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  1. #1

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    Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    OK, it's that time again ... time for a Spirited thread to go on and on and on ...

    I've been receiving some depressing email of late and I'm starting to wonder, frankly, whether WDI has the capability left to wow me anymore. Or any of us 'purists'.

    I think I first got the feeling that something was 'off' when the much ballyhooed (first time I've used that in a post) Test Track debuted a decade ago and left me with a collective yawn.

    The money was there. The ride system was state of the art. But the result? It sure didn't leave me with the same feeling that Mansion and Pirates and Pan did (and still do).

    And since then, there have been far more misses than hits.

    Even the hits, don't appear to be the type of attractions that are timeless. Pirates ... and American Adventure... and Big Thunder ... and Mansion ... and Small World ... are.

    But will anyone here honestly tell me TT, Mission Space, Soarin, Everest and PhilharMagic are?

    The only one that has a chance is Everest because it is a cool, well-themed, well-thought-out Disney coaster.

    The others? I enjoy Soarin and PhilharMagic, but not like the old attractions above, and film-based attractions lose repeatability the more you experience them (are you listening Tom Fitzgerald?). HISTA was a huge hit in 1991 ... MuppetVision too. Have you ever had to wait to enter either of them (beyond waiting for the next show) in the last decade? Even on the busiest days?

    Mission Space ... it's simply a glorified simulator and we all know how well they fare over time. The fact it tends to make a large segment of the ridership physically ill, makes you wonder if this will even have the staying power of a Body Wars or Star Tours.

    And how many abject failures have there been? Attractions that have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars that have gotten collective yawns by the general public and vitriol by the fan community? I won't list them here because I think you all know what I am talking about.

    What about all the redos that should have been redon'ts?

    I just wonder if so many people have died, retired or been forced out -- and real talents marginalized in political gamesmanship -- if WDI is capable of giving me a WOW.

    I admit Mission Space did that the first time, but with each subsequent ride it's lost something.

    This love affair WDI has developed for sticking animated characters in any place at the cost of show makes me wonder if they have a clue or are just following orders.

    This reliance on new gimmicks -- the Living Character Program -- reminds me of past fascinations with simulators and 3D movies (hey, Tom, still reading? ... what about you Bruce?)

    It's almost like Disney is afraid to either a.) try something completely new; or b.) create a long, immersive family attraction in the Pirates vein (and please geeks, don't bring up WRE here!)

    I see talented individuals and some quality work.

    But what I don't see is the next attraction that will take me into a world of Pirates sacking a town or fly me from London to Never Land (without any snotty FA's slamming their service carts into me because they have issues with management!) where I can never grow up or take me on a runaway mine train into a 'spirited' mountain full of gold.

    I also know it isn't a money issue either because WDI is so wasteful it should be an arm of the US government ... maybe FEMA? The costs of DAK, DCA and DSP are all in the same relative ballpark. Yet one stands so much above the other two ... So to just blame 'the beancounters' isn't fair and it isn't accurate either. Sure, there are times when another $20 million could have made a huge difference. And there are just as many examples where $20 million was thrown away on things that won't improve the guest experience in any way.

    I guess when it comes right down to it two things have changed -- Disney seems to have lost its creative touch and daring, and I have grown as a person to where simple WalMart crap doesn't impress me just cause it's at 'Disney World' and the marketing machine tells me I'm supposed to be impressed.

    Those are some of my thoughts.

    What are yours?

    And consider this thread, my holiday gift to you ... hopefully, it will keep spreading joy right on into 2008!
    Happy Holidays!

  2. #2

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    If they redid a Soarin' for Florida (or somewhere other than CA), I wouldn't put it in a negative category at all. I think it's a fun attraction, well done.

    Philharmagic - still a "new" favorite. I really enjoy it, and I think it holds up well in Fantasyland.

    Mission Space - Eh, I don't really care for it (not a quality issue).

    Haunted Mansion re-do - fantastic. Gran Fiesta - not (IMHO).

    Everest is full of win.

    The Spaceship Earth "up" visuals are wonderful.

    Test Track is a decent attraction, still popular - still fun. I just wish they didn't close WOM to have it.

    While I don't really like Nemo so much, it has some nice effects.

    WDI has done a lot of good work over the past year, I certainly wouldn't write them off.
    Denise

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
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  3. #3

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    As usual, right on the mark, especially when considering the "new" attractions debuting at HKDL.

    I will say Philharmagic is a great addition to Fantasyland, though it rarely has a wait until the next show when I visit now, and it only opened in 2003!

    Everest is the one that really adds to the true Disney experience, with the possible exception of the switch at the top of the mountain before moving downhill.

    And, with the Seas, while not an E ticket, it still is a great little C ticket (Something that WDI seems to forget to add sometimes. Not all attractions need to be billed as bigger, faster, thrillinger... )

    WDI needs some lifeblood, or at least needs to let the Imagineers let lose again. Is the problem creative stifling? trying to shoehorn attraction to fit the gimmick of the decade? I don't know that answer, but I think if there were less restrictions, we might see WDI back to its original form.

