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Minor Refinements


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  • Minor Refinements

    There are all sorts of small changes I'd like to see made to Disneyland, mostly in order to make the fiction more believable.

    For example, I think that the California state flag does not belong in Town Square, and I believe that the lighting towers and speakers used in Central Plaza and at Town Square need to be concealed somehow during the daytime.

    What other alterations would you like to see made to The Magic Kingdom, and the other parts of Disneyland Resort, in order to enhance the guest experience and strengthen the place, creatively-speaking? (You may want to use bullet points if you have more than one suggestion.)

  • #2
    Re: Minor Refinements

    Just curious . . .
    what do you have agianst the CA Flag in Town Square?

    My Refinement?
    Allow the JCS to stay off script (if they are funny).


    • #3
      Re: Minor Refinements

      I think I object more to the fact that Main Street, U.S.A. is supposed to be non-descript. It's not Main Street, Anaheim, California, U.S.A., so I prefer, then, to see the California flag flying over the new park only. And, since we are in the turn-of-the-19th-Century, it might also be a good idea to not use a modern American flag with 50 stars.

      As for the Jungle Cruise skippers, they should definitely be allowed to ad lib and be more spontaneous and interactive. Disney should just provide some guidelines, and, then, cast talented people in the role.


      • #4
        Re: Minor Refinements

        Main Street Station

        1. Replace the exhibits in the display cases at Main Street Station with something more appropriate for the period, including interpretive materials related to the D.R.R. locomotives and rolling stock.

        2. Replace the California map in Main Street Station with one that shows the entire U.S., including Chicago, Marceline, and Kansas City, in addition to a railroad route leading to California.

        3. Move the Kalamazoo handcar and its siding to Frontierland Station and use this space for landscaping, instead of ballast. The handcar looks out of place perched above the "Mickey Floral" parterre.

        4. Move the exhibits related to Walt Disney's life in California (the Carolwood Pacific Railroad, etc.) to the Grand Californian in order to better preserve the literal fiction that Main Street, U.S.A. exists in the turn-of-the-19th-Century.

        5. Add a large railroad map of Disneyland; a timetable-style chalkboard for Disneyland's daily schedule of events; and, travel posters representing the various realms of The Magic Kingdom in order to not only provide a better orientation to Disneyland and the Grand Circle Tour, but also to help passengers make decisions regarding their destinations.

        6. Add the historical picture of the young Walt Disney, as he appears in news butcher attire, to the office in order to help relate the story of Walt Disney's formative years in middle America.

        7. Issue the safety instructions inside the station, instead of aboard the train once it's in motion.
        Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 02-24-2006, 10:36 AM.


        • #5
          Re: Minor Refinements

          As usual, Pragmatic, you've presented some thought-provoking material here. Some I agree with, some not so much. And, as I recall, you've had experience as a train CM, which, to me, gives your thoughts here a bit of, well, not really "authority," but maybe some good inside perspective.

          I think one can only go so far with trying to make Main Street Station as authentic as possible, but I think you may be on the right track (so to speak) with the tone of the suggestions. A chalkboard timetable is certainly in order, as is a railroad map. I'm less inclined to remove the items that showcase Walt Disney and his love of trains; after all, trains were a primary impetus for the creation of Disneyland. Folks should know this--and not just the folks who go to the Grand Californian. Given that the station once housed a snack bar, I don't see the pictures of Walt, the Lilly Belle II, or the display cases (also original) as being too objectionable.

          Of course, if we truly wanted the station to be authentic, we'd have to divide it up into separate lady's and men's waiting rooms--clearly unrealistic.

          One of the reasons that the station is so large, and has upper floors, is that in the 19th century, the station master and his family would actually live at the station. Their own tastes and styles would not be restricted necessarily to the upper floor. Perhaps any pictures of Walt could be seen as decorations done by "Mrs. Stationmaster?"

          I'm ambivalent about the location of the handcar. It might look nice at Frontierland.

          I don't think there are any pictures of Walt in his blue serge uniform.

          And I like your idea about the safety spiel being given inside the station.

          The "Story" of the Disneyland Railroad has eroded a bit in recent years; some of this erosion is the result of "modernization," including the elimination of trackside block signals in favor of cab signals; some of the story is eroded at the expense of gimicks (like putting a cartoon character on a headlight--something the Imagineer in charge rejected, but was forced to compromise on). But still, there's always room for improvment, and I'd like to see some of your ideas implemented.


          • #6
            Re: Minor Refinements

            Interesting observations.

