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  1. #1

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    Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    On lots of threads regarding change at Disneyland, there is often a cadre of folks who believe that very often, Disneyland makes changes that seem to stray from the original vision Walt had of consistent theming and storytelling.We talk about such things as Starbucks perhaps not being a very good fit on Main Street, or princesses pouring into the Hub, or the less-than-enchanting retooling of the Swiss family treehouse or the incongruity of fictional Edwardian British nannies running 1890s American bakeries.

    On the other hand, we have a vocal majority who vociferously support every decision, relying on old saws such as “Disneyland is not a museum,” and suggesting, often sardonically, that the only reason the former people don’t support changes is because of a malady called “nostalgia.”

    Now, in addition to saying Disneyland would never be completed, Walt also came forward as a believer in nostalgia, stating “I have always loved the nostalgic, myself. I hope we never lose some of the things of the past.” But today we also see the argument (apparently unrecognized in Walt’s day), that attractions must be “relevant.”

    Which brings us to “New Coke.” For the younger amongst us, “New Coke” was a product introduced in the mid-1980s to great fanfare as a sweeter drink meant to compete with Pepsi (i.e., it was thought to be “more relevant”). The original Coke formula that had been used with minor variations since the late 1800s was done away with.

    However, it soon became apparent that New Coke was destined to be a marketing failure—one of the biggest the business world had seen. People couldn’t swallow (pun intended) the idea that a cherished national, cultural and historic institution such as Coca-cola could be allowed to change. Coke’s president at the time stated, "The simple fact is that all the time and money and skill poured into consumer research on the new Coca-Cola could not measure or reveal the deep and abiding emotional attachment to original Coca-Cola felt by so many people" (guess those folks were just being nostalgic). Over time, they switched back to the old formula.

    To bring this full circle, I find it difficult to understand how the public was so against change with Coke, and yet is so forgiving of any changes made to what is probably an even greater national, cultural and historic institution such as Disneyland. Where is the "deep and abiding emotional attachment" to Disneyland?

    A final thought: It had been suggested that any changes in Coke’s flavor or sweetness be made gradually and incrementally, but Coke’s executives at the time thought that would never work. Later, a food scientist studied the issue, and concluded that indeed, gradually changing the beverage would not have been noticed by the public.

    With the incremental changes happening in the Park—or declines by degrees, depending on how you see it—it appears the same thing can be said about people’s perception of the very character of Disneyland.
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 12-14-2012 at 12:37 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Way to start out what could have turned into a good conversation, as incredibly slanted and biased towards your point of view, and against those that dont share it.

    This is simply a well written version of the '7-11' thread.

    Sorry Steve, people that don't agree with you aren't 'wrong', we just don't agree with you. Nor are you, (or anyone else on this forum) the authority on what is 'right' about Disneyland.

    Threads like these where others post on how it "should be" and how we're 'misinformed, or ignorant' about how it really should be, far ruin my enjoyment of Disneyland, than anything Disney ever could do, bar bulldozing the entire park.

    I will enjoy what I wish to enjoy about the park, some changes are good, some are not so good. But ultimately its the masses who decide (for better or worse depending on your dance) how the park 'should be'

    You're welcome to your opinions Steve, you're an informative guy, and I frequently learn things I didn't know regarding the history of the park from your posts.

    But you're not my authority on how to 'enjoy the park' nor will you ever be.

    Oh, and in before Wiggins "Pressler/Eisner"
    There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    I'm pretty sure a lot of the New Coke hate came from it tasting worse* than "Classic" Coke, not because of the nostalgic factor, though that may have had some relevance.

    *edit: "worse" overall. That is, less preferred, less desirable beyond sip taste-tests.
    Last edited by ohmyjustin; 12-14-2012 at 12:32 PM.

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Wren, my post isn't about "how to enjoy the park." If you have something to contribute to the discussion, please do so.

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Wren, my post isn't about "how to enjoy the park." If you have something to contribute to the discussion, please do so.
    I'm well aware what your post is about, and answered it appropriately.
    There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective.
    -Dr. Strange

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Quote Originally Posted by Wren View Post
    Way to start out what could have turned into a good conversation, as incredibly slanted and biased towards your point of view, and against those that dont share it.

    This is simply a well written version of the '7-11' thread.

    Sorry Steve, people that don't agree with you aren't 'wrong', we just don't agree with you. Nor are you, (or anyone else on this forum) the authority on what is 'right' about Disneyland.

    Threads like these where others post on how it "should be" and how we're 'misinformed, or ignorant' about how it really should be, far ruin my enjoyment of Disneyland, than anything Disney ever could do, bar bulldozing the entire park.

    I will enjoy what I wish to enjoy about the park, some changes are good, some are not so good. But ultimately its the masses who decide (for better or worse depending on your dance) how the park 'should be'

    You're welcome to your opinions Steve, you're an informative guy, and I frequently learn things I didn't know regarding the history of the park from your posts.

