Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 39
  1. #1

    • MiceAge Columnist
    • Dateline Disneylander
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Posts
    8,138

    Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Educationland.


    “The idea of Disneyland is a simple one. It will be a place for people to find happiness and knowledge. It will be a place for parents and children to share pleasant times in one another’s company;a place for teachers and pupils to discover greater ways of understanding and education. Here the older generation can recapture the nostalgia of days gone by, and the younger generation can savor the challenge of the future. Here will be the wonders of Nature and Man for all to see and understand. Disneyland will be based upon and dedicated to the ideals, the dream and hard facts that have created America. And it will be uniquely equipped to dramatize these dreams and facts and send them forth as a source of courage and inspiration to all the world. Disneyland will be sometimes a fair, an exhibition, a playground, a community center, a museum of living facts, and a showplace of beauty and magic. It will be filled with accomplishments, the joys and hopes of the world we live in. And it will remind us and show us how to make these wonders part of our own lives.”

    Nobody may ever fully know the way Walt Disney's mind truly worked, how his wheels turned, and how far his imagination went. But by reading some of his recorded quotations, one can find out a lot about his dreams, ambitions, creativity, hopes, and intentions for his works.

    Walt Disney spoke about the minds of our nation's youth, and was very interested in education and knowledge.

    "Crowded classrooms and half-day sessions are a tragic waste of our greatest national resource - the minds of our children."


    Walt Disney's interest in our nation's youth and the education of the world was so much that he created Disneyland not only to entertain people, but with the intention of also educating and enlightening his park's guests.

    “Disneyland will be the essence of America as we know it, the nostalgia of the past, with exciting glimpses into the future. It will give meaning to the pleasure of the children – and pleasure to the experience of adults. It will focus a new interest upon Southern California through the mediums of television and other exploitation. It will be a place for California to be at home, to bring its guests, to demonstrate its faith in the future. And, mostly as stated at the beginning – it will be a place for the people to find happiness and knowledge.


    Yet, what remains of Walt Disney's Educationland? Over the years, traces of education have been stripped from the park, with replacements that pale in comparison, or fail to educate at all. Tomorrowland was once a vista into the wonders of Tomorrow, educating guests daily on the technologies and opportunities of the future. Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress and the later America Sings were removed from Tomorrowland's Carousel Theater and replaced with Innoventions - a showroom of various gadgets billed as tomorrow's technology. Surely, the concept of Innoventions is on-par with the Carousel Theater's edu-tainment history, but does it measure up?


    “Disneyland will always be building and growing and adding new things… new ways of having fun, of learning things and sharing the many exciting adventures which may be experienced here in the company of family and friends.”

    The former Circarama and Circle Vision 360 films were travelogues taking guests on brief video vacations, allowing them to dream up their own possibilities for the world, and educating them of the diversity of the world's landscapes.

    The House of the Future, NASA exhibits, Mission To The Moon/Mars, and Adventure Thru Innerspace were looks into the wonders of the homes of tomorrow, space exploration, and the magic of the molecule. A futuristic Submarine Voyage took guests into the world of liquid space in a "real" submarine, showing them the wonders of the underwater world.

    All of these attractions served to educate park guests while continuing to entertain and enchant them.

    “Disneyland is often called a Magic Kingdom because it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning, together with every variety of recreation and fun designed to appeal to everyone.”

    Similarly, other areas of the park were intended to take guests to other places as well, and to explore and learn about the past, instead of the wonders of the future. Adventureland offered an excursion into the jungles of the world, and the Jungle Cruise was a journey into the magic and knowledge of world jungles, animals, and other cultures.

    Frontierland taught us about our country's past. An Indian Village on the outskirts of Frontierland allowed us to learn about the cultures that have, for the most part, faded out of prominent existence. The Frontier also allowed us to explore untouched regions of the West via pack mule, mine train, and conestoga wagons.

    “Physically, Disneyland would be a small world in itself – it would encompass the essence of the things that were good and true in American life. It would reflect the faith and challenge the future, the entertainment, the interest in intelligently presented facts, the stimulation of the imagination, the standards of health and achievement, and above all, a sense of strength, contentment and well-being.”

