The Imagineering Story on Disney+

moles.family.disney

Well-Known Member
Fantastic episode.

I love Animal Kingdom even more than I did before. The care and detail put into that park is astounding.

what I don’t get is that they talk very candid about the failures like DCA and Studios Park Paris but have they really gone to fix them enough?

Hong Kong is getting the new castle to give it real identity but I didn’t realise the park was so tiny. Have they added to that park over time?
 

starri42

Well-Known Member
Hong Kong is getting the new castle to give it real identity but I didn’t realise the park was so tiny. Have they added to that park over time?

They've added three lands, Toy Story Land (slightly less underwhelming than the Paris version), Grizzly Gulch (featuring their take on Big Thunder, although it's not called that), and Mystic Point (with a trackless take on Haunted Mansion, called Mystic Manor, themed heavily to the SEA, and modified from being about ghosts due to vast differences between Chinese and Western beliefs about the afterlife).

They're in the process of adding Frozen and Marvel areas over the next five or so years.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
Fantastic episode.

I love Animal Kingdom even more than I did before. The care and detail put into that park is astounding.

what I don’t get is that they talk very candid about the failures like DCA and Studios Park Paris but have they really gone to fix them enough?

Hong Kong is getting the new castle to give it real identity but I didn’t realise the park was so tiny. Have they added to that park over time?

The focus of Episode 5 is how they "fixed" these parks.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I realize how fashionable it is to hate on him, but is that entirely unfair?

When would you rather visit California Adventure? 2002 or 2019?
Why would the President and COO not share any responsibility for the Disney’s California Adventure of 2002?
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
You know they’re going to make it in terms of ‘Igor to the rescue’

Eisner may have lost it after Wells passed but he contributed so much to the company, especially the parks and maybe he doesn’t get enough credit
Why would the President and COO not share any responsibility for the Disney’s California Adventure of 2002?

They’ve already laid the groundwork by extensively interviewing Bruce Vaughn, who led some of the clunkiest modern projects yet seems thrilled to be trashing DCA and WDS.

Iger has followed Eisner’s trajectory: great work in the early years, blinded by greed and stock performance in the later ones. Eisner’s version was to cut WDI budgets and create direct-to-video trash. Iger’s has been to cut park operational expenses, jack up prices, and use cookie-cutter formulas to churn out movies.

Either way, we ended up with some masterpieces and some stinkers. Remember, DCA 1.0 gave us Soarin’.

I’m looking forward to episode 5 and wonder whether they’ll be honest about the corporate mandates for IP inclusion. I’ve noticed several Imagineers have referenced how individual identities are a strength of Disney’s theme park portfolio. Those lines are now being erased by concerns about marketing and merch sales. IP everywhere sells toys but eventually erodes your brand through oversaturation and no variety.
 
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Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
I realize how fashionable it is to hate on him, but is that entirely unfair?

When would you rather visit California Adventure? 2002 or 2019?
I have the same feeling. As time has gone on I have become less impressed with Iger, but there's a real lack of memory regarding how bad things were by the time Eisner left. The fact they were toying with making the castle at HKDL just painted flats in the style of It's a Small World gives some insight into how cut-rate things were by the end. Whatever the issues with an over-reliance on IPs, at least things aren't that bad any more.

People like to roll their eyes at the constant talk of immersion that comes from Disney in relation to the parks. I prefer that emphasis, though, to where they were by 2001 when they decided theming was a luxury and the parks could be flat out ugly in parts.
 

Animaniac93-98

Well-Known Member
No, the lack of memory is that Iger was right there. Iger was Eisner’s number two for those last five years and he wasn’t fighting against Eisner during that time.

All those years of hiding in the background have paid off.

Now he can run his Presidential campaign book tour and act like he was the genius who saved Disney.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
No, the lack of memory is that Iger was right there. Iger was Eisner’s number two for those last five years and he wasn’t fighting against Eisner during that time.
So we should be mad that Iger didn't sacrifice his career to fight for higher budgets in the theme parks? I think most people can understand that calculation.

For better or worse, it's more reasonable to consider what Iger has done since he became CEO than to blame him for everything that went on when he worked under Eisner.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
So we should be mad that Iger didn't sacrifice his career to fight for higher budgets in the theme parks? I think most people can understand that calculation.

For better or worse, it's more reasonable to consider what Iger has done since he became CEO than to blame him for everything that went on when he worked under Eisner.
It wasn’t a calculation. He did not and does not like the theme parks. He didn’t undo Pressler’ls business model or get rid of the strategic planners. He thought theme parks were a dead business and wanted to be rid of them. He spent most of his tenure doing as little as possible with the parks.
 

Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
It wasn’t a calculation. He did not and does not like the theme parks. He didn’t undo Pressler’ls business model or get rid of the strategic planners. He thought theme parks were a dead business and wanted to be rid of them. He spent most of his tenure doing as little as possible with the parks.
I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether quality has improved at the parks since Eisner and Pressler were running the show.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
It wasn’t a calculation. He did not and does not like the theme parks. He didn’t undo Pressler’ls business model or get rid of the strategic planners. He thought theme parks were a dead business and wanted to be rid of them. He spent most of his tenure doing as little as possible with the parks.
I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether quality has improved at the parks since Eisner and Pressler were running the show.

