Eddie Sotto's take on the current state of the parks

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Missing20K

Well-Known Member
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I'm catching up a bit so I apologize if I bring up a few old comments/ideas from the discussion.

First, in regards to WOC, the decision to make it a "theater" type of show, in which there are only a few "good" seats, puzzles me. With the promenade wrapping around the lagoon, and the ability to see the lagoon from a few different attractions, I think a more "in the round", for lack of a better term, like illuminations, show would have been more presentable, and more guests would have been able to enjoy it. But it still looks like an amazing show, just an interesting choice as far as logistics, crowd control, capacity are concerned.

Second, WWHOP looks legit. From the reviews and pics, its appears to be as an immersive themed experience as nearly anything Disney has done. Maybe not quite up to the level that Africa of AK, parts of disneysea in tokyo, and the Main Street of Paris, but darn close. Greatly enjoy the fact they did not break the theming for merchandise and dining, and am looking forward to visiting.

Third, a couple pages ago, within the discussion of WWHOP and how it affects Disney and themed entertainment in general, there was some talk about some posters wanting to work for WDI or Universal Creative, etc. My question to you, Eddie, and it seems your recent work reflects this, is about the future of themed experiences. My recent research, coursework, and designs, most with an emphasis on themed experiences, are surprisingly leading me away from theme parks. It seems as though, while still being an incubator, innovator and "museum" (hate using the term, but haven't found a better one yet) to the themed experience/attraction business, theme parks seem to be increasingly marginalized as the "best" places to be immersed in another "world." Obviously, Las Vegas led the charge, and Dubai is taking the reins (financial difficulties notwithstanding), but I look to experiences like your Aston Martin dealership, Rivera, Star Trek the experience in vegas, and the Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center, as an emerging sector of themed entertainment. I was just curious if you wouldn't mind elaborating on your views of the future of themed experiences, beyond what is conveyed in your work. Also, what are your thoughts about creating "common man" themed experiences, ones that are available to a greater percentage of the population, not just those able to afford trips to Disney, et al? I realize the high costs would hinder creating public themed experiences, but I still hold out hope, as that is a personal interest of mine.

Sorry for the long winded post, as I said I had to play catch up. Hope no one minds.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
My question to you, Eddie, and it seems your recent work reflects this, is about the future of themed experiences. My recent research, coursework, and designs, most with an emphasis on themed experiences, are surprisingly leading me away from theme parks. It seems as though, while still being an incubator, innovator and "museum" (hate using the term, but haven't found a better one yet) to the themed experience/attraction business, theme parks seem to be increasingly marginalized as the "best" places to be immersed in another "world." Obviously, Las Vegas led the charge, and Dubai is taking the reins (financial difficulties notwithstanding), but I look to experiences like your Aston Martin dealership, Rivera, Star Trek the experience in vegas, and the Shuttle Launch Experience at Kennedy Space Center, as an emerging sector of themed entertainment. I was just curious if you wouldn't mind elaborating on your views of the future of themed experiences, beyond what is conveyed in your work. Also, what are your thoughts about creating "common man" themed experiences, ones that are available to a greater percentage of the population, not just those able to afford trips to Disney, et al? I realize the high costs would hinder creating public themed experiences, but I still hold out hope, as that is a personal interest of mine.

It seems that the "real world" has, over time absorbed much of what was unique and immersive in theme parks since 1955. From themed streets with facades as shopping or "lifestyle" centers, to animatronic toys, Chuck E Cheese and themed resorts, it's all come full circle, reinterpreted for new generations. Museums have even reached out to be a bit more themed. More recently, there has been a bit of a backlash against themed spaces in the aftermath of "Eatertainment" themed restaurant chains. You hear about brand authenticity. I find that Disney is not a positive in my resume at times and has to be downplayed. Hence Rivera and other projects that define themselves more design than any theme. The story is still there and very immersive, the imagery less literal. Theme is alive if you can get around calling it that. The Edison Bar downtown LA is heavily themed, (I'm jealous of how well done it is) and very successful. Architects come up with lots of bogus terms for theming and it's funny. Like "scripted spaces". I think people do want escapes but theme parks in themselves as the "big box retailers" of fun may have to compete with these smaller outings. Disneyland has gone from a full priced premium experience, to a largely discounted audience of AP's that have become the majority and use the capacity. I still think the parks are great and a good value, but they are competing with the time we all have to be entertained. Vacation times are getting shorter so the use patterns are changing too.

