Saturday, May 02, 2009

Adieu, Mickey Bounce House?


“This was the view walking down Hollywood Boulevard on opening day. You can’t get this view anymore. I hope we will get this view again soon.”

Bob Weis
Executive Vice President - Imagineering
May 1, 2009

105 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope so too, Bob. *sigh*

Jess said...

I would be SO AMAZINGLY HAPPY if they got rid of the hat. I'm more of a west-coaster, so I haven't had a chance to go to WDW since 1994. And I'm not going to go back until they get rid of that monstrosity, no matter how much I'd love to see that park again. (I'm a total sucker for idealized Hollywood; I can't tell you how excited I am for the DCA rework.)

Tangaroa said...

Oh, I hope...

theatreman said...

Going from DC to DW next week. Will imagine the wizard's hat has magically disappeared!

Jeff said...

What hat? What does it look like now? The last time I went it still looked like that. Anyway, I'd love more information. Perhaps a link?

Jess said...

It looks like this now:

http://travel.webshots.com/photo/1054108258041446002LeVDRA

With a gigantic Mickey hat completely randomly blocking the sightline down the street.

I have no idea who was smoking crack when they made that decision but it must have been some expensive stuff.

Ewan said...

Wow, morphic resonance, I was thinking the exact same thing this morning whilst watching a time elapsed video of the construction.

Anonymous said...

My kids call Disney Studios "The hat"...

Cameron said...

The quote from Bob was from his presentation given at the 20th Anniversary celebration of WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios. You can read a short report about the Imagineers Talk given @ http://www.attractionsmagazine.com/blog/

To the contributors of the blog, it's great, some wonderful points. How's progress? I read the older posts from last year & '07 and would like to hear an update about how things are going at Imagineering. Better or the same? Inquiring minds! Thank you.

Anonymous said...

It would be cool if it could somehow magically appear only at night during a fireworks show or something, because it's kind of a cool structure on it's own. Perhaps a smaller version in the Animation Courtyard, or maybe they could build an Imagineering pavilion in DHS and use it for that.....Just get it out of the way of the Theater!!!!

Chruisan said...

FWIW, they got rid of the wand over Spaceship Earth...

Anonymous said...

At least spell his name right.. it's Weis.

Anonymous said...

I think they should blow it up like the do in Vegas to old Casinos.

Adam said...

I always thought they should put it in the big empty area outside the park gates.

But wouldn't it look good on top of spaceship earth?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it kind of sucks that Disney couldn't really prevent the legal pressure the original Chinese Theater owners pushed upon them. I'm not sure if they can entirely re-imagineer the hat statue. The settlement basically prevents them from using the theater for promotions. It also prevents them from adding any new handprints in cement. Kind of sad. I'm interested if any of you armchair imagineers have some ideas to replace the hat with.

Jess said...

Yeah, it kind of sucks that Disney couldn't really prevent the legal pressure the original Chinese Theater owners pushed upon them.Huh, I'd never heard about that. That's awful. :\ Surely Disney could figure out a way to promote the park with just the logo? I seem to remember most of the merch having just that on it when I went back in '94.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope this is true. If there IS "legal pressure" from Mann's theaters and any other owners of the Chinese, it would have been much cheaper to defend than the millions it cost to construct the hat, no? But that hat is completely out of place and has been from the beginning. It has its supporters, but I honestly have never seen anyone jumping up and down saying "save the hat and pin store"!

This was a really, really bad move. Hopefully Disney will finally come to its senses!

(Can anyone actually confirm this "urban legend" of legal pressure from the owners of the theaters? It just seems so ... unlikely. More that Disney just wanted to sell some more Disney crap.)

Anonymous said...

How about one of those water boulders like they have in tomorrowland, but gigantic, like Indiana Jones sized?
And it would look like it's about to roll down the street at you.

Cameron said...

My problem with the hat isn’t that it exists, although where it’s at is ridiculous, but that Disney has been using it as an emblem for the park (like Cinderella’s Castle, Spaceship Earth and Tree of Life - Four Parks One World), I prefer the original Earful (water) Tower for the studios. It’s the parks first weenie, even though you can’t see it from the front of the park. Funny thing is they (marketing/advertisement) aren’t consistent, most of the time it’s the hat, but I still see the tower in some ads. Hhhmmm? It should be moved somewhere else in the park, you can keep the pin trading and store underneath and still use it as a location for character meet and greets. Would it physically fit in Animation Courtyard? Tear down the archway and place it over there for the entrance to Anim Crtyd and PIXAR Place. How about down in the corner between the Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or is that a backstage castmember enter/exit? Or move it to the backlot area after the tram is removed (rumored to be in the future) and it is all remodeled since no real film or TV production is being done there anymore. It could be used as the entrance to the Fantasmic! show out front or along the landscaped walkway into the Hollywood Bowl, very fitting place for it there.

