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Disney Has Lost It's Way - An Article From The Federalist

starri42

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm dating myself, but I remember going as a youngster and getting all how movies made vibe from things like Alfred Hitchcock, Horror make-up, Twister (as you say), Angela Landsbury, etc. They had stunt shows too, and I'm vaguley remebering something about be in a Star Trek episode? Maybe I was just hallucinating.
I'd forgotten the horror make-up thing. And I will sheepishly confess to owning a videotape, somewhere in my mother's house, of me doing the Star Trek thing.

But of their E-tickets for the first few years, they had Kong, Jaws, ET and Back to the Future, plus Earthquake, and only one of those really had a film production theme.
 

1LE McQueen

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Why does Universal get a free pass on making all of their rides IP-based and Disney is ridiculed? Because we expect that from Universal, I guess?

For the last decade, I think Disney’s IP in parks craze has largely been a response to Universal’s success with the WWoHP. Plus, I think Iger and Chapek genuinely believe (based on whatever data they’ve compiled) that park-goers want IP-based attractions. We will never see another Expedition Everest for a long time, because Imagineers simply aren’t given the leeway to create something like that. They’re told to create something within the confines of modern Disney IP. I believe that’s where the root of this “creative bankruptcy” lies in the parks.

Not everything is shot to hell, though. I think Disney has managed to build two of their best lands (Pandora and Cars Land) this decade, both lands containing their own respective all-time great theme park ride. So while the value of the Disney experience may have gone down for some depending on their sensitivity to price increases, I think the overall quality is still there.

I think one of the issues with IP overload is that the parks seem to be losing some of their charm. This particularly affects Disneyland and MK. But the truth is, the shine eventually wears off of everything. As Robert Frost wrote - nothing gold can stay.
Good question.

So from my perspective..
Universal Studios was always about the movies and IP. I don't recall them having an attraction without an IP attachment, off the top of my head. Disney however, has dominated the segment (in terms of attendance) with a different approach. Yes, we all know Disney sells us pixie dust and magic, but we also know that some of the best Disney attractions are non-IP. And some of them are!

I think few would argue that ToT (Twilight Zone) and RnR (Aerosmith) and 7DMT (Snow White) and Indiana Jones Adventure (at Disneyland) don't belong. These attractions in my opinion are in the same ranks as the non-IP masterpieces like Expedition Everest, Space Mountain, BTMRR, PotC (pre-film), etc. etc.

My point is, Disney has always had a healthy mix of IP and non-IP, and the themeing has been coherent. Even their IP attractions have the magic / power to run on their own terms without the specific IP attachment. Under the two Bob's however this hasn't been the case. It's ALL been IP, the themes in a lot cases don't make sense, and the quality of Disney's newest offerings has suffered.

Kind of like you said, this is leading to a lot of us thinking Disney is creatively bankrupt. And the way I see it, it's not about the experiences anymore, but trying to get you sold on as much as possible. Advertise advertise advertise. I think in the long-term, if nothing changes, Disney will face some trouble. In the short-term, they kind of already are.
 
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Po'Rich

Well-Known Member
Frozen[. . . . ]all of which are attractions built around stories created by people who are still alive today. The preference for dead legends over live ones is surely not universal.
I thought Hans Christian Anderson was dead. If not, it's been decades since he's produced anything of value.
 

Goofyernmost

Well-Known Member
I’m sure Universal does do a few things better. For one, it’s a more convenient and potentially budget-friendly vacation.

However, this really boils down to a discussion of IP. I just don’t think it’s really fair to Disney to say “IP is not only expected but encouraged for use in Universal, but Disney is garbage if they use IP!” Positive response to IP at Universal is one of the main reasons Disney is focusing on IP themselves right now.

