Disney-MGM is my favorite park at WDW, so I have a strong opinion on this. This park has the most potential of all the WDW parks. The problems is that they just "lifted" the way a studio park would be (Backlot tours, behind the scenes tours, etc.) from other more established parks.
I believe that Walt Disney understood best what people wanted. They don't want to see behind the scenes of movies, they want to be IN one themselves. Disneyland was designed to "put" you in the movie, like the old west or Main Street setting or an animated cartoon. You walked and interacted with "Cast Members" who were supposed to all be part of the show, whether it be the salesperson or server at the restaurant.
But Movies can take you to many, many different locations and eras. Disneyland only took you to five originally. Disney-MGM has the power to expand on that. Here is a new park that can take you to a street in LA during the 1930's or far, far away to a galaxy filled with R2D2's.
People love movies. People still love the idea of being in a movie, wondering through an area as if it was their fantasy. Wouldn't you like to wonder the world of Harry Potter? Disney-MGM has the potential to be as popular as the Magic Kingdom, if those who designed it has studied what Walt did and expand on it. Instead, they studied what Universal did and imitated it.
What they need to imitate is their own very popular founder, Walt Disney. He was proclaimed in his lifetime for his genius in design of Disneyland. I do not understand why they don't study his prinicples and apply them when they design their new parks.
Disney-MGM needs to focus on movies to make it popular again. The theater acts are nice, but don't have a lasting power. The behind the scenes parts are now no longer real "behind the scenes" sections. They are make-believe props. That is not fun or magical! Put people in the movies. Put them in the action. I would rather ride Indy Jones at Disneyland and experience the mystery of adventure than just see how the special effects were done at DMGM. Allow them to experience their favorite films first hand, and this park will be one of the most popular.
Jiminy Cricket Fan
Disney-MGM is definitely a relic from a different era. MGM no longer exists as a company anymore and the park is no longer basking in Disney's success in TV, animation and film. What's truly sad is the one animation to come solely from Orlando was an excellent film: Mulan. The movie was so packed full of emotion, drama, humor, and story that it felt like it came from the earlier days of Beauty and the Beast and Lion King. Mushu (with the cricket) is one of my favorite characters of all time. There was so much talent and potential at Disney-MGM studios that it hurts to think about what might have been.
Leave it to Eisner to impulsively build a park and then later close up everything that had potential. It will be interesting to see what happens when Eisner is gone and traditional animation makes its comeback. Disney has lost or fired its entire legion of animators so not only will it be difficult to build their resources back up, their competitors will have ex-Disney employees using their decades of experience they learned at Disney. Hopefully the new "Walt Disney Studios" park will be reinvigorated by a newly found sense of purpose when animation becomes popular again.
Being reduced to celebrating Disney films will be a great thing to the Walt Disney Company, they finally have a park where they can dump unlimited amounts of Pixar rides into one park. DCA has already done this for years, but now they have a park where they can really pour in the Pixar. Something tells me that's the holy grail for the current Disney management: Pixarland. A land where creative investment is minimal, themes are preexisting, and stories and characters have already been created. Sounds like the perfect place for today's Disney management. It would really suck to be the patron of such a park though.
Last edited by Athlonacon; 06-09-2005 at 07:20 AM.
The loss of live action film production and feature animation at Disney-MGM Studios has served to reduce it's purpiose and subsequently it's appeal to resort guests. As you have pointed out, Sony wil possibly ask that the MGM moniker be dropped - which would translate into thematic changes throughout the park - especially at The Great Movie Ride.
All of this might be a good thing, though. I agree that there are essentially two sides to the park, i.e. the thrill ride area and the family side. As even the Magic Kingdom has thrill rides, one cannot blame these rides for a lack of interest in the park among families with kids. The problem lies in the fact that Star Tours, The Great Movie Ride and the Tram special effects experience are the only actual rides that families can enjoy together - and each of them are primarily geared for adults (Star Tours, adults and teans).
