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Mouse | Tunes Discuss MouseTunes Jan 28th, 2007 in the Site News and Information forums; The Splash Mountain slip is more than forgiveable in spirit, as I'm guessing very few people walking through Disney's gates have ever seen the film. dbm, there is a Tower ...
  1. #31
    Raidermatt is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    The Splash Mountain slip is more than forgiveable in spirit, as I'm guessing very few people walking through Disney's gates have ever seen the film.

    dbm, there is a Tower of Terror movie, but unless I'm pulling a Nathan, , the movie was based on the ride, not vice-versa.


    I completely agree with the points about the Pixar movies being the "new classics". I happen to think they're great, but that's not the point. I know Nathan isn't fond of them, but I do think we have to face the fact that they have hit with the public much like Disney's classics did in year's past.

    Further, I agree with the point that Pixar is Disney when it comes to animation. Disney owned all of the Pixar films/characters anyway, and now, its the Pixar management team that is in charge of Disney's Feature Animation. There's a lot of in-fighting going on between the two groups, but its clear who rules the roost right now.

    If you love what Disney did and represented, and not just Disney the name or corporation, its hard not to look at Pixar as being the closest thing around that would have made Walt proud.

    So, as you can see, I have no bias against Pixar. In fact, I think they might be the most "Disney" thing going out there and the acquisition may very well have saved Disney's Feature Animation, as well as given a MUCH needed creative boost to attraction development. (The fact that it was Disney's shortsightedness that put them in a position where DFA needed saving in the first place is another discussion...)

    My main issue continues to be the placement and the way characters in general are being utilized today. Put simply, they are a crutch. Tiki Room needs an update? Too bad. What? We can put some new popular characters in that can help us sell merchandise? Tiki Room Under New Management.

    Let's plop an Aladdin spinner smack dab in the middle of Adventureland.

    Alien Encounter too scary? Stitch to the rescue.

    Areas that had essentially been character free, and therefore gave off a completely different vibe, are being overrun. Tomorrowland and Adventureland. Future World and possibly now World Showcase.

    Those great attractions that weren't based on characters or movie tie-ins are becoming very rare indeed. Why? In all honesty, Disney Imagineering isn't what it once was. Whether that's because of a lack of talent on the scale they once had, or whether its due to too much meddling from marketing and finance is an important question, but the end-result is the same. The company is run much like the other media conglomerates, and hence the focus is on synergy, franchises and cross-selling, not on that actual creation of content.

    The same thinking that brings us sequels left and right brings us character-driven attractions at every turn. Its the safe play. We get Nemo Living Seas in part for the same reason we get The Matrix 3. Its not that somebody had an incredible story featuring Nemo that they wanted to share or tell. Its that the company wanted an identifiable property to sell. Throw in bigger plush sales and its a done deal.

    This is not a new problem created by Pixar. Far from it. Its simply the continued development of a problem that has long been growing within Disney, and what's going on with the Pixar stuff is just the latest manifestation.

    Yes, I know Disney is a business, but it has ALWAYS been a business, and something that used to be understood was that not everybody is satisfied with Fantasyland. Tomorrowland and Adventureland offered something completely different. Still family entertainment, and still wonderfully imaginative, but different. They weren't about the animated characters. All those people that are stuck forever in the "cartoons are kids stuff" mindset still had things at Disney they could get excited about. That is slowly changing, and I truly believe its choking off some incredibly imaginative ideas that aren't based on animated films, and its narrowing the appeal of the parks.


    Now, dbm, you also talked about execution problems, and to a certain extent you are right, that if the execution on all of this stuff was top notch, then the complaints would ring much more hollow. But its sort of a catch-22. If Disney were willing and able to execute these synergistic-driven attractions to the level we are talking about, they would most likely not want to rely on the characters the way they are now in the first place.

    Really, seriously, without the characters as an opportunity to grow the franchise and sell more merchandise, would Toy Story Mania be an attraction based on carnival games? Buzz made some sense in that we're battling to help Buzz defeat Zurg. It could have been much better, but still, at least its a plot many kids imagined being a part of.

    But whoever dreamed of playing Ring Toss with Woody (insert joke here)? Its an excuse to showcase characters. And maybe I was the only one who didn't catch on to this, but apparently, TS Mania was designed for DCA, not MGM. DCA has the Paradise Pier area, where at least carnival games fit thematically (another potential tangent there). They make no sense in MGM, but guess what? It doesn't matter.