If the hat was originally placed to deal with the outcome of legal proceedings and the use of the image of Grauman’s, I’d sure like to know the reasonings behind that decision. I can remember some dust up about the same time that MGM was having problems in the ‘90s complaining about the rope a dope they received when they first signed, but if it’s that big of a deal, why not replace it. Find another Hollywood iconic building and get a new agreement. Replace it with the same fa├žade as the Carthay Circle Theater (if I’m correct) that they are remodeling in DisneyLand’s California Adventure, it’s the same art deco style right, envisioning ‘the Hollywood that Walt found when he first arrived in Los Angeles’ and the romanticized version that is DHS. Or has that already been used somewhere else at DHS? You could do some kind of ‘Americana’ kitsch landmark in the same style like the dog-shaped diner/restaurant that used to be on the Backlot Tour from “The Rocketeer”. What did the Hollywood City Hall building look like back in the day? If there wasn’t one - even better, we can imagine what it may have looked like back then and build it. They could just remove everything and make it a generic soundstage, although that’s not very pleasing to the eye from the front of the park. If the Backlot Tour is remodeled into anything else in the future (Radiator Springs in Carburetor County ~ cough) maybe something larger could be placed back there (Radiator Cap Rock in Monument Valley ~ cough cough) that you can see from the park entrance and draw you towards it. The cement hand & foot prints and signatures could be moved to somewhere else in the park too; maybe the entrance or spread along the sidewalks on Hollywood Blvd and Sunset, around Echo Lake or on the Streets of America (which could be redesigned into Monstropolis ~ aachoo. Sorry touch of the H1N1 Virus that’s been going around.)

Grateful thanks.

Armchair imagineers unite! If you have any other ideas or aspirations you could submit them to:
http://www.amateurimagineer.com/

Anonymous said...

Too bad, but I really like the Hat. No one except old movie fans over 50 even recognize that Chinese kitsch building anyway. The Hat represents "Disney Magic" and is something I can't see anywhere else. I can still go to the real Chinese Theater and see bigger name footprints of "A list" icons. I think it's creatively bankrupt to base a whole park around a hollow replica of something few people have any connection to. I'll bet more kids want to have their picture taken in front of the Mickey Hat than the Chinese Theater. If Walt was alive, I doubt he'd have copied someone else's Movie Theater and done something unique based on his own creations.

Jess said...

No one except old movie fans over 50 even recognize that Chinese kitsch building anyway.Uh, I'm 25 and I recognize it.

If kids want to take a picture in front of the hat, of all things, at that park, then I really have to wonder why they bother to go there at all. There are other Disney parks for that sort of thing.

I would have hated that hat as a kid, personally. It's cheap looking (in photos), cheesy and completely destroys the theme of the area. But if everyone loves it so much, I don't see why it can't just be moved somewhere else.

I agree with whoever said they should use the mouse-ear water tower as the park's icon. It's entirely their design.

If they had to rebuild the entire theatre, which I think would be a bad idea (financially and it would just be sad to get rid of it), I'd suggest putting in a sort of replica of the old Disney studios on Hyperion Ave:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3005/2681559484_e20d0ac5bc.jpg

drew said...

Cameron,
The Carthay Circle Theater is already present on Sunset Boulevard.

---

Any issues with the owners of the Chinese Theatre do not date back to the Hat's construction, as it changed hands just a couple of years ago (Los Angeles Times on 3 September 2007). The issue seems to stem more from DIsney not wanting to promote the Hollywood theater of other studios (at the time the Chinese Theatre was owned by Warner Brothers and Paramount via Mann's Theatres) when the company itself owns the El Capitan.

---

Also, moving the hat to another location within the park simply will not work. The thing is 122' tall. Placing it in the Animation Courtyard just makes it even more overpowering. The entrance would still throw off Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards' aesthetics. The entrance to the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater would distract from the Hollywood Tower Hotel and would visually intrude upon the Morocco Pavilion.

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said...>>> I can still go to the real Chinese Theater and see bigger name footprints of "A list" icons.<<<

You can run all the way from Orlando to California in the same day? You must be fast!

>>>I think it's creatively bankrupt to base a whole park around a hollow replica of something few people have any connection to.<<<

Yeah, like the nimrod who based on a entire park on turn-of-the-century America, or on old fairy tales from hundreds of years ago, or on outdated times like the early settling of the midwest. What was THAT GUY thinking?

>>>I'll bet more kids want to have their picture taken in front of the Mickey Hat than the Chinese Theater. If Walt was alive, I doubt he'd have copied someone else's Movie Theater and done something unique based on his own creations.<<<

Yeah, just one thing you might want to do there. When theorizing what Walt would have probably done, it's a good idea to have an actual idea of some of the things Walt actually said and did. Like basing an entire pantheon of cartoons features on old fairy tales written by someone else.

Other then that, you can bet all you want what you think more kids will want to do. Because that's another thing Walt didn't do. Pander to the kiddies. He said he talked to people in a "general way", and that you were "dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway." And you know what? It worked. Walt didn't give any demographic what they wanted. He gave everyone what they never new they wanted. It's the only way to show people things they've never dreamed of before.

