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  1. #1

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    Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Here I present four lists of attractions. What links the attractions featured in list 1 to list 2, and list 3 to list 4? Also, what separates the occupants of lists 1 and 2 from lists 3 and 4?

    _1_
    Soarin'
    Big Thunder
    Pirates
    Haunted Mansion
    "its a small world"
    Space Mt.
    *Matterhorn
    *Jungle Cruise

    _2_
    Splash
    Twilight Zone ToT
    Star Tours
    Indy
    Rodger Rabbits
    TSMM
    *Matterhorn
    *Jungle Cruise

    _3_
    Maliboomer
    Limo
    Mulholland
    Stinger
    Limo
    Innoventions

    _4_
    Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
    Pirates Lair
    BLAB

  2. #2

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Lists 1 and 2 are (generally regarded as) quality attractions. Lists 3 and 4 are (generally regarded as) poor attractions.

    Lists 1 and 3 are original attractions. Lists 2 and 4 are film-based attractions.

    Presumably, the point is to show that original attractions can be good or bad, and so can film-based attractions.

    I agree with this point .

    However, I am going to respond with this response I just made to another of your posts over on the "Is Pixar Taking Over?" thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by animagusurreal View Post
    Once again, it's not that original attractions are automatically good and movie-based ones are automatically bad. It's the feeling that if a non-movie-based attraction was proposed today, it would automatically get shot down for that reason alone, or else have a random character slapped onto it just for the sake of advertising plush. That's what I object to.

    Of course, if a non-movie-based attraction is poorly executed (Limo) or a very, very, very thinly veiled off-the-shelf carnival ride (Mulholland, Stinger) or a dull infomercial under the guise of an edutainment attraction (well, I haven't been to the Tortilla Factory, but that's how I felt about Sourdough), then the simple virtue of not being based on a movie is not going to save it.

    Soarin' and GRR (although the latter could use some plussing to make it more Disney distinctive) I will defend as original. Screamin' is a great coaster, but the theming is pretty thin compared to the Disney mountains. It's the only one I refer to regularly as "the roller coaster" rather than its name (I still love it though)

    BTW, all the DCA attractions you listed (in the other thread, which were all "original" DCA attractions) are from what I refer to as Disney's period of "self-loathing". Eisner was trying (unsuccesfully) to make DCA "hip, edgy and now" while leaving the "childish" fantasy to Disneyland. That's why I think there weren't a lot of film-based attractions (or non-film-based fantasy, mythic, or historical attractions for that matter). That's one of the big problems with DCA today - the theme wasn't designed to accomodate Disney's film properties the way Disneyland's Fantasyland was, but the current regime, with an opposing yet equally misguided viewpoint, thinks that everything has to be related to a popular film - almost none of which relate directly to California in subject matter. So we get a mish-mash.
    Also, regarding the asterisks that appear to refer to the question over whether or not The Matterhorn and the Jungle Cruise are movie-based.

    - The opening of the Matterhorn co-incided with and cross-promoted Disney's film Third Man on the Mountain. However, the characters and story from that film have never had any place whatsoever in the ride. According to a synopsis, it's not even supposed to be the Matterhorn in the film (It's referred to as "The Citidel"). The addition of the abominable snowman further cemented the lack of a connection between the ride and the film.

    - The Jungle Cruise was originally inspired by Disney's True-Life Adventure films and the non-Disney film The African Queen. However, no Bogie and Hepburn AA's ever appeared in the ride, and Marc Davis' later humorous additions moved the ride away from the "nature documentary" feel - if it wasn't an original when it opened, it became one then, and has been ever since .
    Last edited by animagusurreal; 12-07-2009 at 06:42 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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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    list 4 took a classic away?
    list 3 are cheap and much hated.

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Just as a cheap nitpick, "Limo" appears twice in List 3.

    I agree with animagusurreal--it's not that original ideas are automatically better than film-based ideas, it's that the latter are pushing the former out of the parks. It was pointed out recently on this very forum that the next Pirates or Mansion might be gathering dust on a shelf somewhere because the money people won't approve it without a ready tie-in.

