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  1. #1

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    Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another Voice View Post
    Theme parks are considered a big time loser business, good just for scamming money from children and freaks who think buying the “brand” will make their pathetic meager lives “magical”.
    Ouch. That hit home. I realize that I'm moving far away from "The Lost DisneySea" topic, so I moved this to a new one.^^

    I've noticed that I am sort of spending a lot of time and money on this stuff these days, come to think of it. But it's new and fun and so well done. Still...ouch. Is that really what we think Disney management thinks? I don't think that's what OLC thinks (maybe I'm just terribly naive), or at least not the CMs. Everyone I have ever met who's worked there has been just as excited as park fans about getting the job, doing the work, and even reminiscing once they quit and start their "real" career job at many times the salary that it was "the best job they ever had, and one of the best experiences of their lives." Honestly. I heard that just last week.

    I really do think that OLC and the Japanese consumer market just totally "get" Disney...it's not just marketing; it's a bonafide experiential difference, I think. It is magical for people in Japan, at every level. I even have a student here whose husband works not for OLC, but actually for Disney on their Japanese website, and he, too, seems to have a genuine appreciation for his job in a very special way. One of the key things I've noticed since my "eyes opened to Disney" is how often I can spot little Disney things everywhere. There's always someone around me with a character or a Mickey mark on a mobile phone or T-shirt or something, usually a lot of people around me. It's like the experience is always with you. I really do notice this on a day to day basis, but I didn't always, so I'm not exactly a dyed in the wool "Disney freak." There is something different going on here, though, I think. I don't remember ever noticing such a constant stream of Disney references post elementary school in the US. Was I just oblivious?

    In fact, I once thought that Tokyo DisneySea was designed by a Japanese team, and that the advertising and goods of TDR and the Japanese Disney Stores were produced independently by OLC's "professional Disney freaks," with just licensing permissions. At first I thought that's why all the design and merchandising here are so great, but the more I hear, the more I seem to understand that all the attractions and shops, hotels, products, graphics, advertising and promotion, everything...it's all designed back at Disney headquarters and just licensed to OLC, right? So, I don't get how there's such a disconnect between upper management of Disney (where all the actual design comes from) and the OLC (who only do scheduling/planning?) and fans of Disney parks (who are numerous and worldwide)...what am I missing? Sorry to be such a dumb n00b.^^

  2. #2

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    I really have not much to add to this as it has been discussed forever on these boards. It comes down to this: OLC cares more than Disney about it's product, and then, you have the japanese customers who appear to have a predilection for the expensive and lavish.. two adjectives that fit TDR so well.

    OLC is *willing* to pay Disney to create a superb product for their parks. Disney on the other hand has become a wimp company since the fiasco of EuroDisney, and seem most unwilling to take chances, instead offering some quality in small short bursts.. like was the case when they splurged and built Everest in DAK, which still... is not as good a ride (from a show perspective) as it should have been, but for WDW' guests? it's definitely a highlight.

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    ...like was the case when they splurged and built Everest in DAK, which still... is not as good a ride (from a show perspective) as it should have been, but for WDW' guests? it's definitely a highlight.
    Would love to see a TDR version of EE...maybe they could remodel the "tropical" half of Adventureland into an Indian theme and place the ride where Jungle Cruise is...daydreaming of course, but I like armchair imagineering.
    Down with the Hat


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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    I could tell you this much.. if OLC paid for this, I would expect it to be populated with more AAs and animated props and more things to see along the ride, not to mention lavishy crafted themeing and a Yeti that works all of the time. Not to mention, OLC would never allow riders to be able to see the hollow interior of the mountain, as is the case with the EE ride at DAK, which has been a sore point with me from day one.

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I really have not much to add to this as it has been discussed forever on these boards...

