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  1. #46

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    When Walt Disney was alive, he had a vision for his park. He was the man in charge and any changes, improvements and additions to the park stayed consistent with that vision. With the exception of Fantasyland, Disneyland was designed with an eye to authenticity. Main Street, Frontierland, Adventureland, New Orleans Square, Bear/Critter Country... even Tomorrowland transported you to places that either once actually existed or... with a little imagination... could conceivably exist. Walt stated that he didn't want to fill his park with carnival-type attractions, yet he broke his own rule with Fantasyland which is almost nothing but carnival attractions... albeit very highly themed and unique ones. That's OK, though because children and adults alike have a lot of fun in Fantasyland. It pays homage to the little playground Walt and Diane visited that inspired Disneyland in the first place. And maybe it is also place that could also conceivably exist... if only in your mind. Walt was smart enough, though, to restrict his carnival to a single area behind the castle. Even Bear/Critter Country... though whimsical... has the feel of a real place. Disneyland is more than just an amusement park. It is also a giant museum... history, civics and geography classroom... and science lab. There's a lot of intelligence mixed in with the amusement. You can learn a lot about a lot of topics by just walking around and looking at things. The point of my long ramble is this: After Walt's death, others had to make the decisions affecting the direction of the park. In many cases, particularly during the 90s, the vision became confused and it shows. The basis for new attractions changed from authentic, immersive experiences to advertisements for movies and cartoons. Transports to another time and place were replaced with conveyor belts to a souvenir shop. Fantasyland's carnival began to leak into the other lands. I like Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters, but it is a Fantasyland darkride where a vision of the future should be. Pooh is a critter... even a bear of sorts, but his ride is a Fantasyland darkride out of place. I am not against change. I love going to the park and seeing new things as much as I love the old favorites. Recent activity in the park suggests that Walt's original vision has been rekindled. It will take time to erase some of the mistakes of the recent past and perhaps some new mistakes are yet to be made. I would just hope that future changes are within the original Disneyland context. Otherwise, an American Original could become just another mindless amusement park.
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
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  2. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    When Walt Disney was alive, he had a vision for his park... With the exception of Fantasyland, Disneyland was designed with an eye to authenticity... Disneyland is more than just an amusement park. It is also a giant museum... history, civics and geography classroom... and science lab. There's a lot of intelligence mixed in with the amusement. You can learn a lot about a lot of topics by just walking around and looking at things.... The point of my long ramble is this: After Walt's death, others had to make the decisions affecting the direction of the park. In many cases, particularly during the 90s, the vision became confused and it shows. The basis for new attractions changed from authentic, immersive experiences to advertisements for movies and cartoons. Transports to another time and place were replaced with conveyor belts to a souvenir shop.
    DAMN! Ok, I think THIS might be the best post I've ever read on this board. Great job. Not a ramble in the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    Even Bear/Critter Country... though whimsical... has the feel of a real place.
    It just hit me - THIS is what I meant when I described CC as thin and "different". The old bear country did feel like a real place, a real land. Now it's a thin walkway with 1 ride and a gift store.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    Recent activity in the park suggests that Walt's original vision has been rekindled. It will take time to erase some of the mistakes of the recent past and perhaps some new mistakes are yet to be made. I would just hope that future changes are within the original Disneyland context. Otherwise, an American Original could become just another mindless amusement park.
    I love what's been going on in the park, but I must say I'm not sure if we're close to rekindling that original vision. I hope we are, but as far as we've come, we're so far from it still.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    Otherwise, an American Original could become just another mindless amusement park.
    What a danger this is! Character themes won't stop it. Hotels won't. Fast coasters won't. Imagination without limits and focusing on the things you mentioned Walt focused on is the only hope.


  3. #48

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    Woah, everyone has awesome posts on this thread. I hope someone at Disney is reading this.

