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  1. #1

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    Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    This is from rotten.com (not a work-friendly site, or sanity-friendly depending on the page) bio of Walt Disney. Since we talk about things Eisner has and hasn't done to Disneyland, I thought it would be interesting to share:

    The first quote box is from the biography. The Eisner quote is the box inside the box.

    Walt's greatest legacy, Disneyland, slipped into maintenance mode for a long while. Part of the problem had to do with all the Walt-hugging preservationists. Anything the man touched had to be treated like an archeological relic. This sentiment was by no means isolated to the employees of the Walt Disney Company. Many fans took it upon themselves to argue on behalf of leaving the classic Disney attractions undisturbed. They would prefer to limit Disneyland development, in order to maintain the park as a shrine.

    Finally, almost 20 years after Walt's death, the company realized that they had to start making hard decisions or attendance would shrivel up. So beginning in the mid-1980s there has been a series of sweeping changes. As particular rides become stale and lose popularity, they are rethemed to draw attendance. Most of Tomorrowland was gutted and replaced in 1998. The Swiss Family Treehouse became Tarzan's Treehouse in 1999. In 2002, the Country Bear Playhouse was bulldozed to make room for a Winnie the Pooh ride.

    This stuff doesn't sit well with the committed Disney fanatics. Walt Disney Company chairman Michael Eisner experienced this firsthand in 1985 during an interview with a newspaper reporter:


    "On the 30th anniversary night, I came down here with Frank [Wells] and the writer from the New York Times. And I was proudly telling about all the things we were doing at Disneyland, and I got to the George Lucas 'Star Wars' ride... 'We're going to put in this great Star Wars attraction with technology that has never been seen before. It's gonna be the attraction that's going to replace that dog, [Adventure Thru] Inner Space.' She said, 'How can you say "that dog?" That's the most brilliant attraction ever at Disney! Walt Disney himself designed it! How can you ruin Disney?' She then dragged me to go over on it. We rode it twice. She called me a monster."
    That's when Eisner realized that, to the fundamentalists, changing anything in the park was immoral. And changing anything that Disney himself had personally created bordered on blasphemy.

    The hardcore fans would like to see the place declared a national monument, to preserve what remains of Walt's original vision. In their view, the best thing would be if somehow the entire park could be hermetically sealed, stuck behind glass just like Walt's office down on Main Street.
    I thought this was kind of interesting. I've suggested before that perhaps the lack of anything innovative at the park for all these years has been resistance to getting rid of anything that's already there, and it seems that even Eisner has run into the "Walt built it, don't touch that" people who can't bear to see the park go through changes.

    I wouldn't say Eisner is free from the criticism I see here (I doubt today he'd even catch himself going to the park for any reason other than a televised broadcast, and that Fox Family deal was a terrible buy) but it I'd never seen this story before and it kind of proves that no matter what it is, there's someone who considers terribly important.

    PS: There's also an interesting note at the end of that biography that says a McDonalds franchiser tried to get a MickeyD's in the park in a letter to Walt in 1954. So yes, the park's been battling fry carts since before it started.

  2. #2

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    While there will always be a few loud (and possibly psychotic) fanatics of any ride or attraction, the main philosophy should be to replace an attraction with something BETTER.
    Star Tours over Inner Space: yes (IMO).
    Pooh over Coutry Bears: no.
    BTMRR over rainbow canyon what-ja-ma-call-it: yes.
    Rocket Rods over People Mover: no. Could have been, but after budget cuts caused more maintenance problems, sorry.
    DCA over parking lot:...
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  3. #3

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    People need to remember that Walt always was looking to "plus" things. I think that is his true feelings on the park. And like he said...Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world.

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyphile
    What? It's a legitimate decision that was made...
    Could you please get up off the floor?
    "Here You Leave the World of California Today and Enter the World of, um, er, California Today."

  6. #6

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    I agree with sediment. Taking out popular attractions or classic ones to put in pieces of ones makes no sense. Like the Tarzan tree house, or Pooh, or Innoventions.

    Disneyland should have quality rides, not ones that capitalize on "in the now" characters or movies...

  7. #7

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    "Disneyland will never be completed...."

    Can I tell you how SICK of that line I am? I know what Walt meant by it, but the company has been pawning that line off on us for decades as a carte blanche excuse to replace great attractions with dreck.... or nothing at all. Walt quote or not, I no longer hold that as a valid excuse.

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



  8. #8

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    "Disneyland will never be completed...."

    Can I tell you how SICK of that line I am? I know what Walt meant by it, but the company has been pawning that line off on us for decades as a carte blanche excuse to replace great attractions with dreck.... or nothing at all. Walt quote or not, I no longer hold that as a valid excuse.
    you're so right.

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon
    I know what Walt meant by it, but the company has been pawning that line off on us for decades as a carte blanche excuse to replace great attractions with dreck.... or nothing at all.
    Exactly.

    Submarine Voyage...... nothing.
    Rocket Rods...... nothing.
    Super Star Limo...... nothing.
    Skyway..... nothing.

    Granted, a few of those are just recently under planning, but look how long they've sat empty. Even Tomorrowland was almost dead until the last couple months.

  10. #10

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    First, I want to say, I am for progress. Replacing something, even if it was designed by Walt himself, with something better is always good in my book!

    But typical corporate management usually finds critizing previous management decisions easy, but cannot find it in themself to admit mistakes THEY make. It is always easy to critize someone else, but it is hard to look honestly at your own decisions and fess up to failure.

    Disney management should have realized that DCA was going to be a problem in the design phase. Too many people were looking from the outside and saying, "Huh? Put an attraction about California in California?" It is like putting an attraction about Italy in Italy.

    As to the "new" Tomorrowland being better... Well, I don't need to say more...
    Jiminy Cricket Fan
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    Love Disneyland and Walt Disney World!

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by sediment
    DCA over parking lot:...
    I still think the "Pave paradise and put up a parking lot" appiles here.

  12. #12

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    I understand "the" company has been using that as an excuse, but do you honestly think Walt wanted Disneyland to be a museum? Being younger, I was not able to experience many of the opening attractions, (or some opened/closed thereafter) and am I sure I missed out on some very exciting times. However, Disneyland needs to continue evolving from a business and entertainment standpoint. If DL never changed after 1966, would many of us be here now?

    I agree that many things (ie; DLRR, the castle etc.) must not be changed.

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gothemi
    People need to remember that Walt always was looking to "plus" things. I think that is his true feelings on the park. And like he said...Disneyland will never be complete as long as there is imagination left in the world.
    I agree. Walt never thought of Disneyland as a Museum. Even when he was there, it constantly changed. Change is what Walt wanted, not a park full of museum peaces.

    Plus, if Disneyland never changed from its original 1955 config, it would of gone bankrupt a LONG LONG time ago. Mule rides are NOT E-ticket rides in 2005 people!!!

  14. #14

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    I understand Eisner when he says that Disneyland has to keep dishing out new things. But I really would not consider replacing Country bears with the winnie the pooh cardboard cutout ride as a major achievement. If we want to ride a cardboard cutout attraction We can ride Mr. Toads Wild Ride.

    No offense to "Mr. Toad" because I personally enjoy that ride, but I would like to see new rides these days rely on tomorrows technology than yesterdays and todays.

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    Re: Anyone ever seen this Eisner quote before?

    I think that if any rides or other historical attractions like Dumbo would ever be taken down, Disney should consider making some kind of space for them either outside or inside disneyland just so people could remember the things they experienced in the past, like what Disneyland is doing now for the 50th.

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