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  1. #1

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    The Happiest Places on Earth

    Before Walt Disney died in 1966, when he was developing The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, he insisted that it would be different from his Disneyland.

    By 1971, when Walt Disney World opened to guests, it featured a roster of attractions virtually identical to that of the original Disneyland.

    I have always been bothered by this lack of differentiation, and the situation seems to only be getting worse, as the opening of the uncannily similar Hong Kong Disneyland demonstrated earlier this year.

    As someone who has expertise in both strategic planning and marketing, I forsee major problems if Disney continues down this path. As someone who has a good sense of storytelling and showmanship, I, likewise, find the duplication of Disneyland troublesome.

    What can The Walt Disney Company do to allow its international travel destinations to better complement each other in the future?
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 12-28-2005 at 11:36 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist
    Before Walt Disney died in 1966, when he was developing The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, he insisted that it would be different from his Disneyland.

    By 1971, when Walt Disney World opened to guests, it featured a roster of attractions virtually identical to that of the original Disneyland.

    I have always been bothered by this lack of differentiation, and the situation seems to only be getting worse, as the opening of the uncannily similar Hong Kong Disneyland demonstrated earlier this year.

    As someone who has expertise in both strategic planning and marketing, I forsee major problems if Disney continues down this path. As someone who has a good sense of storytelling and showmanship, I, likewise, find the duplication of Disneyland troublesome.

    What can The Walt Disney Company do to allow its international travel destinations to better complement each other in the future?
    I agree with your opinions in this matter. I never understood the idea of creating what are essentially copies of Disneyland across the world. I mean, I can understand Walt Disney World, and its only justifiable because of it's size difference and that many more people can fit in that park than Disneyland. But why copy in other countries? It's as if Disney is competing against itself by decreasing international tourism at their resorts. Sure, each resort is different, however, I don't feel that the average guest would really care too much about the different Tomorrowlands or WDW's Haunted Mansion as compared to Disneyland's Mansion..

    What is even more interesting is the fact that all of the Magic Kingdoms have, for the most part, all of the same attractions. Granted many of them vary slightly, but not enough to warrant an average guest to care enough to visit all the Magic Kingdoms to see the minor differences. Only we Disney nerds would care to do that.

    As the years progress one certainly finds more home-country visitors at the parks rather than out-of-country tourists.

    I think it would have made more sense all along would have been to create all-new experiences across the world rather than variations on Disneyland across the world.

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  3. #3

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    First and foremost, Disney needs to select a better way to describe its travel destinations, collectively. I would suggest something on the order of "The Disney Empire", for example.

    Disney additionally needs to better align the names of these destinations with each other. The following naming scheme seems most appropriate to me: "Disneyland Los Angeles"; "Disneyland Tokyo"; "Disneyland Paris"; "Disneyland Hong Kong"; and, "Walt Disney World".

    "Disneyland Los Angeles", in this conception, would describe the resort destination as a whole, while The Magic Kingdom of Disneyland would continue to be referred to as such. Creatively-speaking, the Host Regions are merely providing the locations of magical gateways that lead to another world. And, that world should be the same regardless of the respective Host Region. So, to express this concept, the following terminology makes the most sense: "The Magic Kingdoms of Disneyland".

    The most prominent realization of these refinements may be a reconfiguration of the five Fantasyland castles. Currently, there are three edifices with the name, "Sleeping Beauty Castle", and two with the name, "Cinderella Castle". Of the three former structures, Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle) at Disneyland Paris is the most tied to "Sleeping Beauty", while the original Sleeping Beauty Castle in California was actually always intended for Snow White. So, I would be in favor of a re-christening of our own Sleeping Beauty Castle to "Snow White Castle" at the conclusion of the Golden Anniversary celebration. Having Princess Aurora pass possession of the place to Snow White may be the perfect way to ceremonially end the 50th Anniversary festivities and begin the next half-century.

    Cinderella Castle in Florida does work, at present, but I believe the centerpiece of The Magic Kingdom there needs a clock tower, at least, to connect the building better, in guests' minds, to the story of "Cinderella", itself.

    The last two Disney fairy tales that use castle imagery are "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast".

    The Magic Kingdom, outside of Tokyo, is situated next to its companion, Disney Seas, and the Japanese, themselves, are a seafaring people. So, I can imagine "The Little Mermaid" providing the perfect inspiration for a re-imagining of the castle at the end of World Bazaar, there. Disney Seas even features Mermaid Lagoon, an entire area devoted to Ariel and her undersea home.

    Since each castle represents the fulfilling of the wish of the respective hero or heroine, Prince Eric's castle is, naturally, that for Ariel. So, adding a sailing ship and a few other nautical touches would instantly differentiate the Japanese duplicate from the Floridian original. Ariel would, thereby, find herself depicted in human form inside Disneyland while she remains a mermaid at Disney Seas.