While I certainly prefer most of the non-IP attractions that came long before Iger or Chapek were ever a thing, I do understand why Disney is so hellbent in inserting IP into the parks. Their belief is that’s how they will compete with Universal. I just think the same standard should be applied to both parks when making judgments like these. Yes, Universal was always “Ride the movies” - but Disney was also a movie studio when Disneyland opened in 1955, and there were several IP-based attractions upon opening. Disney’s parks are certainly wonderful, but at the end of the day, Disney is primarily a media company just like Comcast. And both are pretty much running things the same way nowadays in an effort to one-up each other but in a risk averse manner.
It was more that it is the thing of the present. Yes, some of our purists feel that if it isn't a Dark Ride with original characters it just isn't worth the effort. But, Universal is proving that today's Dark Ride is based on screens and they do a great, immersive job of presenting it. Disney is forced to go to screens because that is what the public demands and I can see why. Properly done it multiplies the immersion process 10 or more times beyond the animatronic and stagnant backgrounds. If Disney doesn't move with the times it will die in it stagnancy. All anyone has to do is ride the Hogwarts Express to see just how real that experience feels. One doesn't even have to put any effort in the willing suspension of disbelief, it is just natural.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Well-Known Member
Let's call it "a start".
Changes will only be made when stockholders are angry...

Disney - like most big companies - are controlled by institutional investors.

Only one way to get them mad...decline in price.

Only one way to get a frivolous leisure company to fall a little...have those smiley faces start to pay attention to how much money they are giving that company.

Only one thing will do that in the age of excess.

...might as well get it over with...on a couple of levels.
 
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Chef Mickey

Well-Known Member
I’m not saying they are wrong, but profits prove Disney hasn’t lost a damn thing.

In the end, that’s the game...like it or not.

Until the profit turns, this is what we will get and more of it until that changes.
 

crispy

Well-Known Member
I won't get into the IP vs. non-IP because I see value in both.

We finally made it to Universal after booking and canceling a few times over the years. I just had a hard time with the idea of being in Orlando and skipping Disney World. But I have two girls who are Harry Potter fans so we finally pulled the trigger. No, Universal wasn't cheap, but it was still way cheaper than Disney. We had the 5 days for the price of two and stayed in a suite at Cabana Bay. A suite at a value and hopper tickets at WDW would have been at least $1000 more.

First, Cabana Bay rocked...it is what Pop Century could have been. The theming is immaculate down to Zest and V05 as toiletries. The special entrance to Volcano Bay was great.

We loved the parks! It goes without saying that Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are amazing, but Jurassic Park and Dr. Suess were pretty darn magical. WDW vacations have become stressful because they require excessive planning, are ridiculously expensive, and are so crowded. I didn't spend a lot of time planning our Universal trip...we just showed up and went with the flow. It was just so much less stressful. I loved not having to plan meals 180 days in advance. Plus, transportation to and from the parks was just faster and easier. The longest wait we had for a bus was about 5 minutes.

I am not anti-Disney or a Universal fangirl, but I hate seeing Universal dumped on. They offer a good product and in some areas they are outshining Disney World. The fact that we could be spontaneous there was the best part. I am a planner by nature, but planning a WDW trip has become too much. I work a demanding job, have two kids, and am going to graduate school part-time. I want to relax and have fun on vacation.

WDW should consider changing their slogan to "The most stressful place on Earth."
 

bUU

Well-Known Member
I thought Hans Christian Anderson was dead.
Fair enough. The point still stands: The line between EE and Moana is razor thin. More importantly, EE, being built around a legend, is less original than, say, Tron or Pandora, both of which are attractions built around stories created by people who are still alive today. The preference for dead legends over live ones is surely not universal.
 

bUU

Well-Known Member
I’m not saying they are wrong, but profits prove Disney hasn’t lost a damn thing.
In the end, that’s the game...like it or not. Until the profit turns, this is what we will get and more of it until that changes.
Yes, and what's more, y'all do not want that to happen, because the most likely path if "the profit turns" is cost-cutting and economization. That's why I think it is foolish for some of these folks to imprison themselves in a proprietary cage of self-ratified, nostalgic purism: The alternative to appreciating how things change over time is to be nothing but bitter and disappointed. And as I've said before, that's not Disney-specific - that a truism for life, in general.
 

