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Are Character Overlays Really the Problem with Epcot's Decreasing Quality?

FoozieBear

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I've been pondering the current state of Epcot recently, and was trying to pinpoint exactly what issues began the downward tumble for the quality of Epcot. Many fans here on the forum seem to be of the opinion that as soon as Disney began introducing characters from their films like Nemo at the Seas, or The Lion King at The Land was when Epcot began to lose it's vision. Personally, I understand why Disney would want to incorporate their characters into the parks, but that doesn't mean the theme of the park and the characters can't go hand in hand, like this article explains.

What do you guys think? Are overlays like Nemo or Frozen really what's responsible for the decrease in quality at Epcot?
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
The problems at Epcot are more from neglect than any specific bad that's been done to it. It simply hasn't been a priority. Magic Kingdom has been a priority because it's the flagship park of Walt Disney World and arguably the flagship park of the entire Parks & Resorts segment. Animal Kingdom has been a priority because it offers an extraordinarily high quality experience, just not enough of it. Hollywood Studios is now a priority because it reached a point of stagnation that improvements could no longer be delayed. Epcot, conversely, hums along nicely while minding its own business and providing steady financial results through its myriad food and beverage options. It's not perceived that it needs upgrading, so it doesn't get upgrades.
 

epcotisbest

Well-Known Member
It's all subjective. I have no problem with it (presuming it is done well.) There are purists who seem to think it's heresy. IMO the greater Disney-going public enjoys it, if the superfans don't.
Yes, Tony, I think you are right. Lots and lots of visitors who are not regulars who think Epcot is very good and enjoy it for what it is, never even knowing what it used to be. I still enjoy it and go several times per year. So, decrease in quality, or decrease in some people's satisfaction compared to other parks?
 

Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
Yes, Tony, I think you are right. Lots and lots of visitors who are not regulars who think Epcot is very good and enjoy it for what it is, never even knowing what it used to be. I still enjoy it and go several times per year. So, decrease in quality, or decrease in some people's satisfaction compared to other parks?

Again, it's subjective. People who thought the "educational" stuff was great don't like what they apparently see as diluting that or dumbing it down. I thought it was boring and was glad to see it brought more in line with MK and other parks.

Re: "never knowing what it used to be" - there is nothing that precludes an attraction with a character added to it from being better than the original attraction. It CAN be done. The only thing that can't be replaced (immediately) is the nostalgia factor.

Also, our memories are skewed. Things often seem better looking back.

Does that mean Epcot has no problems or issues? No. There are unused or underused areas that should be pretty embarrassing and motivating for them to reimagine.

But the simple fact of adding an IP to an old attraction does not make the attraction less than it was, unless it is poorly (cheaply/sloppily) done. JMHO.
 

fox_198

Well-Known Member
I think the only good overlay so far was Circle of Life. It still got the original message of Symbiosis across, but it did so in a more entertaining way. Furthermore, when the film opened, most of the original Epcot was still operating.

The Seas, on the other hand, was a massive drop in quality from the original
 

Princess_AmyK

Well-Known Member
I don't think that the overlays are the exact problem with EPCOT. I think that it is merely a symptom of the major problem which is that they don't seem to care to think towards any specific or grand vision.
With big sellers like Nemo and Frozen, it is an easy sell to put them in a ride and attract people who are fans. Unfortunately, that doesn't require any outside of the box thinking that would set EPCOT apart from other theme parks, which is something that people are used to from EPCOT. it used to be unique and beyond expectations in comparison to its counterparts. Now Disney is settling for "meh" type attractions because they can.
 
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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
I think the only good overlay so far was Circle of Life. It still got the original message of Symbiosis across, but it did so in a more entertaining way. Furthermore, when the film opened, most of the original Epcot was still operating.

The Seas, on the other hand, was a massive drop in quality from the original

And this proves my point - two rational people and parkgoers who have a reasonable difference of opinion.

I did "The Seas" before Nemo. Not much stands out in my memories about it. I remember the inside more but not much about the ride aspect.

The first time I walked up and saw the gulls, I thought that was a great and natural plus, and immediately more engaging and fun.

I still enjoy the aquarium very much, as I have in Atlanta, Miami, Las Vegas, Key West.

Nemo the movie has some meaning to me, so that may influence my thoughts about it. The ride itself is OK, not a must-do every time, but cleverly done involving projection over the real aquarium. I don't see what was "lost." It's just a more fun entrance to the aquarium rather than just walking into the building.
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
I've been pondering the current state of Epcot recently, and was trying to pinpoint exactly what issues began the downward tumble for the quality of Epcot. Many fans here on the forum seem to be of the opinion that as soon as Disney began introducing characters from their films like Nemo at the Seas, or The Lion King at The Land was when Epcot began to lose it's vision. Personally, I understand why Disney would want to incorporate their characters into the parks, but that doesn't mean the theme of the park and the characters can't go hand in hand, like this article explains.

What do you guys think? Are overlays like Nemo or Frozen really what's responsible for the decrease in quality at Epcot?
No. Poor execution on character overlays are the problem. Crappy design begats crappy attractions. Thoughtful well executed design begats good attractions, no matter what IP is or isn't associated.
I'd be willing to bet you might find a blog post or two out in the interwebz about this... :cautious:
 

Lucky

Well-Known Member
And this proves my point - two rational people and parkgoers who have a reasonable difference of opinion.

I did "The Seas" before Nemo. Not much stands out in my memories about it. I remember the inside more but not much about the ride aspect.

The first time I walked up and saw the gulls, I thought that was a great and natural plus, and immediately more engaging and fun.

I still enjoy the aquarium very much, as I have in Atlanta, Miami, Las Vegas, Key West.

