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  1. #16

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    On one hand, with Main Street representing Walt's idyllic memories of his childhood in Marceline and the ideal of the American small hometown, there is a certain symmetry in the idea that Buena Vista Street would represent the excitement of his arrival in Los Angeles as a young man, and the general idea of coming to California/"the big city" to "make it."

    On the other hand, I'm glad it's going to be called Buena Vista Street instead of Walt Disney Plaza, as I read at one point (or is part of the street still called Walt Disney Plaza?) That did seem rather like sticking his name on there to say to the purists - "Look, the park has Walt in it now! It's even got his name!" Which of course, like slapping familiar Disney characters on a ride to make it "more Disney," would be entirely missing the point.

    If Walt is now being treated like "another character," at least he's a character who actually did spend a lot of time in California, unlike many of the fictitious ones they're using!
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  2. #17

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    I believe you are right Techskip. Walt was a master marketeer who cultivated the image he wanted in order to better sell his products to the public. By all accounts he was a very private man "offstage." The difference today, is the cynicism with which Walt's name and image are being used by the company.

    I believe it is telling that the Disney family feels it necessary to create a separate foundation and museum in order to differentiate in the eyes of the public, Walt Disney the man from Walt Disney the multi-national entertainment conglomerate. It seems to me that if the company had stayed true to its founders ideals and standards, that it would stand as monument enough to the man, and such differentiation would be far less necessary.
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  3. #18

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd View Post
    Just on national television to a far broader audience to promote his park, films and other products.
    I totally agree with this. I'm sure that to those who actually grew up with the TV show and got to see Walt each week from their homes, Walt became almost like an honorary family member, and was just as important as a public figure to the park as Mickey Mouse, if not more so. I wouldn't be surprised if many kids today don't even realize that Disney was a person, not just a brand name, unfortunately.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out about the plans for Buena Vista St. Since they decided to keep the California theme of the park, at least they're finally going to get something relevant to the Disney story in there. I think its tasteful and will be really neat to see once it's finished.


  4. #19

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Well, I don't know about this. Walt had a carefully crafted public persona, and I really do think he used it to promote the park. I mean, he hosted the Disneyland television show, and he was always out and about in the park himself, but not incognito. I think what he wanted people most to see was how much he really cared about his work, the company, and the public.

    I think that today sometimes the company uses his persona or memory to promote something that me might not have liked. But he's not here, so it's really hard to tell and becomes only a matter of opinion.

    I DO think that DCA will benefit from a sense of the company's history, and lots of the important stuff of the history really is all about Walt! DCA really didn't have any of that included before, and (along with themeing) I think it will help with the lack of intimacy, creativity, and richness. I'm not sure that they're going overboard with it yet; we'll have to see when all the new stuff actually arrives. I seems to be a small-medium dose of Walt so far, which I think is the right size. I'm VERY excited for Buena Vista street, and also for the future Hollywood re-do, and not just because of Walt's presence being added there, but because of the era they're setting it in!

    In fact, my idea for a 3rd gate (which I have heretofore NOT mentioned) would be based on history, specifically Disney Film History. Everyone's always asking (on this board an in the real world) "How come THIS movie doesn't have a ride?" "How come there's no attraction or characters for THIS movie?" The movies in question run the gamut of both the animated canons and the live-action Disney movies! They are popular and unknown, recent or older, and every person wants his or her favorte 2 or 3 films want a whole ride built dedicated to them. Well, it may be a project for a whole new park! What a challege, to come up with a ride, show, or other attraction dedicated to each film in the animated canon (or prehaps just the once not represented yet). And attractions for the live action movies, especially from the 50s, 60s, and 70s! Every Disney fan has a couple of these that they hold dear. I know we're a board full of advocates for NON film based rides, and full on, from scratch, creativity, but I think the films-through disney history route has real potential for attractions of ALL kinds (maybe even NEW kinds?), and a large audience who will identify with the park quickly (unlike the original DCA, where Californians are perplexed about the need to visit a park about the place they are already IN, and travellers don't recognize much of the California-isms inside).
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  5. #20

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    It is not like they are going to make it Walt land. It's an exact replication of Main Street in a different era. Main Street was designed by Walt to specifically recreate bygone America and Buena Vista Street is going to recreate a bygone Los Angeles. I don't think the point is to exploit Walt. It is there to echo the success of Main Street USA while using a different era in order to fit into the California theme of the park. I think it is an excellent idea and can't wait for the parks to mirror one another in this formula. Like mentioned above, it is infusing the company's heritage to implement success which the park needs. Disneyland has always fed on the same thing. And when they stray too far from a certain formula, you end up with Sunshine Plaza.