    But you're not my authority on how to 'enjoy the park' nor will you ever be.

    Oh, and in before Wiggins "Pressler/Eisner"

    +1

  7. #7

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    I will have to disagree with Wren on one point... "what could have turned into a good conversation." I think there are two pretty clear points thus far in this continuum of thought about change and Disneyland. This could be a very good foundation for discussion. Conflict is not always a bad thing as it often foundational to art, structure, and in this case - thought.

    I see and embrace both Steve and Wren's views as I have felt them both. Maybe not over the same things, but I am not of one mind when it comes to change and Disneyland. While on one hand, I seem to be a purist when something I love and have strong nostalgic feelings about gets changed, and on the other there are things that cry out to be changed. They are my feelings and I own them, even when they seem to conflict. But the bottom line is that even when there is apparent conflict, I seem to feel calm when things are at some balance.

    One example is putting Jack Sparrow in Pirates. While I love the original, I found putting Jack in the attraction to ultimately be less grating than when the "politically correct" changes were made prior. While I mourn the loss of the rifles in Fort Wilderness, I mourn them less than losing the fort altogether. The change to Tarzan's Treehouse is/was awful when compared with the original Swiss Family version - even if the attraction has a more textured look and visual appeal from the ground. Except for the tree trunk stuck in an already narrow pinch point. I have not a nice thing at all to say about that. Then there is the Jolly Holiday Bakery. I had my concerns, but as it turns out the deviation on theme was not so severe as to be of concern for me.

    Going back even farther, the change from the Hall of Chemistry to Adventure Through Inner Space was totally welcomed as was the Fantasyland makeover in the 80's. Some things come and some things go, some will be welcomed and enjoyed by me, some will always stick in my craw.

    The changes often for me are less important than the trends in thinking by Disney. The product placement and corporate sponsorships (starbucks) don't bother me so much as this has always been the case. The inability to create new attractions without a movie or other property tie-in is extremely irritating at best. But that is me. I no longer expect everyone to feel the same way - especially when it comes to Disneyland.
    What are your thoughts?







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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    I think the biggest problem is that the biggest fans of theme parks in general also have little to no faith in themed entertainment as its own viable, creative medium. It's a frivolity not to be discussed seriously, just silly amusement. Stories are expected to be based in existing work in other creative mediums. Imagine a film critic not wishing to have a serious discussion on the art of cinema.

    Quote Originally Posted by ohmyjustin View Post
    I'm pretty sure a lot of the New Coke hate came from it tasting worse* than "Classic" Coke, not because of the nostalgic factor, though that may have had some relevance.

    *edit: "worse" overall. That is, less preferred, less desirable beyond sip taste-tests.
    Nope. New Coke consistently beat out Pepsi and Coke in blind taste tests.

  9. #9

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    This isn't an argument about New Coke. This is an argument about generational perception.
    Steve, you and I are aging (and fast). We remember a time when Walt was alive and active. His creative drive was galloping along unabated and this was reflected in a growing playground he devised for himself called Disneyland, which was only slowed by his own death.
    Walt's been dead for over 46 years now. The folks who frequent the various Parks around the world have grown up in Parks (plural) that are nothing at all like the one (singular) we grew up in. They are used to thrill rides, massive commercialization, lack of upkeep and now the Disney corporation has them adjusted to massive overcrowding.
    This is not our Disneyland, and it never will be again.
    The Park has passed us by and to the current crop of younger folks (especially the under 30 crowds), you and I are relic old timers similar to the fogie rocking away his old age on the POTC while some unseen person inside never gets the melody to Camptown Races correct on his eternally out of tune banjo.
    The New Coke lesson about slowly adding and changing the formula isn't abstract when it comes to Disneyland. It's been done and all our moaning doesn't alter the fact that it won't be coming back.
    I don't like that I've had to adjust to the idea that the Disneyland (that is to say WALT's Disneyland) has forever changed, but adjust is what we must, or as so many of us old timers have done, simply walk away.
    All my best fellow dinosaur...
    First Visit at the age of 12, July 17, 1968.
    First Ride, The Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad.
    BRING BACK THE PEOPLE MOVER!

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    I'm part of the under 30 crowd...

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Nice post, ttroccc.

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    I said this in the other thread but the people who are against SB or other modern additions have to realize that the line between what is acceptable and what is not regarding theme and historical accuracy, is different for everyone. Even the purists seem to allow some things to slide when it comes to theme.

    There is so much more to immersive theming than historical accuracy or relevance. More important, is getting the feel right. That is why Mary is perfect for MS. Her and her style, look, feel perfect for Main street. At least IMO.

    We all need to ask ourselves what is acceptable and what is not and figure out why. Why is a little medieval castle visible from a small american town? And why is that acceptable even though it is totally against theme? Why are modern cash registers allowed as well? What about the parades? What is your criteria for acceptable pushing of the theme? And you also have to realize that your criteria is not the definitive and that other's will be different.

