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  1. #1

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    Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    I just returned from an INCREDIBLE trip to the Tokyo Disney Resort! Yes, it is cleaner than Disneyland (but part of that is the social behavior of our Japanese friends), but I was really impressed at how well the Attractions were designed and built. In conversing with a Japanese friend who works at the Resorts Public Affairs Division (but I am keeping her anonymous), it became clear that the Disney Imagineers are held in extremely high regard by the Tokyo Disney folks. Attractions such as Winnie the Pooh are so much better than the American versions, yet they were designed by the same Imagineers. When I asked my friend for her take on this, she shrugged and said "Disney just doesn't want to spend the money -- but we will!"

    Is Disney really holding back its own Imagineers from realizing their full potential?

  2. #2

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Yes
    The Mur
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  3. #3

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    They've been doing this for quite a while, but it only became really apparent when Tokyo Disneysea opened.

  4. #4

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Pretty much. You can blame Marketing, Management and the Financial departments.

    I'm sure plenty of simply stunning ideas have been had over the years, but most of them have been shelved before they got far for cost reason, or "it won't be popular", or "it's too risky", etc.

    Hopefully, though, things are going to be changing in the years to come.

    Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

  5. #5

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    It's not that the Imagineers were being held back as much as some people *cough* Eisner *cough* believed that if it was "good enough for Six Flags for Six Flags, it was good enough for Disney." The Imagineers didn't run out of good ideas, but some people didn't want to pay for them. Fortunately, Lasseter understands what Walt did. I think things will be a lot better in the future.

  6. #6

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Yep.

    To a certain degree, it's understandable...I mean, it is a business, after all, even though Disney is loaded, they can only invest so many billions of dollars. But they could do more than they're doing, and they could be wiser about the way they spend it.

    EDIT:

    Fortunately, Lasseter understands what Walt did. I think things will be a lot better in the future.
    I think things are improving, too, and Lasseter has certainly brought an enormous amount of great stuff. I've greatly enjoyed every Pixar movie so far, and a lot of the Imagineers themselves seem very glad to have Lasseter aboard. BUT...he's yet to produce any real original output in the park, and that's concerning. Walt did do movie tie-ins, yes, but that was far from all he did, and Disney's earlier years greatly benefited from enormous creativity in the world of original attractions. I'm hoping Lasseter will prove his worth in that venue, too...and soon.


  7. #7

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    You raise good points. At the very least I'm much happier with Lasseter calling the shots. I think we can attribute at least part of the DCA refurb to Lasseter and he deserves some credit for that. Besides that I much prefer "quality is a good business plan" to "if it's good enough for Six Flags. . ."

    In Walt's time, the Imagineers were often animators who'd worked on so many of the classics. I'm not saying we need to go back to that, but we need someone in charge who will encourage creativity instead of stifling it. I believe we have that in Lasseter. I'm willing to give him more time as he tries to restore the creative culture to a company that had stifled it for too long.

  8. #8

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    There are several things keeping Imagineers back. Part of it is the politics that many are involved in to get ahead. It is easier to just be a "yes" man or woman to not shoot down a manager's idea.

    It is getting better with John Lasseter's arrival. But he is spread very thin. He does not make budget decisions either. Part of what has driven such a lack of quality in recent years is the accountant mentality many Disney managers have, what is the cost vs reward. Can we build something just OK and still get the same number of people in the gates.

    Carsland may be the real turn around for Disney. It will show if a top quality E-ticket ride can turn out the crowds.

    Personally I feel that theming is just as important as quality. It is the creation of an illusion of a different place and time that is one of Disneyland's secrets. Can the new, improved DCA create that illusion? That is something we will wait and see.

    Imagineers are not less talented today, just less inspired.
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  9. #9

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Isn't Lasseter one of the top guys at Pixar? I know Pixar is now owned by Disney, but what exactly is Lasseter's role vis a vis the theme parks now?

  10. #10

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Quote Originally Posted by disneyfann121 View Post
    Isn't Lasseter one of the top guys at Pixar? I know Pixar is now owned by Disney, but what exactly is Lasseter's role vis a vis the theme parks now?
    He's pretty much in charge of creative development at Walt Disney Imagineering.

  11. #11

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    There are several things keeping Imagineers back. Part of it is the politics that many are involved in to get ahead. It is easier to just be a "yes" man or woman to not shoot down a manager's idea.

    It is getting better with John Lasseter's arrival. But he is spread very thin. He does not make budget decisions either. Part of what has driven such a lack of quality in recent years is the accountant mentality many Disney managers have, what is the cost vs reward. Can we build something just OK and still get the same number of people in the gates.

    Carsland may be the real turn around for Disney. It will show if a top quality E-ticket ride can turn out the crowds.

    Personally I feel that theming is just as important as quality. It is the creation of an illusion of a different place and time that is one of Disneyland's secrets. Can the new, improved DCA create that illusion? That is something we will wait and see.

    Imagineers are not less talented today, just less inspired.
    Imagineers can only do so much without the proper budget. Give them the money, they will do great things.

    The short sighted, blinkered, penny pinching bean counters at Disney are dumber than a rock. Hers's a clue, morons: you have to spend money to make money. You have to invest in your business. Idiots.

  12. #12

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    There are several things keeping Imagineers back. Part of it is the politics that many are involved in to get ahead. It is easier to just be a "yes" man or woman to not shoot down a manager's idea.

    It is getting better with John Lasseter's arrival. But he is spread very thin. He does not make budget decisions either. Part of what has driven such a lack of quality in recent years is the accountant mentality many Disney managers have, what is the cost vs reward. Can we build something just OK and still get the same number of people in the gates.

    Carsland may be the real turn around for Disney. It will show if a top quality E-ticket ride can turn out the crowds.

    Personally I feel that theming is just as important as quality. It is the creation of an illusion of a different place and time that is one of Disneyland's secrets. Can the new, improved DCA create that illusion? That is something we will wait and see.

    Imagineers are not less talented today, just less inspired.
    I agree with you on everything you said.

    I'm kind of thankful that DCA is getting a revamp; I'm positive the Imagineers are just thrilled to be working on a Little Mermaid ride that will (hopefully) be on par with PotC and HM.


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  13. #13

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    I agree they are completely being held back. Why do the Incredibles need to be involved in whatever is placed as the People mover? Why are so many of the DCA changes involving actual film properties? It seems management thinks people won't care about a ride unless it involved well-known characters. Unfortunately, that may be true, but that is more a reflection on the public than the company. It's kind of a two-fold thing.

    I mean, seriously, nobody knows a thing about Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn? Why not just dangle keys in with a pirate as a keychain to the people? They'll be just as happy? Yeesh. Having a distressed Kermit the Frog moment.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    There are some Imagineers who worked one day on DisneySea and the next day on DCA. They knew exactly what was coming as they shuttled between the two projects.

    If Disney continues to build projects on an original DCA budget, they're going to continue to see original DCA style attendance.

  15. #15

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    Re: Imagineers - Are They Being Stymied?

    Quote Originally Posted by sorceress1986 View Post
    Yeesh. Having a distressed Kermit the Frog moment.
    Disney think people don't know who the Muppets are as well!

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