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Haunted Mansion to Return with New Enhancements and Magic :(

mandstaft

Well-Known Member
. . . I think you may misunderstand what Kim Irvine's job is.

She's not a Marc Davis or Tony Baxter or Joe Rohde, proposing attractions and seeing their development through to opening day. She's an Art Director. Her purview is much more related to the existing menu of Disneyland attractions than it is to creating new ones. Her job literally is to try to maintain the integrity of the existing attractions despite changes being deemed necessary by higher-ups - whether they be creative executives or otherwise.

She makes appearances in these videos because she leads the art direction of lots of these smaller projects and is the most senior person to talk to about them, not because she's insisting on it to rise her star. We've seen time and time again that she's not particularly comfortable on camera. She didn't even WANT to do Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion Holiday, she did it because she was assured if she didn't they would just hire some rando who had no connection to the park, so she took the opportunity to keep it in the family. And, truthfully, who doesn't love the fun fact that the HMH Leota is played by the original's daughter?

All this to say - most of these "50/50 changes" you're referring to were overseen at least in part by her. Give her credit for the lesser ones, sure, but then give her credit for the greater ones too. Much of her job is negotiating what stays in, leaves, and returns to the park's attractions as they exist. Some other Imagineer might have insisted on a new scene of their own design - instead Kim Irvine gave us something that had the history of the Mansion baked into it. We'll see if it plays out well in person.

You should have HEARD what they WANTED to do to Small World before she stepped in and convinced them to merely just add some Disney Characters to it instead. I don't love that change, but the alternative would have been FAR worse. But it's not like she spoke up out of nowhere and said "WE NEED TO BISMIRCH SMALL WORLD", as many would have you believe. That's not her job. Her job is to listen to what the Company wants the park to become and try to massage that into something that retains the park's DNA rather than changes it fundementally.
I'd take Kim Irvine's work over the team that "transformed" Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier! Any day.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Among the Disney Stan and social media community I also believe Mary Blair is recently being seen/rediscovered (deservedly) as trendsetter in her own right, in some cases exceeding even Marc Davis and John Hench.

In a 280-character limit world where there have to be “good” and “bad” forces she’s seen as being good in the mind of most. Blair’s work is a “good” nostalgia as opposed to a taboo one.

Plus IASW is an incredibly popular ride with young children and families and its status as a “Walt original” will help keep it around. The addition of the characters as well as merch sales from dolls to stylized clothing and accessories which will keep it around. And the holiday layover and character infusions are proof that investments continue to be made in the ride itself.
Wait till they find out she did the art for SotS 😉
 

mandstaft

Well-Known Member
In their rush to fix attractions, the suits have only revealed what's in their hearts. There's very little respect for the art of the Imagineers who created an amazing park. It's all about the cash.
 

Professortango1

Well-Known Member
IASW is a part of DLR's identity, especially with its current age. Most examples of classic attractions being gutted occurred decades ago (Adventure through Inner Space, the Mine Train, Mission to Mars) when said attractions weren't nearly as iconic as IASW, HM or PotC at their time of removal. Therefore, whenever people make the argument that they've "done it before," it isn't relevant to IASW or any other classic above the age of 50, because those removals occurred long ago for specific reasons. I believe, once an attraction reaches its 50th anniversary, its unlikely to go away due to its impact on pop culture. IASW is a pop culture giant, many think of the attraction whenever they think of DLR.

The song itself is incredibly famous in its own right, the capacity is amazing, and it has stood the test of time now for decades, and shows no signs of slowing down. If they feel they need to update the attraction from a technological standpoint, then that'll probably be their first option before doing away with it all together. The concept itself is quite possibly the most timeless thing in a Disney park.

I disagree. I think everything will eventually change. People my age are nostalgic about movies/TV they saw in the 80's/90's. IASW was old when I was a kid. Its like when they tried to bring back Captain EO, it felt corny and dated in a modern Disneyland. I would also argue that Splash Mountain is a classic attraction, being cloned at almost every Disney resort and featuring one of Disney's better known tunes. We saw WDW already toy with changing Tiki Room. The show backfired because it was terrible, but it shows that nothing is "untouchable" for Disney. I think the show's small footprint and placement is the only thing that has saved it at Disneyland.