New rides need to be developed that would interest young kids. For instance, the characters in Playhouse Disney might be a great basis for new dark rides, flat rides (such as spinners, carousels and rides like they have at TDS's Mermaid Grotto) and, trains, mini coasters, and water rides (like Storybook Land Canal Boats or DLP's Aquatopia or Sinbad). The characters from Bear In the Big Blue House, JoJo's Circus, Stanley and Rolly Polly Olly are likely to remain popular for years'. A Toon Studios section (such as that being built at DLP) would also be a big hit. Kids would love a Finding Nemo spinning turtle, dry for wet dark ride, and a trackless Cars-based "driving school" flat ride. Mary Poppins might lend itself to a practically perfect dark ride. And why not base a ride or show on the popular Parent Trap or 101 Dalmations, especially in consideration of the popular remakes.
Rides designed for families with preschoolers and slightly older youngsters would only be part of the solution, though. A Disney- Lucas relationship could certainly foster popular rides that are directed at adults and teens - rides that are based on Star Wars and other Lucus movies. Plans for a new Indy ride are already rumored to be in the making. National Treasure, The Pacifier, Flight of the Navigator, Harry Potter, and the coming Narnia film would each be a strong foundation for new attractions.
Also, reiterating what I stated in response to your last post, Kevin, it would be a major benefit for the Studios park to change it's name, and I agrred with you that it might be a good idea for Disney to align itself with george Lucus more. Hence, I suggested a couple of possible new names for the park - Disney-Lucusfilm Studios, or Disney-Industrial Light and Magic Studios (either would blow Disney-MGM out of the water. I just hope they don't digress to Disney's Florida Adventure. Oh, what a disturbing thought.
One final thought...A new Sea World waterpark would be "sun-sational". A Clyde and Seamore sealion theme sounds fun!
Last edited by Ride Warrior; 06-10-2005 at 06:51 AM.
There are a lot of ways that the Studios could be redirected. But I think maing it the Magic Kingdom for the pre-school set would be a massive mistake.
Ideally, I'd like to see Disney court a number of filmmakers for involvement. Lucas is in a unique position in that he owns all the rights to his creations, but maybe there are similar opportunities.
It would be great to see the Studois become the place where Disney adds it's magic to non-Disney properties like Lucasfilm, Henson and maybe Harry Potter as has been rumored. It may require the lawyers and dealmakers to work overtime, but what a cool identity that would be!
I think Disney-MGM is a great park for members of the TV generation. Those of us who grew up seeing the Lone Ranger and the Our Gang Comedies in black and white on TV. Those of us who remember who got the first color TV set on our block. The park could be better developed. Maybe a Mickey Mouse Club nostalgia attraction that focuses on all incarnations of the Club with maybe a focus on the original black and white club. I loved the Walt Disney exhibit they had at MGM the last time I was there in 2002. I would imagine it's gone now. I will be visiting again at Christmas.
Taping Disney Channel shows at Disney Studios would be great, but it's not going to happen, Florida has closed its film office and they don't offer incentives like other states. I would hope those that own the MGM name renew their deal to keep the Great Movie Ride as it is. They need to understand that they, too benefit from the exposure. The ride and attractions keep their library in people's minds.
MGM is also my 2nd favorite park behind Magic Kingdom. Why? Star Tours, Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, MuppetVision 3-D and Fantasmic! My kids are 13 and 15. And I agree with them. I think Disney Studios has potential, let's just hope Bob Iger gives the Imagineers the money to reach that potential. And how about this for a new name for the studios? Disney-Pixar Studios...add that and some other opportunities to the negotiations...
Rides designed for families with preschoolers and slightly older youngsters would only be part of the solution. A Disney- Lucas relationship could certainly foster popular rides that are directed at adults and teens - rides that are based on Star Wars and other Lucus movies. Plans for a new Indy ride are already rumored to be in the making. National Treasure, The Pacifier, Flight of the Navigator, Harry Potter, and the coming Narnia film would each be a strong foundation for new attractions. Pixar films, of course, are yet another great source for rides and shows.