    In many respects Disneyland offered experiences that gave the park a sort of living history museum experience, a "museum of living facts," as Walt Disney said. All the while, the park managed to entertain and delight guests and spark their own imaginations while sprinkling in education at every corner.

    Lamp lighters, candy makers, and glassblowers on Main Street gave guests a glimpse of turn-of-the-century small town life, and yet these small touches all worked towards entertaining park guests while educating them.


    So how does Walt Disney's goals of education fit into the park now? In a time where roller coasters, Buzz Lightyear, and pirates seem to have taken hold of the magical marriage of entertainment and education?

    Can Walt Disney's edu-tainment be reclaimed and re-Imagineered for present day audiences who seem to seek nothing more than fleeting adrenaline rushes and video game-style ride-throughs?

    What options can Walt Disney Imagineering explore to bring edutainment back to the parks without becoming preachy or boring? Can an all-electric, or similarly enviro-friendly Autopia be an opportunity for an edu-tainment revival?

    How about a new Indian Village and Mine Train expansion into Big Thunder Ranch?

    And what about a return of the lamp lighters and authentic turn-of-the-century shops on Main Street?


    Or is Walt Disney's dream of educating his guests simply a fantasy of Walt's 1950s?
    Last edited by MasterGracey; 08-28-2007 at 10:59 PM. Reason: Grammar, punctuation...

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

    | | |

  2. #2

    • Member
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    1,032

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Well put, Master Gracey. You've given us some good food for thought -- and some good catalysts for future "plussing" of Walt's park.

  3. #3

    • Resident DL'er
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Southern Cali
    Posts
    467

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    There's no doubt that I'm a much bigger fan of the classic Disney edutainment stuff than I am of a lot of the more recent attractions that lack those values you've mentioned.

    With Disney being a business, they increasingly make more and more creative decisions with the priority directed toward profit and satisfying modern demographics.

    It's difficult to compare nearly anything nowadays within the company to the 1950s and 1960s. The company's business model has changed dramatically since Walt's days, and so has the culture.

    So when it comes to thinking about edutainment itself, I think it's a wonderful thing. Education can be entertaining just in itself, especially when you have people like Paul Frees narrating it (ATIS). Many scientists will tell you that there are things about nature and the universe that are breathtaking. I think there's still room in the parks for it, but Disney may have to re-think how they present the information so it can still appeal to a modernized culture. I said that education can be entertaining, but it obviously isn't always. It completely depends on how you present it.
    Last edited by scorsese; 08-28-2007 at 09:53 PM.

  4. #4

    • MiceAge Columnist
    • Dateline Disneylander
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Posts
    8,138

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by scorsese View Post
    There's no doubt that I'm a much bigger fan of the classic Disney edutainment stuff than I am of a lot of the more recent attractions that lack those values you've mentioned.

    With Disney being a business, they increasingly make more and more creative decisions with the priority directed toward profit and satisfying modern demographics.

    It's difficult to compare nearly anything nowadays within the company to the 1950s and 1960s. The company's business model has changed dramatically since Walt's days, and so has the culture.

    So when it comes to thinking about edutainment itself, I think it's a wonderful thing. Education can be entertaining just in itself, especially when you have people like Paul Frees narrating it (ATIS). Many scientists will tell you that there are things about nature and the universe that are breathtaking. I think there's still room in the parks for it, but Disney may have to re-think how they present the information so it can still appeal to a modernized culture. I said that education can be entertaining, but it obviously isn't always. It completely depends on how you present it.

    I suppose that's the problem. Today's WDI doesn't know how to create truly entertaining edutainment. Recent attempts have failed: Innoventions, Golden Dreams, Mission Tortilla Factory, Bakery Tour, Seasons of the Vine.

    What's the problem? Perhaps the attractions are too full of themselves, talking down to audiences, rather than involving them, entertaining them, and seamlessly weaving in the education.