When Lasseter fixed DCA with his own IP, Iger wasn’t interested in the parks other than correcting this “Save Disney” point of contention. Plus, Lasseter was merely feeding his own boyhood obsession with having “his” land in Disneyland, and he wasn’t interested in any of the other resorts except for maintenance—which, tbh, was better than the Pressler years.

If you want to thank someone for Disney’s flurry of investment into its parks, raise a glass of Butterbeer to Universal and Harry Potter for creating legitimate competition. Then, after you’ve licked the foam off your lips, silently curse the same Boy Who Lived for accidentally making Disney infer the wrong lesson—that IP-centric lands are the future of theme parks.

You might also thank James Cameron for embarrassing Bob Iger during his tour of WDW. Back when Iger walked him through the parks to demonstrate what Pandora could be, Cameron spent most of that tour pointing out broken effects and poor maintenance. Bam, construction scrims went up on Main Street almost immediately.

Yet at the same time, we’ve watched Iger and Chapek make awkward design decisions based on selling toys and pimping the latest IP. Everything feels like a “yes...but.” Frozen’s a great ride, but it’s in Norway at Epcot. Mickey’s RR will be fun, except the art style follows the ugly TV cartoons—a style Disney had already retired before suddenly resurrecting—because that was Iger’s Mickey. Epcot’s getting a long-due overhaul, but only with strange IP inclusions that will turn it into Fantasyland Lite (Now with Pixie Dust!). SWGE is gorgeous to see, but ignores the long-standing franchise the public loves because that’s not Iger’s new trilogy, and it’s full of thematic budget cuts but has plenty of places to buy merch.

We’re seeing the reinvestment, but it feels like when a businessman vows to restore a treasured city square, only to fill it with monuments to himself.
 
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Sir_Cliff

Well-Known Member
When Lasseter fixed DCA with his own IP, Iger wasn’t interested in the parks other than correcting this “Save Disney” point of contention. Plus, Lasseter was merely feeding his own boyhood obsession with having “his” land in Disneyland, and he wasn’t interested in any of the other resorts except for maintenance—which, tbh, was better than the Pressler years.

If you want to thank someone for Disney’s flurry of investment into its parks, raise a glass of Butterbeer to Universal and Harry Potter for creating legitimate competition. Then, after you’ve licked the foam off your lips, silently curse the same Boy Who Lived for accidentally making Disney infer the wrong lesson—that IP-centric lands are the future of theme parks.

You might also thank James Cameron for embarrassing Bob Iger during his tour of WDW. Back when Iger walked him through the parks to demonstrate what Pandora could be, Cameron spent most of that tour pointing out broken effects and poor maintenance. Bam, construction scrims went up on Main Street almost immediately.

Yet at the same time, we’ve watched Iger and Chapek make awkward design decisions based on selling toys and pimping the latest IP. Everything feels like a “yes...but.” Frozen’s a great ride, but it’s in Norway at Epcot. Mickey’s RR will be fun, except the art style follows the ugly TV cartoons—a style Disney had already retired before suddenly resurrecting—because that was Iger’s Mickey. Epcot’s getting a long-due overhaul, but only with strange IP inclusions that will turn it into Fantasyland Lite (Now with Pixie Dust!). SWGE is gorgeous to see, but ignores the long-standing franchise the public loves because that’s not Iger’s new trilogy, and it’s full of thematic budget cuts but has plenty of places to buy merch.

We’re seeing the reinvestment, but it feels like when a businessman vows to restore a treasured city square, only to fill it with monuments to himself.
I suspect people imagine Iger is actually more personally invested in what gets put in the parks than is the case. In terms of the new-style Mickey for Mickey's RR, for example, I would honestly be surprised if Iger is particularly aware of the newer Mickey shorts let alone he was forcing them into the parks as a tribute to himself. He has, though, very clearly set an IP and franchise mandate that is clearly reflected at the parks.

In feeling that, overall, the quality of maintenance and new offerings improved under Iger from where they were when he took over, I wouldn't suggest that is because he has any evident passion for the parks himself. I think it's more that he's realised how valuable they are to the company. In a way, though, that can be a strength. Iger has generally been best when he takes a hands-off approach and lets others run their divisions... as long as he has good people running those divisions. One of the drawbacks of Eisner was that he imagined himself a modern day Walt Disney and his instincts when meddling with things were increasingly bad.

At least people could talk Iger into all those placemaking initiatives at DCA and embarrass him into picking up maintenance at the parks. By the end, Eisner seemed to be in a world of his own, pushing this barrow that they way to run almost every division was to produce low-cost, low-quality spin offs of everything that Disney had made its reputation in for being of the highest quality. Suddenly, Disney's new parks were quite frankly embarrassing. I never saw any sense that Eisner really understood the damage that was being done to Disney's reputation.

I guess my point is that things were grim almost everywhere in the company when Iger took over, so I think some nuance is needed when thinking about his legacy in the parks beyond simply branding him the Great Satan.
 