The Submarine Voyage was 49 years old when it was changed and I doubt it will last another 25 years. Autopia is well over 50 years and has been on the chopping block for decades. As much as I LOVE Mr. Toad, I would be shocked if its still there for the park's 100th birthday given how unknown the IP is. Storybookland, as mentioned earlier by others, is not a stretch to see getting cut/changed drastically.

Things will change. I do think IASW will last longer than I'd like (it already has), but I just don't see it as having the same staying power as other Disney staples.
 

TP2000

Well-Known Member
I simply think the screen separators are up so that your eyes are more directed to the new painting.

I agree. And perhaps also to screen off the rather mundane and unattractive wheelchair parking area they are apparently putting on the other side of the screen.

I think the Imagineers consider this a more blended version of extending the portrait hallway into the loading area, and artistically and storytelling-wise it makes sense to them that way.

But my fear is that this will only obscure the loading area more, and make it more of a shock to the toddling elderly or the nervous first timers when they make a 180 degree turn and suddenly find a moving conveyor belt at their feet. That scenario was already bad enough when you had plenty of time to shuffle alongside it and see what was happening to you soon. Now it seems to be hidden and more sudden.
 

Professortango1

Well-Known Member
Such a campaign would fail miserably, and wouldn't get anywhere. Disney themselves would have a difficult time justifying its removal, and IASW isn't connected to anything problematic or taboo like SM was. SotS is commonly known as the "super mega racist taboo" film in Disney's library. It's incredibly infamous, and SM being connected to the film, has been awaiting its current fate for decades now. IASW is an attraction all about world peace.

That's something difficult to ignore when justifying its removal due to its somewhat unrealistic depiction of cultures. The attraction is literally saying "don't be racist." Sure, a few twitter users may scrutinize the attraction for such depictions, but such a claim would be shot down immediately before even making the rounds on the internet, or gaining any sort of reasonable traction. People will complain about almost anything nowadays with the advent of social media. That doesn't always mean such complaints are addressed, especially those with minimal pieces of evidence.

Disney doesn't need to have a smear campaign though. As we've seen with WDW's Snow White and Toad, they can just announce a change and the general public will eat it up. People protested and wrote letters and made signs, but once the new ride is built, most people have gotten over it. Disney fans love to complain, but we will still be there to drink in that oh so tastey Disney feels. If Disney announced they were replacing IASW with a Frozen ride, the general public would celebrate it. Us board trolls will cross our arms and stomp around, but many will still pay $$ to come to a preview event for the new ride and wait in line for our limited edition popcorn bucket. Disney knows that their fans aren't going anywhere so long as they keep delivering experiences at a quality and attention to detail better than other parks. Heck, I know casual Disney fans who love Mission BO and Incredicoaster. Its very clear to Disney that they don't need to placate the die hards.
 

Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
Disney doesn't need to have a smear campaign though. As we've seen with WDW's Snow White and Toad, they can just announce a change and the general public will eat it up. People protested and wrote letters and made signs, but once the new ride is built, most people have gotten over it. Disney fans love to complain, but we will still be there to drink in that oh so tastey Disney feels. If Disney announced they were replacing IASW with a Frozen ride, the general public would celebrate it. Us board trolls will cross our arms and stomp around, but many will still pay $$ to come to a preview event for the new ride and wait in line for our limited edition popcorn bucket. Disney knows that their fans aren't going anywhere so long as they keep delivering experiences at a quality and attention to detail better than other parks. Heck, I know casual Disney fans who love Mission BO and Incredicoaster. Its very clear to Disney that they don't need to placate the die hards.
They most certainly do need a smear campaign for an “E Ticket”. Look at what they received for the ToT announcement, and that was just for a crappy clone. If SotS was an animated film and didn’t have the controversy, that announcement would not have gone over well.
 

Homemade Imagineering

Well-Known Member

While we’re on the topic of IASW, here’s a great article explaining what it’s removal would mean to the original park.
 

Professortango1

Well-Known Member
They most certainly do need a smear campaign for an “E Ticket”. Look at what they received for the ToT announcement, and that was just for a crappy clone. If SotS was an animated film and didn’t have the controversy, that announcement would not have gone over well.

