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  • [Fun] Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

    After our recent visit to the Disneyland Resort, I was still amazed at the detail and themes that remain from the day the park opened, and shortly after, until now. The newer stuff has much of the same attention but the earliest areas (Main Street, Adventureland, New Orleans Square) still strike me the most. Of course, Cars Land and a few other areas and attractions have a high detail level of immersion (and a price tag to go with it!) but it all set me to thinking... I have always been a fan of behind-the-scenes stuff and how-it's-made info and have always loved the physical part of Disneyland - the place itself and how it was built.

    This interest led me to wonder - Given the right amount of money and imagination, could a "Disneyland" be built today? How many billions would it cost? Would people be interested in an experience that is not a household name? Could it compete with Disney, Universal etc? - and a million other questions... Just throwing it out there for fun!

  • #2
    Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

    Sure, Universal wasn't the brand it is today in the 80s, it was a movie studio with a tour and some rides.

    Someone like Jeffrey Katzenberg, with the intellectual property of DreamWorks Animation, could do it. If they had the same dream as Walt Disney.

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    • #3
      Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

      I don't think so. When Disneyland was built, there weren't as many theme parks around and certainly none that could compete within the US. But with the huge theme park boom all over the place with most parks taking some element of disneyland in some shape or form, the draw and majesty wouldn't be there. For instance, I don't think HKDL or SDL would be anything than just local parks that wouldn't gather attention if the "Disney" name wasn't slapped on them. Disneyland itself in CA will forever be loved because of its back story and how it was pretty revolutionary. It's already so well known and integrated into people's lives. Say Disneyland was just built a year ago but had everything that is currently in the park there. It would get attention because its a theme park and has Disney Characters that people are familiar with, but would it be pulling 16 million people a year? I don't think so.

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      • #4
        Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

        Universal has had tremendous success with Harry Potter. Given unlimited funds, I think they could expand it into an entire park that would be one heck of a draw.

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        • #5
          Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

          I definitely think it could be done again, possibly soon. The industry is doing pretty well financially, but it's also become quite stagnated in many ways. As Omegadiz said, everyone in the industry today has taken many lessons from Disney. Because everyone in the industry has been trained in thinking is a certain way, there is a lot of group-think and people are not willing to experiment or take risks because they just do things the way the industry does them. This is the same situation Walt faced when amusement park and boardwalk operators were telling him his idea wouldn't work.

          Even on the creative side, it's basically become an industry process that goes far beyond WDI. WDI uses the same consultants, many of them the best former Imagineers that now have their own companies which do work throughout the themed design industry. So again, for the most part, people throughout the entire industry are trained to do things in a certain way. There is an opportunity for a really creative group to put together something revolutionary. I see that as an opportunity just like the one Walt had in the Fifties.

          Disney is also actually providing another opportunity for other upstart companies because of its focus on promoting its own intellectual property. Disney has basically built a huge market of people who enjoy themed design as a pure art-form and then abandoned them. Nobody today is competing for this potential business. Eventually, someone is going to take advantage of this opportunity and do what Walt did again.
          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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          • #6
            Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

            I saw a webpage entitled, "if noah's ark were built today" and the ark never got built because of all the modern regulations. I think it would be much harder to build DIsneyland today than it was for Walt. I looked into owning a hot dog cart, and it's unreal how much you have to go through. you have to have access to a commissary (which is a fancy way of saying dishwashing kitchen) to wash it out, then you get permits from the city, then you have to get a permit to park it, and some cities have ordinances against hot dog carts....I doubt Karl Karcher had to go through all this

            If Noah's Ark were built today
            Last edited by MikeChat; 05-22-2013, 07:28 PM.
            When I go to Disneyland, I tune my FRS Radio to channel 2, without a quiet code. They're faster than a cell phone and you can talk to a whole group at a time, and you don't have to get everyone's cell phone number in advance.

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            • #7
              Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

              Definition of COMMISSARY

              1
              : one delegated by a superior to execute a duty or an office

              2
              a : a store for equipment and provisions; especially : a supermarket for military personnel
              b : food supplies
              c : a lunchroom especially in a motion-picture studio
              Peter Pan: "You know, your hair is on fire."
              Me: "Yes. It happened after a recent trip to Neverland."
              Peter Pan: "Well, you can dunk your head in the pond behind us, if you want."

              Lost Child of
              Neverland since 1996.
              ~Favorite Hero: Peter Pan. Favorite Villian:Malificent.Favorite Ride: The Haunted Mansion.~

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              • #8
                Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                DL could indeed be built today, but the cost would be astronomical. The cost of compliance with OSHA regulations alone would be enough to kill the project, let alone all the various idiotic and unnecessary building regulations.

                I seriously doubt that it could be built in 365 days regardless of budget. Excessive regulations and engineers egos would drag it out much further.

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                • #9
                  Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                  Originally posted by CaliforniaAdventurer View Post
                  Sure, Universal wasn't the brand it is today in the 80s, it was a movie studio with a tour and some rides.

                  Someone like Jeffrey Katzenberg, with the intellectual property of DreamWorks Animation, could do it. If they had the same dream as Walt Disney.
                  They already do this to a small degree with characters and themes on Royal Caribbean ships, but a whole park of Madagscar, Far Far Away and China would be really cool!

                  Originally posted by Omegadiz View Post
                  I don't think so. When Disneyland was built, there weren't as many theme parks around and certainly none that could compete within the US. But with the huge theme park boom all over the place with most parks taking some element of disneyland in some shape or form, the draw and majesty wouldn't be there.
                  But could a unique new set of experiences and characters with an idea to be the best draw a following from scratch?

