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  1. #76

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterGracey View Post
    I don't think the Imagineers are totally to blame for this. A lot of this seems like it was created and pushed by marketing departments and PR departments. Tony Baxter, as always, is a delight to watch - even if he is telling us the same stories that we've already heard. Tony is the ultimate fanboy, it seems, and his appreciation and admiration for Disneyland and Walt Disney is very apparent when he is on screen. Truly, for me, the only redeeming part of this whole mess is Tony's interview segments. You can definitely tell he's just a big kid living out his dreams.


    A couple things this DVD should have had:
    • A featurette on the daily life of an Imagineer
    • Walking the park with Imagineers like Tony Baxter.
    • Behind-the-scenes tours of important attractions like Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, etc.
    • CG reproductions of select past attractions
    • Never-before-seen concept art and models
    • Featurettes on famous projects that never were built like Discovery Bay, Tomorrowland 2055, WestCot, Thunder Mesa/Western River Expedition, Edison Square, etc.
    • Full ride-throughs with Imagineers (like a Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage ride-through with Baxter commentary)


    What an enormous missed opportunity.
    I don't really think I trust Tony Baxter that much for two reasons ~ The original Imagination pavilion at WDW (That was just strange and icky) and the change of the chase scene in POTC. I'm still sore about that.

    Great ideas for the DVD though, MG!

  2. #77

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Quote Originally Posted by Neverlandtink View Post
    I don't really think I trust Tony Baxter that much for two reasons ~ The original Imagination pavilion at WDW (That was just strange and icky) and the change of the chase scene in POTC. I'm still sore about that.

    Great ideas for the DVD though, MG!
    This is the first time I have ever seen anybody state a dislike for Journey Into Imagination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coheteboy View Post
    On the subject of imagineering, I have long hoped for an imagineering companion on the animated features that have been released on DVD.

    For example if you were to buy Alice in Wonderland the movie, have a bonus feature that shows you all of the ways the film inspired something in t he theme parks all over the world. What better way than to sell a disney park than on the very movie that they just bought?

    If Little Mermaid dvd could give us a "what if" ride through, then why not do the ones that HAVE made it. Not everyone is fortunate like us here in southern california or florida to enjoy the parks whenever we please.
    Disney could be a little more, I guess they would say risky, and tell about those five other Disney parks that feature updated versions and different attractions based on the same source.

  3. #78

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Quote Originally Posted by lazyboy97O View Post
    This is the first time I have ever seen anybody state a dislike for Journey Into Imagination.
    Oh, seriously, it was the closest experience I've ever had to being completely stoned and it scared the cr@p out of me. Bad, scary times.

    You know, regarding the DVD; a few months ago a local San Diego news program had a week long series about behind the scenes at Disneyland. The segments were short, but they showed more than I'd ever seen. One day they did a walk through on Indy, another day was a nighttime look at POTC maintenence, another was about the dancing horse on Main ST. etc. Now if a local news team can come up with such great ideas, WDI should definitely have stuff that would blow us away!

  4. #79

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Aside from the strange look of the dreamfinder, the original imagination was seriously one of the best rides I've ever been on. I miss it everytime I'm in that park.

  5. #80

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Here's something I got in my inbox today:

    To the Forum Administrator:
    I am Mark Rhodes, one of the producers on "Disneyland - Imagineering the Magic" DVD. I have a great admiration for the knowledge your readers share with one another and if it is agreeable with you, I would like to address in an open letter a few of their comments concerning the recent release of the DVD at Disneyland. Thank you.

    An Open Letter on “Disneyland – Imagineering the Magic” from the producer
    I read with great interest all the comments that were posted over the weekend concerning “Disneyland – Imagineering the Magic.” Since there were so many insightful and valid suggestions concerning the DVD, I thought it only right to address the writers in an open forum and try and answer the responses that were posted.

    The overall consensus was that the DVD was not made for the Disney Geek. You guys are absolutely correct it wasn’t. A friend of mine, Richard Skillman, one of the other producers on the project, told me that Disney might be looking for an alternate approach to the typical guided tour souvenir that they had been doing for many years. I contacted Cameron Roberts and Greg Jones of D7, Inc – a production group that I had worked with on numerous Disney and independent projects – and the four of us made a pitch to Disney merchandise to do a story on the creation of Disneyland as told by the Imagineers.