    I think it's easier to produce a quality attraction for an original idea than a tie-in idea, because it's one less stricture to work under. You just come up with a cool idea and figure out how to implement it. You might start with the story and environment and figure out the right ride system to use, or you might start with an innovative new ride system and figure out the right context to use it in, but either way you have a broad palette to choose from. Making a tie-in attraction adds one more thing that has to match up at every step and limits the possibilities.

    For an example of what I mean, let's say you are a designer for a theme park. You've just learned about a fantastic new ride technology that lets individual vehicle cars move smoothly from an underneath to an overhead track and back, and you want to use this technology as the basis for an immersive space-themed ride where the guests hop from one planet to another. Only problem is, your bosses want you to make it a tie-in with their hit show "Sal the Space Gal," and she doesn't travel by spaceship; she travels by teleporting. So now if you want to use this fantastic technology, you have to work the teleportation angle into it. And you have to add scenes of Sal fighting her enemies on the "planet surface" portions of the ride, taking attention away from all the fantastical terrains you hoped to sculpt. Figuring out how to make the ride as amazing as you want, under these restrictions, is going to take time and therefore money, and your bosses don't want to spend that much. So you have to aim lower.
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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by animagusurreal View Post
    - The Jungle Cruise was originally inspired by Disney's True-Life Adventure films and the non-Disney film The African Queen. However, no Bogie and Hepburn AA's ever appeared in the ride, and Marc Davis' later humorous additions moved the ride away from the "nature documentary" feel - if it wasn't an original when it opened, it became one then, and has been ever since .
    To add slightly to this there have been attempts in the past to tie movies to the attraction. I have an old publicity shot of Tarzan (real life not animated) done around the time Disneyland opened. I remember reading somewhere that some in WED considered adding Swiss to Jungle before the treehouse was decided on. I know a manager who once suggested George of the Jungle overlay. There was also the pitch for a Lion King overlay (we did do search for Simba for private parties). Tarzan's animators specifically used a known Jungle Cruise scene in hopes of having it tied directly to Jungle Cruise upon it's release... most recently Indy had some additions placed in the Jungle as a sort of scavenger hunt.

    So the Jungle is "unique" but it has taken a lot of effort by very powerful, very conservitive individuals within the company to keep it that way. The "old guard" if you will. This is why taking the guns away took forever, and bringing them back by comparison was in a heartbeat...

    I feel very lucky to have been a part of Jungle. As much as I complain about the spiels, it is nice to have something that is unique and isn't tied to a movie franchise. There is just something about the mystery of being on a safari and not knowing which animals you will see around every curve.
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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    To add slightly to this there have been attempts in the past to tie movies to the attraction. I have an old publicity shot of Tarzan (real life not animated) done around the time Disneyland opened. I remember reading somewhere that some in WED considered adding Swiss to Jungle before the treehouse was decided on. I know a manager who once suggested George of the Jungle overlay. There was also the pitch for a Lion King overlay (we did do search for Simba for private parties). Tarzan's animators specifically used a known Jungle Cruise scene in hopes of having it tied directly to Jungle Cruise upon it's release... most recently Indy had some additions placed in the Jungle as a sort of scavenger hunt.

    So the Jungle is "unique" but it has taken a lot of effort by very powerful, very conservitive individuals within the company to keep it that way. The "old guard" if you will. This is why taking the guns away took forever, and bringing them back by comparison was in a heartbeat...

    I feel very lucky to have been a part of Jungle. As much as I complain about the spiels, it is nice to have something that is unique and isn't tied to a movie franchise. There is just something about the mystery of being on a safari and not knowing which animals you will see around every curve.
    a george of the jungle overlay?????WTF were they thinking.....the next horrifying question would be would it have been the cartoon ? or the brenden fraiser shudder fest? and lastly would they have had the george of the jungle theme playing?.. yes i know this is OT but i felt the scarey questions should have been asked....

  7. #7

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Here is what I would suggest..

    In groups one and groups two, it is fairly obvious that these rides are all very sucessful and crutial experiances at the Disneyland Resort. Both classics and new favorites are included in both groups. Groups three and four include rides and attractions which have recieved critisism for providing a lackluster experiance. Attractions such as GRR, Innoventions, Tarzan's Treehouse, many of the pier rides and others were left out of these groups because how disliked they actually are, and the reasons for which they are possibly disliked are constantly being debated.