    The Mission Tortilla Factory and Bakery Tour employ films that literally talk down to guests from overhead video screens. The videos themselves are rather underwhelming and uninteresting. Guests often ignore the Bakery Tour video and walk through to the exit rather than watching the tour.

    Golden Dreams is a preachy film about California history and the turmoil and struggle of its forefathers. Instead of creating a sweeping, moving tribute to the State like the American Adventure at Epcot, DCA has a film that can't draw crowds no matter what fancy banners are hung from the Palace of Fine Arts' rotunda.


    So what should Disney do? Well, maybe they ought to ditch filming their edutainment. Return to ride-throughs or audio-animatronic theatre shows with subtle and/or entertaining education (Mark Twain and Sailing Ship Columbia are good examples). Re-instate lost practices that add to the charm and theme of the park, but also shares interesting history with park guests (lamplighters on Main Street would be a good start). And create new attractions, and replacements for old ones (Innoventions, Golden Dreams) that offer true WED-style Edutainment.

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

    | | |

  5. #5

    • Animatronic
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    1,860

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Educational suggests supplying real knowledge. That likely means several horrible things like out of copyright or public domain!!!! You can't sell exclusive plush toys of actual historical figures or items without fearing others jumping on the bandwagon. Disney can't even sue the Government for putting Lincoln on the penny. Talk about bad business! I hope Disney plans to fix their last remaining attractions featuring historical facts just like they fixed pirates and nixed Black Beard, a public domain figure. Why does Abraham Lincoln have to be promoted in an attraction? How about Disney change it to President Jim Pigeon(tm) who freed the slaves? Then they could sell exclusive President Pigeon plush toys and if the government tries to put Jim Pigeon on the penny, they won't be able to do it without permission from the mouse!

  6. #6

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • Pineapple Queen
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Tiki Juice Bar
    Posts
    5,240

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    I think a huge problem, in terms of providing edutainment to audiences, is that attractions are now almost always based upon a movie...a fantasy world has already been created, and while there might be some slipped facts into the film, they are relatively minimal (at least for popular films, which is what Disney would want to use).

    It can be done, but Disney needs to leave the safety-zone of their films and come up with original ideas that are entertaining.

    I don't fully blame WDI for this. Perhaps they don't know how to put education and entertainment together anymore, but in the more recent past it's been those in total charge, who have had no care for creativity for the park, that have said, "This is what you'll be making an attraction about, it made this much at the box office, so it's better than you're...what's it called? Western River Expedition? Give me a break! No one is interested in that!"

    Hmm, now that would be an easy get-go...Western River Expedition. Marc Davis totally got it. Or at least some sort of western folk tales attraction...it could be a mix of Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, a little bit of American tall tales...I think that would be a hit.


    Walt had a knack for figuring out what the public would like, even if they didn't know it yet, through the research he did and the way he just understood the public. The care he expressed through his work has not been imitated remotely by those that have served to take his place within the Disney company (usually...there have been a few gold stars, but unfortunately they didn't have the final say).

    We have some more recent management changes, so those with more creativity have a little more power now...all we can do is hope for the best I guess.

  7. #7

    • MiceAge Columnist
    • Dateline Disneylander
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Posts
    8,138

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by pineapplewhipaddict View Post
    I think a huge problem, in terms of providing edutainment to audiences, is that attractions are now almost always based upon a movie...a fantasy world has already been created, and while there might be some slipped facts into the film, they are relatively minimal (at least for popular films, which is what Disney would want to use).

    It can be done, but Disney needs to leave the safety-zone of their films and come up with original ideas that are entertaining.

    I don't fully blame WDI for this. Perhaps they don't know how to put education and entertainment together anymore, but in the more recent past it's been those in total charge, who have had no care for creativity for the park, that have said, "This is what you'll be making an attraction about, it made this much at the box office, so it's better than you're...what's it called? Western River Expedition? Give me a break! No one is interested in that!"

    Hmm, now that would be an easy get-go...Western River Expedition. Marc Davis totally got it. Or at least some sort of western folk tales attraction...it could be a mix of Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, a little bit of American tall tales...I think that would be a hit.


