Losing Your Disney Faith

tirian

Well-Known Member
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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.
It’s even worse when most of the IP isn’t very good anyway! :D I’d also argue the problem isn’t the use of IP so much as focusing on preschool-level cartoons.

In the past, WDI/Disney theme parks knew how to properly mix classic animated IP and newer movies, along with original ideas, because it was led by creative vision. Some things can’t be explained on checklists and spreadsheets. How do you know when you’ve gone too far and should balance something? You just know. That instinct is called talent.
 

rk03221

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.

Almost literally everything in Disney is an IP. Peter Pan, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Alice in Wonderland, etc. It’s been that way since 1955
 

Mac Tonight

Well-Known Member
Almost literally everything in Disney is an IP. Peter Pan, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Alice in Wonderland, etc. It’s been that way since 1955
Technically yes, but there was a huge difference between Walt using IP to mainly create endearing family entertainment/attractions by elevating works of literature...

And Bob Iger using IP to add another teat to the udder of the cash cow he sees the company as.
 

Stevek

Well-Known Member
Almost literally everything in Disney is an IP. Peter Pan, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Alice in Wonderland, etc. It’s been that way since 1955
Well yeah, the park foundation was IP BUT there is still quite a bit that is non-IP, including some of the most beloved attractions in the park. Epcot was non-IP, much of Animal Kingdom was non-IP. Disney can absolutely create amazing non-IP attractions (Mystic Manor anyone?) but that ship has sailed.
 

mandstaft

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.
Perfectly stated.
 

Bryan@@

New Member
(Only posting this in the Disneyland forum because it's the forum I'm most familiar with, this is not a Disneyland-specific post and can be applied to any park worldwide)

Apologies if this comes off as rambling but I wanted to put some thoughts down and seek out other's reflections on this. The past couple Disney park visits I've had (within the past year or so) I've felt myself "losing my Disney faith." In other words, I feel my interest and sense of novelty in the parks waning.

I do think some of my lessened interest has to do with recent developments at the company, such as the announced removal of Splash as well as continued peeling away of appropriate theme in cases like Pixar Pier and Mission: Breakout, however I don't think this is the primary cause. To put it simply, I've been to these parks a lot. And I've ridden these attractions a lot. I kind of feel like I'm at the point where there's not much left for me to get out of the parks anymore.

I was at Tokyo Disneyland a couple days ago and I was really feeling this burnout. After all these years, I'm so familiar with all of these attractions that I know exactly where every figure is, where every sound effect is coming from, when and where every visual and audio effect will be cued, etc. Whenever I ride an attraction, whether it's PotC, HM, Pinocchio, whatever, I notice that my eyes are everywhere except the actual focal point of each scene. Instead my eyes are all up, down and around the showbuilding trying to find minor details which I hadn't noticed before. While I'm not saying this is a bad way of enjoying attractions (it can in fact be very entertaining), it really made me realize how long I've been doing this, how many times I've ridden all these attractions and how it's just nothing new anymore. Granted new attractions can be one way of breathing some new novelty into a park goer's life, but of course it will wear off eventually.

I now find that I get the most enjoyment out of just being in the park. Taking in the atmosphere, walking around, people watching etc. But I feel like there's natural limits to this too.

Is anybody feeling this same way? Any thoughts? I feel like my days as a hardcore Disney park fan may be nearing an end lately, which is sad but maybe not all-together lamentable.
Very well said! I feel the same way.
 

tl77

Well-Known Member
The older I get them more I find myself enjoying "the atmosphere" and architecture of the Parks and Resorts ...getting off the Magical Express at Old Key West, seeing those bright colored buildings, and hearing the steel drum music is one of the best parts of the trip. Same goes for The Wilderness Lodge, Poly, and Typhoon Lagoon... Adventureland and the Caribbean Plaza area are "as good" if not better than the rides, Tomrrowland too... pretty much all of Magic Kingdom, and World Showcase, Animal Kingdom... Being on Main Street at night for that hour after the "park" is closed, with all the little popcorn lights lit up, is one of my favorite things about being at WDW... see our kids expressions and reactions to rides is more the thing I enjoy about being on the rides
 

