Losing Your Disney Faith

Brer Panther

Well-Known Member
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Okay, this is likely gonna be a long post, just a fair warning...

My faith in Disney has been dwindling since, I'd say, 2014 or 2016. Regardless, when I went to Disney World in 2017 and 2019, I still had a great time. And I was really looking forward to going again in July (we had to postpone due to this stupid pandemic). I still love roaming the parks and going on attractions like Test Track and Kilimanjaro Safaris. However, the Splash Mountain debacle has proven to me once and for all that Disney isn't the company that it once was.

I wanted to believe that Bob Iger was a nice guy. But I'm sorry, he (or at least the current, post-2013 Iger) is quite possibly the worst CEO in Disney history. Even worse than post-Disneyland Paris Eisner. Why? Well, for one thing, under Iger's control, Disney has become an incredibly cowardly company. They won't build attractions not based on IPs anymore because they think people don't like IP-less rides. They don't make hand-drawn movies anymore because the most recent hand-drawn movies (including the very movie that they suddenly did a 180 on because it fits their agenda) flopped, conveniently ignoring that maybe the reason they flopped is because they put them up against big blockbuster films like Harry Potter sequels and Avatar. They're terrified of taking risks. They gleefully greenlit things simply to cash in on the success of other things - Maleficent and Cinderella made a ton of money at the box office, greenlight MORE live action remakes of our animated films. The Jungle Book was a success, greenlight a "live action" remake of The Lion King directed by the same guy using the same technology. Hasbro makes a lot of money off that "Littlest Pet Shop" thing, make this a thing.

As it stands, the company is blah, bland, soulless, cowardly, and condescending. It doesn't care about its fans. All it cares about is its image and making money. But, so long as at least a large percentage of the things that I love about Disney World are still there, I'll still go and have a good time.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
They don't make hand-drawn movies anymore because the most recent hand-drawn movies (including the very movie that they suddenly did a 180 on because it fits their agenda) flopped...
Despite being a very good movie, Disney buried TPATF until they needed to make themselves look good. The media and many fan blogs are too cowardly to point that out.


As it stands, the company is blah, bland, soulless, cowardly, and condescending. It doesn't care about its fans. All it cares about is its image and making money. But, so long as at least a large percentage of the things that I love about Disney World are still there, I'll still go and have a good time.
I agree 100%. There’s still good stuff and I will still enjoy myself, but I’ve also accepted the “true” Disney Co. — outside the theme parks — is dead. At this point, it’s a zombie company living off marketing hype. That won’t last forever, either.

To say it another way, chunks of the parks DO still have that classic magic in many places, and I will continue to enjoy those moments! Yet I’ve also become realistic about the big corporate picture outside the parks themselves.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
Beautifully said and this post should be pinned at the top of the forums.

I too have come to grips over the past few years that the "Disney" that I used to work for decades ago and the parks that I grew up loving and kept visiting all through my adulthood, my children, and into my children's adulthoods just doesn't exist anymore besides in my memories.

When I go to Epcot now, I'm not really going to today's Epcot, I'm going to a place that used to be Epcot and wander around and remember what it was and try to recreate the feelings without really opening my eyes and taking in what it actually "is". Same with the Magic Kingdom, the hotels, etc, etc.

I've learned to dramatically lower my standards for creativity, charm, and warmth and lower my expectations for future changes.

I went through "denial" and now I'm living in "acceptance" - take your photos in front of the purple wall and three pound cupcake - it doesn't bother me, it just makes me realize that is now what "Disney" is - not what I carry in my memories.

Boomer out.
Ironically, it’s Disney+ that made me come to realize all this. As I spent the first few weeks of pandemic nights watching old and modern classics ranging from The Absent-Minded Professor to the original Jungle Book to the animated Lion King (and some not-quite-classics like Hercules), it struck me: “This company doesn’t exist anymore.”

Throughout Eisner’s days, people accused Disney of being a soul-less marketing machine, but that was only true of his last few years. That era was actually ushered in through Iger and Chapek.

The last time the company coasted on nostalgia was the 1970s through early ‘80s, and audiences were willing to call them out on it. The Cult of Mickey hadn’t been formed yet, and as a result, the company course-corrected and gave us the Disney Renaissance (which actually began with poor Ron Miller’s short time at the helm).
 
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George Lucas on a Bench

Well-Known Member
Part of the problem with current Disney is that it's ALL based on movies. Believe it or not, the Disney parks used to attract people who weren't interested in movies. Historically, I'm not even much of a fan of Disney movies. That's not to say movies weren't a part of DL or Magic Kingdom, but so many attractions had nothing to do with them, really. Everything they do now feels like a commercial for a movie and that adds to the overall cold corporate manufactured atmosphere of modern faithless Godless Walt-less Disney.
 

