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  1. #1

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    The Movie Tie-up

    A lot of the regular MC bunch know I usually read the various threads on my lunch break, or when I'm home. If I see a trend from thread to thread sometimes I'll comment on it. This is one of those times. I know a lot of threads have "sprung up" recently in regards to tying a movie into a new or existing attraction. Most cite Pirates as being either proof it works, or proof it doesn't in either respect it is completely objective. What I find humorous is that it wasn't Pirates that started this "tie-in" frenzy... it was Disneyland.

    To see the reality of how "tied-in" Disneyland is to it's various movies and characters, one has no further to look then our beloved Fantasyland. With the exception of 4 attractions, Fantasyland would not exsist without Disney movies. Of those 4, only 1 is left intact and still standing more or less in it's original state to this day.

    • Motorboats- gone, often used for a variety of functions and now slated to be a smoking pit.


    • Skyway- gone, sad really, but alas gone and now a home for stray cats.


    • Fantasyland Autopia- gone, well technically not gone but fully absorbed by Tomorrowland. It would depend on the individual as to whether or not it really even fit in to begin with.


    • Matterhorn- still here... that's right, an actual original still standing as a reminder that sometimes things do not change, and sometimes they do.

    The next obvious question, why point it out? I point this out because Fantasyland is a perfect example of two types of tie-ins, direct and indirect. Direct tie-ins like Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, Toad and Alice take you right into the pages of the story. Indirect ones like Casey, Dumbo, King Arthur, and Teacups all just "borrow" the respective movie to provide a convenient cover for a very basic ride system. The Storybook is a unique addition that falls somewhere between the two, as it highlights the various stories at times and places you "right there" at other times.

    The amazing thing is that Fantasyland works, and has worked with minimal changes over the last 50 years. It makes me wonder if Fantasyland would be received in the same way if it had been built in the modern day. Because when you really boil it down, it is one giant movie tie-in. And that is exactly the way Walt wanted it. He wanted at least one spot where you could walk right into a Disney movie, and feel like you were a part of it.

    So for me the whole question of should it be done, should it not be done, is irrevelant. My hope, is that Disney provides a balance between those attractions with direct tie-ins, and those with indirect ones. I love originality, but I also like the thought of being in a Disney park, with Disney characters. These days finding actual characters aside from just the popular ones is an honest challenge. Disney has a vast vault of characters... and sadly most go unused.

    I also believe in originality, finding new and exciting ways to entertain the masses if you will. Technology is great, but at the end of the day I like having something real in front of me. I value the pictures of things I've seen, not projection screens I played on.
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  2. #2

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post

    The next obvious question, why point it out? I point this out because Fantasyland is a perfect example of two types of tie-ins, direct and indirect. Direct tie-ins like Pan, Snow White, Pinocchio, Toad and Alice take you right into the pages of the story. Indirect ones like Casey, Dumbo, King Arthur, and Teacups all just "borrow" the respective movie to provide a convenient cover for a very basic ride system. The Storybook is a unique addition that falls somewhere between the two, as it highlights the various stories at times and places you "right there" at other times.

    The amazing thing is that Fantasyland works, and has worked with minimal changes over the last 50 years. It makes me wonder if Fantasyland would be received in the same way if it had been built in the modern day. Because when you really boil it down, it is one giant movie tie-in. And that is exactly the way Walt wanted it. He wanted at least one spot where you could walk right into a Disney movie, and feel like you were a part of it.

    So for me the whole question of should it be done, should it not be done, is irrevelant. My hope, is that Disney provides a balance between those attractions with direct tie-ins, and those with indirect ones. I love originality, but I also like the thought of being in a Disney park, with Disney characters. These days finding actual characters aside from just the popular ones is an honest challenge. Disney has a vast vault of characters... and sadly most go unused.

    I also believe in originality, finding new and exciting ways to entertain the masses if you will. Technology is great, but at the end of the day I like having something real in front of me. I value the pictures of things I've seen, not projection screens I played on.
    I agree with you indeed, but let me give an example of why I think Fantasyland tie-in's are more successful....the marriage of how you ride through the experience matching the story. Peter Pan...you fly through the ride and past the characters in a pirate ship, a distinctive and magical form of transport that fits the film you are seeing the action from. Mr. Toad, you drive out of control and feel part of the action of the story you are being shown. Alice in Wonderland, you ride all over the place and in unexpected ways in a giant caterpiller, and so on. Contrast that with Pooh...you move in a slow moving vehicle past greatest hits scenes without interacting with them in a meaningful way. I am not against all recent movie tie-in's, certainly...I feel Indiana Jones, and I am sure many will agree with me, is a great convergence of movie story and settings/character and an exciting ride. The submarines, by their nature, are compared to the old ride...which was fully three dimensional settings. So some people will see, the ride vehicle and transport still fits the new theme, but the detail and you-are-there nature of it are gone. I do agree, however, that more original rides are needed, as there has been a long string at Disneyland of movie tie in's taking over old rides, or films becoming new rides, with varying degrees of success. (Monster's Inc, Nightmare Before Christmas, Pirates, Nemo, Buzz Lightyear, Twilight Zone). It's time for something new.
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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Nice post and I agree with pretty much everything you said.

