died before it or Haunted Mansion were completed and opened to the public.
So quit trying to put yourselves in Walt's shoes.


Disneyland may have opened with Davey Crockett, but tell me where the ride was that was based on Davey Crockett's adventures? I seemed to have missed that attraction somehow...
Walt was more intelligent than just adding characters into storylines. He had all the opportunity in the world to add any characters he wanted, to any of the attractions, but he did not do so.

Point in case, Pirates of the Caribbean could have easily been marketed to push his older "Treasure Island" movie, but it was not.

Mark Twain steamboat could have easily been made to push "Steamboat Willie" with Mickey at the helm, but it was not.

Tom Sawyer's Island could have easily been named Davey Crockett Island or Fess Parkerville, but it was not.

I'm gathering by Walt's actions, (or in this case, lack of) when he was alive, He knew that by placing a "Fess Parker" attraction in Disneyland would have been dated, and would eventually expire due to changing times and interest.

But when you create a form of "generic" attraction(s) in the sense of no celebrity or iconic figure(s), fact or fictional, like Pirates, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, and IASW for instance, you have in essence, created something timeless. The reason?
Because the story is not based solely on a character whos image might become unpopular in the unseen future to come.

So as long as I can use relevant facts about the things Walt Disney DID NOT DO when he was alive and calling the shots, I will continue to speculate as Walt's size 9s.

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said...
>>> Since when was Disneyland not about commercialization?
Let's see, Frontierland opened with Davy Crockett. In fact the original Disneyland show on television gained popularity, so was Walt not supposed to have them on Tom Sawyer's Island?
I don't think so.
<<<

So you're saying that Disney opened with a big Davy Crockett animatronic that inexorably tied everything about Frontierland to the series even to this day and your saying that Davy Crockett was a permanent addition to Tom Sawyer's Island?

>>> To further rebuke CJ's argument, if Walt had done a Pirates of the Carribean movie, he probably would have modified the ride to reflect the movie too, unfortunately he died before it or Haunted Mansion were completed and opened to the public.<<<

Right, because Pirates of the Caribbean was so much like Treasure Island originally, replete with Long John Silver animatronics throughout the attraction. You know, the successful pirate movie that Walt had already made prior to opening the park?

>>>So quit trying to put yourselves in Walt's shoes.<<<

Do I really need to point out the irony of being told not to try and put oneself in Walt's shoes, by a person who just said "If Walt had done... He probably would have..."?

In any case, your missing the point here. Walt marketed, but didn't pander. He didn't homogenize his brand by mixing everything in with everything. Everything had it's own identity and he never permanently tied anything with a movie or cartoon unless it had that tie to begin with. Branding a ride with a live action actor unavoidably dates that attraction (Something, I might add, he DIDN'T do with Davy Crockett or Frontierland). Walt and his Imagineers had an knack for creating things timeless; making sure it could endure the test of time, with plenty of room for tweaking and updating. Adding a successful movie AI is not tweaking or updating, it's catering to the lowest common denominator. Walt never catered to the easy buck. That's not quality. That's not the best they can do.

Destino said...

Haven't ridden the ride yet. Watched a video, looked at some pictures. So, I can't really form that definitive opinion, but it seems that arguments are way too far this way or that way.

Was there a need to FIX this attraction with characters? No. Is there a need to plus the attraction to get more people to go on? To get those thousands of people who've already ridden it so many times they just can't bear it again, to go on? Yes. Since the character version did so well in HK (Not saying I like it, just saying it was successful) it was the natural thing to try here. Because it was a proven concept. Because the concern of the suits was not to preserve the integrity of the attraction, it was to gain attention and keep people going on it. And it'll probably work. People will ride this new version, heck they'll come to the park just to see it. And THAT is the point. To keep people going on this attraction. And kids will love looking for characters.

Now, I am definitely in the camp that believes the characters completely detract from the intent of the ride. Especially since they are placed so prominently. And since there's a hint of their own music playing. But maybe it's because that all I was looking at. It's new, so I look at that exclusively. Perhaps after riding it numerous times I won't be doing that anymore. After all, I wasn't too fond of the manner in which Jack Sparrow was incorporated. But now, I focus on the entire attraction, not just Jack Sparrow, and it blends in just fine. For me.

I have to admit that most of the characters look just fine in the attraction. With the exception of Stitch, the Toy Story gang, Nemo and Dory. And maybe Donald and the Cabelleros. Though I actually LIKE them in there somehow. The rest look like Small World Dolls dressed up in costume.

I'm not sure if the America scene is just lame, or if it's the horrible Toy Story dolls.

I wouldn't say that the additions are tasteful and respectful throughout, but I wouldn't call them a complete blight put in only to sell plush.

From what I see in pictures and video, Spokker makes a good point.