            I always thought the Churro cart didn't belong in Tomorrowland.

            I can see the meeting now:

            TDA Executive #1: We're placing a churro cart in Tomorrowland.
            TDA Executive #2: Why? Aren't they in every other land?
            TDA Executive #1: Yes, but this will be the churro cart...

            [in large booming/echoing voice] Of the future!!!

            ...and the rest was DLR history.


            • #7
              Re: Minor Refinements

              A future without churros is a future that I do not wish to contemplate. Perhaps green-colored american cheese slices sold as "soylent green" would be more futuristic .......

              I would like to see more snow on the Matterhorn. More of the upper reaches should be solid white. Perhaps they could even vary the degree of snowiness to match the season. Bobsleds won't work without snow ......

              How about some "fake" steam eminating from the BTMRR locomotives. That may go beyond "minor" ......
              "She's taking everything. She's taking the house, she's taking the kid, she's taking the dog. IT'S NOT EVEN HER DOG. IT'S MY DOG! SHE'S TAKING . . . MY DOG!"
              - Ron Livingston, "Band of Brothers"


              • #8
                Re: Minor Refinements

                If you lose the speakers that are in the planters in Town Sqaure and the Hub, you lose a majority of the Main Street BGM. If they had to retract the speakers and lighting that are visible in the hub and Town Square out of the ground four, five or maybe even six times a day, it would be a pain to have to uncover where they retract into. They would probablly have to put in ugly metal covers in the planters as well.

                Think about it, they use that sound system for announcements such as " the Disneyland operator," parade and firework soudntracks, and even the music that plays for the flag retreat. Sure there are speakers hidden in windows lining Main Street, but that is not in the hub and it wouldn't be enough to fill the area with BGM music. They can't have the speakers hidden in boxes like Fantasmic- that would be uglier than the plain speakers they have now.

                If you ask me, they are pretty unoticable. They are all painted a greenish color and they blend in pretty well. At least they aren't flashy and orante like the ones in HKDL and DLP.


                • #9
                  Re: Minor Refinements

                  Haha..The soylent green snacks. However you might be on to something, if they sold interesting or futuristic food. I mean it should represent Tomorrowland and not just a plain old churro. It would be like how Mexican food fits into Frontierland, Classic American fare in Main Street, and exotic in Adventureland, etc..

                  Matterhorn does need little touches. Such as sound affects on the lift, like howling snow blizzard, and projects of snowflakes, cold air...

                  Originally posted by PragmaticIdealist
                  For example, I think that the California state flag does not belong in Town Square, and I believe that the lighting towers and speakers used in Central Plaza and at Town Square need to be concealed somehow during the daytime.
                  I agree about how the speakers/towers should be concealed, via foliage, or folding into the ground, but I don't really notice them unless there is an annoucement.

                  However, I don't know about removing the State flag. I always thought Main Street was modeled after Walt Disney's boyhood hometown but was meant to signify more of an era than place, and the flag should stay.

                  However, I would like to see a bigger flag presence of the flag in DCA, though, have a float in Electrical Parade, with the bear on the flag extending out a la Grizzly Peak.


                  • #10
                    Re: Minor Refinements

                    The Gates of Disneyland

                    1. Hide the ugly monorail beam by creating a peristyle to support a marquee for Disneyland. The sign probably should use "popcorn lights" in order to coordinate with those on Main Street, U.S.A., and the peristyle should probably feature bougainvillea or other hanging flowers in order to coordinate with the "Mickey Floral" parterre.

                    2. To the roof over the turnstiles, return the calliope pipes that were there for the 35th anniversary, and replace the cheap-looking multi-colored flags with white and/or gold banners for a more expensive look.

                    3. Add mirrored panelling, akin to that featured in "Return to Oz", to the buildings at the entrance, in order to give a Through the Looking Glass impression that confuses the eye.

                    4. Provide the hosts and hostesses at the main gate with costumes that are more theatrical and that better suit Disneyland. Since the hosts and hostesses here are the equivalent of customs agents in that they have authority over the passage of persons across the borders of The Magic Kingdom, the uniforms should have an official look.

                    5. Call all admission media to The Magic Kingdom "Passports" again in order to help convey its sovereignty.

                    6. Cover the anachronistic stainless steel of the turnstiles.

                    Inner Lobby

                    1. Have Disneyland adopt as its official anthem a version of the "Baroque Hoedown", and play it in the Inner Lobby.

                    2. Since the Inner Lobby is a transitional space, it should belong to the turn-of-the-19th-Century, but in a stylized way. So, show elements should recall transitory events of the day, including old-fashioned circuses and fairs.