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    The difference is that Disney chose the theme of Fantasyland as the best one to represent their movies, whereas the current movie tie ins are being shoved in here, there and everywhere, with little regard for the theme of the land they're being shoved into.
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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Boy, you sure start a lot of threads!

    But overall, I do agree.


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  6. #6

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    I like the Fantasyland rides that are based on or themed to the films. I like Indy, Star Tours, and Splash Mountain. I like when they pay tribute to what made the Disney company great (or in the case of the two Lucas rides...um...just good movies). I like the idea of Disney creating a movie that everybody loves and then Disneyland creating an attraction that lets you experience that movie on another level. And I'm glad that tradition continues today.

    But You GOTTA respect Pirates, Mansion, Small World, Tiki Room, Country Bears (RIP), Captain EO (RIP), Space Mountain, Matterhorn, and Big Thunder. Original concepts! I so want to see more of that. Like Soarin'...that's a great original concept! Even the Grizzly River Run is great..sure it's a white water rafting ride like you've seen in a dozen amusement parks, but it's themed so well!

    Then there's Tower of Terror...a great ride, no argument. But does it NEED to be the TWILIGHT ZONE Tower of Terror? Is it even that beneficial? I mean the Twilight Zone TV show was on the air from 1958-1964. So if you were the show's core teen audience during it's last season you are now in your 60's. I'm sure all of you here have stood in line for the ride...how many people 60 and over do you see waiting to ride with you? I know...I know...some of you are about to say, "I/my mom/my dad/my grampa/my grandma am/is over 60 and love(s) Tower of Terror." I'm not saying NOBODY over 60 goes on the ride, but that's certainly not the majority of folks who que up for this bad boy. The core teen demographic for this ride wasn't even born when the 1983 Twilight Zone movie came out! (Geez, I'm old) My point is, if you're old enough to remember the Twilight Zone, you probably are not a big fan of high G-force inducing thrill rides. And if you're young enough to enjoy high G-force inducing thrill rides, then you're probably too young to remember the Twilight Zone. ...and it wasn't even a Disney show, for crying out loud! You could have just called this "The Tower of Terror." Taken away the Rod Serling impressionist (who does a great job...so no disrespect intended here) and just made this a spooky Haunted Hotel ride and it would be JUST as popular...if not more popular than it is now. And then they could have based a movie on THAT! (What? They did? Who was in it? Steve Guttenburg? Wow! Now THERE'S an actor how today's teens can get behind in a big, big way...)

    *Whew* Quite a tangent there, but my point is even the new Toy Story Mania would be a cool ride if it wasn't about Toy Story. If it was just the "Midway Mania" with the same high production value it would still be cool.

    It seems like they don't trust the public to think that their imagineers' ideas are cool without wrapping them in something they've already seen.

    Let the imagineers be creative once in a while and come up with something they think will entertain us...but then don't force them to call it "Stitch's Thing that will Entertain You."

    Besides, what are they gonna base their next summer blockbuster on if all their rides are already based on movies? I'm only thinking of your future, Disney

  7. #7

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Wasn't the Matterhorn inspired by Disney's "Man on the Mountain?" movie?

    I thought it was...maybe I'm wrong.

  8. #8

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiana Jeff View Post
    Wasn't the Matterhorn inspired by Disney's "Man on the Mountain?" movie?

    I thought it was...maybe I'm wrong.
    It was, but it follows more of the "borrowed" concept Tech Skip talked about. A convenient wrapper for the ride

    I also think that unless the ride takes you into the pages of the story, they should leave the name of the movie tie in out of the name. Matterhorn and Splash are great examples. How obnoxious would they be if it were called "Man on the Mountain's Matterhorn Adventure", "Song of the South's Splash Mountain" or some equally insane names like that.

    There are times when the strength of the idea ought to be able to stand on it's own, even if it liberally borrows from a film.

  9. #9

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Regarding the Twilight Zone -- it's still relevant (as much as I hate using that term) in that it's still shown every day in reruns. My 9 year old never heard of it but when I told him that it is based on a classic TV series he notices it whenever an episode comes on TV.

    Anyway, here's the thing about the non-movie based rides that the current management fails to realize -- the characters in these rides become just as legitimate Disney characters as Mickey himself.