"The characters are absolutely the focal point of this attraction now. Fears that it would become a character hunt weren't quite true. You don't have to hunt for these babies. The spotlight is on these characters, literally. In some cases they are lit brighter than the rest of the cast. In some cases they sit alone with nary another figure near them. The children of the world just can't compete."

And I don't believe that this is a case of those of us who not are thrilled with this update to be a matter of us all being PRESERVATIONISTS. Come on. The attractions need to be upgraded and updated to keep people going so they don't wind up victim to the bulldozer. But updates should enhance or plus an attraction, not turn it into something totally new. From what I see, if you made the characters blend into the scene more, ditch the music and the worst of the "TOYS" the update might have been more palatable.

I'll see for myself how I feel when I ride it for real, instead of just through video and pictures. But, based on what I see, it isn't going to make me stop riding it, and my child will absolutely love it.

Anonymous said...

Some people get it, and some just blatently refuse to open their eyes!

"A blind man knows he cannot see, and is glad to be led, even though it be by a dog; but he that is blind in his understanding, which is the worst blindness of all, believes he sees as the best, and scorns a guide." - Samuel Butler (1612-1680)

Anonymous said...

One thing I feel is missing in this debate is what an attraction truly is - a three dimensional story. The original IASW is a story of worldwide harmony and the realization of that dream via a stylistically original visual/song approach. The new story is...hell, I dunno, something about aliens on surfboards, marionette Donald Ducks, and crazy Dragon kite characters under spotlights while
the rest of the world tries to sing about harmony (ignoring the undoing of the entire concept by the America rocks compared to your little countries ending). What a great addition!

Anyone who likes this addition (and yes, I've ridden the new version) probably thinks Greedo shooting first enhanced Star Wars.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure glad I'm not an Imagineer.

It has become a thankless job. Good thing there are 14 million guests that love what they do and return to the hive. The blurred message of world peace through minors can't compete with the primal motivation for 12 minutes of air conditioned maritime bliss, or their Konica moment of capturing 3 year old Ramsey spitting up his corn dog while pointing at Belle. It's all Disney and so much fun.

It's amazing what putting Churros at the exits can do to draw an audience.

Barfolomew said...

Good thing there are 14 million guests that love what they do and return to the hive.

It should have read:

Good thing there are 14 million oblivious guests that love what they do and return to the hive, like they would have done either way without the additions to IASW.

I don't think anyone is really blaming the Imagineers. Even they take orders from someone.

"...or their Konica moment of capturing 3 year old Ramsey spitting up his corn dog while pointing at Belle."

I think me and Ramsey have something in common.....As I read the replies, I too spit up, while eating my bowl of chili, and after reading Daniel Rappaport's opinions! Still not sure if it was his tone, or his views....I know it wasn't Hormel's fault...

teevtee said...

Both sides are really over-reacting in my mind...

Is the attraction ruined? No. the general message is still there, it is not a ruined ride or will not be for the VAST majority of people who ride it, even fans.

Is the attraction "plussed"? No, in fact it is worse off. The technical enhancements are great but the simplicity of the message is now muddled.

Why is it muddled?

Well when you see Mulan in China and the like you may be thinking that things are just fine... and in those cases they really are. Mulan is not much of a distraction, she fits naturally into the Asian section and if you did not know she was Mulan she would not seem out of place. However when you start getting to some bizarre underwater section added just for Ariel and Nemo things start going off course. What doe mythical beings and fish have to do with world peace and the pure and natural love that children have in their hearts? Again, someone who has no knowledge of the ride or Disney would find those scenes out of place... they just do not fit.

I don't have much problem with an American section... hell, we are part of the world as well and though I understand why it was not originally included I am OK with it being in there... until you realize it is only there for Woody and Jessie who are again very out of place.

At the end of the day however the ride will survive, the experience is diminished but not destroyed and some will in fact enjoy it more, missing the actual point of the ride but enjoying it on other levels.

What does concern me more is why Disney felt the need to do this at all because it is a disturbing trend that is more than just a trend at this point really... so many attractions have turned into forced character fests that there are precious few left to even worry about.

Anonymous said...

o one doubts that Walt Disney saw Disneyland as an organic enterprise, one that would grow and change through the years. He certainly did not hesitate to add, subtract, "plus," refine, and tweak his park in order to add to the experience of his guests. The question of the recent alterations to "it's a small world" is really not about changes made to an attraction, but about the spirit of those changes. Though it is not a museum, Disneyland is somewhat moored to the past, and asking the question, "Is this change, or any potential change, in the spirit of what Walt wanted for the park," is appropriate.

The "plussing" that Walt undertook added new layers of depth to particular rides. Adding new animals to "Nature's Wonderland" or the "Jungle" cruise was in keeping with the spirit of those rides and Walt's vision regarding them. Again, they add a layer of depth to the attractions that takes the viewer into a deeper and more meaningful themed experience. The same can surely be said for adding Snow White to her scary adventures ride, a plus that not only added depth but also clarified the experience for guests.