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moles.family.disney

Well-Known Member
I think we can appreciate what both Eisner and Iger have done over their terms as CEO. They have both put the company in a position of huge value and safe from potential takeovers again.

We now just need someone to bring back the Disney quality which i feel has lost over time.

Between Fox, Disney+ and all the acquisitions they made, the movie TV side should be setup for life as long as creativity.

It’s pretty much the stuff that comes under Chapek which needs attention.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I suspect people imagine Iger is actually more personally invested in what gets put in the parks than is the case. In terms of the new-style Mickey for Mickey's RR, for example, I would honestly be surprised if Iger is particularly aware of the newer Mickey shorts let alone he was forcing them into the parks as a tribute to himself. He has, though, very clearly set an IP and franchise mandate that is clearly reflected at the parks.

In feeling that, overall, the quality of maintenance and new offerings improved under Iger from where they were when he took over, I wouldn't suggest that is because he has any evident passion for the parks himself. I think it's more that he's realised how valuable they are to the company. In a way, though, that can be a strength. Iger has generally been best when he takes a hands-off approach and lets others run their divisions... as long as he has good people running those divisions. One of the drawbacks of Eisner was that he imagined himself a modern day Walt Disney and his instincts when meddling with things were increasingly bad.

At least people could talk Iger into all those placemaking initiatives at DCA and embarrass him into picking up maintenance at the parks. By the end, Eisner seemed to be in a world of his own, pushing this barrow that they way to run almost every division was to produce low-cost, low-quality spin offs of everything that Disney had made its reputation in for being of the highest quality. Suddenly, Disney's new parks were quite frankly embarrassing. I never saw any sense that Eisner really understood the damage that was being done to Disney's reputation.

I guess my point is that things were grim almost everywhere in the company when Iger took over, so I think some nuance is needed when thinking about his legacy in the parks beyond simply branding him the Great Satan.
While he still had pet projects, Eisner’s creative involvement decreased following Wells’ death and his heart attack. It is how we get to him dropping f-bombs after riding Journey Into Your Imagination. He became obsessed with making sure he was making the right business decisions, looking for affirmation from the Strategic Planning Group and other senior executives, people who would hold titles like President and COO or CFO. He wasn’t alone in pushing divisions to low-cost, low-quality products and for his last five years he had a chief operating officer in charge of making all of that happen.

While maintenance at Disneyland really declined in the early 00s, that decline at Walt Disney World happened much more after the Happiest Celebration on Earth. The decline in maintenance started with Pressler but continued under Jay Rasulo, ultimately resulting in two deaths at Disneyland. As Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Pressler and Rasulo had the same boss, the same man who would fire Matt Ouimet who, in less than a year, took Disneyland from a place that was literally falling apart to one that sparkled like new just in time for Disneyland’s grand 50th anniversary celebration.

Iger may not have ever decreed the style of Mickey Mouse to be used in Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railroad, he has made it very clear that he would not consider anything else. The shorts are the current franchise and therefore the only style that would be approved. Excepting Jay Rasulo’s stint in Paris, he also has never allowed the parks be run by a person with any prior experience running a theme park.

You say a nuance is needed, but it seems nuance would mean including a look at who was in charge of running Disney when it was so grim under Eisner as well as how much was continued for some time afterwards.
 

tirian

Well-Known Member
I suspect people imagine Iger is actually more personally invested in what gets put in the parks than is the case. In terms of the new-style Mickey for Mickey's RR, for example, I would honestly be surprised if Iger is particularly aware of the newer Mickey shorts let alone he was forcing them into the parks as a tribute to himself. He has, though, very clearly set an IP and franchise mandate that is clearly reflected at the parks.

In feeling that, overall, the quality of maintenance and new offerings improved under Iger from where they were when he took over, I wouldn't suggest that is because he has any evident passion for the parks himself. I think it's more that he's realised how valuable they are to the company. In a way, though, that can be a strength. Iger has generally been best when he takes a hands-off approach and lets others run their divisions... as long as he has good people running those divisions. One of the drawbacks of Eisner was that he imagined himself a modern day Walt Disney and his instincts when meddling with things were increasingly bad.

At least people could talk Iger into all those placemaking initiatives at DCA and embarrass him into picking up maintenance at the parks. By the end, Eisner seemed to be in a world of his own, pushing this barrow that they way to run almost every division was to produce low-cost, low-quality spin offs of everything that Disney had made its reputation in for being of the highest quality. Suddenly, Disney's new parks were quite frankly embarrassing. I never saw any sense that Eisner really understood the damage that was being done to Disney's reputation.

I guess my point is that things were grim almost everywhere in the company when Iger took over, so I think some nuance is needed when thinking about his legacy in the parks beyond simply branding him the Great Satan.
I agree, but in the case of MRR, WDI did once state that Iger selected that style because of synergy. Maybe it was just PR spin, but that’s an odd thing to claim.

I do agree with you that real life is much more nuanced and complicated than a synopsis on an Internet forum can convey, because the simplest answer is usually not the whole story! :)
 

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