    I don't see the Hitch Hiking Ghosts as just as something cool to look at on a Disney ride. I see them as true, bona fide Disney characters in that they were created by Disney. And they deserve equal status to any of their movie based characters.

    Certainly Disney does see this to some extent. Take POTC for example. They made a movie out of a non-movie based ride. The characters and feel of the ride were part of the Disney tradition years before the movie was made. And because it was already established that the pirates were Disney characters it was natural that one day a movie would be made about them.

  10. #10

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiana Jeff View Post
    Wasn't the Matterhorn inspired by Disney's "Man on the Mountain?" movie?

    I thought it was...maybe I'm wrong.
    Chicken VS Egg theory as they both came out around the same time.

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    Take POTC for example. They made a movie out of a non-movie based ride. The characters and feel of the ride were part of the Disney tradition years before the movie was made. And because it was already established that the pirates were Disney characters it was natural that one day a movie would be made about them.
    This then begs the question... should they have made the movie, and should they have changed the ride to support it.

    My point in bringing all of this up is that Disneyland is FULL of Movie Tie-in's, it always was. The difference is today the company makes it obvious, where as before it was mainly indirect. Mine Train, another great example, loosely based on all of Walt's "True Life" shows, Jungle; combination of African Queen and "True Life"... people only notice the new stuff because Disney slaps the name on it, whereas before they just hinted at it and many times went off on their own tangent.
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  11. #11

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post

    My point in bringing all of this up is that Disneyland is FULL of Movie Tie-in's, it always was. The difference is today the company makes it obvious, where as before it was mainly indirect. Mine Train, another great example, loosely based on all of Walt's "True Life" shows, Jungle; combination of African Queen and "True Life"... people only notice the new stuff because Disney slaps the name on it, whereas before they just hinted at it and many times went off on their own tangent.
    It is indeed, and the main difference I feel is....others have said this, it's putting mainly cartoon characters into areas they don't necessarily belong is the problem, not the movie inspiration. The Mine Train example you just gave is a very good one, but look at Haunted Mansion too. It's obviously, the Imagineers and Disney made their own characters and experience, but you wouldn't have a haunted house ride without the history of haunted houses in entertainment, both printed and film. The current trend of movie and character tie-in rides is an overload of basing things around one character or property that could concievably lose freshness or identification a lot faster, whereas a group of pirates raiding a village or a haunted mansion can be distinctive environments that are recognizable, and don't need to be hung over the shoulders of an established character to work.

    That brings me to the question you are asking about Pirates. I think sure, the ride could and should have inspired a film, and it was a pretty good, fun film to watch, no problems there. And wanting to re-do the attraction to include subtle nods to the films wouldn't be bad. However, I feel the redesign went overboard (heh). The small touches...the Davy Jones fog projection works for me, and I would be ok with one Jack Sparrow figure just mixed in, like the barrel one, but the constant reference to him, his name being shouted constantly, for me is way overkill and making a ride that wasn't about him at all feel like the main point is this one character. That annoys me, personally. The rest of the pirates and vignettes are left intact, but make no mistake, for me it feels the whole ride was re-purposed to be Jack Sparrow centric, instead of integrating him in a small way to a classic attraction, which would have been much classier and made it feel more organic. Just my two cents.
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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Not to be forgotten is that Fantasyland rides are based on timeless stories that were cherished long before they became movies.

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    I see the success or failure of a ride based on the movie-tie in has all to do with the motivation of the designer.

    Walt did not build movie-tie rides to promote his movies. Most of the movies were not available in theaters anymore. Some would be re-released but to new generations as the years went by. So there was no real money to me made on the movie tie-ins. Even the mechanizing aspect was limited. Early Disneyland did not have merchandise from most of the movies to buy. I believe that only Dumbo and Tinker Bell were the two characters who Disney would license to sell in the park.

    Walt created rides that allowed the guest to EXPERIENCE the ride. He wanted them to not hear the story again, but to experience what the characters felt. So Peter Pan flies over London, so also the guest do that. Mr. Toad has a wild ride through the streets, so you can too. Walt did not re-tell the stories, he just wanted you to experience a part of the story. You don't see the story of Dumbo retold. NO! You only get to ride him through the air. That was the part of the story that kids wanted to do.

    The problem is Disney designers have had to create rides with restrictions and dictates from management who only want to sell more DVD's and dolls. For example, the Monster's Inc ride retells the story of the movie. But only a few experiences from the movie would be appropriate for a ride. I wanted to ride those doors through the sky. I wanted to walk to work with Scully and experience first hand all the wonderful characters on the block. But the ride really does not take you exactly there. It is obsessed with condensing a hour and half story into a few minutes.

    The new Little Mermaid ride is promising because I am sure kids want to go under the sea and experience what it like to be underwater with talking creatures. But that is the only part I am interested in. The whole story above land is boring to me. I experience being above the water everyday.
    Going below the water is something kids can enjoy even if they have never seen the movie.
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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by techskip View Post
    Chicken VS Egg theory as they both came out around the same time.