    Walt had a knack for figuring out what the public would like, even if they didn't know it yet, through the research he did and the way he just understood the public. The care he expressed through his work has not been imitated remotely by those that have served to take his place within the Disney company (usually...there have been a few gold stars, but unfortunately they didn't have the final say).

    We have some more recent management changes, so those with more creativity have a little more power now...all we can do is hope for the best I guess.
    You make excellent points regarding the influence of Hollywood on the parks.

    The budgeteers in Burbank and TDA need to step down for a while and allow the Imagineers to work their magic without forcing the latest-and-greatest box office success down their throats.

    Disneyland is more than a place to re-live your favorite Disney films - it's a place to experience new stories, new adventures, new magic, and, of course, a place to learn new things.

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

    | | |

  8. #8

    • "I Break Things"
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12,370

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Interesting thread. IMO the blame for the lack of creativity is laid at the feet of those who decide the budget, and cut it back as construction progresses. We have all see the various concepts, the infamous "This is what DCA will look like" only to be disappointed because someone cut this and someone else cut that so they looked good and didn't spend too much. I'm not sure if Walt cut any of his budgets. I know he used outside sponsorship whenever possible. Someone mentioned on another thread how he loved to let his Imagineers play on someone else's dime. I realize that a business is a business and creativity can't be given a blank check. I just wish the creativity was more about the actual attractions and less about stretching every dollar. The Imagineers are extremely creative, when they are allowed to be.

    The other problem is the comparison to the competition. Instead of really wowing the crowd they are content to do as little as possible and say "Well it's better then this park... or that park". By comparing in this way they can rest easy knowing they claimed #1 with minimal budget and effort.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  9. #9

    • T'zambezi makes me sneezy
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    IJ Outpost
    Posts
    91

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Why does Abraham Lincoln have to be promoted in an attraction? How about Disney change it to President Jim Pigeon(tm) who freed the slaves? Then they could sell exclusive President Pigeon plush toys and if the government tries to put Jim Pigeon on the penny, they won't be able to do it without permission from the mouse!
    I can feel my IQ dropping.

  10. #10

    •   
    • Blind to His Own Faults
    • Online

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Near
    Posts
    8,059

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Great suggestions, MG--you know I love the Frontierland proposals especially. As far as attitudes toward eduction: it seems this divergence (slight at first, but like all non-parallel courses, gains distance exponentially), is at its greatest point, and I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the ease of information gathering that we enjoy today.

    The responsibility to teach is being diffused throughout the educational system, IMO, due to the availability, and ease of use, of educational sources. It is becoming a Park (and society) where education is your business, and no one's responsibility but your own...which is certainly fine for adults, but when these same attitudes are applied to kids/teens, it's the quality and depth of education that suffers; it's the future that suffers. Education and entertainment are becoming mutually exclusive as our avenues of entertainment become more sophisticated, more immersive and engrossing, but ultimately less 'beneficial'.
    Last edited by fo'c's'le swab; 08-29-2007 at 08:24 AM.

  11. #11

    • Banned User
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Everywhere
    Posts
    1,240

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    I loved those shorts with Ludwig Von Drake...maybe if they did stuff like THAT again, and do stuff like that in the parks (Hello old Journey to Imagination Second Floor at EPCOT) then not only me, but my dad and my kids would be happier...great post.

  12. #12

    • "I Break Things"
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12,370

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by fo'c's'le swab View Post
    Great suggestions, MG--you know I love the Frontierland proposals especially. As far as attitudes toward eduction: it seems this divergence (slight at first, but like all non-parallel courses, gains distance exponentially), is at its greatest point, and I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the ease of information gathering that we enjoy today.