They received hate for the TOT announcement, and now nobody cares. TOT was my favourite ride that Disney had created, but even I still go to the parks after they unceremoniously replaced it with a bad USH knock off. The general public wants new exciting stuff based on the things their family watches, not stuff grampa likes.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
What wasn't clear at Phantom Manor? The Phantom was hanging Melanie's fiance.

I was 10 the first time I rode Phantom Manor and I got it instantly, and I had walked in those doors expecting the ride itself to be identical to the other Mansions. Walking into the room and seeing totally new versions of the Stretching Paintings threw me for a total loop. That I didn't understand the French narration didn't help - but when the lights flashed up above the story became clear.

That said, I do somewhat doubt the ability of the current crop of Imagineers to put a new cap on the Stretch Room experience that does all the things the current one does. Though I understand the impulse behind questioning if it should change.
I don't recall how/if they restaged it after the refurb, but it's very visually busy in a way that the original HM hanging corpse is not. With the flashing of the lights, and depending on where you're standing, if you don't know what's up there, you might be able to tell that there are *things* up there but take a while to figure out what you're looking at, compared to the near instant read of the original. At least in 2015, that was certainly not the only area of the attraction where things were not nearly as instantly readable as in the older Mansions.
HM and POTC have received plussing to make the attraction more attractive to modern guests. IASW tried plugging in Disney cameos, but the ride still feels very dated.

As the park approaches 75 years old, we'll begin to see more and more classic attractions go by the wayside. It makes sense. While I love old movies and vintage stuff, most people are attracted to more modern storytelling. Disney wants to market to families. That means parents 18-45 and their kids. If they find that kids/parents no longer care about a ride, they aren't going to care what a small vocal group of diehards think. It will be hard to see old friends taken away. Its why I no longer feel DCA is worth visiting as so little of what I loved about it remains. But, that's life. My mom missed Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland but grew to love Big Thunder.
Removing attractions over 50 years old tends not to happen much because by that point it tends to feel like overstepping bounds. If they do remove something that old, mark my words, it will be Lincoln or the Subs, things that are either under-utilized or maintenance nightmares. IASW is basically the third most iconic attraction in the entire park, has huge capacity, and everyone can ride it. Even if you don't like it and pop culture loves to mock the song, it's not going anywhere.
In their rush to fix attractions, the suits have only revealed what's in their hearts. There's very little respect for the art of the Imagineers who created an amazing park. It's all about the cash.
But honestly, that's been the case for a long time. Chapek's gotten more blatant about it than it may have been for awhile, but you could go at least as far back as Pressler and make the same argument.
 
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Brer Oswald

Well-Known Member
They received hate for the TOT announcement, and now nobody cares. TOT was my favourite ride that Disney had created, but even I still go to the parks after they unceremoniously replaced it with a bad USH knock off. The general public wants new exciting stuff based on the things their family watches, not stuff grampa likes.
The general public are the ones that complain Disney is too expensive. If they ever get to go, I’m telling you right now, it won’t be because of a “relevant” retheme.

The only benefit here for Disney is that they get to sell relevant merchandise.
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
I don't recall how/if they restaged it after the refurb, but it's very visually busy in a way that the original HM hanging corpse is not. With the flashing of the lights, and depending on where you're standing, if you don't know what's up there, you might be able to tell that there are *things* up there but take a while to figure out what you're looking at, compared to the near instant read of the original. At least in 2015, that was certainly not the only area of the attraction where things were not nearly as instantly readable as in the older Mansions.

I don't know, I thought the presence of the Phantom actually clarified things a little bit. I'm always surprised by how many people are confused by the Hanging Man in the stateside Mansions, but if you don't know what you're supposed to be looking at I guess seeing a hanging skeleton from straight below isn't the optimal angle. Having the Phantom there made an quick read of the situation - that he was actively hanging the man. The man also wasn't a skeleton, he was actively being killed, which made it a little easier to recognize a person in it. Like I said, I expected to see a hanging skeleton, and instead was hit with a whole bunch of new information, and I got it immediately even at a young age. Not that I feel the Phantom should be added to the other Mansion stretch rooms, it just worked for that version.

I agree that things were murkier elsewhere in the attraction, but I thought that added to the mystery. It really left guests lots of room to piece together the puzzle themselves in the way they wanted. I find my own interpretation of the original Phantom Manor MUCH more interesting than the version we're spoonfed now that they've revised it. Like when a horror movie shows less of the creature rather than more - it lets the audience project onto it and makes things much more personal.

