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  1. #76

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    So why do you think they added the characters if it was a better park without them? Even Knott's, which for awhile was seen as an equal to Disneyland, eventually slipped and ended up licensing a character franchise. Why would they have done that unless they figured out what Disney knew all along.
    Keeping Up With The Jonses. Magic Mountain was in the process of absorbing/transforming from it's original run as an independent park into a piece of the Six Flags empire. Loony Tunes was added - at least in the company's statements to the public - as a way to add more kid-friendly content to what remains a fairly child-unfriendly park. The DC elements were a way to try a themed environment, which sorta worked until they spent the rest of the time since then backing away from that kind of addition.

    Had MM stuck to it's guns, they likely would eventually have wound up more or less where they are now but without the characters. The move to try to integrate an edgier "DC" presence into the park (unthemed but heavy thrill rides named after DC IP) would likely have still been a drive to push heavy thrill into the park... for instance, zForce at Great America Gurnee got moved around the country 'till it landed at MM as Flashback, same as several other MM coasters.

    IF MM branded themselves as a character park, they'd likely have to put more work into them. As it is, the characters are at best a distraction and at most probably have resulted in some pretty crappy content being forced into the park.

    I think perhaps a better way to view whether characters are important in a given spot/theme/park is to look at *why* they are there. KBF redesigned itself to incorporate the Schulz characters in a fairly expansive new area, and the area held it's own until the internal "revisions" started to fray the edges.

    MM took the opposite route - they took existing or barely themed rides and slapped an IP on them without much consideration or work to make sure the park itself "fit" with the adds. Bugs Bunny World had no real reason to be where it was and it was/is difficult to determine exactly where the land starts and stops even using the rides as a guide. The DC area's spread beyond the initial scope while also watering itself down to mean it can be difficult figuring out if there's a unified DC presence in the park or if someone with a big superhero jones is naming the rides and calling it a day.
    Last edited by BogLurch; 11-14-2013 at 12:33 PM.
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  2. #77

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
    As for viewing Disneyland through a prism from a movie studio chief's point of view.

    That just demonstrates "not getting it", both on the MiceChatter for suggesting it, and to Eisner for leading a diverse portfolio of businesses.

    Walt was a studio chief. He came by way of said prism. And he and a select group of his studio staff became Imagineers, designing castles, mountains, vehicles and rides. Creating something different than a movie.
    Expertise in film making was utilized in the planning and construction of Disneyland. Walt himself dabbled in both mediums and complained that once movies were "in the can" they were done, but with Disneyland he could continue to make changes. Things like sight lines and facades came straight from the movie business, so, there are transferable artistic skills from movies to theme parks.

    Look at Potterland, they hired movie folks to do that project and to utilize their cinematic experience.

    Look at Carsland, they hired Lasseter to personally oversee the project.

    Look at Avatarland, Disney hires a filmaker to turn his vision into 3-D reality, for better or worse.

    Eisner wasn't a filmaker, and there was a lot he didn't get about the technical details of theme park and cinematic development. He made a generalization that was in some aspects, but not inclusive of the whole theme park development process.

  3. #78

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Don't forget Six Flags was under TIME WARNER ownership for many years, although my understanding is there was a licensing deal in place before the merger (and after the break up).

  4. #79

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Mermaid could have been so much better, but it kept with the DCA mindset of throw it out there, we'll fix it later!


    This has been a Filmways presentation dahling.

  5. #80

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    "Quality will out." This was a favorite quote of Walt Disney's, and it means that you spend more money now and make something as good as it can be, and in the end you'll make more money then doing it cheaply for a quick buck.
    Great point.

    Walt stuck to his vision when failure might have meant something close to personal bankruptcy, he understood what the audience wanted on the silver screen and that doing a big expensive, yet high quality, piece of work would, in the end, most likely mean you got to keep your shirt and maybe even make a profit.

