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  1. #1

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    1/25: Disney's Reinvention Problem, Part I

    Here's your chance to post your thoughts on Kevin's latest column...
    "Politics is the profession whereby the inevitable is made to seem a great human achievement" - Quentin Crisp

  2. #2

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    Great column!

    I'm curious as to how you gauge the immersion. What makes an attraction immersion or not? How does Tower have it while Rock N Roller Coaster does not?

    You say It's Tough to be a Bug has some of it... why just some?

    You state the Magic Kingdoms have it in most of their rides... does that include all the little dark rides in Fantasyland?

    LoL sorry for all of the questions but I'm really curious about this theory... I'll be thinking about it!

  3. #3

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    What about Small World. How is it immersive? What is it immersive of?

    You can ride Small World and still see black ceiling tiles and speakers everywhere.

  4. #4

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    Interesting article. I've been wondering is there anything, besides bulldozing, to do for WDSP. It is so fake your imagination just wont buy it. It is cold, ugly and there's not much to do, except shiver while watching Moteur! Action! -stunt show.

    You made me think of that the coming ToT will be exactly a "parachute" buildining like you described.. Out of place. They should build a whole area themed as a Hollywood next to it, if they want to (try to) succeed.

    Cheers,
    Zarniwoop
    Last edited by Zarniwoop; 01-25-2005 at 04:53 AM.

  5. #5

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    Kevin has a really good synopsis of a winning strategy, the most successful, popular and longstanding rides are those that immerse the audience, takes them away from the harshness of reality, of course this is a good argument for the failure of DCA as well as it does not remove the guests from the outside world.
    Rides of illusion, fantasy, adventure and hope pretty much explains the different lands as well.
    So why is Eisner trying to bring us into reality? why did we have to sacrifice so much for his vision of fantasy that in truth is really a depressing reality!

    In the end the public will decide, they now have a choice of quality, they CAN go elsewere, I know I did exactly a year ago when I was in Orlando for a month with my family, the ONLY Disney park we went to was Blizzard Beach.

    We spent our whole vacation elsewhere because we felt the Disney quality was becoming bland and stale and even the newly opened Mission Space did not attract me as there were many many reports of unwanted after effects that I personally did not want to experiance nor risk the health of my family.

    BTW, Thanks for the article Kevin.
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    The concept of Imersion Towards Interesting Illusion really can't exist in a theme park, not even Disneyland. It will always be in the back of the mind that what you are seeing is an illusion. Whenever you think about going back to the car or the hotel, about leaving in general. Also when you see any shop are even eat food (because the whole concept of money is real world) This is in no way discrediting Disneyland. It is just impossible to hold anything outside of the Matrix to the standard of Imersion Towards Interesting Illusion. While nothing will ever reach that, theme parks are judged on how close they come. The more illusion the better. I guess my point is that we shouldn't criticize stuff like MGM etc. for revealing their illusions if there is enough of an imersive illusion initially. I would still realize the stunt show is fake if they didn't tell me, but I still enjoy the illusion while it is being performed as that. Same goes for great movie ride and other examples. I enjoy the illusion before it is spoiled, just like I enjoy the illusion of storybookland before I think about what time to see a movie or any other aspect of the real world creeps into my concience. Nothing can be a complete illusion, and all illusion will eventually be spoiled, so the merits of an attraction that is an illusion should be judged on the illusion itself.

  7. #7

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    That's a good point. You can't avoid reality, but I don't think Kevin is saying that we should. He's asking, "Why do we still flock to 40-year-old rides?" Because they offer something beyond the suspension of disbelief for the few moments you're on the ride. It's no longer a ride, but an experience that alters some of your current reality. For me, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the POTC are intoxicating. The ride itself has become an experience that changes my reality where as I enjoy riding Screamin', but I don't get that same immersion that I get with POTC.
    "Do it for me then. Your gaming buddies are going to be there too. It will be good for you kids to go out and blow the stink off yourselves for one night."

    "Fine. For you. And for the eradication of stink."


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zarniwoop
    Interesting article. I've been wondering is there anything, besides bulldozing, to do for WDSP. It is so fake you're imagination just wont buy it. It is cold, ugly and there's not much to do, except shiver while watching Moteur! Action! -stunt show.

    You made me think of that the coming ToT will be exactly a "parachute" buildining like you described.. Out of place. They should build a whole area themed as a Hollywood next to it, if they want to (try to) succeed.

    Cheers,
    Zarniwoop
    I think WDSP will be a real long term problem for Disneyland Paris.
    Adding attractions like TOT is not going to improve attendance, even with TOT and a new area for kids (toontown) it is still not a pleasant place to visit. It has no heart and soul or importantly atmosphere. There is no immersion at all, it is fake 'fake' and not very good at that. It is nothing like a 'studios' unlike MGM which at least has the feel of sets and backlots.

    They will have to do a great deal more to improve the studios than just add attractions. It currently only has 9 attractions (of which 3 are rides) adding 3 or 4 more still only makes for a half day park. It is not as though you can sit an enjoy the scenery or walk around exploring as the place is tiny.

    It needs a major redesign and a great deal of money which means it will not happen, except over a very long time, maybe in 15 years time we will have a park that is worth visiting, but it will never be as good as MGM Studios. You can add things but you can't remove the 'cheap' feeling it has.

