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  1. #16

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Much as people have said about the By A Waterfall sequence in the Great Movie Ride, I believe the laser effects at the beginning and end of Dinosaur have been kept turned off since before the ride was even renamed to Dinosaur from Countdown to Extinction. There are many such effects in this category- another one on the Disneyland side would be the block of ice that used to fall onto the bridge in Indiana Jones Adventure. The spiels and effects that were cut from Test Track over the years. And on and on.

    While it's certainly sad to see things like this happen I do not think this represents a "Decline by Degrees"- I think this is an equally worrisome but nonetheless separate issue, which is WDI designing ride effects that simply don't work. I honestly think in cases like the Yeti, or Great Movie Ride, it's wanting to keep the attraction running and having to figure out how to get around badly designed effects. I think the Yeti is still broken not because Disney doesn't know, doesn't care, or doesn't have the money to fix it, it's because there may be no way to fix it, and certainly not without a lengthy closure of the ride during which DAK would be without it's main E-Ticket. Yeti or no Yeti I think most guests would rather still get to ride the roller coaster.

    It is the responsibility of those who design and build the attractions to ensure that they will be able to operate consistently, day after day, for decades to come. In the last 10 or 15 years WDI has consistently built large attractions with effects that were either far to costly or simply not possible to maintain. The spinning, water-spraying Busby Berkley sequence was a bad idea. Should they have perhaps have closed the ride and replaced it altogether by now? Perhaps, but one could argue much of the ride is outdated and in need of a serious rebuild, which is a separate issue.

    This problem is, to me, separate from a decline by degrees in which lightbulbs are left to burn out that could easily be replaced, or AA figures are left motionless. It's different than replacing a three dimensional sign with a printed one because it's cheaper. I think lumping them all together simply confuses the issue and muddies the fact that there is blame to be spread in multiple directions- sometimes TDO is clearly not keeping up with making sure their parks are in shape (the number of burned out bulbs on the Grand Floridian is completely unacceptable, for instance), whereas in other cases' WDI is providing ill-designed rides and dumping the problems in the laps of operations teams that do not have the resources to keep things working (creating a giant Yeti AA that destroys its own foundation when it moves, or a hazardous Busby Berkley sequence that rusts itself to death).













  2. #17

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Excellent post Club 33. There are different issues at play here.

    I think WDW needs to go back and revisit past Engineering and maintenance cuts. Some need to be brought back.


    Trash in the Que's is rampant at WDW, as are burnt out light bulbs. But WDI does sometimes design things that just don't work. I think the yeti and the spinning girls are good examples of that. Personally, the yeti has never been my passion. I was never overly impressed by it, and felt we passed by far to fast to really appreciate its motions (was it lurching towards us but we are also rapidly rolling towards it). Of all the issues, the yeti is not high on my list. I accept I am in the minority of that thought amoungst the WDW rabid fan base that according to some deserve this. For I too would not shut down the attraction to fix this. I think its a case of poor design.

    This part of the WDI design issue I can accept. If that makes me a rabid fan then so be it.

    But just when I am hopelessly blind to wdw issues, you know what really bothers me about Everest isn't the yeti but it's blantently unthemed backwards part. Scaffolding in clear view, no themed cave work? Also high on the list, FIX the bird already! Seriously! The bird is NOT a tech that is new and unproven. It is an example of the third issue with WDI. To review

    1) Poor design. A hazard of the job of creating new experiences. You are going to miss so I blame it on WDI just as I give them credit for when this do great.

    2) Poor theme or follow though. I blame the backwards part of Everest not on WDI. I suspect highly they would loved to detail the backwards part as much as the forward facing caves are in this attraction but that some good old "Value Enginneering" AKA budget cuts on the design level, deemed this detail unneeded. For this I blame WDW, not WDI but it could be a mix of both.

    And finally....

    3) WDI designs what WDW operations is just not willing to maintain. And that more then anything this is disheartening.

    The light leaks on Pirates isn't fixed, they just shut off the stobe behind the walls. Now the lighting is down is flash light like technology pointed directly at the hopelessly sailing/sinking skeleton. Where is the talking cross bones and skull that use to warn you that rough waters are head just before the little drop? True, not there for years now, but also an example of WDW not maintaining what WDI designed and CAN be maintained. These are not massive yeti's or rusting carousels of women.

    But for what its worth, my recent trip to Disneyland had me wondering.... do I look for, and ONLY look for, what's wrong at WDW and what's right at DL. While I don't think so I do think I have become too critical of WDW. For my first time, Disneyland did feel small to me, and not just the hub.

