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  1. #1

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    The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    I’ve seen a few posts around dismissing criticism of certain additions because “it’s for the kids” or “it’s just a cute kids ride anyway” or “my kid likes it.” I don't mean to discount your opinions or those of your kids, just thought this was an interesting topic to discuss .

    In all the countless retellings of the “Walt taking his daughters to ride the merry-go-round” inspiration story, I have never heard that Diane or Sharon were in any way dissatisfied with the merry-go-round in Griffith Park. It was Walt, stuck on a park bench with a bag of peanuts, who wanted “a place where parents and children could have fun together.”

    Also, we all know the story about an animator during a screening of Bambi saying, “I think the kids will like it,” and Walt disliking the remark. I have seen it argued that while Walt had this philosophy while making films, he suddenly abandoned it while planning his theme park. (I disagree with that, of course.)

    Family attraction means that every member of the family can enjoy it, including the kids, but not exclusively them. There’s no reason to assume that adding more immersive theming, more detail or better technology is going to make kids enjoy the ride less. And it is just possible that they will see the difference and enjoy it more.

    Of course, from time to time there will be attractions that skew a little younger or a little older. But I don’t see why Pooh, a franchise that is popular across multiple generation gaps, should be the one to get the “cute ride for kids.” Nor why the Pixar films, which deal with many “grown-up” topics, should have rides aimed squarely at children. I’m not saying they all are, I actually rather liked Monsters Inc. and haven’t ridden Nemo yet, but the argument is often put forth that Buzz and TSMM had to be video game like in order to please “the current generation.”
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  2. #2

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Kids can tell the difference. I remember experiencing POTC and Knott's log ride around the age of...ooh, maybe eight or so? I could easily tell that one had a lot more money and imagination poured into it. Naturally, I can see an even greater schism there now, but I very consciously recognized it back then, too. The log ride isn't necessarily a kiddy ride, but it does go to prove your point--children aren't entirely ignorant of the level of detail on an attraction, or the amount of care going into it. Well, some are. Duh. Some adults, are too. And that stinks. Luckily for us, the vision of Walt (and of most of the Imagineers!) doesn't attempt to only satisfy them.


  3. #3

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    I always compare this to calling a play "cute". Whenever someone calls a play cute in the theater world it is most often code for a play with little substance, often a chilldrens play that adults sit through to entertain the kids for a while. It is far to easy to make a "cute" attraction, where it is hard to make a attraction that gaps generations. The rides that I remember the most from my childhood is not dumbo or stroybook, but Indy and the Matterhorn.

  4. #4

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    It's condescending. When I was a kid, among our favorite TV cartoons were the Warner Brothers cartoons and Rocky and Bullwinkle. You look at these after you've grown and realize that they were made by adults for adults, with a lot of humor in them that kids could not possibly catch. They knew kids would love them anyway, so they went right ahead with that formula.

    The truth is, kids love adult things, as long as there is enough whimsy and sense of fun and sight gags to keep them amused at their own level too. In the process, they learn how jokes work and what sorts of things people in their culture think are funny.

    Never condescend to kids. That's just laziness and contempt.
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  5. #5

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    When I was a kid, among our favorite TV cartoons were the Warner Brothers cartoons and Rocky and Bullwinkle. You look at these after you've grown and realize that they were made by adults for adults, with a lot of humor in them that kids could not possibly catch. They knew kids would love them anyway, so they went right ahead with that formula.
    Yes! I've expressed this very sentiment, using the same example before. It's so true--the kids laugh at and enjoy the stuff that's in there for them while the adult-oriented stuff (not adult adult...) goes right over their heads. And they laugh at some of that anyway! It's always fun re-watching childhood favorites and picking up on all the stuff I missed. I often thought the stuff was funny...I could sense that it was supposed to be, but not understanding the true meaning, I confabulated my own. Which is fine! It's great!

    Same concept applies to theme parks. Disneyland can absolutely work for the whole family, and much of it still does, fortunately. Naturally, certain attractions will inevitably alienate certain members a little; that's a necessary evil, sadly. But on the whole, the experience can be enjoyable for everyone. And it still is, mostly. We just gotta make sure that doesn't change.