>>>Too bad, but I really like the Hat. No one except old movie fans over 50 even recognize that Chinese kitsch building anyway. The Hat represents "Disney Magic" and is something I can't see anywhere else.<<<

So from the outset, you sound like a Disney exec. You just presume the lot of customers are stupid, ignorant and only aware of our own myopic little world, then market accordingly. Great business sense you got there.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, like the nimrod who based on a entire park on turn-of-the-century America, or on old fairy tales from hundreds of years ago, or on outdated times like the early settling of the midwest. What was THAT GUY thinking?"

He was being VERY relevant for 1955. TOC Main Street was only 50 years earlier in 1955 (like the 60s or 70's to us) and was very nostalgic to the audience and was being revived in the early 50's. Frontierland was driven by Davy Crockett, a huge TV Star and all things Western were hot and extremely relevant. Fantasyland was driven by hit Animated movies not irrelevant books.

The point is Walt didn't literally copy things he reinvented stories and things his own uniqueway.

Capt. Tomorrow said...

If there really is a legal problem with the current owner(s) of the Chinese theatre, just turn it into the El Capitan and be done with it. Since Disney just renewed the lease with the the real El Capitan, I doubt there would be a problem using it's likeness at DHS.

Cameron said...

Drew,
Thanks very much. I thought the Carthay may have already been there. It's a corner entrance into a store isn't it. I would have never thought about the site lines from EPCOT, I'll have to check my ole cast atlas. Are you cheating with a big model of the whole place? I agree with Capt., you've presented a great solution, the El Capitan. If management isn't sure about doing it maybe they should just keep it more generic as something else. Name it something like the Disney Theater.
As for the hat, maybe it can be moved to the Disney Animation Family Suites if that project goes.
Thanks again for the constructive conversation!
Mahalo!

Anonymous said...

I do know that the 'official' name for the building housing The Great Movie Ride is simply 'The Chinese Theatre' as opposed to 'Grauman's Chinese Theatre' as the name 'Grauman' was never licensed.

Also, I had heard that the VP of the Studios had fought long and hard for the Studios to be the center of the 100th Year Celebration after seeing how things went financially at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot following the 25th Anniversary and Millenium Celebration respectively.

The damn thing just needs to be demolished.

Anonymous said...

And to the other comments about using the Theatre in promotions...

The theatre was never the 'official' icon of the park. It was the Earful(sp?) Tower.

Anonymous said...

The other parks have mountains, how about building the Hollywood Hills, complete with the Hollywood sign?

http://g.imagehost.org/0261/hollywood-blvd-disney-studi.jpg

Anonymous said...

>>>I think it's creatively bankrupt to base a whole park around a hollow replica of something few people have any connection to.<<<

What about Sleeping Beauty's Castle? A poor man's replica of Neuschwanstein, a Bavarian Castle that in itself was a romantic copy of other real castles. And you can still see that Castle today.

(Now that I think about that, I'm not sure that copying that design was a good long term decision but it's a good argument.)

Jess said...

If they absolutely have to get rid of "The Chinese Theatre," I like the idea of putting in the Hollywood hills instead. It's iconic and it makes sense to have it at the end of the street.

Anonymous said...

Put the Hat outside the park's entrance. They'll still have the icon, the photo ops and the opportunity to sell stuff.
End of discussion.

Digital Jedi said...

Anonymous said:>>>He was being VERY relevant for 1955. TOC Main Street was only 50 years earlier in 1955 (like the 60s or 70's to us) and was very nostalgic to the audience and was being revived in the early 50's. Frontierland was driven by Davy Crockett, a huge TV Star and all things Western were hot and extremely relevant. Fantasyland was driven by hit Animated movies not irrelevant books.

The point is Walt didn't literally copy things he reinvented stories and things his own uniqueway.
<<<


And who made frontier era American and Davy Crockett relevant? Who took "irrelevant" books and made them into hit movies? Yes, he recreated a lot of things in his own image. But he was still recreating a bygone era. The Hollywood bygone era has specific hallmarks and landmarks in relation to its theme, and you can argue whether that can be uniquely recreated or not. Either way, it doesn't matter. The hat is still like Ne-Yo's, it may look good to some, but that doesn't mean it fits.

It was, either yours or another anonymous comment (which is what I was originally responding too) that stated only old movie fans over 50 cared about the nostalgic Golden Age street based on a bygone era. But your argument is that turn-of-the-century Main Street was based on a time period only 50 years earlier when created? So those over 50 year olds mattered, and todays dont? (I'll have you know, I'm under 40, thank you very much.) As the kids like to say, FTW!?

You arguing that they shouldn't have made a Golden Age Hollywood Blvd is irrelevant anyway. You're arguing what Walt would have specifically done, and not what Walt would have done in principle. That's the argument people keep trying to accuse us of, and they would have a point, if we were doing what your trying to do: Saying what Walt wouldn't have specifically done. Most of us probably wouldn't argue that EPCOT Center was not something Walt specifically wanted, but in spirit it was built using his same principles. And in principle, the hat 'taint got nuttin' to do with Golden Age Hollywood. And presuming that only old timers care about such things, while at the same time (presuming your the same anonymous) showing Walt did the exact same thing as a counterpoint (?), is not only presumptuous, but has to make me wonder as to your motives. I mean, come on. Who criticizes the skin, because the splinter is pretty?

