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  • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

    Originally posted by Taggart View Post
    I'm not really even talking about RFID. Just because you read an Al Lutz article about that doesn't mean you know everything there is to come. The RFID stuff isn't really that important. That's just a small amount of what's in store. In reality, the cruse ships will contain so much to do, and yes, a heap of creativity that hasn't been seen in a while.

    And what's this creative issue you speak of? Are you already discrediting the ships before they premiere? Because the level of detail on them is stunning and should blow most people and fans away.

    Journey into Imagination with Figment
    : You are guests at the Imagination Institute open house.

    Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
    : You are guests at a Monstopolis comedy club.

    Dinosaur:
    You are guests at the Dino-Institute.

    Test Track
    : You are guests at a state of the art GM vehicle testing facility.
    : You are guests at G-Force records, where Aerosmith is recording their new album.

    Tomorrowland 95
    : You are guests in a land of the future.

    The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management
    : You are the audience in a show starring singing birds.

    While the same can be said for the original Enchanted Tiki Room, and The Country Bears Jamboree
    The Haunted Mansion

    Dinosaur
    : We the passengers of the Time Rover must chase down and capture a tagged iguanodon.

    Splash Mountain
    : Boo has gone missing and we the guests help Mike and Scully chase after her.

    Muppetvision 3D
    : Bean Bunny has run away and we must help the other Muppets find him before the big finale.

    The Seas with Nemo and Friends
    : Nemo has gone missing (this time on purpose) and we follow Marlin and Dory as they look for him.

    Kilamanjaro Safaris
    : A baby Elefhant has gone missing and our safari jeep is in the area, so we try to find him.

    Pirates of the Caribbean
    Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, and Dr. Channing just next door in Journey into Imagination With Figment follows this plot and the former occupant across the street, TimekeeperThe Many Adventures of Whinnie the PoohPirates of the Caribbean I could be a pirate, a member of the town guard, or some highly intelligent fish. Nobody has assigned me a role. The story has no true narrative other than pirates sack a Spanish port. In those scenes there is just enough information to get the imagination rolling and no acts or plot points to get in the way once it does.

    The entirety of The Haunted Mansion
    It bothers me when people selectively edit quotes to support whatever point they are trying to prove.
    sigpic

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    • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

      @Dapper Dan BRAVO... bravo.
      Get the latest and greatest theme park news by

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      • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

        Dapper Dan, that was brilliant. I have long held that at one point the word "story" changed definitions for the Imagineers. It went from meaning the history of the place/attraction, the details of the world, the reason for existence to meaning the plot. When story referred to the history of an attraction we got Pirates and HM where our imagination was able to create stories surrounding the scenes we were being shown. We could create our own narrative and plot for the accurate, real world that had been created. It made rides very personal to EVERYONE. Then story got changed and became plot and suddenly we all are told the exact same story from the same point of view, every single time.

        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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        • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

          @ dapper, Whats so wrong about that? i think disney realized, the AVERAGE (not us guys!) Park guests dont even know where the toilet is, let alone can figure out whats going on without "okay this is where you are".....

          also i want to say no matter how perfectly perfect, awesomely awesome, no matter how in-touch with your imagination you are, disney has to break show at some point.

          So tell me, is it better to be an AVERAGE, park guest and be as confused as heck, or have someone tell you "hey this is where your at" My grandma thought princess tiana was cinderella, and prince naveen was a friend of mine.. -_-

          SO you think those people have any idea about (insert any attraction here)??

          Comment


          • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

            Originally posted by Dapper Dan View Post
            Guests now need a strong story because high up executive told Imagineering that they do. The sad thing is it actually creates a less immersive experience.
            Hands down, your post is the best analysis I've read of what Disney theme park attraction story was, should be, and rarely is any more.

