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  1. #1

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    What has really changed?

    I know many people are upset over the ever increasing number of Disney characters and movies overtaking the parks. My question (and it really is an earnest inquiry) is how much has actually changed from Walt's time? By the time he passed away in 1966, what percentage of existing Disney characters, shows, and films were represented inside Disneyland? And how is that different from today? I can't help but wonder how much different things would be if he were alive today. The ratio of available franchise characters to park real estate is significantly greater than it used to be, and I've always been under the impression that a big part of Disneyland's original purpose for development was to have a place where we could experience these characters in 3 dimension. Unfortunately trying to include more of them has been at the expense of theming integrity and some great existing attractions.

    So tell me, what was around back then that Walt chose to leave out of the park because it didn't "fit" with what Disneyland was about?

  2. #2

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Here you go...

    From A (Mostly) Complete List of Original vs. Source-Based Attractions in Disneyland:


    Walt's Era:

    Original: 47 (62%)
    Source-Based: 29 (38%)
    Total: 76


    Post-Disney Era:

    Original: 30 (43%)
    Source-Based: 40 (57%)
    Total: 70
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
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  3. #3

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Wow! A five minute response time. I'm impressed

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Here you go...

    From A (Mostly) Complete List of Original vs. Source-Based Attractions in Disneyland:


    Walt's Era:

    Original: 47 (62%)
    Source-Based: 29 (38%)
    Total: 76


    Post-Disney Era:

    Original: 30 (43%)
    Source-Based: 40 (57%)
    Total: 70
    Wow, that's great info, Wiggins. Very interesting, thanks!

    Walking in Walt's footsteps

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    Re: What has really changed?

    On a less Disneyland focused tangent, seems to me when anything is new, there's a sense of "the world is our playground," and then it closes up later and it's annoying when that happens.

    Let me use Star Wars. The first film was the biggest film since 1939* because, as Obi-Wan said, "You have taken your first step into a much larger world." The Empire Strikes Back worked because it also made us feel like "wow, there's sooo much in this imaginary universe to play with!"

    Then Jedi came, and we got... another Death Star. oh. Decent film with some good moments, but it felt more a rehash in the finale than it should have. Then the novels came, and the characters, no matter how far the worlds apart they were... "Oh, Hi Lando!" I am 2,800 miles from my high school and will likely never see anyone from there again. These people, in a thousand worlds, just can't stop running into each other. Same with the Clone Wars showing us Chewie and now Darth Maul, who had been chopped in half and tossed down a bottomless pit to keep him from being seen again, has been returned two different ways!

    And similarly, the merchandising for the original Star Wars came out six months to a year later, with the action figures being first in shops for real the spring after the film opened. Not as we see more and more now, the toys are out before the film (see also Cars 2 in this), which makes us all wonder which is more important, storytelling or merchandising.

    I think it's the same thing... Disneyland was the supposed to be the land of imagination, the land where anything can happen, but we complain because of the deja vu feeling when everything has to be tied into a small group of characters, lately the Pixar bunch. Yes, they are new films, but we can't help but feel manipulated.

    "But they are the characters you love! See!" and yeah, we grownups feel like "Oh, there are the strings being pulled", specially since we've seen it all happening. I think we'd rather see new things in the parks. What new things? Ah, that's the million dollar question, huh?



    (* number of admissions, just behind Gone With The Wind for all time)

  6. #6

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Thanks for the link, Wiggins It's an interesting list...

    It doesn't really answer my question, though. I understand which percentage of Disneyland attractions are original vs. source-based. My question is in regards to which percentage of Disney property is represented in the park. I came up with a list based mainly on noteworthy films Disney has released before and after Walt, and what percentage of them have found permanent representation within Disneyland. My suggestion is that perhaps when Disneyland was developed, there was not nearly enough of their own creation of characters and stories to fill an amusement park. Not that I have any doubt Walt still would have wanted realistic historical and futuristic experiences. But had Disney possessed the vast collection they do now, would there have been as many original attractions? After all, Walt still included plenty of non-original characters and stories, real and fictional, to represent different aspects of the park (Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, Captain Nemo, Mike Fink, etc.).

    Anyhow, here's my list. Films in color have some aspect of them within DLR. For the sake of relevance, I have tried not to included any sequels, films with duplicated characters, or anything starring The Rock.