Anonymous said...

“Too bad, but I really like the Hat. No one except old movie fans over 50 even recognize that Chinese kitsch building anyway. The Hat represents "Disney Magic" and is something I can't see anywhere else. I can still go to the real Chinese Theater and see bigger name footprints of "A list" icons. I think it's creatively bankrupt to base a whole park around a hollow replica of something few people have any connection to. I'll bet more kids want to have their picture taken in front of the Mickey Hat than the Chinese Theater. If Walt was alive, I doubt he'd have copied someone else's Movie Theater and done something unique based on his own creations.”As far as corporate icons go, the Sorcerer Mickey and his Hat have always been the representative of Walt Disney Imagineering. The studio was always represented by Mickey with a movie clap board. For the studio to usurp the Imagineering logo is pretty underhanded and gives the impression that they have an inferiority complex.

Secretariat said...

So has anyone heard any information about if/when this might really happen? It's great to see someone on the inside making such a statement.

teevtee said...

Man I am sick of hearing uninformed arguments that the hat is there because Disney somehow could not use the Chinese theater.

1) There has never been ANY credible evidence on ANY level that this is true... please show me some.

2) It is flat contrary to U.S. law... there are many, many examples of buildings likenesses being used by others as they are considered public domain if they appear in public property. For example the Empire State Building also seen at DHS can be used without any payment whatsoever to the owners of the real building. Same goes with the Chinese theater.

3) Do you really think Disney legal was asleep at the wheel in the late 80's? If there was ANY POSSIBLE CHANCE of that building EVER not being allowed to be used they would of had warnings going off left and right and it never would have been built.

PLEASE lets put that crap behind us, it has nothing to do with why they built that hat and is just pure uninformed speculation mixed with DIsney apologist thinking (if Disney did it it MUST be good or it MUST have been done for e good reason... WRONG!).

The true reason it was done is simple... it was built during a time when marketing ruled the parks and they felt some demented need to create easily marketed icons of each park. Remember the damn castle cake for the MK anniversary? That was a huge hit (record attendance with virtually nothing spent on the park, no new rides, nothing just marketing), that success opened the flood gates. Next came the Wand in Epcot... a HORRIBLE idea and yet attendance swelled. It likely had little or nothing to do with the wand and yet it gave them firepower to expand this way of thinking.

The studios never had a truly clear icon, sometimes it was the theater which was small-ish and complex to portray and other times it was the water tower which was not easily seen and sort of cheap. The answer? Build a damned cartoon hat dead in the center of the only truly themed area of the park.

It is to this day among the worst ideas ever actually built at WDW and something CLEARLY NOT driven by WDI. It is garbage, garbage that the imagineers hate, garbage that most visitors hate and worst of all it houses a freaking pin store! So they destory the view and don't even add an attraction of any type whatsoever.

I truly believe that it will come down one day and cannot wait for it to happen.

teevtee said...

That's funny! I just read my post and I see I made a typo... I meant to say "destroy the view" but I accidently wrote "destory the view", as in de-story which is not a word but could mean un-theme the view which is actually exactly what they did.

I flat hat the hat and everything it stands for (marketing being held much higher in importance than creativity and the idea that promotions sell tickets more than attractions do ie: speaking down to the customer.) However if you really must have the hat I agree that it could go outside the front gates or somewhere else. But the truth is the park does not need the hat anymore than Epcot needed the wand or the MK needed the castle to look like a cake. DUMP IT!

Anonymous said...

I think it's odd that everyone here just assumes that the Imagineers did not suggest the hat in the first place. WDI aims to please and fulfills requests from marketing and other sources to create in park campaigns. After all, the ultra hideous EPCOT wand was pure WDI imagination. It would not be surprising at all to find the original sketches in the WDI Art library.

Anonymous said...

The first time I went to Disney I 'planned' to hate it. I fell in love with Disney World. And part of that included the 'dreaded' wand and the hat.

The world turns and things change. Is it really all that bad?

teevtee said...

1) Neither the wand nor the hat were originated by WDI, that is simple fact. Did WDI follow the directive they were given in creating these? Of course. People seem to forget that WDI is more or less a design company "hired" to create attractions and support facilities based on the criteria and budgets they are given. They do NOT control what is in the parks. In most cases they create what is in them but they do not always agree with what they are asked to do. WDI for example has nothing to do with the Christmas makeover of Mansion... love it or hate it it is not WDI. Many REALLY bad things in fact do come from WDI, but many of the times those things are simply following directives given to them by those in charge.

2) It is understandable that some people first saw the Studios with the hat, to them it is normal and they may even really like it... but YES it is THAT bad.

It is just so out of place and out of scale that it truly harms the intricate work the designers killed themselves to create in the area. But by blocking the theater they just created a crazy, CRAZY downgrade to what was a wonderful scene.

