Friday, March 05, 2010

Step Right Up!


For a truly all-encompassing critique of Toy Story Midway Mania it’s important to first look at the way video games and play in general were presented in the Toy Story film itself.

With Andy’s playtime at the opening of the film a villainous Mr. Potato Head threatens to flatten Bo Peepʼs sheep with an R.C. car unless the piggy bank uncorks itself. Only Sheriff Woody can save the day. Here Andyʼs playtime is creative, funny, and inclusive.

Compare that to Sid, who abuses, deconstructs, tortures, and ultimately forgets his toys. If Andyʼs room, with its cloud wallpaper, is Heaven and Sid’s room, with it's dark shadows and black light, Hell, then Pizza Planet, where Sid and Andy play together, must be a sort of purgatory. Here kids drink soda styled after xenomorph mucous, mount giant lasers to blow up planets and whack aliens sprouting from an astronautʼs torso. Every playerʼs play-time is identical to everyone else’s, and the violence inherent in these games seems to particularly suit Sidʼs mean streak.

The sceneʼs deluded antagonist, Buzz Lightyear, finds Pizza Planetʼs atmosphere astonishing, but the sceneʼs protagonist, Woody, sees it as a hive of zealotry and over- stimulation. Fortunately, Woody got over that in time to host Toy Story Midway Mania!, which may be Imagineeringʼs most meticulously-realized hive of zealotry and over- stimulation yet.

With that it mind, I invite you to step right up bravely scrutinize the fastidiously arranged chaos that is Walt Disney World’s 'Toy Story Midway Mania’.

Queue

Low capacity, frequent breakdowns, FastPass bottlenecks? In short, it’s a long wait.
Surely this was anticipated, and the queue thusly designed to soothe the testy masses.
There are countless precedents for tasteful queues in the face of grueling wait-times. Think of the ethereal queue in EPCOTʼs the Seas with Nemo and Friends, Each room taking guests deeper into the ocean; soft blue lights, rusted rails, and ambient music. Lovely, just lovely.

Meanwhile, the queue for Midway Mania is set in a toy box. The space is dominated with clutter, sharp angles, a shock of colors and human-sized product placement for classic toys. It is the visual equivalent of both a sugar rush, and a sugar crash. And at the center of it all...

Mr. Potato Head

Mr. Potato Head is a revolutionary audio-animatronic figure, capable of interacting with guests via thousands of lines of pre-recorded dialogue. Heʼs also a jerk. Rather than mining the wealth of character appropriate puns about body parts (“Lend me your ears!”), dismemberment (“Keep your parts inside the vehicle or youʼll end up like me!”), and potatoes (“Can I borrow some sunscreen? I hate when I peel!”), he instead resorts to caustic jabs and clumsy, grating songs.

One potato, two potato, three potato, four... five potato, six potato; play the game and score! Seven potato, eight potato, nine potato, ten... come on, you hockey puck, and play the game again!

When guests fail to applaud, heʼll admonish, “Folks, Iʼll give you a hint: this is the part where you clap.”

Other times, he asks, “What do I have to do to make you people happy? Pull off my ear?” and after he pulls off his ear, he says, “Ouch! There. Are you happy now? ...yeah, well, neither am I.”

Guilt trips belong at home, not while queueing at Disney World.

The interactive games in the stand-by line for EPCOTʼs Soarinʼ may be irrelevant to the rideʼs content, but at least theyʼre engaging. Considering the humor and charm apparent in other interactive attractions like the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor and Turtle Talk with Crush, Mr. Potato Head could hardly be more disappointing, especially when he could be better utilized in the actual ride.

How Many in Your Party?

The Toy Story Midway Mania Load platform is situated beneath a tent, which is meant to be Andyʼs bed. The rideʼs “story” tells us that Andy is on vacation, and his toys have built him a carnival to celebrate his return.

Unfortunately, it violates the foremost rule of the films: toys must remain inert in the presence of humans. Granted, that rule gets broken, but only in the most dire situations. ‘Surprising Andy with a carnival because heʼs cool’ doesn’t quite match the urgency of ‘Buzz is strapped to an exploding rocket and Andyʼs pulling out of the driveway and moving away forever’. I concede this is a nitpick but at the same time I donʼt see why any mere fan of the film should care any more about being true to the rules of it’s world than the multi-million dollar theme park ride based on it.

The Ride

Any complaints raised about the queueʼs aesthetic pale in comparison to the frenzy that is the ride itself. Itʼs a first-person shooter, so youʼll be focusing on images projected in 3D lit by black-light while being hit in the face with water and bursts of air while seated in a spinning vehicle whose seats weren’t built for the human posterior, but rather, a small up-turned piano.
There are only two things missing: strobe lights, and an endless loop of ‘The Hamster Dance.’ But thereʼs no time for hosannahs, because the time has come for...

The Training Screen

Here youʼre encouraged to shoot the heroes from Toy Story and Toy Story 2.
Yes, that’s right. You have a gun. Buzz, Woody and the gang hold targets. Your gun shoots pies. If you miss the target then one of the heroes from Toy Story gets slimed.
I can only think of one defense for this: Hitting beloved characters is fun! Personally, I never visit the Country Bear Jamboree without lobbing a turkey leg at Liver Lips McGrowl.

I appreciate Imagineeringʼs attempt to answer the demand for interactivity, but shooting the heroes from Toy Story is unacceptable. In fact, no, I take that back. There are several characters from Toy Story that can be shot. The green army men can be shot. They get knocked over, and Sarge waddles on-screen and orders them back to their feet. Mr. Potato Head can be shot. Heʼs a slapstick character, and can give you a dirty look with features that have been blown off his face. The evil Emperor Zurg can be shot, because heʼs evil.

Woody, Jessie, Bullseye, Rex, and Hamm, however, should not be shot, because the films ask us to invest in their physical well-being. In fact, Woodyʼs physical well-being is the foundation of Toy Story 2ʼs plot: After tearing his arm, Woody confronts his own mortality and considers leaving Andy in order to become an “immortal” collectible.
Encouraging guests to shoot Woody is not only unethical, it also betrays the rideʼs source material.

After shooting the heroes of Toy Story, guests are whirled through...

A Selection of Midway Games

Just like Walt would have wanted! Didn’t he love carnival midways and wish there were more of them in the world? Isnʼt that why the first incarnation of Carousel of Progress was part Gravitron, and every guest who didnʼt throw up won a goldfish?

Disneyland was built to be a clean, safe, permanent, themed environment. Its patrons were “guests,” not “customers”. Its employees were “cast members,” not “carnies,” and they adhered to a code of excellent customer service. There was one flat entrance fee, and immersive experiences were emphasized over games of chance. These standards werenʼt set accidentally. They were built in response to--and in spite of--carnival midways.

So itʼs bad enough that Toy Story (Midway) Mania! emphasizes video games, where the player is not an equal participant, but rather, a computer variable, but the tone of these games is objectionable to the underlying concept of the Walt Disney’s theme parks.

Inevitably, however, the rideʼs apologists retreat to the exclamation...

“...But Itʼs Fun!”

And I canʼt claim I donʼt understand its draw. Especially with that cool “Sproing!” noise the gun makes. But letʼs again review the gimmicks lacquered onto this thing:

1. DisneyQuestʼs Pirates of the Caribbean, Battle for Buccaneer Gold game.
2. Played in a Mad Tea Party spinning teacup.
3. On a track.
4. Featuring a series of carnival-themed, first-person shooter video games.
5. Projected in 3D.
6. With 4D elements incorporated into the ride vehicle...
7. Based on a popular recent film series.
8. Without actually paying attention to the rules of the film’s world.
9. Or making any real effort to synergize the rideʼs concept into the films.

This ride is Imagineeringʼs “Mmmbop.” A meticulously-crafted chart-topper, whose sole aspiration is to be catchy and addictive. Toy Story Midway Mania! was built by demographics, not imagination. It is fun, in the same way that a nine hour sitcom marathon is fun. Artificial, mind-numbing, and devoid of aspiration.
When guests have finished, theyʼre shown...

The Final Score!

In Buzz Lightyearʼs Space Ranger Spin, your score corresponds with a rank in the prestigious Galactic Alliance. Guests all share an inclusive role shooting aliens and thus being promoted to ʻPlanetary Pilotʼ for fine service. Your score is a means to determine your prize, and the prize is integrated into the rideʼs plot.

In Toy Story (Midway) Mania!, your score corresponds with a CG stuffed animal. In other words, your score determines whether youʼve won a plush aardvark, deer, or polecat--which you donʼt get to take home. So itʼs safe to say that the emphasis is on the numerical score, rather than commenting on your growth since the start of the ride.
Just as the highest-scoring guests start bragging about their superior-but-ineffectual numbers, theyʼre dragged before...

Todayʼs High Score!

And the odds are, ʻTodayʼs High Scoreʼ is far better than yours. The last thing you see on the ride compares you with ʻa player whoʼs verifiably good.
“I hope you werenʼt playing for fun, or to bond with your family,” the High Score suggests, “because this is a serious game and we take it seriously.” This is just one mark of the aggressively Darwinian tone of Toy Story (Midway) Mania!

The ride vehicle holds four guests--two pairs of two, seated back-to-back. If youʼre in a group of three people, youʼll be sharing this experience through geography, alone.
Youʼre churned through a series of free-for-all landscapes where you can steal single-use targets from one another. You “win” a number score, and then get told that someone who played earlier was much better than you.
And just how does this ensure a magical experience for every guest?

In short...

Toy Story (Midway) Mania! is overwhelming, mean-spirited, thematically undercooked, philosophically offensive, over-produced, Darwinian, and encourages guests to shoot the heroes from Toy Story.

And for the record, the gun is triggered via pull-chord, and firing it requires a distinctly masturbatory gesture.

Who smuggled a Universal Studios attraction into the Disney parks?

In the words of Monsieur Potato Head, “Thatʼs rhetorical! It means you donʼt have to answer!”



Contributed by Re-Imagineering reader Ian Kay

Note: Those interested in contributing entries to Re-Imagineering should initially forward a comment to any existing entry that includes your e-mail address and your stated interest. The comment will not be published and your e-mail will remain anonymous.


136 comments:

T-Bone said...

I actually like Midway Mania, despite the accuracy of many of your criticisms. I think you touched on the central problem- why in the heck is there a carnival midway in the first place? The whole Santa Monica/Santa Cruz pier concept is wrong headed. No one comes to a Disney park to ride the same carnival ride that shows up at your county fair.

DeeJay said...

"There was one flat entrance fee, and immersive experiences were emphasized over games of chance."

While not disagreeing with your premise, the original Disneyland began its virtual life with an entrance fee and individual fees for the attractions. A, B, and C tickets were introduced the following year followed by D and later E for the ultimate attraction experiences. The Magic Kingdom itself had A-E tickets until EPCOT Center opened and the multi-park, all-attraction-inclusive Passports were introduced ending the use of tickets in Walt Disney World. Disneyland phased theirs out shortly thereafter in favor of an all-day pass.

/bsdb said...

Excellent article, Ian. Thanks for contributing!

I've always suspected that the Toy Story wrapper for this interactive attraction was merely a bone tossed to Lasseter as Principal Creative Advisor for WDI. In truth, any Disney film could have been the basis for this ride, other than the less-than-stellar TS. Shooting at the main antagonists, even during instructional practice, should have been an etched-in-stone taboo. Bad mojo for the Magical Guest Experience™ right there.