    1928 Plane Crazy / Steamboat Willie
    1929 The Skeleton Dance (the first Silly Symphonies cartoon)
    1932 Flowers and Trees, Mickey's Revue (premiere of Goofy, aka "Dippy Dawg")
    1933 Three Little Pigs
    1934 The Wise Little Hen (which features the premiere of Donald Duck)
    1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
    1940 Pinocchio, Fantasia
    1941 Dumbo
    1942 Bambi
    1943 Saludos Amigos
    1945 The Three Caballeros
    1946 Make Mine Music , Song of the South
    1947 Fun and Fancy Free
    1948 True-Life Adventures nature film series begins., Melody Time, Seal Island
    1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
    1950 Cinderella, Treasure Island
    1951 Alice in Wonderland
    1953 Peter Pan, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    1955 Lady and the Tramp, (Disneyland opens)
    1957 Old Yeller
    1959 Sleeping Beauty , The Shaggy Dog
    1960 Pollyanna, Swiss Family Robinson
    1961 101 Dalmations, The Absent-Minded Professor , The Parent Trap
    1963 The Sword in the Stone
    1964 Mary Poppins
    1966 Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree

    Walt Disney passes away on Dec. 15
    It seems that about 40% of marketable Disney films and projects were represented in the park at the time of Walt's death.


    1967 The Jungle Book
    1969 The Love Bug
    1970 The Aristocats
    1971 Bedknobs and Broomsticks
    1973 Robin Hood
    1975 Escape to Witch Mountain
    1976 Freaky Friday
    1977 The Rescuers, Pete's Dragon, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
    1979 The Black Hole
    1981 The Fox and the Hound
    1982 Tron
    1985 The Black Cauldron, Return to Oz, The Journey of Natty Gann
    1986 Flight of the Navigator, The Great Mouse Detective
    1987 The Brave Little Toaster, Benji the Hunted
    1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Oliver & Company
    1989 The Little Mermaid, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
    1990 Dick Tracy
    1991 Beauty and the Beast
    1992 Aladdin
    1993 A Far Off Place, The Nightmare Before Christmas
    1994 The Lion King
    1995 Toy Story, Pocahontas
    1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Jame and the Giant Peach
    1997 Hercules, George of the Jungle
    1998 Mulan, A Bug's Life
    1999 Tarzan
    2000 Dinosaur, The Emperor's New Groove
    2001 Monster's Inc.
    2002 Lilo & Stitch
    2003 Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, Brother Bear
    2004 The Incredibles, National Treasure
    2005 Chicken Little, The Chronicles of Narnia
    2006 Cars
    2007 Ratatouille, Enchanted
    2008 Wall-E, Bolt
    2009 Up, The Princess and the Frog
    2010 Prince of Persia, Tangled
    2011 The Muppets

    About 27% of films/characters since Walt's passing have made any lasting presence in the parks.

    My point is that if Jack Sparrow or Buzz Lightyear existed back then, do we know they wouldn't have been included in attrations, too? Looking at this list, it's astonishing to see how many Disney films weren't original stories, either...

    Please feel free to add to or correct any of my information.

  7. #7

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    Re: What has really changed?

    From your second list.....Princess and the Frog had a dedicated show in NoS, Dick Tracy had a show at the Fantasyland theater, Hunchback had a show at the Festival Arena, Lion King and Aladdin had whole parades about them as well as Aladdin taking over the Tahitian Terrace restaurant. Those should be counted as well I believe, and I might even be missing some.

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by RegionsBeyond View Post
    From your second list.....Princess and the Frog had a dedicated show in NoS, Dick Tracy had a show at the Fantasyland theater, Hunchback had a show at the Festival Arena, Lion King and Aladdin had whole parades about them as well as Aladdin taking over the Tahitian Terrace restaurant. Those should be counted as well I believe, and I might even be missing some.
    I did count Aladdin. You are right about The Princess and the Frog, although I've never seen it in person. I didn't even know about the Dick Tracy show or Hunchback show. Thanks

  9. #9

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rex View Post
    Wow, that's great info, Wiggins. Very interesting, thanks!
    I can't take any credit for it -- kudos go to napeterson18 for compiling and updating the list.
    "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
    Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
    imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

    - Neil Gabler


  10. #10

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpcMtn77 View Post
    My question is in regards to which percentage of Disney property is represented in the park
    Well... you shouldn't even need the numbers of the park to answer this. Your question is one of ratios. Unless you expected the park to grow at the same rate that the # of properties grows, the percentage of properties represented will ultimately decline - even if you converted everything in the park to something from their intellectual property. Considering the Disney company only continued to expand after Walt.. this is a 'battle' Disneyland could never come out on top of.

    Also, your list is not inclusive of what the Walt Disney Company and it's subsidaries have published. And then you completely skipped things that weren't feature films, etc.
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  11. #11

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    Re: What has really changed?

    I have to say I HATE Woody in Frontierland and Mary Poppins on Main Street. That would have been so out of theme when I worked for Disney it would never have been considered.

    That isn't to say I don't like Toy Story or Woody, but they have no business in Frontierland.

    PS Song of the South would be Splash Mountain.

  12. #12

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    Re: What has really changed?