    And, for Chirstmas, I am asking Santa for an immersive AA attraction, one that will transport me to another world, just as the best attractions in the Disney canon do. That, and a C-Ticket Jungle Book dark ride in DAK.
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  4. #4

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo View Post

    And, for Chirstmas, I am asking Santa for an immersive AA attraction, one that will transport me to another world, just as the best attractions in the Disney canon do. That, and a C-Ticket Jungle Book dark ride in DAK.
    I just want a few more E-tickets while I'm still young and healthy enough to enjoy them!
    Denise

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    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  5. #5

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    ... and let's keep our hopes up for more clones from the left-coast.

    Midway Mania's a good start. Could we hope for Carsland in WDW somewhere?
    These are the games that never end.

  6. #6

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    I just want a few more E-tickets while I'm still young and healthy enough to enjoy them!
    I'd settle for one immersive AA than a few E tickets....because I'd rather get 1 Mansion than 5 Mission Spaces.
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  7. #7

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    If they redid a Soarin' for Florida (or somewhere other than CA), I wouldn't put it in a negative category at all. I think it's a fun attraction, well done.
    I think you missed my point a bit. I enjoy Soarin ... a lot. I recall a certain friend of mine saying she thought it was 'overrated' after riding it at DCA for the first time back in '01!

    What I am saying is that it -- as a film based attraction -- isn't going to hold up over the years. Five years from now, do you think you'll enjoy Soarin as much as you once did?

    Now, maybe they'll have swapped in a new film, so we'll have a 'new' attraction to enjoy, but I wouldn't count on it. Look at the lines at DCA and EPCOT.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Philharmagic - still a "new" favorite. I really enjoy it, and I think it holds up well in Fantasyland.
    That 'new' attraction is already over four years old. I still enjoy it, and it likely will hold up much better than any other 3D film because it has the classic Disney characters and music and they are timeless.

    But it still IS a movie. You don't become part of it ... you don't travel through it ... you sit in a theater and watch . And with all the geeks taping things, you can likely do so by yourself at home while cooking apple pie for the smell.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Mission Space - Eh, I don't really care for it (not a quality issue).
    But see, it is. Or will be over time. Disney spent $200 million on that attraction, so it isn't going anywhere. And if people aren't thrilled with it now, what do you think the case will be in 2013?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Haunted Mansion re-do - fantastic. Gran Fiesta - not (IMHO).
    Yes. They did a great job on Mansion, but they had one of WED's top three attractions ever created to 'plus' ... that's kind of like being given $60 million and told 'here's a perfectly decorated 40-room oceanfront estate ... it's gotten a bit tired in spots and has one room that is basically empty and needs a few pieces of furniture, see what you can do.' In other words, it would have been hard to screw it up.

    As to Gran Fiesta, it's OK. But shouldn't a new version of an old attraction be better?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Everest is full of win.
    Agreed.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    The Spaceship Earth "up" visuals are wonderful.
    I'll be the judge on my next visit!

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    Test Track is a decent attraction, still popular - still fun. I just wish they didn't close WOM to have it.
    Oh, it is very popular. It rates highly with guests, but there's no accounting for public tastes (see WalMart, Taco Bell, Britney Spears and US autos!)
    And they didn't really have to close WoM. They have loads of backstage space there and could have simply added a show building and still had the cars go around the main building.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    While I don't really like Nemo so much, it has some nice effects.
    I like it to, but is it a classic? Can you see yourself in 10 years feeling the same way about it that you do for your faves? I can't.

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    WDI has done a lot of good work over the past year, I certainly wouldn't write them off.
    It's not that there aren't people who are capable. But the structure of the organization and the fact that Marty is still protecting Tom Fitzgerald, who is protecting Eric Jacobson (who has done some great work like on Blizzard Beach and the Mansion redo, but also was 'the wand guy' and part of the two new pieces of crap in the MK) etc ... it just makes you wonder what the agendas are for many of the people ... and one thing they aren't overly concerned with is living up to Disney's past glories, so long as their projects get greenlit.

  8. #8

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo View Post
    I'd settle for one immersive AA than a few E tickets....because I'd rather get 1 Mansion than 5 Mission Spaces.
    The Haunted Mansion was an E-ticket ride. Pirates, 20,000 Leagues (I'd love to see us get the subs back too!), Hall of Presidents - all E-Tickets.

    For me, an E-Ticket is about a really great quality attraction. The Haunted Mansion and Pirates, Splash Mountain - those are just amazing in their detail and design. Everest, the American Adventure, the Safari, TOT. Great storytelling (well, except for that whole Little Red thing!) I'd consider the Adventurers Club at PI an E-Ticket attraction.