The question of the "it's a small world" additions is really two fold: is this in the spirit of what Walt wanted for the park and does it add rather than detract from the theme, style, and experience of the ride. Humans are hard-wired to see the world in terms of narrative, and so story, no matter how simple, is bound to the experience of riding most of Walt Disney's attractions. The story of 'it's a small world" is a simple and classic one: the children of the world have gathered in a spirit of equality to show us all that we are connected to each other (It's a small world, after all!").

Given that, it does seem that the recent additions distract from the "story" (perhaps theme would be more literarily correct). The Disney characters do stand out in the new ride, and they are clearly not equal to the children of the world in the minds of many riders. They stand apart, at best "first among equals," and that surely detracts from the intended experience of the ride, which was to foster feelings of harmony and equality. Plussing a ride should take the guest deeper into the experience (witness the outstanding plussing of WDW's Haunted Mansion), not distract his or her attention from it. In this regard, despite its stylistic integrity with regard to Mary Blair and however else it might possibly work, the addition of popular Disney characters takes one further from Walt's intended destination. The popular kids have entered the cafeteria, and now all eyes are on them.

Katella Gate said...

Two words: Product Placement. It’s a Small World is now a retail space that uses Walt's original attraction as a backdrop to sell product.

In the old days, attractions used to have a preshow to get the audience ready for the entertainment to follow. Now it’s the shops that have the preshows to get shoppers warmed up to spend.

How did it happen? Because current management believes that Disneyland is a Giant Mall: every square foot of Disneyland must SELL something, or that square foot is wasted. Some executive noticed that IASW had the audience's attention for close to 15 minutes and the ride didn't sell anything but harmony and understanding. That's groovy, but Mr. Burns still wants that other ivory back scratcher.

Am I concerned? Yes, the park is becoming homogenized. Attractions are now starting to look an awful lot like each other - because they keep mining the profits out of the same franchises

*Tom Sawyer’s Island and Pirates of the Caribbean now both tie into the same movie franchise.

*Storybook Canal Boats take guests around the world to visit the homes of Disney cartoon characters.

*It's a Small World takes guests around the world to visit Disney cartoon characters in their home countries.

*In Toontown, guests visit Disney cartoon characters in their homes.

My biggest beef about the "re-do" is the lack of respect shown to Mary Blair's work. A few of the new dolls work OK like the White Rabbit, but I suspect it's because Blair did character sketches for the "Alice in Wonderland" movie and there was some concrete examples to go by.

The Americana room, however, is a train wreck. The massing of the sets, color palates, and the geometric stylization have nothing to do with Mary's original art direction. Nothing. The Blair dolls are few and far between, the Pixar characters are front and center and badly out of scale. For as many "Art and Flair of Mary Blair" books they've sold in the park, maybe somebody should have borrowed a copy and actually looked thru it.

Contemplating the new musical score also makes me wince. The John Debny score did a masterful job on Buddy Baker's Haunted Mansion music for Paris, but seriously tripped up on the re-vamped It's a Small World score from 10 years ago -- probably because he had marching orders to "improve" the music, and shattered the simplicity of the Sherman Bros song. How anybody can pull off interweaving random movie scores with the original Sherman tune defies imagination.

Did the changes it "ruin" the attraction? Depends on what your philosophies are. If IASW is just a way to pass a pleasant afternoon then no: there's no reason to be upset because "Disneyland is not a museum". If you are sensitive to the commercial exploitation of somebody else's artistic statement to boost sales, then yes you will be upset.

But as I said, it comes down to product placement. Would “Star Wars” be ruined if a "GE" logo popped out of the tip of Luke Skywalker's light saber? If Coca-Cola could buy the Mona Lisa, would you be offended if they painted a Coke can into her hand? (Don't worry, the paint can be removed later – in case the packaging art changes ).

Products are placed in artwork to make the art more profitable, not more artistic. And that's really what it comes down to.

Dave Ensign said...

wow, man. I read all of these responses and feel for you Disneyland fans. I really do, BUT look on the bright side for a minute. At least you didn't grow up on the Florida Property in which our Magic Kingdom has lost all sense of direction and taste. AT LEAST you can ride IASW and the majority of your dolls still have facial movement. We have rotocast plastic heads that do NOTHING in place of many signing dolls. Sure you have Nemo but our Capt. Nemo is long gone and we couldn't ride in a sub if we wanted too. Your Adventureland is still paradise, ours had a shitty carnival ride plopped into it totally wrecking the atmosphere. Our Tiki Room is a disgrace:( The Adventureland Verenda is still closed:( Mr Toad hit the road:( Our River traffic is down to a couple rafts and one riverboat:( Some turd Imagineer dumped Spalsh Mountains south-eastern theme right in the middle of our old west:( Our penny arcade, magic shop, and cinema are Long gone:( Our Tree House still rocks:)

Pay us a visit sometime and then go home and kiss the ground at Disneyland.

teevtee said...

