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What if: Would Disneyland Still Succeed if it Had No IP Representation at All?

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  • [Fun] What if: Would Disneyland Still Succeed if it Had No IP Representation at All?

    It's no question that Disneyland and the rest of the parks are the most iconic theme parks worldwide. Why the popularity? Is it the environment? Part of that is yes, even though a lot of other theme parks, like the nearby Knott's Berry Farm have good atmosphere that can transport guests into another world. Is it the service? I'd say part of it is yes as a lot of other theme parks were known for having low standards on employees (which thankfully, most places have improved on and are just as good as Disneys). Is it the technology? Also yes, as Disney Imagineering has created spectacular new attraction and show experiences that would become other models for other theme parks to follow. In a combination of these factors, they apply, but many places have all of this.

    Disneyland continues to succeed because of the IP and characters. Now theres a lot that can be said about how Disney currently uses it and even debate about whether too much is relied upon IP. But when you get down to it, a lot of people are going to resonate Disneyland better when you see a picture of Mickey Mouse, Darth Vader, Elsa, Captain America, or many of the other timeless characters Disney has created. Families may be excited to come to the happiest place on Earth, but their even more exited knowing that their stepping into the worlds of their favorite stories. Kids are going to awe in joy when meeting the princesses, pirates, and superheroes. They say that nostalgia always sells and people are always going to gravitate towards the warm feelings they were children.

    So heres an interesting scenario I wanted to ask: Would Disneyland have still worked if the park had no included any IP?

    To get a better idea, here's what I mean. Let's say Tomorrowland has no Buzz Lightyear, No Star Wars, no Finding Nemo...but the same attraction experiences. Let's say Fantasyland had no Snow White, no Mr. Toad, no Pinocchio...not the Disney ones but still had themed dark rides of some sort. Let's say Disneyland didn't even have Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy or anyone of the classic cartoons...but still had nice and attending cast members.

    This may seem strange, but we need to remember that in the earliest days of Disneyland, Walt had relied more on the storytelling of the lands and their environments more then he did with his characters. In fact, he originally had planned for Fantasyland to be the only spot where characters from his animated movies would appear and be represented (of course, plans change). But Frontierland was still a frontier. Tomorrowland was a sponsorship showcase, but still tried to appear futuristic. Adventureland was still a jungle. People still loved it and called the park unique and innovative.

    It's clear that current management is afraid to try to create attractions and shows on original characters. Some might argue that SWGE has a lot of originality. They are right as the land is techincally supposed to be a part of Star Wars that we haven't seen before, though the land still relies on the nostalgia of Star Wars. Let's say Disney had made up their own sci-fi/fantasy characters just for the park. would it still be popular?

    My theory is that while an IP-free Disneyland would still be popular, it wouldn't be the giant powerhouse that current Disney is. People would see it as a nice theme park that's like a better version of Knott's Berry Farm. I think that it primarily be seen a more expensive vacation spot that you see one if your visiting California. AP passholders would probably still be a big thing, though the majority would be like the minority (me primarily lol) who yearn more for the atmosphere of classic Disneyland.

    What do you think? Would an IP-free Disneyland still succeed?

  • #2
    Yes.

    Comment


    • #3
      I don't think people go there for the IP content. I think they go for the overall experience.

      Comment


      • #4
        I've always felt that a balance -- a mix of originals like Pirates and IP-inspired attractions like the Fantasyland rides and Swiss Family Treehouse -- worked best for the Disneyland experience. Originals were in the majority until the advent of Eisner, after which IPs became dominant.

        The big difference between pre-and post-Eisner Disneyland was less the actual ride count, and more the way top management defined the park. Before Eisner, DL was seen as a flagship brand in which IP promotion played a supporting role. During and after Eisner's reign, DL was viewed as a platform for the promotion and marketing of currently hot IP brands -- a re-definition that radically changed management's view of the value and purpose of park employees, including and especially WDI.
        "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
        it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
        together with every variety of recreation and fun,
        designed to appeal to everyone."

        - Walt Disney

        "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
        - Michael Eisner

        "It's very symbiotic."
        - Bob Chapek

        Comment


        • #5
          Like wise, I've always felt that there should be a balance ...........
          But .......Today Disney Leadership is using Disney Parks ,even there cruse ships
          more as Bill Board......for there IP's....
          IMO has been a Over Kill !
          Last edited by Eagleman; 10-15-2020, 06:32 PM.
          Soaring like an EAGLE !

          Comment


          • #6
            I'm going to get called out for this, but I say: No.

            The last true attempt of a park without IPs was DCA 1.0 . There was barely anything 'Disney' in the park, which was one of the original Eisner intentions. Sure, there were other flaws in the park, but the 'Disney aspect' felt incomplete and unattached to cohesive whole.

