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The World's Most Magical Celebration - Walt Disney World's 50th anniversary

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I heard from someone that there is apparently legal issues with using the Chinese Theater as the parks icon.

This is correct. From my understand and from what I've been told the new owners of the Chinese Theater felt the original agreement favored Disney too much and tried to rework a license agreement that did not allow Disney to use the iconic theater's likeness as a promotional tool and main icon for the park. I assume Disney didn't want to put up a fight so I guess an understanding was compromised and Disney erected the large Mickey hat and used that as the main icon for promos instead, dropping any link to the theater from artwork and ads. I assume it was later agreed that removing the hat was okay, as long as Disney can't use the theater in promos outside the park. My understanding is the visual likeness of the theater is limited only to a visual backdrop and nothing more, and cannot be used to promote the park in any way.
There are no legal or licensing issues. It is a story made up by fans to justify the need for the Hat. There is no need to license the image of the Chinese Theater because it predates US copyright protection of architectural works (which unless specifically transferred to the building owner is held by the architect) and Disney would not have signed a 12 year licensing deal for the center icon of a park. It also makes no sense that Disney would just do what a small company wants if they have an existing deal. If there was a licensing issue then they would have replaced the facade when the ride changed. The only potential issue with ownership is the far less icon theater across the street from the Chinese Theater, the Disney owned El Capitan.
 
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The Rocketeer

Well-Known Member
There are no legal or licensing issues. It is a story made up by fans to justify the need for the Hat. There is no need to license the image of the Chinese Theater because it predates US copyright protection of architectural works (which unless specifically transferred to the building owner is held by the architect) and Disney would not have signed a 12 year licensing deal for the center icon of a park. It also makes no sense that Disney would just do what a small company wants if they have an existing deal. If there was a licensing issue then they would have replaced the facade when the ride changed. The only potential issue with ownership is the far less icon theater across the street from the Chinese Theater, the Disney owned El Capitan.
You said it. Buildings weren't even copyrighted in the US until after an act passed in 1976 and actual building design copyrights were put into effect on Dec 1, 1990. Anything built before that date can't be claimed. I mean, if you think about it, many of the facades of Hollywood Boulevard are inspired by, or recreations of, various Art Deco buildings (like the crossroads of the world sign), if there were a problem with rights I think those would have not been built either. This myth is just what fans used to try to explain why this thematically inconsistent, giant fantasia hat was built in front of the headlining dark ride of the park.
 
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MagicWDI

Active Member
There are no legal or licensing issues. It is a story made up by fans to justify the need for the Hat. There is no need to license the image of the Chinese Theater because it predates US copyright protection of architectural works (which unless specifically transferred to the building owner is held by the architect) and Disney would not have signed a 12 year licensing deal for the center icon of a park. It also makes no sense that Disney would just do what a small company wants if they have an existing deal. If there was a licensing issue then they would have replaced the facade when the ride changed. The only potential issue with ownership is the far less icon theater across the street from the Chinese Theater, the Disney owned El Capitan.
Thanks for the clarification. Can't believe I was under the wrong impression this entire time. It isn't the first and I'm sure it won't be the last...
 

Rich Brownn

Well-Known Member
This is correct. From my understand and from what I've been told the new owners of the Chinese Theater felt the original agreement favored Disney too much and tried to rework a license agreement that did not allow Disney to use the iconic theater's likeness as a promotional tool and main icon for the park. I assume Disney didn't want to put up a fight so I guess an understanding was compromised and Disney erected the large Mickey hat and used that as the main icon for promos instead, dropping any link to the theater from artwork and ads. I assume it was later agreed that removing the hat was okay, as long as Disney can't use the theater in promos outside the park. My understanding is the visual likeness of the theater is limited only to a visual backdrop and nothing more, and cannot be used to promote the park in any way.
urban myth. The Chinese Theater building is neither trademarks nor restricted. It has more to do with the fact that it's more associated with Hollywood proper than a theme park so makes no sense as an icon.
 

raymusiccity

Well-Known Member
After watching the newest episode of WandaVision last night, there was a moment where the music sounded Very similar to ToT as you're in transit to the ride shaft.
I am not nearly as knowledgeable as many of you about the Marvel restrictions so I'm not sure if WDW can change the ride or not...but I could see them using Wanda's powers "on the fritz" as a ride theme.
Hopefully they leave a classic just as it is but the chance for marketing new merch might be irresistible.
Makes perfect sense. The old fashioned TV is already in the library ! Wanda can actually interrupt 'Rod Serling'.
 

jrhwdw

Well-Known Member
I would hope so, most like 2-3 weeks before so they can adjust the projections.
In MK's 50th Thread, We were talking about Projections for Summer? EIther Shorts like Christmas 2020 or maybe if we have a miracle: HEA/OUAT? Is that still on the table? Or does the WDW 50th Castle need do be done so Projections can be tweaked before anything starts?
 

GimpYancIent

Well-Known Member
In MK's 50th Thread, We were talking about Projections for Summer? EIther Shorts like Christmas 2020 or maybe if we have a miracle: HEA/OUAT? Is that still on the table? Or does the WDW 50th Castle need do be done so Projections can be tweaked before anything starts?
Hey! Projections are nice but how about having (a brave acrobatic performer) Tinker Bell gliding down from one of the castle towers sprinkling some Pixi dust. Its been done before so Why Not? Old school? Maybe! It is supposed to be an anniversary.
 

GimpYancIent

Well-Known Member
I’ve always been under the impression that reason why Chinese Theater was never given icon status was because it wasn’t as easily silhouette-able. Unless the “icon” was just the center portion of the building, it would be much more wide than the other icons, and not fit the ideal proportions.
Wasn't the Chinese theater partially obscured from view by the giant Mickey sorcerers hat?
 

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