For what it is worth Dave is 100% correct. It in no way forgives Disneyland for it's mistakes but the MK at WDW is so far off course that it would truly take decades to recover any sense of place or imagination... and it is probably too late. It is really a disgrace how little of the original intent is left there... Pirates at WDW was always a joke and it is really down to just Mansion at maybe a few parts of Jungle Cruise that hold any sense of the original (God help me) "magic".

Conversely take a trip to Tokyo and you will find a Magic Kingdom so well cared for and loved that you feel as though you have traveled back in time 30 years.

Spokker said...

"Good thing there are 14 million oblivious guests that love what they do and return to the hive"

I didn't think they were being serious, but that's 14 million visits, not 14 million guests. There's no way to find out how many unique souls visit Disneyland per year. Considering the amount of annual passholders, that would would have to be a lot less than 14 million.

Spokker said...

Al Lutz posted his idea for what should have gone into the new scene instead of America.

"Instead of the America room I would have replaced it with a room full of children communicating to each other in various ways, including the Internet, exchanging messages of peace and welcome. It would be right way to acknowledge the latest technologies in a dated attraction."

While I would be concerned about the execution, I think the idea makes way more sense than an America room.

Here we have what really makes it a "small world" today, the fact that we can communicate with almost anyone around the globe at the flick of a switch and broaden our horizons (remember, just because we can doesn't mean we do).

I think this type of scene would have a much more enlightening effect on the minds of riders than a USA room.

teevtee said...

I hate the idea of a technology to communicate room... HATE it. Reminds me of some of this issues they run into all the time with Space Ship Earth at Epcot. All you are doing is asking to be made old fashioned and out dated looking. Plus since when was the ride about a method or process of communicating? It makes it all too literal. The attraction is incredibly simple and that is what makes it work. It is simply about the concept that we are all the same... we are all born with the same innocence... period, that is it, that is the beauty. Why add freaking internet crap to the mix?

I also see nothing wrong with a U.S. room, in fact I think it SHOULD be there. Now remember, not THIS version of the U.S. room but some version, no more or less than any of the other nations and regions represented.

I don't think most people would have an issue with a U.S.A. room it is the shoe-horning of the characters that is out of place because it just muddies the water. I think it is as simple as the fact that WDI was developing this idea of the HK version (where in fact it makes a slight bit more sense... sort of), and someone got a hold of it and forced it through into DL.

I say again that I do NOT think it totally destroys the experience... this is not an Imagination Pavilion gut job... but it makes a pure and simple message much less so.

Anonymous said...

The IASW debate is also about spending money in all the wrong places. it smacks of Disney Pork and the greater American dilemma, misappropriation of funds.

Anonymous said...

Geez, its not that bad at all..get over it!

Anonymous said...

"Geez, its not that bad at all..get over it!"

Get over it? Get over it?...Are you nuts? Have you any idea of the damage done to world peace? This is an international incident!

This is my sixth month in a basement wallpapered with 3000 images of the ride taken from all angles and a 3D model on 10 screens mapping the signtlines and retinal response of each guest, replete with an audio footprint of the new disney music bleeding over the old and you say "get over it?". Not that bad??? Yeah right. This is a war crime of thematic proportions!

Woah. That Red Bull packs a punch. What were we talking about?

Digital Jedi said...

Annonymous said:
>>>Get over it? Get over it?...Are you nuts? Have you any idea of the damage done to world peace? This is an international incident!

This is my sixth month in a basement wallpapered with 3000 images of the ride taken from all angles and a 3D model on 10 screens mapping the signtlines and retinal response of each guest, replete with an audio footprint of the new disney music bleeding over the old and you say "get over it?". Not that bad??? Yeah right. This is a war crime of thematic proportions!


Actually, the majority of us here are family men and women, with real jobs, children, rents and mortgages and I'd venture to say a smattering of Disney memorabilia. We are not posting on this blog all day long, but there are enough of us that it may seem that way. Your sarcasm was not lost on me, but it was disingenuous to say the lease.

Digital Jedi said...

teevtee said:
>>>Both sides are really over-reacting in my mind...

I wouldn't say we're overreacting. Quite the contrary, we've made the very same points you have and have acknowledged that the majority of the public won't notice or care. Our point is, that's no way to run a business. And not what made Disney, Disney. Disney was once synonymous with quality. That's not the case anymore. And the spirit that resulted in the changes to Small World is indicative of a problem we want to see changed.

Remember, the argument you have with your spouse is seldom really about what your arguing about; socks on the floor, dishes in the sink, who sang better on American Idol. It's always something deeper in the relationship that is coming out over something seemingly trivial.