As much as I enjoy Buzz Lightyear and MIB: Alien Attack at Uni Orlando, TSMM leaves me cold. The pull cord is more than awkward to deal with, and the overabundance of 3D screens versus actual three-dimensional targets (albeit plywood cutouts) in Buzz and MIB generates more headache and eyestrain and less satisfaction with the overall environment because of the lack of adequate set dressing. Even when I grow bored of shooting at aliens in Buzz and MIB, there's plenty of whimsical props and in-jokes to keep the passive passenger entertained. Not so with TSMM. If you're not busy shooting your brains out, you're nowhere.

TSMM may be fun for the tweens and young adults, but middle aged codgers such as myself would rather spend our theme park hours experiencing attractions which don't resemble our Playstations at home. Forgive me for not being hip and edgy, but I'd rather not spend several thousand on a Magical Disney Vacation™ and queue up to play a glorified videogame on steroids.

/bsdb said...

OOPS! Make that "protagonists" instead of "antagonists."

Very long week.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Cynic much?

Tim said...

There is an obvious slant in this article, and it seems "weird" that a blog that has made two posts in 4 months has identified Toy Story Mania as the biggest problem in the park.

I recognize that Toy Story Mania is not a perfect attraction, but an anti TSM stance is a hard sell when it's the most popular attraction in Walt Disney World.

I agree that many components of the ride can be achieved without a ride vehicle or a track. By making this a ride rather than an arcade game has dramatically increased it's popularity.

In DHS, I think the queue is exceptional, despite many guests damaging it. In DCA the queue is far weaker, but does blend in with the Paradise Pier environment. To complain about a ride based on Midway games based on the premise that it's not what Walt would have wanted is short sighted. He disliked the tacky environments, and Toy Story Mania doesn't meet the description. The surrounding area of Paradise Pier did meet that description but it has morphed to something slightly better. In Disney World, this tacky environment is never more apparent then in Dinorama.

Ian. said...

DeeJay, I appreciate the correction. My bad!

Tim, both ‘Mania’ articles have been written by guests, not staff. I can’t speak for the previous one, but my opinions were developed independently of Re-Imagineering. Submit a defense, if you feel the attraction has been unfairly portrayed.

No where did I mean to imply that ‘Mania’ is “the biggest problem in the park.” It’s popular, addictive, and moves a lot of people through. Those are considerable plusses. That said, this was not meant to be a critique of the ride’s popularity, but rather, its concept--which I find objectionable to a cartoonish degree. Surely you'll agree that ‘popularity’ is not always synonymous with ‘quality?’

I’m not sure how a queue designed with an acerbic Potato and gigantic advertisements isn’t “a tacky environment.” It’s “well-themed,” I’ll gladly concede. The queue is clearly inside of a toy box (though I do question the choice of keeping the walls white...shouldn’t they be wood-paneled, like Andy’s toy box was?). While it’s true that 'Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama' sets a high bar for “tacky,” I feel like the inescapability of this queue’s caustic audio-animatronic and overwhelming aesthetic should qualify...especially since it’s linked to a franchise as dignified as the ‘Toy Story’ films.

And my “Walt wouldn’t have wanted the midway games” argument was made about the parts of the ride that are midway-themed. While it’s true that Potato Head’s barker persona violates this, the rest of the queue doesn’t--so I’m not sure how my point that ‘the queue is chaotic and tacky’ is “short-sighted.” Perhaps you can elaborate...?

Major said...

Why not add in that Disney park guests are no different than Apple customers who just whip their wallets out whenever something new comes out? No doubt in my mind, you are a big Apple fan, but would never make this comparison.

Why? Because you aren't objective...at all. Toy Story Mania is a ridiculously popular ride. Sure it had flaws, but why not talk about improving them rather than acting like anyone who rides it is a non-thinking "sheep" that cannot see what a hunk of junk the ride is.

And by the spin and RIDICULOUS back story comparison you put on it, sure it sounds awful. If you want to go that route, why not talk about Soarin basically being a glorified scissor lift that lets you watch a movie? It is, isn't it? And that when it started out in DL, there was no back story or anything but the actual lift/watch part, yet it was a runaway success!

Sometimes, you just can't put your finger on why something is just awesome. If you could, you would just simply replicate it to EVERY ride, wouldn't we? TSM and Soarin are perfect examples. People overwhelmingly like them, yet here are 2 articles in a row stating that its a big turd in the punch bowl and why doesn't anyone see this?

Look, we all know things can be "plussed" and sometimes a dud comes out that needs to be closed or replaced. In this case, the masses have spoken. TSM isn't going ANYWHERE ANYTIME soon. So why keep hammering away at it? We get it, you don't like it ;)

Gil said...

I agree with some of this (I had fun on the ride, but will skip it on subsequent visits until I have children old enough) but you seem to forget one thing: this game is already available to play at home on the Nintendo Wii.

In other words, when I go home I can play the same exact game as the ride, but without full-color 3D glasses, and I don't get whipped around from one TV Monitor to the next.

Buzz Lightyear is immersive. If Disney made a Buzz Lightyear game on the Wii, I'd still want to play it in the parks because the video game approximation of Buzz would be much like watching a Youtube first-person video of Thunder Mountain--it just doesn't compare. But when it comes to Midway Mania, I'm going all the way out to a themepark to experience something 9/10ths of which I can experience in my own home on my HD Television.

And frankly, I felt this way even before the game was released, and even though I don't own a Wii. But most of the Wii games I've played are just plainly a better game than this ride.

Tim said...

Ian,
Thanks for the response.

It does seem that Re-Imagineering staff has been missing from these parts for quite some time. Thanks for clarifying your role on here, as it does present some clarification of your perspective.

As for assessing an attractions quality, I certainly recognize that popularity is not the end all and be all indication. However without getting into a D-Ticket vs. E-Ticket argument on the attraction, I feel it's safe to assume that right now it is the most popular attraction in Walt Disney World. For that reason, all gimmicks aside, it's safe to assume the attraction is a success.

I think a reasonable argument can be made that Men In Black is a more thorough attraction, but in the case of Men in Black and Buzz Lightyear we are theoretically working together (as a vehicle, in a team). If that was really the case we should have a vehicle score and not an individual score. Where Men in Black differs from the other two is that it does also include a team component to the competition, while it's Disney counterparts fail to accomplish this. What's ironic, is that Toy Story Mania, moreso than the other two rides requires teamwork in order to facilitate a higher score.

In your article you mentioned the bottlenecks with throughput, and then in your comment mentioned how it moves a lot of people through. As someone with an operations background, I would side with your points from the article as throughput is certainly an issue with this attraction. However, I do have no problem with it using Fastpass. Much like Test Track and Soarin' in Epcot, I imagine the large disparity in return times on Toy Story Mania will eventually decrease over time, especially when Star Tours 2.0 opens.

Moving along to the queue, and the ride concept itself. We have been shrunk to the size of a toy. This is why the toys don't treat as humans, and don't go limp at the site of us. I'm not sure we're in a toybox, but rather under Andy's bed. Either way we are in his room, and for our location to be clearer, I think the hardwood flooring should be made with larger panels. However, the remaining visuals of the DHS queue are done very well, and as you approach the load area, they include many references to Pixar's history.

I find it hard to believe that you were legitimately offended by Mr. Potato Head, but I do think that some of your dialogue suggestions would be an improvement if you feel that is a legitimate concern. To me, I think his dialogue is more awkward than anything, and I think Roz at the end of Mike and Sully to the Rescue at DCA is a better use of the interactive dialogue. Having said that, the animatronic itself is absolutely amazing. It's function in the queue is somewhat similar to the function of Buzz Lightyear in the Space Ranger Spin queue, but like many guests I would prefer these elaborate animatronics to be part of the attraction itself.

As for the queue being full of gigantic advertisements, wouldn't Disney have to be selling Chutes and Ladders, Ants in the Pants and Candyland for these to be considered advertisements? Perhaps I'm missing your point here, but the deeper I get into the article it just seemed like you were finding things to complain about, and the argument is somewhat muted when there isn't legitimate praise to the things you do appreciate.

John Clayton said...

This article is just rude. I agree with Tim and several others who cast a vote of confidence for the attraction. TSMM is an extremely fun attraction- and that's what counts in the end.

My article brought the shortcuts Imagineering took to light, and asked you- the readers- if you consider this attraction quality or slanderous. This article is just rude and bashes the attraction at every chance it gets without saying a single positive thing. This isn't an objectionable view, it's arrogant, racy, and shameful.

I'm embarrassed that this is the best the blog could come up with 4-months after my last article. I'm embarrassed that my personal article sits below it.

Tim said...

Post continued...


Lastly, the "This isn't what Walt would have wanted" argument is overused more than the phrase "it's like such and such ON STEROIDS!!" This is part of the reason why I called it short sighted. How do we know what Walt would have wanted? In most Disney fan circles, John Lasseter is perceived as a modern day Walt Disney. While that may not be a fair comparison, you're not helping your argument by referring to the attraction as a favor to him. Yes, it's true that Walt Disney was looking for a place that lacked the tacky feel of a fair, but as far as I can tell his biggest criticism of Griffith Park was the grunginess of it. If the focus was to have experiences that he and his daughters could do together, than any attraction with a height requirement should be thrown under the, "It's not what Walt would have wanted umbrella". We simply have no way of knowing that. To me it seems like these types of interactive experiences where fathers are playing against sons, or mothers are playing against daughters are exactly what Walt had in mind.

Ian, I'd love to debate you further on this, and would like to host a debate on the subject on my weekly podcast. You can contact us by visiting wdwfanboys.com or e-mail us at questions@wdwfanboys.com. I hope to hear from you.

Anonymous said...

You know what? It has a line. It's popular. Get over it.
The one criticism the park deserves in this post is that should Paradise Pier, the Ferris Wheel and the Midway even belong. That said, Midway Mania is a really great attraction and does not deserve this idiotic harsh criticism.

Dr Bitz said...

Is it just me or didn't I already read this article months ago?

Dousen Madder said...

As a supporting statement;
If Walt would have wanted a midway type atmosphere, why wouldn't he had incorporated into the Park in the first place? He definately did not want a County Fair type Amusement Park. He is even quoted saying something to that exact phrase in one of those old World of Color TV programs.
QUOTE
To complain about a ride based on Midway games based on the premise that it's not what Walt would have wanted is short sighted. He disliked the tacky environments, and Toy Story Mania doesn't meet the description.
END QUOTE

What's the difference?
Carnivals and Circus' were tacky according to Walt in his time, hence the main desire to build his own Park.

So what if it is a digital age? That just makes this ride virtually tacky...Tacky is tacky.

Agree to disagree, it wasn't rocket science to install a bunch of TV monitors linked to a central computer controlling and supporting a PS3 type gaming enviroment. The overhead was more than likely substantially less than any other "from scratch" attraction and that just boils down to easy profits. It is a simple, yet elaborate gamers dreamroom. In fact, I know a few hardcore gamers that use multiple screens, amplified 7.1 surround sound, using a rolling chair. TSMM is only different by "DisneyScale".

How do we know what Walt would have wanted?
We don't and never will...BUT...