There may not be anything wrong with the hat in and of itself. It it was designed from the get go with the hat it may have worked... but it was not and the hat really hurts the atmosphere in a huge way.

Oh, and BTW, if my some crazy bizarre way Disney was not allowed to use the theater facade simply blocking most of it from one particular view would in no way absolve them of wrong doing. You clearly can see the facade from many other areas of the park. Just another reason why that entire idea if just total misinformed nonsense that has nothing to do with reality.

Jess said...

It's really ugly where it is. It doesn't fit the theme at all, and these are "theme" parks we're talking about. :\

Anonymous said...

Neither the wand nor the hat were originated by WDI, that is simple fact.

Then simply prove it.

Tangaroa said...

"Is it really all that bad?"

Yes. Yes it is. Really.

teevtee said...

I cannot prove a negative but I can tell you a fact.

If by "originate" you mean that the concept of creating a new icon to replace that of the theater (ie: the hat) came from WDI then you are simply incorrect.

Bottom line though is that it is really pointless to even discuss that because regardless of who thought up the idea it is in fact a bad one.

The genesis of the hat does not lay with WDI but even if it did it would in no way make it any better or less offensive.

It is a truly horrible concept done for all the wrong reasons.

Secretariat said...

Count me in on the "yes, it really is that bad" crowd. One of my favorite parts of a Disney visit is being able to lose myself in a completely different world and forget that I'm in the "here and now." The hat makes it nearly impossible to lose yourself in "the Hollywood that never was" that so much care was put into creating.

Mr Banks said...

A giant donald duck hat hovering over the mayor dunking scene in pirates of the caribbean?

Is that so wrong?

Anonymous said...

Can you imagine what would happen if they did something like that to the Washington Mall? Putting a giant Abe Lincoln "Stovepipe" Hat (in black fiberglas) wrapping the Washington Monument blocking the view of the Capitol Building? Oh the humanity!

But deep inside...I'm actually kinda loving the idea.. Kind of a "Jeff Koons meets Cristo in black" sorta thing. Maybe there is a Lincoln exhibit inside and you and have an observation deck on the top of the hat during the Obama rein. Emotionally captures the budget deficit as well. (Beats making the Washington monument into a wand!) Missed my calling I guess.

Anonymous said...

Read this interview that has some "Re Imagineering" in it from Eddie Sotto, who used to work at WDI years ago. Not that I agree with what he's saying, but it's interesting how he sees EPCOT and Tomorrowland. Reminded me of the discussions here to a degree.

www.imagineeringdisney.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

So why not start a compain, whereby all of us that hate the hat make it a point to stop by Guest Relations everytime we walk into the park - I mean pass through the turnstile and make a 90 degree left - and lodge a complaint. If nothing else, it'll drive Guest Relations nuts.

David H

P.S. I made a comment a long time ago that from a bird's eye view it looks like the Mickey Mouse face grew a long pointy Pinocchio nose.

Anonymous said...

someone posted a new video on youtube calling for the hat's demise...it has some nice old pictures of Hollywood blvd

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=84272742569&h=ypDd6&u=crft_&ref=mf

Anonymous said...

If there was truly any legal problems about likeness rites than why in just the last three years or so has Disney used it for a episode of extreme home makeover. It is amazing how wrong people are sometimes.

teevtee said...

If nothing else a comment like this made publicly from someone high up within WDI means that SOME powers that be want it gone. It MAY mean that a decision has already been made to remove it.

Sort of reminds me of when they started to let slip that a Littler Mermaid attraction was coming. A good year or more before any official announcement executives were letting slip comments along the lines of "Yea, the Little Mermaid sure would make for an interesting attraction after all these years wouldn't it?"

So this is good news that may turn into great news. And yes, the hat is there for reasons COMPLETELY unrelated to any urban legends of legal actions... that is based in nothing but fan boy fantasies.

Anonymous said...

Why not move the hat to one of those Disney Motels (Pop Century) that shill themselves with the giant toy and sports props outside? Make it the Honeymoon Suite where you can stay overnight in the Sorcerer's Hat?

mr wiggins said...

A giant, in-your-face Mickey's Sorcerer Hat is the ideal icon for WDI's current "Architecture of Reasspewance" -- a corporate trademark that says the Bad Wizards won.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Bad Wizard to you...

Geoffrey said...

While I agree with you Mr.Wiggins leaving that hat to exist just is a giant representation that the Bad Wizards won the day...I also tend to agree with Anonymous' statement that they should put it in the Pop Century resort area, rather than just leave it in storage...it would easily fit that resort area, as it already weighed down but Disney imagery throughout, so it'd fit right in...and also it'd make it more expensive so if they ever tried to move it back they'd have to think long and hard about it...

Bord said...

Yeah yeah, the hat is terrible, yada yada yada. Howsabout a new post on this blog?

Bouncers Inflatable Bounce House said...

I like the idea of moving the hat to one of the hotels. It is not that it is so bad, just that it looks out of place.

Bouncers Bounce House said...

I like the idea of moving the hat to one of the hotels. The hat is not that bad, just looks out of place where it is.