                    3. Add torments and teasers along with side curtains and tassles to the undersides of the bridges at Main Street Station in order to evoke proscenium arches.

                    4. For the sake of simplicity, move the attraction posters to the Outer Lobby.

                    5. Suspend a sign that reads "Main Street, U.S.A.: Everyone's Hometown" from the North sides of the Main Street Station bridges.

                    Town Square

                    1. Use the existing newsstands, as well as a few new newsboys, to distribute "The Disneyland Banner" as a substitute for the daily show schedule. This publication, with the trademark calligraphy in its masthead, should provide news from around Disneyland in a way similar to that of the newspaper's predecessor, "The Disneyland News".

                    2. The area music at Town Square should be relaxing, as well as lush and orchestral like a motion picture score. "Rooftop" from "Newsies" is ideal and might provide a good guideline for selecting the pieces.

                    3. The vendor carts in the middle of Town Square should be moved to the northernmost corners on the other side of the street in order to add some activity to these places and to clear the clutter in the park area, itself.

                    4. Move the "Partners" statue, or a version of it, to an area at or near the informally-named "Christmas Tree Point", so that Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse are pointing towards Sleeping Beauty Castle. Entering guests would see the statue, itself, a stylization, first, from the side, and, then, their attention would be directed to the second and more impressive stylization, which is the storybook castle in the distance. Exiting guests would walk towards the statue and would be left with the parting image of the two figures. I would prefer that guests also see there the quotation about Disneyland never being complete, and I would additionally prefer that Mr. Disney and Mr. Mouse not hold each other's hand.

                    Disneyland Opera House

                    1. Return the word, "Disneyland", to the "Opera House" sign on the building in order to help convey the duality of Disneyland as both everyone's hometown and a magical kingdom.

                    2. Move the pre-show exhibits, including Walt Disney's offices, to the new park.

                    3. Develop a new patriotic show for the venue that does not rely as heavily on President Lincoln and his animatronic likeness. The show should, perhaps, expand upon the following phrase: "Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America...". And, "The Fifth Freedom" mural in the exit lobby should also provide some guidance as to the content of the presentation as it relates to free enterprise and free markets. Disneyland has lost so many patriotic attractions over the last decade, so the Opera House has an opportunity to include some of the best parts of "American Journeys", "America Sings", and the like in a show with a larger scope.

                    4. Make the Disneyland Opera House more versatile so that it can be used to host multiple productions on the same day.

                    Main Street Cinema

                    1. Develop a small biographical presentation to tell of Walt Disney's formative years in Chicago, Marceline, and Kansas City before culminating with his eventual taking of an interest in the media of film and animation, both of which were popularized in the 20th Century.

                    2. Remove the mannequin in the box office since the dummy is too much of a stylization for the literal Main Street, U.S.A.

                    Storybook Store

                    1. Offer for both sale and perusal the source material for Disneyland, such as Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.

                    Main Street, U.S.A.

                    1. Add more show elements that encompass the themes found in the four realms. For example, Main Street, U.S.A. represents a maturation of the United States following the closing of the American frontier, so "local" history should play a role. The Market House, additionally, might sell some relatively exotic imports that come from faraway places, which suggest Adventureland. And, new inventions such as the incandescent light bulb and the horseless carriage can depict the "crossroads of an era" that suggest Tomorrowland.

                    2. Specifically foreshadow parts of the imaginary realms by repeating there elements found in Main Street, U.S.A. For example, a duplicate of the glass elephant in the ice cream parlor might be hidden in Adventureland, while the cigar store Indian might have his own twin in Frontierland.

                    3. Return the horse-drawn surreys to Main Street, U.S.A. as an evocative period detail and a juxtaposition to the horseless carriages.

                    4. Remove the marks on the curbs of Main Street, U.S.A. They look really dirty in pictures and on television.

                    5. Do not allow the Park Enhancement department or Theme Park Operations to add temporary decorations that undermine the believability of the fiction. For example, the gold treatment that the lampposts on Main Street, U.S.A. currently wear is too stylized and is a major contradiction to the story and show. Additionally, Tinkerbell really has no business being depicted on all the restaurant menus around Disneyland.
                    Last edited by PragmaticIdealist; 02-26-2006, 05:28 AM.


                    • #11
                      Re: Minor Refinements

                      I just sent an edited photo ("Peristyle and Marquee Concept") to MiceShots in order to better illustrate my thoughts on using the monorail beam as a show element in Disneyland's entry sequence. (


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