Based upon what Walt DID do when he was alive, I can guess with better accuracy and self supporting facts, that TSMM would not have been at the top of his list of "to do" attractions.

Compare TSMM to attractions that Walt personally oversaw and approved of...Compare his track record with what is being offered now...Do you still believe he would have agreed to install TSMM the way it sits today?

I'd agree that Space Mountain is something Walt would have more likely approved of than not, and the same goes for Thunder and Splash Mountains...Not TSMM, and surely not Buzz.

I personally cannot understand the long lines for TSMM, other than there isn't much to offer to all age families in DCA to begin with. I can assure you, that it will go away, and eventually be replaced when the videogame gets old, and the technology gets tired..(which is what..Another 4 years or so?) It was a short sighted project to begin with.

Eccentric Scholar said...

Spot on! Thank you for this insightful analysis.

Anonymous said...

Seriously.. it's a fun ride for children!!!

Rinder said...

Interesting take, amusing, well written but perhaps "over-thought". Its just a game and a way to kill an hour in a Disney park, in air conditioning (or warmth).

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that all the people writing their "criticisms" of this attraction are essentially hard core video game players.
As for the "What would Walt have wanted," argument, it holds absolutely no water.
I am frankly tired of this self-centered type of "Critique" from a bunch on not too talented armchair Imagineers.
If you really think you know what would make a good theme park attraction get off you butts, quit playing videogames and start doing something. Go build one yourselves. I think you will find it is not easy.
Of all the Midway types of games at DCA, this one is a large cut above. You know some of Walt's attractions didn't last that long or weren't that good either. The 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit didn't last long. The Motorboat Cruise was idiotic. Adventure Through Inner Space no one went on.
This attraction has a line. Now in five years it probably won't. So what. Not every attraction will last for decades.
I think this blog has lost its way.

pursuit agent said...

Didn't the old shooting games at Disneyland at Teddy Berra's Arcade have you shoot at characters from the Country Bear Jamboree?

Ceronomus said...

I'm a little tired of this. The ride is fun and engaging...is obviously popular with the guests..remember the guests, the reason FOR the parks?

Given enough time I could write out a bullet-pointed diatribe against ANY Disney attraction. This one though? It really is a winner. The ride is successful, people like it, the line moves quickly and it is ALWAYS packed with people who want to go again and again and again...

Yes, it might not be the most creative attraction to come out of Imagineering...but the guests are ENJOYING it and *THAT* is the only thing that matters.

Spokker said...

"Seriously.. it's a fun ride for children!!!"

John Hench wrote an amazing book analyzing the time, effort and thought he and his fellow full-grown, adult engineers put into rides for children.

Perhaps they should have gotten off their butts, gotten a life, and done something more worthwhile with their talents, rather than design "rides for children?"

"If you really think you know what would make a good theme park attraction get off you butts, quit playing videogames and start doing something. Go build one yourselves. I think you will find it is not easy."

Many people who comment on this blog have full-time jobs and are doing other things that aren't very easy. Whether they work in the business or not, they come to this site to develop a greater insight and understanding into these dumb theme park rides.

Perhaps the film critic should not dissect films. Perhaps the sports nut should not overanalyze last night's baseball game. Perhaps the theater goer should not see their favorite play so many times that they can recite the lines themselves. It's just a movie, it's just a game, it's just a show.

You are more than welcome to enjoy Disneyland on a superficial level. There will always be a casual crowd. In fact, many people who find themselves at Disney parks aren't quite sure how they got there. Some were dragged there by friends. Some have children who begged them to go. Some got free tickets from work. Some go just to spend time with friends, the attractions playing second fiddle. Some go because they've never been, and want to see what all the fuss is about. Some go because there is some intangible force, capitalism probably, that compels them to.

And others go because they truly appreciate the art of Disney theme parks.

It's a funny question to me, that is, which group do you design the parks for? It seems that if you design the parks for the hardcore fans who overanalyze everything, you'll end up with incredible places like Tokyo DisneySea, and it's not like that is going to convince the other groups not to visit anymore. The only downside is that this costs quite a bit of money.

If you design the parks for the casual crowd, then you drive the hardcore fans away, but their numbers are not so great as to hurt the bottom line.

There's no real upside to the first option, unless you believe that Pirates of the Caribbean and Haunted Mansion are some kind of art form. However, if they are just assets on a balance sheet churning out a return, the first option is probably for you.

Anonymous said...

As usual, Spokker you turn those of us who criticize the over-thinking critics like yourself into objects of derision.
If you don't have fun on an attraction DON'T GO.
But so many are enjoying this one I think its time you and others stopped your bellyaching.
Instead of focusing on this attraction why aren't you writing a commentary and criticism about the return of Captain EO. It's such an obvious target.

Spokker said...

"If you don't have fun on an attraction DON'T GO."

If you don't like criticism of Disney attractions, don't visit this site?

Why does every Internet argument devolve into what one can and cannot talk about? Everybody is having their say and that's what matters. No matter what anyone thinks, we're all nerds here.

"But so many are enjoying this one I think its time you and others stopped your bellyaching."

I enjoyed the attraction when I tried it, but I felt it eschewed solid Disney storytelling for gimmicks (I hate 3D). But I also said on another forum that it's a good addition to California Adventure, especially since it was an addition, and not a replacement.

You can enjoy something and still criticize it. Criticism isn't a bad word. It's not a negative word. That's only one definition. The other is that it's a serious examination of a work.

"Instead of focusing on this attraction why aren't you writing a commentary and criticism about the return of Captain EO."

I was complaining about Captain EO on some other forum. I also wrote a short, sarcastic post about it on my stupid blog.

Dousen Madder said...

"Instead of focusing on this attraction why aren't you writing a commentary and criticism about the return of Captain EO. It's such an obvious target."

Captain EO is still relevant with the times, even considering it is over 20+ years old! Just compare its technology to all of the movies being made in 3-D today. That in itself, is phenomenal. Captain EO is actually a much better attraction and event, than TSMM could ever be. Lets see where TSMM will be in 10 years, and if its technology can do the same draw...? Bottom line, TSMM technology isn't from tomorrow...It is today's technology stuffed in a modular attraction box.

It seems Most of the Anonymous posters critique the critics instead of using viable and factual rebutals against the topic.
Statistically, sure TSMM does see alot of people a day, I concur. Does this make it a phenomenal attraction?
I'm sure alot of people that ride it are just killing some time in DCA, being that there are few worthy attractions. First lets view the factual stats of both Parks as borrowed from Mouse Planets Adrienne Krock;

Number of attractions: Disneyland: 57, DCA: 24

Attractions with height or age minimums: Disneyland: 8 (14%) DCA: 8 (33%)

Attractions with restrictions for pregnant women: Disneyland: 7 (12%) DCA: 9 (38%)


The very first statistic lists DCA as having ONLY 24 attractions.
Is there REALLY any question why TSMM has lines? Especially when you break down the attractions by age/height requirements and figure you can't reasonably drag your 4 year old on California Screamin, Tower of Terror, Maliboomer even Orange Stinger? That reduces the attraction list to a plausible 20 attractions.

With so little to do in the Park to begin with, and checking things by statistics, it is understandable why TSMM seems to be successful, and always with long waiting times. It caters to tween gamers, Parents with young or small ones, and even the elderly. It is the one "attraction" that anyone can seem to share, whether being competitive, or just along for the ride.

It is still a short sighted attraction, and this is one attraction that IS stamped with a "sooner than you think" expiration date.

Bruce said...

The article goes a bit too far in it's overreaching criticism, but I must agree that I find it to be a underwhelming experience. I've ridden it three times and don't think I'll be back on anytime soon.

Mr. Potato Head IS annoying, unfunny and a waste of an astounding animatronic. The suggestions made in the post are MUCH better.

The Midway concept IS something Walt never wanted in his parks.

The experience IS very closely replicated at home playing the WIi game. Why pay park admission to experience it?

No, it's not an abomination like The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management but it definitely is lackluster - no big deal. A dark ride with a few of the Mr. Potato Head-like figures in it probably would have been more up to the Disney standard.

Anonymous said...

Yea, ridiculous. Its a ride for families to enjoy together. Sometimes these hardcore Disney fans make me laugh. They get so caught up in what they think the parks should do for them, that they forget to just have fun and enjoy it.

There's a reason that this ride is always a long wait, because the demographic it was designed for (families, children, not specifically for adult critics) love it.

Dont take yourself so seriously and you may find things to be more enjoyable,.

Spokker said...

"that they forget to just have fun and enjoy it."

How do you know they are not having fun? Just because you come home and tear apart and analyze the experience doesn't mean you didn't have fun.

We know that many Disneyland attractions are fun, but are we not supposed to figure out *why* they are fun? Are we not supposed to figure out why some attractions are better than others? Is there a difference between the Haunted Mansion and the Rocket Rods, or should we just forget about it and have fun?

Anonymous said...

Just have fun. The author makes it seem as though TSMM is not worth riding at all. Why do I see nothing but smiling faces when I walk past the exit? Because its fun. My point is that most people who go in looking for negative, will find it.

So you throw a pie at Woody? So what? My kid loved it. Thats what matters, and thats what the Imagineers were going for.

Anonymous said...

Now it is coming out that Disney is going to change out Midway Mania on a regular basis - including seasonal variations.
One question, how much story do you need for an attraction? Why do you guys think everything needs to be a Pirates of the Caribbean.
And yes, Spokker, I will continue to read this blog as I love to be the counterbalance to such blubbering verbiage.
Why such a short post on Captain EO?

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the problem with TSMM stem from the subject matter- the Toy Story films are crude, crass, and more mean spirited than anything Disney produced up to that time. The thing is, it's a level of crude and crass that's so far below the rest of today's entertainment that it comes off as innocently naive. So it slides by. Those of us who appreciate Walt's classics are irked by the level that Disney entertainment has sunk to in the name of Box Office and Ratings, but are still thankful that it's not Fox or Dreamworks. I appreciate that this article stuck to it's position, perhaps going a bit overboard with some of the criticism's, but making the point better than waffling and saying, "this is poorly done but I guess it could be worse". In the end, we all know this is someone's opinion, and I find it hilarious that so many people feel the need to chime in and tell him he's wrong. But hey, like Tim said, so many people like it. They also like TV shows where people swap wives for a week. High numbers do not an enriching experience make.

Anonymous said...

"So you throw a pie at Woody? So what? My kid loved it. Thats what matters".

Good parenting skills. You should let your kid do whatever they will enjoy.

Anonymous said...

The Toy Story films are crude and crass?
Geez what planet are you from?
The Toy Story films are just as classic as Walt's were. Well made that the entire family can enjoy.
I think someone is living in a fantasy world.

Anonymous said...

Why do I see nothing but smiling faces when I walk past the exit?

Because they are extremely relieved to be out of that makeshift 5min attraction, and out of that 1+ hours entrance line.

Spokker said...

"the subject matter- the Toy Story films are crude, crass, and more mean spirited than anything Disney produced up to that time."

Huh?

Ian. said...

The few times I’ve been to ‘Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama,’ it’s been filled with happy, laughing children. When I ride ‘Pirates,’ there’s always a exclamation at Captain Jack’s first appearance. I have friends who prefer the ‘small world’ refurbishment. I’m sure someone somewhere thinks ‘Under New Management’ is a hoot.