The Small World changes don't seem like a big deal to some. But the spirit of crass merchandising is written all over it, regardless of how "well" it was contrived. THAT is the problem, and that's what we've seen time and again. Each time we see it, it's appropriate to point it out.

Really, what intrigues me is how much it bothers people that we have a problem with this. I always call them the "critics of the critics". What I don't think they realize is they seldom seem to have a valid argument for why Disney should be crass, commercialized and homogenized, nor do they have an argument to say the contrary is true. Mostly, they just verbally attack this blog and the people posting in it.

Anonymous said...

"Your sarcasm was not lost on me, but it was disingenuous to say the lease."

Good. It's just my way of saying that maybe some of this is has become just a teensy bit fanatical. BTW I do have a wife and kids and a smattering of Disney memorabilia too. I'm still on the twelve step program of getting rid of it. Wanna buy a Captain EO button?

teevtee said...

Jedi:

MAke no mistake, I agree with your general thoughts and feelings and specifically with the idea that the new version os Small World is a step back, not from a technical aspect but from a conceptual one. I also agree wholeheartedly that most of the changes at the Disney parks are motivated by the wrong things, even from a long term business perspective.

My point is simply that in this specific case I do not believe that the attraction is DESTROYED and therefore people tend to be over- reacting. Just as those "critics of critics" are grossly over reacting with attacks on those who do not like the changes.

If we are commenting on the general trend (which has now been going on for 15 plus years) then YES, I agree... but if we are talking about ONLY the changes on this ONE ride... well then I STILL agree actually, but do not feel the changes warrant the hatred I often hear. Hell, I am not even sure it is marketing driven as much as just totally misguided attempts of freshen the attraction. I say this simply because IASW is probably the single biggest missed marketing opportunity I have ever seen slip by Disney. You don't need to add known characters in to it in order to sell related merchandise... they could of (probably should of ) been selling plush IASW dolls and figurines and clothing all along. They could of mad e IASW Saturday morning cartoon, they could of given the dolls names and had little Hans and Maria merchandise blanketing the parks and the Disney Stores. Somehow someone missed that... but I am not sure that adding characters that already have merchandise all over the park was done specifically to sell more of it... because I don't think it will.

Sometimes bad choices are made even out of good intentions. I don't know what happened here but my guess is that some executive saw what they thought was a cheap way to "upgrade" the attraction after seeing the work going on in HKDL. DIsney now likes streamlining costs by piggy backing attractions and cloning them all over the globe so here was another chance to do that. WDI was taxed with trying to make that crap work... again I doubt ti was really anyone within WDI who came up with this concept.

End result is the same, no doubt... but perhaps in this one case I am less cynical about it.

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said:
>>>Good. It's just my way of saying that maybe some of this is has become just a teensy bit fanatical.<<<

If posting critical comments on this blog is fanaticism, then everyone on both sides of the argument, including you, would be subject to that definition. What compels people to take the time out of their day to come here and criticize is a long standing appreciation of what Disney stood for. Where does your motivation to take the time out of your day and come mock the critics stem?

teevtee said:
>>>If we are commenting on the general trend (which has now been going on for 15 plus years) then YES, I agree...

But, in fact, we are commenting on the general trend. That's the overarching theme of this blog. I don't think anyone thought the attraction was going to be destroyed, but we were sure that it was just one step out of many in the wrong direction. Sure, one step towards a cliff doesn't mean you're going to jump. But if you keep taking steps in that direction carelessly, someone needs to make an effort to stop you.

teevtee said...

Jedi:

No argument here... I have been loudly complaining about similar moves by Disney for closing in on 20 freaking years now.

In this case this particular thread is about IASW so my comments are related specifically to that one attraction and this one case.

Someone pointed it out earlier but to use your metaphor the Magic Kingdom at WDW has LONG jumped off the cliff. It is so incredibly far off course that I think even casual visitors can sense it (in fact I KNOW they can because many have told me so). Disneyland is much closer to holding the line, though certainly has mistakes as well (IASW included among them).

StrangeVoices said...

So rides are now simply displays for merchandise. In this case we have a very large area with only one or two items on display. Of course there is money generated by park attendance and hotel stays, and food and such.

I wonder what the cost benefit of this would be - are they actually making more money off of their merchandise budget by only having one or two products in place, or would they simply be better off just turning everything into tone massive shelf-lined store?

Anonymous said...

The stock has slid to 17.9 from 35 a year ago. Enough said.

Spokker said...

To be fair, every stock is sliding these days.

Spokker said...

Mr. Banks, I hope you don't mind that I stole your bit.

Mr Banks said...

I'm flattered, of course!

Anonymous said...

I rode IASW today to see what all the fuss is about. People were taking pictures of Stitch and others with their flashes, etc. Whatever.

