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  1. #1

    • Knight that says Nee!!
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    John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    I have returned from our most recent trip to DLR (trip report will be coming soon) and we took the 3.5 hour "Walk in Walt's Footsteps" tour which my whole family enjoyed very much.

    One thing that I found interesting, and even worrysome, was a comment the tour guide made about the ride. There has been much discussion on this board about the original theme/storyline of PotC and how the recent changes and character additions have affected that.

    According to the tour guide, the "official story" is that the "banjo man" (the last animatronic character we pass in the bayou swamp before the water fall drop) is John Lafette (sp?) and as we pass him we are getting from him (his thoughts?) the story of his pirate adventures. That explains (according to our tour guide and thus the "official" Disney stance) the connection between pirates and New Orleans Square.

    For my part, the problem I have with this stance is as follows...The Lafettes were indeed historical figures in N.O. history who were smugglers and river pirates. The Caribbean-high seas-Pirates depicted in the rest of the ride came at least a century before the Lafette bros and so how could "banjo man" be him and how could he be telling us/showing things that happened decades before he was born?

    Is this a case of a "urban legend" being picked up and stated as fact? Shouldn't Disney and its official tour guides be doing more than towing an illogical "party line"?

  2. #2

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    I call 'wikipedia' on this one--'fact' by popular mythology! The chronology just doesn't support such a notion.

  3. #3

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    But I thought he was Constance's last husband? Now I'm confused.
    "My mental facilities are twice what yours are, pea brain!"

    The conversation continues at Long-Forgotten, the blog.

  4. #4

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Yeah. Just because they're tour guides doesn't mean they're really know what they're talking about. I've heard tour guides tell the "unfinished spire on the castle" story way too many times, seen them point out the "center of Disneyland" spike, and even use fan-made names for the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. They fall into the trap other Cast Members do -- telling the stories they've overheard as fact instead of the truth. Unfortunately, if they're wearing plaid, tourists tend to believe them more.

  5. #5

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    As we've discussed many times, the chronology is wrong (BTW, the guy isn't even playing the banjo--that's coming from inside).

    The songs heard are pure antebellum South--Camptown Races was published in 1850, Old Susanna in 1848.

    Jean Lafitte is believed to have died in 1826. He would never have heard these tunes. Besides, "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" might have been closer to the musical stylings a former pirate would have listened to on his iPod (Whoops! I just made another anachronism! I wonder how long before this is folded in to the "offical" story?)

    Jean Lafitte was never a typical Caribbean pirate in the mold of Blackbeard--who died in 1718--nearly a century before Lafitte died.

    If current Disney employees studied their history the way Walt and his ilk did, there would be no silly anachronistic stories such as this.

    Instead, we would get the true backstory--the one the true story tellers know, not the one that the force-feeding ersatz story tellers are attempting to push: That the bayou scene, with its wil-o'-the-wisps, bullfrogs, crickets, fireflies, banjo plucking and rocking good ol' boy is meant to evoke mid-19th century Louisiana--the "current" setting of New Orleans Square.

    "Scene" and "mood" setting is a lot less exciting than, "That guy's Jean Lafitte reminiscing about the good old days, which you soon are about to see!!" The frogs, however, love it.

  6. #6

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyphenom View Post
    Yeah. Just because they're tour guides doesn't mean they're really know what they're talking about. I've heard tour guides tell the "unfinished spire on the castle" story way too many times, seen them point out the "center of Disneyland" spike, and even use fan-made names for the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. They fall into the trap other Cast Members do -- telling the stories they've overheard as fact instead of the truth. Unfortunately, if they're wearing plaid, tourists tend to believe them more.
    I think the crux of the problem I have with all this is bolded (by me) right there! I can almost excuse "regular" CMs for falling for the myth becomes fact when it is repeated often enough syndrome (MBFWIIROES for short!), but the TOUR GUIDES are supposed to be "experts" on the facts and the "behind the scenes" things that they include in their tours. It just seems sad to me (& makes the water a little warmer in the pond) to know that even the tour guides giving tours about the background and developement of DLR and the attractions in it are passing off rumors and urban myths as official "Disneyland history."

  7. #7

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    I suppose when it comes to the "story" of an attraction or character in the attraction, Disney is free to make up whatever silly story they want. Next week they could say the old guy is really Walt Disney, imagining what life was like if he had been a pirate.

    I get particularly upset when I start seeing factual errors, particularly when it comes to the trains. Saying, for instance, that the Lilly Belle was Walt Disney's private car crosses the line between a backstory and pure boneheaded error. But it does seem this playing fast-and-loose with the facts is becoming more and more rampant, even infecting purely fiction-based attractions like POTC.

  8. #8

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    I took the 50th Anniversary Tour back in June 2006. It was a fun tour, but with loads of misinformation.

    I saw that my tour guide referred to a lot of information printed from the Internet to make the tour more interesting.

    Moral of the story: The tours are fun, but information is not reliable.

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  9. #9

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    The tours are fun, but information is not reliable.
    Which begs the question: "What's the point of taking the tour, then?"

  10. #10

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Which begs the question: "What's the point of taking the tour, then?"
    The real question is, how dare they charge the $$$ amount for those tours if they are "fun but not factually reliable"?

    We were also told the Lilly Belle "private car" story on the tour too...but I didn't argue with the guide as we got to ride it around the park! My daughter was literally shaking with excitement about being in the Lilly Belle and it was a very thrilling moment for me as well.
    Last edited by Goofy Daddy; 05-13-2008 at 12:28 PM.

  11. #11

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by HBG2 View Post
    But I thought he was Constance's last husband? Now I'm confused.
    I didn't LOL, but I did SWAS (snicker with a snort).

  12. #12

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    Which begs the question: "What's the point of taking the tour, then?"
    In a word, entertainment. They are exploiting the sheer entertainment value that comes with knowing something from behind-the-scenes that "not just anyone knows." When push comes to shove, that entertainment imperative tends to trump the boring, prosaic truth, at least in cases where they think they can get away with it.
    "My mental facilities are twice what yours are, pea brain!"

    The conversation continues at Long-Forgotten, the blog.

  13. #13

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    You would think that the tour guides have strict guidelines to the things they can say.
    Much like (unfortunately) how it is on jungle cruise.

  14. #14

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    I took the 50th Anniversary Tour back in June 2006. It was a fun tour, but with loads of misinformation.

    I saw that my tour guide referred to a lot of information printed from the Internet to make the tour more interesting.

    Moral of the story: The tours are fun, but information is not reliable.
    If they were REALLY honest about the tour in August of 2006, they would have told you it was really the 51st Anniversary tour.

    There is really NO excuse for the bad information given on these tours. Plain and simple, it's showing a lack of respect to the guest who pay for these high priced tours, and it's showing a lack of respect of the park that they are employed by.

    As I mentioned on a Lilly Belle thread last week, both tour guides and dream squad members, who have access to areas, such as the Lilly Belle, the old Disney Gallery area, Walt's Apt above the fire station, and The Walt Disney Story, need to have a verified and written history on these areas that they are giving information about. And these written histories should be made available to guests via maps, souvenier guide books, books on the History of DL, DVD's, etc.

    These guides and dream squad members need to have a knowledge of the History of Disneyland, which has been verified by Disney Historians such as Dave Smith and people who have helped build Disneyland. And the "telephone gossip game" has to stop! Management definitely needs to set the tone on making sure that correct information is given out.

  15. #15

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    Re: John Lafette is the PotC Banjo man?

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneyphenom View Post
    Unfortunately, if they're wearing plaid, tourists tend to believe them more.
    Maybe this is my whole problem...

    **note to self--wear more plaid**

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