You’re welcome to “just have fun.” I’m glad guests are enjoying themselves. But I’m sure guests would have just as much fun in a more thought-out, less offensive ride.

Populism is a perfectly valid argument, but it’s short-sighted. I agree that “having fun” is key, but it’s only one of many ideals that the best Disney attractions aim for (and achieve). One cautionary example is the Six Flags parks, whose sole priority, I believe, is “just being fun.” As a result, they’re poorly organized, under-themed, generally soulless...and fun.

I think it’s fair to savor the craft put into the Disney parks. They set the bar remarkably high. By that same standard, I think it’s okay to be disappointed when a ride aspires “to be fun” at the expense of all other ideals.

Anonymous said...

"Good parenting skills. You should let your kid do whatever they will enjoy.

March 10, 2010 3:52:00 PM PST"

Yes, Anonymous @ 3:52. I teach my kids that because they are able to shoot fake pies at Toy Story characters on a ride at a theme park that it is also ok to do whatever they want in real life. Are you one of those people who take Disney a little TOO seriously?

I'll bet you're a tough person to get along with in real life, arent you?

SusieQ said...

This is a ridiculous criticism. I love Toy Story Mania - and I think of it as a kind of "tomorrowland" ride set in California Adventure. I don't think there's anything wrong with shooting pies at characters - it's all in fun, and evocative of the humor in the films. I could easily see any of the characters hitting another character with a pie.

I believe the "ride story" is also misrepresented here. I was under the impression that you've shrunk down to the size of toys in order to play a game with them - one that, in the world of make-believe, has them all taking their part in a "carnival". My siblings and I used to play similar games.

In terms of disposability, I think that Imagineering has actually consigned the more classically designed "Buzz Lightyear" to the bin. I'm guessing they're looking to replace it with a similar Tron-themed ride. The laser guns have always been poorly maintained in terms of the sighting, but when I was there on Sunday it appeared that a large number of the targets are also now malfunctioning (And the cast was putting riders on like nothing had gone wrong.) I went with a friend who's never failed to score in the mid 300K, and his score at the end was 44,000. That's some pretty terrible maintenance. At least Toy Story Mania actually works.

I should note also that a lot of the criticism seems to be sour grapes - TSMM picked up a THEA award on Saturday.

Spokker said...

Yeah, I don't get the part about the ride or the Toy Story franchise being offensive. The ride isn't my cup of tea, I just don't see how it's offensive. That anybody has a problem with the shooting aspects of the attraction is the same kind of politically correct nonsense that results in the Jungle Cruise losing the pistol or the Pirates of the Caribbean losing the pirates chasing the wenches.

Spokker said...

"I should note also that a lot of the criticism seems to be sour grapes - TSMM picked up a THEA award on Saturday."

Well, to be fair, it hasn't exactly been a terribly exciting year for theme park attractions. A lot of parks have been tightening their belts in the midst of a recession and that has hurt quality this year and will next year, with the notable exception of that Harry Potter thing at Island of Adventure.

DCA fans are lucky enough for the park's improvements to be announced before the economy went to hell.

Ian. said...

Spokker, ‘the pirate chasing the wench’ is part of a joke. A pirate chases a wench, a second pirate chases a second wench...but the third wench chases the third pirate.

I agree, it’s absurd that it was removed. The joke isn’t at the expense of the women who’re being chased by pirates, but rather, at the expense of the unlucky pirate who chose that belligerent third wench.

Shooting food at the non-slapstick protagonists of ‘Toy Story’ isn’t part of a joke, and it doesn’t especially enhance the story of the ride (nor the films). The characters I suggested shooting (the green army men, Mr. Potato head, Emperor Zurg) would at least have jokes.

Spokker said...

"Spokker, ‘the pirate chasing the wench’ is part of a joke."

Oh. I just thought they wanted to rape those chicks. Thanks for pointing it out to me after all these years.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Re-imagineering's deal is. You guys made a really advanced ride that's incredibly popular with guests. Congratulations! Give yourselves a pat on the back!

There's stuff you guys can improve on certainly, but you've made a ride that really resonates with people. Isn't that cool?

Patty said...

Wow that is a serious Toy Story breakdown, maybe you should make a CG movie of it ;) It can be "Toy Story: The Real Story"

Dr Bitz said...

You're all forgetting Walt's vision for Disneyland! Uttered while sitting on a bench at Griffith Park watching his kids ride the Carousel.

"I want to build a place where parents and kids can shoot the characters from another Studio...together"

Jtsalien said...

I don't see the big deal about "shooting the characters". First of all, the characters are being shot with pies. So in every Three Stooges Film where a pie is used, we must censor it so that children do not become violent? Will they start throwing pies at everyone they see? Absolutely not. Second, the point is NOT to hit the characters, but the targets. So there is no intention of hitting your favorite character. Now, I'm not saying I love another Pixar ride, but we need to realize Pixar is in fact a part of Disney. Whether we like it or not. And compared to rides like Superstar Limo and most of the original DCA attractions, Midway Mania is golden. Perspective is everything.

-Joe Stitt
myparkmyrides.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bitz said, "You're all forgetting Walt's vision for Disneyland! Uttered while sitting on a bench at Griffith Park watching his kids ride the Carousel.

"I want to build a place where parents and kids can shoot the characters from another Studio...together"

Gee I guess with Midway Mania the Imagineers succeeded. All I ever see on the attraction are families - you know parents and kids - doing things together.

And before you make any more idiotic statements, Walt made sure that Disneyland had a shooting gallery that was like shooting a real gun as he thought it was important that fathers and sons be able to do it together.

Manetoys said...

I think the ride is loads of fun. The most fun I've had at DHS. The only complaint I personally had was the line IS long and the repetitive Mr. Potato Head doesn't really help matters much.
As for your statement on the Carnival theme, when you think about it, the only reason Walt Disney disliked those old amusement parks and carnivals is because not only were they dirty, not well kept, and had pretty "meh" rides, but it was the norm. They were everywhere and Walt wanted to do something different. Well, Walt HAS done that different thing and because of it, those carnivals that were the norm back in his day, began dying out in favor of the Disney style so by this point, they're rare and "nostalgic" and if there's anything Walt Disney liked to indulge in, it's nostalgia.
And finally, of course Mr. Potato Head is mean. He's voiced by Don Rickles! XD

Anonymous said...

The whole theme argument goes out the window with the DHS version of TSM. It doesn't look like a "carnival" on the outside, and in comparison to DCA, the TSM at Studios fits very well with the story. You're supposed to feel like a toy that's been shrunken down and invited to play this new playset with Andy's toys while they're on vacation. And every detail was put into creating the queue and fit with the theme. Let's not forget the countless hours the Imagineers spent putting this ride together and making one of the most successful and technologically advanced rides Disney has ever seen. It just boggles my mind how quickly people can shoot down a ride, not knowing all the time, work, planning, and dedication that has gone into it. Countless hours are spent testing, re-testing and altering things to make it the best experience a guest can have, not to mention the longest ride.
As for the "shooting at the characters" argument, IT'S PIE! And try aiming it AT them next time. It's formatted so you can't actually hit them square with a pie in the practice round. I find shooing lasers at Emperor Zurg on Buzz to be more detrimental than throwing pies around with Buzz & Woody.
I take great offense to the "It's not what Walt envisioned for his park" statement. I highly doubt that any new changes would be approved without having Walt's vision in mind. Everything that is done to the parks is done with the mindset that Walt would approve, and I believe 100% he would highly enjoy this ride and be proud to have it in one of his parks.

Dousen Madder said...

It just boggles my mind how quickly people can shoot down a ride, not knowing all the time, work, planning, and dedication that has gone into it. Countless hours are spent testing, re-testing and altering things to make it the best experience a guest can have, not to mention the longest ride.

At the end of the day, a turd still remains a turd.
Now, I'm obviously being overly sarastic when comparing TSMM to a turd, but you overcredit imagineering on this attraction. Most of the time spent was done so, bound in political red tape with Disney, and not the thought process which it took to get from blueprint to building. Especially in this specific case. It is as a simple design can get, when comparing it to Matterhorn, Space Mountain, Tiki Room, Haunted Mans...Well, you get the point.

It's not quite a ride perse, since you do not achieve a sense of satisfaction based solely on the movement of the car you ride in. It is somewhat of an elaborate videogame attraction, nothing more. I'm using the word "elaborate" verrrry loosely.

Families only "seem to flock" to this mecca of an attraction because it is simply, the ONLY attraction where a complete family can take in the amusement together AT ANY age. Less other rides or attraction can really offer that same experience in DCA.
IMHO, It in comparison, is like the "It's a Small World" of DCA, where nothing moves too fast and you pretty much can just "go with it", at any age.

I highly doubt that any new changes would be approved without having Walt's vision in mind. Everything that is done to the parks is done with the mindset that Walt would approve, and I believe 100% he would highly enjoy this ride and be proud to have it in one of his parks.

Then I wonder where Walt's vision went, when they created DCA to begin with?

I cannot believe people still believe that the Park is being designed "in the style of" Walt's vision?(where have we heard THAT one before!?)

The last stylistic-type visions of Walt that made it into the Park; and I hate to admit this, was Tony Baxter and his concepts of Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.

Fact over fiction, over assumptions;

Walt more likely than not(Since he did not do so in the first place), He would NOT have added a Johnny Depp type animitronic to Pirates, since he surely could have added Robert Newton(star of Disney's Treasure Island released in 1950), while he was alive.

For the same reason, Walt would NOT have added "ficticious" characters to "Its a Small World", as he could have surely added Alice in Wonderland, Mr Toad, Snow White(or any other existant characters from the time he was alive), to the ride himself. But yet, he still CHOSE to leave them out.

Children of the world are NOT ficticious, contrary to what people may believe...

So are you SURE you wouldn't care to rephrase the statement, "I highly doubt that any new changes would be approved without having Walt's vision in mind."?
There is plenty of evidence and hard facts that contradict the statements you've made.

Anonymous said...

Dousen Madder you are using shallow arguments and trying to convince us from a "holier than thou" point of view.
So Midway Mania doesn't fit your pre-conceived notion of an attraction.
Well that's what it is, an attraction. Not a ride.
My biggest beef with this criticism and that of other fan boys is that unless it's a long ride with all kinds of effects and 100 AA figures, it's a lousy ride, oh I'm sorry attraction.
You need to get a life Mister Madder and others so you quit calling things turds that are not.

Ian. said...

There sure are a lot of people upset that someone's criticized the aesthetics of a Disney attraction on a blog that critiques the aesthetics of Disney attractions.

Dr Bitz said...

My Walt "misquote" was a bit misunderstood, it was meant to be Walt's cynical jab at the Pixarification of the parks.

Spokker said...

"My biggest beef with this criticism and that of other fan boys is that unless it's a long ride with all kinds of effects and 100 AA figures, it's a lousy ride, oh I'm sorry attraction."

I like the Fantasyland dark rides and they are mostly painted flats.

You sort of miss the point.

/bsdb said...

Classifying TSMM as a "ride" is definitely reaching.

Sure, you're in a conveyance vehicle that's moving from one screen to the next. But the same result could be achieved by placing players in a stationary seat and advancing the screens in front of them, sort of like the carousel theater in reverse.