    I expect visitor numbers to barely increase over the next 2-3 years at the studios. Once TOT opens you will get a blip as people pop in to ride it, but it will not last, just like TOT failed to increase DCA numbers.

    It's not good news really, the problem is that the whole design was so badly flawed I don't think they can fix it, unless they spend over $750 million.

    Ian
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  9. #9

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    That was one great article Kevin!

    Now I havent been to WDW yet, but for me you really hit the head of the nail on DCA´s problems. When I am in Disneyland I am transported to this magical place where anything can happen. In DCA I am in a californian theme park with a couple of good rides.
    And WDSP... OY, I counted two things that I liked... And there was NO magic.
    You say I´m a bitch like it´s a bad thing.

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  10. #10

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    The fundamental flaw lies right at the heart of the Disney-MGM project: from the outset it was meant to "uncover" the magic of the movies. But peeking behind the curtains has the unintended side-effect that the original fuzzy feeling – that "suspension of disbelief" which made us enjoy movies in the first place – is now not possible. You cannot suspend disbelief and show how it’s done at the same time. These are opposites.
    A very, very good article indeed. The whole issue about the basic concepts of Disney's theme parks is rather inevitable in a time when TDS and the WDS open just about simultaneously, rendering comparison between the two unavoidable. I think Disney's parks are all about psychology. It's nothing but structures created to evoke something within the minds of their visitors. And I think basically, what we've learned is that the MK concept is the only one that's fun, as well as the only one that works in a timeless way.

    The thing is, all the "all-encompassing" parks and rides ask from you is that you allow yourself to be lead by the illusion. At a studios-themed park however, too much is asked from you. You see illusion, but you can't be taken away by it, because hey, there's a director's chair, there's a camera and there's a really ugly ceiling. And it's just too much, and it's no fun. Same goes for Epcot and DAK (though not as much as the aforementioned). Again here, it's not just illusion, but there's that eternal patronising voice overruling everything going "and remember kids, only you can prevent forest fires".

    Though I think in the long run, there is hope for most parks. MGM can always be "the Hollywood that never was".
    DAK can simply be an exploration-themed park with areas themed to feel like Asia, Africa and South America.
    Epcot can take on a full "discovery" theme and celebrate innovations of the past and future, complementing the World Showcase that's already a stack of themed areas.
    And the WDS and DCA...well...you know. *shrugs in despair*

  11. #11

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    And another thing... Yes, why is it that IASW has a bland office-style ceiling? And at POTC, it's pretty much the same thing painted black, which really kind of spoils some of the illusion. I mean I don't mind, and anyone who does should look at things like the WDS studio tour and put things into perspective, but why that choice? Would it have been that hard to put in an even, smooth ceiling with no lines? Especially at POTC, where they're actually trying to make you believe you're outside. That never did work for me... As a kid I thought we were in a cave, haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jsmith157
    You can't avoid reality, but I don't think Kevin is saying that we should. He's asking, "Why do we still flock to 40-year-old rides?" Because they offer something beyond the suspension of disbelief for the few moments you're on the ride. It's no longer a ride, but an experience that alters some of your current reality. For me, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of the POTC are intoxicating. The ride itself has become an experience that changes my reality where as I enjoy riding Screamin', but I don't get that same immersion that I get with POTC.
    so basically disney should make it's attractions complete, immersive experiences. This is something I can agree with. What keeps rides popular for decades is that they have a timeless quality to them: they aren't centered around cheap thrills or gimicky jokes; they have a strong central story and are original. POTC is designed in many ways to be repeatable. I think it's variety of environment adds to this and helps propell it so much over it's WDW counterpart. Here's an interesting thought. The Great Movie Ride and POTC are both long and elaborate rides with animatronics, music and story. POTC is infinately better. Why exactly is this (I do agree POTC is infinitely better, I'm not implying that it is not.)? Maybe the repetitive narration makes TGMR less repeatabe? Maybe this proves Kevin's article correct?

  13. #13

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    Very interesting article!

    I don't really agree with the critical comments on Paradise Pier though. I think it CAN be a very interesting place. It's just that it isn't themed well enough. A steel coaster with a launch and loop does not look like a 1920's wooden coaster at all! A Space Shot style ride ( Maliboomer ) did not even exist in those days. So it's really a modern-day version of pasttime parks...not a replica of a 1920's seaside park.

    I do agree with most of the article though. And WDS, well yeah, it sucks, big time. But then again, I never enjoyed the looks of concrete. I have an annual pass for DLRP, but I don't intend to visit the WDS anytime soon.

    A few weeks ago, I even found out that the park has "themed areas". At least that is what the park map says

  14. #14

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    But then again, I never enjoyed the looks of concrete.
    Oh no, it doesn't have a lot of concrete. Unpainted steel and asphalt, baby! Well, that and a bunch of billboards falling in for actual three-dimensional facades. And air, there's a lot of open air. Which isn't bad for such a tiny park, that it managed to stay so clutter-free. As for the "themed areas", it's kind of like the parking lot, where sections are called after different Disney characters, but don't actually look or feel any different from one another. Actually the whole park is a lot like a parking lot.

    But we've established this. We need a new park to nag about, haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pussnboots
    But we've established this. We need a new park to nag about, haha.
    Well, what about Discoveryland? Not exactly an entire park...but with Space Mountain: Mission II, and Buzz in a few years, I'm afraid it'll loose much of it's unique identity...

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