    The Castle needed some tlc, parts that were gold and shiney now had a shine more simular to that of old dingy silverware. yes I found parts of the castle to look sun bleach and dingy. Speaking of dingy... the Disneyland railroad car I rode on looked beat up. IN fact the engines themselves, I saw two, but they didn't gleam. For the most part I find WDW's engines to be in fantastic shape. One them, I forget if its the Walter or Roger, as a yellowish white walled lead wheel, but over all, they gleam! I love the trains on both coasts, passionately, but hear I found that WDW's trains looked better, both engines and even more surprisenly to me, the rolling stock. At Disneyland the rolling stock seats need varnish, and engines needed this thier paint needed refreshing. Mainstreet should be boycotted until its marquee attraction shines as it should. Kidding, but it was mixed back, because as i looked up into the rafters of Mainstreet USA Station, it looked like it was just finished a few days ago. Not a cob web nor paint blemish in sight.

    WDW definately as its issues. Its become to slow to maintain itself in the harsher Florida elements.

    The biggest issue facing WDW is upkeep. Over the last couple of decades I think they have reduced their Engineering and maintenance as they found labor redundancies and cost reductions. There is nothing wrong with doing that. But wdw is getting older... its getting OLD! And as it does, many of those eliminated redundancies and cost reductions need to be re-evaluated. Some need to be brought back. What use to a labor redundancy 10-15 years ago may now be a genuine need due to just being 10-15 years older. And more then anything I think that is what WDW really needs to go back and revisit.

    Engineering and maintenance cuts that were valid at the time they were made, may no longer be valid now. As you get older you need more engineering and maintenance, not less. Its easy to keep something new looking... whe it is new. Its not so easy to keep something over 40 years old, under the florida bombardment of sun, rains, high humidity, and extremely high foot traffic, from showing its age.

    WDW is showing it's age.
    Last edited by Kidgenie; 05-15-2012 at 02:26 PM.

  3. #18

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    When I was in grade school and high school in the 1970s and early 80s, I looked forward to our summer trip to WDW more than Christmas or my birthday. We were amazed by how clean WDW was and by all of the enthusiastic cast members--I wanted to be one of them. I sent a little kid letter to then Disney head Card Walker about working for Disney, and a super-nice assistant of his called me in Wisconsin and talked to me till I ran out of questions. It was cool when my mom yelled, "Tom, you have a phone call. It's Disney!" I worked at Disneyland in Anaheim during college in the 1980s, and have visited the Disney parks in Tokyo and Paris. Tokyo Disneyland in the 90s reminded me of Walt Disney world in the 1970s.

    WDW was a great value, which made it seem even more magical to my mom and inspired us to visit once a year for 10 years in a row, despite the long drive from Wisconsin--once with 7 kids in the station wagon. (We spent at week at Sanibel Island too.) WDW may have been underpriced because later when Frank Wells and Michael Eisner almost doubled park admission prices in just two years, attendance did not nosedive.

    Anyway, Kevin, thank you (and Al Lutz) for your efforts to make Walt Disney World wonderful again. I really want to take my daughter there, but I want it to be as impressive for her and to my wife as it was to me in the 70s. I took my wife there once around 2001, but we haven't felt compelled to return.

    FYI, the "broken windows" theory of fixing flaws as soon as they appear (followed as you noted by NYPDs leaders) was by recently deceased UCLA professor James Q. Wilson.

  4. #19

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    It's a partial list. I had actually meant to call for more contributions from readers at the end of the list, but forgot to. There are definitely more maintenance problems than just this.

    They do, however, fix things. The Philharmic curtains are fixed, as are the Impressions de France curtains. Hopper was missing completely one time I visited, but I don't post about things that are broken *once* - it needs to be a pattern before I get concerned.


    Now that you mention it, my trip on Saturday was exactly like that. I hadn't heard that's the new Operating Guideline, but you could well be right. We didn't slow down at all. Isn't there some Walt Disney / Dick Nunis story about this EXACT ride doing THAT EXACT operational "trick"? Walt would not approve.

    "They're tourists... what do they know?"
    Ok, I thought that was a complete list. I'm a local and get out to the parks every few weeks and I took your word for probably being a bit more accurate than my observations

    One big one you didn't mention was the state of the Monorails. Just looking at pictures from 5/6 years ago of the Monorail it looks so much nicer than it does now.

    As for the Jungle Cruise. Yes that is a Walt story. If I recall Walt visited the Jungle Cruise one day in disguise. The skipper blew through the attraction. Walt had timed the attraction and it clocked in at 4 mins (I think). He chewed out Dick Nunis about the issue saying "Guest are paying for a 8 minute attraction." Walt then proceeded to show Nunis the correct way to operate the boats by SLOWING DOWN at the points of interest.

    I was thinking about that story when I got off the ride that day. Someone should see how long the Jungle Cruise clocks in at and compare it to some older youtube videos of the attraction to see if this is true.