RobWDW1971

Well-Known Member
Part of the problem with current Disney is that it's ALL based on movies. Believe it or not, the Disney parks used to attract people who weren't interested in movies. Historically, I'm not even much of a fan of Disney movies. That's not to say movies weren't a part of DL or Magic Kingdom, but so many attractions had nothing to do with them, really. Everything they do now feels like a commercial for a movie and that adds to the overall cold corporate manufactured atmosphere of modern faithless Disney.
It is also in the "how" they execute the movies - for just one example, the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse was based on a Disney movie, it felt organic and you lived the adventure and I loved it for years. Tarzan's Treehouse - um, well, not so much.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
Part of the problem with current Disney is that it's ALL based on movies. Believe it or not, the Disney parks used to attract people who weren't interested in movies. Historically, I'm not even much of a fan of Disney movies. That's not to say movies weren't a part of DL or Magic Kingdom, but so many attractions had nothing to do with them, really. Everything they do now feels like a commercial for a movie and that adds to the overall cold corporate manufactured atmosphere of modern faithless Godless Walt-less Disney.
It is also in the "how" they execute the movies - for just one example, the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse was based on a Disney movie, it felt organic and you lived the adventure and I loved it for years. Tarzan's Treehouse - um, well, not so much.
Yep. To put it in perspective, my very first trip to DL was after Pressler’s era, and tbh, within two days I was burned out on all the cartoon IPs everywhere in DL. I’m an East Coast kid who grew up going to WDW. I appreciated the balance of variety of Epcot, the Studios, DAK, the water parks, etc. There was no question that DL itself was better than the MK alone, but it was also more “toon-ified” and juvenile.

Maybe the execs should start quoting another famous saying from Walt: You don’t talk down to kids.
 

PiratesMansion

Well-Known Member
Part of the problem with current Disney is that it's ALL based on movies. Believe it or not, the Disney parks used to attract people who weren't interested in movies. Historically, I'm not even much of a fan of Disney movies. That's not to say movies weren't a part of DL or Magic Kingdom, but so many attractions had nothing to do with them, really. Everything they do now feels like a commercial for a movie and that adds to the overall cold corporate manufactured atmosphere of modern faithless Godless Walt-less Disney.

Yes, exactly! The movies were fine when I was a child. I neither hated nor loved the majority of them. The parks are the reason that I fell in love with the company and am still following them.

Even now I love some of them and like many but don't have strong feelings about most of their content. So to see the company actively reposition the parks and act as if the historic aspects of them and what they actually stood for in the past (and now only play lip service to) are expendable unless they can shove a(n often unrelated to the theme) movie IP into the parks while cutting away at what makes them worthwhile while jacking up the prices is incredibly alienating.

The company might as well just put up a sign that says "we don't want your type of fan anymore" next to the cancer signs at this point. I'd be more ok with it if they would just own it and stop being patronizing towards long-term fans by pretending they're the same company they were decades ago with the same values.
 
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Sailor310

Well-Known Member
I was burned out so I let my pass lapse in November. My older sister was in town with friends and needed a tour guide, so I got a pass February 14th, thinking it would be worth it versus $200 for one day. We know how that's working out. I probably won't go with Rona.
HOWEVER, I did make a Mickey Mouse-shaped pancake last week...just because.
 

RobWDW1971

Well-Known Member
Yes, exactly! The movies were fine when I was a child. I neither hated nor loved the majority of them. The parks are the reason that I fell in love with the company and am still following them.

Even now I love some of them and like many but don't have strong feelings about most of their content. So to see the company actively reposition the parks and act as if the historic aspects of them and what they actually stood for in the past (and now only play lip service to) are expendable unless they can shove a(n often unrelated to the theme) movie IP into the parks while cutting away at what makes them worthwhile while jacking up the prices is incredibly alienating.

The company might as well just put up a sign that says "we don't want your type of fan anymore" next to the cancer signs at this point. I'd be more ok with it if they would just own it and stop being patronizing towards long-term fans by pretending they're the same company they were decades ago with the same values.
Yup - it has gotten to the point that when the play "When You Wish Upon a Star" it is almost pandering and sarcastic. I get it, you don't want fans like me, you've made that abundantly clear. Now we all have to come out of our nostalgia fog and just accept it and move on or just try to enjoy it for "what it is".
 

George Lucas on a Bench

Well-Known Member
While the Eisner administration had its problems, most notably toward the end, the direction they took the company in was mindful and respectful of its past. The new Disney, the People's Republic of Iger and his righthand man Mr. Clean has gone off the rails. Marvel funny books, endless knockoff Star Wars movies, crappy live action remakes and lame screen-based movie rides that make you want to just go on the old plywood crap that's been collecting dust for 40 years instead. The company is being destroyed by a bunch of nutjobs.
 