    The other factor I would like to address here is the simmilarities between one and three and two and four. One and three both feature attractions that use characters and ideas which could be considered "unique." Contrarily, rides featuring characters and ideas borrowed from the plotlines of Disney properties are included in two and four. Any rides which could be argued over have been identified with stars and included in both catergories which could hold them.

    So I ask, is it really what the ride is based on which makes it great, or is it something more? I will state that it is good to see both styles of attractions planned for and included in the parks. However, I belive that it is the execution of the attraction itself, the land which holds it, and the relationship and transition between those two entities which makes an attraction truely great. I want to clarify that I am not saying that a beautiful ride with no good story can be great, but rather that for a ride to be executed properly, it must have a good environment and story regardless of where it draws its inspiration for plot, character and location from.
    The threads have been abuzz with the whole Pixar-Marvel-Classic-Original ride debate as of late and I feel that it is important to discuss the whole picture. All of these lists have been discussed by posters to argue their viewpoints, but here they are side by side. Surely they show that the basis is not the deciding factor.

  8. #8

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by animagusurreal View Post
    Lists 1 and 2 are (generally regarded as) quality attractions. Lists 3 and 4 are (generally regarded as) poor attractions.

    Lists 1 and 3 are original attractions. Lists 2 and 4 are film-based attractions.

    Presumably, the point is to show that original attractions can be good or bad, and so can film-based attractions.

    I agree with this point .

    However, I am going to respond with this response I just made to another of your posts over on the "Is Pixar Taking Over?" thread:



    Also, regarding the asterisks that appear to refer to the question over whether or not The Matterhorn and the Jungle Cruise are movie-based.

    - The opening of the Matterhorn co-incided with and cross-promoted Disney's film Third Man on the Mountain. However, the characters and story from that film have never had any place whatsoever in the ride. According to a synopsis, it's not even supposed to be the Matterhorn in the film (It's referred to as "The Citidel"). The addition of the abominable snowman further cemented the lack of a connection between the ride and the film.

    - The Jungle Cruise was originally inspired by Disney's True-Life Adventure films and the non-Disney film The African Queen. However, no Bogie and Hepburn AA's ever appeared in the ride, and Marc Davis' later humorous additions moved the ride away from the "nature documentary" feel - if it wasn't an original when it opened, it became one then, and has been ever since .
    How can you be sure that original ideas are getting blocked. If you ask me, I'd say that pretty much every idea is being blocked due to the fact that all the expansion plans until 2012 are worked out and pending. Only after that time will we see some sense of normal expansion again, which may or may not include original-pixar-marvel-classic attractions.

    Also, I agree about JC and Matterhorn but after posting previously that they were movie inspired rides, I got blasted for my stupidity in that assumption. That is why several rides are missing.

    Of course, if a non-movie-based attraction is poorly executed (Limo) or a very, very, very thinly veiled off-the-shelf carnival ride (Mulholland, Stinger) or a dull infomercial under the guise of an edutainment attraction (well, I haven't been to the Tortilla Factory, but that's how I felt about Sourdough), then the simple virtue of not being based on a movie is not going to save it.
    This is my exact point. It takes a quality experiance to make a great ride, regardless of what is behind it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Karalora View Post
    Just as a cheap nitpick, "Limo" appears twice in List 3.

    I agree with animagusurreal--it's not that original ideas are automatically better than film-based ideas, it's that the latter are pushing the former out of the parks. It was pointed out recently on this very forum that the next Pirates or Mansion might be gathering dust on a shelf somewhere because the money people won't approve it without a ready tie-in.

    I think it's easier to produce a quality attraction for an original idea than a tie-in idea, because it's one less stricture to work under. You just come up with a cool idea and figure out how to implement it. You might start with the story and environment and figure out the right ride system to use, or you might start with an innovative new ride system and figure out the right context to use it in, but either way you have a broad palette to choose from. Making a tie-in attraction adds one more thing that has to match up at every step and limits the possibilities.