    The responsibility to teach is being diffused throughout the educational system, IMO, due to the availability, and ease of use, of educational sources. It is becoming a Park (and society) where education is your business, and no one's responsibility but your own...which is certainly fine for adults, but when these same attitudes are applied to kids/teens, it's the quality and depth of education that suffers; it's the future that suffers. Education and entertainment are becoming mutually exclusive as our avenues of entertainment become more sophisticated, more immersive and engrossing, but ultimately less 'beneficial'.
    I think part of that does fall squarely on the shoulders of the parents/legal guardians. If they do not push or support education then what would you expect. I enjoy learning and when visiting a museum I am that guy that reads all the signs... just because it's interesting... but I know a lot of people who just run from exhibit to exhibit to see what it looks like. So in a way it also depends on the individual and their tastes.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"


    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  13. #13

    • MiceAge Columnist
    • Dateline Disneylander
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Posts
    8,138

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    I think part of that does fall squarely on the shoulders of the parents/legal guardians. If they do not push or support education then what would you expect. I enjoy learning and when visiting a museum I am that guy that reads all the signs... just because it's interesting... but I know a lot of people who just run from exhibit to exhibit to see what it looks like. So in a way it also depends on the individual and their tastes.
    I think you've hit an important point here. I think that because a lot of people show a lack of interest in museums and learning is partially why we've seen a lack of edutainment in recent years.

    The problem is not because history and understanding is boring, but because reading plaques, signs, and viewing historical dramatizations are the wrong approach. DCA's attempts at edutainment did just this. The park has informative plaques sprinkled throughout the park (Golden Vine Winery, Golden Gate Bridge, Bountiful Valley Farm), they've got history films, too (Golden Dreams, Mission Tortilla Factory, Bakery Tour, Seasons of the Vine, etc). But these methods are ineffective.

    "Great Moments with Mr Lincoln" was not successful in 1964 only because it was an interesting history lesson. No, it was so wildly popular because Disney combined the latest methods of entertainment (Audio-Animatronics) with important history (Abraham Lincoln).

    What Disney Imagineering needs to do is re-explore the history, the "hard facts" that have made our society what it is, and entertain by incorporating that education with the latest-and-greatest means of theme park entertainment.

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

    | | |

  14. #14

    • MiceChat Round-Up Crew
    • Get the Iodine!
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Here
    Posts
    17,657
    Blog Entries
    10

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    I wouldn't mind them doing something with Davy Crockett in Frontierland. I think it would be neat if they could bring back the pack mules, or bring in a stage coach ride that takes us through the stages of Davy's life. Or maybe if they had a stage coach ride depicting the Oregon Trail or the adventures of Lewis and Clark and what-not. I think that stuff would fit in with Frontierland since those people in history have lived in, and traveled through, the wild frontier, back during the days of indians and pioneers.

    I don't know...I just find that time period interesting...

  15. #15

    • MiceAge Columnist
    • Dateline Disneylander
    • Offline

    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Disneyland, U.S.A.
    Posts
    8,138

    Re: Educationland: Making magic with education at Disneyland

    Quote Originally Posted by Disney Wrassler View Post
    I wouldn't mind them doing something with Davy Crockett in Frontierland. I think it would be neat if they could bring back the pack mules, or bring in a stage coach ride that takes us through the stages of Davy's life. Or maybe if they had a stage coach ride depicting the Oregon Trail or the adventures of Lewis and Clark and what-not. I think that stuff would fit in with Frontierland since those people in history have lived in, and traveled through, the wild frontier, back during the days of indians and pioneers.

    I don't know...I just find that time period interesting...
    Indeed, you are not alone - quite a few people find that time period interesting.

    The possibilities for Frontierland are plenty, but it seems like the land has become stagnant - why? Well, because Disney doesn't have film properties that can fit into Frontierland except Pirates of the --- er, ...well... nevermind...


    Your Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark ideas are intriguing, and would be interesting avenues for Imagineeering to explore.

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

    | | |

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 11
    Last Post: 09-04-2008, 04:40 PM
  2. Making The Magic Real
    By tjcjr in forum Walt Disney World Resort
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 04-22-2008, 07:52 AM
  3. Replies: 89
    Last Post: 07-11-2007, 11:08 AM
  4. Disney youngsters making musical magic - Reuters, 1/10/07
    By disneytim in forum MiceChat News Archive
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-14-2007, 09:07 AM
  5. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 10-06-2006, 10:39 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •