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  • What's the good news?

    I was just trying to remember the last time something new was announced for Disneyland that I thought would improve my park experience. I really can't remember but I'm pretty sure it's been years.

  • #2
    Here's how I see it: the park was special and 'magical' in Walt's time because Walt was not only a complete visionary, but he actually, genuinely cared about the park and the people who visited. He knew it had to make money to continue, and it did, but that wasn't the point of the park. But moreover, and it's not discussed enough, one of Walt's greatest gifts was that he was an unbelievable talent scout -- one of the best there ever were. And, during the depression in the 1930s and to a lesser extent the 1940s, pretty much every artistic person was on the market and available for hire. Walt capitalized on this, and the end result was that by the 1950s he had assembled a dream team the likes of which had never been seen before .... I mean, think about how many of his employees were not only very talented but actually geniuses in their own right (people like Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Ward Kimball, John Hench, etc). Obviously, this would be the high point of the park, and its worth remembering that it took a 'perfect storm' for the park to ever hit this high point.

    After Walt's passing, things inevitably declined. At first this was gradual: people who knew him personally and felt personally invested in his vision did the best they could, but over time there were less of them, and people who only had second hand knowledge took their place, and they did their best too. A lot of what worked about the original park was preserved as best as possible for as long as possible, and sometimes even some good additions were made by people like Tony Baxter. Eventually, however, this too couldn't last, and 'regular' business people eventually got hold of the operation. This was also inevitable, though I give everyone credit for holding this off as long as possible, and after this point the decline became more precipitous. There are still occasional bright spots, but I think a certain terminal velocity had been hit and honestly, it shows. People say that Eisner saved the company from being bought out, divided and sold to people looking to make a cheap buck, and in a literal sense that is true, but I think it's more realistic to say that he slowed down this process by making that change gradual and internal rather than abrupt and external. Basically, he bought the parks time, but no one can turn back the clock and entropy runs in one direction.

    Therefore, I don't think it's worth it to get too worked up over the future direction of the park and whether the new changes are positive. That's a game you can't win, which in the long term the park could never win. It's better to remember how lucky we are that as much of Walt's original vision still remains for us to enjoy. Think about it: Mr Toad is a ride themed to a movie that was moderately popular about a century ago and which nearly no one remembers today, the Tiki Room exists to show off technology that is fifty years out dated and pop culture references nearly zero percent of guests still understand, Main Street exists to bring to mind a time (the 1890s) that basically no one knows anything about or has any feelings about anymore, and etc. Walt died nearly sixty years ago, you know? We are very lucky that IASW, the Rivers of America, the train, and so forth, still exist. And we're very lucky that some of the additions have actually been good, like WOC or Cars Land, but I think it's best to remember that's luck and not something that had to happen or is guaranteed to keep happening. Like finding money on the ground. In other words: it's best to felicitate in what is, and not spend too much time stressing over entropy catching up to the parks because it was a) inevitable, and b) honestly, we're lucky it's come as slowly as it did.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post
      Here's how I see it: the park was special and 'magical' in Walt's time because Walt was not only a complete visionary, but he actually, genuinely cared about the park and the people who visited. He knew it had to make money to continue, and it did, but that wasn't the point of the park. But moreover, and it's not discussed enough, one of Walt's greatest gifts was that he was an unbelievable talent scout -- one of the best there ever were. And, during the depression in the 1930s and to a lesser extent the 1940s, pretty much every artistic person was on the market and available for hire. Walt capitalized on this, and the end result was that by the 1950s he had assembled a dream team the likes of which had never been seen before .... I mean, think about how many of his employees were not only very talented but actually geniuses in their own right (people like Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Ward Kimball, John Hench, etc). Obviously, this would be the high point of the park, and its worth remembering that it took a 'perfect storm' for the park to ever hit this high point.

      After Walt's passing, things inevitably declined. At first this was gradual: people who knew him personally and felt personally invested in his vision did the best they could, but over time there were less of them, and people who only had second hand knowledge took their place, and they did their best too. A lot of what worked about the original park was preserved as best as possible for as long as possible, and sometimes even some good additions were made by people like Tony Baxter. Eventually, however, this too couldn't last, and 'regular' business people eventually got hold of the operation. This was also inevitable, though I give everyone credit for holding this off as long as possible, and after this point the decline became more precipitous. There are still occasional bright spots, but I think a certain terminal velocity had been hit and honestly, it shows. People say that Eisner saved the company from being bought out, divided and sold to people looking to make a cheap buck, and in a literal sense that is true, but I think it's more realistic to say that he slowed down this process by making that change gradual and internal rather than abrupt and external. Basically, he bought the parks time, but no one can turn back the clock and entropy runs in one direction.

