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

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Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
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Since we are now shifting gears to Disney's hotels, I was curious to see what Eddie thinks of the new Disney Vacation Club hotel now adjacent to the Contemporary Resort serving as both Tomorrowland backdrop and odd neighbor to the A-Frame.

Out of fairness I have never stayed at the DVC and I'm sure it's a fine hotel. But, just... Why?

Welton Becket must be spinning.
I have not been to see it, only in images. It does not seem very imaginative, but it depends on how it is seen in context to the Contemporary. It may be a fitting soft backdrop, and that could work.
 

Mansion Butler

Active Member
I don't hate them either, in fact when inside they are interesting spaces. I guess it's not the what, it's the where. They are visual intrusions to EPCOT WS and Eisner was warned of this by showing him a model, but blew the advice off and later upon seeing what he had done, wanted to build a huge berm to hide them from the park. The other thing is that IMHO they don't work in the close up. There is no intrinsic quality to them, they are like temporary blown stucco buildings. You can't take them seriously because they don't believe in themselves. If they were faced in marble or some other quality material and the craftsmanship was there, you might buy into it. You do buy into the Boardwalk as done by Robert Stern. The Geary designed Disney Hall is wild, yet the sheets of metal are beautiful as materials and you take it more seriously because it has an integrity of execution to it. The Graves stuff to me is very World's Fair and flat looking. Disney at it's essence is timeless. Just an opinion.
An opinion I primarily agree with, perhaps less strongly. I'm usually pretty harsh on visual intrusions, but I don't hate the hotels as much as some people (I'd certainly do without them). I'm not sure why, maybe I just got use to them at a young age.
 

imagineer boy

Well-Known Member
You have to like his style. I happen to like it, just not at the monster building size and not in WDW. The Team Disney building is interesting and well done. As it's not in a themed environment it succeeds to me and the furnishings and quality are there. It now captures those boom years of Michael. The inside is extremely hard to navigate as it's offices are an endless series of isolated compartments. You are not allowed to change pictures on the walls or anything without permission so it all looks the same. People sometimes complain of getting lost in it. I thought this could have been an inside joke about the real "team" Disney. Graves designs seem dated to me and so I'm almost nostalgic about the TD building now.
I don't hate it, but the way the Dwarfs are lined up makes it kinda feel like the capitol building of an opressive empire.:lol::shrug:

I listened to the new music they have on your SM and it is off board. Anyone heard it in person yet? Let us know what you think. I heard it here. It's kind of Techno meets Nintendo. Interesting, but you'd have to sense it in the ride to know.


http://micechat.com/forums/blogs/weekend-update/1606-space-mountain-soundtrack;-discovery-kingdom;-power-rangers-convention;-indian-ruins.html
I think its just okay. I think it enhances the attraction somewhat, but I don't think it captures that sci-fi spacey feel like DL's does. i think its just a little too techno.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
Graves designs seem dated to me and so I'm almost nostalgic about the TD building now.
I agree about the Michael Graves aesthetic; it seems to belong to the era of "Golden Girls" and larger-than-life 80s culture. But like you, I do admire it in a nostalgic sense.

I have not been to see it, only in images. It does not seem very imaginative, but it depends on how it is seen in context to the Contemporary. It may be a fitting soft backdrop, and that could work.
Like other Disney and architecture fans, I was disturbed to see the concept art for Bay Lake Tower. It seemed to be an unimaginative wing tacked on to the Contemporary to sell DVC memberships. Let's be honest; that's basically what it was. But in person, the BLT's blandness makes the Contemporary stand out even more than it did before; and the wing really doesn't look bad at all. I think anything more elaborate than the simple curve would have been too competitive with Contemporary's unique shape.

An opinion I primarily agree with, perhaps less strongly. I'm usually pretty harsh on visual intrusions, but I don't hate the hotels as much as some people (I'd certainly do without them). I'm not sure why, maybe I just got use to them at a young age.
I'm with you, Butler. Although World Showcase looked better before the Swan and Dolphin, I don't hate the intrusions because I grew up seeing them. Honestly, the juxtaposition of famous regional landmarks always made World Showcase seem more like a World's Fair than a real place, and the "monster architecture" didn't seem like too much of a stretch from Epcot's Future World. It helps that the hotels are only visible from the eastern half of WS.

Now as for the massive Soarin' building behind Canada—well, that's another story.
 

Mansion Butler

Active Member
To be honest, the juxtaposition of famous regional landmarks always made World Showcase seem more like a World's Fair than a real place, and the "monster architecture" didn't seem like too much of a stretch from Epcot's Future World. It helps that the hotels are only visible from the eastern half of WS.
This is also a fantastic point. I don't feel like I'm being whisked away to a fantastic, other place when I'm at Epcot. I feel like I'm at an exhibition of really cool things.
 