    I was an Imagineer for almost twenty-five years. I came to work at WED Enterprises during the final creative push to finish EPCOT Center and the start of Tokyo Disneyland. At that time I was lucky enough to work in the company of giants. Mark Davis, Ward Kimball and Harper Goff all came back from retirement to work as consultants on projects that I was assigned to. Herbie Ryman, Claude Coats, X Atencio, Blaine Gibson, Wathel Rogers, Harriet Burns, Collin Campbell, Joyce Carlson, Bill Morgan and John Hench were all working Imagineers that I saw on an almost daily basis, and Disney Legends like Peter Ellenshaw, Ken Anderson and Jimmy Macdonald would show up every now and then to give us a hand on special projects that involved their expertise. Marty Sklar was the creative lead at that time, and Tony Baxter was and still is a close personal friend. I learned more about storytelling and theme park design from those two than can ever be put in a single DVD. However, I also heard the stories about Walt and the creation of Disneyland from the men and women who worked with Walt. Those same stories had also been told to Tom Fitzgerald, Kevin Rafferty, Eric Jacobson, Kathy Mangum, Kathy Rogers, Michael Sprout, Dave Fisher and all the other Imagineers that came in about the same time as I did. Sadly, so many of the original Imagineers are no longer with us.

    The pitch we made to Disney merchandise was to do a tour of the park as told by today’s Imagineers. The Imagineers that appear in the DVD were gracious enough to set down and re-tell the stories that they had heard first-hand, as well as, to include their own personal anecdotes on the projects in which they had contributed. Our original rough cut ran over three hours long, and the contract we had with Disney stipulated that the running time was to be no more than 60 minutes. Needless, to say, the comment that this was like a “Reader’s Digest” tour of the park I think is also accurate. Our intention was to give an overview of opening day attraction stories and a quick update on how some of those attractions had changed over the years. For the die-hard Disney fan, I’m sure these are all stories that they have read or heard about many times before. For the first time visitor to the park, or for families that do not have the extensive collections focused on the park, this was my chance to present Walt as a real person, and to give credit to some of the Imagineering Legends that are not familiar to the general public.

    To get down to some of the specific concerns that were mentioned such as using music from the attraction in the DVD – as much as I would have liked to, our contract required that we produce new music – and we brought in David Wallace and Jeff Corkum of Luna Red, another company that has long ties to Disney to produce the music, sound effects and edit the audio for stereo and 5.1 surround-sound mixes for what was essentially silent clips. As to the question of the aspect ratio – that was my call. Although I usually consult with my partners to get a consensus on any important decision, I made a creative call and I think I made the wrong decision. All the new footage of the Imagineers was shot in high-definition, meant for widescreen television sets. I didn’t want to see the black bars on the sides of the old footage. What I should have done was to have the editors push in on the shot so as not to distort the ratio. I’ll not make that mistake again. Thanks for the feedback - it is much appreciated.

    I also think you all make a valid statement when you point out that the DVD does not offer anything new to you. I did not take you guys into consideration when making this and I should have. The Imagineering Research Center supplied me with images of numerous pieces of original Imagineering artwork and still photos of Imagineers that I had never seen before. From your comments these were obviously not as new to you as they were to me, and nor was the B-roll that we were given access to from the Disney Library. I will keep that in mind as we work on future projects. I would really like to hear what stories you are interested in, and perhaps do another Imagineering volume on Disneyland that covers those more “meaty, technical and behind-the-scenes” interests. Once again, thank you for all your comments. Imagineering has always been a learning process and I was lucky enough to have someone like Marty Sklar who encouraged us to take risks – and then learn from the risks. I have learned much from this experience and hope to apply your suggestions and input into all future projects. Thanks much.

    Mark Rhodes
    -Monorail Man

  6. #81

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    WOW, that's amazing! Thanks for posting that and I'm so very glad that Mark took the time to consider our thoughts, and I especially thank him for being honest in what he's done and how it got there.

    In response to Mark about the B-Roll footage in the background, I did notice it and was happy to see it, but I felt that it was presented in a way without much context or information to go along with it. The footage was also over before I could really think much of it as we were hearing stories about something else while the footage was rolling. I think if you do in fact do another DVD in the future, I would be interested in seeing a year in which the footage represented.

    A nice bonus feature would also be a complete timeline of what attraction, shop, restaurant, show, or parade went into Disneyland (also the ones that closed), but that seems like a lot of work. (I'd be happy to help on the weekends for free). But if you guys do pull it off, I will certainly drop whatever it is worth.