      Therefore, I don't think it's worth it to get too worked up over the future direction of the park and whether the new changes are positive. That's a game you can't win, which in the long term the park could never win. It's better to remember how lucky we are that as much of Walt's original vision still remains for us to enjoy. Think about it: Mr Toad is a ride themed to a movie that was moderately popular about a century ago and which nearly no one remembers today, the Tiki Room exists to show off technology that is fifty years out dated and pop culture references nearly zero percent of guests still understand, Main Street exists to bring to mind a time (the 1890s) that basically no one knows anything about or has any feelings about anymore, and etc. Walt died nearly sixty years ago, you know? We are very lucky that IASW, the Rivers of America, the train, and so forth, still exist. And we're very lucky that some of the additions have actually been good, like WOC or Cars Land, but I think it's best to remember that's luck and not something that had to happen or is guaranteed to keep happening. Like finding money on the ground. In other words: it's best to felicitate in what is, and not spend too much time stressing over entropy catching up to the parks because it was a) inevitable, and b) honestly, we're lucky it's come as slowly as it did.
      That a BINGO.........."Walt was not only a complete visionary, but he actually, genuinely cared about the park and the people who visited."
      and Great Post
      Soaring like an EAGLE !

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post
        Here's how I see it: the park was special and 'magical' in Walt's time because Walt was not only a complete visionary, but he actually, genuinely cared about the park and the people who visited. He knew it had to make money to continue, and it did, but that wasn't the point of the park. But moreover, and it's not discussed enough, one of Walt's greatest gifts was that he was an unbelievable talent scout -- one of the best there ever were. And, during the depression in the 1930s and to a lesser extent the 1940s, pretty much every artistic person was on the market and available for hire. Walt capitalized on this, and the end result was that by the 1950s he had assembled a dream team the likes of which had never been seen before .... I mean, think about how many of his employees were not only very talented but actually geniuses in their own right (people like Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Ward Kimball, John Hench, etc). Obviously, this would be the high point of the park, and its worth remembering that it took a 'perfect storm' for the park to ever hit this high point.

        After Walt's passing, things inevitably declined. At first this was gradual: people who knew him personally and felt personally invested in his vision did the best they could, but over time there were less of them, and people who only had second hand knowledge took their place, and they did their best too. A lot of what worked about the original park was preserved as best as possible for as long as possible, and sometimes even some good additions were made by people like Tony Baxter. Eventually, however, this too couldn't last, and 'regular' business people eventually got hold of the operation. This was also inevitable, though I give everyone credit for holding this off as long as possible, and after this point the decline became more precipitous. There are still occasional bright spots, but I think a certain terminal velocity had been hit and honestly, it shows. People say that Eisner saved the company from being bought out, divided and sold to people looking to make a cheap buck, and in a literal sense that is true, but I think it's more realistic to say that he slowed down this process by making that change gradual and internal rather than abrupt and external. Basically, he bought the parks time, but no one can turn back the clock and entropy runs in one direction.

        Therefore, I don't think it's worth it to get too worked up over the future direction of the park and whether the new changes are positive. That's a game you can't win, which in the long term the park could never win. It's better to remember how lucky we are that as much of Walt's original vision still remains for us to enjoy. Think about it: Mr Toad is a ride themed to a movie that was moderately popular about a century ago and which nearly no one remembers today, the Tiki Room exists to show off technology that is fifty years out dated and pop culture references nearly zero percent of guests still understand, Main Street exists to bring to mind a time (the 1890s) that basically no one knows anything about or has any feelings about anymore, and etc. Walt died nearly sixty years ago, you know? We are very lucky that IASW, the Rivers of America, the train, and so forth, still exist. And we're very lucky that some of the additions have actually been good, like WOC or Cars Land, but I think it's best to remember that's luck and not something that had to happen or is guaranteed to keep happening. Like finding money on the ground. In other words: it's best to felicitate in what is, and not spend too much time stressing over entropy catching up to the parks because it was a) inevitable, and b) honestly, we're lucky it's come as slowly as it did.
        Or as Ward Kimball cracked to animators-in-training: "Walt Disney is dead and you missed him."