    I don't need another roller coaster - but wouldn't mind if done right. But more than Nemo, more than Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, and no - not another Mission Space!
    Denise

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    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  9. #9

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    I just want a few more E-tickets while I'm still young and healthy enough to enjoy them!
    They're coming.

    The question is: will they be as good or better than the ones that preceeded them?

    If not, then they should not be built.

    You improve on the past ... you learn and get better and move on.

    You don't put things like SGE and MILF and Journey versions 2.0 and 3.0 and the new O Canada and keep your jobs. ... But at WDI, you do.

  10. #10

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbodyhome View Post
    The Haunted Mansion was an E-ticket ride. Pirates, 20,000 Leagues (I'd love to see us get the subs back too!), Hall of Presidents - all E-Tickets.
    I realize that....I was using E-Ticket in the new sense, that it's all about the tallest, fastest, craziest, most technologically advanced, etc. The slow moving omnimovers with a lot of AAs don't seem to be considered E-Tickets by today's standards.
    It's a Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah...Tip for Today!










  11. #11

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ward View Post
    ... and let's keep our hopes up for more clones from the left-coast.

    Midway Mania's a good start. Could we hope for Carsland in WDW somewhere?

    Hmm ... The Park About To Formerly Be Known as The Disney MGM Studios might be a good place ... there's a lot of land being wasted by a Backlot Tour that really has no backlot ... now, I'm not saying it's happening ... but ...

    As to Midway Mania, well, I've heard good things but ... people love Buzz Lightyear and, while I enjoy it, it isn't exactly a WOW attraction.

    Men In Black at Uni-FLA wowed me when I first rode it, and still largely does because of the amazing detail and setpieces. I hope MM does the same.

  12. #12

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    I guess another great question this brings up is: what was the last Disney attraction (anywhere) that totally wowed you?

    For me, at WDW, it would clearly be Kilimanjaro Safaris at DAK, although Everest is just a few notches below.

    But think about it, KS opened almost a decade ago. A very long time in Disney Geek years!

    At DLP, which I didn't visit until a few years ago, almost every attraction wowed me because they were all 21st century plusse versions of things I already loved.

    At DL, the last thing that really wowed me would actually be the Mansion Holiday makeover. I couldn't believe they took one great E-Ticket and made two out of it. ToT and Nemo Subs are both enjoyable, but they aren't WOW caliber!

  13. #13

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    I think you missed my point a bit. I enjoy Soarin ... a lot. I recall a certain friend of mine saying she thought it was 'overrated' after riding it at DCA for the first time back in '01!
    .
    Yes, I absolutely said that. I heard SO much about the attraction, people online raving about it being better than anything else. So I had VERY high expectations. I like it much better now that I have realistic expectations. I also had heard a lot of terrible reviews about Superstar Limo. With that in mind, I rode it - and liked it better than all the comments I'd heard. I actually preferred it to the new Monsters Inc. attraction.

    As far as Nemo now - it isn't a favorite, I have no inclinations towards riding. So no, I don't expect to like it later either.

    This isn't to be negative towards WDI in the least, but a lot of the past attractions you mentioned were designed by people who Walt himself picked, right? I mean, how do you top that? I was watching the Disneyland DVD with Betty Taylor and Wally Boag at the Golden Horseshoe, and it amazes me the talent that was right on Disneyland property. There is a lot of talent now, but that just blew me away when I saw the DVD. Walt surrounded himself with some HUGE talent on every level. Marc Davis, John Hench, Marty Sklar...very irreplaceable. Not that we don't have more current and fantastic talent - like Tony Baxter and Joe Rodhe. So there is always hope around the corner! WDI is still capable of great things.
    Last edited by nbodyhome; 12-19-2007 at 07:37 PM.
    Denise

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    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  14. #14

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDW1974 View Post
    I guess another great question this brings up is: what was the last Disney attraction (anywhere) that totally wowed you?
    Everest. The AK Jungle Trek, which is so well designed - just a beautiful area to walk through. Cinderellas Castle lights (is that an attraction?)

    Oh - and I like the new version of O Canads. Wowed? Not at all. But much more pleasant than the reviews I'd read.
    Denise

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    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

  15. #15

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    Re: Has WDI Jumped The Shark?

    Quote Originally Posted by yoyoflamingo View Post
    I realize that....I was using E-Ticket in the new sense, that it's all about the tallest, fastest, craziest, most technologically advanced, etc. The slow moving omnimovers with a lot of AAs don't seem to be considered E-Tickets by today's standards.
    Oh - I don't think of E-Ticket like that. :0) I remember what my E-Ticket coupons got me!

    I also like Men in Black and Spiderman over at Uni, Buzz is very disappointing to me based on a MIB scale.
    Denise

    www.mousesteps.com




    Favorite TDL Typo:

    Quote Originally Posted by TDLFAN View Post
    I think it will give more pipping pervs the reason needed to go parasailing
    on Bay Lake.

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