    Almost everybody thought that Snow White was going to be a financial failure for the company and they called it Disney's Folley.

    Roy surveyed theme park operators and all of them though that Disneyland would fail within the first year, a jittery company decided not to let Walt use Mickey Mouse in the park as the park's failure might decrease the royalties they received.

    It is true that Burbank even decided to calibrate the "fix" to DCA, putting in a modestly priced Mermaid ride, and deciding not to gut large sections of Paradise Pier. Even BVS was, IMHO, calibrated for the lowest budget to save the park, the buildings footprints/structural steel remains, the monorail flies through the center of BVS and its lack of rides, but hopefully it was just enough to make DCA profitable. They could have moved the monorail track and added a ride and berm in front, but they didn't, too much money.

    While Disney had the money to do Carsland, very few people in the company today have the power to push through a project of that size and oversee its development while making sure the budget isn't totally whacked.

    While Burbank obviously has $$ for great and wonderful things, is there anybody with enough political capitol to push such a project through the company?

    There's also a lack of institutional history and gutted Imagineering, meaning that folks have to go back and invent the wheel. There are some basic dark ride 101 problems with Mermaid that the company is apparently going back to fix. Nobody every mentioned that omnimover rides work best in the dark/dark light conditions, and that developing a new ride system would have been worth the investment as it could be shipped to Shanghai and Tokyo. Tony Baxter is a Disney Legend, has a Window on Main Street, yet they didn't tap that talent when they had the chance and went with a "window display" version of Mermaid built by folks who didn't have much dark ride or cinematic experience, and a small budget.

    I think the best hope for the company is if Kathleen Kennedy succeeds Bog Iger instead of Staggs, and displays more ownership and longterm thinking when it comes to a future wave of Star Wars attractions in the parks.
    Last edited by chesirecat; 11-14-2013 at 12:43 PM.

  6. #81

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
    I think they were just copying Disney.
    Of course they were, but the question was why? They had to look at Disney being more successful and boiled it down to characters being the differentiation. In 1960 Knott's had one of the most advanced dark rides ever built, but Disneyland had Davy Crockett. More people went to Disneyland.

  7. #82

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat View Post
    Tony Baxter is a Disney Legend, has a Window on Main Street, yet they didn't tap that talent when they had the chance and went with a "window display" version of Mermaid built by folks who didn't have much dark ride or cinematic experience, and a small budget.
    No dark ride or cinematic experience? I thought Mermaid was a pet project of Lassiter. Disneyland Ride Operator and Producer of Toy Story John Lassiter. I also thought it was rumored to cost over 100 million dollars. Granted I am getting a lot of this from MiceAge so who knows how accurate it is.

  8. #83

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    Of course they were, but the question was why? They had to look at Disney being more successful and boiled it down to characters being the differentiation. In 1960 Knott's had one of the most advanced dark rides ever built, but Disneyland had Davy Crockett. More people went to Disneyland.
    Well, if you want fundamentals, characters are *cheap*. Same issues we harp on about using them today existed then.

    Knott's *could* have gone on an extended refurbishment and rebuilding spree to raise the rest of the park up to the thematic and experience levels of Disney - which if it had failed would have exterminated the park.

    Instead, they went the safer, cheaper route of adding the characters in. At least in Knott's case, they did it in a fairly well designed way that became nearly iconic for the park.

    Additionally, Knott's has not now nor is it likely ever to have a prime time show on television from which to address the people of the nation. Even if Knott's poured the heavy millions it would take to get the percentage household penetration of the various "World of..." shows, they'd still be lacking a giant promotional vehicle the majority of the viewing households embraced without considering advertising.

    That's a big factor.
    Credibility is to be sought for. Credulity is not. Sadly the latter is our normal human state.

  9. #84

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by chesirecat View Post
    Great point.

    Walt stuck to his vision when failure might have meant something close to personal bankruptcy, he understood what the audience wanted on the silver screen and that doing a big expensive, yet high quality, piece of work would, in the end, most likely mean you got to keep your shirt and maybe even make a profit.