    Sleeping Beauty Castle at The Magic Kingdom, near Hong Kong, is the newest and least established of the castles, so it may afford the most freedom for a new interpretation. "Beauty and the Beast" is, interestingly enough, a story where the details of the castle can make it instantly recognizable. Mirrors, libraries, and rose gardens could be added to help convey the idea, and the architecture, of course, needs to be altered in order to make it appear as different from that of Snow White Castle as possible.

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey
    I agree with your opinions in this matter. I never understood the idea of creating what are essentially copies of Disneyland across the world. I mean, I can understand Walt Disney World, and its only justifiable because of it's size difference and that many more people can fit in that park than Disneyland. But why copy in other countries? It's as if Disney is competing against itself by decreasing international tourism at their resorts. Sure, each resort is different, however, I don't feel that the average guest would really care too much about the different Tomorrowlands or WDW's Haunted Mansion as compared to Disneyland's Mansion..

    What is even more interesting is the fact that all of the Magic Kingdoms have, for the most part, all of the same attractions. Granted many of them vary slightly, but not enough to warrant an average guest to care enough to visit all the Magic Kingdoms to see the minor differences. Only we Disney nerds would care to do that.

    As the years progress one certainly finds more home-country visitors at the parks rather than out-of-country tourists.

    I think it would have made more sense all along would have been to create all-new experiences across the world rather than variations on Disneyland across the world.
    I agree completely. Duplicating attractions ad nauseum around the world makes no sense for a whole host of reasons, and cost savings are not realized in the process, really.

    I agree with utilizing, in multiple places, ride systems and other technology that requires investments in research and development, but how much more money or effort is required to think of a new name for Downtown Disney or Innoventions, for example.

    Disney is suffering from a bankruptcy of creativity more than anything else.

  5. #5

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist
    I agree completely. Duplicating attractions ad nauseum around the world makes no sense for a whole host of reasons, and cost savings are not realized in the process, really.

    I agree with utilizing, in multiple places, ride systems and other technology that requires investments in research and development, but how much more money or effort is required to think of a new name for Downtown Disney or Innoventions, for example.

    Disney is suffering from a bankruptcy of creativity more than anything else.
    One thing thatrealy strikes me as kind of funny, people want to change things thatreally don't need any change. Downtown Disney needs a new name? it works as it is. As you put it "The idea of duplicating attractions around the world makes no sense" why not it works, its not broken. New names for the castles, again I ask why? are they not working as named now. Its one to think of things to replace or change if something just is not working, but its something quite different to change things just to change them. One of the strangest ideas I have heard about on this board was someone who suggested to move star tours to DCR, just because it would fit in there, thats just a real bad idea. no need to move or make changes if it is not broken.

  6. #6

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by tahoebob54
    One thing thatrealy strikes me as kind of funny, people want to change things thatreally don't need any change. Downtown Disney needs a new name? it works as it is. As you put it "The idea of duplicating attractions around the world makes no sense" why not it works, its not broken. New names for the castles, again I ask why? are they not working as named now. Its one to think of things to replace or change if something just is not working, but its something quite different to change things just to change them. One of the strangest ideas I have heard about on this board was someone who suggested to move star tours to DCR, just because it would fit in there, thats just a real bad idea. no need to move or make changes if it is not broken.
    "merlinjones" was really only wanting to make room for a return of his Adventures thru Inner Space. But, I agree that Star Tours is uniquely suited to Tomorrowland and that the attraction belongs there.

    Disneyland is ultimately judged by how strong it is, creatively-speaking. I am sorry. You may not see the reason having three Sleeping Beauty Castles is a problem. But, it's as bad as having three Mickey Mouses, essentially.

    I mentioned the names of Downtown Disney and Innoventions for a reason. Both of these were used originally in Florida, and Disney just decided to "lift" them for no apparent reason. The expansion of 2001 at Disneyland was designed specifically to transform Anaheim from an urban environment into a garden-like resort, so wouldn't using the name, "Downtown Disney", be counterproductive to those ends, then?

    The people in Disney are just intellectually lazy. They see Universal naming everything "City Walk", so they do the same with "Downtown Disney", even when it's wholly inappropriate. People travel from around the world to visit Disneyland. Don't you think they want things that are one-of-a-kind? Or, do you think that they want to visit all the Downtown Disneys because they want to sample the unique menu that the Hard Rock Cafe or Rainforest Cafe at each offers?

    The concept of McDonald's- and Starbucks-style chains may work for businesses that people use on a regular basis, but people do not want to vacation at a McDonald's or a Starbucks.
    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 01-01-2006 at 02:04 PM.