Anonymous said...

how about the "Hat and Wand" Sorcerer's Hotel! Where there is no maid service and every guest is an apprentice and gets to mop their own bathroom.

teevtee said...

In the current issue of the D-23 magazine there is an article about the work going on at DCA. In it they state that the new theater building going in there is meant to be the parks icon just like the castles, Spaceship Earth, the Tree of Life and yes, the Chinese Theater.

WDI CLEARLY considers the theater to be the icon of the Studios park, which it clearly is and always was meant to be. Tear the freaking hat down already.

Anonymous said...

As Ronald Reagan would say..."Mr. Iger, Tear down this hat!"

Spokker said...

I wish the economy would pick up again. I want to see the rumors, backdoor drama and, most importantly, unrestrained Disney criticism flow again. There's no rabble-rousing when everybody is afraid to lose their jobs!

Mr Banks said...

Ha! Welcome to the main reason this blog has been so quiet of late!

Tangaroa said...

Haha - Well, my question is whether it's because there's really nothing going on, or are there plans afoot for things and everyone's too spooked to talk about them?

Spokker said...

Or maybe everything wrong at Disneyland has been fixed...

Bwahahaha.

The new fireworks show is called "Recession! A GDP Contraction in the Sky!"

Southern California is plastered with ads featuring the dragon from Fantasmic! and now there's no dragon.

The Electrical Parade. Why won't they let this thing die and rest in peace? They make one new float for the thing and it's like it makes up for years without new E-Tickets. Bring over Dreamlights from TDL already!

Everything old is new again at Disneyland.

mr wiggins said...

There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
Our entertainment used to be the best
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
That’s why we like a short-memoried guest!
Who needs bands
When we can pay
A gen-u-ine real live DJ
The profit margins always grow
With our magical ever-shrinking show
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
When we step o’er a buck to save a dime
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
For our bottom line!

Jess said...

Hah, that's clever, mr wiggins. :D

Dr Bitz said...

50 years for the Matterhorn and all that 1959 expansion this week. Wow. Just watch the posted documentaries and you can appreciate how the company took an area and really kicked the whole park up a notch. What I got out of it was that the park for the first time had seriously embraced new technology.

The tubular tracks, and intense theming for the Matterhorn, a very much "envelope pushing" coaster. The Monorail, being the first in America, gave Tomorrowland some much needed credibility. the Subs, symbolizing a new technology in the Sea (nuclear) was a wow in it's day as well. A world on the move for sure. Not until 1966-67 would we see something that dramatic.

Oh, one more thing. None of it named for or promoting a movie franchise, the biggest shock of all.

mr wiggins said...

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Pixar rides are raking in the green
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
With ROI's that Walt could never dream!
Our big new attractions are solid gold
They're all based on toons that have been presold
Imagineering is simply grand
Packed with ideas that are second hand
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Focus groups say we are doing fine
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
For our bottom line!

Spokker said...

The biggest shock of all was that the 1959 expansion wasn't done because the park was failing to attract guests or had a poor public image. Disneyland probably didn't need it, but it was done anyway.

mr wiggins said...

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Pixar rides are raking in the green
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
With ROI's that Walt could never dream!
Our brand new attractions are solid gold
They're based on toons that have been presold
Our theme park creations are simply grand
Packed with ideas that are second hand
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
Focus groups say we are doing fine
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow
For our bottom line!

Dr Bitz said...

Good point Spokker. It probably was the opposite, They needed to absorb demand with more to do. I guess with tickets this meant turnstile revenue so they were also motivated to add rides as that also meant revenue. Interesting to remember that. Today it's not measured that way at all.

Look at 1957-8 just before or while this addition was in production. Look how fast changes in attractions came about. The Viewliner was not working out so it enters and leaves in a year, they just toss it for the Monorail! The Midget Autopia is a temporary solution as well. Today these changes would take years or not at all. Look at the closures in Tomorrowland and how long it takes to fill those gaps. There must have been a push for capacity.

Spokker said...

The difference? The Viewliner was scrapped to make room for something new. During the Pressler/Harris era, rides were scrapped to save money, their rotting corpses on display for everyone to see.

mr wiggins said...

"Look at 1957-8 just before or while this addition was in production. Look how fast changes in attractions came about."

Even more, look at what was on the boards for the future. Look at the experience of the team that was laying the plans for the next five years, ten years, fifteen years. Look at their working philosophy, their depth of vision, their corporate soul.

What was built during Disneyland's first fifteen years was just the externalization of a much richer vision. It was the result of what survived the tyranny of time and money.

The difference with today's Disney is not one of creative talent, but of corporate vision and soul.

And that's something which, over and over again, today's Disney proves it cannot buy for all the money in the world.