  6. #21

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Yep. What really fries my frijoles is the contrast between Disney management's oh-so-reverent hyping of Walt in public and their cynical scorn of his name, works and culture in their conference rooms. It's a hypocrisy that lumbered into Burbank like an 800-pound gorilla when Eisner arrived, and stayed when he left.

    Your last point is especially valid; the Eisner mind-think is still very much around. Walt Disney's name/image was used in the past to denote quality, family entertainment. Of course lots of money was made in the process - nothing wrong with that. Nowadays, however, his name is used strictly to sell more "stuff." Today's modern management most certainly would have scorn for his "old-fashioned" ways.

    While I have no doubt the average TDA manager knows Walt Disney was the company's founder, I don't think they know much else about the great man.

    Do I have issues with the company wanting to honor Walt? Absolutely not. It's the likely motivation behind it that's irritating.

  7. #22

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    I have no problem with it, personally. I can appreciate what you're saying, techskip, but I'd rather have them exploit Walt's image than ignore the man altogether.

    Of course, what'd be really awesome would be if they kept going with the same sort of progress they once did...the kind Walt advocated...which would pay true respect to the man and his work. Unfortunately, that's just not always how it works at Disney. But Buena Vista Street seems like a good move to me.


  8. #23

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    For what it's worth, in my blog I posted a similar idea about the iconography of Walt vs. the real life Walt:

    http://micechat.com/forums/blogs/dis...man-again.html

  9. #24

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by surffnutt3000 View Post
    Do I have issues with the company wanting to honor Walt? Absolutely not. It's the likely motivation behind it that's irritating.
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  10. #25

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Side note: WALT DISNEY world.......if you want to think of everything walt did.

    But i think that BVS will be just a tribute, unless they start selling Walt plush. Sure when he stepped off the train there were no shops selling merchandise, but Walt didnt step off the train into an amusment park. As long as the facades and the entrance is beautiful then the tribute will be just.
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  11. #26

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    And yet, aside from his name he didn't really promote himself within the park.
    Main Street U.S.A. is where he grew up. I suppose that's something.
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  12. #27

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by dogtherock View Post
    Main Street U.S.A. is where he grew up. I suppose that's something.
    And Buena Vista Street will be the time where he grew as an artist and company. Same thing, just different era.

  13. #28

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd View Post
    Just on national television to a far broader audience to promote his park, films and other products.
    Quote Originally Posted by ALIASd View Post
    Just on souvenirs sold there and on national television to a far broader audience to promote his park, films and other products.
    Two specific thoughts... the majority of park merchandise was not about him, his life, or his beliefs... the merchandise was themed to specific lands and sold. He did guidebooks... but even that really advocated the merits of the subjects covered... not Walt.

    Secondly, he did various tv specials, initially used the ABC ones to finish the park... but again the specials promoted the park, not Walt, his life, or his personal beliefs! There is a difference between showing what someone created and reading someone's biography.

    Quote Originally Posted by mickeyandme67 View Post
    It is hard for me to say how much of a presence Walt had in his park's namesake during the years of his life as I was not there to witness it firsthand.

    But collectors know for instance that there was a very large image of Walt featured on the 1955 pictorial guide book cover and again on the covers from 1958 through 1966. Starting in 1958, the title of the guide was "Walt Disney's Guide To Disneyland".

    In my opinion, I think your argument is unsound Techskip.
    I addressed the books above.

