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  • [Chat] A Second Golden Age?

    Quick Backstory; Mr Wiggins made an interesting comment recently. He noted that some parents now were children in the 90's, many more will be parents in the coming years. More importantly they never knew many of the "legendary" attractions... they never experienced the magic of Disney's Disneyland. To many of them Disneyland always had a Main Gate admission, always offered an Annual Pass etc. This made me think of something I had considered writing before, and finally got around to it now.

    For any of a number of reasons most individuals growing up will tell you they related better to their grandparents then they did to their own parents. You could cite any of a myriad of examples... but for some reason a lot of us relate to our grandparents. Earlier this year my wife lost her Grandmother. This was obviously devastating to the family, but it really made me think about a lot of things. Her Grandmother was a kid when the stock market crashed... she actually remembered the day it happened (she was 9). She could tell you how much things have changed. Most of all she would tell you how Disneyland changed. Her one regret in regards to Disneyland... she never saw it as a kid! She saw it as a parent, and as a grandparent, sadly she never had the chance to go with us as a great grandparent... but she never knew it as a little kid. This realization made me think back to my own grandparents. They always talked about Disneyland. They talked about how it was an amazing business. They'd talk about high quality food, high quality entertainment, decent prices, excellent service, and the place was always clean. Notice that nothing in there was about anything creative... they saw Disneyland as an adult and to them the "magic" was for kids. I'm only 29. I knew Disneyland as a kid and I see it now as an adult. I credit a LOT of my creativity to having known Disneyland growing up. I remember Steve D's book on the trains, and how much of an impression Disneyland made on him as a kid... but I never heard any of this from my grandparents because they weren't kids.

    I have kids of my own now. My mother was a teen when Disneyland was built, She has all sorts of stories of what it was like to see it as a kid. She constantly tells my little ones about Mine Train, or Carousel of Progress, or Motor Boats... they hear stories of this magical man known as Walt Disney and they are awed. They, and many like them, are being raised on stories of what Disneyland was... and can see what it has become. Is it possible that the Grandparents who were kids when Disneyland opened... may have the most impact on the next few generations that will inherit it? Is it possible that their words of wisdom will change the culture from profit to creativity? Instead of hearing Disneyland the business, many growing up now are hearing Disneyland the creative magical place... will this be a new Golden Age?

    Just something to think about.
    "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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    "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"


  • #2
    Re: A Second Golden Age?

    I'm not going to pretend I know the answer...but I sure as heck hope so.

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    • #3
      Re: A Second Golden Age?

      I think you present an interesting idea, Skip. But my guess is kids today are just as awed by the Park today as we were as kids. They don't seem to mind pirates being on a Mississippi River island; they don't notice chipped paint or burnt-out bulbs. For them, Fort Wilderness was always made our of railroad ties.

      Walt believed that kids were more observant of these things than we give them credit for. I sure hope he is right.

      And I hope our discussions of how the Park has changed (some would argue devolved) will instill in them a desire to see something of the quality we all remember brought back.

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      • #4
        Re: A Second Golden Age?

        I don't think a Golden Age is just going to happen on its own. There is a lot of work to do.

        I notice that a lot of the younger generation grew up only knowing Disney working as a corporate giant. Very cold, very Pressler, is all they know.

        I think us older generations need to teach the younger generations what Disneyland was all about when we were young and impressionable. That isn't easy. But it is our responsibility and it must be done. Because current management is currently leading Disney Parks down a path that looks like their might be six flags at the end of it.

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        • #5
          Re: A Second Golden Age?

          This is slightly :ot: but it applies to the discussion.

          Last night my wife and I saw Public Enemies. Surprisingly it wasn't a teen and 20something crowd thrilled at the exploits of Johnny Depp. It was an older crowd, many elderly, who remembered Dillinger. They remembered reading the newspapers and hearing the stories played over the radio. I spoke with one couple after the movie. Her father owned an auto dealership in St Louis... she went because she remembered "mobsters" trading cars at her Father's dealership. I immediately thought of my grandfather, and the stories he used to tell of Depression era Boston.

