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  1. #1

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    The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    This thread is a response to the arguments scattered around the board that Disney can't build a new, original, non-movie-based attraction because the general public prefers - nay, demands - attractions with characters from popular movies. There is also a related argument that the only rides that can survive without characters are thrill rides, and that people only ride those because of the physical thrill factor. My hopes are that this thread will help to puncture those arguments .

    The question I'd like you to answer is, what could be a "draw" in a new attraction for the modern general public other than physical thrills or characters? (Note that this draw or hook does not have to be everything the attraction is about, just as DL's thrill rides are about more than thrills). What would the PotC or Haunted Mansion of today be like? (And by that, I don't mean they have to be similar to those rides in any way, just that they would be of that caliber and original). What myth in the popular conciousness would they bring to life?

    I don't have an answer yet, but I do have an example of an existing ride that is not based on a movie, is not a thrill ride, and is a huge hit: Soarin'. Some might argue that is a thrill ride, but it certainly is not in the same vein as Space Mountain or Tower of Terror. You are never meant to feel a sense of danger. It's not "OMG, we're going to hit that mountainside!" it's "OMG, look at that beautiful mountainside!" The draw here is the sensation of flying, which is a fundamental human fantasy.

    (I'd also like to point out that, as far as I know, PotC and Small World both saw healthy attendance prior to their character-adding refurbs, and were definitely both Disney icons in their own right.)
    Last edited by animagusurreal; 12-02-2009 at 06:34 AM.
    "Happy Working Song" parody for DCA remodel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-TYESfNTP8&feature=plcp

    Retro Rant Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" (comedy review of direct-to-video
    Disney sequel):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../1/q1j7FU8QXu0
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../0/sasNTMDRBLU

    Retro Rant Review of "Home on the Range" (comedy review of Disney movie):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7mC-...feature=relmfu
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUie...feature=relmfu
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Vea...feature=relmfu


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    Pratfall the albatross superheroine visits the Carthay Circle Theatre.

  2. #2

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    I think the public is accepting of anything that leaves them with a good feeling. Either an adrenaline rush, visceral thrill or the feeling of being entertained or uplifted or transported on an adventure then returned safely, or is memorable in some way. For my part I don't think the public demands that an attraction be tied to a movie. I don't think the public demands much, frankly and I'm surprised how accepting the public is of a lower-quality experience due to crowding, high prices and unimaginative new attractions. I think the movie-attraction link is basically a marketing strategy by the company to reduce their risk. A feature film is so expensive, and an attraction is so expensive, that they want to have both as a way of supporting and marketing each other. The film markets the park because there's an attraction based on it, and the attraction helps market the film. They are afraid that one or the other can't stand on its own and therefore wouldn't justify the cost, so they do both as marketing tools for each other.

  3. #3

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    ^

    I agree, Bob. I too think it's more about the executives' perception of getting more bang for their buck and reducing risks than "what the public wants."

    It's too bad this kind of thinking has taken hold, because, as has often been stated, without risk there would be no Disneyland - nor probably any Disney. Even Pixar, whose characters they love to shove into every cranny of the parks these days, was a huge risk in the beginning.

    I think the general public accepts the park for the same reasons I do - because it's still Disneyland, and it's still the only one. They haven't quite destroyed that yet, though they do seem to be trying .

    *****

    I hope Awesome doesn't mind me commandeering this comment from over in the "Will the DCA Expansion Be Successful?" thread, but this is exactly the concept I was talking about in the first post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Awesome View Post
    The problem with having lands based around movies is that as movies die out, so will the novelty of lands. But unfortunately, that's all most kids are interested in nowadays - seeing the likeness of characters in their favorite movies portrayed in rides... it's something they can relate to.
    Why would kids today only be able to relate to their favorite movie characters? Of course they want to see their favorite characters, but why would they be limited to that? Kids are constantly embracing new movies, cartoons, etc., and somehow manage to "relate" to them alright, so why couldn't it be the same for original rides? I vividly remember how much I enjoyed then-non-character-based-Small-World when I first visited the park at age five.

    And why would a movie "die out?" Disney used to re-release their movies every seven years, so each new generation could see them. The problem is that recent attractions don't usually focus on capturing that timeless element, instead focusing on pushing characters and synopsizing the plot. But that's really a whole other thread

    Getting back to the topic, what would be an original attraction concept that would make the kids of today (and their parents) excited to ride, and yet also have a timeless quality, so that future generations would also be excited about it?
    Last edited by animagusurreal; 12-03-2009 at 06:17 AM.
    "Happy Working Song" parody for DCA remodel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-TYESfNTP8&feature=plcp

    Retro Rant Review of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame II" (comedy review of direct-to-video
    Disney sequel):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../1/q1j7FU8QXu0
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/user/animagus.../0/sasNTMDRBLU

    Retro Rant Review of "Home on the Range" (comedy review of Disney movie):
    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7mC-...feature=relmfu
    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoUie...feature=relmfu
    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3Vea...feature=relmfu


    Visit my site: http://www.vividgroovy.com



    Pratfall the albatross superheroine visits the Carthay Circle Theatre.

  4. #4

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by animagusurreal View Post
    Getting back to the topic, what would be an original attraction concept that would make the kids of today (and their parents) excited to ride, and yet also have a timeless quality, so that future generations would also be excited about it?
    History, Mythology, Exploration, Fairy Tales and Science Fiction/Futurism - Walt started with about as broad a blank canvas as anyone could. And there are still plenty of epic stories and adventures waiting to be told.