    For an example of what I mean, let's say you are a designer for a theme park. You've just learned about a fantastic new ride technology that lets individual vehicle cars move smoothly from an underneath to an overhead track and back, and you want to use this technology as the basis for an immersive space-themed ride where the guests hop from one planet to another. Only problem is, your bosses want you to make it a tie-in with their hit show "Sal the Space Gal," and she doesn't travel by spaceship; she travels by teleporting. So now if you want to use this fantastic technology, you have to work the teleportation angle into it. And you have to add scenes of Sal fighting her enemies on the "planet surface" portions of the ride, taking attention away from all the fantastical terrains you hoped to sculpt. Figuring out how to make the ride as amazing as you want, under these restrictions, is going to take time and therefore money, and your bosses don't want to spend that much. So you have to aim lower.
    I would suggest again that these are only speculations and cannot be nessisarily proven. Only when the resort has finished its rediculous expansion will we see what is in store.

    As for the space example, that too is rather speculative. Sure that would be a hastle if you already had tonnes of ideas, but if you were given a ride system and in one example were given the open ability to use it, and in another you were given a movie to link to, it would just take a different thought process to create something amazing.

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by TrevorD View Post
    How can you be sure that original ideas are getting blocked. If you ask me, I'd say that pretty much every idea is being blocked due to the fact that all the expansion plans until 2012 are worked out and pending. Only after that time will we see some sense of normal expansion again, which may or may not include original-pixar-marvel-classic attractions.
    Because the last time a major non-movie/character based attraction was built at the park was Soarin'. Before that? Big Thunder Mountain. It's been 30 years since Disneyland has received one. That's more than half of the parks lifetime.

    This is my exact point. It takes a quality experiance to make a great ride, regardless of what is behind it.
    I think that the overall experience is tied up in the very concepts that build the ride in the first place. No matter how well executed a movie-based attraction is, it will always be met with expectations and will be consciously or subconsciously effected by its source material. And because movies are both a visual, audible and storytelling medium, audiences riding a movie-based attraction have certain expectations of what it will look and sound like, and even the situations contained within it. Whether you view that as a creative ceiling or not, imagineers generally have to meet those expectations.

    I would suggest again that these are only speculations and cannot be nessisarily proven. Only when the resort has finished its rediculous expansion will we see what is in store.
    I've seen nothing but ample evidence that the people currently in charge of the WDC are only interested in advertising film and television properties through the Theme Park Division.

    As for the space example, that too is rather speculative. Sure that would be a hastle if you already had tonnes of ideas, but if you were given a ride system and in one example were given the open ability to use it, and in another you were given a movie to link to, it would just take a different thought process to create something amazing.
    More speculation for you. Imagine if during the development of the Indiana Jones Adventure, an imagineer had an idea for an amazing climax, with tons of ground-breaking special effects that could be achieved within the budget. But because the hallmark scene of those films is the giant boulder chase, that idea gets shot down in favor of the boulder. A better idea shot down for one that meets audience expectations.

    I'm sure this has happened many times, because this is the thinking that now runs the company. There are no creative risks being taken, only retreads of what has already been proven successful. Even in an attraction like Indiana Jones Adventure, which I'd argue is a very creative and well executed attraction, I'm sure certain concessions in creativity had to be made in order to suit the expectations audiences would have given the source material.

    I think the original, non-movie based attractions work more because those expectations don't exist in the same way. When they were building POTC, I'm sure they had to face similar expectations in the way people viewed pirates through depictions in popular culture. But because those stories were based on myth, lore and some history (and admittedly maybe an Erroll Flynn movie or two), they had much larger freedom in creating environments and situations; from the way characters looked and dressed to the lighting and sound effects.

    You're asking for incontrovertible proof that one is better than the other, and I don't think you'll find it by making lists. It's all wrapped up in the way each individual feels about the attraction. I think when you experience an environment created specifically for a theme park without being chained to a preexisting film property, it just tends to feel more real. And I think the people arguing for less movie-based attractions miss that feeling from Disney attractions.