    This then begs the question... should they have made the movie, and should they have changed the ride to support it.

    My point in bringing all of this up is that Disneyland is FULL of Movie Tie-in's, it always was. The difference is today the company makes it obvious, where as before it was mainly indirect. Mine Train, another great example, loosely based on all of Walt's "True Life" shows, Jungle; combination of African Queen and "True Life"... people only notice the new stuff because Disney slaps the name on it, whereas before they just hinted at it and many times went off on their own tangent.
    I agree I wish the movie tie-ins were more subtle. But they're not -- which is bad but oh well.

    And they should have made the movie. Ever since I was a kid I remember seeing shows like Mouse Factory where old Disney cartoons were spliced together to make or compliment new stories. Even Fantasia used Mickey in one of its scenes. So them making a movie off a ride is nothing really that unique -- as I have said the pirates became Disney characters long before the movie was ever released.

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    Re: The Movie Tie-up

    Quote Originally Posted by bee1000 View Post
    Not to be forgotten is that Fantasyland rides are based on timeless stories that were cherished long before they became movies.
    And thankfully Walt changed them to be more child friendly. I am not sure if you have read the originals or not, safe to say they were not always cheery tales!

    Quote Originally Posted by JiminyCricketFan View Post
    Walt created rides that allowed the guest to EXPERIENCE the ride. He wanted them to not hear the story again, but to experience what the characters felt. So Peter Pan flies over London, so also the guest do that. Mr. Toad has a wild ride through the streets, so you can too. Walt did not re-tell the stories, he just wanted you to experience a part of the story. You don't see the story of Dumbo retold. NO! You only get to ride him through the air. That was the part of the story that kids wanted to do.

    The problem is Disney designers have had to create rides with restrictions and dictates from management who only want to sell more DVD's and dolls. For example, the Monster's Inc ride retells the story of the movie. But only a few experiences from the movie would be appropriate for a ride. I wanted to ride those doors through the sky. I wanted to walk to work with Scully and experience first hand all the wonderful characters on the block. But the ride really does not take you exactly there. It is obsessed with condensing a hour and half story into a few minutes.
    Not to pick a fight, but from a storytelling standpoint I do not see a difference between the Fantasyland dark rides and Monsters. Specifically because they ALL condense what is essentially a whole movie into a 2 or 3 minute ride. Everything from Alice, to Pinnochio to Pan to Snow White, even Toad to a degree pulls pages right out of the movie. And they do it in EXACTLY the same way as Monsters. Which goes back to the initial question, if Fantasyland was built now, without the 50+ years of memories, would it be received and cherished to the extent that it currently is?

    Pooh on the other hand is exactly what you had specified. It is a dark ride, lacking a central story, which only uses the characters as a backdrop. And we all know how individuals feel about that ride... it is generally either a love, or a hate.

    Someone else mentioned about putting cartoons where they may not belong per the theme of the area. Themes tend to be time specific. I remember Disneyland used to sell postcards with Goofy, Donald, Huey, Dewy, and Louie walking around in safari gear (Huey Dewy and Louie carrying an elephant tusk actually! and Goofy with a rifle!). Cartoons do not necessarily support the theme of Adventureland, but they can be made to do so. I may not like Tarzan's treehouse (more because of the plastic figures then anything else) but it works. BLAB is the most common cited "theme violation". Because people feel it is a modern toy, not a future anything. This "toy" was all about space and the future... aliens, ray guns, villans... a mini Star Wars in a way (which they parodied several times). To me it may be a toy, but it fits. TSMM, lots of complaints asking how Mr Potato could in any way fit the Victorian theme (Potato Head only dates to the 50's). The fact is they dressed him up, same as how they dressed up the posters and the characters.... they gave them a classic touch and added them in "period piece" to support the theme. The other "joke" is that these are the types of cheap toys you are likely to win if you won the game... so Disney brought the game to life.

    What I do not believe in, is the over-use and complete reliance on technology. Every picture I have seen of TSMM is a row of vehicles, and a row of projector screens. By contrast, most other Disney attractions pictured in various vacation photos have things you can actually show people. You don't need to tell them about the scenes in Splash... you pull out a picture and show them. You can't do that with TSMM, it would be "look at this faded projection screen... I scored this much"...

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    Boy, you sure start a lot of threads!
    I believe you had said something similar when I first joined. I apologize if my speed and writing abilities are too quick for ya! In honesty though, I try to condense my posts and my threads... trying to make a subject fit as much as possible and only starting a new thread if it doesn't fit in the current subject.
    Last edited by techskip; 06-20-2008 at 11:46 AM.
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