            And let's be honest, Disney parks have always used IPs, since the parks' inception(with dramatically varying degrees over the years). And now I will go hide in my Disney bunker, after making the 2nd sacrilegious Disney fan comment in recent days(AKA the lackluster history with live action films.)
            Last edited by Spongeocto4; 10-15-2020, 11:51 PM. Reason: Posted unfinished post.

            Comment


            • #7
              I don't know if an IP-free Disneyland is possible. Because, technically, even if the park introduces an original idea or concept, it becomes their intellectual property. -and if said experience be worthy, then it becomes a part of the Disney brand culture. Look at Haunted Mansion and Pirates. These were original attractions that were so good that they've effectively reached "IP-level".

              Funko Pops of the characters from the stretching room portraits and graveyard scenes line my local Target shelves right alongside the likes of Moana, Elsa, etc.

              I get what OP is trying to say. Can the park succeed without movie or corporate tie-ins if it were to say, be built from the ground up? I think it definitely could, as long as they didn't cheap out like DCA 1.0. But all I'm saying is that as soon as it does succeed, those ideas (should they be good enough) will inevitably be on kid's lunchboxes or iPhone cases, same as any of the Disney Princesses. To quote the Emperor: "It is.. inevitable."

              It's not a totally bad thing, either. Like others have said, it's about finding the right balance. Disney is a creative company, their films demonstrate this. There's a reason they do so well and take off the way they do. They're good and they show creative and artistic know-how. -and their attractions are (for the most part), very impressive. I think the issue folks are having is that while Disney is flexing its creative and artistic ability in the TV and film department, it's not doing so in the attractions department. I mean, it is, in a way. Those larger attractions definitely take a very talented team to create but there seems to be a common shortcut taken these days when the question "What should we build?" comes up. Instead of giving artists the chance to create something new and original from scratch like they do with their animated films, they instead seem to just default to whatever recent or financially successful thing that they've already released.

              From a certain point of view, that makes sense. They did technically create said thing. It's still from Disney. Sometimes it works out well (it has since the beginning of the parks). But when it's the only thing that seems to happen, I feel a little bad that Disney isn't allowing WDI to really work out their creative muscles the way they're allowing other parts of the company to. -and when you don't keep up with your work outs, you weaken. It doesn't even have to be the norm but it would be nice to see WDI be allowed to go for a figurative jog every now and again.
              Last edited by Blurr; 10-16-2020, 09:05 AM.
              "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

              Comment


              • #8
                No IP, No significant merch sales, no cross promotion, no viral advertising (even before the internet was even a thing), no real attraction to young children. There is a reason all other large parks that started sans IP's either now license them or stumble to create their own. Even Chuck-E Cheeses restaurants knew they needed an IP. I personally do not think a park the size of Disneyland could exist sans IP's.

                It doesn't need Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel but without them they would not be as successful as they are now. If you took away all those, Mickey & Friends and the classic Princesses etc. then it would have been a condominiums long ago.

                Comment


                • #9
                  No. Disneyland has always been based on intellectual properties. Certainly, not to the level it is today, but each of the four original lands were based (lightly at least) on disney products that were then popular. Main Street USA was arguably the only part that wasn't. The main difference is that previously it was much more nuanced. Disney does true life adventure documentaries, does the jungle cruise. Disney does Davy Crockett and other historical figures, does Frontierland. Disney does third man on the mountain, and then does the matterhorn. It was much more careful and outside of fantasyland, never just placing the property in. It was more about taking inspiration from an already existing IP product and carefully moving that in.

                  I don't thing today's usage of IP is always bad though. I think times have changed significantly and it is what people have come to expect. The average visitor is much more excited about the prospect of being placed in their favorite movie or with their favorite characters than being transported elsewhere. If you look at the world's leading parks, Disney and Universal basically, they are full of IP. If you look at the parks that still just offer general theming, they are second tier. Like Knotts and Six Flags.

                  Personally, I think the sweet spot is in the middle. Indiana Jones is a perfect example. You get a new adventure, that fits in the land perfectly, with a character you know. As much as I liked Splash Mountain, I think the princess and the frog layover will be perfect as well. It fits perfectly into NOS. You'll have the town part where pirates and the mansion are and then the backwoods part with Splash. I think the key is seamless integration of IP.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Its key has always been about balance. Yes, many people make their trips with the intention of taking the kids to see Mickey Mouse, et al, but what the non- ip attractions offer is the chance to write your own story with you as the main character. While this can be done to a lesser extent with the ip attractions, you’re still more or less limited to the Disney characters’ universe.
                    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
                    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...ip-report.html
                    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
                    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...oto-heavy.html
                    http://micechat.com/forums/disneylan...something.html

                    No matter where you go, there you are.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't think the parks would have survived without Mickey and friends and the Fantasyland dark rides. I was recently rewatching Mr. Toad and Ichabod on Disney+ and I missed Mr. Toad's Wild Ride so much while watching. This ride would be a simple fun house carnival ride without the music and theming, but with it, it becomes something nostalgic and magical. The rides and movies reinforce one another in different ways for different people. I have never seen an Indiana Jones movie and I don't plan to, despite Indy being in my top 2 favorite rides at Disneyland, but some may see a movie because they like a ride.

