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  • [Question] Origin of the term "show building"?

    Howdy, folks! So, I picked up the term "show building" a few years ago as I got up to speed in the world of online Disneyland fandom. The structures they represent have become a rather large obsession of mine, since I think there's something insanely cool about looking at a plain green wall and knowing there's a huge battle going on between a pirate ship and a Caribbean fort on the other side. Hence my big modeling project and blah blah blah. Anyways, I was wondering if anyone knows where this term actually came from. It gets used relatively frequently in the fan communities, but finding a definition of it or a definitive description has been difficult, to say the least. Heck, there wasn't even a Wikipedia article on show buildings until I wrote one.

    So yeah...anyone know how this term entered the lingo of theme park fanatics such as I?


  • #2
    Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

    My GUESS is that it was an Imagineering term that became eventually public because of things like The E Ticket magazine and such.

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    • #3
      Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

      Is it really necessary to ascribe some fantastic back story to how such a simple, descriptive term developed? Can't it just have come into the lexicon because the term simply describes better than any other what the structure is?

      This is sort of like wondering how they came up with terms like "sail boat" or "garbage truck."

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      • #4
        Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

        Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
        Is it really necessary to ascribe some fantastic back story to how such a simple, descriptive term developed? Can't it just have come into the lexicon because the term simply describes better than any other what the structure is?

        This is sort of like wondering how they came up with terms like "sail boat" or "garbage truck."
        Well, you know the folks on this board. I hear there's a guy that wrote an entire book about one single train :whistling.

        I do suspect more people picked at random can define sail boat or garbage truck that would be able to define show building. It's more of a job jargon term than one used by the public (outside of DL boards of course). Language is fun , just ask George Carlin........oh, yeah........:crybye:

        A bientot.
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        What the dormouse said
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        You've read it; you can't unread it!

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        • #5
          Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

          I'm thinking that the term was developed by Disneyland management -- not by WDI.

          Of the many buildings badckstage it's probably a good idea to identify the show buildings as such in order to prevent the CMs from accidentally walking into one or opening a door that might lead into one.

          There's really nothing special about this term other than describing what the building is. It is no different or special than other terms we use for other types of buildings such as skyscrapers, warehouses, office buildings, homes, etc...

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          • #6
            Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

            One way to think of a show building is to go back to Walt Disney's movie-making days, and modern times as well, if you don't prefer the nostalgia... films were often shot on soundstages, which are much like show buildings. On the outside, it's a plain building with nothing really exciting about it... but on the inside, there could be a man on a submarine battling with a giant squid, or a number of other adventures he filmed (All without the assistance of green or blue screens). If you think about it, the show buildings are, in effect, the same thing. There is an adventure waiting inside that normal building, just as would be the case on a movie studio lot. There's evidence of this by the way everything in Disneyland is referred to as a show (CM's, guests, on-stage, backstage, etc.), so to me, it seems logical that a show building would be the same as a soundstage on a movie lot, with nothing much happening on the outside, but alot going on inside those walls.






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            • #7
              Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

              We live in an interesting society these days. An encyclopedia article didn't exist, so Datameister actually went in and created one for it. It wasn't that long ago where our information came from a set of books published annually by a tiny group of people who were barely familiar with an iPhone or Disneyland's show buildings.

              I think Steve is right about the term, it's a pretty simple and generic term and could've come from anywhere. It's a building with a show in it.

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              • #8
                Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                To me, show building just means "the building that is not the facade", or where the ride actually happens.
                It's a little too simple to say it's the building where the show happens, because to a non-Disney fan, that wouldn't make sense. To most people, it's not a show, it's a ride. But I would call it a show building rather than a ride building because typically show effects (Indy Boulder, Haunted Mansion ballroom) occur inside rather than mere buildings housing rollercoasters.

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                • #9
                  Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                  Steve, I was gonna reply to your post, but ralfrick did such an unbelievably fantastic job with just a few words that I won't bother. :lol: Suffice it to say that for those who scoff at my question, I'm terribly and deeply sorry for being curious about this. Shame on me!

                  I think I'm with those who think the term probably originated with cast members, but it's nothing more than a hypothesis. I'm hoping someone'll have some concrete info that'll shed some light on it. Thank you to those who've (pleasantly) contributed thus far!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                    It was used a lot in the Arrow Development book about building Disney rides, so it was used at least back during Small World construction if not earlier.

                    (Or they picked it up later and just used it a lot in the interviews, but it reads like Walt and WED were using that term consistently.)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                      Interesting! Thank you very much.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                        Actually, I'm quite interested in how the term was thought up of as well.

                        By the way, fantastic Wiki article, Data!


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                        • #13
                          Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                          Thanks! :blush:

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                          • #14
                            Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                            Originally posted by ralfrick View Post
                            Well, you know the folks on this board. I hear there's a guy that wrote an entire book about one single train :whistling
                            Can't really say I see the connection between researching and writing the history of a 106-year old locomotive (not train), and trying to figure out the etymology of "show building." But that's just me.

                            "Audioanimatronics" or "Imagineer" I can understand. But "show building? I mean, what the heck were they suupposed to call it?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Origin of the term "show building"?

                              Again, I apologize deeply for my stupidity.

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