                  Originally posted by TheBirdsSingWords View Post
                  Universal has had tremendous success with Harry Potter. Given unlimited funds, I think they could expand it into an entire park that would be one heck of a draw.
                  True, as there is so much detail in that world, but it is built on a wildly successful franchise, already ingrained in the heads of kids and many adults everywhere. Omegadiz said it above where familiarity with the characters has a built-in following.

                  Originally posted by Uncle Bob View Post
                  ... there is a lot of group-think and people are not willing to experiment or take risks because they just do things the way the industry does them...

                  Disney has basically built a huge market of people who enjoy themed design as a pure art-form and then abandoned them. Nobody today is competing for this potential business. Eventually, someone is going to take advantage of this opportunity and do what Walt did again.
                  The first part is absolutely true in so many industries sadly. As for the second part, I'm not sure abandoned is the right word as much as just taking the safe road - sort of related to your first comment. The bolded part I think we are starting to see with the huge expansions at Universal. They are finally realizing that to draw the people, they need to out-Disney Disney.

                  I personally think there is room for a new experience, even if it is just a different take on familiar ideas like pirates or ghost towns or trips to Mars, but I think if it were to be done, it would have to done in one giant splash. If you underwhelm at opening time, you may never get the chance to recover, no matter how much you add later. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Disney proved this with DCA and luckily the right decisions seem to be made and the park is now rockin'!

                  Feel free to float your ideas for a new park! I love everyone's imagination and the ideas that end up on the table. I love the concept stuff and even though I am past where I could do it for a living, I do like to think about what would make a great experience!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                    I'm thinking that from a creativity angle, a Disneyland built today would not be possible. It would be a statistical average of all existing theme parks built with statistically average rides, and movies would be the creative apex.
                    I am old. But still love Disneyland.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                      Originally posted by bayouguy View Post
                      I'm thinking that from a creativity angle, a Disneyland built today would not be possible. It would be a statistical average of all existing theme parks built with statistically average rides, and movies would be the creative apex.
                      Well, and then there's that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                        Originally posted by Uncle Bob View Post
                        I definitely think it could be done again, possibly soon. The industry is doing pretty well financially, but it's also become quite stagnated in many ways. As Omegadiz said, everyone in the industry today has taken many lessons from Disney. Because everyone in the industry has been trained in thinking is a certain way, there is a lot of group-think and people are not willing to experiment or take risks because they just do things the way the industry does them. This is the same situation Walt faced when amusement park and boardwalk operators were telling him his idea wouldn't work.

                        Even on the creative side, it's basically become an industry process that goes far beyond WDI. WDI uses the same consultants, many of them the best former Imagineers that now have their own companies which do work throughout the themed design industry. So again, for the most part, people throughout the entire industry are trained to do things in a certain way. There is an opportunity for a really creative group to put together something revolutionary. I see that as an opportunity just like the one Walt had in the Fifties.

                        Disney is also actually providing another opportunity for other upstart companies because of its focus on promoting its own intellectual property. Disney has basically built a huge market of people who enjoy themed design as a pure art-form and then abandoned them. Nobody today is competing for this potential business. Eventually, someone is going to take advantage of this opportunity and do what Walt did again.
                        Another excellent, well thought-out and concise post from a great Micechatter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                          Yes. I'd compare it to IOA in Florida. This park was in the works beginning in 1991 and opened in 1999. Over $2 billion was invested. It's an amazing park and 14 years later the Spiderman ride is still state of the art. But any new theme park would need to raise the bar, like IOA did. When Disneyland was new, beach boardwalk parks were his competition and Walt did it better. Any new park would have to do it better, smarter and more awesome that what's already here. It takes money and determination and the ability to disregard what something costs to make it they way they want it to be. Disney's name was on the door and he called the shots. Can anyone in the entertainment industry do that today?
                          “A fanatic is someone who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” – George Santayanasigpic

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                          • #14
                            Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                            What I think would be a huge success is an old fashioned family park. Kind of a Main Street concept over a whole park. With most amusement parks taking on the "thrills and speed" crowd, small amusement parks with classic rides, nice midways, amphetheater shows, nostalgic food vendors, picnic lawns, and people-watching promenades are sparse indeed. Very few communities were able to sustain their local park, with several absorbed by the theme park giants and most closing outright. I live in Northern Ohio and back in the day we had multiple small amusement parks on local lakes, including Meyers Lake in Canton, Euclid Beach in the Cleveland area, and Geauga Lake in Auroroa. One was absorbed (then disassembled) by Cedar Fair, the other two lost out to them.
                            sigpic
                            “That's the way a lot of things happen... You think one person did something
                            but he was just the one to put the color on it." – Ken Anderson
                            ​I'm blogging here again!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Could a "Disneyland" be built today?

                              Originally posted by Uncle Bob View Post
                              I definitely think it could be done again, possibly soon....
                              Great post. Nothing would make me happier than someone come along with the Money (it would take many billion$ to do it right on a full-theme park level),the Vision and the Guts to fund the next-gen theme park - no franchise tie-ins, no modern, overwhelming commercialism, a higher-level of immersiveness, fewer breaks in the illusion.

                              Eddie Sotto brilliantly describes this kind of vision on his WDWmagic thread:



                              http://www.idealbuildout.blogspot.com/

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