        Well written and observed post but I differ with the final point - rather than embracing mediocrity, why not have the fun of holding the current handlers to Walt's example? It's only a losing game if we let everyone forget. Those of us who know, understand, and remember what he built and what he represented have a responsibility to speak out in his name. If only to keep the discussion going. As the endless Star Wars messaging says: "Resist."

        Disney was written off as dead so many times since the 60s I can't count but crazy dreamers inspired by Walt kept it alive and reignited the dimming flame despite the odds. With your "just accept it" attitude the animation rennaissance (Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin) would never have happened. Those artists pushed on despite the odds and "common wisdom" to give up. Everything in nature is a cycle if you can just hold on through winter with an eye to spring. "No matter how your heart is grieving - if you keep on believing - the dream that you wish will come true."

        "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."
        Last edited by merlinjones; 07-08-2021, 07:38 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by merlinjones View Post

          Or as Ward Kimball cracked to animators-in-training: "Walt Disney is dead and you missed him."

          Well written and observed post but I differ with the final point - rather than embracing mediocrity, why not have the fun of holding the current handlers to Walt's example? It's only a losing game if we let everyone forget. Those of us who know, understand, and remember what he built and what he represented have a responsibility to speak out in his name. If only to keep the discussion going. As the endless Star Wars messaging says: "Resist."

          Disney was written off as dead so many times since the 60s I can't count but crazy dreamers inspired by Walt kept it alive and reignited the dimming flame despite the odds. With your "just accept it" attitude the animation rennaissance (Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin) would never have happened. Those artists pushed on despite the odds and "common wisdom" to give up. Everything in nature is a cycle if you can just hold on through winter with an eye to spring. "No matter how your heart is grieving - if you keep on believing - the dream that you wish will come true."

          "It's kind of fun to do the impossible."


          Hear hear! There are always new dreamers and new 'imaginers' with new ideas (and new takes on old ideas) just waiting to be found. Lately it hasn't been a very good climate for true 'Disney-ish' Fantasy (that's 'capital F' Fantasy) to flourish in. It's all been about Superheroes and Star Wars. But I do believe it will happen, as you say, when 'the dream that WE wish comes true'. All it takes is a little 'faith, trust, and pixie dust'.
          "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain.​"

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post
            Here's how I see it: the park was special and 'magical' in Walt's time because Walt was not only a complete visionary, but he actually, genuinely cared about the park and the people who visited. He knew it had to make money to continue, and it did, but that wasn't the point of the park. But moreover, and it's not discussed enough, one of Walt's greatest gifts was that he was an unbelievable talent scout -- one of the best there ever were. And, during the depression in the 1930s and to a lesser extent the 1940s, pretty much every artistic person was on the market and available for hire. Walt capitalized on this, and the end result was that by the 1950s he had assembled a dream team the likes of which had never been seen before .... I mean, think about how many of his employees were not only very talented but actually geniuses in their own right (people like Marc Davis, Mary Blair, Ward Kimball, John Hench, etc). Obviously, this would be the high point of the park, and its worth remembering that it took a 'perfect storm' for the park to ever hit this high point.

            After Walt's passing, things inevitably declined. At first this was gradual: people who knew him personally and felt personally invested in his vision did the best they could, but over time there were less of them, and people who only had second hand knowledge took their place, and they did their best too. A lot of what worked about the original park was preserved as best as possible for as long as possible, and sometimes even some good additions were made by people like Tony Baxter. Eventually, however, this too couldn't last, and 'regular' business people eventually got hold of the operation. This was also inevitable, though I give everyone credit for holding this off as long as possible, and after this point the decline became more precipitous. There are still occasional bright spots, but I think a certain terminal velocity had been hit and honestly, it shows. People say that Eisner saved the company from being bought out, divided and sold to people looking to make a cheap buck, and in a literal sense that is true, but I think it's more realistic to say that he slowed down this process by making that change gradual and internal rather than abrupt and external. Basically, he bought the parks time, but no one can turn back the clock and entropy runs in one direction.

