As I'm sure you all have noticed - and almost certainly have very strong opinions about - theming is a contentious point among us all. It's unavoidable, in my view: something that is so integral to both the way Walt separated himself from the 'amusement park' crowd, and to how the company moves forward with increasingly well-themed competitors. It's very natural to have a strong opinion about what essentially is the heart and soul of the parks.
Of course, sometimes we feel that things aren't going as they should.
I suppose what I mean is that often we feel the ideals of 'theme' are not being followed. And this can be at many levels of the parks - from small installations of parade lights to the situation of entire lands with their neighbors. Perhaps some recent examples (although certainly not the only ones):
-The aforementioned parade lighting situation (still in progress) on BVS.
-The addition of 'a bugs land' in a California-themed park.
-The placement of the British Victorian 'Jolly Holiday Bakery' to the end of Main Street.
-And many others that I'm certain we could all debate about until Sleeping Beauty Castle crumbles away into dust.
However, these are only examples. I'm not interested in particular points of contention - what I'm more interested in is the rationalization behind the different sides in these debates. We have different views on 'theme', what it means, and what it should be, and when it is broken.
What I want to know is: Can we all agree on some basic 'rules' of theme with which to facilitate discourse?
And it's not like these should be iron laws, or anything. But simply a set of basic ideals that we, the members of this and other boards, can agree upon. A framework with which we can say 'This is breaking theme'. Because there seems to be a whole lot of differing opinions that we all have regarding what that means.
I would like us all to work together to create this framework. I think we could fairly easily come up with oodles of rules and things, but I think we should limit it to 5 - 10 ideals or rules of theme.
What are yours? I will update this first post with the most readily agreed upon rules. Hopefully, by the end of the thread we can reach a better understanding of what exactly constitutes 'breaking theme'.
Thank you for your time.
The following represents ideals or points that have a reached a fairly large level of consensus, and are thus presented here for your consideration:
Firstly, the following can help define the sides of this topic for future debates - There are two essentially irreconcilable camps in this debate: those that believe in the areas and lands as 'actual places' - and those that believe in the areas as a framework for similarly-themed attractions to exist in for a pleasing aesthetic.
And now, on to the 'rules' or 'ideals':
1) If something convincingly envelops you, the rider, in a fantasy or 'historical' environment (a haunted house, a ransacked Caribbean town overtaken by pirates, a lost temple in India circa 1930, etc) then it is well-themed.
2) Theming is important on many levels - from 'overall atmosphere' to 'smallest detail'. If one of the levels is missing, it may not break the theming of the attraction or land, but it will be noticeable. An attraction or area that is missing one of the levels is noticeably less themed than one that has attention applied all the way through.