Curious Constance

Well-Known Member
In today’s Disney it’s not enough to just have enjoyed a movie and move on. Nope. You have to live and breath that movie, want to live your real life fantasy of that movie, dress up as the characters from the movie, want entire lands in the parks devoted to that movie, all merchandise centered on that movie, etc etc etc. There is no distinction between the parks and the IP anymore. The parks are strictly walking billboards at this point.
 

Stevek

Well-Known Member
In today’s Disney it’s not enough to just have enjoyed a movie and move on. Nope. You have to live and breath that movie, want to live your real life fantasy of that movie, dress up as the characters from the movie, want entire lands in the parks devoted to that movie, all merchandise centered on that movie, etc etc etc. There is no distinction between the parks and the IP anymore. The parks are strictly walking billboards at this point.
Sadly true. I doubt the US parks will ever get another non-IP attraction...which is sad given that Pirates, Mansion, BTM, Matterhorn & Space Mountain are arguably the most popular attractions in the park. And yes, IP has always been a part of the park and some attractions since day one...but Walt and the imagineers knew they had the opportunity to also create new stories and adventures.
 

Brer Panther

Well-Known Member
The question is... will the old Disney ever come back? And if so, when? After Iger finally leaves? When Chapek leaves?
 

Stevek

Well-Known Member
The question is... will the old Disney ever come back? And if so, when? After Iger finally leaves? When Chapek leaves?
Never say never but I think the correct answer is never. They’ve gone too far down this path and it’s now ingrained in the company and as long as the buying public continues to give these IP attractions high scores, there really is no reason to stop. Disney isn’t going to pass on the opportunity to sell avengers merchandise outside the latest marvel IP related attraction for example. At the end of the day, as much as many of us dislike this, it makes absolute perfect business sense.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
The question is... will the old Disney ever come back? And if so, when? After Iger finally leaves? When Chapek leaves?

At this point, I don’t care if they ever get their old school, original mojo back or not. I’ve lost too much interest in their products. If they get it back, great, if they don’t, eh. Whatever.
 

RobWDW1971

Well-Known Member
At this point, I don’t care if they ever get their old school, original mojo back or not. I’ve lost too much interest in their products. If they get it back, great, if they don’t, eh. Whatever.
And what they are not realizing is “Instagrammers” don’t have an emotional connection that will last generations - once there is a new fad or new cupcake out there, they will move on for that heart hands photo op. It’s a dangerous market to covet.

It’s like if Disneyland focused only on the Videopolis and Starcade crowd in the 80’s.

Good luck with that.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
And what they are not realizing is “Instagrammers” don’t have an emotional connection that will last generations - once there is a new fad or new cupcake out there, they will move on for that heart hands photo op.It’s a dangerous market to covet.

It’s like if Disneyland focused only on the Videopolis and Starcade crowd in the 80’s.

Good luck with that.

The “influencers” are some of the worst type of consumers for the company for the reasons you mentioned. They don’t actually have their hearts in the legacy and history of the company Walt Disney built. These folks are a win for Disney because they know they’re never going to be as critical as the fans with their hearts in it, fans like us here. They don’t have to worry about any negative press, especially if they agree to give them free crap and invite them to special events, which they do. Also, if these “influencers” brag and boast about how delicious whatever the new cupcake is and mention how waiting in line was worth it, their followers will follow suit. They enjoy any and everything Disney puts out.

It’s a win for Disney but a loss for the fans who actually care. So now it’s time to move on. We can still appreciate the parts we still enjoy and talk about things, but I honestly think it’s best if disappointed and frustrated fans try and start distancing themselves from Disney and find other things to see and do. Continuing to be upset and disappointed over and over again is a waste of energy, especially when it’s obvious change isn’t coming any time soon.
 

Phroobar

Well-Known Member
In today’s Disney it’s not enough to just have enjoyed a movie and move on. Nope. You have to live and breath that movie, want to live your real life fantasy of that movie, dress up as the characters from the movie, want entire lands in the parks devoted to that movie, all merchandise centered on that movie, etc etc etc. There is no distinction between the parks and the IP anymore. The parks are strictly walking billboards at this point.
Without creative leadership, the parks will always lean towards rides that support the movie IP over original concepts. Even Walt built entire lands that had nothing but movie centered IP. (Fantasyland). For other ones, he created commercial content to support the land (Zorro, David Crockett, true life adventures). It's the proper mix of the two that is the key to success. Unfortunately, It is far easier to build some based on an existing property than to do the other way around.
 
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