    Quote Originally Posted by thermo648 View Post
    They are saying that they are basing Buena Vista Street off of what Walt would have seen, but I don't think it's overusing a connection to Walt. It's a simple connection and a basis for what time period and basic architecture that they want to use for the revamp of the park, but they aren't slapping his name on everything. They've even taken out the Disney in California Adventure's name. And it seems that unless they heavily alter their plans, most guests won't even realize the special connection that some see as excessive. And if they don't put in the partners statue, there really won't be an obvious connection back to Walt. It will simply be a perfected image of California in the 20's and a far cry from overkill on Walt.
    And my question is why have the connection at all? Why can't it be a 1920's Los Angeles? Why does Disney need to justify it's own decision with "Walt would have seen this so this is why it's here"?

    Quote Originally Posted by eticketdream View Post
    I totally agree with this. I'm sure that to those who actually grew up with the TV show and got to see Walt each week from their homes, Walt became almost like an honorary family member, and was just as important as a public figure to the park as Mickey Mouse, if not more so. I wouldn't be surprised if many kids today don't even realize that Disney was a person, not just a brand name, unfortunately.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find out about the plans for Buena Vista St. Since they decided to keep the California theme of the park, at least they're finally going to get something relevant to the Disney story in there. I think its tasteful and will be really neat to see once it's finished.
    I agree Uncle Walt the individual had a huge impact on the American public, but there is a distinction between him and his creations. His park was a mixture of what characters we all knew and loved... and unique park specific characters we grew to love. Sure he was a celebrity, sure everyone knew him, but the main draw of going to Disneyland was the experience. Seeing Walt was simply a tremendous highlight! It wasn't "Walt Land", he wasn't a character that was overly promoted. Sure he was there but people were there to see and experience what he had done. Seeing him was simply an unexpected highlight... now everywhere you look in the Disney empire there are quotes justifying decisions he may or may not have supported.

    Now we have a statue dedicated to Walt. We have books found within the park detailing the lift of Walt and his creations. We have DVD's that explain Walt's life. We have a tour where you can "Walk in Walt's Footsteps"... the creator has simply become another marketable character within the berm of Disneyland. For every decision there is a Walt quote. For every change there is a Walt quote. The more the company appears to stray from his perceived vision the more they cling to every word he said to justify their motives.

    Quote Originally Posted by twobluestripes View Post
    Well, I don't know about this. Walt had a carefully crafted public persona, and I really do think he used it to promote the park. I mean, he hosted the Disneyland television show, and he was always out and about in the park himself, but not incognito. I think what he wanted people most to see was how much he really cared about his work, the company, and the public.

    I think that today sometimes the company uses his persona or memory to promote something that me might not have liked. But he's not here, so it's really hard to tell and becomes only a matter of opinion.

    I DO think that DCA will benefit from a sense of the company's history, and lots of the important stuff of the history really is all about Walt! DCA really didn't have any of that included before, and (along with themeing) I think it will help with the lack of intimacy, creativity, and richness. I'm not sure that they're going overboard with it yet; we'll have to see when all the new stuff actually arrives. I seems to be a small-medium dose of Walt so far, which I think is the right size. I'm VERY excited for Buena Vista street, and also for the future Hollywood re-do, and not just because of Walt's presence being added there, but because of the era they're setting it in!
    What is interesting is that Walt supported various projects (Tiki Room comes to mind as it bears his name). But his support was exactly that... support... the project was always able to stand on it's own merits (creatively, he provided financial support most times). With DCA Walt is being used to explain a choice that does not need an explanation. He is being used to define a specific time in company history... that many believe is meaningless and lost on the "common Guest". The point is... it isn't necessary. If they want to do something... do it... but don't quote the man continually and make reference to him for justification of your decisions. That is why I chose exploitation as my title... because Walt's involvement isn't even remotely necessary... it is pure marketing exploitation.

    Quote Originally Posted by disneytim View Post
    For what it's worth, in my blog I posted a similar idea about the iconography of Walt vs. the real life Walt:

    http://micechat.com/forums/blogs/dis...man-again.html
    I apologize as I had not read it... but I will now!