            "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

            Comment


            • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

              One of my favorite documents to read from the archives at WDW is the back story to Big Thunder Mountain. The back story is incredibly rich and detailed, and if you really take your time exploring the ride, and letting the scenes tell their story as you wiz through you get a very rich ride, with a great mythology.... all without the forced narrative.
              Get the latest and greatest theme park news by

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              • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                Originally posted by Dapper Dan View Post

                Journey into Imagination with Figment
                : You are guests at the Imagination Institute open house.

                Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor
                : You are guests at a Monstopolis comedy club.

                Dinosaur:
                You are guests at the Dino-Institute.

                Test Track
                : You are guests at a state of the art GM vehicle testing facility.
                : You are guests at G-Force records, where Aerosmith is recording their new album.

                Tomorrowland 95
                : You are guests in a land of the future.

                The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management
                : You are the audience in a show starring singing birds.

                While the same can be said for the original Enchanted Tiki Room, and The Country Bears Jamboree
                The Haunted Mansion

                Dinosaur
                : We the passengers of the Time Rover must chase down and capture a tagged iguanodon.

                Splash Mountain
                : Boo has gone missing and we the guests help Mike and Scully chase after her.

                Muppetvision 3D
                : Bean Bunny has run away and we must help the other Muppets find him before the big finale.

                The Seas with Nemo and Friends
                : Nemo has gone missing (this time on purpose) and we follow Marlin and Dory as they look for him.

                Kilamanjaro Safaris
                : A baby Elefhant has gone missing and our safari jeep is in the area, so we try to find him.

                Pirates of the Caribbean
                Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, and Dr. Channing just next door in Journey into Imagination With Figment follows this plot and the former occupant across the street, TimekeeperThe Many Adventures of Whinnie the PoohPirates of the Caribbean I could be a pirate, a member of the town guard, or some highly intelligent fish. Nobody has assigned me a role. The story has no true narrative other than pirates sack a Spanish port. In those scenes there is just enough information to get the imagination rolling and no acts or plot points to get in the way once it does.

                The entirety of The Haunted Mansion


                I don't do this often but you deserve it.



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                • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                  I think the one thing often overlooked is the competition... the pressure to do better... Disney as a brand has become an icon, like it or not. And as an icon there is very little they need to do to get people to show up. Walt and WED did more, maybe because of personal drive, maybe because they didn't have a choice. Some of Disneyland's greatest attractions were built when Disneyland was in direct competition with Knott's and Magic Mountain. They were built when Pacific Park gave the fledgling Disneyland an honest run for it's money. Now Disney is king and there isn't even a close second to keep pressure on them. Without that pressure, that competition, Disneyland has stagnated.

                  WDW is actually a bit worse... because they have the competition (Universal) but lack the drive. They've become lazy, mainly because they know people will show up due to name recognition. While Disneyland had to prove itself, DisneyWorld has been able to ride the name recognition wave for a very long time. At times effort was put into it (to make sure Walt was honored)... but those times have since passed, and now it is beaten by better designers in better parks.
                  "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

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

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                  • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                    Wow Dapper Dan, it's obvious that you've thought this out considerably. A great post for discussion.

                    You do say a lot that I do agree with. I personally feel that story isn't a necessity. World of Color, for an example, comes off as a great spectacle with little more than pacing as its guide. Soarin' is another great example.

                    But I do feel that you place your frame of reference in a spot that oversimplifies the variations between experiences. Sure, there are a lot of "finding" and "chaos" types of stories, but you could also reduce that arc even further.

                    Disneyland was originally created as a means to explore the film worlds of Disney and most of WED were filmmakers. To this day, the procedure for creation functions more like a film development than anything. To deny or belittle the need or existence of stories in the parks is to stray away from what created the parks in the first place. You take away the substance and all that is left is the technology and architecture, which is more susceptible to obsolesence over time.

                    The difference between film and parks is there is far less time to acclimate viewers into the experience. Trying to place a convoluted and complex storyline onto viewers leaves them confused. So stories and plots are used that humans of all languages and culture can easily understand without much explanation. That's not meant to be condescending to the viewer, it's just necessary with such a wide variety of audience.