    Some of the things you have listed as Walt era properties did exist in his era, but were not added to the park until well after his death. It shows that he did have them available, but for whatever reason chose not to use them.
    "You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."

  13. #13

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    Re: What has really changed?

    It doesn't really matter if an attraction or show is based on a film or not. (Although I draw the line at non-Disney films, therefore I would evict Star Wars and Indiana Jones and re-theme those attractions to Disney films. But that's another issue.)

    What matters if the attraction or show is well done, with the traditional Disney qualities: imagination, creativity, beauty, humor, fun and the implementation of all this all the way to the smallest details. Guests pay a premium price to enter Disney parks and expect Disney to produce things that are better than its competitors.

    And staying within a land's theme was important to Walt; he famously fired an employee for walking through Adventureland in a Tomorrowland outfit. Last time we were at Disneyland I thought seeing guys in the Indiana Jones outfits crossing Main Street on their break was weird.

    For an attraction or show based on a film, it must offer an experience above and beyond the experience that you would get by just watching the film again. Either interactivity, personalization, randomness, or "live" aspects, i.e., the live narration of the Jungle Cruise keeps the 56-year-old attraction fresh. If the attraction is simply a ride-through synopsis of the film, that's a failure.

    If it somehow "brings the film to life" or offers an immersive adventure or some experience above and beyond merely watching the film, then it's a successful translation of film to attraction. For me the key to an immersive attraction is that you temporarily forget you're in Disneyland while you're in that attraction.

  14. #14

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    Re: What has really changed?

    I'm often somewhere in the middle on these discussions. I am not nearly as opposed as some to the use of franchise properties in the parks. But I'm more demanding then some in my desire to see these properties integrated with the existing themes in an intelligent way. However, there's no question that a conscious decision has been made by the company to make this a larger focus of their design of the parks, particularly under the Iger years. While I'm a big supporter of many things that Mr. Iger has done and feel his tenure has been fairly strong, this is definitely one of the areas that I question.

    Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me see if I can answer your question in a different way SpcMtn77. Things have definitely changed, and it's no accident, it's all part of a very specific marketing plan developed primarily by Iger and then even further focused by the late Steve Jobs.

    But I think you first need to have a basic understanding of the modern concepts of franchise brand marketing. Your question in terms of the percent of total Disney properties in the parks is irrelevant. This is entirely about franchise brands. Properties which don't reach the level of popularity of becoming a franchise brand are simply not an important part of the long-term marketing strategy.

    But to understand how this applies to the parks, you have to go back to the beginning of Iger's reign. When Mr. Iger was first made CEO, one of his very first acts was to launch a major study to determine what were Disney's most successful brands. In the modern book of marketing this is pretty standard procedure of course; but what they found in that study is largely what has been shaping the parks in many ways for the last decade.

    Essentially, the most obvious conclusion from that study was that Disney's most popular, long-term sustainable and profitable brands were the family oriented films and characters that also had a place in the parks. They realized two important things that they hadn't fully grasped until they launched the study. The first was that the parks had a major role in keeping characters relevant and popular. The second is that the family oriented brands were by far the most important and biggest long-term money creators for the company. These conclusions have driven most of the long-term decisions for the company for the last decade.

    Once you understand this background information, it's easy to see exactly why they have been doing what they're doing. First, a tremendous focus has been placed on developing properties that they think will be popular with all ages, the family brands. This has driven everything from the purchases of Pixar and Marvel to the selling off of the more adult film companies and down to the choices on every movie that now gets made.

    Anyway, once one of these family oriented properties becomes very popular and demonstrates an ability to sell merchandise seems to have some ability to last, they now move pretty quickly to try and launch that property into becoming a new franchise brand for the company. This means it's likely to get a spot in the park, increased marketing attention in all of Disney's media including on TV and online, sequels, and of course a massive merchandise program.

    From a business point of view this all makes a lot of sense, but it also ignores a number of things that concern many of us Disneyland fans here. Of course one that's obvious and frustrating is that there's no reason a franchise can't start in the parks, and if you don't occasionally expose the theme park audience to new themes and ideas the DL experience loses some of it's magic for many of us. But in any case, that's what has changed, a lot of it did start under Eisner, but in reality it's been much more driven by Iger and Jobs in my opinion. I personally believe this has resulted in a lot of great things and a few pretty bad ones.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
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    Re: What has really changed?

    Quote Originally Posted by flynnibus View Post
    Unless you expected the park to grow at the same rate that the # of properties grows, the percentage of properties represented will ultimately decline - even if you converted everything in the park to something from their intellectual property. Considering the Disney company only continued to expand after Walt.. this is a 'battle' Disneyland could never come out on top of.

    Also, your list is not inclusive of what the Walt Disney Company and it's subsidaries have published. And then you completely skipped things that weren't feature films, etc.
    That's the exact argument I attempted to make. You said it much better than I did.

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