Nemo the movie has some meaning to me, so that may influence my thoughts about it. The ride itself is OK, not a must-do every time, but cleverly done involving projection over the real aquarium. I don't see what was "lost." It's just a more fun entrance to the aquarium rather than just walking into the building.
I have mixed feelings about Nemo & Seas because FutureWorld's original identity was hopelessly lost already.

Frozen in World Showcase on the other hand...
 

sshindel

The Epcot Manifesto
I don't see what was "lost." It's just a more fun entrance to the aquarium rather than just walking into the building.
tumblr_m3ofa2T0rG1qjexyc.gif
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
It's just a more fun entrance to the aquarium rather than just walking into the building.
The only thing it loss was it's original integrity. The original entrance was way more fun then the present one. You got on the hydrolators and rode down to the undersea area, rode the omni through the middle of the aquarium, saw the big fish, even sharks, laying across the top of the tube and they even had a dot on the i way of leaving through the hydolaters. Now you see mostly a cartoon and not for very long at that. I will admit that for most people the things to do inside, be it the good old talking turtle, dude or something else is really more interesting to more people than what was there originally. It was a well done pavilion, but, rather drab.

Some know this story, others may not. When the hydolators were being used a woman sued Disney because she claimed that she had permanent damage, don't remember to what, ear canal maybe, because of the change of pressure going from the top to bottom and back again. The judge took a trip with her and her lawyer and Disney opened up both doors at the same to reveal that the thing never moved an inch. It was all on the same floor. Thrown out from what I recall. But, that show just how realistic it was for some people. They could have kept the hydorlators and I'm not sure why they didn't.
 
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"El Magnifico"

Premium Member
You reference Nemo and I get that. Lion King is not the main draw in "The Land", Soarin is, so I don't "get" that reference (although I preferred Veggie Veggie Fruit Fruit....Kraft's Kitchen Cabaret will never be replaced IMO). I get the reference to Frozen (even though it hasn't opened). But...

Let's stick a Frozen ride in Norway....NO......We just aren't going to stand for that. Because that degrades the "vision"....It makes Disney "morally bankrupt"...."Walt would have never gone for that".......Yeah OK.

At the end of the day Epcot is a part of Disney. It is not an exhibit being sponsored by the "Museum of Natural History". The Mary Poppins meet n greet in the UK, The Snow White meet n greet in Germany, The Three Caballeros in Mexico, Akershus Character Dining in Norway, -- have all been there a very very long time.

It seems no one had any problem with those IP's - We are talking about a theme park right? Or has this conversation jumped to the structural integrity of "which" rides should be located "where"..we must, after all keep EPCOT free of "Disney IP's" (we'll just forget the fact that EPCOT would not even be part of the vernacular had it not been for the Disney IP's). So let's start a movement, a petition..if you will, we can lobby congress ..........."No Disney IP's in EPCOT...ever"

Disney's problem with EPCOT has more to do with keeping future world relevant and maybe..just maybe.. introducing some new things in WS (outside of another "show" and/or "festival" with temporary kiosks). It has nothing to do with IP's ---
 
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Tony the Tigger

Well-Known Member
The only thing it lose was it's original integrity. The original entrance was way more fun then the present one. You got on the hydrolators and rode down to the undersea area, rode the omni through the middle of the aquarium, saw the big fish, even sharks, laying across the top of the tube and they even had a dot on the i way of leaving through the hydolaters. Now you see mostly a cartoon and not for very long at that. I will admit that for most people the things to do inside, be it the good old talking turtle, dude or something else is really more interesting to more people than what was there originally. It was a well done pavilion, but, rather drab.

Some know this story, others may not. When the hydolators were being used a woman sued Disney because she claimed that she had permanent damage, don't remember to what, ear canal maybe, because of the change of pressure going from the top to bottom and back again. The judge took a trip with her and her lawyer and Disney opened up both doors at the same to reveal that the thing never moved an inch. It was all on the same floor. Thrown out from what I recall. But, that show just how realistic it was for some people. They could have kept the hydorlators and I'm not sure why they didn't.

Explain how you think there was a loss of "integrity."
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
Explain how you think there was a loss of "integrity."
If you are going to pick on words... it's a loss of the original edutainment concept. Not completely, but, with the addition of Nemo it weakened its educational purpose and became more of a cartoon based attraction. I didn't say that was bad in total, just that it was no longer doing what it was imagined to do. Actually, Nemo, rejuvenated the attraction, but, at a cost. It lost it's original mission that was to educate people about the wonders of the Sea. It still does to a lesser degree that it once did. But, you asked what it lost and that was it. I'm thinking that you don't find many talking turtles in the oceans of the world. (or talking fish for that matter)

Back to the original entrance... I'm not totally sure of the sequence, but, if memory serves you entered via the hydolators (like I said before) then you saw a short movie talking about the forming and importance of the seas and making sure we take the steps necessary to preserve it because without the seas we are all dead. Then you boarded the SeaCabs and went through the underwater tunnel (where the Nemo setup is now) but, instead of looking at cartoon characters you saw the live sea animals swimming over you. Tell me that isn't better then just looking at a bunch of cartoon characters no matter how entertaining they might be.
 

Mickey5150

Well-Known Member
I actually love some of the direction Epcot has been taking. Adding their IP's connected to the attractions is a great way to see how the real world impacts the movies and tv shows that Disney creates. If having Nemo in the Seas allows even 1 person to fall in love with a manatee then it's doing things right. If done right then having Arendelle in Norway and showing how Disney artists take what's real to create their fantasy worlds is another good thing. We are talking about the world's greatest entertainment company, not the Smithsonian. Connecting fantasy and reality is something no one but Disney does. The fact that they still educate while entertaining should be applauded, not insulted.
 

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