                    Placemaking is incredibly important to the entire experience. Without it, that sense of immersion and escape is impossible and the attraction feels shallow. That at its core is what separates many true themed attractions from carnival rides and pseudo-themed dark rides. Disneyland as a whole is an attempt at massive placemaking.

                    A lot of what you're arguing is really a problem of what the parks ask for versus what WDI wants to create. Statistically, guests want more interaction and more experiences that they feel a sense of escape. While spectacle type attractions are great, you don't lose yourself for that experience, you are constantly mindful that you, the guest, are watching a show. I think a big thing to point out is there is a large divide between people who desperately want to be a part of the story and action, and those who would rather sit back passively.

                    I disagree that many of the references you cited plant the viewer simply as a guest in a theme park. Yes, most of those attractions claim that you are "invited guests" at an exotic location but there is plenty of room and invitation left for the audience to fill in the blanks and make their own imaginary decisions as to where they came from. Certainly guests at an imagination institute would not be just ordinary tourists from a theme park, but that is left for the viewer to decide. Same with most of the other references you mentioned. In each, the viewer is given power to decipher who they are and where they are from. General clues are provided throughout to color this judgment. This is done for the reason I stated above - when you try to impose and force a set role on such a wide variety of audience, most people become confused and now you're feeding them with too many details to understand in such a short time. This isn't to say that it hasn't been done before, but it works better when you let people draw their own conclusions.

                    Like I've said before, I don't believe Disney is perfect. But there is a lot coming up to look forward to. The atmosphere at WDI and in the parks is slowly changing and it'll be even more evident as time goes on. A lot more gets planned than actually built, and most of the good stuff takes time to simmer on the minds of the business types before they buy off on progressive ideas.

                    But, good stuff is coming along. You'll see.

                    Comment


                    • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                      Originally posted by Taggart View Post
                      The atmosphere at WDI and in the parks is slowly changing and it'll be even more evident as time goes on. A lot more gets planned than actually built, and most of the good stuff takes time to simmer on the minds of the business types before they buy off on progressive ideas.
                      I would venture to say that a lot has changed within the hallowed halls of WDI. As original ideas have been scrapped in the name of marketing characters. One only has to look at the "DCA Fix" to see my point. Instead of highly original, themed experiences a "guest" is simply tossed into a Disney version of Universal Studios. WDI's answer to a failing park is more characters, not more character... and to that end they sacrifice theme in general to ensure Guests see characters. WDW will likely see this same trend continue.
                      "Happiness is a Low Water Level"

                      sigpic

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

                      Comment


                      • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                        I recently came across an essay that I'd like to share with all of you. It may provide some insight into some of those attractions where the "audience" is cast as an "audience," and just what exactly the Imagineers had in mind. The essay's thesis is that several of these attractions are actually veiled criticism of Disney executives. Furthermore, the intent to cast the audience exactly as they are--theme park guests--is often essential to the storytelling. The essay is fairly long but I think it's definitely worth the read.

                        Credit for the following article is due to blogger.com alias: FoxxFur.
                        ---
                        In my discussions of Disney themed design I have long employed the practice of my (theoretical!) classifications of attractions into either Stratificational or Presentational design groups. I have employed these theories in my dissertations, and overall hopefully proved the usefulness of such an approach since introducing these concepts in 2007.

                        There are inherent problems in such an approach, even beyond the disconnect between theory and practice which is the white elephant of most critical writing. With the ascent of Eisner and his story mandates the concept of Presentationalism, that unique aesthetic mode which WED had been carefully building to towards since 1955 - climaxing with EPCOT in 1982 - was no longer permitted. As a result the usefulness of the classifications of "Stratification" and "Presentationalism" become by and large useless by the mid-80's. I have never attempted to leverage the two theories at products which followed the end of the Golden Age of Themed Design for just this reason.

