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The Spirited 11th Hour ...

rreading

Premium Member
Also, as much as we love to hate on the dearth of entertainment provided by the Tangled restrooms, et al. (New Fantasyland), the area is quite striking. Is the idea of faster and cheaper also intended to be less lush and detailed?
 

yensidtlaw1969

Well-Known Member
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Also, as much as we love to hate on the dearth of entertainment provided by the Tangled restrooms, et al. (New Fantasyland), the area is quite striking. Is the idea of faster and cheaper also intended to be less lush and detailed?
Presumably not - Star Wars Land sounds to be more lush and detailed than anything they've done in decades, and Avatar's cost overruns suggest the taking of a similar route on that project too.

Hopefully what it means is the allocation of funds properly across projects and within their respective areas. Nice as it was of them to want to go all out on those bathrooms, simple staging says it was a mistake. Design sets the guest's expectation of the experience ahead of them. The buildings in this area suggest that a meaningful attraction lies beyond, except one doesn't.

It's a total misunderstanding of what it means to exceed expectations -- if you're expecting a bathroom, then yes, these blow all the other ones away, but no one who doesn't already know what they are would look at that development and guess "bathroom". They would guess "ride". I've seen it happen - it happens at Be Our Guest, too. People see the Beast's Castle on the mountain and ask what ride that is. It might behoove Imagineering to once again find a way to use design to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the opposite.
 

thehowiet

Wilson King of Prussia
I have written this same post probably a few dozen times here. But it bears repeating. And it shows a fundamental problem with the culture of WDI and TWDC.

In the late 70s and early 80s, TINY Walt Disney Productions and WED built EPCOT Center (out of the swamps of Central FL), TDL on a landfill in an industrial wasteland on Tokyo Bay and a New (a really new, not like WDW) Fantasyland at DL, while the park was open and attracting millions of visitors at the same time. Oh, and both of the first two projects opened as complete experiences (yes, some attractions came online later, but the vast majority were done and not having them didn't harm the Guest experience). Also, WED was working on plans for expanded resorts at WDW and a larger Village complex and new lands for DL.

All. At. The. Same. Time.

The idea that in the 21st century the world's largest media and entertainment company needs the ridiculous time windows on things ranging from the SDMT to Pandora to Star Wars on both coasts to Shanghai Disneyland is insane. It doesn't. The culture needs to change and for the first time in the 21st century, it looks like it may well do so.

Oh, and before folks give The Weatherman (AKA Robert A. Iger) credit for this, please recall that the man was named Michael Eisner's replacement over a decade ago. He was supposed to be packing up his office by now. It was only his ego and the pay check that gives us over two more years with Bob. In other words, even if this is a great move, I have a hard time saying it is OK that he blew a decade with business as usual. Doesn't show much vision, does it?
I know this has been touched on by you (@WDW1974) and others multiple times in the past, but this post in particular has articulated the problem most effectively IMO. The examples you mention of what WDP was able to accomplish more than 30+ years ago with a fraction of the resources and time pretty much says it all. TWDC/WDI would benefit by attempting to get to the bottom of how UC can design and build one of the most immersive lands stateside for $265 mil, pump out an E-ticket like Transformers in about a year, and build a Value resort with theming that goes far beyond oversized icons and cartoon characters. If Disney wants to continue to be dismissive of Uni and their recent accomplishments then they should at the very least be motivated to dive deeper into their own company past to investigate how they too were once capable of doing so much, so fast, with so little.

It's quite baffling to me that anyone would even attempt to defend the modern day speed (or lack therefore) and inefficiencies that have become the trademark of Disney's theme park projects...but those rose colored glasses are mighty stylish I guess.

You and others have hinted that the Weis/Vaughn move isn't the end of this attempt to right the WDI ship, and I really hope this is true; however, I know all too well that issues related to organizational effectiveness run deep and go far beyond a promotion here and a reshuffling of the deck chairs there, and the issues sure as heck aren't fixed overnight. We're talking about changing how an entire division has operated and been managed for decades.

In my experience there typically seems to be a lot of talk about "change" and "transformation," but unfortunately the actual execution of that change either doesn't happen (sometimes people don't know how or even where to begin), or it's extremely flawed and misguided. Do you have any indication or gut feeling that the executive leadership team actually understands the magnitude and importance of an endeavor like this?

Either way it will be interesting to see how this plays out. As always, I appreciate the information.
 

gsam4ever

Well-Known Member
Come on guys, we don't need four pages of wasted space. Let's try and keep it on the topic of WDI and what is happening in the parks until we get at least 30 or 40 pages. The old thread is still open to discuss sandwiches and why TFA changed your life and which Lifestyler Dr. Blondie is paying off with dozens of free cupcakes every week!
What flavor are the cupcakes???
 
