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When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

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  • darkamor
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    To me? I always felt that WED Imagineers were reaching a pinnacle in the design of both Rides & Attractions when Walt Disney had them working on the 1964 New York World's Fair (which allowed WED to design & perfect their Audio-Animatronic system).

    With "Pepsi Presents Walt Disney's" IT'S A SMALL WORLD we have a classic family attraction which still delights families 48 years later (& it also proved that a flume boat ride could accommodate a high capacity of park guests to enjoy audio-animatronic scenes at a reasonable pace).

    With "General Electric Presents Walt Disney's" PROGRESSLAND we saw how a revolving auditorium could (Carousel of Progress) entertain a seated audience via audio-animatronic presentations (& that demonstration of a brief plasma explosion of a controlled nuclear explosion certainly seemed symbolic to me of what would be coming soon to a newer Tomorrowland).


    With "Ford Motor Company Presents Walt Disney's" MAGIC SKYWAY we experienced how motorless convertible Ford Mustangs, proved that there could be additional means of transportation within a theme park (PeopleMover ride system), as well as proved there was no limit to how large audio-animatronic characters could be via the life sized Dinosaurs (which you can still enjoy at Disneyland via the Railroad Primeval World diorama).

    With "State of Illinois Presents Walt Disney's" President Abraham Lincoln reciting his famous speeches (what began as GREAT MOMENTS WITH MR. LINCOLN at Disneyland was eclipsed later into THE HALL OF PRESIDENTS at WDW) further proved the accomplishments of audio-animatronics. Its fair to say that Walt Disney pioneered the technologies debuting at the 1964 New York World's Fair in order to go on creating THE PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN, THE HAUNTED MANSION, etc (as well as laid the foundations for what would be EPCOT CENTER).


    Disneyland managed to improve itself in three ways -

    1) Corporate Sponsorship
    2) Re-using an Existing Ride (or Attraction)
    3) Duplicating a Ride (with minor changes) for another Theme Park


    Maybe by 1st Disneyland experiences were in the early 70's, but I certainly acknowledge the achievements accomplished in the 1960's which encouraged WED Imagineers to go where no Theme Park had gone before.


    CJ


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  • PinkiePieFan
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    I would have to say the height of imagineering began when they first started designing and building Disneyland in earnest, and encompassing the first 15 years the park was open. . . remember, at that time, they were pretty much inventing things as they went along. . .

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  • Rideongprcs
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    I believe it was from the mid 70's until 1984. WDI had many facilities back then to handle the new parks and additions to the existing parks. Besides WED/Mapo there was the Airway building for vehicle/mechanical assembly, the 1048 building for electronic engineering, the Tower building for mechanical engineering, the TDL offices on Flower and show production in North Hollywood. No matter what project you were working on there was a least one person from the Walt years working with you. Since there would be a gap until DLP would start, the company started layoffs in late 1983. The only facility left in 1984 was WED/Mapo and North Hollywood. Many of the Walt old timers were given golden handshakes and retired.

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  • Rave
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Originally posted by Algernon View Post
    I absolutely agree. People forget that Star Tours, Indy, Small World and Haunted Mansion Christmastime overlays, were all done by outside firms.
    They all involved outside firms but they certainly were all done by Imagineering. Steve Davison who has been with Disney for 20 years now was in charge of both of the overlays, and Star Tours and Indiana Jones are both collaborations with Imagineering with Baxter involved in each. To discredit those projects entirely from WDI is certainly incorrect.

    There hasn't been a single major project in recent Disney history that wasn't designed by Imagineering. OLC for example has an exclusivity agreement saying they can't have anyone else design their attractions.

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  • sjan
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    The high point of Disney imaganeering was in the early 70's when PotC and HM were still new (nothing has come close to those rides since) and the afterglow of Walt Disney's magic was still in the air; Space Mountain was on the horizon and Tomorrowland was still a fun and dynamic place. The 80's weren't bad either; I love Thunder Mountain from 1980, the new version of Fantasyland in 1983 was quite good, and the last new ride that I actually enjoyed was Splash Mountain in 1989, a very fine addition to that area of the park. There is nothing left in Tomorrowland that interests me except for Space Mountain. The new additions to DCA are good enough to please the generic masses, but fall well short of Walt Disney's magic.

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  • DisWedWay
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Imagineering has always had peaks and valleys followed by Black Fridays. One could always read the peaks of Magic by the thickness of the Imagineering phone books lined up by year. 1966 to 1973 was the Walt's WED Imagineering peak, 1977 to 1983 was the WED Imagineering pre Eisner peak. 1987 to 1995 was the WDI Imagineering Eisner-Wells peak. 1998 to 2001 was the OLC-WDI peak. PD
    Last edited by DisWedWay; 07-26-2012, 04:19 PM.

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  • WDW1971
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Originally posted by Algernon View Post
    I absolutely agree. People forget that Star Tours, Indy, Small World and Haunted Mansion Christmastime overlays, were all done by outside firms. The Disneyland Walt Disney left, with the plans he had on the table for later attractions, were the height of Disney--except for maybe the Electical Parade, that came later. Almost everything else has been a downward spiral
    What?! If the Imagineers did not create them then who did?
    Last edited by WDW1971; 08-05-2012, 06:42 PM.

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  • Algernon
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    I absolutely agree. People forget that Star Tours, Indy, Small World and Haunted Mansion Christmastime overlays, were all done by outside firms. The Disneyland Walt Disney left, with the plans he had on the table for later attractions, were the height of Disney--except for maybe the Electical Parade, that came later. Almost everything else has been a downward spiral

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  • WDW1971
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    I find it interesting.
    Last edited by WDW1971; 08-05-2012, 06:42 PM.