  6. #6

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Not sure if this was aimed at me or not but here goes...

    I tend to tolerate attractions I would otherwise pass up, specifically because of my kids. My daughter loves Pooh, I hate Pooh and honestly feel that WDI took a tremendous step backwards in it's creation. Despite this feeling I ride it, and have ridden it several times, because to my 4 year old it is the greatest attraction in the park.

    I am not a huge fan of Jungle's current spiels. I was a Skip, I've been there, and I am well aware of both the rewards and challenges of entertaining an audience. I have this annoying habit of cataloging and critiquing a cruise specifically because I know what I am listening to and looking for. This habit sucks the fun out of even being on the boat, so usually I would simply avoid it unless the Skip was someone I knew. I've ridden Jungle extensively in the past week, my 2.5 year old likes Tigers and my 5 year old likes the Zebras.

    I have never been a huge fan of Fantasyland as a whole. Prior to being a parent I can't remember the last time I rode Dumbo, or Peter Pan, or Storybook, or Casey. I really don't remember riding Snow White, or Pinnochio. On occasion I would take a date on the Carousel. Toad and Teacups were always my favorites... but aside from those two I really was not a Fantasyland person. Now, as a parent, I take a tour of Fantasyland because that is what my kids enjoy!

    So, in closing, it is not that I believe in talking down, or dumbing down, or lowering a bar specifically to cater to kids. BUT if my kids enjoy it I will be there, they will have my click of the turnstyle, because without me or my wife my little ones will not be able to go! From a single perspective there is a lot I would pass up, but from a parent's perspective I ride a lot of things to simply enjoy the reactions of my children, not to enjoy whatever I am riding!
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  7. #7

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    my little brother is a kid. i can't wait until he grows up and gets some taste.
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  8. #8

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    I doubt animassurreal was directing this at you, techskip. What you're talking about is a healthy, considerate, and very cool attitude.


  9. #9

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    Not sure if this was aimed at me or not but here goes...

    I tend to tolerate attractions I would otherwise pass up, specifically because of my kids. My daughter loves Pooh, I hate Pooh and honestly feel that WDI took a tremendous step backwards in it's creation. Despite this feeling I ride it, and have ridden it several times, because to my 4 year old it is the greatest attraction in the park.


    Ah but I think the point here is that WDI COULD have made an attraction that both you and your kids WOULD love. I mean, they done so in Tokyo and that attraction boasts two hour waits all the time. I'm sure you and your kids would hate the waiting in line part, but I think you would be there because your kids love it, and you would be there because YOU love it.


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  10. #10

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    So, in closing, it is not that I believe in talking down, or dumbing down, or lowering a bar specifically to cater to kids. BUT if my kids enjoy it I will be there, they will have my click of the turnstyle, because without me or my wife my little ones will not be able to go! From a single perspective there is a lot I would pass up, but from a parent's perspective I ride a lot of things to simply enjoy the reactions of my children, not to enjoy whatever I am riding!
    And that is exactly the point. You don't go to Pooh, put your kid on it and then wait at the exit for them to return. You are able to enjoy it with them. They enjoy it because it is on their level, you enjoy it because watching your child have a good time is what being a parent is all about.

    From what I have interpretted, that is what Walt was all about. He didn't enjoy sitting on the bench while the kids rode the ride. Don't get me wrong, I don't want new rides dumbed down to juvenille levels just to get the cheap laugh or enjoyment. However we do need comprimise on how many thrill/adult type attractions there are versus children oriented.
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  11. #11