    The fact of the matter is that DL is a theme park. Not a museum or a strict recreation of anything. Because of this, theme has to be stretched in some places and to say "its ok to do it here, but not ok here" for whatever reason, does not make you absolutely right. It is subjective at this point and I'd say it has been since the beginning.
    In the quest for quality, I have no problem with the characters footing the bill.

  13. #13

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Quote Originally Posted by ttrocc7007 View Post
    This isn't an argument about New Coke. This is an argument about generational perception.
    Steve, you and I are aging (and fast). We remember a time when Walt was alive and active. His creative drive was galloping along unabated and this was reflected in a growing playground he devised for himself called Disneyland, which was only slowed by his own death.
    Walt's been dead for over 46 years now. The folks who frequent the various Parks around the world have grown up in Parks (plural) that are nothing at all like the one (singular) we grew up in. They are used to thrill rides, massive commercialization, lack of upkeep and now the Disney corporation has them adjusted to massive overcrowding.
    This is not our Disneyland, and it never will be again.
    The Park has passed us by and to the current crop of younger folks (especially the under 30 crowds), you and I are relic old timers similar to the fogie rocking away his old age on the POTC while some unseen person inside never gets the melody to Camptown Races correct on his eternally out of tune banjo.
    The New Coke lesson about slowly adding and changing the formula isn't abstract when it comes to Disneyland. It's been done and all our moaning doesn't alter the fact that it won't be coming back.
    I don't like that I've had to adjust to the idea that the Disneyland (that is to say WALT's Disneyland) has forever changed, but adjust is what we must, or as so many of us old timers have done, simply walk away.
    All my best fellow dinosaur...
    See this is a good point, that always rears it head when something has the staying power to last generations, but those generations dictate that instead of it staying as a relic, it evolve to keep up with the times.

    Good or bad Disneyland is constantly evolving, sometimes those in the reigns of the evolution do a good job, sometimes those holding the reigns do not such a good job.

    The good old days wernt always the good old days, but they had good things. There were many who didnt like those new fangled automobiles, but time passed and they're the norm now.

    Us "under 30 crowd" (not for long scary as that sounds) appreciate a good theme, we also strive for it, but we strive for that balance between 'theme' and 'historical recreation', the relevant and irrelevant in what goes into this grand creation of Walt.

    Yes I would also agree that the Swiss family Treehouse was better than the tarzan one (oddly enough) but, Swiss Family, the disney movie is how old now? Oddly enough hasnt been remade yet but not within the general consciousness of the public anymore as much as less than a decade old Tarzan Disney movie. So changed happend, it still fits its 'theme' of the surrounding area;, jungles, adventure, tree houses, but not the specific tie-in that those of an older generation have cherished memories of.

    Walt knew, while he wanted his Main Street to evoke a nostalgia of the days gone by, he couldnt do it without the popular contemporary brands of the day, regardless of when those brands were founded.

    He didnt bring back old, dead companies for accuracy as far as I'm aware.

    For good or bad, the Disney of Yesterland, isnt coming back. I dont see that as a bad thing, there was good back then, but there is also good now.
    There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective.
    -Dr. Strange

  14. #14

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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Howdy Pards,

    Well the change is happening throughout the country...not just at Disneyland. It is the people who are changing. I'm afraid that folks like me who were there back in Walt's time...are considered nothin' more than dinosaurs by today's youth. Any memories we might have, any suggestions we might offer, are totally invalid by virtue of the fact that we are old. Not near liberal or "progressive" enough. Stuck in our old thoughts and ways.

    Well, I'm gonna hold on to those memories, defend those traditions, believe in "Walt's way" till the day I die, I reckon. Let the youth run over to Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain or Indiana Jones...I reckon I'll be takin' that slow journey down the Rivers of America on the ol' Mark Twain, enjoying myself and lovin' the memories, the nostalgia, of the good ol' days. I'll be happy...if a tree don't fall on me.

    Change can be good...and it can be bad. I kinda like Classic Coke myself. And I kinda love Walt Disney's Disneyland.

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan
    "I can see the cattle grazin' o'er the hills at early morn…
    I can see the campfires smokin’ at the breaking of the dawn,
    I can hear the bronco's neighin', I can hear the cowboys sing,
    I'd like to be in Texas for the Round-up in the Spring."


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    Re: Disneyland, nostalgia, change, relevance and New Coke

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    I think the biggest problem is that the biggest fans of theme parks in general also have little to no faith in themed entertainment as its own viable, creative medium. It's a frivolity not to be discussed seriously, just silly amusement. Stories are expected to be based in existing work in other creative mediums. Imagine a film critic not wishing to have a serious discussion on the art of cinema.
    This is a great post I missed the first time around...

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