Moving the vehicles is obviously easier and less complicated, and as a result, far cheaper to build, operate, and maintain. But having vehicles advance from one gigantic video screen to the next doesn't automatically make TSMM a traditional Disney dark ride.

Anonymous said...

"having vehicles advance from one gigantic video screen to the next doesn't automatically make TSMM a traditional Disney dark ride."
You guys make me want to ask what makes a traditional Disney dark ride or attraction or whatever.
Judging by the critiques here, Tower of Terror is not really a good Disney attraction because it is basically "Free Fall" with some show around it.
And because they are painted flats, as Spokker says, then most of the Fantasyland attractions should be nuked.
Midway Mania took a cliche amusement park thing and put a good Disney spin on it. Geez, I guess you want Pirates of the Caribbean - I mean - the same place and same thing every time.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Ian. Thanks much for contributing. It's funny that it seems the imagineers could've addressed many of the issues you cited quite easily in their design -- Mr. Potato Head's comments in the queue, the reason for the toys having this event (how about for their own entertainment in Andy's long absence?), shooting of characters, etc. It feels like expediency was more important than holistic, in-character experience for the guests. Again, thanks.

/bsdb said...

Midway Mania took a cliche amusement park thing and put a good Disney spin on it. Geez, I guess you want Pirates of the Caribbean - I mean - the same place and same thing every time.

I do not want "the same place and same thing every time" I go to a Disney park.

But what I do expect from a dark ride -- and rightfully so -- is an immersive experience based on a compelling STORY.

TSMM is a video game on steroids. Period.

Compelling story? Where?

Immersive experience? Where?

Even the traditional Fantasyland dark rides with their day-glo painted flats are more immersive than TSMM will ever be. Ditto for the refurbished Sleeping Beauty Walkthrough.

Placing an attraction like TSMM in the parks isn't necessarily a bad thing, provided that other more traditional rides continue to be developed and installed. All I ask is to call TSMM what it truly is: a glorified video game.

Classifying TSMM as an E Ticket is a huge insult to the evergreen E Tickets we've all come to love and admire.

Anonymous said...

I think you folks should just quit going to the park. This attraction is obviously striking a chord with the type of audience even Walt would want, which, by the way, is not you loner fan boy types.

Anonymous' Alter Ego said...

Anonymous, you are outnumbered in opinion, and you fail to prove any points within your opinionated comments. Maybe you should stop coming to this "fanboy" blog, as Walt was a big disliker of complacent people.

TSMM is the most unimaginative "attraction" to come out of Disney Parks since the motor boat cruise that used to be between Autopia and IASW.

Oh, and just in support of Dousan Madder, Space Mountain has ZERO AAs, and Matterhorn has only 2.

You act like Audio Animatronics are a bad thing, and its too bad you don't realize they are probably the single greatest thing to hit the park, and what helped to put it on destination maps around the world!

Anonymous said...

"you are outnumbered in opinion, and you fail to prove any points within your opinionated comments."
Well excuse me for doing the same thing you "boys" do.
The entire critique that was offered tries to pass itself off as a "scientific" approach to its critique.
What it is is someone throwing a snit.
To say it is unoriginal or not creative is absolutely wrong.
And to say I am outnumbered is also weak as judging by some of the responses to this, plus the long lines at the attraction, leads me to believe that the overly wrought point of view in this critique is wrong.
But go ahead and keep posting your righteous indignation. I love reading such silly stuff.
And if you can't stand disagreements to these posts, perhaps you should stop reading them.

Spokker said...

"plus the long lines at the attraction,"

That may have something to do with the low hourly capacity of the attraction...

"And if you can't stand disagreements to these posts, perhaps you should stop reading them."

Everybody should stop doing anything or keep doing something if they hate and/or love it so much.

Fart.

/bsdb said...

To say it is unoriginal or not creative is absolutely wrong. And to say I am outnumbered is also weak as judging by some of the responses to this, plus the long lines at the attraction, leads me to believe that the overly wrought point of view in this critique is wrong.

The lines are long for three reasons. One, THRC is relatively low, unlike people eaters across the Plaza with pirates and ghosts. Second, there isn't much "competition" in DCA from other attractions. The ride list is very short for families with little kids. And third, it's a video game. Video games are a multi-billion dollar industry. They're immensely popular. Why wouldn't video game fans not want to ride TSMM?

Just because something is popular at one particular time in one particular place doesn't automatically make it "original" and "creative."

Dousen Madder said...

Second, there isn't much "competition" in DCA from other attractions.

B I N G O.
especially in the "all age" capacity!

Nothing more needs to be said about this overrated attraction, not even to anonymous. Anonymous would have just as good time as sitting at home playing Playstation 3 or xbox, and that speculation is based soley on their responses. And that is fine, if you are into that.

But most of us who attend Disney Parks, go to recieve an experience we cannot nearly achieve at home, and this is where your arguement is fouled.
Here's a DIY TSMM;
Save some money, buy a 60+ HD TV(3D ready) and hook up your favorite gaming console to it. Even turn on a fan and close the drapes. Sit in your rocker/recliner/massage chair
and you are 2/3rds to having your own TSMM.
To say it is unoriginal or not creative is absolutely wrong.

I'll give you half for originality, but a fat ZERO for creativity. Nothing is creative about installing a SNES Duck Hunt gaming console in a themepark.

I've put a more than a couple facts on the table, to your none.
The horse is dead, and I'm finished acknowledging the pro-TSMM "anonymous" poster at this point...Not that I don't appreciate a good peeing contest once in a while, but Anonymous is shooting opinionated blanks, and I just don't have time for nonfactual based repetition. Agree to Disagree.

Anonymous said...

You keep throwing circular arguments at this.
Was Star Tours not original or creative at one time? It used to have a monster line.
How come you don't pick on Pinocchio? One of the most boring attractions ever. It meets your other argument, low capacity.
As for originality? None whatsoever. It's a retelling of a film in a dark ride. Been there done that.
The problem with all the so-called "re-imagineers" is that they're all video game addicts when not spending all their other time at Disneyland.
So, I must conclude you are out of touch with what entertains a family audience.

Anonymous' said...

How come you don't pick on Pinocchio? One of the most boring attractions ever. It meets your other argument, low capacity.

Wow, Low Capacity?? Really? Let me chime in on this

Pinnochio and any other darkride you care to compare, have seen more rumps than all the proctologists in California, put together.

Speaking of which, I don't know where you are digging up your facts from, but they are most certainly unfounded and untrue. (With respect to the one exception that everyone already agrees, TSMM has lines.)

Fact is, all the darkrides are STILL maintaining lines 55 years later, and I'd be willing to bet, you will NOT be able to say the same for Midway Mania in 10 years, or approximately one fifth of their time being open.

The reason for the darkrides' success will be the failure of Toy Story Midway Mania; An immersive storyline.

Spokker said...

"As for originality? None whatsoever. It's a retelling of a film in a dark ride. Been there done that.
The problem with all the so-called "re-imagineers" is that they're all video game addicts when not spending all their other time at Disneyland."

Well, if you wanted to know our opinions on Pinocchio you could, you know, just ask. I would tell you that it is one the weaker Disneyland dark rides. And if you were interested in discussing the matter more in greater detail, we could go on and on.

But I have a feeling you're not that interested in civil discussion...

Anonymous said...

I would be interested in a discussion of Pinocchio. It deserves a post of its own about its utter failures. Especially since it was designed by (Cue the music please) Tony Baxter.

Spokker said...

Pinocchio managed to be less elaborate than Peter Pan's Flight or even Snow White's Scary Adventures, even though it was built in the 80s.

My favorite dark ride is Mr. Toad. It doesn't really follow the plot of the movie, but instead cultivates the feeling of the movie, which is all the more amazing since it relies on painted flats and cheap tricks.

Mr. Toad is really a great example of doing a lot with a little.

Anonymous said...

I love Mister Toad, Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.
I agree Spokker on your analysis of Mister Toad. It's a fun attraction. Why did they take it out of WDW?
The problem with Pinocchio is it is too literal.
Maybe if we'd been swallowed by the whale and sneezed out, and felt like it, it would have been a classic with a line. Sadly no.

Anonymous said...

If this blog has taught me anything, it's that people who enjoy rides at Disney parks aren't smart enough to understand how bad they are. You see, if you could explain to them scientifically (with charts and everything) why they are wrong to have fun...

/bsdb said...

You see, if you could explain to them scientifically (with charts and everything) why they are wrong to have fun...

Who said anything about not having fun?

We were discussing the originality and creativity of TSMM, not it's inherent popularity or entertainment value.

Once again, from a previous comment of mine:

Just because something is popular at one particular time in one particular place doesn't automatically make it "original" and "creative."

Lots of folks pay good money to be entertained by mediocre films, concerts, and sporting events. Same can be stated for theme park offerings as well. TSMM is popular but rather lame compared to other classic Disney theme park attractions.

Anonymous said...

bsdb said, "TSMM is popular but rather lame compared to other classic Disney theme park attractions."
Respectfully, I disagree. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I for one liked the ride, it was total immersion at its best. the fact is that the ride was better than you thought it was ging to be so you bashed it for things that peopel didnt notice for example you mentioned the fact that toys arent suposed to be seen and that ruined the ride ...Really? .You looked so closely at every detail instead of just taking all in and enjoy what the Dsiney company did. Disney did a great job at taking us into the toystory world and passed what we saw in the movie. the game play was great and it was even 4D so whats the problem? Some say its the biggest problem in the park when in realtiy its a breakthough to what we are going to soon see.your just killing the expericane for you so whats the point of going and wasting your time?

Anonymous said...

wow, after riding this "attraction" all I can say is, what a cheap piece of unimaginative crap, waste of money and space!!! NOT up to Disney standards,by any means. The least they couldve done was bring back Mr Toad's Wild Ride and put it in that space, since it was removed from the Magic Kingdom...shame they didnt do something better than thsi ridiculous glorified video game.

Anonymous said...

"wow, after riding this "attraction" all I can say is, what a cheap piece of unimaginative crap, waste of money and space!!! NOT up to Disney standards,by any means."
Another unimaginative nerd states his rarely gets off the couch point.
I'm thinking had this been more like Final Fantasy instead of Toy Story (and more of a cliche) you would have loved it.
Good thing the parks are designed for families and not just male nerds.

Spokker said...

"Good thing the parks are designed for families and not just male nerds."

Yeah, they are just designed by male nerds.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm not a "male nerd"...Im female and an annual passholder. I have been going to WDW yealry since it opened in 1971, probably way before YOU were born and I know what Disney standards "used" to be, and SHOULD be. I stand by my previous comment, Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I've been going to Disneyland since 1962, so I think I actually experienced what is a Disney standard. Most of the people here overthink things, and actually only want attractions from 1969 or before.
Can you imagine having Adventure Through Innerspace back? Gag me please.

Anonymous said...

Many people enjoyed this ride! Those monsters, how dare they!

Theme parks are meant for the most sophisticated and elite, i.e. people who post on the internet!

Just another Anon said...

There is nothing like sitting back and watching society being dumbed down, and then seeing them brag about how much they enjoy and welcome the "changes"!
ATIS was an interesting concept for its time, and god forbid, should anyone learn about something from a themepark in today's times, other than how to spend and receive change and ask for napkins.