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by Matterhorn Boy View Post
    Because the last time a major non-movie/character based attraction was built at the park was Soarin'. Before that? Big Thunder Mountain. It's been 30 years since Disneyland has received one. That's more than half of the parks lifetime.
    Minor correction that proves a major point... the last original attraction not based on an existing movie or character franchise in Disneyland was Rocket Rods. We all know how that turned out. You can debate the technical merits but from a thematic standpoint you were zoomed along in a hotdog car for 2 minutes with nothing to look at. The last successful attraction was BTM. This then requires individuals to make the next logical step. Considering both attractions presented a unique theme, what made BTM successful and Rocket Rods unsuccessful?
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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    BTM is way more reliable than Rocket Rods. BTM was purpose built while Rocket Rods were adapted to their tracks which they were tearing up. Other than that I can't say, I never rode or saw the Rocket Rods.

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    It almost seems like the company has given up on any far-reaching improvements to Disneyland, such as increasing the park's acreage, utilizing unused or little-used areas, increasing the attraction count and increasing the park's carrying capacity. Instead the focus is clearly now on seasonal events, marketing promotions, overlays, shows and entertainment, rather than on attractions. Obviously they have a lot on their plate, with the DCA expansion, major work at other parks and even a whole new park in Shanghai. But at some point they really ought to sit down and take stock of Disneyland itself, look at the attendance figures, and ask themselves, "What can we do to make the experience better for our guests?" in a permanent, lasting way rather than just temporary stuff.

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    1)
    non-movie based, successful
    2)
    movie based, successful
    3)
    non-movie based, unsuccessful
    4)
    movie based, unsuccessful

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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    It almost seems like the company has given up on any far-reaching improvements to Disneyland, such as increasing the park's acreage, utilizing unused or little-used areas, increasing the attraction count and increasing the park's carrying capacity. Instead the focus is clearly now on seasonal events, marketing promotions, overlays, shows and entertainment, rather than on attractions. Obviously they have a lot on their plate, with the DCA expansion, major work at other parks and even a whole new park in Shanghai. But at some point they really ought to sit down and take stock of Disneyland itself, look at the attendance figures, and ask themselves, "What can we do to make the experience better for our guests?" in a permanent, lasting way rather than just temporary stuff.
    In generations past Disneyland was a permanent experience for the seasonal traveler. It has slowly become a seasonal solution for the permanent local. Disney has made a firm decision to expand and cater to the AP Program, seasonal promotions are just a part of that decision. Disney then was about experience... Disney now is about selling plush, and DVD's, and tshirts, and packing the crowd in for the nex holiday push where they can sell more DVD's, and tshirts, and plush...

    Others have said it but from a financial perspective a movie or character tie-in is seen as an advertising investment. Attractions are no longer experiences, they are commercials designed to make kids want everything in the giftshop.
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    Re: Controversial Thought: The Attractions

    Wow. Great post, Matterhorn Boy!

    Spinning rides into cross-promotional vehicles for movies is probably a temptic tactic for the suits--on the face of it, itseems like a win-win. But there's a lesson that Hollywood-centric executives need to learn:

    In the long-run, non-themed is more cost-effective. It can spin into movies (a la POTC), but their fortunes don't rise and fall with the films. The HM film was a dog, but it hasn't sunk the popularity of HM one bit. Heck, they could make ANOTHER movie in ten years and no one would think twice about the first one. Whereas the submarine revamp had its plug pulled, expensively, when the movie it was tied to failed at the box office. Yes, Nemo's there now. But ten years from now, when Nemo's crowded into the past by movies to come, it's gonna seem awfully dated.
    Not only will the characters seem less than fresh, the projection technology used to shoehorn them in (making the ride as movie-like as possible) will probably seem laughably crude.

    Yes, Walt made film-inspired attractions--but only early in the game, when he need to demonstrate the "Disney DNA" in the park. Ultimately, he seemed to realize they were different kinds of storytelling, with different demands. An attraction doesn't need a linear narrative--if anything, it needs to overwhelm the senses with a profusion of elements. Can you imagine a ride more boring than one that told the plot of the Haunted Mansion movie? Can you imagine a movie more confusing than one that incorporated all the elements of the Haunted Mansion ride, straining to tie them all together?

    I'm not against movie-based rides, as I've said before. I just want it to be a two-way street.

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