I think that happening upon the characters takes you out of the "moment" the ride is trying to immerse you in and distracted me mentally in that I left that world for another. I felt that. Especially the Disney music did this as it was competing, not complimenting the build the show was out to accomplish. The Dolls were well executed for the most part and the show sounded and looked great, so overall i enjoyed it.

THE BOATS! No one is talking about the rotary molded 100% plastic boats that essentially give you the tactile experience of being in a "little tikes" plastic playset. I'm wondering if the colors fade to chalk in the sun like so many plastic mushroom houses piled in backyards.

The America scene looked like they ran out of money. Life imitates art! How timely!

Katella Gate said...

Dear Previous Anonymous:

Thanks for the observations - especially about the new boats.

Sadly, it's a case of picking your fights. In the "Heirarchy of Errors" made at IASW, the tacky Tupperware boats go way down on the pecking order.

Not because they are the least offensive, but because you have to limit what you want to complain about in order to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

The Disney gods have been angered by all the celebrating.

I guess this year I'll be celebrating a lack of respect to my favorite artist and inspiration.

I don't understand why Disney has this unrelenting need to infiltrate its attractions with characters. Characters are fine on Peter Pan's Flight or Snow White's Scary Adventures. But the most well known and popular attractions in Disney history have probably been Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, and Pirates of the Caribbean, none of which housed a Disney character, until the latter, of course, got Jack. These attractions were great as their own immersive worlds. Why do they need to have Copyright Disney branded into them? Brands are for horses...

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the Small World figures are ALSO Disney Characters!!!

Disney's artists developed them specifically for this attraction (just as Disney artists developed their version of Peter Pan for that film, Alice for that film, Cinderella for that film, etc.). For them to decide that their characters can just be interchangeable just flies in the face of common sense.

If they wanted to make IASW more relevant, maybe they could have just MARKETED it!??!?? They market the hell out of everything else.

Anonymous said...

You all need to get over it already...Ive seen the new version of IASW and it is still beautiful and the Disney characters fit in perfectly. They do not detract from the show in any way, on the contrary, make it even more magical.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with being anonymous is that, while it is relatively easy to identify those who aren’t Disney shills, it makes it difficult to separate those who ARE.

I’ve seen so many that claim to be Disney fans, who love everything Disney does, and apologists who just seem to be out there to diffuse ANY challenges that come up, that it becomes obvious that at least SOME of them are Disney. But those who are over the top in praise for the changes pretty much admit it.

Anonymous said...

"while it is relatively easy to identify those who aren’t Disney shills, it makes it difficult to separate those who ARE."

That's the whole idea!!! DING!

Anonymous said...

"Spokker, you really need to get a life."

Don't even try and distract us from the real issues. Spokker being a loser has nothing to do with the fact that Dolls and Characters do not mix. He is not what is at stake here. You are "Swift Boating" this thread!

Tom Slick said...

I can't wait until the Hanna Montana ride that is to replace Big Thunder Mountain in 2012...Well, at least it will still be Country related, right? Oh wait, that is supposed to be the end of the World, huh? How fitting.....

Adam said...

"I predict these scenes will be riddled with spit wads and chewing gum in protest until removed."

Are you talking about the same American public that thinks Miley Cyrus is talented? Nothing will happen. That's the problem. The public is so dumbed down they don't have the eye to discern crap from shinola. It's the same reason we got George W for 2 terms.

As long as Disney lets its decision making process be public polling, this will never get better.

Anonymous said...

Re-Imagineering is alive and well in the sense that they are buying out the old guard with "take this or else" packages. What they are left with and what the future execution ability may be is a good thread to write, no?

Chris M. said...

Disneyland was not meant to be synonymous with Disney movies/television, and I don't think many people realize this.

For those that see nothing wrong with what has happened, would it be alright if we photoshopped old family photos with the new Pepsi logo and convinced your grandparents to wear skinny jeans?

Disney is dieing, and dragging my childhood memories into the grave with it.

teevtee said...

As much as I agree with his frustration and even anger at the "new" (ie: last 20 plus years) Disney attitude towards the parks I still could not help but to chuckle at his comments.

"Disneyland was not meant to be synonymous with Disney movies/television, and I don't think many people realize this."

Disneyland was in fact built joined at the hip with Disney movies and television shows of the day. The animated films made up Fantasyland... no different than using the Pixar films of today. Davey Crocket was the template used for Frontierland and they sold a whole hell of a lot of branded and overpriced coonskin caps out there. Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise in particular were ripped right from the True Life Adventure films and so on. What we tend to look back on today as quaint was in fact the birth of "synergy" and commercialism and many other words we use today to decry everything that is wrong with Disney.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

In fact Disneyland has ALWAYS been about exactly the same thing it is today... sell that corporate sponsorship to Monsanto... hell, we will put in a ride and a few exhibits touting industrial chemistry as some sort of edutainment offering... if that were done today we would all freak out.

