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  • #61
    Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

    Originally posted by tcsnwhite View Post
    ahh, ok. I see your point of view now.

    I, personally, think what Tony has done has been pretty stellar...as well as the numerous people that have worked with him (and those unnamed in WDI usually get left out, so I wanted to mention them here). At the same time, like any creative or artist, one can get stuck in a certain mode and things can get stale or taken too far. And, I have no doubt that management under Eisner, and Tom Fitzgerald, probably took that initial concept of a more story-driven experience and went to far with it in the wrong direction- applying it all over and in places where it may not be necessary.
    Right. I agree that Tony has done extraordinary work. Indiana Jones Adventure, Splash Mountain, Thunder, Star Tours, Disneyland Paris - all exceptional works of art.

    But I think that Tony's pioneering of story-driven Imagineering has definately evolved into something less than desireable. The very formulaic Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage reeks of off-the-shelf storylines, even when the film itself used an incredibly similar type of story formula, but with much better results.

    I think Tony has the right ideas, but unfortunately, management forces the ideas to get steered the wrong way. It's part of the job, I guess, but definately a very unfortunate part of it.

    Originally posted by BoogaFrito View Post
    Has anyone really ever ridden Big Thunder and thought they were being presented with more of a story than, say, Pirates or Haunted Mansion?
    That was the beauty of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The story is implied - everybody understands that they're on a runaway mine train at the site of an abandoned mine... but while the details are there and there is a very vivid story to the attraction, the details are left vague and its up to guest interpretation. Tony Baxter's first foray into story-driven Imagineering was still more similar to an "experience ride," but the concept was still relatively new. Until then, story-driven attractions were based on films and located in Fantasyland, or in Tomorrowland and used as a device to help guests understand the science behind rides like Adventure Thru Innerspace or the Submarine Voyage.

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

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    • #62
      Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

      From Jason Surrell's book, The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak

      Page 64:
      But Tony wanted to create more than a pretty picture. The young Imagineer built an entire story around his runaway mine train that was loosely inspired by the real-life legend of the allegedly "cursed" Superstition Mountain, located in a rugged region east of Phoenix, Arizona, and the Lost Dutchman Mine that is home to an untold fortune in gold. According to the Apaches, the mine is protected by the ancient "Thunder God" who brings doom to any who attempt to pillage it.

      In the Disney version, gold was discovered in Big Thunder country in the 1850s, shortly after the Gold Rush began near John A. Sutter's Mill in California, leading to the formation of the BTM Mining Company. But the locals believed Big Thunder Mountain and the land around it to be sacred, and a protective supernatural force dwelt deep within the mountain to protect it from anyone who might deface it in the pursuit of profit. At first, the mining operation went along without incident, but as the miners began using explosives to blast deeper and deeper into the unforgiving rock and laying tracks for the mine train they'd use to retrieve its golden bounty, the mountain's ancient fury was unleashed. Strange noises emanated from a newly opened mineshaft.The spirits of long-dead miners could be heard tapping on the boarded walls of abandoned tunnels. Cave-ins became common occurrences. And then the narrow gauge engine began rolling out of the station with no human hands at the controls. Entire trains, most times packed with unsuspecting passengers, would race driverless at breakneck speed, along the spiraling steel and wooden track. The miners began to concede that perhaps the locals were right all along. Maybe the mountain - and their mine - was cursed. They abandoned their posts, the BTM Mining Company went bust, and soon Big Thunder became just another ghost town dotting the Old West.

      The idea that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would be a story that happened to be told via a rollercoaster was a quantum leap forward in the art of Imagineering and theme park storytelling. Big Thunder built on what Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain has accomplished before it, and set the stage for even more story-driven thrill rides in the years to come, including Splash Mountain and Expedition Everest, making the attraction something of a proverbial "missing link" between past and future Disney mountains.

      Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

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      • #63
        Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

        Originally posted by MasterGracey View Post
        The very formulaic Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage reeks of off-the-shelf storylines, even when the film itself used an incredibly similar type of story formula, but with much better results.
        Ironic really... most people wouldn't notice or care... but that's what Micechat is for, for the diehard fans that surf the threads at 10:42PM
        "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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        • #64
          Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

          Originally posted by techskip View Post
          Ironic really... most people wouldn't notice or care... but that's what Micechat is for, for the diehard fans that surf the threads at 10:42PM
          Well, I think it's telling that people throughout the Disney fan community freely note that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a good ride, but lacks repeatability because of its storyline.

          But why is that when Finding Nemo is the second-highest grossing animated film of all time?

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          • #65
            Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

            I'd venture a backstory for an attraction is much different than a direct, on-ride narrative.

            Luckily, in the case of BTM, we don't have to sit in a little room for 10 minutes and watch a video pre-show explaining the entire history of the Mountain.
            .