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rle4lunch

Well-Known Member
I know this has been touched on by you (@WDW1974) and others multiple times in the past, but this post in particular has articulated the problem most effectively IMO. The examples you mention of what WDP was able to accomplish more than 30+ years ago with a fraction of the resources and time pretty much says it all. TWDC/WDI would benefit by attempting to get to the bottom of how UC can design and build one of the most immersive lands stateside for $265 mil, pump out an E-ticket like Transformers in about a year, and build a Value resort with theming that goes far beyond oversized icons and cartoon characters. If Disney wants to continue to be dismissive of Uni and their recent accomplishments then they should at the very least be motivated to dive deeper into their own company past to investigate how they too were once capable of doing so much, so fast, with so little.

It's quite baffling to me that anyone would even attempt to defend the modern day speed (or lack therefore) and inefficiencies that have become the trademark of Disney's theme park projects...but those rose colored glasses are mighty stylish I guess.

You and others have hinted that the Weis/Vaughn move isn't the end of this attempt to right the WDI ship, and I really hope this is true; however, I know all too well that issues related to organizational effectiveness run deep and go far beyond a promotion here and a reshuffling of the deck chairs there, and the issues sure as heck aren't fixed overnight. We're talking about changing how an entire division has operated and been managed for decades.

In my experience there typically seems to be a lot of talk about "change" and "transformation," but unfortunately the actual execution of that change either doesn't happen (sometimes people don't know how or even where to begin), or it's extremely flawed and misguided. Do you have any indication or gut feeling that the executive leadership team actually understands the magnitude and importance of an endeavor like this?

Either way it will be interesting to see how this plays out. As always, I appreciate the information.

Maybe they should fire the current folks and have them train their foreign replacements before being kicked out the door.... Is this how Uni does it to stay cheap? (that last part is a genuine question).
 

dizneycrazy09

Well-Known Member
So they really are going to open a construction zone up to the public...

From what I've heard, the current state of the "park" is an embarrassment to say the least. Here's to hoping they can work miracles in five months. Maybe that's what they've been saving the allocated 800 mil for ;)
 
Some interesting reading----the proxy statement for this year's annual meeting just came out: https://ditm-twdc-us.storage.googleapis.com/2016-Proxy-Statement.pdf. I am not sure I realized Jay Rasulo stayed with the company the entire year as an "advisor" to Iger. Also, it was an interesting to me that the General Counsel's contract is up a few months prior to the other senior executives. Generally, they are on the same timeline.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
A pair of trusted sources/friends have checked in, so I have an update of sorts.

Chappie's edict about getting projects from development to done quicker (love that autocorrect keeps turning Chappie to Crappie!) absolutely applies to the swamps as well. He isn't happy about the time Pandora is taking or the cost overruns (hey, at least the guy didn't have to be around for Disney's 'groundbreaking recreating of the theme park going experience' that was NGE).

But, indeed, the timeline still has Star Wars debuting in the swamps a full two years after Anaheim, which would be about November/December of 2020 (wasn't it just 1999?) He wants things expedited, but I've been told that based on the rebuilding/reBRANDing of The Corpse Of The Disney-MGM Studios that it would be "impossible" to open on Anaheim's time table.
 
A pair of trusted sources/friends have checked in, so I have an update of sorts.

Chappie's edict about getting projects from development to done quicker (love that autocorrect keeps turning Chappie to Crappie!) absolutely applies to the swamps as well. He isn't happy about the time Pandora is taking or the cost overruns (hey, at least the guy didn't have to be around for Disney's 'groundbreaking recreating of the theme park going experience' that was NGE).

But, indeed, the timeline still has Star Wars debuting in the swamps a full two years after Anaheim, which would be about November/December of 2020 (wasn't it just 1999?) He wants things expedited, but I've been told that based on the rebuilding/reBRANDing of The Corpse Of The Disney-MGM Studios that it would be "impossible" to open on Anaheim's time table.
So does that mean Pandora couldn't be sped up?
 

Kman101

Premium Member
Presumably not - Star Wars Land sounds to be more lush and detailed than anything they've done in decades, and Avatar's cost overruns suggest the taking of a similar route on that project too.

Hopefully what it means is the allocation of funds properly across projects and within their respective areas. Nice as it was of them to want to go all out on those bathrooms, simple staging says it was a mistake. Design sets the guest's expectation of the experience ahead of them. The buildings in this area suggest that a meaningful attraction lies beyond, except one doesn't.