Let me think about the "common man" stuff.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
iPhone. leaves me ibroke. and loving it.

The iPhone 4 absolutely Rocks. Waited 3.5 hours in line and actually had fun. I will not wait in a long line for a movie or dinner or even a ride voluntarily. Except this. Why am I a technofoamer? the seeds were planted many years ago in a park far far away. I'm waiting for a small piece of Tomorrowland that never happened. "Picture phones" are just one of the broken 1967 promises Apple (and ironically AT&T) are finally making good on. (Yes I know it's only wifi right now, but they have to start somewhere, the networks will catch up). People see us in line and say we're nuts to wait for a "phone". My thought was that a phone is the device you spend more time with than any person, place or thing. Sad but true. Got free Apple logo cupcakes (iRush) and lemonade. I've been drinking Steve Job's "KoolAid" for years now so it seemed appropriate. People were actually cheering to get into the store and dump 300 bucks or more. Microsoft and Nokia must be seething. Too bad they aren't making better products. IMHO the wait was worth it, because that phone feels sooooooo solid in hand and the HD video, Facetime and that insane HD retina display is crack. Watch the video of how it's made on their site.

For my hard earned cash that "Great big beautiful tomorrow" was just a queue away. Apple is the new Disney. Welcome to Tomorrowland!
 

misterID

Well-Known Member
iPhone. leaves me ibroke. and loving it.

Haha. Bill Maher was making fun of you guys waiting in line, but your excitement is great. Funniest thing I heard all week was Jobs response to the complaints about people losing phone service when they held the phone a certain way. His response:

"Don't hold it that way."
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
iPhone. leaves me ibroke. and loving it.

Haha. Bill Maher was making fun of you guys waiting in line, but your excitement is great. Funniest thing I heard all week was Jobs response to the complaints about people losing phone service when they held the phone a certain way. His response:

"Don't hold it that way."

I can see why he did, but on the same token, no one would be willing to camp out to see him perform either. Beaten by a phone, quite strange phenom. People were coming up and were starting conversations as if they wanted us to befriend them and let them in line. Once we told them the phone was reserved in advance and we were just picking ours up, they bolted. Is waiting in line for a movie opening a better use of time? At least in the phone line you get to keep something useful. As for the "death grip" I've not had that problem, but yes, that was a VERY funny response. I think they are fixing it in a software update. The case actually is good and seems to solve it.
 

misterID

Well-Known Member
Yeah, Bill might be having a little iPhone envy. And no doubt he probably has one. But people coming up to you trying to start conversations in line is pretty funny. That could have been a Seinfeld episode.

Steve Jobs continues to blow my mind, though.

I watched this thing on Jobs and Lasseter recently about their involvement with Disney and I really hope that somehow, someway, they completely take over the company. They have a LOT of passion for it. And Walt's daughter and the old animators rave about Lasseter, saying how much they remind them of Walt.

And its good to hear UNI is being so proactive about those lines.
 

Exprcoofto

New Member
The iPhone 4 absolutely Rocks. Waited 3.5 hours in line and actually had fun. I will not wait in a long line for a movie or dinner or even a ride voluntarily. Except this. Why am I a technofoamer? the seeds were planted many years ago in a park far far away. I'm waiting for a small piece of Tomorrowland that never happened. "Picture phones" are just one of the broken 1967 promises Apple (and ironically AT&T) are finally making good on. (Yes I know it's only wifi right now, but they have to start somewhere, the networks will catch up). People see us in line and say we're nuts to wait for a "phone". My thought was that a phone is the device you spend more time with than any person, place or thing. Sad but true. Got free Apple logo cupcakes (iRush) and lemonade. I've been drinking Steve Job's "KoolAid" for years now so it seemed appropriate. People were actually cheering to get into the store and dump 300 bucks or more. Microsoft and Nokia must be seething. Too bad they aren't making better products. IMHO the wait was worth it, because that phone feels sooooooo solid in hand and the HD video, Facetime and that insane HD retina display is crack. Watch the video of how it's made on their site.

For my hard earned cash that "Great big beautiful tomorrow" was just a queue away. Apple is the new Disney. Welcome to Tomorrowland!

The iPhone 4 is absolutely amazing. I honestly didn't think the retina display was going to be a big deal, but looking back at my 3GS... wow. I love iMovie and HD video, it will make my live reports from the parks much easier (and better quality). Though I found out the other day that there is no option to upload in 720p. You can shoot and edit, but can't upload. You must take it off your phone and do it on a computer. I'm hoping for that to change, it's a big flaw. I really can't wait to see how it does with the OWLE Bubo - an iPhone add on that has a wide angle lens and an external microphone.