  7. #7

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Here is my opinion. I think it is okay to duplicate the most successful rides because those rides are money makers. However I think that some new rides should also be created. Plus people always expect that Disneyland parks such as Euro Disney, Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, Hong Kong Disneyland, will have a castle since it pretty much is a staple. I think all castles should be different and most of them are. As you can see the parks really are not completely the same, they may have similarities but they are not the same. Each park has different ride layouts, land scaping, etc.

    I hear that POTC is better in other parks rather than the one in Disneyland, Jungle Cruise seems to be better in Hong Kong than Disneyland, etc.

    They way I see it is that people in other continents are getting a little piece of Americana with out leaving their country and that piece of Americana has been changed a bit to suit the customs of the public in those areas.

    But Walt Disney wanted to bring Disneyland to florida and the only way to do so was to build a bigger and better Disneyland. He wanted to bring in some of the most successful Disneyland rides such as Haunted Mansion, Small World, POTC, etc. while at the same time creating new attractions such as The Country Bears, etc.

    My whole point is that I think it is okay for Disneyland to replicate some of the most successfuk Disneyland rides and probably add some new touches to make them unique in each theme park, but they should also build some brand new rides that other Disneyland theme parks do not have.

    Take Disneylands Matterhorn & Submarines for eaxmple. No other park has those.

    Take Animal Kingdoms Expedition Everest for example. It is another Matterhorn, but completely unique and not a copycat of the Disneyland original and only Walt Disney World will have it.
    Last edited by Disney Wrassler; 12-29-2005 at 01:30 PM.

  8. #8

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
    He wanted to bring in some of the most successful Disneyland rides such as Haunted Mansion, Small World, POTC, etc. while at the same time creating new attractions such as The Country Bears, etc.
    I'm not so sure that he did.

    Remember that Walt Disney died five years before Walt Disney World was completed. The world is full of stories, so I can't see Walt Disney ever wanting to repeat himself.

  9. #9

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Yes but just because he died 5 year before it opened does not mean that right then is when he began to think of all the rides that will be in it. Plus with the time they had to build the park, they really did not have much time to think up of new rides, design many new rides, and build many new rides, they had to rely on the formula that has already proven to work and that formula was to include some of the Disneyland rides.

  10. #10

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Back in the day, there were many people who had never gone to Disneyland, as it required very expensive plane tickets or a 2000-3000 mile drive to SoCal. I know people who took summer trips from the East to see various parts of the West and DL. My family never did, though.

    Walt might not have wanted it, but the customer essentially wanted it. And since Walt wasn't around to demand that Imagineers do something differently, it was a lot easier for less imaginative types (Roy Sr) to simply copy an already successful idea.

    That's why POTC was built in the MK. Guests asked why it wasn't there. Lots of them. Biggest complaint, so I read. Easier than committing to something real good and expensive and gosh-I'll-lose-my-job-if-it-doesn't bring-more guests-and-money.

    As for today's cloning, that's just money issues and lack of imagination at the top yet again.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    Back in the day, there were many people who had never gone to Disneyland, as it required very expensive plane tickets or a 2000-3000 mile drive to SoCal. I know people who took summer trips from the East to see various parts of the West and DL. My family never did, though.

    Walt might not have wanted it, but the customer essentially wanted it. And since Walt wasn't around to demand that Imagineers do something differently, it was a lot easier for less imaginative types (Roy Sr) to simply copy an already successful idea.

    That's why POTC was built in the MK. Guests asked why it wasn't there. Lots of them. Biggest complaint, so I read. Easier than committing to something real good and expensive and gosh-I'll-lose-my-job-if-it-doesn't bring-more guests-and-money.

    As for today's cloning, that's just money issues and lack of imagination at the top yet again.
    I bow to you Sedi, you took the words out of my mouth. I agree with everything you just said 100%

  12. #12

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
    I hear that POTC is better in other parks rather than the one in Disneyland
    The overwhelming opinion here (except possibly for askmike1) is that Disneyland POTC is the best.
    At least better than the MK version.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    The overwhelming opinion here (except possibly for askmike1) is that Disneyland POTC is the best.
    At least better than the MK version.
    I have yet to go to MK yet but would like to. I want to see their Haunted Mansion more though.

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler
    I have yet to go to MK yet but would like to. I want to see their Haunted Mansion more though.
    Oddly enough, I am not that interested in going there.

    It could be because different landscaping and a minor change in layout is not enough of a reason for me to hop on a plane and book a hotel room when I have things like The Haunted Mansion within an hour's drive of my home.

    Now, Tokyo Disney Seas on the other hand...

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    Re: The Happiest Places on Earth

    I want to visit Disney MGM Studios in Fl. Possibly ride Mission Space and go on Expedition Everest.

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