From what I understand, the contract for the use of the MGM name and logo and the useage of the movies in the Great Movie Ride (as well as elsewhere in the park) fall under seperate contracts. In fact, the Great Movie Ride falls under a seperate contract for each film featured. The reasoning for this is that they needed permission from each of the stars or their families in order to use their likeness in the attraction. On top of that, you have MGM movies currently owned by Warner Bros or Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox -- pretty much, all of the long-time major players of Hollywood are represented.
The contract for the name and logo is only for anything that says MGM within the park: Merchandise, signs, etc. It does not include most marketing outlets, thus why for many years, the vacation planning video only calls it "Disney Studios."
The hat may actually be more linked to El Capitan theater than anything dealing with MGM.
Thanks for a very good summary of the MGM business and an insightful analysis of
the situation, Kevin.
I agree that MGM has lost the thematic rudder a bit recently, but as some above as said,
it may turn into an opportunity. I agree completely that one nice way would be to provide
a "Gateway into the movies" concept. And either a Harry Potter or LoTR (or both!) would
be nice complementary to that theme. In that scenario, I would completely change
one area into Star Wars!
I really liked MGM as an idea when it launched in the 80s. Having actual production going on, an entire effects warehouse (which, with behinds-the-scene magic of Disney being such a hot topic among it's fans, could be a real blockbuster) and the old fireworks show (before Fantasmic killed it, I believe,) and those sit-and-participate style attractions like that one bluescreen effect show that had you appearing on the Cosby Show or being interviewed by Johnny Carson, etc.
The park has, slowly, moved away from this whole idea into a dumping ground for thrill rides. I don't mind that too much, as they're going to be somewhere eventually, but nothing as inventive yet simple as the original stuff has been made since, and even worse a lot of that 1988 fake soundstage tour stuff is still hanging around, I guess waiting for me to go to Orlando someday so I can see it and get nostalgic or something.
I'm rather suprised Residential Avenue was still around so late, to tell you the truth. It had a real, uh, 80s retro thing going in the shows it referenced, and that's no good for any park that's trying to keep up current appearances.
Yeah, Playhouse Disney isn't that great for teens but I think the only teens who like Disney are, well, the ones we have here. Heh. Teenager attitudes have changed greatly since decades ago, and now it's much more about trying to look like a fully matured adult before you are, as such anything Disney goes over with them about as well as a fart in church. Disney is symbolic with childhood, and must be ignored for something much more coaster-oriented, ToT/RnR or no.
In other words, I don't think Disney is making any kind of mistake by giving the teenager demographic barely anything more than a few obligatory rides, because they won't want to come anyway.
I'm suprised that just now Universal is tearing out the Nickelodeon section of their park. By what I've seen, the younger 20-somethings who are coming out of college and have money to travel around used to grow up with Double Dare, Clarissa, and all that other kid-oriented TV that ended with "Filmed at Nickelodeon Studios at Universal Studios in Orlando, FL." Between the nostalgia stuff and Spongebob, it would seem to me that the Nick area could have seen much better numbers than it has the past 3-5 years.
For the first section (MGM) I stopped reading after a while and just looked at the pictures. I think Kevin needs to get over that they have soundstages. Not every park has to be like the Magic Kingdom. Disney World would be boring if every park was like that. One final thing I don't get is that after all that, he says that he would be happy if they built a 5th park now.
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” - Walt Disney
Hi there Michael. The pairing of Disney and Lucus in terms of the parks name, coupled with an increase in the number of dramatic Star Wars Based attractions (and those based on other movies) would sure make for a different sort of a park. I simply do not care for the MGM moniker.
As you can see, Disney parks occupied the first five slots. Yay! Animal Kingdom is at the bottom of the five. I really look forward to Expedition Everest.
Disneyland crept up a notch in "04. We're hot on the Magic Kingdom's heals for the number one spot. Watch out baby, here we come!
Last edited by Ride Warrior; 06-09-2005 at 07:47 PM.