            Therefore, I don't think it's worth it to get too worked up over the future direction of the park and whether the new changes are positive. That's a game you can't win, which in the long term the park could never win. It's better to remember how lucky we are that as much of Walt's original vision still remains for us to enjoy. Think about it: Mr Toad is a ride themed to a movie that was moderately popular about a century ago and which nearly no one remembers today, the Tiki Room exists to show off technology that is fifty years out dated and pop culture references nearly zero percent of guests still understand, Main Street exists to bring to mind a time (the 1890s) that basically no one knows anything about or has any feelings about anymore, and etc. Walt died nearly sixty years ago, you know? We are very lucky that IASW, the Rivers of America, the train, and so forth, still exist. And we're very lucky that some of the additions have actually been good, like WOC or Cars Land, but I think it's best to remember that's luck and not something that had to happen or is guaranteed to keep happening. Like finding money on the ground. In other words: it's best to felicitate in what is, and not spend too much time stressing over entropy catching up to the parks because it was a) inevitable, and b) honestly, we're lucky it's come as slowly as it did.
            Agreed that Walt was a phenomenal leader with an incredible vision.

            I disagree that Disneyland at the point of Walt's death was the high point of the park. Actually, I strongly disagree with that.

            Let's talk about attractions that came on line after Walt died 12/16/66. The first few did have Walt's hands on it, but there are many after that which are fantastic attractions that make Disneyland a magical place:
            • Pirates of The Caribbean 3/18/67
            • Haunted Mansion 8/9/69
            • Main Street Electrical Parade 6/17/72
            • Space Mountain 5/27/77
            • Big Thunder Mountain RR 9/15/79
            • Star Tours 1/9/87
            • Splash Mountain 7/17/89
            • Fantasmic! 5/13/92
            • Indiana Jones Adventure 3/3/95
            • Rise of the Resistance 1/17/20
            DCA is evolving into a great park, too. Cars Land and Avengers Campus were both home runs. Yes, SWGE is not great, and I think it's a huge waste of space even though I love Star Wars. They'll have to fix that land over time just like they've been fixing DCA.

            Everyone will have different "high points", but I think it was the mid/late 90s. Perfection.

            As you said, corporate greed is the issue. Walt, as amazing as he was, wouldn't have been able to fix that.

            The IPO of Disney in 1957 was both a saving grace for the Disney company and a deal with the devil. That was the point when entropy set in.

            It's not an issue of Disneyland not being able to find talent. There are oodles of talented imagineers. The issue is the lack of investment in staff training and guest experience. Imagineering-wise and attraction-wise, I think they're doing great when they have the right amount of funding. Unfortunately the leadership at Disney doesn't find much value investing in that any more.

            Oddly, even though they find lots of value in Disney+ streaming, that crappy app still restarts me in the foreign language part of the credits when I want to rewatch a show I already watched. How Disney is SO bad at software with all the money they're sitting on is beyond my comprehension.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by merlinjones View Post
              Well written and observed post but I differ with the final point - rather than embracing mediocrity, why not have the fun of holding the current handlers to Walt's example?
              Thanks, and yes -- I'm definitely not saying don't discuss it, I'm saying more don't let it get to the point where it's getting in the way of enjoying what's still there or enjoying remembering what was there.

              Originally posted by brerphysicist View Post
              I disagree that Disneyland at the point of Walt's death was the high point of the park. Actually, I strongly disagree with that.
              Well, for one thing I'm categorizing projects he was involved in as part of his time, so something like Mansion or especially Pirates still counts. But I guess I should have been more precise and have said that I think that was the high point in terms of the running of the park -- art direction, design, implementation, operation, maintenance, so forth -- rather than necessarily the high point in terms of what you would get if you visited. Something akin to the difference between maximal velocity and maximal position, in other words.

              Originally posted by brerphysicist View Post
              DCA is evolving into a great park, too. Cars Land and Avengers Campus were both home runs. Yes, SWGE is not great, and I think it's a huge waste of space even though I love Star Wars. They'll have to fix that land over time just like they've been fixing DCA.
              I agree vigorously on both SW:GE and Cars Land. Haven't been to Avengers Campus yet, but as I am especially a fan of the Marvel franchise (I'm not against it either, I just don't really care either way) I'm not expecting too much. Would be happy to be surprised, though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post
                ...I'm definitely not saying don't discuss it, I'm saying more don't let it get to the point where it's getting in the way of enjoying what's still there or enjoying remembering what was there...
                Worth noting. Still, fact is that rebranding is going to lose a portion of the traditional Walt audience. Each individual will have their own authentic reaction to the changes. ''Disney'' is not the ketchup business. It is an emotional connection. The question is how many, how much, how long before the cycle turns back again to what is uniquely Disney, the reasons for its elusive, incomparable success... as it always has in the past.

                "What needs to happen, tends to happen.'' - Roy E. Disney
                Last edited by merlinjones; 07-08-2021, 10:12 PM.

                Comment

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