Lets sell Fritos out of an oversized vending machine... any different from the McDonald's fry carts? Nope, exactly the same, yet the fries are evil and the Fritos are warm, nostalgic memories... why?

You can truly go piece by piece, ride by ride, step by step through the history (assuming one knows the true history) of Disneyland and find pretty much exact parallels to what we get today... NOTHING has changed.

Nothing that is except the loss of childhood memories we may hold dear and in most cases much poorer execution.

The REAL problem is not that they make the choices they tend to make but that the end results are condensed, cheapened versions of what they once did. Perhaps the blatantness of what Disney does now eclipses what was done in the past. Perhaps the world around Disney has caught up to them and now we live in a themed environment... making what Disney does less unique and thus leaving us craving for more... all of this is true. But to pretend that DIsneyland was not about tie ins to movies and TV shows and commercial products and sponsors and selling T-shirts from the very get go is ridiculous.

Disney CAN and SHOULD do much better, but you need to understand the problems before they can even be attempted to be fixed.

StrangeVoices said...

They were inspired by, not copies of. That's the big difference. Yes, they shared a common genre. They capitalized on that fad. They did not try to replicate the story line.

That's the big difference. Now they have a story line. They just try to replicate that specific story, those specific characters. Quick overlays and decorations sell the product, there is no feel to it. Adventureland may have been inspired by True Life Adventures, but it didn't seek to recreate those exact films, instead it created depth - an environment. You could sell related merchandise, but you could also branch out anew.

It's not the fact that there are tie-ins, its that all there is is tie-ins, and there is no meat to anything anymore.

Digital Jedi said...

Teevtee, no one has been suggesting that Disney not do tie-ins. It's where they do the tie-ins and the motivations behind them that are the problems.

Think about what you just said. Davy Crockett was a template for Frontierland, but were likenesses of Fess and Buddy anywhere to be seen? Jungle Cruise was based on true life adventure stories, not specifically about one. Even the Swiss Family Tree House put YOU in the circumstances of the movie, but it didn't specifically remind you who the actors were, thereby reminding your subconscious that you're not in the movie.

If you think about the Disney attractions that were based on specific Disney films, where specific characters were part of the attraction, the stories chosen were the timeless ones. The ones that would leave little to no revision, because you were dealing with character likenesses, not actors who's persona would inexorably be tied to a modern day era. Attractions weren't built to cross pollinate characters, promote a single generation's favorite actor or be attractive for a time. They were built with an eye towards how it could be as good as it could be. Indirectly or directly, they were built to be timeless.

We all remember the corporate sponsors on the pavilions in EPCOT Center, the giant GE logo at the end of Horizons or the Monsanto logo at the end of Adventure Thru Inner Space. We know what they were for and we know how necessary they were. THAT's not the problem, and no one ever said Disney shouldn't do that. The problem is when they do it badly, plain and simple. Don't just dismiss the critiques as blind childhood nostalgia, because I can name a few people who feel the same we do about these things who weren't children when the parks where built, who weren't former Imagineers or Cast Members. Who were just Disney lovers like I am. Some who never even visited Disney until they where adults.

Assume good faith. We both agree that Disney needs to do better. But there's a reason that nostalgia is there. The reason that the end results are cheap, is because the motivations are to sell shirts, porcelain, plush and pins. The businessmen who run Disney now are no different from any other. Spend less, so they can make more. Our argument, or want, is for Disney to go back to the philosophy that accumulating money and putting in a big pile somewhere (or in this case, a bunch of peoples' piles) shouldn't be the end goal. That the money should be going back into the company, making everything from the films, to the parks, to even the Disney channel to be the best that they can possibly be. They did it before when the establishment told them that it wasn't possible and that Walt would loose his shirt. Other then corporate greed, there's no reason that they can't do it again.

Anonymous said...

TeeVTee is right on.

If you read the original 1953 WED treatment of what Disneyland was intended to be, it had a live TV Studio described in practically every land intended to broadcast as part of the Disneyland television program. The Opera House being the central stage. Disneyland was not the "tie-in" so much as it was the SET!

teevtee said...

Jedi:

I get it, and I agree with your points without exception. It is just that I think people lose focus and tend to complain about everything Disney does... even if what they are doing are things they have ALWAYS done... things Walt himself did.

All I am saying is know what you are complaining about (this is a general statement, not directed at you) and what needs to be corrected before you complain. Obviously I don't want figures of Eddie Murphy in Mansion... and the thought of it truly is not that far fetched, not at all. But to be honest Disney in the 50's and 60's did all sorts of similar tie ins and promotions... perhaps we don't have Fess Parker figures simply because the technology did not exist at the time. Had Disney lived 20 years longer I am not so sure that we would not be looking at Hayley Mills animatronics and the like.

It brings me to my point that I think is the same as yours... that is that it is not so much the concept of what DIsney is doing that sucks but rather the execution.

Anonymous said...