Raineman

Well-Known Member
I won't get into the IP vs. non-IP because I see value in both.

We finally made it to Universal after booking and canceling a few times over the years. I just had a hard time with the idea of being in Orlando and skipping Disney World. But I have two girls who are Harry Potter fans so we finally pulled the trigger. No, Universal wasn't cheap, but it was still way cheaper than Disney. We had the 5 days for the price of two and stayed in a suite at Cabana Bay. A suite at a value and hopper tickets at WDW would have been at least $1000 more.

First, Cabana Bay rocked...it is what Pop Century could have been. The theming is immaculate down to Zest and V05 as toiletries. The special entrance to Volcano Bay was great.

We loved the parks! It goes without saying that Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley are amazing, but Jurassic Park and Dr. Suess were pretty darn magical. WDW vacations have become stressful because they require excessive planning, are ridiculously expensive, and are so crowded. I didn't spend a lot of time planning our Universal trip...we just showed up and went with the flow. It was just so much less stressful. I loved not having to plan meals 180 days in advance. Plus, transportation to and from the parks was just faster and easier. The longest wait we had for a bus was about 5 minutes.

I am not anti-Disney or a Universal fangirl, but I hate seeing Universal dumped on. They offer a good product and in some areas they are outshining Disney World. The fact that we could be spontaneous there was the best part. I am a planner by nature, but planning a WDW trip has become too much. I work a demanding job, have two kids, and am going to graduate school part-time. I want to relax and have fun on vacation.

WDW should consider changing their slogan to "The most stressful place on Earth."
That was a well delivered post-but I have to speak up on that last line. I am coming up on my 5th trip to WDW, and not once in the previous 4 trips have I ever been stressed out about them, either while at the parks or planning the trip. Tired? Yes. Feeling like my feet are going to fall off? Oh yeah. But not stressed. And to think that there are people out there who do get stressed during their visit, I honestly feel bad that they can’t enjoy it anymore. If I were to ever get to that point, that would be the end of the line for me as far as WDW trips, and I would be looking for an alternative (Universal sounds like a good option, as you detailed nicely), or continue to take other vacations that we already take now, ie resorts in the Caribbean, trips to Orlando where we relax and do non-theme park stuff, etc.
 

crispy

Well-Known Member
That was a well delivered post-but I have to speak up on that last line. I am coming up on my 5th trip to WDW, and not once in the previous 4 trips have I ever been stressed out about them, either while at the parks or planning the trip. Tired? Yes. Feeling like my feet are going to fall off? Oh yeah. But not stressed. And to think that there are people out there who do get stressed during their visit, I honestly feel bad that they can’t enjoy it anymore. If I were to ever get to that point, that would be the end of the line for me as far as WDW trips, and I would be looking for an alternative (Universal sounds like a good option, as you detailed nicely), or continue to take other vacations that we already take now, ie resorts in the Caribbean, trips to Orlando where we relax and do non-theme park stuff, etc.
We have seriously curtailed our trips to WDW. We went at least once a year, every year for 15 years, but since 2015, we have only done one full trip to Disney. This year, we went to Universal for a week and will take a non-Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral in October, and we won't step foot in a Disney park.

I can handle the trip planning routine because I have been so many times, but at some point, it just seems so ridiculous to make dining reservations 6 months in advance or plan a three minute ride 2 months out. Not only plan, but for certain rides, you literally have to be online the day the FP+ becomes available or you may not get one at all. And if I decide that I don't want to eat at the restaurant I made a reservation for 6 months ago, I had better figure it out because if I don't cancel in time, I will get charged $10 per person. It is just beyond silly at this point.

We ate at Mythos and the Chocolate Emporium while at Universal, and there were no advanced reservations required. We showed up the day we wanted to eat, and they sat us at a table. Easy peasy.
 
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