"I think shooting virtual pies at targets, and playing video games is much more relevant and FUN at any age than learning something!
Who really needs to learn anything anyhow, as long as we have something to shoot at with our chidren?"
- Anonymous Parent who frequent Disney Parks

"Mark Twain stories are no longer needed in the imagination of children, so long as we have Pirates, and Pirate's Lair." - Another anonymous tot bearing adult

"Look, it is all about what my child likes, and my child LOVES Disney characters, and wants to see them in every ride!" - Yet another Adult, who has been bamboozled and dumbed down, just so the credit card can be swiped more frequently, for the child's sake of course!

I'm certainly glad that not ALL parents and patrons feel like the examples above!

Is it no wonder that, when strolling through the Park, you tend to see alot of screaming, tantrum throwing, misbehaving kids?
Seriously...It is no wonder, based on the above replies.

:::Walt help us all!:::

Anonymous said...

Just another Anon quit using overused banal generalities. Just don't go to Disneyland or DCA or WDW. Leave it for those of us who actually want to have fun at the parks regardless of age.
If the only fun you and others have on this and other websites is throwing slings and arrows at everything, then I question who is being dumbed down? Us or you.
If being dumbed down is what you are afraid of then go into politics and fire all the bureaucrats.

Spokker said...

"Can you imagine having Adventure Through Innerspace back? Gag me please."

Can you imagine having Captain EO back? Gag me, ple- oh wait.

My philosophy has always been, rip out whatever classic attraction you want, but replace it with something as good as or better. Demolish the Matterhorn, I don't really care. But don't replace it with a gift shop or restaurant, of course.

Anonymous said...

I never thought they would bring back Capatain EO (YUK).....God help us. Never liked it back in the 80's and like it even less now.

Anonymous said...

People are wrong to enjoy things. Especially theme park attractions.

Just another Anon said...

Just another Anon quit using overused banal generalities. Just don't go to Disneyland or DCA or WDW. Leave it for those of us who actually want to have fun at the parks regardless of age.

I no longer have my AP, simply because of the uglyness that has spread through the Parks, so don't worry about running into me...

With your passiveness, it is apparent you do not deserve a Disneyland/Disneyworld. You show no understanding of culture or history that these Parks embody, and the only thing you seem to identify with is the branding of the Company, just as the CEO's and shareholders want.

You exactly exemplify what the Parks do not need another one of; a "Yes Man/Woman".

Adam said...

It's sad that the relatively lame Buzz ride is looked to fondly for inspiration. We haven't had much inspiration from Disney in the last 20 years...

Anonymous said...

Ah, Adam, another Disney fan longing for nothing but their own preconceived notion ie something like Pirates all the time.

Spokker said...

"We haven't had much inspiration from Disney in the last 20 years..."

Oh, that inspiration is there, but someone else paid for it.

Anonymous said...

All you do Spokker and others is complain about Disney. Do you really think you do any good?
I guess you all want Disney to fall on its butt.
Why don't you go away and play at Universal for a few years. Or better yet, Six Flags.

Anonymous said...

Damn, if that woman doesnt say anything constructive, leave it off the blog already...She says the same things over and over! "Dont go to the Park...blah blah blah"....
Get a new line already, and CONTRIBUTE ideas and Philosophys directly about the Park itself. Reading her single note rant is Annoying as hell, and I'm really glad I'm not married to someone like that!
BTW Banks, I know you are not going to post this, but you have to know I'm just calling it out! hahaha, ...

Ok, I'm off to go have a drink or three to forget this nonsensical woman who came out of nowhere! I'll be back in a month , or when I think there is an updated topic...Reading this woman's same lines is like watching a beachgoer with one arm, swim in circles!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous -
We address the issues here in hopes IT WILL MAKE A CHANGE. There are a few Disney execs that are known to frequent this blog, believe it or not...Hence, we criticise openly and honestly for the possibility of positive changes.

If all you want to do is worship the ground that Disney paves, might I suggest signing up at micechat, visionsfantastic or ANY other fanblog/chat...

All you do is complain about the complainers!
Visionsfantastic is perfect for you, and the people are seriously nice there! go check it out, you won't be dissapointed!

Anonymous said...

We address the issues here in hopes IT WILL MAKE A CHANGE. There are a few Disney execs that are known to frequent this blog, believe it or not...
No You Don't You do you complaining not to make a change but because you are either former laid off Imagineers or are Imagineer wannabes who were not hired.
Like it or not, Disney is a business, not a religion. In the end, it worships the all might dollar.
Hopefully it does it in a way that is fun and entertaining.
But your "complaints" are as repetitive and ignored by most of Disney management, except those that have used and abused the web to champion their own private agendas for many years.

Just another Anon said...

Like it or not, Disney is a business, not a religion. In the end, it worships the all might dollar.

EXACTLY! And by TDA POSSIBLY making slight changes to appease us here who contribute to re-imagineering, Disney would only be in a win/win situation. They already have a majority of people like yourself who see no fault of what decisions they have made, regardless how appalling it may have been.

We Disney enthusiasts, who participate in discussions here on re-imagineering, are the minority who call it out as we see it, or say it as it is(hold the sugarcoat), and hope that someone in power reads this, listens, and faces the current issue at hand in an honest way, whatever the issue may be.

You have to know it's a problem, if it is agreed and addressed by more than one person. None of us are perfect, and this holds true even in businesses. We all make bad decisions, regardless if they are intentional or purely incidental. By addressing the issues, only then can things start to get changed for the overall betterment of the Parks.

I myself, only voice and point out the negatives as an attempt to create awareness within the hierarchy of Disney. I don't agree or go along with the "It Could Be Worse" or "Whatever they do is Fine" mentality and crowds.
Would you go to a restaurant and order a Filet Mignon steak, only to have them bring you a hamburger patty, and say "Oh well, it could be worse"?

The real problem is "Ignorance" as defined by merriam-webster as
"1 a : destitute of knowledge or education (a society ignorant to the decisions being made at Disneyland); also : lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified.

Most Disney Park goers/attendees/guests are ignorant as to what is going on behind the curtain, and that's why I come here; To discuss with others who feel like me, and share knowledge about the same actions that we agree are questionable within Disney Parks, along with the people who are running(and possibly ruining) Disney Parks.
I want to see Disney Parks succeed for my children's sake, and their children, childrens.

Although we can't say for certain "What Walt Would Do", we can certainly compare the attractions he was directly involved with and approved of, up until his death, to the attractions created after his passing. There is alot involved besides the AA's, such as the Aesthetics, Storyline, functionality, theme, and flow within the Park itself.

Lastly, I am not a disgruntled ex employee, or imagineer dropout. I have no contractual ties to Disney, anything. I hold no resentment, because none of that applies to me. I only hold resentment to substandardization, and the people who go along with it.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the "But It's Fun" section is easily they worst thing Re-imagineering has ever posted. You tried to scientifically explain why people are morons to enjoy this ride.

What the hell?

You guys are imagineers right? This hasn't become a blog for anyone to rant on, right?

Brian Sibley said...

Your readers might care to know about my recently launched blog Decidely Disney. Visitors welcome!

Anonymous said...

Ok, I feel better that I wasn't the only one that thought that the pull-trigger was a bit sexual.

Anonymous said...

You can argue all you want, but this blog post on another site is why this attraction is a success. It appeals to families doing things together.
http://www.themeparkinsider.com/flume/201005/1941/

Floridaguy said...

I tried to read your post objectively, but I can't help but think... There are so many other things wrong with WDW that picking on Toy Story Midway Mania just isn't cool. It doesn't make sense why trashing the most popular ride in the entire state is even a remotely good idea. Pick on the lack of plusses at the parks. Pick on the lack of rides at DHS. Pick on Lights, Motors, Action (or as my wife calls it, Forward Backward Spin!) for being dull (because it is).

In other words, don't spew on something just because it's successful and 'Walt wouldn't have liked it'. Nitpick something that needs it.

Spokker said...

"Nitpick something that needs it."

Like lice eggs?

Spokker said...

First PS3 3D game updates available in Japan on June 10.

Nintendo DS 3D, without the need for special glasses.

Toy Story Mania is fun and I'm extremely good at it even though I've only played it twice, but I wonder if the attraction will be dated soon since this 3D technology is coming to home consoles very, very soon. Home consoles killed traditional arcades and I wonder if 3D home consoles will kill this 3D arcade.

Also, video games are not art. Toy Story Mania is a video game. Toy Story Mania is not art.

I think that's why I ultimately prefer other types of Disney theme park attractions.

Anonymous said...

Ah, the Spokker logic. I am glad you were never an Imagineer.
"A videogame is not art" you proclaim to justify your argument against Midway Mania.
Many would argue with your statement.
Videogames are just as much art as are theme parks, movies, tv shows or paintings.
Quit taking your frustrations on this great attraction.
And in case you have not noticed both Spiderman and the new Harry Potter attractions at Universal have a lot of videogame elements in them. They are great attractions.
Circular arguments do not make your case at all. If anything it shows how weak the arguments are that you and others who do not like Midway Mania have against it.
By the way, I went to Disneyland the other day and went on Pinocchio's Daring Journey, designed by your beloved Tony Baxter. Still the most boring dark ride ever made and still no line.
Can't make that statement about Midway Mania.

Spokker said...

I agree that Pinocchio sucks.

"Videogames are just as much art as are theme parks, movies, tv shows or paintings."

They are actually games of skill/chance. They are more akin to sports than movies, TV shows or even theme park rides.

"And in case you have not noticed both Spiderman and the new Harry Potter attractions at Universal have a lot of videogame elements in them. They are great attractions."

I don't know about Harry Potter, but Spider-Man is like a 3D dark ride. Incidentally it beats Toy Story Mania by about a decade.

While Disney was glowing after the New Tomorrowland debut and planning for the extravagant California Adventure expansion, Islands of Adventure was already doing 3D. It's a far more substantive attraction than Toy Story Mania, the experience of which is soon coming to your home video game console.

Just another Anon said...

^^^-----Insert Dead Horse Above----^^^
Now grab any blunt object nearby to beat with, repeatedly.

Anon, I personally appreciate your single noted enthusiasm for the attraction, but at the end of the day it is still nothing more than a elaborate home entertainment system.

It is not an attraction people are going to be raving about 40 years later, which is quite the opposite of the majority of Disneyland Park attractions that are still going strong after some 40+ years. If you can't figure it out, maybe you need a Magic Mountain Pass instead of a Disney one. At least then you'll have an excuse for not knowing the difference of cheap "here today, gone tomorrow" appeal.

Anonymous said...

"It is not an attraction people are going to be raving about 40 years later."
Oh good grief you guys, get real. Attractions that last 40 years don't always happen.
I think you all need to get out more often. And yes I will beat this dead horse a few more times until you all get off this subject on what is currently a popular attraction and onto the non-popular ones.

Just another Anon said...

Attractions that last 40 years don't always happen.

That is kind of my point. It USED TO ALWAYS happen, and is the the single biggest reason for Disneyland STILL being in business after 55 years! The original imagineers prided themselves on QUALITY attractions that were NOT dated.