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Datameister View Post
    I doubt animassurreal was directing this at you, techskip. What you're talking about is a healthy, considerate, and very cool attitude.
    Like I said I do not defend Pooh in any way, but Pooh makes my little girl smile, and that time with her is worth the annoyance of Pooh and then some. Same with other attractions I would usually pass up. We've been AP's for a week and haven't ridden any major E Tickets because the kids can't go... and while they have a child switch who wants to stand around with 3 little ones and a baby? So we do exactly as Walt intended. We ride attractions everyone can ride. It's the reason Disneyland was built and DCA failed. When you break it all the way down to the most basic elements, Disneyland was built for the kid in all of us and was a place where a parent could ride WITH their kid. Whether or not the parent enjoyed the attraction is another matter, but most will ride because the child wants to not because the parent wants to! IASW will likely bother me. Again I have not said either way. But to a 4 year old and a 2.5 year old who both idolize the Princesses... playing "Search for [insert princess name here]" will likely be the highlight of their IASW trips. I will see it as a symbol of World unity and peace. They will see the Disney Characters as ambassadors of that message, because they will likely not remember the attraction without those additions. Much like some on here never knew Jungle without Indy or a treehouse without Tarzan.

    The beauty of the Disneyland design is that wherever there is an E ticket, there are several kid rides close by! I am not one to advocate dumbing anything down or updating anything to make it revelant. If they can design something we both enjoy then great. If not then at least make something for the kids... I'll go on something later if I really need the excitement.
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  12. #12

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    It's the reason Disneyland was built and DCA failed.
    Well, it's one of many reasons...but it's the only reason relevant to this thread.


  13. #13

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Quote Originally Posted by Datameister View Post
    Well, it's one of many reasons...but it's the only reason relevant to this thread.
    One of the main reasons cited for DCA's failure was the lack of attendance. The lack of attendance was then blamed specifically on Disney's decision to cater to teens and adults and not build sufficient rides for the little ones. In fact the most common complaint at City Hall about DCA was specifically the lack of children's rides, shows, or entertainment. Disney went back and added a bunch of kid's stuff... but the damage was already done as DCA's reputation was basically sealed as not being kid friendly!
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  14. #14

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    One of the main reasons cited for DCA's failure was the lack of attendance. The lack of attendance was then blamed specifically on Disney's decision to cater to teens and adults and not build sufficient rides for the little ones. In fact the most common complaint at City Hall about DCA was specifically the lack of children's rides, shows, or entertainment. Disney went back and added a bunch of kid's stuff... but the damage was already done as DCA's reputation was basically sealed as not being kid friendly!
    Like I said...one of many problems!

    EDIT: Not trying to say anyone shouldn't like DCA, just so we're clear. It's great if you do, and I know I certainly like some things there. But there are problems that I'm not blessed with the ability to ignore.


  15. #15

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    Re: The “well, my kid likes it” defense

    Quote Originally Posted by HBG2 View Post
    It's condescending. When I was a kid, among our favorite TV cartoons were the Warner Brothers cartoons and Rocky and Bullwinkle. You look at these after you've grown and realize that they were made by adults for adults, with a lot of humor in them that kids could not possibly catch. They knew kids would love them anyway, so they went right ahead with that formula.

    The truth is, kids love adult things, as long as there is enough whimsy and sense of fun and sight gags to keep them amused at their own level too. In the process, they learn how jokes work and what sorts of things people in their culture think are funny.

    Never condescend to kids. That's just laziness and contempt.
    Great points on the old cartoons and their cross-generational appeal. That is why they are classics and beloved by so many generations. Alot of what passes for cartoons these days "dumbs it down" in trying to be "relevant".
    Funny is funny- ie check out Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harold Lloyd in their silent films. Classic Warner Bros. is another great example. Finally all of the Donald, Goofy, and Mickey short films have great comedy. That is story telling and joke telling with out dumbing anything down.

    It also takes a lot of work and a good sense of funny. Every since the "suits" have tried to make things relevant we have gone downhill. Examples include doing each of the fab 5 as little ones in their own cartoons and Chuck E. Cheese (not Disney) as a skateboarding kid (he was fine back in the day dressed as a tuxedo clad adult. I liked him then and related to looking forward to growing up).

    I say quit lowering expectations and make people rise to a higher level. The more they are in a higher atmosphere of good storytelling and joke telling, the more complicated you can make the jokes and the more intrigued kids will be to figure out what everyone is laughing at.

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