    *EDIT* I found the story
    "I was promoted to supervisor of Disneyland's Frontierland and Adventureland. And during my first week in that role, Walt got on the "Jungle Cruise," went around and got off, and called me over. He chewed me up one side and down the other. He asked me 'What's the trip time?' and he knew in those days it was seven minutes. He said ' Well, Dick, I just got a four-and-a-half-minute trip! I went through the hippo pool so fast I couldn't tell if they were hippos or rhinos. How would you feel if you went to the movies and they cut the center reel out of the picture?'Then he proceeded to tell me, 'We've gotta maintain the same consistent show regardless of how long the wait is.' So after he finished chewing me out, I said 'Walt, have you got a minute?' and he said 'Sure. What for?' I said 'Well, sir, I'm new here. I'd like to go around with you on a boat. You tell me how you want it, and that's the way it'll be.' He said, 'Okay. Let's go.'So we went on it a couple of times, and he said, 'You know, Dick, we don't really have a lot of show here. We're going to be adding show, but right now we've got to play to the show. So don't just have the boat go around at one speed. Play to the show and slow the boat up when you've got some animation, and then when there isn't anything there, speed it up. It'll be more interesting.'So that's what we did. I got off the boat and he left. Cliff Walker was my foreman. So I said, 'Okay. You and I are gonna get seasick.' We worked in teams and we had one operator drive and one spiel. And then we'd flip it and train them how to drive it and then how to spiel it, and then put them together.So we were ready the first week, and Walt came down for a weekend. Never got on a boat. Second weekend. Never got on a boat. We were training all that time. By that time we'd gotten clocks on the boat so they had key points where they should be. So that made it a lot easier.
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  5. #20

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    Now that you mention it, my trip on Saturday was exactly like that. I hadn't heard that's the new Operating Guideline, but you could well be right. We didn't slow down at all. Isn't there some Walt Disney / Dick Nunis story about this EXACT ride doing THAT EXACT operational "trick"? Walt would not approve.

    The peak loading capacity for Jungle Cruise is when boats are continuously loading, if you have boats waiting, just as four boats stacked up, it doesn't do anything for ride capacity as guests might as well be circling around the Jungle Cruise a second time if they can't get off the boat anyway ;-)

    Attraction leads love to see if they can top ride counts at other attractions, I bet that this is what this was as there isn't anyway to substantially increase loading capacity, save for loading two boats at once.

  6. #21

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    This makes me a little sad, as we're planning a trip to WDW for early 2013. First time for my wife and kids, and I haven't been since the early 90's. That means we won't really have much to compare it to, except for our regular visits to Disneyland. I've been making a lot of promises, but I'm afraid that the Orlando parks (while bigger and with more variety) may not be as nice as our regular hangout. This may not be a "once in a lifetime" trip, but I have a sinking feeling that someday we'll be telling people that "we went in the early Teens, when upkeep was really bad..."

    What saddens me the most is Expedition Everest - from what I've read, I'll never get to see the yeti move as it was designed to do, and I doubt they'll get any motion out of it at all by the time we get there. That's one thing, but no bird on a stick? How hard can that be to fix? And steam effects have been used at all sorts of parks for decades! Get it together, TDO!
    "Remember, no matter where you go, there you are." - BB

  7. #22

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    After Cars Land opens in DCA this summer, John Lasseter needs to move to Orlando. There is a depth at DL that no other park has. Even the wear and tear has more of a patina than other parks: the tread wear on the start of Mr. Toad, or my fave: the worn bat heads of the rail posts in the Haunted Mansion.

  8. #23

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    I wouldn’t blame WDI for designing things that can’t be fixed. Anything can be fixed, even the Yeti, its just a matter of having enough people to do it, and having enough funds to order parts and keep stuff stocked up.

    Let me look at one example. The broken “bird on a stick” on Expedition Everest. I liked this effect, despite what others have said, and thought it was cool the first time I saw it.

    Here is how it would be fixed by me:

    1. Maybe the whole contraption is powered by a readily available motor which rotates the eagle something like 270 degrees at the key point. It stops, perhaps by hitting a small solenoid, which kills the motor. The next cycle the solenoid pops down and the motor is fired up again, birds flies over. So theoretically, the motor might burn-out due to pushing against resistance.

    2. I would remove the motor setup and add a more precise motor which could rotate the bird the required degrees, say 270, and then rotate the bird back after the train passes. Obviously there are sensors in the tracks which trigger the effect. If properly connected this could easily be done.

    3. Cost. I guess you’d have to order parts, maybe $500 for a quality motor servo thingy, maybe a couple days to test it?? If properly installed and maintained as needed, and weather proofed adequately, this effect would last for years. Say this fix does work, then somebody should order the replacement servo so that it can be replaced in three years or whenever it breaks down again. Given that the motor wouldn’t be operating at industrial standards, but maybe 20 times an hour??? It would probably last a lot longer than stuff on an assembly line, IMHO.