          The movie's details are inaccurate... but the movie brings to life a story that many in that audience experienced first hand as kids. Many of them told their grandkids about it... and years later it's a movie. The same phenomenon can be seen in comic book movies. There is a really good DVD that has Kevin Smith interviewing Stan Lee... and Kevin said exactly that. His comment was that the movies he sees now are the movies he dreamed of making when he read comic books as a kid. Think about how many WW2 movies have recently come out. It's interesting how the old has become new again. We are all highly impressionable as kids. I became a Skip in part because of the interactions I had with Skips as a small child. Steve has a very similar story in regards to his love of Steam Trains. If the stories of those who "were there" can inspire grand kids who relate more to them then their own parents... then Disney might see a major shift. Then again it could be a "pipe dream" as the brick and mortar world of corporate culture beats the creativity out of the young adults... only time will tell.
          "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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          "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"

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          • #6
            Re: A Second Golden Age?

            I think a second "Golden Age" is possible; but a mojority of people calling the shots in the company today are going to have to be long gone to make room for potential people that remember those first times they went to DL park and got on their favorite ride or saw their favorite character there in person. But I dont see that happening for a long time.

            I became nostalgic at the new plans of what they're doing over at Paradise Pier. When I saw the new idea for the tornado swings I was happy because I remember watching that old cartoon back when I was younger (I'm 25 currently) I my issue is that you used to watch the old Mickey Mouse cartoons on TV and although they were old they were nontheless timeless. I flip on the Disney Channel and I dont see any of the old cartoons anymore, instead the kids growing up today have Hannah Montana, High School Musical, and Jonas Brothers (shudders). Where as I used to have a morning or afternoon show on Channel 9 showing old Disney cartoons and thats how I grew to love those characters.

            In the end its really going to be up to the people that actually care about the park enough to really try and share those old stories with their children and hopefully spark that sense of magic that was sparked with most of us. Unfortunately alot of parents dont even bother to do that so I look at the second Golden Age of DL park as a possible thing to come; but a uphill battle.
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            • #7
              Re: A Second Golden Age?

              Great thread Tech, very interesting thoughts. Your point about grandparents is very true in many ways and there are many interesting parallels in my family as well. I am practically a clone of my mom's dad, and from what I've been told, he was as excited as the kids to go to DL when it opened. He's almost 90 and still a kid a heart. Anyway, despite that, I don't really have too many memories of him talking about DL, but I'm sure he probably appreciated both the creative and business techniques of Walt. But my mom did experience DL as a kid and is a huge fan so I have heard tons of stories like the ones that you say your mom tells since I was very young and they've had a huge impact on me as the park has directly as well.

              I defintely believe that the potential for a second golden age exists, and I do think that a big part of that will come from a point where the right management team happens to line up with the right creative team and they have a few "old school" hit attractions, which would really allow them some freedom to actually be creative. I think it's coming, I'm not sure when, and it very well still could be a while, but you can sense the passion for and inspiration created by classic DL will eventually come full circle.
              The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
              -Walt Disney

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              • #8
                Re: A Second Golden Age?

                Well it should be interesting to see what happens. Another interesting thought is that the movies predated the park by 15 years or so... and look when Animation's Second Golden Age was...
                "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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                "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"

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                • #9
                  Re: A Second Golden Age?

                  In the early millennium, Disneyland wasn't very nice, right? Its starting to pick up again, that could be an early sign for great things to come, right?
                  -Tyler

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                  • #10
                    Re: A Second Golden Age?

                    There's a flaw in your logic though. You're basically assuming that Grandparents will tell kids how good Disneyland used to be. The thing is, Disneyland is still a wonderful place, and I guarantee that people have just as much fun there as they did in the 1950s, if not more. Why would kids care to hear about Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland when Big Thunder sounds more appealing to them in every way?

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                    • #11
                      Re: A Second Golden Age?

                      Frontierland is a great example of how some things have not changed for the better. At one point Frontierland boasted a huge attraction, Mine Train through Natures Wonderland. It had one of the major landmarks... Cascade Peak. There was a mule train. There was a stage coach. On the river was the Mike Fink keel boats. Imagine the reactions of little kids when they see pictures of this... and compare it to "Big Thunder Mountain" which is all that is there today...

                      To sum up what one Micechatter said "When did Frontierland begin to suck?" I'm not saying Disneyland has slid to a point that no one cares about it or treasures it. I am saying that it appears to be on a very careless path. Many have forgotten what it was like... some don't care... I heard stories of how Disneyland was a great business because I rarely listened to my parents and my grandparents only knew it as adults. My Mom tells the kids stories and I LISTEN... sometimes shocked because she claims she told me before but I don't ever remember hearing it. Even more to the point I tell my kids what it was like on Jungle when I was their age, and they roll the eyes. Grandma says something and they tell me over, and over, and over about it.