Now the Phantom just hangs out there with a noose in his hand, no longer hanging Melanie's fiance, or anyone. It's harder to read because the empty noose doesn't register as much of anything, and I thought being witness to a dramatic murder in a Western Ghost Story was much more engrossing than, like, an empty threat from a static figure. Not to mention the connotations possible depending on the guest experiencing it . . . the scene was more effective to me before in almost every way.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
I don't know, I thought the presence of the Phantom actually clarified things a little bit. I'm always surprised by how many people are confused by the Hanging Man in the stateside Mansions, but if you don't know what you're supposed to be looking at I guess seeing a hanging skeleton from straight below isn't the optimal angle. Having the Phantom there made an quick read of the situation - that he was actively hanging the man. The man also wasn't a skeleton, he was actively being killed, which made it a little easier to recognize a person in it. Like I said, I expected to see a hanging skeleton, and instead was hit with a whole bunch of new information, and I got it immediately even at a young age. Not that I feel the Phantom should be added to the other Mansion stretch rooms, it just worked for that version.

I agree that things were murkier elsewhere in the attraction, but I thought that added to the mystery. It really left guests lots of room to piece together the puzzle themselves in the way they wanted. I find my own interpretation of the original Phantom Manor MUCH more interesting than the version we're spoonfed now that they've revised it. Like when a horror movie shows less of the creature rather than more - it lets the audience project onto it and makes things much more personal.

Now the Phantom just hangs out there with a noose in his hand, no longer hanging Melanie's fiance, or anyone. It's harder to read because the empty noose doesn't register as much of anything, and I thought being witness to a dramatic murder in a Western Ghost Story was much more engrossing than, like, an empty threat from a static figure. Not to mention the connotations possible depending on the guest experiencing it . . . the scene was more effective to me before in almost every way.
Although I respect what they were trying to do when they created it, for me Phantom Manor just didn't work to the level intended by the designers, or to the level that it needed to in order to be a fully satisfying experience.

Back in 2015 I knew exactly what I was supposed to be looking at in the PM stretching room, and even so, from where I was standing on my first ever ride through, it was hard to make out what was there. I saw dummies and legs before I saw anything else or could make out any detail, and the only illumination was from rapidly flashing, and short, lightning.

Elsewhere in the attraction, although it was murky, the biggest problem for me was that it simply too dark. It was to the point that I couldn't tell if the darkness was intentional or if it was supposed to be covering up the neglect that, in 2015, was still rampant at Disneyland Paris. I would look at the suit of armor outside the endless hallway and have no idea if it moved or not, or even if it was supposed to, because of the visibility levels were just that low. Things that weren't all that far from me that I would have been easy to make out on a Haunted Mansion were distorted by darkness.

Ultimately I'm pretty close to Foxxy's view on Phantom Manor: In her Mansion book, she says something to the effect of "people reride Haunted Mansion to discover new details, and people reride Phantom Manor to figure out what the heck they just saw." If I didn't know what the story was going into it, it would have been incomprehensible on first ridethrough and required several rides just to figure out what was going on. While rides shouldn't spoonfeed people what's going on as if they're complete idiots, I think they should strive for a certain level of clarity and narrative economy-something that Phantom Manor, for me, lacked. Given that, while I don't love everything they did with the refurb, I think that overall it was a net gain (at least from the POVs I've seen), and its less of a dumbing down of the attraction's mystery and more of a beneficial streamlining. Naturally, YMMV.

RE the noose in the redone stretching room: I believe the current empty noose is supposed to be a threat to the guests in the stretching room. It goes well with the restored Price dialogue: "Everyone is doomed at Phantom Manor: even you!"
 

Mickeyboof

Well-Known Member
Phantom Manor is a mediocre remake of HM. Not offensive you understand, but the type you wonder why they even bothered redoing it.

A mediocre remake!? It’s absolutely not. From the incredible wallpaper transformation in the foyer (and the fading tricks of the portrait gallery) to the underground crypts, Phantom Manor succeeds in each and every reimagined moment it presents. It is should be the crown jewel of “plusing” an attraction.

I mean, really, the ghostly western village scene is one of the most whimsical and memorable moments in Disney’s dark ride portfolio. It’s a perfectly marvelous version!
 

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