                        In the fallout of this tide change, a number of new schools began to grow. In WDI designs there is a "return to naturalism", a "faith in the theme", and a faith in "justified decor" which old-school WED designers were content to either divert or ignore due to those designer's faith in abstract representation. But I think the chief development in the "Second Wave" which is often discussed but rarely labeled is the growth of what I have begun to call "Post-Themed-Attraction Design".

                        First, a few thoughts on that cumbersome name.

                        What I seek to label when defining a work as being part of the Post-Themed-Attraction school is an attraction, which often appears to perch itself in the Stratificational mode, but which is implicitly or explicitly a reaction to the traditional modes and operations of the designs of WED's Golden Age. It cannot simply be an acknowledgement of the audience; since WED designs were meant to really "bring you there", this happens constantly in classical Disney design:

                        "If we weren't in the show starting right away we'd be in the audience too."

                        "They have selected you to fill our quota, and they'll haunt you until you return!"

                        No... to truly be in the school of the Post-Themed-Attraction Designs, the work must overall acknowledge its' position as a theme park display or its' overall role in the diagesis of the theme park "show". It is one thing to include the audience in the world of the show and quite another to make reference to the theme park location of the show and to rely on the spectator's familiarity with the mode of the traditional theme show to create a spark which carries on the shows forward momentum.

                        I. Post Themed Attraction Design

                        The name itself is a compromise. I have often seen attractions of this stripe labeled "post-modern"; but in reality we're culturally closer to "post-post-post-post-modernism" today than anything else. Not wanting to create more confusion in my use than simply refraining from using such a term, I elected not to use the term "post-modern". The second term which came to mind was "Post-Disney", but again this creates more unnecessary associations with the death of Walt Disney in 1966 than it resolves. Closer still was "Post-Disneyland", but again, this creates an unnecessary emphasis on a certain place, date, person or time. What the admittedly weak term of "Post-Themed-Attraction Design" seeks to create an understanding that this is a mode which responds not just to Disney works but to the whole business of creating a Disneylike diagetic environment overall. Universal, for example, is probably the best and most prolific practitioner of Post-Themed Design in the world.

                        I see two overall grades of the Post-Themed show. Version one strikes a subtle balance between the traditional Stratificational mode and its' Post-Themed content. A noteworthy attraction in this vein is Star Tours, where we are still tourists, albeit tourists on a space shuttle instead of a theme park simulator. Still, the overall joke of several sequences in Star Tours is in the tourist status of the assembled crew, and we are meant to recognize this as a moment where Disney has broken the "third wall"; not towards us, the spectators - but towards itself, in a way. The moment of non-diagesis forms an ironic counterpoint to the otherwise straightforward nature of the presentation. The Timekeeper, from 1994, included a gag where tourists were beamed forward in time out of the audience, although again the diagetic nature of the attraction was not violated too strongly here as, after all, in the 1994 Tomorrowland we are all meant to be tourists to the land of the future.

                        Alien Encounter was a few steps up the scale and also only a few physical steps away from Timekeeper. WDI's 1994 effort to launch a "franchise ride" aimed at teenage thrillseekers was in reality a handy salvage of an effects chair Imagineering had been tinkering with for years; the original concept was to use the Xenomorph from "Alien". The resulting attraction was a strange bedfellow for the Magic Kingdom, wildly oscillating between interesting satire and "hip" cynicism, and in fact was removed from service shortly following its premiere to be made more "scary".

                        The satire elements of Alien Encounter were the interesting ones, and this is the aspect of the attraction which tips the hand into the realm of Post-Themed Design. The fictional X-S Tech Corp of the attraction, headed by an ethereal CEO seen only on television, is a rather transparent version of Disney; a corporation which employs richly funded but inadequately tested technology to mysterious ends. The CEO is to be teleported into the theater but the signal is lost; in a panic technicians recklessly beam in whatever signal they happen to find which turns out to be, naturally, a dangerous carnivore.