    A random sample:
    "The Secret of the Great Pyramid" - a rousing journey to, and narrow escape from, the center of the pyramid (which happens to be a new DLR landmark, larger than the Matterhorn, and a centerpiece of the 3rd park.)

    "The Odyssey" - a POTC-scale (and greatly sanitized) retelling of the original epic voyage of Odysseus.

    "Voyage of the Vikings" - Hold on, as your tiny galley journeys across the unexplored ocean, through rain, wind, fog and icebergs,even a sea monster, to finally find land in North America.

    "Sacajawea's Adventure" - Satisfies everyone from MBA's to DL purists, with a new Disney princess guiding us through the Western River Expedition.

    "Jack and the Beanstalk" - Like an upside-down HM...your adventure starts with a Jumping Jellyfish-like ride up the beanstalk...where you board your omnimover to explore the cloud city. Watch out for the Giant! (There's even a possible Mickey Mouse angle on this one, there was a 1947 Disney production with Mickey, Donald, Goofy...it would be great to see these guys actually doing something in an attraction!)

    "Genome Journey" - a giant microscope shrinks teams of guests, on a mission to explore DNA and the secrets of aging, and to use our quantum energy beam to wipe out the common cold virus.

  5. #5

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    I have to agree with Bob Weaver et al. This isn't about them NOT being able to, or being what people want. It is almost purely about risk aversion. When you use a movie to base an attraction on, you've got a built in audience. There is much less risk of people not liking a ride if you base it on another property (Cars for example) that is already really popular ($2 billion in merch sales/year). The people that make the decisions are all about avoiding risk and maximizing profit vs spending.

    Walt and the original crew were all about giving people something they had never seen before, something new and exciting. And sometimes it didn't work out. Other times it worked out so massively that no one could have foreseen the popularity.

    Low risk means steady, but slower payout. High risk means greater chance of failure, but also greater chance of bigger rewards. Executives are in the business of keeping things going smoothly while increasing profits. So they do lots of low risk things.

    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

  6. #6

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    I think that, just like in Walt's time, if the attraction is high quality, fun and immersive, people will enjoy just like they always have. The basic nature of humans hasn't changed much since Disneyland opened, show us something we can't experience in the real world, make it fun and exciting and give it repeatability and we're in.

    I think the difference is that when Disney became just a business with a bottom line instead of one man's personal passion, the quick buck tie-ins became the rule, but by the same token, Disney does have the ability to "steer" what the guests expect and enjoy. If you give them safe and familiar movie based attractions sure to bring money, then that's what they'll expect, and the Disney theme park experience will continue to be cheapened and watered down.

    If they were to go back to being true innovators and imaginative creators worthy of the name they work under, then we would see wonderful, creative, original attractions like POTC and HM etc.
    People would love these attractions as much as anything else, and they wouldn't have the same type of "shelf life" as basing something on the latest greatest fad.

    There are still plenty of themes and stories in American history alone that would be excellent source material for new rides and attractions, The sad fact is that Disney is no longer willing to take the kind of risks that the company set the bar with long ago.

  7. #7

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    Re: The "General Public" and Non-Movie Based Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by mycroft16 View Post
    I have to agree with Bob Weaver et al. This isn't about them NOT being able to, or being what people want. It is almost purely about risk aversion. When you use a movie to base an attraction on, you've got a built in audience. There is much less risk of people not liking a ride if you base it on another property (Cars for example) that is already really popular ($2 billion in merch sales/year). The people that make the decisions are all about avoiding risk and maximizing profit vs spending.

    Walt and the original crew were all about giving people something they had never seen before, something new and exciting. And sometimes it didn't work out. Other times it worked out so massively that no one could have foreseen the popularity.

    Low risk means steady, but slower payout. High risk means greater chance of failure, but also greater chance of bigger rewards. Executives are in the business of keeping things going smoothly while increasing profits. So they do lots of low risk things.
    .. I think that mycroft16's statement perfectly explains the root issue here in its simplest form. Whether we gripe about the food quality, the high prices at the gate and at the park registers, or the excessive "Tooning-Out" of the parks, everything seems to point back to how this company is run and the people that are running it.

    Walt was a risk taker indeed, but he had the personality, charm, and marketing wit to convince some pretty big players into investing into the idea of Disneyland even though the financial experts and critics were all convinced on their end that the park would ruin the Disney company a.k.a. "Walt's Folly". And in the end as we all know, Walt and the public proved to everyone in a year that the naysayers were dead wrong.

    In present times I think we have yet to see a true Walt-like leader take charge of the Disney parks & resorts division, or the entire company for that matter. Today Disneyland is run by wall street more than anything else and those who sit on or near the Disney throne are simply there now to be held accountable for the decisions made by the board with the shareholder's interests in mind.

    The closest (and I'll probably get flamed for this) to Walt we have seen since his era is Eisner. But sadly his bad decisions, especially DCA, overshadow many of the good decisions he made to help improve the parks, resort/cruise, and entertainment divisions during those times.

    From reading and participating in many of the threads on this topic I believe that what many Mice Chatters want to see is a human face to the brand again and not just some corporate tools that show up every now and then to cut ribbons or make press statements. Whether this will happen has yet to be seen but to date it seems like many fans of the park are hanging their heads in shame on behalf of Walt's ideology in regards to the overcapitalization happening today. There needs to be somebody that can take charge and take some real risks for the sake of preserving the parent theme of Disneyland itself and, if the risk is made on the best intentions considering the real fans of Disneyland across the world then how can it really fail? Even if the critics, the general public, and wall street consider the risks to be the next "Folly"?

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