Mr.EPCOT

Active Member
I think some of you are inadvertently talking about two different Team Disney buildings - the corporate headquarters in Burbank designed by Michael Graves, and the building in Walt Disney World, which I believe was designed by someone else.
 

Slowjack

Well-Known Member
I think some of you are inadvertently talking about two different Team Disney buildings - the corporate headquarters in Burbank designed by Michael Graves, and the building in Walt Disney World, which I believe was designed by someone else.
Yes, the TDO building is by Arata Isozaki. Both buildings were built under Eisner, though, so they are connected in that sense.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
I think some of you are inadvertently talking about two different Team Disney buildings - the corporate headquarters in Burbank designed by Michael Graves, and the building in Walt Disney World, which I believe was designed by someone else.
I was talking about Burbank. As to the intrusion issue, I think the hotels really hurt the forced perspective of the Eiffel Tower the most.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
As to the intrusion issue, I think the hotels really hurt the forced perspective of the Eiffel Tower the most.
Agreed. The Eiffel Tower works from certain sides of the lagoon, but as soon as the Swan/Dolphin are also in sight, the tower shrinks to a desktop knickknack.
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
Agreed. The Eiffel Tower works from certain sides of the lagoon, but as soon as the Swan/Dolphin are also in sight, the tower shrinks to a desktop knickknack.
That was Eisner's concern when he saw the two together, John Hench was asked to deal with it, but the size the berm would have to be to hide the intrusion would be gigantic and so they gave up and moved on.
 

IWant2GoNow

Well-Known Member
You probably already know about this Micechat thread, but it centers on old images of WDW. Some great pics posted there. There is one shot of Imagineer Kim Irvine (who now is down at DL) painting a figure from Snow White.

http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disney-world-resort/143120-wdw-old-photos-ephemera-thread-2.html#post1056224966
Thanks for posting this, Eddie. It's awesome to be able to look back at the past through these nostalgic photos. Being born in '82, and my first trip not being until '94, I missed out on quite a bit of WDW's older attractions and looks. Glad people are sharing their old pics with the Dis-nerd community. :animwink:
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
Thanks for posting this, Eddie. It's awesome to be able to look back at the past through these nostalgic photos. Being born in '82, and my first trip not being until '94, I missed out on quite a bit of WDW's older attractions and looks. Glad people are sharing their old pics with the Dis-nerd community. :animwink:
Here's another site for old school, WDW. "If you had Wings " is featured here.

http://waltdatedworld.bravepages.com/id45.htm

http://www.omniluxe.net/wyw/iyhwannex.htm
 

Mansion Butler

Active Member
Dreamflight was my favorite ride as a kid. I acknowledge now it was kind of boring, but sometimes when I'm in the park these days, I would kind of like to get on an omnimover with no wait and listen to cool music.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
You probably already know about this Micechat thread, but it centers on old images of WDW. Some great pics posted there. There is one shot of Imagineer Kim Irvine (who now is down at DL) painting a figure from Snow White.

http://micechat.com/forums/walt-disney-world-resort/143120-wdw-old-photos-ephemera-thread-2.html#post1056224966
Wow, great find!

Eddie, does any level of WDI possess veto power to override a decision made by local park management (e.g. TDA or TDO)? Even if that person doesn't actually use the authority for political or other inter-company reasons, does the power theoretically exist for quality control? I know Disney Co execs ultimately have the final authority, but does WDI always have to appeal to them to force refurbs and maintenance at the parks?
 

Eddie Sotto

Premium Member
Wow, great find!

Eddie, does any level of WDI possess veto power to override a decision made by local park management (e.g. TDA or TDO)? Even if that person doesn't actually use the authority for political or other inter-company reasons, does the power theoretically exist for quality control? I know Disney Co execs ultimately have the final authority, but does WDI always have to appeal to them to force refurbs and maintenance at the parks?
Not really, at least when I was there. You could make a fuss but it was hard to stop them from doing certain things. You'd just try and make the best of the direction they wanted to head in. The parks and WDI are all one division now, so I'm not sure how it works today. I'm sure it's better. The management of the parks want to see high guest satisfaction numbers and quality plays into that. It's everyone's priority, but of course, the operators are tasked to balance running a business too. Corporate is the "Supreme Court" of big issues. WDI had seats on the planning committees for the parks too and I sat on those master planning meetings. The parks lay out their plans and what they are looking for and you try and accomodate them. You could lobby for something, but you pretty much have to do what you're instructed to do. I think if you have a good enough reason you will be heard, and most of time I got a compromise, but you have to be willing to give up something. I think it's basically a healthy relationship, art and commerce. When you see the characters in IASW or something like that, it's usually a compromised result of losing the ride or doing something far worse.
 
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