                        Disney is well known for its ability to feed with one hand and slap with another, and the didactic tone of Animal Kingdom is only a recent example. Although the message is slightly diverted by a mention of "Disneyland Moon" in the Alien Encounter preshow, making it clear that Disney apparently exists alongside X-S Tech, the cautionary tale of a company using new technology to achieve "magic" and its' dangerous outcome resonates through the Disney canon, from the Flying Saucers at Disneyland to the ongoing charade which was Test Track at EPCOT, diverted for years because the very sophisticated ride vehicles simply would not perform their desired functions. WDI spends years developing concepts and ride vehicles and lots of money on things that never see the light of day; it's not hard to see the correlation and it wasn't hard for spectators to see it them, either. Alien Encounter may have been in suspect taste, but there was nothing like it in the Disney canon at the time.

                        II. Past, Present Dialogue

                        2000 saw the opening of Journey Into YOUR Imagination at EPCOT, a bare bones replacement for the lavish Kodak pavilion of 1983. It closed only two years later to be replaced with yet another attraction due to rampant guest complaints, and it is this second version - Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment - which interests us here. The short lifespan and heated dislike of version 2 of the attraction perched version 3 in the uncommon situation of being both a replacement of and an apology for the second version, and an intriguing dynamic was created.

                        In the attraction, a scientific research facility known as the "Imagination Institute" - a concept salvaged from a throwaway joke in the nearby "Honey I Shrunk the Audience" - is headed by the stuffy Eric Idle, who is giving a tour which is repeatedly interrupted by carefree Figment. In version 2 of the attraction, Idle's chairman of the institute was the authoritative voice, but here he is constantly sidetracked by Figment, and it is not hard to extend Figment the role of being the literal embodiment of WED designs and EPCOT Center in general. Figment, for example, is associated with the disruption of the weirdly sterile atmosphere of the Institute, which is literally exploded in the finale into a succession of abstract spaces - an orange sunset, a starry night, and finally a room which materializes out of nowhere. WDI designs favor concrete and demonstrable spaces - Harambe, Africa, or the sterility of a Hollywood movie studio - but WED era designs created any old imaginary - often not very well developed - spaces they felt like, in any order they pleased. Figment's explosion of the Institute office corridors into upside down houses and abstract spaces is literally the destruction of Disney's modern concepts of themed design "placemaking".


                        Besides his inherent historical association with EPCOT, Figment is employed in other ways to subvert Idle, who is essentially filling the role of a modern "creative executive", a placebo for the hundreds of "empty suits" who continue to stifle creativity in WDI. Figment appears in his trademark yellow sweater and watches animation from the 1983 version of his attraction (a sobering contrast to the gaudy 3D animation of Figment seen elsewhere) on an upside down television. He walks on the walls and ceiling around the cars in a clear allusion to the opening of World of Motion. At one point he summons an oncoming train heard in sound effects which "rush through" the audience, a possible allusion to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. He even actually stops the attraction from continuing and diverts the cars through nonsense space with spinning cutout Figments and lighting effects. So concerned is the attraction with pleasing an audience of hardcore Disney fans that a clever visual reference to The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is even included. This is in contrast to version 2 of Imagination where a hollow reference to the Haunted Mansion was included, very similar to the perfunctory name dropping of the Mansion in California Adventure's Superstar Limo.

                        "Angels, execs, producers beyond... give us a sign the Green Light is on."

                        A fairly subversive quotation, actually, when removed from its' apparent Hollywood context and placed in the similar decision making world of Imagineering.

                        Journey Into Your Imagination With Figment may be the only Disney attraction currently operating which seeks to create a dialogue between design team and audience, not intended for the millions of tourists who traipse in and out of the building all year mostly unaware of the subtext and history and meaning behind it. And Disney fans have not embraced it either, not only for its' uneasy atmosphere and near constant assault on the senses, but because it is not the beloved original attraction. The final verdict on Journey into YOUR Imagination with Figment may rest on whether this "reading" of the attraction is correct or not. I believe it is, and may therefore actually rank as one of WDI's more subversive achievements, a funny but sad cry of despair from the pit of Disney's darkest era of themed design. It's hard not to hear famous creative executives like Paul Pressler behind lines like:

                        "I want you out of sight!" "I believe Imagination should be captured and controlled!"