  4. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    ... Disneyland is more than just an amusement park. It is also a giant museum... history, civics and geography classroom... and science lab. There's a lot of intelligence mixed in with the amusement. You can learn a lot about a lot of topics by just walking around and looking at things. The point of my long ramble is this: After Walt's death, others had to make the decisions affecting the direction of the park. In many cases, particularly during the 90s, the vision became confused and it shows.
    You are absolutely right!! You said it correctly that management started thinking that DL was just an advertising opportunity. Walt did want to share his vision of America. He wanted to impart values. These values were both the guiding principles of the park and foundation. ... Learning from the past was to guide us to the future.... Learn by experience and not through books.... Fun for both adults and kids.... Experience your fantasies.. Value for you money... A cut above the ordinary... These are some of those principles.

    Bear Country did have a feeling like a real place. It is based on research and a controlling vision for the space. The present Critter Country feels like it was designed by a committee with each member getting what he or she wants, but ending up with no real unified idea of what that area is supposed to be.
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  5. #50

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    Great posts everyone, thumbs up Tom!

    I just think The Country Bears was a perfect fit, no matter what they call the land.
    They could have put the original show back on, or did a new one.
    Although I only went in the Summer the last years it was open, it always had a pretty full theater. I just hate Pooh...

  6. #51

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    I agree the Country Bears weren't pulling in the crowds in California like they do in Florida. I guess more people down here "appreciate" contry music (I'm not really a country music fan, but I adore Country Bear Jamboree). I also agree the original Jamboree is much better than the Vacation Hoedown. They put that in here in Florida for awhile but it didn't go over well, so the original show came back.

    And for the record, the Pooh ride here in Florida isn't that great. I'm still quite mad they got rid of Mr Toad to replace it with that yellow honey sucker (bitter much? yes!). First time I rode it, when I was getting out of the ride vehicle I said pretty loudly, "Well, that SUCKED!" LOL! You want a GOOD Pooh ride, check out Pooh's Hunny Hunt in Tokyo. The photos and videos I've seen look absolutely amazing! I'm so jealous of how Oriental Land Co seems to spare no expense into creating attractions of such high calibre.

  7. #52

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    Another Perspective on all of this

    There's no big mystery here as to what DL is and isn't. It's all on that plaque in Town Square. Like Walter Knott and Henry Ford (Ford Museum) before him, Walt Disney wanted to remind future generations of the sacrifices made by our ancestors in building the country. Many of the films and TV episodes dealt with this. As much as Fantasyland is about you reliving the Classic Disney Movies, Frontierland and Main Street are about small towns giving way to industrialization (Nostalgia) and the risks of conquering the Frontier. To a guy like Walt, it was a physical place to pass on your childhood to your grandkids (and he just did it because he liked it). In the 80's, the motives of the company were about 20% growth so notions of the "promise of the future" and the romanticizing of history (call it what you want) went out the window with the grosses of Mermaid and Lion King. Synergy was the new ideal. True enough, the "history" was not as relevant as it was no longer on TV. Davy Crockett was as big as Star Wars at the time, so every kid want to be him. So Frontierland was a commercial for TV as well, just as "True to Life" Adventureland was drawn from the Nature films. At least Walt's projects came from a culturally sincere place. Experiments in "carnivalism" like Holidayland and the Mickey Mouse Club Circus failed miserably. So Walt was testing those waters all the time.

    Interesting enough, the original 1953 write up for DL had a television sound stage in almost every land of the park. It was ALL supposed to have a TV presence. And of course the whole thing came out of the Disneyland TV show to begin with. Maybe that's why ABC invested in it! Lincoln theater was supposed to be a TV Studio. So there was lots of synergy even planned in 1953.

    Not much of a point to make, other than to add some perspective in that's none of this is that cut and dry. As to wether were headed in the right direction, Nemo in the Subs sounds like more Cartoonization to me, but I'll line up for it just the same..

    I love all the cars planes trains and ships that Disney did so well..

    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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  8. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Orville
    True enough, the "history" was not as relevant as it was no longer on TV. Davy Crockett was as big as Star Wars at the time, so every kid want to be him. So Frontierland was a commercial for TV as well, just as "True to Life" Adventureland was drawn from the Nature films. At least Walt's projects came from a culturally sincere place. Experiments in "carnivalism" like Holidayland and the Mickey Mouse Club Circus failed miserably. So Walt was testing those waters all the time.
    I agree with almost all you say, but with the following exceptions. The success of Davy Crockett was a surprise. Frontierland was already planned before DC took off like a rocket.