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  7. #82

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Wow... that is pretty much all I can say after reading that...
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  8. #83

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Awesome letter! Mark, if you're reading this, I just want to thank you for your consideration in explaining the DVD and your thoughts on our insights. It's great to know that you're interested in what we're talking about over here, and in reading your letter it makes us realize that you care about what we think.

    What I would love to see some time is behind the scenes history of our favorite attractions like POTC, HM, and maybe some of the older attractions like Carousel of Progress and America Sings. Seeing interviews from the old timers as well as historical footage of the attractions coming to fruition (from start to finish) would be a real treat. It would also be great to see what goes into building an AA figure and how they are programmed, etc.

    Thanks again ~

    Lannie

  9. #84

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    It's nice to see that our comments are being seen and actually being listened to -- it truly means a lot.

    I think it's important that, in the future, these products be appropriately marketed. Nowhere on this DVD should there have been a reference to "Behind-the-scenes" -- and not only does it use that language on the back, but its also on the front cover of the DVD. This is extremely misleading and gives the expectation that that "meaty, technical, and behind-the-scenes" stuff is at least going to be touched on. But it isn't, and it leaves viewers like myself feeling betrayed and feeling like a sucker who fell for something too good to be true.

    I really appreciate Mark's comments here though -- it really does mean a lot that we aren't being ignored.

    Hopefully in the future we can get an Imagineering DVD that caters to hardcore Disnerds like us. I've already provided my list of requests in this thread. I can only hope and dream that they'll be considered for another DVD in the near future

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  10. #85

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    I appreciate Mark's comments on this subject. I ordered the DVD via the website as I was unable to attend the event in person. Although I had great anticipation for the DVD's arrival, that started to fade once I read the many reviews.

    I do not dispute Mark's claims and feel that the "blame" for this problem should be directed at the merchandise division. Sadly, Disney has a history of selling some rather "vanilla" videos and DVD's that are nothing more than 60 minute commercials. I have no problem with this as they are usually not marketed to the "Disney Geek". The simple fact that this DVD was rolled out during a special event indicates that Mark's intent to market it to the casual Disneyland visitor was ignored. Clearly, nobody but the hard core Disney Geek would line up for signatures from Disney Imagineers.

    Although I have been silent for the past few years on related subjects, I have been very vocal in the past regarding numerous instances of Disney creating offers that don't live up to the hype. Sadly, this DVD appears to be yet another glowing example of Disneys' inability to read what the true aficionado desires in a quality product.

    I understand and somewhat appreciate Disney's restrictive policies that are designed to keep the magic alive by not disclosing the true secrets of the most popular attractions. That said, it is a sad day when one can see images from inside the Matterhorn and other behind-the-scenes views by way of You Tube (and for free no less).

    In the end, if Disney policies forbid a true behind-the-scenes video, I fully understand and accept the decision. I would simply ask that the marketing of these more generic videos not be branded with names, phrases and/or statements that are clearly designed to fraudulently induce a Disney Geek into a purchase that they will not be pleased with. We don't need a special event for every little item the merchandise department dreams up. Exclusivity is an amazing sales tool and this type of marketing event should be used more sparingly to restore the credibility of the merchandise division.
    Last edited by Disneynut; 04-11-2008 at 08:46 PM.

  11. #86

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    "I think it's important that, in the future, these products be appropriately marketed. Nowhere on this DVD should there have been a reference to "Behind-the-scenes" -- and not only does it use that language on the back, but its also on the front cover of the DVD. This is extremely misleading and gives the expectation that that "meaty, technical, and behind-the-scenes" stuff is at least going to be touched on. But it isn't, and it leaves viewers like myself feeling betrayed and feeling like a sucker who fell for something too good to be true."

    I agree with this totally, and also what Disneynut said above me. I appreciate Mark writing to explain why the decisions were made, I still feel that it was marketed incorrectly then. If this was pitched as a replacement for the usual tour DVD's, then it should have just been marketed as a new version of that. You honestly can't expect the hardcore Disney "geeks" to not have high hopes when the DVD set is a 2-disc "behind the scenes" tour of Disneyland. Then, to have a merchandise event (that only the hardcore would know about) and have Imagineers sign the DVD's. That's just asking for trouble. The casual Disney fan is not going to care about any of this, they would just pick this DVD up on the way out as a souvenir as they always do.