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            • #66
              Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

              I like the story best and tells everything about the ride.

              Comment


              • #67
                Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                Originally posted by MasterGracey View Post
                Well, I think it's telling that people throughout the Disney fan community freely note that the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a good ride, but lacks repeatability because of its storyline.

                But why is that when Finding Nemo is the second-highest grossing animated film of all time?
                Too much story...

                I loved Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace (okay, stop it with the boo's). I went and saw it 6 times with various people. Part of the reason was that I saw something new every time I watched it. But 6 times was enough. I didn't need to see it anymore, even if I hadn't seen everything.
                Maybe that's why some people don't think that they can ride Nemo multiple times... people don't want to be told a story over and over again.

                But honestly, with a Park as big as Disneyland, how many times does somebody have to ride the same ride?
                I think this is when you get into the differences between the out-of-town visitor vs. the local visitor.
                Last edited by Circarama; 09-28-2007, 04:24 PM.
                Charlie :wave:
                MiceChat User #1037

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                • #68
                  Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                  Good point an implied story has the possibilities of plenty interpretation as compared to a spoon fed story where you just get well...full
                  You can't talk S*** unless your gonna do something about it...

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                    What follows is what the Disney company had to say about "story" regarding the DRR in the mid-1960s. Bolding is mine:

                    "As in the case with other live Disneyland attractions, the whole point is to give the guest a living experience in a thematic story framework.

                    Since trains are not as widely used today as in the past, many people may not have had the opportunity to ride one.

                    Here at Disneyland we give our guests that opportunity at a very nominal cost and we owe it to them to make this train ride as realistic and exciting as possible.

                    The guests' ride experience is broken into distinct segments, each of which has been carefully designed to give them a specific experience or observation.

                    Just as a movie has different reels making up the story, your train ride has specific segments to tell a story. It is necessary for you to know these thoroughly in order to get the proper feel of your attraction and to properly answer questions and give your narration. In this section we will outline each of these segments of the SF&D and give you as much information as possible about these segments."

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                    • #70
                      Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                      Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                      "The guests' ride experience is broken into distinct segments, each of which has been carefully designed to give them a specific experience or observation..."
                      'Carefully designed'. Not to be confused with 'well-engineered', or 'lavishly appointed'. Careful design: from historical coherence, to believable settings, to thematic cohesion, careful design of the entire experience is what we see less and less of today (if any at all, it could be argued).

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                      • #71
                        Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                        Originally posted by fo'c's'le swab View Post
                        'Carefully designed'. Not to be confused with 'well-engineered', or 'lavishly appointed'. Careful design: from historical coherence, to believable settings, to thematic cohesion, careful design of the entire experience is what we see less and less of today (if any at all, it could be argued).
                        It takes a great deal of careful planning and design to make a good Pixar movie, then about 10 minutes of budget cuts and "it's popular" to fling it randomly into a helpless attraction.
                        "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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

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                        • #72
                          Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                          Originally posted by MasterGracey View Post
                          From Jason Surrell's book, The Disney Mountains: Imagineering At Its Peak

                          Page 64:
                          But Tony wanted to create more than a pretty picture. The young Imagineer built an entire story around his runaway mine train that was loosely inspired by the real-life legend of the allegedly "cursed" Superstition Mountain, located in a rugged region east of Phoenix, Arizona, and the Lost Dutchman Mine that is home to an untold fortune in gold. According to the Apaches, the mine is protected by the ancient "Thunder God" who brings doom to any who attempt to pillage it.

                          In the Disney version, gold was discovered in Big Thunder country in the 1850s, shortly after the Gold Rush began near John A. Sutter's Mill in California, leading to the formation of the BTM Mining Company. But the locals believed Big Thunder Mountain and the land around it to be sacred, and a protective supernatural force dwelt deep within the mountain to protect it from anyone who might deface it in the pursuit of profit. At first, the mining operation went along without incident, but as the miners began using explosives to blast deeper and deeper into the unforgiving rock and laying tracks for the mine train they'd use to retrieve its golden bounty, the mountain's ancient fury was unleashed. Strange noises emanated from a newly opened mineshaft.The spirits of long-dead miners could be heard tapping on the boarded walls of abandoned tunnels. Cave-ins became common occurrences. And then the narrow gauge engine began rolling out of the station with no human hands at the controls. Entire trains, most times packed with unsuspecting passengers, would race driverless at breakneck speed, along the spiraling steel and wooden track. The miners began to concede that perhaps the locals were right all along. Maybe the mountain - and their mine - was cursed. They abandoned their posts, the BTM Mining Company went bust, and soon Big Thunder became just another ghost town dotting the Old West.