  2. #32
    dbm20th's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raidermatt View Post
    dbm, there is a Tower of Terror movie, but unless I'm pulling a Nathan, , the movie was based on the ride, not vice-versa.
    Yes Matt, I meant that in a broader sense. I was trying to expand the idea there. Whether it is TV or not, it fits in the conversation. That's why I included Muppets and ToT.

    If you love what Disney did and represented, and not just Disney the name or corporation, its hard not to look at Pixar as being the closest thing around that would have made Walt proud.
    Nice

    My main issue continues to be the placement and the way characters in general are being utilized today. Put simply, they are a crutch. Tiki Room needs an update? Too bad. What? We can put some new popular characters in that can help us sell merchandise? Tiki Room Under New Management.
    Awful

    Let's plop an Aladdin spinner smack dab in the middle of Adventureland.
    Not only awful, but annoying

    Alien Encounter too scary? Stitch to the rescue.
    Downright sickening

    Areas that had essentially been character free, and therefore gave off a completely different vibe, are being overrun. Tomorrowland and Adventureland. Future World and possibly now World Showcase.
    The problem here is that it may be working. Nemo is working and so did Buzz, whether you or I like it or not. It just may be that fighting this is a lossing battle, and taking the attractions for what they are is what's left. Tough to say...time will tell.

    Those great attractions that weren't based on characters or movie tie-ins are becoming very rare indeed.
    Expedition Everest
    Soarin
    Lights Motors Action

    Not rare at all. Perhaps it is only that things are repositioned for the time being do to the merger.

    The same thinking that brings us sequels left and right brings us character-driven attractions at every turn. Its the safe play.
    This is all true. But the fact is that it works for park-goers and execs alike. There will always be a lousy spinner, (see Dumbo) or a fairly un-imaginative ride based on a film (see Snow White). The fact is that these rides don't fall to that level. But your point is well taken. If they do only what they have done this past year, and not the year before, then it will be dissappointing. But I don't think that is the case. I think there is a post-merger agenda here that will dominate for a short time and then back to other ideas.


    Now, dbm, you also talked about execution problems, and to a certain extent you are right, that if the execution on all of this stuff was top notch, then the complaints would ring much more hollow. But its sort of a catch-22. If Disney were willing and able to execute these synergistic-driven attractions to the level we are talking about, they would most likely not want to rely on the characters the way they are now in the first place.
    But this assumes that the casual fan would find an attraction about fish just as appealing as one with Nemo. Or an interactive shooter with some made-up character as appealing as one with Buzz. Can we say we know that? Part of what makes these good attractions is often the use of these characters
    "You are not the first to pass this way..."

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  3. #33
    Raidermatt is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbm20th View Post
    The problem here is that it may be working. Nemo is working and so did Buzz, whether you or I like it or not. It just may be that fighting this is a lossing battle, and taking the attractions for what they are is what's left. Tough to say...time will tell.
    Taking things for what they are is always a valid viewpoint. Nothing wrong with it.

    But if we have any hope of true change (and if those who truly know and love the real Disney have no hope, then hope is truly gone), we have to not just look at what's in front of us.

    "Working" is relative. Yes, Buzz is popular. But we can carry that line of thinking back to the creation of Disneyland. Amusement parks were popular then. If Walt had cut corners and built Disneyland with less than the best effort, it very well may have been a success. Does that mean the the route he took was not the right path? Of course not. So if we want change, we have to look deeper than what's in front of us.

    The Living Seas was neglected for years, so of course things look a heck of a lot better now. But that's not exactly the way Disney is supposed to do and evaluate things, is it?



    Quote Originally Posted by dbm20th
    Expedition Everest
    Soarin
    Lights Motors Action

    Not rare at all. Perhaps it is only that things are repositioned for the time being do to the merger.
    Clearly we disagree on the significance of E:E and LMA, so this part isn't going to go very far. One thing on Soarin' though. Great ride. No plot. No story. Not even any themeing. Couldn't even be troubled to make a new film when they cloned it from DCA. In a way, what is considered one of their greatest recent successes is a perfect example of how Disney isn't operating like Disney anymore.



