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  1. #16

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I've never understood that argument. If I, as a regular Guest, can get in there, the ride is fair game for a review. It's that simple. My desire to keep things unbiased means I don't want someone else's opinion influencing what my eyes look at, etc.

    The notion of a soft opening is completely unrelated to an unbiased review.
    I guess there was a good reason that Walt Disney never wanted attractions opened before they were 100% complete. I don't like the very idea of a soft opening; for CM's, fine, but not the general public. If they choose to let the general public in, then by all means, treat it as if it were the final product. Disney could wait, but they don't, so they should be prepared for the criticism.
    In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate.

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  2. #17

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    So how should they open the ride and test it for capacity and get it fine tuned?

    Clearly, the same steps in improving guest experience took place "back in Walt's day." Once the park closed for the day, they'd troubleshoot things and apologize to guests who had a less-than-quality experience at the attraction.

    Plenty of shows (musicals, concerts) have dress rehearsals before opening to the public. I'm not sure I see a soft opening as anything different. Besides, the general public's reaction is what's needed to truly fine tune an attraction. Not the ride itself, perhaps, but the queue or pre-show perhaps. There aren't enough off-duty cast to simulate the running of the ride for a full day of training, much less the weeks that are needed to give all the cast a chance to run all the positions with more than the most cursory experience. Plus, cast behave differently than the average guest. They know the theme park system, and tend to be more savvy at how things are supposed to work. To truly simulate typical park guests, Disney needs a steady flow of typical park guests.

    Why the rush? Why not wait? Disneyland's first day wasn't reviewed all that great as I recall... would a review of that day hold up against the guest experience today? Granted, that's 40ish years later, but I guarantee a much better review, and a TRUER review, could have been written 30 days later, and that review would likely stand up better over time.

    When Disney soft opens, I know the cast is pretty open about the fact that it's a sneak preview with the guests. I think people get that... and have adjusted expectations. Hell, most feel lucky to have been given the chance to try it out. But a ride may be done being constructed, but the guest experience is never 100% complete until they've had a chance to work out bugs in the queue, pacing, etc. One way or another, that test and adjust period has to happen... I prefer it to be during the soft opening rather than "Well, let's have the grand opening and hope for the best!"

    Lights Motors Action is a good example of a show that has drastically changed how it queues up during the soft open, and then again after the grand opening. The first week loading the theater took over 30min, and was hurry up and wait, multiple times. The new method is, by and large, and improvement for cast and guest. But it took months of testing and evalutation to get there. During the soft open, procedures are being written and refined, and an attraction can go down for training and to work out ways to improve guest satisfaction.

    When I read reviews of soft open attractions, I'm a local and I know how the system works. "Soft open" essentially means "attraction beta test." However, not everyone is aware and I just think a disclaimer that the ride/experience being reviewed is not yet in "finished form" would at the very least be fair and certainly more accurate. A review is, by its very nature, intended to bias its audience by the time it is done. Speaking of which...

    Kevin, I was more enjoying the irony that you wanted to go into the ride unbiased by what others have said, simply so you can go on the ride and write something to bias others. It's your job, I get that. I enjoy irony... that's all.
    Last edited by jmelrose; 04-06-2007 at 07:58 PM.

  3. #18

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by jmelrose View Post
    Kevin, I was more enjoying the irony that you wanted to go into the ride unbiased by what others have said, simply so you can go on the ride and write something to bias others. It's your job, I get that. I enjoy irony... that's all.
    Gotcha. The irony crossed my mind too, and I thought about calling it out, but realized it might make my post convoluted. I'm well aware that if everyone were like me, there would be no one reading articles when I review something new!
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  4. #19

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    I likely would have jumped to the same conclusion, but something still doesn't sound right. It just doesn't seem like the kind of attraction Disney would build stateside anymore.
    I thought of something this morning as I climbed onto the treadmill: what if this guy was merely talking about the transportation-across-the-lagoon Friendship boats that dock at Morocco and Germany in Epcot and he will be replacing in 2010??? I need to get that possibility into the article.
    Kevin Yee
    MiceAge Columnist

    I am the author of several Disney books:
    Jason's Disneyland Almanac - a daily history of Disneyland
    Walt Disney World Hidden History - tributes, homages, and ride remnants at WDW
    Your Day at the Magic Kingdom
    Mouse Trap
    Tokyo Disney Made Easy
    101 Things You Never Knew About Disneyland
    Magic Quizdom (The Disneyland Trivia Book)

    “The press [should be] a watchdog. Not an attack dog. Not a lapdog. A watchdog. Now, a watchdog can't be right all the time. He doesn't bark only when he sees or smells something that's dangerous. A good watchdog barks at things that are suspicious.” – Dan Rather

  5. #20

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    Interesting column.

    But I must wonder about your source for the boat ride for Germany. Plans for the Rhine River Cruise died a good 20 years ago. And, frankly, that type of attraction at WDW is deader than Anna Nicole. Unless there is some thrill aspect, I just can't see this as anything more than complete wishful thinking.
    You, WDW1974, are not the first that I have heard pronounce a rumored attraction an absolute impossibility. in addition, Disney does not strictly limit it's large satateside budjets to thrill rides alone. the finding Nemo Subs stant as a testament to this fact. Hopefully, this attraction is a harbinger to many more family E-tickets to come. Point is, it's never over until the fat lady sings...and i haven't heard her singing lately.

    A Matterhorn-type attraction for WDW was buzzing about for ages. Folks were hoping for an actual duplicate...then, came the Mount Fuji EpCOT rumor. Of course, what we ended up with was Expedition: Everest.

    Not too long after "plused" classic DL rides were announced, they were pronounced dead. But, Pirates has received substantial additions, and Jungle Cruise was improved as well (though it was minor changes).

    Worthy of further consideration were plans for Western River Expedition were pronounced deader than john Kerry's political future years ago, too. yet, there is a new viable rumor that DLP is considering a Splash Mountain ride with a WRE overlay.

    The list goes on...

    Quote Originally Posted by KevinYee View Post
    I thought of something this morning as I climbed onto the treadmill: what if this guy was merely talking about the transportation-across-the-lagoon Friendship boats that dock at Morocco and Germany in Epcot and he will be replacing in 2010??? I need to get that possibility into the article.
    At this point, what you overheard could have been anything at this point, Kevin. But, I'll sing acalades for you if this rumor proves true.
    To Boldly Go Where No MiceChatter Has Gone Before!


  6. #21

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    Re: 4/5: Shining Up For Summer

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    But I must wonder about your source for the boat ride for Germany. Plans for the Rhine River Cruise died a good 20 years ago. And, frankly, that type of attraction at WDW is deader than Anna Nicole.
    Ever hear of necrophiliacs?

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