BTW Way back when before AA figures, Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen were mannequins on display as part of the theme and story of Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer's Island. So the TV tie-ins have been going on since day one.

Anonymous said...

Although some of the commentators are only half right...Grand Opening Disneyland did create most of the rides based on the movies they did. But EVERY SINGLE ONE of the movie based rides, NONE of were WRITTEN by Disney. That is why Peter Pan/SnowWhite/Cinderella/Mr.Toad will all outlast the POTC makeover, the Nemo subs, Indiana Jones...etc, etc, and so long as no Disney characters replace any original characters within those attractions...

Lastly, Just as Fess Parker is no longer anywhere in the Park representing Davy Crockett... in 15 years or less, Depp will be gone, due to his automatic expiration date. Ask any kid today who Fess Parker is and see what happens.

I can assure you the same will happen to Depp in the near future. Then ask yourself, "what will be added to further butcher the once timeless attraction storyline?"

Maybe Pirate Robots from Space? Oh wait, they are half way there with the AA's stripped down... How about renaming it to "Pirates of Treasure Planet"? I should be a current Imagineer...I seem to, as of current, think just like them!

teevtee said...

Anonymous somebody or other (Come on guys, can't you just make up a name or something to make it easier to reply to?) made the point that Depp will be out of date and so on... and I think that is the whole point we are trying to make, NO ONE is arguing that this is a silly idea and a bad trend.

the point was that anyone who truly knows the history of Disneyland knows that it is full of silly movie and TV tie ins, absolutely from day one. And while I think one may argue that Star Wars for example or Nemo will live every bit as long as say Peter Pan (and certainly longer than something liek Mr. Toad) in the minds of the public there is no doubt that a Depp figure will lose relevance in a matter of time. No arguments. We are simply making a point that much of what people are complaining about has ALWAYS gone on.

Who really cares if Snow White (for example) was not written by Disney? In fact of the examples cited NONE were in fact written Disney but that is a technicality. A good story and a classic tale will live on. This is not about where the source material comes from, it is about EXECUTING a great attraction properly... period.

Indy is a great attraction... even if no one remembers who Harrison Ford is in 20 years it will STILL be a great attraction because it is executed very well. Very few people who today ride SPlash Mountain have ever seen Song of the South... that really does not matter because the ride is executed very well.

People are focusing on the wrong things.

Anonymous said...

"But EVERY SINGLE ONE of the movie based rides, NONE of were WRITTEN by Disney. That is why Peter Pan/SnowWhite/Cinderella/Mr.Toad will all outlast the POTC makeover, the Nemo subs, Indiana Jones...etc, etc, and so long as no Disney characters replace any original characters within those attractions..."

Origin has little to do with it. NOTHING is immune to bad taste and bankrupt remakes, Tinker Bell now talks and has her own "hollow". Graphic novels are being commissioned to reinvent many of your favorite Disney live action properties, like 20k. Jules Verne was obviously not good enough at his job.

Even Storybookland had it's own "housing boom" of new franchises where Toad Hall was demo'ed for the McMansion of Agabah.

I think Depp will be there for quite a while, as through the globally successful trilogy has indelibly become the sole identity of the franchise. the ride has been thrown under the bus. Bogart is forever Casablanca and so now Depp is Pirates. Parker faded in a time when DVD did not exist and there was no way to keep him revived.

Imagineers first creative priority right now is to look busy and hang on to their job.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the Small World figures are ALSO Disney Characters!!!

If they wanted to make IASW more relevant, maybe they could have just MARKETED it!??!?? They market the hell out of everything else.


THANK YOU! IASW has always been my favorite attraction and I have always wanted to take home my own It's A Small World doll. Disney store had limited plush once for a very brief time about 10 years ago and there is limited merchandise with the IASW "characters." Why couldn't they have turned the store outside the attraction into an IASW store rather than more of the generic theme park merchandise that's sold at DLR AND WDW (and might I add, mostly designed and developed at WDW)?

The problem stems from the very nature of the Disney company's lack of communication skills. Ever notice the yeti merchandise at Everest is not the right color? The marketing and merchandise people have no idea what's in the parks, nor do they care. They see that Tink is popular, so that's the only thing they sell, leaving one to wonder: Does Tink sell the most because she's popular or is she popular because Disney sells the most of her? What would happen if Disney pushed something else? People buy what you sell them.

I only take solace in the fact that Miley Cyrus is not in this attraction... yet. Though I wouldn't be surprised if she was the next narrator for Spaceship Earth...

Anonymous said...

Excuse me?!

The rain falling on that day was only a coincidence and NOT a sign from God!!!

You Re-Imagineering bloggers make me so sick to my stomach! You all need to get lives and quit saying bad things about Disney!

Anonymous said...

"You Re-Imagineering bloggers make me so sick to my stomach!"

Dude, chill out. Medicate if neccessary.