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  • danyoung
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    What a great thread! I think there were several periods of greatness from the Imagineers. For me probably the greatest time was in the 60's, as Disneyland was getting plussed with new lands (New Orleans Square), re-imagined lands (Tomorrowland), and new attractions (Haunted Mansion, Pirates).

    I wanted to comment on a couple of things -

    Can you give an example of a project to illustrate how politics affected it or changed the result?
    The project that leaped to mind is the Rocket Rods. The original plans for this attraction got cut back by many millions of bucks. The death knell was when they eliminated the banked tracks, the lack of which caused so much wear and tear on the vehicles that it ultimately doomed the entire attraction. And it wasn't design problems, but politics that led to this demise.

    What were the creative constraints that prevented outstanding concepts being developed for the original DCA? Just a lack of money, or were there other constraints that resulted in it being unimaginative and unsuccessful?
    The entire design concept of DCA changed from the formula that made Disneyland a success. They actively moved away from great attractions, and instead concentrated on off the shelf rides, restaurants and shopping. Restauranteurs like Wolfgang Puck and Mondavi figgered out pretty quickly that this formula wasn't working, and jumped ship within a year. And as we all know, the crowds stayed away in droves, as the place just didn't have the detail, didn't have the innovative attractions, and heck, didn't have the "magic" that we were so accustomed to enjoying in a Disney park. Eleven years and over a billion bucks later, they're finally seeing the error of their flawed plans.

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  • FredSimmons
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    I'd say it peaked around 1967-1969, when they opened Pirates of the Caribbean, New Orleans Square, the Haunted Mansion, and the new Tomorrowland with the PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, etc. Walt Disney had just died, after planning those attactions. (I remember seeing him on TV, explaining how Pirates would work...) This phase was Walt's final contribution to the park.

    Leave a comment:


  • eicarr
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Beyond a doubt its the late 60's. However, Cars Land shows me they've been regaining some skill and mojo the last few years while polishing up and studying the old Disneyland masterpiece Attractions. I really feel they can actually create a better Tomorrowland than the current 60's version after not wanting to leave Cars Land. Before, I was scared they would just make Tomorrowland worse every time they touched it. Now I don't mind them bulldozing stuff because the new stuff might actually be better.

    However, while the 60's might have been the pinnacle, I suspect some of this is a budget thing.... Walt had a little more power to get the money required to not just build attractions, but make them spectacularly better than he had to..... And I think Lasseter is doing a great job with this too.
    Last edited by eicarr; 07-25-2012, 12:07 PM.

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  • CASurfer65
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    The period that resulted in the creation of Disneyland itself, so I would say the early 1950s.

    Second would be the mid-1960s which saw the creation of New Orleans Square, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and the new Tomorrowland of 1967 including Adventure thru Inner Space, Carousel of Progress and PeopleMover. Also during that period It's a Small World and the Primeval World diorama opened. So the mid-1960s was a very fertile period for originality and innovation.
    Absolutely this.

    That which happened at the beginning is responsible for all the rest that has followed.

    From there it got better up through the 60s because even though Walt was sadly gone by the late 60s, his colleagues were still there and ready to keep the magic and imagination flowing.

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  • waltopia
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    1952-1995 + Japan

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  • choco choco
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Imagineering's prime was the Late 80's/Early 90's. Best amalgamation of talent ever at the company. A mixture of the original group still around and the new group that harnessed everything the founders learned and took it a step further.

    This was when Imagineering really blossomed as its own discipline, and not an offshoot of animation and set design.

    The OP's list says it pretty well, but I think he missed the crown jewel of their 90's achievement: Fantasmic.

    Leave a comment:


  • techskip
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    asking when the peak "was" implies that anything after has been downhill...

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  • WDW1971
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    suddenly I feel so insignificant
    Oh Bob Weaver, you are significant though!

    ---------- Post added 07-25-2012 at 11:40 AM ----------

    Originally posted by Bob Weaver View Post
    The CEO or management team should realize the company's true product is originality. In the "Walt era" the company originated trends in popular culture and entertainment. In the latter-day era the company has chosen to merely reflect and appropriate whatever happens to be popular or trendy already.

    And I still don't agree with the notion that throwing more money at a project automatically makes it better. What makes a project great are the concepts and ideas that the project expresses.
    I wish they would realize guests like original rides too. Everest is a great ride even though there is no character relation. I'm sure Radiator Springs Racers would have been great if they did not use the Cars characters.

    As long as the ride has a great story and the execution was well done, it should be a stellar attraction but if they still have a good story but cheapen out then guests will not be able to understand the story as easily and they may get bored.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bob Weaver
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    suddenly I feel so insignificant

    Leave a comment:


  • WDW1971
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    Originally posted by dgpollard View Post

    What I think is unique about the Walt Disney Company today is how many of us still care about what the founder would think or do......that says a great deal about Walt Disney and his legacy. =)
    :thumbup:

    Leave a comment:


  • dgpollard
    replied
    Re: When do you think the height of Imagineering was?

    WDI is only as good as the competence level of the leadership in the company. Walt Disney was very competent at surrounding himself with talented individuals and inspiring them.

    Good things have come along in the parks since Walt Disney's passing and some things have NOT been so good. But we learn, grow, press on and move forward!

    What I think is unique about the Walt Disney Company today is how many of us still care about what the founder would think or do......that says a great deal about Walt Disney and his legacy. =)

    Leave a comment:

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