    Almost everybody thought that Snow White was going to be a financial failure for the company and they called it Disney's Folley.

    Roy surveyed theme park operators and all of them though that Disneyland would fail within the first year, a jittery company decided not to let Walt use Mickey Mouse in the park as the park's failure might decrease the royalties they received.

    It is true that Burbank even decided to calibrate the "fix" to DCA, putting in a modestly priced Mermaid ride, and deciding not to gut large sections of Paradise Pier. Even BVS was, IMHO, calibrated for the lowest budget to save the park, the buildings footprints/structural steel remains, the monorail flies through the center of BVS and its lack of rides, but hopefully it was just enough to make DCA profitable. They could have moved the monorail track and added a ride and berm in front, but they didn't, too much money.

    While Disney had the money to do Carsland, very few people in the company today have the power to push through a project of that size and oversee its development while making sure the budget isn't totally whacked.

    While Burbank obviously has $$ for great and wonderful things, is there anybody with enough political capitol to push such a project through the company?

    There's also a lack of institutional history and gutted Imagineering, meaning that folks have to go back and invent the wheel. There are some basic dark ride 101 problems with Mermaid that the company is apparently going back to fix. Nobody every mentioned that omnimover rides work best in the dark/dark light conditions, and that developing a new ride system would have been worth the investment as it could be shipped to Shanghai and Tokyo. Tony Baxter is a Disney Legend, has a Window on Main Street, yet they didn't tap that talent when they had the chance and went with a "window display" version of Mermaid built by folks who didn't have much dark ride or cinematic experience, and a small budget.

    I think the best hope for the company is if Kathleen Kennedy succeeds Bog Iger instead of Staggs, and displays more ownership and longterm thinking when it comes to a future wave of Star Wars attractions in the parks.
    Excellent post chesirecat! A great summary of the irony of the challenge facing today's Disney Corporation vs. that which faced the Walt-era Disney Company. Back then the Company had unlimited creative vision and boundless passion, but so little money that Walt had to mortgage his vacation home to build Disneyland. Today it has enormous funds but a poverty of vision; its passion has been replaced by the strategic planning and internal politics typical of today's media marketing corporations.

    Previous threads have asked, "if there had never been a Disneyland, would it be possible to build one today?" My answer is "yes, but not by the present Disney Corporation." The most they'd be capable of is buying an already-built Disneyland from another company and filling it with their own IPs.
    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 11-14-2013 at 01:56 PM.
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  10. #85

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    "Quality will out." This was a favorite quote of Walt Disney's, and it means that you spend more money now and make something as good as it can be, and in the end you'll make more money then doing it cheaply for a quick buck. Here's the thing that I think even today Disney execs (and execs of most companies) just don't get: IT'S NOT A FORMULA!!! It's not ride + merch + restaurant + Disney characters = success. It's A Good Quality Ride = success, and Disney characters often times (but not always) make it even better. If you have A Good Quality Ride that guests love, they will demand merchandise and they will seek it out and even wait in line for hours for it. The only reason to force guests to exit through a merchandise shop is if either the ride is mediocre or the merchandise is mediocre. A good restaurant at a Disney theme park is a success if the food is good and the prices are relatively reasonable. It's great if the restaurant blends into the theme and gives guest a chance to try food they don't get normally, but that is an enchancement, it is not the formula to get park guests to eat there. Taste Pilot's Grill has some of the most minimal and basic theming imaginable and it's usually very crowded, not because park guests are dying to eat in a test pilot's restaurant from the 1930's, but because the burgers are the best in either park. Finally, most importantly, just because something worked well, maybe even exceeded your wildest dreams, that DOES NOT MEAN that if you copy what you did for the next thing that it is going to be successful. Cars Land (so far) has been wildly successful. That doesn't mean that if you build another Pixar themed land with one big E-ticket ride, two smaller C-ticket rides, one restaurant, however many merch locations, and walk around characters, that it will be just as successful. The next thing will be successful if it is the same QUALITY as RSR or Flo's Diner or the Cozy Cone Motel or merchandise that people actually want to buy because the product is so good. It really is that simple.
    Another post that nails it. Very well said!
    "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


