Great article. Alain! I especially enjoyed the photos and renderings. DLHK proves once again that Disney can, if they want to, design and build an incredibly immersive and well-themed park ..... which leaves me scratching my head as to what went wrong at DCA .......
"She's taking everything. She's taking the house, she's taking the kid, she's taking the dog. IT'S NOT EVEN HER DOG. IT'S MY DOG! SHE'S TAKING . . . MY DOG!"
- Ron Livingston, "Band of Brothers"
I really have mixed feelings about this park. I want it to do well and it looks great.... but I don't see how it can work with so few rides. Especially the big, people eating attractions such as PotC, HM, Splash, Big thunder…. and so on.
WOW! Looks great. Very excited. Plaaning on a visit very soon, I am!!!
As to the number of attrations, most of the parks only open with less than the 60+ at DL!! DL only had 22 when it opened. As time goes by, DLHK will add attrations as the market bears. Why blow your whole wad at once right?
And remember DCA was funded by Disney, while DLHK was funded by the government of China. Deeper pockets don't ya think? :-)
"Decisions are easy, if you know what your values are" - Roy Disney
Deeper, perhaps. But I think Disney's pockets were sufficiently deep to have made DCA as good a park as DLHK or possibly even TDS. It's not a question of deep pockets, it's a question of vision.
It would have been wild to make a mirror image of a retro Disneyland (Yesterland) exactly where DCA is. But the mirror image has all the architecture in reverse, so it's backwards. No Matterhorn, but yes to the Viewliner and the Saucers. Yes to the Chicken of the Sea ship and old Fantasyland dark rides. So you could visit the old rides and old disney or the newest. Imagine buying a ticket and seeing two train stations! That is called "double vision".
How is it possible to assert HKDL is "the cheapest, most boring, ugliest looking park ever," yet have "nothing but respect for everyone who worked on this project"?
Because it seems to me the project was doomed by having too few attractions, too little to do, and few resources. These are marketing / managerial decisions, not imagineering / engineering ones. Given that, it's apparent the people responsible for HK Disneyland did a heck of a great job with what they had.
I'm sure that, given enough attractions, it could be the best park out there (due to the surrounding landscape).
I guess the point of my question centers around two common refrains that I see over and over again: 1) that the Imagineers can do no wrong, and that 2) marketing/management is somehow separate from the "team" that designs the park, when I typically think that they are considered to be part of that team.
No Imagineer can make a small budget into a big one, but if the park is "ugly," is Imagineering truly blameless? Shouldn't they be capable of generating something that isn't ugly, regardless of how much money you give them? (For the record, I don't think HKDL is ugly...it's actually quite nice, though it is small.)
For instance, I think Disneyland's Tomorrowland turned out to be a mess when they renovated it in 1998. Whether the budget was adequate or not, doesn't Imagineering have an obligation to do something good with what they're given, or do nothing? (They did a pretty good job with Disney World's Tomorrowland renovation, and though I don't know, you'd have to think the budgets were in the same ballpark.)
No Imagineer can make a small budget into a big one, but if the park is "ugly," is Imagineering truly blameless? Shouldn't they be capable of generating something that isn't ugly, regardless of how much money you give them?
It's an interesting topic. I would add that there are several other factors which interfere with the artists doing their best work -- departmental politics, differences of opinion, misleading survey data, personality issues, availability of construction materials, legal restrictions and requirements, coordination problems with subcontractors, language and cultural barriers, and about a hundred other things.
The park as a whole tells a less clear story than Disneyland. It seems to be saying Here is a typical Western culture and here is that Western culture invading the jungle in the form of Tarzan and here is your paved over Western future, cartoony and mindless.
I like some of the elements, especially the larger and more dramatic "on the move" Adventureland, but the cartoon Tarzan and Lion King? Even as a kid, I'd have to be seriously sleep deprived to think those fiberglass cartoons fit in an otherwise real looking environment. The fun and imagination stimulating Tom Sawyer's island is looking better all the time, that is until Disney makes a cartoon and Tom Sawyer's Island gets Huck Finn in fiberglass.
Lore, Good points. However, Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn are completely unknown in China.
But I would have thought that they could have created some interesting background
stories instead of relying on their movies. BUT unfortunately, there's too much
"must have synergy" going on in WDC lately.
BTW. Although there is ample evidence of "Not enough rides/attractions" (or even
better "too low ride capacity"), there is very little evidence of "cheap and ugly"
that I've seen from the pictures.
Instead, the whole park (what they have) seem well done (quality-wise) and
fully themed. Of course, we should be first hand accounts on this pretty
DCA on the other hand from day one seemed weakly themed (if at all in some parts), violated long held principles of Imagineering (Immersion, Attention to details, Use of color, Attention to
transitions, Full sensory experience, etc) and had a weak layout. From what
I've seen of HKDL, it doesn't seem to have these flaws. Of course, it helps that it's