    Parts: $500
    Labor: Maybe $500
    Spare Parts: $500

    Not that expensive to fix compared to the Yeti, given that this effect is fairly simple compared to some motorized displays in residential Halloween displays.

    You can see that it doesn’t cost much to keep an effect like this running. I am guessing that to fix the Jolly Rogers would cost about the same, $1,500 to $2,000.

    If you gave a couple of maintenance guys a million bucks to fix everything they could in a year, things would look a lot better, assuming operations would let stuff get fixed.


    Somebody needs to organize a letter writing campaign!

    I’m going to find out where to send the complaints (other than City Hall/Guest Relations) . . . if enough people write them and pledge to go to Potterland instead of MK, things might change.

    We're not talking about adding a big $200 million ride, but just increasing the maintenance budget by about $ 1 million, which could include hiring a couple more maintenance people and buying parts, a good investment given that Disney will probably get back this investment in the long run.
    Last edited by chesirecat; 05-15-2012 at 07:43 PM.

  9. #24

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    I don't care whether or not I SHOULD care; the fact is that I DO care!

    And I'm not imposng some arbitrary standard; it's the standard the company set for itself years ago.

    While I don't agree with it, I can at least see the reasoning behind not closing Expedition Everest for an extended period to do major work on the Yeti.

    However, I find it inexcusable to just give up on the opening scene of the Great Movie Ride. Sure, maybe it's DIFFICULT to make those effects work, but it can be done. Combining moving parts and AA's with water effects obviously can be done; it's done in other attractions all over the parks. The scene as it was designed was spectacular; the scene as it is now is just a time-killer. People aren't flocking to the park just to ride GMR the way they are for EE, so an extended rehab is entirely within the realm of possibility.

    On a related note, I seem to remember the giant snake in the Jungle Cruise having movement whan I was a kid. In all my adult trips, he's been completely motionless. Is the snake broken, or just my memory?

  10. #25

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    I don't think it's wrong to include long-broken effects. It's a reminder of what we're missing out on, and what the imagineers originally meant for us to see. Footlight Parade never ceases to make me laugh...can it really be THAT complex of a mechanism to make the cake spin? REALLY? It's like a rotating Christmas tree base from the 50s. Single motor, on and off as tripped by a sensor as the car passes. Of course we don't need to have the water effect restored.

    Energy's curtains is just ridiculous. That attraction needs all the wow factor it can get, but I bet it won't until a new sponsor is named. Ugh.
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  11. #26

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    We can show that we care all we want to, but how would that affect management at all?
    My top favorite Disneyland attractions:

    1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
    2. Pirates of the Caribbean
    3. Splash Mountain
    4. Mad Tea Party
    5. Peter Pan's Flight
    6. Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin

  12. #27

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Quote Originally Posted by kindagoofy View Post
    There is a depth at DL that no other park has. Even the wear and tear has more of a patina than other parks: the tread wear on the start of Mr. Toad, or my fave: the worn bat heads of the rail posts in the Haunted Mansion.
    COMPLETELY agree with this point! My favorite is the worn brick work around the Mansion!
    "In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so. But there are times when a critic truly risks something, and that is in the discovery and defense of the new. The world is often unkind to new talent, new creations, the new needs friends." - Anton Ego

  13. #28

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    That thing about Footlight Parade did kinda confuse me since I rode it several times during my CP and I was like "I don't recall it ever spinning". In fact the thing I think that scene had the least amount of effects and that was the main thing I always remembered about that.

    But to get on topic: wasn't Disney World as a whole meant operate like a show? It seems to me that using terms such as "cast members" and "costumes" have disintegrated into just a fancy way to say "employees" and "uniforms". In an actual show if something was breaking down or a cast member was not acting properly enough, the director would have had your neck! So yeah, I can see where Kevin Yee is getting at here,.

  14. #29

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    CMs donīt care about trash. The CMs in Maelstrom can have have trash just next to their feet and not picking it up.

    Decline is fact and it everywhere in WDW. But prices... they do not decline.
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  15. #30

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    Re: 5/15: Should you Care?

    Great Thread Thank you. I have only been to Florida once and it was 4 years ago ao I can't speak to the condition of that park. I am a Disneyland many year Premium Passholder and travel from Montana to visit "My Happy Place" at least 4 times a year. I get so ANNOYED when I ride Small World and see that there is trash the same from visit to visit and carpets that need vacuuming even after the Christmas teardown. I thought for sure that that would be taken care of but NO! It just shows me that things are not what they used to be. Walt would have never stood for that. Things like this can be seen in different areas of the park. This is very sad to me I would love to have Disneyland be the Park it was in the past.

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