    Quote Originally Posted by dbm20th
    This is all true. But the fact is that it works for park-goers and execs alike. There will always be a lousy spinner, (see Dumbo) or a fairly un-imaginative ride based on a film (see Snow White). The fact is that these rides don't fall to that level. But your point is well taken. If they do only what they have done this past year, and not the year before, then it will be dissappointing. But I don't think that is the case. I think there is a post-merger agenda here that will dominate for a short time and then back to other ideas.
    Dumbo, in 1955, was not a "lousy spinner". The thinking that put it in Disneyland, and to a certain extent WDW 16 years later, bears very little resemblence to the thinking that brought Aladdin to Adventureland in 2001.

    All the merger is doing is bringing the focus on Pixar characters. The decorations are changing, but so far, the philosophy is not.


    Quote Originally Posted by dbm20th
    But this assumes that the casual fan would find an attraction about fish just as appealing as one with Nemo. Or an interactive shooter with some made-up character as appealing as one with Buzz. Can we say we know that? Part of what makes these good attractions is often the use of these characters
    If all they did to the Living Seas was what they did, only with random fish instead of Nemo, then yes, you would be right. Same thing if they replaced Buzz with a random space character. Or Stitch with a random alien. Or Iago and Zazu with a couple of pigeons.

    Yes, if you take the characters out of those attactions, they would be far less appealing. That's the whole point. They are crutches. Their use has evolved to the point where they are used as a substitute for true imagination and story-telling. The fact that its so hard to get good rehabs and updates done without bringing in characters just further proves the point.

    But, yes, we do know that the casual fan would find an attraction about fish just as appealing as one with Nemo. Provided, of course, that Disney did it as Disney was (and hopefully still is) capable of. Given all the things Disney did without resorting to established characters, why would we even question this?

  4. #34
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    But now we are not discussing objective things, like whether "everything is going Pixar", instead you and I are masking our opinions on attraction behind more complex ideas. But in the end, it is what I like versus what you like. Those things were not at the root of my argument here. We can both say that Buzz is simple and non-creative, and that Dumbo is, but those are our opinions, and debating them is going to get us nowhere...
    "You are not the first to pass this way..."

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  5. #35
    Raidermatt is offline B-Ticket Holder
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbm20th View Post
    But now we are not discussing objective things, like whether "everything is going Pixar", instead you and I are masking our opinions on attraction behind more complex ideas. But in the end, it is what I like versus what you like. Those things were not at the root of my argument here. We can both say that Buzz is simple and non-creative, and that Dumbo is, but those are our opinions, and debating them is going to get us nowhere...
    But honestly, I'm not. I am purposely trying to leave my personal tastes out of it. For example, I personally like Buzz a lot. Its pretty much a must do any day we are at MK. As is E:E at AK, and Soarin' over at Epcot.

    Heck, after Spaceship Earth, Soarin' might be my favorite attraction in all of Epcot. Close call between that and The American Adventure. But that doesn't change the fact that I can see they made zero effort in the plot, story or themeing departments.

    As a standalone ride, I don't like Dumbo anymore than Magic Carpets. Its just that I can see that it was the best they could do 50 years ago given the resources available, and they tried to make it work to the best of their ability. Like it or hate it, we can't compare the thinking behind it to the thinking that gave us the brightly colored Magic Carpets in the middle of Adventureland, or even the Triceratops Spin in AK.

    Believe me, if this were just about what I personally like or don't like, or maybe more to the point, whether or not I have fun, I'd be blowin' sunshine 24/7. Its about a belief in the vision and business plan upon which The Walt Disney Company was founded and developed. Follow that, and I wouldn't mind the occasional misses. Nobody's perfect. Take Pixar for example. I liked some of their movies better than others. But they were trying to do it right in every way, so how could I be critical? We can be comfortable knowing that as long as they follow their plan, results will come.

    I just can't say the same for Disney as a whole anymore, and that brings us back to the "Pixarization" issue. They aren't doing it for the right reasons. That's my biggest problem with it. They might produce some good attractions as well as some bad ones. They might do very well for theselves financially. But none of that would have been enough to get people like you and me to pay so much attention to an entertainment company. Its the How's and the Why's that produced the true Magic, and that's what I'm trying to get at, not what I like or dislike.

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