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a novel concept a 5yr, 10yr and 15yr plan for the parks covering maintenance, refurbishment, technology updates/upgrades and new attractions? Somebody go out and hire some MBA's!
---
Separate from that, I was thinking just the other day that given that a one-day ticket to a Walt Disney World park is $75, that the company would do well to reconsider shifting from its current pricing structure to one that hearkens back to the days of the coupon book where there's a nominal flat fee to enter the park and then you pay as you go. Its not as is if Omniticket couldn't support something like that.
---
For that matter, whilst I'm on my soapbox, I asked one of my old supervisors whose now in Park Administration or some Team Disney department about why WDW has never done a holiday overlay of Haunted Mansion. He responded that the DL overlays were done to draw the CA locals into the parks. Since WDW attendance is almost entirely composed of out of state visitors, the though was that WDW could get more bang for the buck by using the money elsewhere.

PEOPLE! Wake Up! WTF? Ever happened to doing something cool for the sake of doing something cool?! Yes, an overlay won't impact attendance. But doing one will get enormous amounts of people talking about it. If its all about ROI, then why the hell do you have carpet in the hotels when commercial tile is much cheaper to install, has a longer life and is easier to maintain?

Geoffrey said...

I believe that your right. Disney more and more lacks corporate soul, unfortunately it's not just them lot of corporations in the US
Have gotten that mentality lately I've been noticing it more and more at mine as well
The corporate culture seems to exist on the surface and at the lower ranks it still does to a large majority of the lower ranks, however in the upper ranks
the cure seems to degrade to such a degree to where your company culture is just a shell.

This economy has just made all of this worse. I can only hope that all of these cultures soon see a renaissance though I'm not sure how soon that will come and how that will happen before the culture is lost for good.

Anonymous said...

I read one article that lambasted Eisner for branding Disney as a 'growth' company and thus demanding 20% growth on an annual basis - never the mind that some of that growth came by cutbacks. The article went to discuss that Eisner would have been better off choosing to market the company as a 'stable' company in the sense that it is a guaranteed, consistent return.

Spokker said...

Didn't Paris turn Eisner into a sissy though?

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with this picture?

http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/gallery_studio_tour.html

Herc said...

I love all the comments and have to agree that the hat has got to go. Imagineering as TeeVee stated had a role in creating this icon, not because they wanted to, but were contracted to do so. I believe that Eisner and his Marketing gurus came up with this plan to easily market all four parks (remember: four parks one world campaign). With the Earful Tower not seen by everyone coming into the park, the non-icon icon of the Chinese Theatre was there. To me, it was always the shared symbols of both the Earful Tower and the Chinese Theatre that I loved the most.
I think the Hat and subsequent pin store should be moved to outside the front entrance. It can still be a beacon to draw guests to the park.
When imagineers were creating this park, they went out of their way to create a "hidden mickey only visible from the sky". Why go and ruin this?
The attention to detail on Hollywood Blvd is so great, why ruin it with overly large, gaudy pin shop that actually does more harm than good by blocking a very detailed Chinese Theatre.
It's time to re-christen this park, not only in a new name, but also in the detailed layers that Disney is known for.
It's time to stop thinking about the bottom line and start creating unique experiences again, not just cookie cutter projects that every Disney park will get. Disney World is a huge money maker for the Company. With so much talk of AP Holders in California, one has to equate this with DVC members in Florida. Planning two, three, four trips a year to this magical place, it is starting to get a little stale.
Let's start with righting the wrong by removing or relocating that gi-normous view-blocking hat that a certain apprentice made famous.

ChineseWatch said...

OK OK, we hate the hat. I think it's unanimous.

How about a new article? This post is 2 months old.

Let's turn our attention to the mess being planned for HKDL's expansion.

teevtee said...

Well that really is screwed to all hell.

I mean they took the groundwork laid at HKDL, which is actually quite striking... and just screwed the pooch with it.

I understand that the HK government more or less forced cheap and "unique" concepts but this is just truly awful and sad considering the alternate plans and options they had.

I think they took the one chance they had to flesh out a great park and just flushed it down the toilet.

Lets hope that a Disney controlled Shanghai park FINALLY gets a proper design... PLEASE!

Geoffrey said...

I'm interested to hear what Yall's take is on the recent accident or on HKDL's expansion is...

I know the accident is a touchy subject but as someone involved in the technical field, or at least the repairs of machine systems, I'm interested to hear what former/current Imagineers have to say about the subject matter.

The mess that is going on in HKDL is terrible and should be discussed as well, as it shows just how out of touch Disney management seems to be becoming with their fanbases.

Anonymous said...

Based on the size of it, I think that WDI planned on themeing the entire park to 'Its a Small World Afterall'. Its my understanding that its the smallest of DL's even smaller than Anaheim.

But we shouldn't deride HKDL, it is afterall yet another confirmation of Eisner's successful stint at building subpar theme parks that require gobs of money to firmly establish.

Disney-MGM Studios - Built as 1/2 Day experience
Disneyland Paris - Overbuilt and damn cold in the winter, because Eisner had such fond memories as a child
Disney's California Adventure Shopping Mall
Animal Kingdom - Its about the animals, not the rides, because the animals only bite, the rides are killers.

HKDL - Maybe less is more, but not in this case.

Anonymous said...

The hat allows people to explore the park more. Its made to highlight the movies more and give people a park icon.

teevtee said...

And thus the most idiotic comment ever made on this blog has been put forth.