It's a total misunderstanding of what it means to exceed expectations -- if you're expecting a bathroom, then yes, these blow all the other ones away, but no one who doesn't already know what they are would look at that development and guess "bathroom". They would guess "ride". I've seen it happen - it happens at Be Our Guest, too. People see the Beast's Castle on the mountain and ask what ride that is. It might behoove Imagineering to once again find a way to use design to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the opposite.
Agreed.

And both of those SHOULD be rides.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Could Weis affect the amount of time it takes to produce attractions, expansions, etc. faster? Or is the "take your time, we want our 'losses' spread over multiple fiscal years" approach that we've become so accustomed to from WDC here for the foreseeable future?

Perhaps the current projects are stuck in the mud, but future ones may progress more steadily and with a sense of purpose?

I feel like I'm answering my own question as I typed this, but I'd love a more definitive answer rather than self-speculation.

And welcome back Spirit! Your insights are always appreciated. Hoping 2016 is more generous to you than 2015 was!
Thanks. And you are answering your own question. Weis isn't going to be able to do a thing about Pandora, for instance. But he might be able to shave some time (and $$$, although that is Craig's responsibility now) off future efforts ...yes, before anyone asks, even Star Wars.

I am much more interested in what gets green lighted in the next year worldwide. That will speak volumes about Weis and what he may (or may not) be able to accomplish.
 
A pair of trusted sources/friends have checked in, so I have an update of sorts.

Chappie's edict about getting projects from development to done quicker (love that autocorrect keeps turning Chappie to Crappie!) absolutely applies to the swamps as well. He isn't happy about the time Pandora is taking or the cost overruns (hey, at least the guy didn't have to be around for Disney's 'groundbreaking recreating of the theme park going experience' that was NGE)..
Been thinking about your opening post---and this accentuates the point: if Chappie is trying to get things moving faster/cheaper, Weis seems like an odd fit to head WDI, doesn't he? Wasn't the DCA rebuild well over budget and late? Or were those issues more as a result of the changing plans on the fly?

Certainly having a creative like Weis in charge of WDI is great for P&R.

Certainly getting WDI projects done quicker and closer to budget is great for P&R and shareholders.

Just not sure how the two are consistent.
 

Kman101

Premium Member
They really can't wait on Epcot but probably will because Frozen and nuSoarin' will give them a boost, plus the festivals that rake in money. They could easily shove off doing anything for another four years. They shouldn't though. I'd hope we get some improvements by 2021.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Oh agreed. Just pointing out that it's not unprecedented.

I assume Universal has been watching the Shanghai situation closely as they prepare for their Beijing park. Do you know if they plan on, um, learning from Disney's experience?
That is a fascinating question ...moreso for reasons I can't place out here.

But one would think they'd learn something. They have some very smart people working for them. But much like WDI until last week, are not being led by the right individuals. UNI is succeeding more inspite of its leadership than because of it (beyond top management at Comcast ... Burke, Roberts and Co.) How Tom Williams is still there never ceases to amaze me.
 

WDW1974

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I reckon you could be right. They'll wait until Frozen 2 and see how that does... if it's a smash then Toontown becomes Arrendale asap, if it bombs because everyone's so over Frozen then those plans will melt away.
It won't bomb and you can take it to the bank that a MAJOR Frozen E-Ticket will happen. The franchise is huge and between the sequel, which likely will do better box office than the original based on fan insanity, and the Broadway musical will be a driver of product and profit for many moons to come. Any notion that fans will let it go has as much warmth as a typical German woman (but NOT my Angie Cakes!)
 

jhastings74

Well-Known Member
Some interesting reading----the proxy statement for this year's annual meeting just came out: https://ditm-twdc-us.storage.googleapis.com/2016-Proxy-Statement.pdf. I am not sure I realized Jay Rasulo stayed with the company the entire year as an "advisor" to Iger. Also, it was an interesting to me that the General Counsel's contract is up a few months prior to the other senior executives. Generally, they are on the same timeline.
I was interested in the fact that Iger got a 'Cash Bonus' of $22.3 million. I wish the school district I work for gave bonuses like that...

I also found it interesting that they provide up to a maximum of $15,000 for the Board members to "...to encourage the Directors to experience the Company's products, services, and entertainment offerings..." The Board members already get compensated in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the report. Do they really need incentive to 'experience' the products of the company they work for? If the products, services or entertainment offerings aren't worth them deciding to spend their own money on, I would think that would be better for the company to see. ("Even our Board members don't want to buy that new Elsa doll or buy a one-day ticket to DHS... We better reconsider...")

Incidentally, am I the only one that thinks Kevin Spacey would do a great job playing Bob Iger in some Unauthorized Behind-the-Scenes Dramatic Movie about the Walt Disney Company? ;)
 
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