truecoat

Well-Known Member
The older I get them more I find myself enjoying "the atmosphere" and architecture of the Parks and Resorts ...getting off the Magical Express at Old Key West, seeing those bright colored buildings, and hearing the steel drum music is one of the best parts of the trip. Same goes for The Wilderness Lodge, Poly, and Typhoon Lagoon... Adventureland and the Caribbean Plaza area are "as good" if not better than the rides, Tomrrowland too... pretty much all of Magic Kingdom, and World Showcase, Animal Kingdom... Being on Main Street at night for that hour after the "park" is closed, with all the little popcorn lights lit up, is one of my favorite things about being at WDW... see our kids expressions and reactions to rides is more the thing I enjoy about being on the rides

I do have to say I rather enjoyed my churro on a bench while my sister and nephew shopped by Abe Lincoln. It was twilight and music playing with the lights just coming on was rather comfortable.
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
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.
Disney used to be MUCH more in-tune with the aspirational element of experience-building.

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse vs. Tarzan's Treehouse is a great case-study in this. I understand the impulse to create greater differentiation between the original Treehouse experience and the new one, but shoving awkward fiberglass character sculptures into the Treehouse undercut a core principal of what made it work in the first place. The experience became about you exploring the Treehouse - it's tenants were practically incidental beyond the fact that they were the ones who purportedly build this enormous, magical Treehouse that's incredible to behold outside and in. In its own trick, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse managed to feel more lived-in than Tarzan's Treehouse ever has - it always felt as if the Family was off in the Jungle and might return at any time. Meanwhile, Tarzan is there, but he's SUPER fake.

Even Tokyo Disney Sea, for all its accomplishments, managed to make an aspirational misstep with their 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. They park that big, beautiful Nautilus out front, but when you get to the load they pop you into this puny, clunky sub pod you've never seen before and never dreamed about. I completely understand why - their ride is completely different from what we had at the MK in a hundred ways for a hundred reasons, but getting to step down into Captain Nemo's legendary mysterious submarine and explore an actual, rich, vivid underwater environment was some serious aspirational erotica. Even if you didn't know the characters, the movie, or even the book, the conceit was incredibly alluring. Never mind that the execution wasn't always completely on point - and it was ambitious as all get-out. Tokyo's 20K solves the problems of maintaining the show and slow loading processes, but it does so at the expense of the aspirational qualities that would otherwise be inherent in such an experience. For as many people as there are that deeply loved MK's 20K, you hear far, far fewer singing the praises of the Tokyo interpretation. It's a nice enough ride, but the wish-fulfillment is neutered in the name of operations.

What are the aspirational elements inherent in Peter Pan? Taking flight with Neverland as your destination - perfect! That it does it with black velvet, some fiber optics, and aluminum foil is immaterial. It taps into the aspiration of the guests and delivers the appropriate sensations like gangbusters, and the long lines reflect that. Compare that to, say, The Little Mermaid - how many people say their favorite part is the backwards descent under the water? Once you've done that it's like the ride forgets why you'd want to go under the sea with Ariel and what you'd actually want to do there. Peter Pan tracks along the basic events of the movie without ever putting telling someone else's story ahead of creating an experience for you. Mermaid spends most of its time making everything about you being a mere camera perceiving a fractured version of Ariel's big adventure, rather than putting you in the drivers seat on your own adventure with her.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - for all of Disney's talk about story, and everything in the parks having a story, somewhere along the way they misconstrued that to mean that Themed Design is a Storytelling medium . . . and it really isn't. It's an Experiential one. The story is meant to explain what it is you're experiencing - your experience is not meant to be hewed in by the process of being told a linear story. For the most part, if you're being tasked with following someone else's story then they got it wrong. The story is supposed to be happening TO you, not merely in front of you.
 

Sirwalterraleigh

Premium Member
Perhaps your familiarity breeds contempt. I've been going to Disneyworld since 1972, but I and now my wife and I never go more than 2 or three times a year but specifically for Flower and Garden, Food and Wine (+MNSSHP when it runs) and occasionally either Thanksgiving or Christmas time and we have annual passes.
Only 2 or 3 times a year?