Let us all mark this day, the 23rd day in the 7th month of the year of 2009 as the day the most blindly loyal Disney apologist has made the most baseless approval post of all time.

The hat sucks dude...

Anonymous said...

well there more intrested in pushing substandard merchandise rather than improving the environment the guests experience while in the park.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
The hat allows people to explore the park more. Its made to highlight the movies more and give people a park icon."

Well if that's the case, then let's move it to the Magic Kingdom right at the Hub since after all between the two parks it'd be much more appropriate themeing-wise.

Anonymous said...

If the Chinese Theater is the beef - why remake it as any specific theater? Re-theme it as the most glorious, idealized theater ever. Put a big ol' neon deco Mikey right in center of it.

Anonymous said...

This site has fallen on hard times. Last post May 2? Give me a break.

Grif said...

"For that matter, whilst I'm on my soapbox, I asked one of my old supervisors whose now in Park Administration or some Team Disney department about why WDW has never done a holiday overlay of Haunted Mansion. He responded that the DL overlays were done to draw the CA locals into the parks. Since WDW attendance is almost entirely composed of out of state visitors, the though was that WDW could get more bang for the buck by using the money elsewhere.

PEOPLE! Wake Up! WTF? Ever happened to doing something cool for the sake of doing something cool?!"

I think you may be missing the point. People come to Disneyland more regularly than people come to Disney World. I know if I came on my once in a decade (at best) vacation, and the time I could go was the Holidays, I'd want to see the actual Haunted Mansion, not an overlay. The holiday Mansion is fun, but it's not as good and if I can only see one, I want the real thing. Nevermind having to go down twice a year to install it.

Anonymous said...

@Grif - The fact that the guest profiles for WDW is different from DL is the exact reason used against the doing the overlay. However, my point was that the guests attending WDW during the overlay would be just as 'wow'd' as if they attended DL. WDW doesn't have to do it, obviously. But there should be times where money is spent because of the 'wow' fact even if it won't directly drive attendance. If you boil it down to the biggest bang for the buck, then alot in the parks would never have been buildt.

David H

PS Oh and I might add that doing such an overlay might actually draw in the locals who may not be willing to pay for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party or Very Merry Christmas.

Grif said...

I think the Haunted Mansion is pretty "WOW" already.

Brian said...

I haven't checked in for a while because it seemed like y'all checked out. Thank goodness you're back (love the lyrics, Wiggins) and again presenting a rational look at the Disney empire and it's blunders.

Now who wants to talk about the Mark VII monorails? Certainly there must be some fall out from that farse...

Dave said...

Hate the hat. Hated the wand more, but still hate the hat.

Okay, how 'bout a new post on this very entertaining and useful blog?

Anonymous said...

@Grif
"I think the Haunted Mansion is pretty "WOW" already."

But what if the overlay blew your socks off?

WDW's Pirates of the Caribbean blew my socks off, until I made it out to DL last year.

Anonymous said...

@Grif - You know it just occurred to me that WDW spends oodles and oodles of money on the Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights, so why not do the HM and Small World overlays? (I was just chatting with a friend of mine whose on the crew that installs the lights.)

Anonymous said...

I haven't checked in to this blog since last Spring when we heard Bob Weis hint that the hat might be erased from the middle of the Hollywood park where it never really belonged. Strangely, since then there hasn't been any other mention of it's removal from anyone in charge. There also haven't been any new posts on this blog, other than comments, which is equally strange.

Spokker said...

The whole Disneyland criticism thing is on life support at the moment. Even Al Lutz' updates are sparse and the ones he does post have less info than before. As explained before, it appears that the recession has shut people up.

Personally, I haven't been to Disneyland in at least two years and I have no plans to visit in the foreseeable future. I relive fond memories without visiting the park and continue to read about and enjoy music, writings, photos and videos from better days.

? said...

The Dragon's premiere in Fantasmic was cancelled this morning.

Disney buys Marvel Comics.

Hello? Anything?













Anybody home?






.

/bsdb said...

Well... it's been four full months since the last post, definitely a new record for this blog. (Not mine, of course, but I digress...)

Back in June, Spokker proclaimed, "There's no rabble-rousing when everybody is afraid to lose their jobs!"

Mr Banks replied, "Ha! Welcome to the main reason this blog has been so quiet of late!"

Given the four month delay, I assume the Re-Imagineered Zone of Pink Slip Protection™ is still in place. Pity.

It would be interesting to read your take on the Marvel acquisition, especially regarding the E-Ville ex-pats at Marvel who went looking for greener pockets beyond the Mouse's borders.

Anybody? Hello?

*sigh*

Anonymous said...

Make it go away.
Make. It. Go. Away.

Anonymous said...

Yes - need to get rid of the Hat and reopen the view of the Chinese theater. The Hat only serves as a souvenir stand, so why not put it outside the main entrance by the crossroads between the boat launch and the parking area? This would also not obstruct the nostalgic main entrance to the park.

harryhenry said...

It's been AGES since this blog was updated, but the Sorcerer's hat is (At last) being removed! YES!