                          The idea that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad would be a story that happened to be told via a rollercoaster was a quantum leap forward in the art of Imagineering and theme park storytelling. Big Thunder built on what Matterhorn Bobsleds and Space Mountain has accomplished before it, and set the stage for even more story-driven thrill rides in the years to come, including Splash Mountain and Expedition Everest, making the attraction something of a proverbial "missing link" between past and future Disney mountains.
                          I stand corrected. While I was wholly unaware of the Railroad's haunted backstory, I will attest that I guarantee that 99% of guests have NO idea either. Nowhere is there a posted, stylized sign post of warning, trying to avert its occupants from boarding the train. Nowhere in the "Howdy folks, please keep your hands and arms inside the trains at all times. Now, hang on to them hats and glasses, 'cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!" speil does it convey any form of tale to be heeded.

                          Frankly, because an Imagineer scripted a post-story doesn't mean its relevant to the attraction's experience.

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                          • #73
                            Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                            Originally posted by Rustymuscle View Post
                            I stand corrected. While I was wholly unaware of the Railroad's haunted backstory, I will attest that I guarantee that 99% of guests have NO idea either. Nowhere is there a posted, stylized sign post of warning, trying to avert its occupants from boarding the train. Nowhere in the "Howdy folks, please keep your hands and arms inside the trains at all times. Now, hang on to them hats and glasses, 'cause this here is the wildest ride in the wilderness!" speil does it convey any form of tale to be heeded.

                            Frankly, because an Imagineer scripted a post-story doesn't mean its relevant to the attraction's experience.
                            You're right. Despite the attraction's rich story, it is still mostly left up to guest interpretation. However, I think that this was probably the turning point in modern Imagineering - its when "story" became an important part of an attraction, it's when "story" became a must-have for any new attraction.

                            Ever since Tony's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, he's gone on to build more story-driven attractions like Star Tours and Splash Mountain and now the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I doubt Tony ever intended for his idea of story-driven attractions to evolve into what they have. Big Thunder is still arguably very much an "experience ride" ...but with an elaborate backstory. I think that when Eisner came into the company, his influence pushed Tony's story-driven attraction idea to evolve into a more in-your-face story approach seen in Star Tours and Splash Mountain - two projects that Eisner approved and Tony was heavily involved in. Since then, with the success of those two attractions, story-driven rides have become the norm and end-all of Imagineering.

                            Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

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                            • #74
                              Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                              Originally posted by techskip View Post
                              It takes a great deal of careful planning and design to make a good Pixar movie, then about 10 minutes of budget cuts and "it's popular" to fling it randomly into a helpless attraction.
                              In agreement with the idea of Disney's penchant for maximizing 'box office momentum' at the expense of theme. As far as attraction theming, budget had little to do with Buzz Lightyear's innappropriate residency in TL, or 18th century Buccaneers in the American Frontier, or a cartoon fish Dark Ride supplanting the Subs. This is not careful planning--it's careful pandering; and to what I was referring.
                              Last edited by fo'c's'le swab; 10-01-2007, 09:39 AM.

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                              • #75
                                Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                Originally posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
                                The stories used to be implied--the guest filled in the missing parts.

                                Now they're overt--you get the story the imagineers want you to get.

                                I prefer the former.
                                I agree 100%!
                                "This would be a great place if we could only get rid of all these people." WD

                                "Women are the best judges of anything we turn out. Their taste is very important. They are the theatergoers, they are the ones who drag the men in. If the women like it, to heck with the men." WD

                                Individuality is a great thing....as long as we think alike.

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                                • #76
                                  Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                  I prefer imagination and immersion. That being said, every attraction has a "history" or "back story." It's there and there are always clues around to give you the things you need to figure it out. The Haunted Mansion has them (before they added things), the Railroad, etc. As entertainment in our culture changed from more creative imaginative to "here's everything you need to know in 30 minutes without any creative thought on your part" Disney changed as well. I think it is a bit sad. I'm not going to criticize the rides as I think they are very good still. But they could be so much more. I think that if Imagineering were allowed to go back to the way they did things, the sky really would be the limit yet again.

                                  Our revels now are ended. These our actors, As I foretold you, were all spirits and Are melted into air, into thin air: And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff As dreams are made on, and our little life Is rounded with a sleep. mycroft16 on Twitter

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                                  • #77
                                    Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                    Originally posted by MasterGracey View Post
                                    You're right. Despite the attraction's rich story, it is still mostly left up to guest interpretation. However, I think that this was probably the turning point in modern Imagineering - its when "story" became an important part of an attraction, it's when "story" became a must-have for any new attraction.