    OLC is *willing* to pay Disney to create a superb product for their parks. Disney on the other hand has become a wimp company since the fiasco of EuroDisney...
    So it's really just that OLC pays for everything? Now I understand more clearly what AnotherVoice was getting at in the other thread. Thank you sincerely. I'm sorry to make you repeat something that apparently everybody else understands, but it is all news to me. I do spend time reading up on Disney stuff online, but I'll never be a guru of any kind. I really am grateful for this kind of information. It really still bewilders me, though, that the people who actually create the brand and its core products/projects could have less emotional or fiscal stake in the locations that completely submerge the consumer in the brand. And from a more what-I-really-think perspective, I find it extremely sad that the actual holders of the legacy of a man who created the world's strongest entertainment empire from a drawing of a mouse on paper would actually become so jaded that the bottom line transformed completely from the magic of what might be possible when you believe in a dream into the miserly goals of only what is surely profitable, at the expense of magic for all. Maybe because they don't actually go through the process from inspiration to creation to exhibition, the very real magic of that process is lost on them. Reminds me of a quote from President Obama, speaking at Georgetown last week:

    “One of the changes that I would like to see — and I’m going to be talking about in this in weeks to come — is seeing our best and our brightest commit themselves to making things — engineers, scientists, innovators. For so long, we have placed at the top of our pinnacle folks who can manipulate numbers and engage in complex financial calculations. And — and that’s good. We need some of that. But you know what we can really use is some more scientists and some more engineers who are building and making things that we can export to other countries.”

    Change "engineers" to "Imagineers" and you see what I'm getting at. I remember being filled with joy as I watched him say this...I'm so happy an opportunity came up to quote it! I just can't believe that's what any of the artists think at Disney, and it's a shame they don't seem to be setting more of the tone anymore. They used to run the company, no? Perhaps Iger is a move in the right direction, as he seems interested in what creative people think? I was just doing some reading about he mended bridges with Roy E. Disney and Pixar? Not that I would know!

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    The difference boils down to how the different management teams see their businesses. It’s not a question of money – if Disney can poop away $350+ million on Pirates 3 it can certainly afford a new can of paint for the Magic Kingdom.

    The Oriental Land Company sees themselves in the theme resort business with a related sideline in a chain of character-based merchandise retail operations. They believe their success lies in providing its guests with the best park and hotel operations they can, and in retailing popular products to those same customers.

    The Walt Disney Company sees itself as a media corporation that distributes its creative content through various platforms – motion picture theaters, broadcast and cable television, the internet and, yes, theme parks. To Bob Iger and company, a visit to a theme park is not a goal onto itself; it is just another way of experiencing studio created content. You enjoyed Lilo and Stitch the movie, played the Stitch video game on the DVD, watched the television series for years and now you get to see Stitch in a parade or in the Tiki Room. The movie thearter, your disc player and the theme park are all just mechanisms to deliver you 'Stitch'.

    In short, the OLC believes the park itself is the draw but The Walt Disney Company believes the franchises are the draw. Hence the very different approaches: OLC knows you expect a good hamburger when you sit down to eat, Disney assumes that what you really want is a Jonas Brothers collectible bag that happens to contain a hamburger. To Disney, each new Jonas Brothers album is just like an addition to the park because that is what is getting you to WDW (and why they are building another billion disaster at California Adventure).

    It’s also the case that the management of Disney is completely out of touch with its core audience. In the past, Disney was run by a rather small group of dedicated people who had spent their entire careers inside the company, people who firmly believed that “Disney” was a unique art form.

    Today, the company is run by the same group of people that run every other Hollywood media enterprise. As a group, they do not share the same background as the average Disney customer, audience member or guest. In fact, they are actively hostile to the clean cut Middle America image that Disney had in the past. Phrases like “mouth breathers” and “WalMart shoppers” are not my inventions. Michael Eisner himself, it’s said, would often boast that while other children were “wasting their time” watching Disney animated films, his parents were giving him a “superior” childhood upbringing by taking him to Broadway plays, concerts and museums.

    It’s a cliché to talk about the “Hollywood mentality” but it truly exists and it’s much more vicious, spiteful and hateful towards you than you can possibly imagine. Disney is now caught up in that same mindset and it shows in the parks.

  7. #7

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    A lot of it has to do with reputation and how it has trickled down the generations. America in general has lost that business sense of an independently owned company. Gone are the fabrics that we hold true. Look at Enron. Look at how poorly a lot of businesses are run.

    Because it's "corporate America". People here do their job and feel that it's enough. You know the saying "you don't get paid overtime"? Everyone has that mentality of doing ONLY the minimal amount. And not only that, they want to pay their employees the minimal amount.