You cannot say the same for current dealings at the park. Ever since the penny-pinching,corner-cutting, Eisner era, leading into that of Cynthia Harris, the park has been on a slow downhill course of self destruction.
Bad decisions are still being made to this day in more areas than that of just attractions and Imagineering. The The Miller/Eisner/Pressler/Harris legacy continues to brood within the Park's infrastructure.

Just for kicks, let's compare Walt Approved attractions that still exist AND operate within the Disneyland Park, versus the attractions that were created post-mortem, or after he passed and which are still operating today.
Walt Approved:
Autopia
Matterhorn
Submarine Voyage(it still counts)
It's A Small World
Pirates of the Caribbean
Haunted Mansion
Tiki Room
Great moments with Mr. Lincoln
Mark Twain
Columbia
Alice
Snow White
Peter Pan
Teacups
Storybook Land Canal Boats
Mr. Toad
King Arthur Carousel
Casey Jr.
DLRR+Dinosaur & GC diorama
Monorail
Jungle Cruise

*After Walt attractions*
Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
Space Mountain
Star Tours
Astro Blasters
Innovations
Magic Eye Theater
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
Pinocchio

and I cannot recall many more that are STILL in operation today(purposely not including DCA). I may have missed a couple in the "after Walt" category, but it clearly sums up my point.

Rides created in today's times do not last 40+ years is a more valid and correct statement, and exactly why I am calling out TSMM and BLAB as being inferior attractions compared to "Disney standards". They are cheap, on the fly fillers with empty storylines, and do not gratify riders like Walt's original attractions do.

It is also evident in all of the "plussings" of original "Walt Approved" attractions. Instead of "Imagining" up new attractions, the simple attitude of adding stuff to already existing rides was carried forward into the Iger era. As a business, It is cheap as in cost effective, you don't lose alot of downtime doing it, and you don't need a whole construction crew to add in the "Sparrows", "Barbossa's"
Woodys, Ariels, Nemos, etc.etc...

From a business perspective, maybe it will work, maybe not. But it won't cost much(monetarily) to fix.

As a consumer, however, I feel gipped and cheated, and even somewhat offended that the execs think that they have pulled one over on me. Just because most people today walk around places with their heads up their arses, doesn't mean I am doing the same, so I resent "plussings". I deserve "NEW" never-before-seen attractions with my $75 admission ticket.

Both TSMM and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters are quick fill-ins and hold no longevity as far as attractions go...Even the Rockets will outlast both of them, as they already have a proven track record doing so.

It's like I said before..."Here Today, Gone Tomorrow"...In these video game "ride" cases, tomorrow cannot come soon enough.

I say let the Imagineers do what they are paid to do...Imagine and create new from scratch attractions.(Are you listening, shareholders?)No more wool over the eyes tricks, like Innovations, BLAB and TSMM...Even WOC, as I see so much potential in that enormous body of water, and to use it for only 2 shows a night...Wow.
Thunder Ranch, Fantasyland Theater, and even Toontown could host some much better attractions, and not interfere with the beloved original attractions, nor be missed by many people.

Spokker said...

Space Fantasy at Universal Studios Japan. As good as anything at Disney theme parks. Kind of corny, though, as if they took the sterile environments of 2001 and added some color and wacky anime characters to it.

Still, the effects are impressive based on video alone. It's what the 2005 Space Mountain upgrade should have included. Instead they fooled you into thinking they weren't rebuilding the track because it was falling apart. No they wanted to plus it for the 50th, haha.

There are some cool things in the queue and more ride effects shown here about 40 seconds in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PasJyhY2Mw&feature=fvw

Anonymous said...

And yes I will beat this dead horse a few more times until you all get off this subject on what is currently a popular attraction and onto the non-popular ones.

Does that even exist within the Parks?

I don't think I've ever seen an attraction without somebody in line.

Spokker said...

"And yes I will beat this dead horse a few more times until you all get off this subject on what is currently a popular attraction"

In these comments, the author said that the ride is popular. No one is saying the ride is not popular. It's a critical analysis of the attraction, one that you can agree or disagree with. Or you can disagree with some parts and agree with others. Imagine that!

"I don't think I've ever seen an attraction without somebody in line."

Clearly, an attraction's worth is based on how many people are in line. Let's penalize high capacity attractions such as Small World, Pirates and Haunted Mansion because they do not just offer an incredible show, but also relatively short waits. People just love to wait at Disney parks. Let's throw in more low capacity attractions like Toy Story Mania.

Spokker said...

World of Color has premiered at DCA and if I could only use one word to describe this show, it'd be "masturbatory."

Anonymous said...

You guys are so narrow-minded you still don't get it.
There are unpopular attracts that might have a few people in line because you can only board something so fast or they come from something with a line.
So, the kid with the long wooden nose comes to mind.
So does Innoventions.
And frankly the Rivers of America could have had a lot more MOVING show elements to make it more popular.
Winnie the Pooh has a bit of a line, but what if it had been well done?
Main Street Cinema, a great place to escape the heat, no one in it.
Oh, and dare I say it, Lincoln is not as popular as the Disney diehards would have us believe.
We keep using circular arguments to justify our positions. But I back it up with some actual facts, not emotional armchair Imagineer stuck in the past arguments.

Spokker said...

Did you all hear about Marvel coming to the parks? Character walk-arounds, new additions to Small World or Iron Man Mountain?

Anonymous said...

World of Color is fabulous and Spokker you need to turn in your annual pass.

Anonymous said...

anon, you are just irrational stirring the pot with minimal to no logic, no weight to support your defenses of this ride, or ones that you claim suck. it is as if you type, you do so just to read your own final thoughts, which are equivalent of a special olympian who just won a gold medal. question is, are you really a winner an the end of your empty arguement/statements?

spokker, just another anon, and quite a few others whove discussed their points actually provided or at minimum attempted to provide cut and dry examples of what they debated. In fact you are the only one who keeps spinning the boat around with the same one liners. when paddling, both oars are supposed to be in the water.

You like midway mania, and you despise pinochio, spokker and madder need to quit going to the parks, yada yadda yada...its incredibly old already, and if you do not know how to provide the reasons of your disputation, it may be more polite to let the others who know how to row the boat, do just that.

i think they get it. they probably don't understand or even less care, but they most likely get it.
so for everyones sake, you are right. midway mania is the greatest ride ever built by mankind, and will shine for decades to come! its a shame the park isnt filled with more of these rides. pinochio and pooh suck...boo on them. so now i guess nothing else to see or post here now that this part is settled.

now, hurry and run along so you can rave about your findings on midwaymaniaforever dotcom. we've all accepted your beliefs, and believe in you that you believe that midway mania is the Pièce de résistance of all disney attractions.

seriously now, id nominate you the most annoying and most inept remark poster/contributor(?,strike contributor) this blog has seen, if there were such a contest(gold medal all the way!) ive been a lurker for a couple years now, and never seen such shallow if not vacant rebutals. no support, findings, or even a conclusion.

ive seen children on barney dvds carry on with better debating skills than yourself. goodluck with that one sided horsebeating, and im pretty sure spokker and a few others could probably use a vacation from your repetitive hollow comments. It is also probably safe to say it still wont be going on midway mania for those guys anytime soon.

Spokker said...

"World of Color is fabulous and Spokker you need to turn in your annual pass."

I don't have an annual pass and I liked the show overall. However, I think it's telling that if I told you about my favorite parts I would only be able to point out the cool effects I liked, such as this sequence that suggested diving under the sea or this other one where the water collapses on itself and leaves a figment of color on the mist screen, which is beautifully coordinated.

I can't really say that I like classic Disney film sequences on mist screens though. Fantasmic has that covered and WDW's version proved that over-reliance on it can make for some boring parts.

World of Color really is a character hunt, especially in the finale (omg Cheshire Cat!!!). Also, people singing along with the show, despite the fact that the show has only been playing to the masses for two days, is insane. A group next to me was even reciting the whole exchange between Buzz and Woody, which is straight from the first movie. We all know this material and we've seen it a million times.

There's nothing inherently wrong with character-driven attractions and shows, but this show has this blueprint.

1. Pick a bunch of random Disney movies.
2. Mash them all up.
3. ???
4. Profit.

Plussing the Rivers of America slightly cannot be the only original idea they let Imagineering implement.

2.0 and Beyond said...

" A group next to me was even reciting the whole exchange between Buzz and Woody, which is straight from the first movie. We all know this material and we've seen it a million times."

Right. The clips they projected were the segments they use everywhere. When I heard Ariel sing "walking around on those . . . what do you call them . . . oh, feet", all I could do was groan. Most of the clips were in a similar vein.

Spokker said...

What would be interesting is if they keep that part in World of Color once the Little Mermaid ride opens.

Fear Part of Your World and Under the Sea in the ride, then hear it in the show.

Then again, you've got Night on Bald Mountain in World of Color and Fantasmic!, so the precedent is there.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to see a new post here. There hasn't been one since March.

Lidstrom said...

I had not been sold on this as a ride worth waiting for (I see wait times of an hour or close to it for a large portion of each operating day), regardless of the innovation it brought with it. Reading this article, even with whatever slant/bias it may bring, reminds me of why my kids will probably have more fun with our usual Studios fare and an ice cream treat at Beaches and Cream instead.

Spokker said...

Welp, enjoy it while it lasts, folks.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN229477420100722

Tom S. said...

Eddie Murphy redo so soon?! If they are casting actors for this movie, I'm extremely concerned for the attraction's future. Hopefully, it will be completely CG based like the newly ruined "Yogi Bear" movie. Hollywood along with Disney, have completely lost their imaginations. Blame it on the Wii's,
PS3's, and Toy Story Midway Mania's...The under 35 crowd, just doesn't seem to get it.

Anonymous said...

Eddie Murphy redo so soon?! If they are casting actors for this movie, I'm extremely concerned for the attraction's future. Hopefully, it will be completely CG based like the newly ruined "Yogi Bear" movie. Hollywood along with Disney, have completely lost their imaginations. Blame it on the Wii's,
PS3's, and Toy Story Midway Mania's...The under 35 crowd, just doesn't seem to get it.


This is an example of a good joke post. It's deliberately over-the-top, makes numerous, insane statements, and generally feels like it was written by a fourth-grader. At no point in reading of this do you ever think the poster is being sincere, and everyone is allowed to have a good laugh. If only all the troll posts on Re-imagineering could be this entertaining.

Also, congrats to WDI folk who run this blog for the success of "Toy Story Midway Mania!" You guys have a real hit on your hands.

Disney Dispatch said...

This article headlined today on DisneyDispatch.com:

Toy Story Mania: Will the Real Ian Kay Please Stand Up - Ian Kay Channels Emperor Zurg for His Review of Toy Story Mania

Online RSA said...

Ooh does anyone remember the old Toy Story game? It was the first computer game I ever bought :)

Digital Jedi said...

I've yet to comment on this article for the simple reason that I haven't seen Midway Mania yet. I've only heard accounts from third parties. In all honesty, I can't imagine it's as bad/good as the accounts suggest. I could probably rail against it without seeing it if it fell into one of the three categories that past missteps fell into: improper theming, cheap design, antiquated technology. It doesn't seem to fit into any of those.