You hardliner 👌🏻
 
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mickEblu

Well-Known Member
Disney used to be MUCH more in-tune with the aspirational element of experience-building.

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse vs. Tarzan's Treehouse is a great case-study in this. I understand the impulse to create greater differentiation between the original Treehouse experience and the new one, but shoving awkward fiberglass character sculptures into the Treehouse undercut a core principal of what made it work in the first place. The experience became about you exploring the Treehouse - it's tenants were practically incidental beyond the fact that they were the ones who purportedly build this enormous, magical Treehouse that's incredible to behold outside and in. In its own trick, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse managed to feel more lived-in than Tarzan's Treehouse ever has - it always felt as if the Family was off in the Jungle and might return at any time. Meanwhile, Tarzan is there, but he's SUPER fake.

Even Tokyo Disney Sea, for all its accomplishments, managed to make an aspirational misstep with their 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. They park that big, beautiful Nautilus out front, but when you get to the load they pop you into this puny, clunky sub pod you've never seen before and never dreamed about. I completely understand why - their ride is completely different from what we had at the MK in a hundred ways for a hundred reasons, but getting to step down into Captain Nemo's legendary mysterious submarine and explore an actual, rich, vivid underwater environment was some serious aspirational erotica. Even if you didn't know the characters, the movie, or even the book, the conceit was incredibly alluring. Never mind that the execution wasn't always completely on point - and it was ambitious as all get-out. Tokyo's 20K solves the problems of maintaining the show and slow loading processes, but it does so at the expense of the aspirational qualities that would otherwise be inherent in such an experience. For as many people as there are that deeply loved MK's 20K, you hear far, far fewer singing the praises of the Tokyo interpretation. It's a nice enough ride, but the wish-fulfillment is neutered in the name of operations.

What are the aspirational elements inherent in Peter Pan? Taking flight with Neverland as your destination - perfect! That it does it with black velvet, some fiber optics, and aluminum foil is immaterial. It taps into the aspiration of the guests and delivers the appropriate sensations like gangbusters, and the long lines reflect that. Compare that to, say, The Little Mermaid - how many people say their favorite part is the backwards descent under the water? Once you've done that it's like the ride forgets why you'd want to go under the sea with Ariel and what you'd actually want to do there. Peter Pan tracks along the basic events of the movie without ever putting telling someone else's story ahead of creating an experience for you. Mermaid spends most of its time making everything about you being a mere camera perceiving a fractured version of Ariel's big adventure, rather than putting you in the drivers seat on your own adventure with her.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - for all of Disney's talk about story, and everything in the parks having a story, somewhere along the way they misconstrued that to mean that Themed Design is a Storytelling medium . . . and it really isn't. It's an Experiential one. The story is meant to explain what it is you're experiencing - your experience is not meant to be hewed in by the process of being told a linear story. For the most part, if you're being tasked with following someone else's story then they got it wrong. The story is supposed to be happening TO you, not merely in front of you.


Fiberglass statues at an extremely close proximity in broad daylight. Who that was a good idea. Granted I’m happy it isn’t a store now instead.

Don’t get me started on Mermaid. It’s one of the worst offenders. Not only are they giving us a linear story retelling of the movie best for beat but they do it in the most passive and boring way possible. You literally go around every scene instead of through any. Just reiterating the fact that you are watching this story unfold like you would at a movie theatre not experiencing the world it takes place in. All at a steady omnimover pace of 1.0 mph.

Pinocchio isn’t my favorite dark ride at DL and it’s more or less telling a linear story too but it’s executed much better. It immediately takes you of the spectator role when you go through the giant bird cage. You have monstro jumping out at you. It’s also dark, so that always helps with DARK rides.

I wish the rest of the Little Mermaid ride felt like Ursulas lair. I get that the IP calls for a more bright and cheery atmosphere but they went too far in that direction. It’s basically just a people eater to listen to songs from the movie. Also I know I’m not the target audience but don’t even kids get bored of these kind of rides after they re like 6? Kids love weird and scary stuff.
 
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