                                    Ever since Tony's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, he's gone on to build more story-driven attractions like Star Tours and Splash Mountain and now the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. I doubt Tony ever intended for his idea of story-driven attractions to evolve into what they have. Big Thunder is still arguably very much an "experience ride" ...but with an elaborate backstory. I think that when Eisner came into the company, his influence pushed Tony's story-driven attraction idea to evolve into a more in-your-face story approach seen in Star Tours and Splash Mountain - two projects that Eisner approved and Tony was heavily involved in. Since then, with the success of those two attractions, story-driven rides have become the norm and end-all of Imagineering.
                                    OK, now here's a question to all you 'Chatters: What if, as part of a sprawling Frontierland Refurbishment, Big Thunder Railroad - aside from new animatronic animals and effects - began to act upon this previously unmentioned script?

                                    -A new entrance gate would be erected to look like a boarded-up entrance with signs saying: "Warning," "Do Not Enter," and "Private Property" nailed to its posts.

                                    -New, ominous sounds echo over hidden speakers; blowing wind, haunting, wispy disembodied voices chanting in Indian tongues, and deep rumblings of careening runaway trains in the distance.

                                    -Indicators of the gold claim's abandonment are more evident. Discarded tools, a miner's camp with half-eaten food on the table, tattered clothing, etc. are strewn around the grounds.

                                    -Wooden signs hanging from the overpass and nailed to the walls explain, in broken, misspelled writing, how the mountain is cursed and none should enter and otherwise overview the Tony Baxter pre-story.

                                    -A revised prospector's voice-over quickly warns riders of the mountain's cursed grounds, how gold rushers disobeyed the local tribesmen and blasted deep into the mountain's bowels, wakening ancient Indian gods and incurring their wrath. Only the most daring or foolish of adventurers would dare to board one of the mines' possessed trains.

                                    -As the train enters the blacked-out tunnel, distant Indian drums and chanting becomes louder and more ominous. A deeper, angrier voice in a foreign tongue, begins to come in and out, similar to the new HM Ghost Host effect at WDW.

                                    -A new mist-effect (similar to Davy Jones) of a mythical-looking deity appears in the Rainbow Cavern waterfall, identifying himself as the Thunder God (the voice we heard earlier), chiding the riders and threatening them with immanent doom.

                                    -The voice of the Thunder God emerges two more times, when riders enter the blasting (earthquake) tunnel, calling for the mountain to shake, wanting to bury the riders alive and during the ride's conclusion, passing Thunder Mesa's abandoned town, claiming, "You were lucky this time, travelers. Next time, your fates will be much different."

                                    -The final "splash down" at the unearthed fossil will be returned to an actual splash. No artificial jets. Riders are at risk of getting wet as well as those in line who stand too close.

                                    Here's the question: Would you want the more story-based version of BTRR, or would you rather have it stay the same?

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                                    • #78
                                      Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                      Leave it alone. Fix up the animatronics that need new fur, need to be reworked, etc. Fix the doors that used to open up at the bottom of the lifthill. Digitize the audio and get new speakers. Retrack it and get new Vekoma mine trains. Lastly, fix up the old Nature's Wilderness boom town and add some more authentic props to the queue. It doesn't need a story, it's a runaway mine train with great theming, your imagination can fill in the rest however you please.

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                                      • #79
                                        Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                        Originally posted by Rustymuscle View Post
                                        OK, now here's a question to all you 'Chatters: What if, as part of a sprawling Frontierland Refurbishment, Big Thunder Railroad - aside from new animatronic animals and effects - began to act upon this previously unmentioned script? ...

                                        ... Would you want the more story-based version of BTRR, or would you rather have it stay the same?
                                        I think injecting some story is good, especially if it's a good story. DCA's ToT does that quite well. Having said that, I feel that there is a line that get's crossed too often today that goes from setting up a story on an attraction to "spoon-feeding" a story on an attraction.

                                        I liked most of the suggestions. But sometimes it can be overdone.
                                        Don't get me wrong here. I'm not opposed to story... I just prefer one that's grounded more in the possible, instead of the improbable. Ghosts, spirits and apparitions don't work for me.
                                        But hey, I'm 47 and somewhat jaded. It'll probably be fine on younger folks.
                                        Charlie :wave:
                                        MiceChat User #1037

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                                        • #80
                                          Re: "Story" vs "Immersion and Imagination" - What works best for you?

                                          Originally posted by Circarama View Post
                                          I liked most of the suggestions. But sometimes it can be overdone. Don't get me wrong here. I'm not opposed to story... I just prefer one that's grounded more in the possible, instead of the improbable. Ghosts, spirits and apparitions don't work for me.
                                          Not a Haunted Mansion fan, eh?


                                          But I don't think the story suggestions were all that bad, either. It would still be something you'd mostly experience, as oppose to watch.

                                          What would really take the "story" angle too far would be a series of show scenes, where you learn, over the course of the attraction, that the ghosts aren't ghosts at all, but some devious prospector trying to scare the miners so he can buy the gold mine for cheap. In the end the truth would be discovered, all thanks to us meddling kids...
                                          .

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