  11. #86

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by MrLiver View Post
    No dark ride or cinematic experience? I thought Mermaid was a pet project of Lassiter. Disneyland Ride Operator and Producer of Toy Story John Lassiter. I also thought it was rumored to cost over 100 million dollars. Granted I am getting a lot of this from MiceAge so who knows how accurate it is.
    Disney kinda fudged when they said that Mermaid costs $100 million . . . a lot of that would normally be development, and they put in two Mermaid clones on either coast, with the actual construction cost being less as they made duplicate animatronics at the same time, one set to be used later in WDW. For both rides it might come close to $100 million, the total cost for DCA's Mermaid is around $45 million, around $55 million for WDW's Mermaid as it has rock work and some added interactive games.

    Toy Story Midway Mania, reported to cost $80 million for one ride, that included the development of a lot of new stuff:

    1. 3-D/screen tech used in the game
    2. New ride vehicles/system
    3. Mr. Potato Head animatronic that takes off his ear.

    Mermaid didn't require any development costs for new ride technology, they "re-used" the omnimover setup, and they farmed out the animatronics, many of which are pretty cheap. They didn't go with a hand-painted mural, they didn't use some new ride effects like the relatively cheap animated twisty seaweed plants due to initial cost and maintenance. Just the fact that there are screens in a Fantasyland-style attraction is a big tip-off that money was saved. You could go to Best Buy and get a flatscreen and DVD player and loop the same footage for probably less than $2,000.

    Lasseter didn't like the cheap budget for Mermaid and freaked out when they wanted to drastically trim the budget for Carsland as his experience with Mermaid soured him to ridiculously small budgets.
    Last edited by chesirecat; 11-14-2013 at 02:44 PM.

  12. #87

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    Back then the Company had unlimited creative vision and boundless passion, but so little money that Walt had to mortgage his vacation home to build Disneyland.
    The company wasn't even behind Walt in those days, they didn't want him to build Disneyland, and even Walt's wife Lilian didn't like the idea. Leadership at the top matters, having the will power and discipline to make big investments in new areas. Walt was always taking risks, but with little margin of error.

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was pretty much the biggest budgeted film in Hollywood when it was released in 1954, had it done poorly at the box office, it might well have sunk the theme park built in an orange grove.

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
    The most they'd be capable of is buying an already-built Disneyland from another company and filling it with their own IPs.
    Crazier things could happen.

    How about buying a golf course and "filling it with their IPs?"

  14. #89

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    And do note that Walt Disney did not have as many "bosses" (shareholders, mainly the big ones) as Iger does today.
    These bosses have the ability to fire Iger, or to become so disgruntled with the company that they fire themselves (sell their shares) and lower the share price enough that some other company might become interested in buying the company and ripping it apart for the components' values (because that is what corporate raiders do).

    We Micechatters are pretty far down the list of people who have to be made happy by Iger or any CEO.
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

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    Re: MiceAge Update, Mermaid and Alice

    Quote Originally Posted by sediment View Post
    And do note that Walt Disney did not have as many "bosses" (shareholders, mainly the big ones) as Iger does today.
    These bosses have the ability to fire Iger, or to become so disgruntled with the company that they fire themselves (sell their shares) and lower the share price enough that some other company might become interested in buying the company and ripping it apart for the components' values (because that is what corporate raiders do).

    We Micechatters are pretty far down the list of people who have to be made happy by Iger or any CEO.
    We're going to spend money on Disney stuff no matter what. We're pretty much a sure thing. I don't think we even make the list...
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