    Quote Originally Posted by disneyNEWdad View Post
    Side note: WALT DISNEY world.......if you want to think of everything walt did.

    But i think that BVS will be just a tribute, unless they start selling Walt plush. Sure when he stepped off the train there were no shops selling merchandise, but Walt didnt step off the train into an amusment park. As long as the facades and the entrance is beautiful then the tribute will be just.
    WDW was considered "Project X" and was completed after Walt's death. It was completed by individuals who knew Walt directly and constantly asked "would Walt want me to do this?" It is the perfect example of something built for the man as a tribute... and built by those individuals who honestly knew him and not just his quotes.
    Last edited by techskip; 08-25-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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  14. #29

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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by BigThunder View Post
    I believe it is telling that the Disney family feels it necessary to create a separate foundation and museum in order to differentiate in the eyes of the public, Walt Disney the man from Walt Disney the multi-national entertainment conglomerate. It seems to me that if the company had stayed true to its founders ideals and standards, that it would stand as monument enough to the man, and such differentiation would be far less necessary.
    I joked once about having a Walt AA to replace Lincoln... Walt's ideas about his park in his own words... members on here fell upon it like a ton of bricks. The very thought of using Walt to justify anything was infuriating... I agree... yet when I point it out here some are unwilling to acknowledge that Walt isn't even necessary in this decision. This should be 1920's LA because it was the heyday of LA and the beginning of the Golden Age of Hollywood... not because Walt stepped off a train. Throwing Walt in the mix is asking for justification and stating "this isn't good enough on it's own so we'll claim it's tied to company history". I guess that is what bothered me so much about the concept. From the very opening lines about Walt stepping off a train. The decision was made to tie it to Walt and justify it instead of creating a view of a time now gone and letting that stand on it's own merit.

    I believe the decision to have the family museum in Sf is very telling of a few things. First and foremost it separates the private Walt from the public Walt. As much as I would have enjoyed it near the resort I realize why it wouldn't happen. If it was near the resort all that people would care about is the part about Disneyland. They would look for the quotes the company is so quick to unload... and neglect the rich story of the man behind it. Even that story is carefully doctored (Opus can elaborate)... but at least you get more then justification for various decisions. Walt didn't justify... he did what he thought was best... those following that knew Walt tried to follow that path (again without justification). Those who didn't know him have continually quoted him in defense of every major decision.
    Last edited by techskip; 08-25-2009 at 12:54 PM.
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    Re: The Exploitation of Walt for Buena Vista St.

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    Two specific thoughts... the majority of park merchandise was not about him, his life, or his beliefs... the merchandise was themed to specific lands and sold. He did guidebooks... but even that really advocated the merits of the subjects covered... not Walt.

    Secondly, he did various tv specials, initially used the ABC ones to finish the park... but again the specials promoted the park, not Walt, his life, or his personal beliefs! There is a difference between showing what someone created and reading someone's biography.
    Exactly right on both points. As kids in the 50's and 60's, I and my siblings and our family friends were diehard Disney fans -- but not fans of Walt. As kids or adults, we were into Disneyland and Disney movies and Disney characters and Davy Crockett and the Mouseketeers -- but not Walt.

    In our minds Walt was the host of the show, the guy who made things happen, the filmmaker, the artist, the inspiration behind it all. The magic was in the Disney stuff itself -- in Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and, above all, Disneyland. Walt was not magic. Walt was liked and admired and praised, but never revered. Disneyland was liked and loved and admired and praised and revered. Disneyland was magic.

    Sure, Walt's face was on the guidebooks you bought at the Park, and his signature was on the ticket books and elsewhere. But so far as promoting "Walt" went, that was about it. If you were a Walt fan (and growing up I never knew of any) you were SOL -- aside from his short introductions for the weekly TV show and an occasional media interview, there was zip.

    The whole selling of "Walt Our Revered Founder" is not a Disney thing. It's an Eisner thing. He started it, his successors are continuing it.

    It's business. Anyone who thinks the top Disney execs in the last 25 years revere Walt or believe those quotes in their hearts hasn't been on the inside.


    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 08-25-2009 at 01:20 PM.
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