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  1. #1

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    Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Short answer: yes. I was scrolling through a report on The Little Mermaid attraction soon to be at DCA and I thought, "Hang on a moment, what has Hans Christian Andersen got to do with a stylised celebration of California?" Don't get me wrong, I'm aware that this theme perversion is old news, but at least the Pixar studio is in California. Hans Christian Andersen is Danish! That's not just a different state, that's a different continent.

    It is no secret that Disney (maybe rightly, who knows?) care more about sprucing up DL's uglier sibling than WDS if only in the sense that it seems more is going into it in every way (lest we forget WDS ToT was always planned and Toon Studio was a weak tarting up of an existing courtyard) and if that's Disney's 100% effort then it is likely that WDS will get similar treatment in the sense that the theme that it has will be, well, obliterated. Toon Studio stretched the original concept (a working studio, yeah right...) and ToT destroyed it (why would there be a big, real, Hollywood hotel in the middle of a studio's set?) and it looks like Toy Story Land will muddy the water even further (if it was just part of Toon Studio maybe it would be passable).

    Like DCA, will WDS become just a dumping ground for the imagineers, a recepticle for random projects? It's hard to say; it's not got to the DCA level of theming perversion yet, but will it? Will WDS' half-baked (Hollywood Blvd., Toon Studio, um, the whole park...) theming be worsened even more in stead of improved genuinely easily, heck, even by tree choice and floor tiles, not huge new attractions. Discuss...

  2. #2

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Absolutely. The difference between the Studios and California Adventure is that the latter is now surrounded by people who are (painfully) conscious of all this theme trouble. Despite of this, Disney chooses to further break the rules, and who can blame them with that god-awful California theme.

    So the park is essentially turning into a slightly less rigid version of Disneyland, one where Mickey Mouse's face is allowed to grace a Ferris wheel and guests are allowed to get hammered, and I'm willing to bet that it will be renamed in a few years.

    At the Walt Disney Studios, however, the guests don't care and management doesn't seem to have a clue. What's happening is that everyone focuses on the next addition, thinking the park can only get better. In fifteen years, the place will probably have ceased to make any sense whatsoever.

    But what I really don't understand is why Disney isn't spending more on the Studios RIGHT NOW considering how busy it has been ever since the Tower of Terror opened. Why are they still tinkering with potted plants and donated props as if it's 2003? It's mystifying.

  3. #3

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    I think that nowadays Disney views the Studios theme as an excuse to put in anything movie-related. It's basically the same as a Disneyland-style park, except they can leave the show building visible and say it's a sound stage.

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    With such a questionable 'theme' in the first place, I personally don't mind if WDS does become a dumping ground. There is no way that all of the elements that already exist could be brought together with any sense of cohesion and so they might as well be hung for a sheep than a lamb.
    What WDS can bring to the DLRP table is a marketability - abeit one that is ride-specific. Crush and Cars were pushed and generated big crowds, ditto ToT. So TSL should also pull in people. As long as the theming is kept over at the 'proper' park I can't see the problem (although they will never stretch to picking up Buzz out of Discoveryland and plopping it WDS where it belongs)
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  5. #5

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    But isn't that a shame? I personally mind alot if it becomes a dumping ground, that's not really (forgive my cheesiness) what Disney is about, that's the whole point, it's better than average. Just cos more people have been going to WDS it doesn't mean they like it.

  6. #6

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Ariel's Undersea Adventures. Takes place in the sea = ocean = seaisde = Paradise Pier. It works!

    If there is a theme perversion then i'm not seeing it. The only people who brought it up were the same people who have disliked DCA from the beginning so their criticism is biased in my opinion.

    The new redesigned entrance (Buena Vista street), Route 66, retheming of Hollywood Pictures backlot.. it all fits quite well into DCA's theme. And I for one hope they don't get rid of the California aspect.

    I think basing a whole park around the hollywood-movie making theme (DHS, WDS) is far worse and more limiting than a california theme.

  7. #7

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    hey guys im ne on micechat..

    i have to say that the WDS is just a big mess from disney. there was no love
    into this project, and still is no love to make it better..

    a studios park has a lot of potential i think, they just need to use
    theyre whole imagination. just adding new rides dont make this park
    better, also the whole studio 1 building is just wrong in my eyes...

    to come up with a good idea, a few buildings have to leave this park, the whole
    structual needs to be changed! and then they can work on a whole new
    concept for this park.

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonob88 View Post
    Ariel's Undersea Adventures. Takes place in the sea = ocean = seaisde = Paradise Pier. It works!
    Tenuous at best, ridiculous at worst. That's like putting Alien Encounter in Frontierland and saying "Phantom Manor, ghosts, supernatural creatures, aliens - Alien Encounter!"