                      Having said that, to me, the park would not be the same without the Disneyland originals: Pirates, HM, Matterhorn, etc. And I do not want Disneyland to be another Universal. It is getting too close as it is.
                      "I wish they all could be California Bears!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Another vote here for balance.

                        IP, when done right, adds familiarity and hits that nostalgic nerve in us. As a kid, meeting Mickey Mouse in person or riding a flying pirate Ship to Neverland would be like meeting a real life celebrity or living our favorite story for real. That familiarity is for lack of a better analogy, the gateway drug to the parks. We go as kids to meet Mickey, we come back because of all the things we didn’t expect to find, like POTC or HM.

                        While I do enjoy many of the more recent IP based E-Tickets and the lands made for them (Star Wars: GE & CarsLand especially), many of my sentimental favorites are their own IP that was originally unique just to the parks (POTC, HM, BTMRR, Jungle Cruise, Space Mtn, Matterhorn Bobsleds, DLRR). These favorites are why I come back time and time again.
                        Mike_M

                        Disneyland Trips
                        Walt Disney World
                        Disneyland Paris

                        1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989
                        1990, 1992, 1993

                        2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009
                        2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2016, 2017, 2/2019, 11/2019
                        2020

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I mean the parks from Day one had IPs in them Pan, Dumbo and so on.

                          If we are talking would Disney be as big without Marvel and Star Wars....I say no

                          Look at attendance to everything from the theme park, to movies to D23 events they all became huge after they eat up other poplar IPs. Thing would have still be big but people seem to like everything being under Disney hat....you can go to one place for Star Wars, Super Heros and classic Animated films.

                          For sure the parks would still have people coming in but you would not have the new lands...or the new spaceship themed hotel and Disneygetting almost a billion dollars on most its live action films.

                          For the parks, I wish we had more balance because I think we need another ride like HM/Pirates in DCA for sure but some people seem to eat up the new Pixar Peir which to me is wayyyyy worst than the Peir from 2012
                          Happy Halloween!!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JerrodDRagon View Post
                            ...For the parks, I wish we had more balance because I think we need another ride like HM/Pirates in DCA for sure but some people seem to eat up the new Pixar Peir which to me is wayyyyy worst than the Peir from 2012
                            They made a lot of mistakes initially, but DCA 1.0 was originally devoid of Disney IP in a majority of the park, and to be honest, adding IP to it has arguably made it a better park overall. CarsLand is one of the best lands of any Disney park IMO.

                            Pixar Pier though is the example I tend to use most often when talking about poor story and taking IP in the park too far. It just wasn’t needed. Paradise Pier made sense as it was.

                            What DCA needs is that balance that still exists at DL. There is no undoing some of the largest sins in DCA (The pier being the biggest offender left from the original design) but finding a better balance instead of making the whole place Pixar Park would solve the remaining issues DCA has left I believe.
                            Last edited by Mike_M; 10-16-2020, 03:21 PM.
                            Mike_M

                            Disneyland Trips
                            Walt Disney World
                            Disneyland Paris

                            1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989
                            1990, 1992, 1993

                            2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009
                            2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2016, 2017, 2/2019, 11/2019
                            2020

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mike_M View Post
                              CarsLand is one of the best lands of any Disney park IMO.
                              I think CarsLand is a good land, I just don't feel like it belongs in Disney "California" Adventure. Here's my idea of a good, creative balance: a land simply titled "Route 66". I've been playing this in my head for a while and it absolutely kills me to know it will never be a reality. A Route 66, original land has plenty of room to play and I believe the real Route 66 actually ends at a Pier in CA so it being connected to Paradise Pier would have made perfect sense.

                              But here, you could have had a Cars-based attraction that goes behind the rockwork of the land into a show building to visit Radiator Springs much in the way it does now and still have ended with a racing finale, albeit not in Radiator Springs.

                              Other, "original" attractions that could fit in this land when I armchair Imagineer in my mind are "Autopia thru Nature's Wonderland" and "Museum of the Weird". The former would be a combination of the ride in Tomorrowland but through the kind of scenery and show scenes present in the old Mine Train ride, thus freeing up that large chunk of land in Disneyland while still perfectly fitting the "Route 66" theme. The latter, would be a re-imagining of the "Museum of the Weird" we never not to originally see and it would become a sort of, strange and creepy roadside attraction that draws tourists in.. but do they come out? Could be a walk through tour or moving attraction, whatever they wanted and would again, be right at home in the area since roadside oddities are totally a thing.