The design of the new phone and sleek and dare I say it, sexy. It's much better than the plastic look and feel of the previous iPhones. Sort of like the progression of Macs. As for FaceTime... it's amazing and very user friendly. However, it's a shame you must be connected to WiFi. I'd love to be able to talk with my friends and family from anywhere, not just where there is a WiFi hotspot. (though if you're near a friend with a new Android phone, they can turn their phone into a WiFi hotspot).

Overall, I'm extremely happy. We didn't wait in a line (I must of missed quite an experience) because we pre-ordered at Best Buy, since Apple.com was having so many issues. Best Buy called the day before launch day and said they didn't have enough phones. But on launch day, they got a couple more in. Maybe we'll have to have a FaceTime chat someday, since the future is here today.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
Yeah, Bill might be having a little iPhone envy. And no doubt he probably has one. But people coming up to you trying to start conversations in line is pretty funny. That could have been a Seinfeld episode.

Steve Jobs continues to blow my mind, though.

I watched this thing on Jobs and Lasseter recently about their involvement with Disney and I really hope that somehow, someway, they completely take over the company. They have a LOT of passion for it. And Walt's daughter and the old animators rave about Lasseter, saying how much they remind them of Walt.

And its good to hear UNI is being so proactive about those lines.

Steve Jobs may be a "piece of work" personally, but he does have something rare in his industry, great taste in design. He lacks fun, but John has that. I'd love to see them involved in EPCOT or Tomorrowland.
 

Buried20KLeague

Well-Known Member
The iPhone 4 absolutely Rocks. Waited 3.5 hours in line and actually had fun. I will not wait in a long line for a movie or dinner or even a ride voluntarily. Except this. Why am I a technofoamer? the seeds were planted many years ago in a park far far away. I'm waiting for a small piece of Tomorrowland that never happened. "Picture phones" are just one of the broken 1967 promises Apple (and ironically AT&T) are finally making good on. (Yes I know it's only wifi right now, but they have to start somewhere, the networks will catch up). People see us in line and say we're nuts to wait for a "phone". My thought was that a phone is the device you spend more time with than any person, place or thing. Sad but true. Got free Apple logo cupcakes (iRush) and lemonade. I've been drinking Steve Job's "KoolAid" for years now so it seemed appropriate. People were actually cheering to get into the store and dump 300 bucks or more. Microsoft and Nokia must be seething. Too bad they aren't making better products. IMHO the wait was worth it, because that phone feels sooooooo solid in hand and the HD video, Facetime and that insane HD retina display is crack. Watch the video of how it's made on their site.

For my hard earned cash that "Great big beautiful tomorrow" was just a queue away. Apple is the new Disney. Welcome to Tomorrowland!

I've gotta agree. I got mine the day before release, and to my surprise it activated a day early with no problem! The thing is pretty crazy. I just tried out the facetime option last night for the first time. It's just nuts. Boggles the mind.

EDIT TO ADD (And make it topical): THIS is the sort of thing they should be showing at Epcot. A year ago.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Steve Jobs may be a "piece of work" personally, but he does have something rare in his industry, great taste in design. He lacks fun, but John has that. I'd love to see them involved in EPCOT or Tomorrowland.
Except if you are a lefty like myself.:D
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
I've gotta agree. I got mine the day before release, and to my surprise it activated a day early with no problem! The thing is pretty crazy. I just tried out the facetime option last night for the first time. It's just nuts. Boggles the mind.

EDIT TO ADD (And make it topical): THIS is the sort of thing they should be showing at Epcot. A year ago.

Easier said than done, but yes. Products that change your workflow or your life. YES.

When you add the functionality of the new phone to the iPad (which has created it's own market as others copy it), they really have a breakthrough product line that changes your daily ritual. I find myself surfing in bed with the pad or using it to "mark up" artwork sent in emails from other artists and send it back sans scanning and printing (using a stylus and art software). Invaluable as it saves time and $$$. The laptop gets less and less use but still need it for travel with Photoshop and Keynote. That will change in time.
(Hoping for iPad Pro with more robust computer like features).

The HD video feature in the phone means I'm not carrying that piece of equipment with me. The still camera is good too. Will look into the cost of tethering the phone to the computer and pad. We handed the old 3GS phones down to our tweens who went camping with friends and we were able to send videos via text back and forth and keep in touch with them. Awesome.