                      So if we get a generation who grew up on stories of Greatness then maybe they will care more about the "little things" then we do. Business will always be business... but what will the future caretakers of Disneyland lead it?
                      "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

                      sigpic

                      "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"

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                      • #12
                        Re: A Second Golden Age?

                        [QUOTE=Steve DeGaetano;1055428488]I think you present an interesting idea, Skip. But my guess is kids today are just as awed by the Park today as we were as kids. They don't seem to mind pirates being on a Mississippi River island; they don't notice chipped paint or burnt-out bulbs. For them, Fort Wilderness was always made our of railroad ties.

                        Walt believed that kids were more observant of these things than we give them credit for. I sure hope he is right.QUOTE] He was sure right! I'm a young girl (not yet an adult) and I've noticed chipped paint and burnt-out light bulbs since I was very little, and I hate it when a place looks terrible, it ruins the magic and makes you think "Ew! I don't want to be here!", which is why so many people, and even kids, prefer Disneyland over Six Flags and all the other theme parks. Children also do notice things like pirates on a Mississippi Island river. If they actually had signs up stating that the island was suppose to be Mississippi then I'm sure many children who are old enough to know what Mississippi is and where it is at would ask "Since when did pirates invade Mississippi?"
                        sigpic...After a YEAR I finally was able to figure out my password again! I'm baaack! Woohoo!(:
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                        • #13
                          Re: A Second Golden Age?

                          By the way, I'm not sure why the quote part in my post above didn't come out right
                          sigpic...After a YEAR I finally was able to figure out my password again! I'm baaack! Woohoo!(:
                          Disney is my life <3
                          Thank Walt for all he did! <3
                          Future Imagineer <3
                          Keep Disney the way Walt intended it!!

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                          • #14
                            Re: A Second Golden Age?

                            Great post. Sadly Disneyland will never be Walt's Disneyland again. That is why fans get so upset about things like the addition of movie characters into Small World and POTC. Changes like those are stripping away what is left of Walt's Disneyland.

                            Disneyland will never be as innovative or ground breaking as it was in the 50s or 60s. We will never see new rides be like the Matterhorn, POTC, and the Haunted Mansion. What I mean by that is that we will never see any new rides that revolutionized theme park attractions to the same degree that those rides did.

                            We can just hope for the best, and sadly realize that the sense of awe those rides inspired when they first opened, will never be replicated again.

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                            • #15
                              Re: A Second Golden Age?

                              Originally posted by GhostHost2 View Post
                              Great post. Sadly Disneyland will never be Walt's Disneyland again. That is why fans get so upset about things like the addition of movie characters into Small World and POTC. Changes like those are stripping away what is left of Walt's Disneyland.

                              Disneyland will never be as innovative or ground breaking as it was in the 50s or 60s. We will never see new rides be like the Matterhorn, POTC, and the Haunted Mansion. What I mean by that is that we will never see any new rides that revolutionized theme park attractions to the same degree that those rides did.

                              We can just hope for the best, and sadly realize that the sense of awe those rides inspired when they first opened, will never be replicated again.
                              I don't think it has to be "Walt's Disneyland" in order to have it be innovative and ground breaking. All it takes is people who honestly care about the magic... people who "do it for themselves"...

                              That's the reason I mentioned comics and various other movies. Some of those movies are really bad. In many cases it was a huge commercial push. Other comic movies were really good... because the people doing it always wanted to do it. Van Helsing isn't a great movie by any stretch... but it is a great Monster flim. The director is a diehard Monster Movie addict... he claims he got it from watching the classic Monster Movies with his grandfather... and it shows! Kevin Smith has said the same thing before. He's a huge comic geek, and a lot of his "drive" to make movies came from reading old comics as a kid and saying "I want to make something like this".

                              The WW2 film proliferation is another example. As is the huge Swing Dancing movement and the interest in classic car restoration. What was old is new again. In many cases people don't even need "old pictures of Disneyland"... they can go to various blogs and websites... most of the old photos are online now. My kids hear these amazing stories and I wonder how many others like them are out there... hearing stories about how Magical some of the old attractions were. This might give things like Country Bear, Hatbox Ghost, People Mover and Mine Train a chance. Even if nothing is ever brought back, it may serve as inspiration for something else. Adults that said "as a little kid my grandparents always talked about how much fun this was. I wanted to bring some of that magic back."
                              "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

                              sigpic

                              "Creating magical memories and making Managers cry since 1955!"

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