    Disney used to be a leader in quality, and I guess with Oriental Land running things over there, the same could be said I suppose. Disney is a leader still SOMEwhere in appearance only. But we all know that it should be the leader EVERYWHERE.


    One can argue that Disney is the leader in attendance. But how much they spend in improvements for those guests is a lot lower than it used to be. At least that's what it feels like to me.

    Tokyo Disneyland represents how Walt Disney did it. Open an attraction the best possible way from the start.


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  8. #8

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    The problem in America in general...over the last four decades or so...is that the desire to make a really quality product has been lost for most companies. They have tried to cut corners in order to make a maximize profit. But in the process...the sense of quality that was once associated with American products has been corroded. Now American products (I'm generalising, and there are exceptions) are neither as cheap as those from China or India nor as good as those from Germany and Japan. These general notions do not entirely apply to Disney...but some of it does hold true. More true of late in FL than CA...but in general the company has been content to coast on its laurels rather than uphold its own standards. The problem for most fans of quality Disney in the US is that...unlike other industries such as automobile manufacturing...Disney has no true competitors to force its hand. Even Universal isn't quite in the same league in terms of providing an immersive experience, even though technologically they have been superior to Disney on many counts for more than a decade now.
    Down with the Hat


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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    All valid arguments and perspectives... but the argument about Disney having the money.. well, we all know they do, but like Another Voice illustrated, it's management not willing to spend it in the parks!! I think I said that in the beginning. OLC is willing to spend the money in the parks because it is the only Disney tie they have, in addition to the Disney Stores, which in Japan, they seem to be quite profitable as well. That is the basic difference here.. OLC= Willing, WDC= not willing, even if the money is there and they much rather blow it on Depp's inflated salary.
    Quote Originally Posted by DuffyDad View Post
    I find it extremely sad that the actual holders of the legacy of a man who created the world's strongest entertainment empire from a drawing of a mouse on paper would actually become so jaded that the bottom line transformed completely from the magic of what might be possible when you believe in a dream into the miserly goals of only what is surely profitable, at the expense of magic for all. Maybe because they don't actually go through the process from inspiration to creation to exhibition, the very real magic of that process is lost on them.
    This whole statement from you makes me respect you even more as a disney fan. Now loose the bear. But in regards to going thru that process of creation... they do, but then when they imagine, here comes management with the small budget restriction.. so them dreams have to be dimishied to a non Disney level of achieving the magic without exceeding your expectations. That is what's so sad about the whole thing.

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another Voice View Post
    The Walt Disney Company sees itself as a media corporation that distributes its creative content through various platforms – motion picture theaters, broadcast and cable television, the internet and, yes, theme parks. To Bob Iger and company, a visit to a theme park is not a goal onto itself; it is just another way of experiencing studio created content. You enjoyed Lilo and Stitch the movie, played the Stitch video game on the DVD, watched the television series for years and now you get to see Stitch in a parade or in the Tiki Room. The movie thearter, your disc player and the theme park are all just mechanisms to deliver you 'Stitch'.
    I think the above insightful, true and concisely stated - and explains a lot of what we see happening to the parks division. Their theme park foray into China seems primarily aimed to help imbed their brands into the minds of the Chinese (hence the attached clauses regarding broadcasting rights).

    It’s also the case that the management of Disney is completely out of touch with its core audience. In the past, Disney was run by a rather small group of dedicated people who had spent their entire careers inside the company, people who firmly believed that “Disney” was a unique art form.
    Not only an art form but served a purpose greater than bringing joy to children via rides, as Greg Maletic eloquently describes here:
    The Meaning of Disneyland Greg Maletic’s Blog

    The sad thing is as Parks & Resorts achieve improving numbers, it cements Rasulo's "success" and job security. Visitors seem to settle for loss of little details and retail diversity, lack of mainenance, thematic cohesiveness or original attractions and the baseline shifts ever lower. They sell off chunk after chunk of priceless WDWproperty in order to make annual numbers (bonuses) and the sprawl that Walt Disney tried to insulate against creeps in like a cancer. Younger visitors have never known anything but Pressler's & Rasulo's Disney and have no measuring stick.