                              That's just an example of my ideas for blending IP with original concepts seamlessly to create a Disney experience. I think it's pretty balanced and would love to see something like this become reality. Seriously, if there are any Disney execs browsing these forums from the future reading this and you're not sure what, if anything to do with the Carsland area, this post is a freebie idea from me for the greater good of the park. Have at it!
                              "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Blurr, I hear where you’re coming from. Did you by chance watch The Imagineering Story on Disney+? Apparently (and this was a rare nugget of info I didn’t know previously) CarsLand was originally going to be “Car” Land and had many of the ideas you mention. It was changed to Pixar Cars after WDI found out the Pixar film was in production.

                                Wiggins will jump on me for this one, but I don’t think WDI has much left in themselves for original story/character creation. I have to wonder if DCA 1.0’s failures left them unconfident in their own ability to create from scratch, and so they instead pivoted to where they are now which is finding good stories elsewhere and bringing them to life in the parks.

                                I do give them a pass for this because right now, the stories they are bringing to life have resonated with me. I have some excitement still in seeing what they offer with Avenger’s Campus once it’s all said and done.

                                It is entirely possible for them to use this model of outside story ideas to still provide us something unique to the parks. There are things I’d like to see that are not based on the studio’s existing IP, and armchair ideas of my own that I think could work (I’d still love to see a John Muir inspired version of Mystic Manor take the place of the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail), but I’m not holding my breath for them to come to the parks anytime soon; especially with the setback COVID has created.
                                Mike_M

                                Disneyland Trips
                                Walt Disney World
                                Disneyland Paris

                                1980, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989
                                1990, 1992, 1993

                                2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009
                                2010, 2011, 2014, 2016, 2016, 2017, 2/2019, 11/2019
                                2020

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Mike_M View Post
                                  ...Wiggins will jump on me for this one, but I don’t think WDI has much left in themselves for original story/character creation. I have to wonder if DCA 1.0’s failures left them unconfident in their own ability to create from scratch, and so they instead pivoted to where they are now which is finding good stories elsewhere and bringing them to life in the parks.
                                  Not at all, Mike. You're spot on so far as their output goes. Where we might differ is in the details of how the internal process has declined over the decades. But sadly, the end result is the same: instead of product that is greater than the sum of its parts, which was the hallmark of WED and pre-Iger (and I would say pre-Eisner) WDI, the product is less than the sum of its parts, and enormously less than its potential.


                                  "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                                  it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                                  together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                                  designed to appeal to everyone."

                                  - Walt Disney

                                  "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                                  - Michael Eisner

                                  "It's very symbiotic."
                                  - Bob Chapek

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Mike_M; I haven’t seen the Imagineering story yet, but I do vaguely remember seeing some kind of concept art that involved Goofy in a sort of “Goofy about driving” car-based attraction when I visited the Blue Sky Cellar many years ago? It’s been a long time.

                                    I think WDI is probably still full of talented people. -and if not, they’re definitely out there and wouldn’t be too hard to find. I think the issue with DCA 1.0 was its lack of approved funding. It was done on the cheap and “Blue Sky” isn’t really a reality when you’re limited by such a small budget.

                                    I’m sure the larger issue at hand is upper management not allowing WDI to be as creative as they’d like to be. They want safe and for-sure profits, not to take chances on a new idea they might consider a risk. At least, not usually. That would be my guess.
                                    "I take no side. I am beyond your worrying and wars. I am unseen. Unknowable. Like a rock in the river."

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Blurr View Post
                                      ...I think WDI is probably still full of talented people. -and if not, they’re definitely out there and wouldn’t be too hard to find. I think the issue with DCA 1.0 was its lack of approved funding. It was done on the cheap and “Blue Sky” isn’t really a reality when you’re limited by such a small budget.

                                      I’m sure the larger issue at hand is upper management not allowing WDI to be as creative as they’d like to be. They want safe and for-sure profits, not to take chances on a new idea they might consider a risk. At least, not usually. That would be my guess.
                                      Spot on. The name of the game becomes "Anticipate and Deliver What the Marketing Execs Want."

                                      "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                                      it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                                      together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                                      designed to appeal to everyone."

                                      - Walt Disney

                                      "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                                      - Michael Eisner

                                      "It's very symbiotic."
                                      - Bob Chapek

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post

                                        Spot on. The name of the game becomes "Anticipate and Deliver What the Marketing Execs Want."
                                        Only if WDI was able, really do there job ,like those back in Walt days......
                                        I bet they can come up great Lands and Attractions !
                                        In technological innovation and Imagination...........

                                        IMO
                                        They now Today part -Marketing Team.......which is sadly not the same !<>
                                        Soaring like an EAGLE !

                                        Comment

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