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Quote Originally Posted by fizzog View Post
    Tenuous at best, ridiculous at worst. That's like putting Alien Encounter in Frontierland and saying "Phantom Manor, ghosts, supernatural creatures, aliens - Alien Encounter!"
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  10. #10

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Quote Originally Posted by nonob88 View Post
    Ariel's Undersea Adventures. Takes place in the sea = ocean = seaisde = Paradise Pier. It works!

    If there is a theme perversion then i'm not seeing it.

    Little Mermaid IN California Adventure is a theme perversion. For examples already given, there's no reason for her to be in CA and even less reason for her to be in a sea-side amusement park land.

    The argument against Paradise Pier is that for it to be truly authentic, rides will be rides and there is no magic or fantasy to it. Same thing applies to a movie studio. The magic is AFTER, not during.

    Little Mermaid belongs in her own land or in Fantasyland. Any attraction on a seaside pier land will simply be: a ride where everything is fake.

    Toy Story Midway Mania is a great attraction, but are we REALLY going to Andy's room when we ride? No, not really... because of it's location, it's just a ride.


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  11. #11

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Good point, if it's all a set then what's the point? There's a difference between a Hollywood/Entertainment-themed park and a park trying to emulate a real studio.

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Quote Originally Posted by fizzog View Post
    Good point, if it's all a set then what's the point? There's a difference between a Hollywood/Entertainment-themed park and a park trying to emulate a real studio.


    And to me, the original Disneyland type park IS exactly what a hollywood/entertainment themed park is. Walt took his expertise in films and translated those elements into the various themed lands.

    A "hollywood studio" theme is breaking it down and saying that the magic is in how fake it is.

    Making a more realistic entertainment park is doable... like MGM / Hollywood Studios in Florida, the lands that work are the ones that take guests into an idealized Hollywood street. Their best attractions are Tower of Terror and Rock'n'Rollercoaster... all of which fit into their respective Hollywood environment.

    Tower of Terror is an old hotel. RocknRollercoaster is themed to a Recording Studio.


    But.. when you put the entire park in a backlot, there's nothing fantastic or memorable about that. Everything is in a sound stage. There's no beautiful architecture or landscaping in a real studio. And that's why Tower of Terror sticks out like a sore thumb, even in California Adventure.


    If a theme park had a backlot land, I think that could certainly be achieved to convey the behind the scenes aspects of entertainment..., but an entire park? It's too much.


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  13. #13

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    A lot of very good points are being made here, but I especially agree with this one:

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    But.. when you put the entire park in a backlot, there's nothing fantastic or memorable about that. Everything is in a sound stage. There's no beautiful architecture or landscaping in a real studio. And that's why Tower of Terror sticks out like a sore thumb, even in California Adventure.

    If a theme park had a backlot land, I think that could certainly be achieved to convey the behind the scenes aspects of entertainment..., but an entire park? It's too much.
    I don't think there's anything wrong with the philosophy of taking Guests "behind the magic", but it's been used as a cheap excuse to cut corners and themeing. If executed correctly, however, it could still deliver the goods.

    I think the best way for Disney to achieve this would simply be to extend the themes of the attractions to the exteriors. After all, most of the rides have brilliantly themed interiors - it's just the exterior park environment that's lacking sparkle.

    For example - the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster's exterior would be a lot more interesting if it looked like the venue of a huge rock concert. The tour bus is a great start (it's supposed to show that Aerosmith have arrived and are inside the attraction), but why stop there? Add stacks of amplifiers and audio equipment around the exit (where the old Narnia photo location currently stands). Add enormous fly posters to the walls, advertising the experience. Make it look as though the roadies are in the middle of unpacking everything.

    It should be very simple, and I just can't understand why Disney haven't already taken this approach with the park as a whole.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    Basically surround the ride with props, and I don't mean that in a cynical way. Alot of things are quick cosmetic fixes, sticking a centrepiece in Backlot or something.

  15. #15

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    Re: Will WDS lose its (never-quite-fully-realised) theme?

    An easy way to save it all is to make a hub that centres around a Hollywood theme where TOT and the tram are the main sights. It can be done by simply adding a few real buildings and remake the area infront of TOT. The visitors would enter the studio exit it into a Hollywood area that is "real" and not just a few walls looking like buildings. The toon studio could be rethemed more to be like the Toon Town DLP never got. It would look like a studio area IN Toon Town and not just a bunch of buildings on a parking lot. The rest of the park could be left alone. It would work as a behind the scenes type of mish mash just like now, but it would be excused for being just that.
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