    One other issue. I think that main difference I see is that Walt wanted his movies and TV shows to draw people to his Disneyland. Now the current management wants guests of Disneyland to be driven to buy DVD's of the movies and movie merchandise. The cart has gone before the horse!
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  9. #54

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    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan
    One other issue. I think that main difference I see is that Walt wanted his movies and TV shows to draw people to his Disneyland. Now the current management wants guests of Disneyland to be driven to buy DVD's of the movies and movie merchandise. The cart has gone before the horse!
    Not so. The cart never left. The DVD sales derived from rides is insignificant if not even measured. Rides don't help movies outside the park, the numbers of guests are far too low to justify the advertising investment. The reason they theme the rides around movies is so they know it has marketing value and low risk merchandise. You can't get Disney to fund a generic ride because they want to be sure it's tied into a movie so guests will show up at the park for it. This is a well known, common practice in theme parks.
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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  10. #55

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Orville
    Not so. The cart never left. The DVD sales derived from rides is insignificant if not even measured. Rides don't help movies outside the park, the numbers of guests are far too low to justify the advertising investment. The reason they theme the rides around movies is so they know it has marketing value and low risk merchandise. You can't get Disney to fund a generic ride because they want to be sure it's tied into a movie so guests will show up at the park for it. This is a well known, common practice in theme parks.
    It's also unimaginative corporate-think and dull. I hate to think that Disneyland will ultimately transmogrify into "Lowest-Common-Demonimator-Land." By the way... I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm damn disappointed that you're probably right!
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
    -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.


  11. #56

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    Maybe DL is a casulty, but AK and EPCOT are likely the last educational refuge for history and science based ideas. Everest isn't from a movie as far as I know, and Mission:Space wasn't either. There is still hope.
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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  12. #57

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    There must always be hope. Otherwise, there is no point.
    "Yesterday, a man walked up to me and said, 'Isn't it a shame that Walt Disney couldn't be here to see this?' and I said, "He did see this, that's why it's here."
    -Art Linkletter July 17, 2005-


    When you wish upon a star your dreams come true.


  13. #58

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    Springtime of Progress

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Chaney
    There must always be hope. Otherwise, there is no point.
    You have an interesting mind. Anyone ever tell you that?

    I think that trends are cyclical, like history and Disney must go through the creative pendulum swing of hitting bottom before they experience breakthrough and rise from their own ashes. Right now the "50th" is the height of managerial derivitiveness. "Just clean the place up, bring it back and we'll be fine." No risks, just look back and let nostalgia do it's thing, no new ideas required. When that fades out (or the new paint does), then the real test of rebirth will have to begin and it will take some changes at the top to achieve this. The old guard must be just that.

    I believe in pendulum swings and the cycle of "breakthrough, growth, cashcow, decline and rebirth". It happens in society and nature. It's the Disneyland Autumn, the 50th leaves are beautiful, but when they fall off, there may be the cold creative DL winter andf hopefully a springtime of new ideas.
    "As usual he's taken over the coolest spot in the house"- Father re: Orville 1963

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  14. #59

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cousin Orville
    You have an interesting mind. Anyone ever tell you that?

    I think that trends are cyclical, like history and Disney must go through the creative pendulum swing of hitting bottom before they experience breakthrough and rise from their own ashes. Right now the "50th" is the height of managerial derivitiveness. "Just clean the place up, bring it back and we'll be fine." No risks, just look back and let nostalgia do it's thing, no new ideas required. When that fades out (or the new paint does), then the real test of rebirth will have to begin and it will take some changes at the top to achieve this. The old guard must be just that.

    I believe in pendulum swings and the cycle of "breakthrough, growth, cashcow, decline and rebirth". It happens in society and nature. It's the Disneyland Autumn, the 50th leaves are beautiful, but when they fall off, there may be the cold creative DL winter andf hopefully a springtime of new ideas.
    That's beautiful... and frightening.
    "George Bush... is only for now."
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    Just because it's gone doesn't mean I changed my mind!

  15. #60

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    I get it! The movie Bambi is the model for Disney creativity!

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