When Tomorrowland can REALLY change things for the better and you can preview those things at the park, it's powerful. I know Apple will never divulge what they are up to, but Disney can show what is being developed overall in gesture interfaces (minority report kind of stuff), bio tech, medicine and things like that.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Button design makes it tough, yes. My daughter is a lefty and I see the issues firsthand on practically everything, from Guitars to even grip pens. Good point. Steve Job's addressed leftys with "Hold don't it way that".
I was actually considering getting one in the next few months when I am eligible for an upgrade. I would rather have an android based phone but it does not look like AT&T will be getting a good android phone in the near future so the iPhone was going to win by default. Then I picked up a iPhone 4 and the sucker would drop a call whenever I picked it up. I have always heard Apple fanboys rave about how good their stuff was and then they somehow design a phone that can't be used by a south paw. Hopefully when Windows 7 phone drops in October a Zune phone or something equivalent will be offered by AT&T.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
I was actually considering getting one in the next few months when I am eligible for an upgrade. I would rather have an android based phone but it does not look like AT&T will be getting a good android phone in the near future so the iPhone was going to win by default. Then I picked up a iPhone 4 and the sucker would drop a call whenever I picked it up. I have always heard Apple fanboys rave about how good their stuff was and then they somehow design a phone that can't be used by a south paw. Hopefully when Windows 7 phone drops in October a Zune phone or something equivalent will be offered by AT&T.

My daughter is a lefty and loves her 3GS. Try out the 4 with the case. Its never been the ultimate phone, but I did facetime from the office with the kids tonight and it was really fun
.
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
My daughter is a lefty and loves her 3GS. Try out the 4 with the case. Its never been the ultimate phone, but I did facetime from the office with the kids tonight and it was really fun
.
If it were only that simple...darn principles getting in the way again. Had Apple acknowledged the problem (it is starting to come to light that they have know about the issue for a while) and given away cases for free with the phone I would consider it. Instead Job's decided to go with the "Hold the phone a different way" response and there is simply no way I can give money to a company that will blatantly treat their customers that badly.
 

wdwmagic

Administrator
Moderator
The iPhone 4 absolutely Rocks. Waited 3.5 hours in line and actually had fun. I will not wait in a long line for a movie or dinner or even a ride voluntarily. Except this. Why am I a technofoamer? the seeds were planted many years ago in a park far far away. I'm waiting for a small piece of Tomorrowland that never happened. "Picture phones" are just one of the broken 1967 promises Apple (and ironically AT&T) are finally making good on. (Yes I know it's only wifi right now, but they have to start somewhere, the networks will catch up). People see us in line and say we're nuts to wait for a "phone". My thought was that a phone is the device you spend more time with than any person, place or thing. Sad but true. Got free Apple logo cupcakes (iRush) and lemonade. I've been drinking Steve Job's "KoolAid" for years now so it seemed appropriate. People were actually cheering to get into the store and dump 300 bucks or more. Microsoft and Nokia must be seething. Too bad they aren't making better products. IMHO the wait was worth it, because that phone feels sooooooo solid in hand and the HD video, Facetime and that insane HD retina display is crack. Watch the video of how it's made on their site.

For my hard earned cash that "Great big beautiful tomorrow" was just a queue away. Apple is the new Disney. Welcome to Tomorrowland!

Totally agree! iPhone 4 is fantastic.

At the moment I feel Apple is the new Disney. How many organizations today put their founder and top guy out front and center to do a product launch. A massive part of their success is how Steve Jobs totally believes in his product, just like Walt Disney did. I can't think of any other company that gets anywhere near the worldwide exposure that a Jobs presentation gets.

How about Disney putting Lassetter front and center?
 

Lee

Adventurer
I would rather have an android based phone but it does not look like AT&T will be getting a good android phone in the near future so the iPhone was going to win by default.
AT&T is getting the Samsung Captivate (Galaxy), an Android phone, that looks very nice.
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/devices/samsung-captivate.jsp

I loves me my Iphone 4. Haven't dropped a call yet and the screen is amazing. Plus, holding the 4 you really feel like you are holding a solid, high-end, luxury device rather than just a phone.
I have never owned an Apple product until I got the first Iphone. Then a 3G. Then a 3GS. Now I have no interest in any other phone. Ever.
(Of course, until this year I worked for AT&T and got them all (and the service) free....:D Now, working for one of their competitors, I still renewed my contract and got an I4. I honestly had no choice.)
 
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