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The Death of the Audio-Animatronic Show


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  • #21
    Originally posted by Karalora View Post

    If by "the technology," you mean still-improving audio-animatronic technology...yes, obviously it does. My point was less about whether WDI still uses and develops AA's, and more about the company's approach to presenting AA's and how that rubs off onto attraction design. If by "the technology" you mean robots that can do all the things live performers can do on a stage or costumed characters can do in a, it doesn't exist, and I think that's part of why the technology that does exist has been less emphasized over the years. Marketing doesn't want us to be impressed with the special effects. Marketing wants us not to notice that they are special effects at all. Marketing wants us to totally suspend our disbelief in the reality of Disney characters, and that is much easier to do with a live person in a costume who can dance in a parade, sign autographs, and hug you, than with a robot that can do none of these things. So they've gradually moved away from AA-intensive attractions.
    I'm trying to imagine POTC with "live actors", and honestly, it would suck. To me it would be like another cheesy "Pirate's Dinner Adventure".

    I know it is strange, but with AAs, I am drawn into the story more. With "live actors" I can't help but not think of that person in a (not so enjoyable) human way. I'm always thinking things like, "I wonder how far of a commute this guy has to make to get here?" "That looks like the girl I saw puking her guts out at the bar I was at last night."

    Point is, I know they are actors and I know they are acting. In the back of my mind I'm wondering if they think this (performance) sucks doing it day in and day out.

    Lastly, there is no consistency, and that bugs me the most. I saw CHICAGO with the original Broadway cast. It was terrific. I then saw it a few more times in other cities with different cast members. It was very disappointing.

    No. Keep live actors to what they do best, stage and film. Keep them out of Attractions - they'll just ruin the story.
    Wuhan to Shanghai Disneyland = 547 miles
    Shanghai Disneyland: OPEN

    Wuhan to Disneyland Anaheim = 6,827 miles
    Disneyland Anaheim: CLOSED

    Think about it


    • #22
      I'm not against more shows...but they just don't draw people in. Tiki Room gets I think the most because of it being located next to the Dole Whip.

      I love Lincolns show but it has maybe 1/50 filled up when ever I've seen it sadly. But maybe one day we will see some really high tech shows just because they want to show off...The Spiderman ride might not impress people here but the swing AA that will do shows in front of the ride is impressive as hell
      Happy Halloween!!!


      • #23
        In terms of attendance levels, I think much of it has to do with repeatability. Generally, rides are more repeatable than film-based attractions. I think this is true for the AA shows as well. They have more repeatability than films, but there's something about moving through physical space that brings people back to rides over and over again.

        Perhaps value for money is also part of it. If you're paying $100 admission, you're likely to focus on unique experiences (such as rides) that you can't get anywhere else. I imagine plenty of guests think "Why would I sit around and watch a movie when I have a TV at home? Let's go on a roller coaster."

        I've always loved AA shows, and it's a shame there are so few left. The Tiki Room is a must-see on every visit, and though I've only been to Florida a few times, I dearly miss the Kitchen Kabaret. Since Disneyland now only has one, I certainly wouldn't mind if they added another.


        • #24
          I’ve never heard CoP suffered from dwindling attendance. It was just GE’s wish to show off their show to east coast audiences. They made that decision at CoP’s height around 1971. Throwing WDI into a tizzy, regarding what to do with a future empty carousel theater. America Sings development started in 1972. Somewhere I got a picture of imagineer Al Bertino wrapping himself in an American flag on holiday in Florida in 1972. ... and the idea for America Sings was born.
          MY SIGNATURE:
          Dear Peoplemover Fans, If you want to see a new attraction that at least mimics the 1967 Peoplemover in a future Tomorrowland remodel, you need to write to the powers-that-be, and let them know. If you don't - Then the next time Tomorrowland is remodeled, you will see a land barren of any "Peoplemover" type attraction.


          • #25
            I believe that Disneyland definitely lacks for more animatronic rides and shows. This is something that has been uniquely a Disney. Even though other companies may use them, their quality has always seemed to trail behind Disney’s, in my experience.

            I’m of the mindset that it’s the quality of the attraction that will bring in an audience and make them come back, regardless of the technology or format used. That said, I personally see no reason why an animatronic show can’t work and be popular, if it’s made to be entertaining enough and it’s made with quality. I think the biggest motivator in all of Disney’s decisions is money, and this is no exception. Too many bean counters are trying to squeeze out every possible penny for the absolutely least amount of investment. Maintenance costs and upkeep fitting into it, as well. It’s this attitude, which comes from above, that has really held the imagineers back. (But that’s a whole other discussion.)
            I think Disneyland really needs one or two more fully animatronic shows to balance out their entertainment offerings. Had I been in a position to make decisions for Disney, Galaxy’s Edge would have an animatronic Show, as would another land. But nobody at Disney ever asked me.

            No matter where you go, there you are.


            • #26
              I’m not sure if there’s a grand unifying theory of AA use in shows to be applied here. It's all about the application.

              I like the Hall of Presidents and American Adventure at Disney World, but I don’t like Country Bear Jamboree.
              My favorite is Tiki Room, but the animatronics are so small in scale that it doesn’t really matter that they’re not lifelike. In fact, that adds more to the charm of it.

              In general though, I’m not a huge fan of shows. Given that, I understand why management would shy away from developing a ton of new animatronics for them and basing an entire attraction around it. When the show gets stale you have to constantly be putting in new expensive tech. Some of the new AAs are spectacular (see the Avatar Na'Vi one above), but I have no idea what it would cost to scale that out to an entire show's worth of AAs. I also think there's a case to be made for less is more. If you have 100 advanced AAs then they start to lose their impact.


              • #27
                AA will not die, but probably be used sparely...
                I am old. But still love Disneyland.


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