  12. #87

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    Quote Originally Posted by Disneynut View Post
    I appreciate Mark's comments on this subject. I ordered the DVD via the website as I was unable to attend the event in person. Although I had great anticipation for the DVD's arrival, that started to fade once I read the many reviews.

    I do not dispute Mark's claims and feel that the "blame" for this problem should be directed at the merchandise division. Sadly, Disney has a history of selling some rather "vanilla" videos and DVD's that are nothing more than 60 minute commercials. I have no problem with this as they are usually not marketed to the "Disney Geek". The simple fact that this DVD was rolled out during a special event indicates that Mark's intent to market it to the casual Disneyland visitor was ignored. Clearly, nobody but the hard core Disney Geek would line up for signatures from Disney Imagineers.

    Although I have been silent for the past few years on related subjects, I have been very vocal in the past regarding numerous instances of Disney creating offers that don't live up to the hype. Sadly, this DVD appears to be yet another glowing example of Disney's inability to read what the true aficionado desires in a quality product.

    I understand and somewhat appreciate Disney's restrictive policies that are designed to keep the magic alive by not disclosing the true secrets of the most popular attractions. That said, it is a sad day when one can see images from inside the Matterhorn and other behind-the-scenes views by way of You Tube (and for free no less).

    In the end, if Disney policies forbid a true behind-the-scenes video, I fully understand and accept the decision. I would simply ask that the marketing of these more generic videos not be branded with names, phrases and/or statements that are clearly designed to fraudulently induce a Disney Geek into a purchase that they will not be pleased with. We don't need a special event for every little item the merchandise department dreams up. Exclusivity is an amazing sales tool and this type of marketing event should be used more sparingly to restore the credibility of the merchandise division.



    Very well thought out and I totally agree. Because this was listed on the disneygallery website along with four imagineers to sign it, my concerns of this being for the more 'casual' fan went out the window. Especially if the Walt Disney Treasures Tins were also for the buying public and had a chock full of info, I was expecting something along those lines.


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  13. #88

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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    First, I would like to thank you Mark Rhodes for your honesty, openness, contrition, humility, and willingness to explain to us the intent behind the DVD. It's this type of behavior that allows me to hold up Imagineers to people like my son and say, see? That's what taking risks and a dedication to lifelong learning look like. I'm so glad that WDI is a place where risk taking is still encouraged because we are the beneficiaries. And Mark, I hope you get a chance to take on another project like this for us Disney geeks, because I think you understand what we'd like to see.

    I am in the exact same boat as Disneynut above. I live in Seattle, and of course cannot
    attend an event like this in person without months of advance notice. So when I heard about the DVD, I was quick to get online and order my copy. However, I'll be returning the mail when it arrives based on the reviews here in the thread. I'll pay the return postage and hope that we can get a more in-depth version with the features listed by others in the thread.

    Mark, congratulations on a fantastic Imagineering career, thank you again for your letter explaining the project to us and we hope you get another shot at this one. Please let those in marketing know that we're willing to buy quality stuff, not just fluff. Witness the continual mention of the Disney Treasures DVD (and yes, I own every single one that's been produced). Bless you and thanks again.

    -Rich
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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    It's really great Mark was brave enough to position the DVD correctly for us, and I hope Disney marketing is more careful in the future. I'm not sure how they'd describe or promote the real thing now.

    As to the aspect ratio issue, I think the 50th show presented the old footage well. Zooming in and cropping works sometimes, but it can loose important information or make the material look fuzzy. Zooming in would have worked when the imagineer was the focus, but I would have used black bars for the full screen 4x3 aspect material. People with wide screens are use to bars by now and some of the old material was already pretty fuzzy without further zooming.

    May I suggest the ultimate Imgineering DVD on Blu-Ray? Don't forget to have an entire section on the history of animatronics, the problems, and amazing new animatronic technology being worked on for future attractions. Heck, any mention of technology will get me excited. Even those new LED bulbs over on Midway Mania got me excited.
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    Re: Imagineering the Magic DVD release and signing

    I am glad I didn't purchase it. I would have loved to have met Tony Baxter, but it seems odd to not only use the word Imagineering (which tends to clue in that it's a geek DVD) and having Imagineers sign it also does the same.

    Thank you to Mark, though, for the open letter!
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