What I'm hearing from this article, though, I don't feel is completely in the spirit of Re-Imagineering. I understand critiques of things that can't be easily fixed because too much has been invested in it, shouldn't have been changed or that aren't in the spirit of Disney. There are a lot of "fun things" in Disney's parks right now that fail to meet that high standard. But when I only read things like "guilt trips", complaints about the comfort of the seats and comparisons of masturbation (however jocular), my suspicions get raised.

I'll conceded two points, having not seen it up to now. The carnival themes and the out of character suggestion that the toys are doing something for Andy (Though one could argue that the toys do lots of things for Andy, even though he isn't aware of their contribution. But I digress...) do seem to fall into an area where it looks like someone wasn't paying attention to theming or precedence. However, we are talking about the first attraction to be built since rising out of the heavily Eisner influenced era. I suspected it wouldn't be perfect.

But some of these critiques seem more mean spirited then honest constructive deconstruction. You can concede that Test Track is a great ride, but doesn't fit thematically in it's location, and is designed somewhat on the cheap. You can concede that Soarin' is a great ride, while also pointing out that it's misplaced and without theme. You can concede that Nemo didn't belong in Epcot, thematically skews it's location, but that it would have worked perfectly in Fantasyland. I'm not seeing that type of criticism here.

If the queue doesn't work, then why doesn't it? Is it the colors? The design? The mood? What did you observe Guests doing/not doing while in line? If the ride isn't in the spirit of Disney, why is it not? Why is shooting pies at a Disney character a bad thing? Why is the experience in general not worthy of being... well, whatever it is your saying it's not worthy of. Your summary suggests that there's a lot of things you don't like about it, but I don't really see the argument of where it doesn't work. First you've got to suggest what it is the ride was supposed to do. Then you've got to show why it fails to do that.

This isn't Horizons being torn out and something sub par put in its place. This isn't a classic attraction being stuffed with movie/cartoon tie-ins. This is something being created out of whole cloth. You've got to show us what it was meant to achieve in order to show us what it fails to do. You can't just rail against it, you've got to rail for something else. Otherwise, it just comes across as another old guy (whether your actually old or not, notwithstanding) rant. And that's just not good enough. Maybe I'm wrong and it's a horrible attraction, but you've not given me any reason to feel that way other than siting reasons why YOU don't like it. And that really shouldn't be good enough.

Digital Jedi said...

I will also concede that you did seem to suggest that the ride fails to match the spirit of the film in a few locations. But it was only after read the article three or four times did I finally catch on to that point. It was drowned out by some of the other points which I felt you gave undue weight to.

theatreman said...

Dear Friend Re-Imagineers -

Too, too sad to see this great Blog seeming to expire.....

I felt great admiration for the keen perceptions and knowledgeability of Mr. Banks and all the other great contributors who left sensible (and generally polite) reactions.

I still stop by once in a while hoping that a new thread will have been ignited, and I rue the day that I will read; "This site is no longer available...."

Can't anyone help Mr. Banks re-engineer this site?

I am headed to Florida on December 1 for a four-day/four park Disney imaginaton energy infusion. I thank all whose whose writings here have made me more perceptive and more thoughtful. Bravo all!

Donn

/bsdb said...

Exactly nine months have passed since the last article was posted. Perfect timing for a birthing metaphor, if I was so inclined.

I do believe this blog has come to an end. The founders are obviously busy with their real lives and rightfully so, I might add. Work is difficult enough to come by these days, so giving 200% on the job front is reason enough to discount any energy this site would require to maintain.

Between postulations over the fate of Imagineering and daily endeavors to keep food on the table and a roof over one's head, the latter will always be the proper course of action. At least amongst the sane of us who view Disney as a pleasant distraction and not the essential ethereal elements of life. (Insert obligatory disparaging remark about fanbois here.)

As a last shout out to those glorious Imagineers who strive to keep Walt's legacy alive... I'd like to congratulate Kim Irvine as this year's recipient of the THEA Buzz Price Award for her lifetime achievement in themed entertainment. YES!

It's absolutely amazing to me that Kim and Tony Baxter were both hired in 1970 to work in the WED model shop. That would make them roughly the same age, give or take a few years. And that completely astounds me, given how terrific Kim looks! WOW!! (Tony? Eh not so much.)

It's good to see someone so creative -- especially of the female persuasion -- last this long at WED/WDI, with such a successful career to boot. Disney chews up and spits out so many genuine bonafide creatives on a regular basis, it's truly heartening to see long term survivors like Kim, who can and do make a difference for the parks.

Congrats, Kim. You definitely deserve it!

Curawe said...

I'm afraid that it's time to re-animate Re-Imagineering.

The current situation at WDI is again beginning to fall apart. While politics still continues to impact things there, it's actually the company's whole structure and business philosophy that has been degraded to the point where projects suffer major problems due to shortsighted financial strategies.

Outsourcing is probably the most problematic issue that ends up costing the company in more ways than one.

So, get all the Bothen's back on line and let's see what we can do to help.

Anonymous said...

One thing I find interesting about this particular article is how angry it is. Re-Imagineering is used to publishing articles on unpopular, crappy attractions, so the analysis is usually pretty easy. It's not hard to find out why the Tiki Room: New Management is a bad show.

Midway Mania, on the other hand, has proven to be a very, very popular attraction at DCA and DHS. So the writer of this can't just say, "See Disney, even the masses know you've made a crappy ride!" because the masses like it. Heck, you've even got people in the comments section saying they like it!

The writer now has to create an article about how Midway Mania has tricked you into enjoying. Don't you see, you didn't actually find the ride fun, but Bob Iger and his minions forced you to have a good time!

All the analysis in the article is the writer desperately trying to justify why he hates Midway Mania and his complete bafflement that people don't agree. Can everyone but him be wrong?

The article raises some decent points, but it suffers from a sense of misplaced anger. The writer didn't like the ride, that's OK! Nobody's going to like every Disney ride ever. But just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it's bad or has no redeeming qualities. Midway Mania is not the traditional Disney, but I don't think people should take it as a threat to their way of life.

I mean, at the end of the day, it's just a ride isn't it. Chill out, have some fun.

John Clinton said...

My daughter and I love this ride. I recommend getting there early or using FastPass to avoid the LONG wait times. I'm not so sure 'anything" could have replaced Toy Story as the theme for this game/attraction. This was well played by Disney/Pixar.

Mike Murder said...

Okay,

First of all I just need to get this off my chest - I am a total "Disney theme park fan boy" and I am seriously tired of all the Walt worship. Walt Disney was a great innovator as well as a great entertainer but he did not single-handedly design Disneyland or any of the attractions therein and most of the elaborate theming that most attribute to Mr. Disney was actually added to the park long after his death. For example, the Matterhorn was originally a minimally themed "generic" roller coaster (albeit one using groundbreaking ride technology for it's time) encased in a hollow man-made mountain. It wasn't until 1978 that the mountain was "filled in", truly themed on the inside and outfitted with incredibly basic AA yetis - 12 years after Walt died. Fantasyland was basically a glorified carnival, devoid of individually themed exteriors until the major redesign in 1983 and even the effects and dark ride interiors were significantly more simplistic prior to said overhaul. Frankly, the argument that anything post-Walt is inferior to what came before it or that current attractions are "not what Walt would have wanted" doesn't hold much water.
(cont'd)

Mike Murder said...

With that general note out of the way, all I can say is that this critique of TSMM is highly opinionated and generally off the mark, completely missing the point of the attraction and how it fits into the evolution of Disney attractions and themed entertainment in general. The basic idea of the show is to present the ultimate shooting gallery, based around the timeless and easy-to-learn fun of simple carnival games and dressed up with the theme of a popular movie franchise. Is it really all that different than the Shootin' Exposition in Frontierland? Not at all, with teh exceptions that it is infinitely more immersive and won’t cost you an extra quarter. As a child I actually looked at that very Frontierland attraction as a beautiful, if fairly insignificant example of why Disney theme parks are so great - taking a basic concept and amping it up with great animations and attention to detail. There is nothing to be gained by shooting the various targets upon Boot Hill except the satisfaction of triggering a series of funny and increasingly elaborate animations. TSMM should be thought of in much the same way, an innovative interactive experience that rewards the guest by taking what could be a generic experience to the next level. Not only are the individual games fun and fresh(while ostensibly being very similar) but the wild animations and 4-D effects triggered when you hit targets are satisfying and stimulating in a way that traditional video and carnival games are not. Add all the fun sound clips and wild animations zooming past you and you have a marvelously kinetic, immersive experience in which you can actually interact with the characters! Sort of brilliant if you ask me. Also, the articles gripes about not being true to the theme and "rules" of the Toy Story films seems uniformed as the set-up is basically recreating exactly what Ian describes in the beginning of the post - the Toys are creating an elaborate fantasy world in which you can play with them (much as they do when Andy is pulling their strings). This time it happens to be centered around a miniature carnival playset, which creates the minimal back story needed to enjoy the ride without it just being a random sequence of events. In this regard it is actually much more richly themed than it's incredibly boring predecessor, Buzz's Astro Blasters (which, for some reason, posters on this blog seem to find preferable). Could the theming have been a little more imaginative? Sure. But the theme is there and it is totally appropriate. As for the misplaced animosity aimed at the training sequence where you lob pies at the ride's "protagonists", that may be the silliest thing I have read on a blog of this nature. There are no antagonists in this attraction, and no real story to speak of, because the experience doesn't necessitate one. The only story needed here is that you are joining the Toys in their games to simply be silly and have fun - again, just as Andy would. The pie throwing scenes simply convey the main characters teaching you how to play in a fun and energetic way. No one is "shooting Woody" (even though, as a cowboy this would not be wholly inappropriate), we are merely tossing pies at him and his friends as they laugh and take cover. No harm there at all.
(cont'd)

Mike Murder said...

That is not to say that the show is without shortcomings. It isn't. The environments in between game screens are woefully underthemed and it is here (and only here) where it is obvious that the ride designers were trying to save some dough. How great would it have been to glide past fully recreated sections of Andy's room (as seen from Toy perspective of course) or even fully realized 3 dimensional props of other toys and parts of the playset? Would it have effected the actual ride experience? Not at all, but it would have completely immersed us in the theme and made the entire attraction seem more like a classic Disney experience and less like a huge-scale video game. Does, however, the minimal theming between scenes ruin the ride or hinder it in any way? Not in the least. The attraction still achieves exactly what it set out to achieve admirably but I do see that just a few more details and touches would really evoke that Disney mystique to a much more tangible degree.
In closing, this ride is innovative, exciting, sensuous experience that is indeed fun for all ages. To me, that is what makes a successful Disney attraction.

Anonymous said...

Ok, first of all: have you ever played the video game? I can assure you, the ride is not an advertisement for it as you seem to think. And the ride is much better; itis more immersive, engaging and interactive.

Jackie said...

TSM is absolutely incredible.

The theming makes you feel like you're just another toy in the remarkable Toy Story movies.

You have a problem shooting pies and rings and such as Toy Story Characters? Why? Andy had no such problems in the movies.

I think what you're missing is that this is how children play. You're not putting yourself into the spirit of the ride.

I avoid waiting in lines by either going the moment DHS opens, or by grabbing a fastpass and coming back later. In this case, i was almost sad, I didn't get to take in the wonderful attention to detail in the queue. (Almost. I still don't wait in lines.)

I loved every second of it, and am sure Walt himself would have been proud of this attraction. Reimagineering was out to lunch on this review.