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    Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Younger visitors have never known anything but Pressler's & Rasulo's Disney and have no measuring stick.
    That's the downward sprial Disney is now in. The "branding" of the parks has gone on for so long now that a) people who want "real Disney" have stopped going and b) those that do show up assume this is what the parks have always been like. At Disneyland in Anaheim - you have either Annual Passholders who get all misty eyed for Hanna Montana or tourists there because it's one stop in Califorina - but the huge numbers of "normal" visitors simply don't go any more. Disney has slashed their potential audience by chasing after the "all characters, all the time" crowd.

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    Thumbs up Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by Another Voice View Post
    The difference boils down to how the different management teams see their businesses. It’s not a question of money – if Disney can poop away $350+ million on Pirates 3 it can certainly afford a new can of paint for the Magic Kingdom.

    The Oriental Land Company sees themselves in the theme resort business with a related sideline in a chain of character-based merchandise retail operations. They believe their success lies in providing its guests with the best park and hotel operations they can, and in retailing popular products to those same customers.

    The Walt Disney Company sees itself as a media corporation that distributes its creative content through various platforms – motion picture theaters, broadcast and cable television, the internet and, yes, theme parks. To Bob Iger and company, a visit to a theme park is not a goal onto itself; it is just another way of experiencing studio created content.

    In short, the OLC believes the park itself is the draw but The Walt Disney Company believes the franchises are the draw.

    Today, the company is run by the same group of people that run every other Hollywood media enterprise. As a group, they do not share the same background as the average Disney customer, audience member or guest. In fact, they are actively hostile to the clean cut Middle America image that Disney had in the past. Phrases like “mouth breathers” and “WalMart shoppers” are not my inventions. Michael Eisner himself, it’s said, would often boast that while other children were “wasting their time” watching Disney animated films, his parents were giving him a “superior” childhood upbringing by taking him to Broadway plays, concerts and museums.
    This seems dead-on, AnotherVoice. Thank you. It reminds me of something a student and I were chatting about yesterday. The actual textbook-taught (I have lots of MBA students) mandate that "the priority and purpose for any business is to maximize profits at all costs." You don't become a baker anymore because you want to make bread or take personal pride in being part of the daily life of the families in your community. If you think people will buy bread, you grudgingly make bread as cheaply as you can and sell as much of it at the highest price you can. Then you complain about how you hate making bread and you're sick of people telling you they want it to taste better. More and more people I know seem to be making life choices based on the same principle of "maximizing profits," chasing salaries with no real thought as to what kind of work might actually make them happy. This is a frightening trend, I think. I can't help myself mentioning that this, too, reminds me of Barack Obama, who seems to genuinely enjoy doing the very challenging work of being the US President during very challenging times. I'm hoping the tides are changing and people are remembering that they can have a comfortable life and still do what they dream. That last bit is what I think Disney is all about, or should be. Maybe Disney will get back into measuring success by making dreams come true, too, because AV and others are right; it's not that they "can't" afford it.^^

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    Question Re: Too off-topic... What makes TDR so different? OR Whassup with Disney management?

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    The problem for most fans of quality Disney in the US is that...unlike other industries such as automobile manufacturing...Disney has no true competitors to force its hand. Even Universal isn't quite in the same league in terms of providing an immersive experience, even though technologically they have been superior to Disney on many counts for more than a decade now.
    This reminds me of something I have wondered about often, and even tried doing my own research about. Maybe someone here can help. Why is Disney responsible for Ghibli's overseas distribution? How did that come about? In Japan, there is so much Ghibli merchandise, and dedicated Ghibli stores. They're not Disney, but there's a more level playing field. By putting their fate in the hands of their greatest rival, Ghibli was pretty much guaranteed to always be lagging behind in international markets, I think. In the US, even the "most-hyped" Ghibli movies only ever saw very limited release in very few theaters with very little promotion, and all the success they received indirectly gets reflected back to Disney as the distributor, plus a cut of the profits. Was it just Ghibli not having the foresight or the courage to independently try to take on Disney as a competitor, or was it really just impossible for Ghibli to handle its own distribution? I have always been confused about this, and, honestly, always kind of hated Disney for how this is done, no matter how it came about.

    Here's a link to what I'm talking about, but I still think there has to be more to this story...

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