                        And some beleaguered creative team sticking it to the boss, making themselves into Figment, a blind eye turned to them for the moment under the pressures of time and money:

                        "Imagination should be set free!"

                        III. WDI on Corporate Culture

                        1998 saw the opening of possibly the most universally contested attraction in Disney history, The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management. Unlike the gross injustices played out on the EPCOT Center attractions of 1982-1983, The Tiki Room was largely considered to be hallowed ground, a Walt Disney attraction from 1963 which had been playing in roughly its' original form since then. The 1971 Florida version upgraded the size of the theater, the exterior building and preshow and included beautiful new effects not possible at Disneyland, but was still more or less the Tiki Room, and by the 1990's was starting to play badly with audiences. At nearly 20 minutes, the sedate original show is subject to walkouts even at the fiercely historical Disneyland. In 1994 an island-themed bird replaced the original Wally Boag "barker" toucan, but it failed to draw more people in. A creative team, probably charged only with creating something loud, colorful and short, was assembled. To these Imagineers, the project was undoubtedly an unpleasant "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, and the show they created is a fascinating doubled edged sword which plays with many of these uneasy themes.


                        The show is among Disney's most alienating, although it is a fascinating and less oblique bit of commentary on WDI's management. The tone is set immediately in the preshow, where the original Clyde and Claude toucans have been replaced by William and Morris, two smarmy talent agents. Where Clyde and Claude provided amusing banter about Adventureland, William and Morris are immediately annoyed at one another and begin bickering. Prominent Disney brands (in 1998) are name dropped, like The Mighty Ducks, and eventually the two birds just start shouting at one another as the preshow abruptly ends. This is the first overture to the audience about the show inside.

                        Disney bird characters Iago and Zazu have purchased the Enchanted Tiki Room, which is an intentional absurdity in and of itself, as the birds are from unrelated franchises, owned by Disney, and are now appearing in another unrelated franchise owned by Disney. Disney has always carefully guarded the diagetic integrity of their brands, and so the bringing together of these three properties was either created wholly by some marketing department somewhere or by the design team themselves as one more reflection of the heresy of the assignment. Eisnerite Disney may have ground out dozens of "cheapquels" to their most valuable properties, but we never saw Ariel pop up in, say, Beauty and the Beast part 6, and even in the hugely successful Disney Princess line of paraphernalia all of the girls are clustered together but all staring off in slightly different directions so they, eerily, never seem to be quite inhabiting the same space.

                        The Under New Management preshow also nearly immediately brings up the most important point in the whole project, which is money. To say that the designers were enamoured with the money making potential of the show is probably wrong, although others in the company assuredly were and they do go to great lengths to put these opinions in the mouths of many characters throughout the show, starting with these two cynical toucans.

                        "Just look at these paying customers waiting to get in."

                        "...Did you say paying?"

                        "As in money!"

                        "...As in ten percent?"

                        The audience is being manipulated for cash, the show repeatedly tells us, which is a second absurdity in that attractions are loss leaders for Disney, not money makers, and doubly in that the Enchanted Tiki Room in any form hasn't inspired copious cash flow from the bulk of tourists in decades. It's easy to interpret these essential themes as being quite earnest in the show, although the logic of doing so doesn't and never has quite added up. But this never comes off as funny or detached; it comes off as honestly cynical and rotten. This is why the show has been and continues to be so poorly received; what was probably intended as satire comes off as a sort of thesis statement on audiences, taste, culture, Disney and everything else. This authorette remains unconvinced, for reasons I will shortly elaborate on.

                        The show begins just as it used to, but even before the signature number "The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room" gets underway, Iago descends from the ceiling and stops the show short, bellowing that the song, a classic Disney number, is going to make him "toss his crackers", a line which is so cringe inducing that the show actually stops dead and hardly recovers. But the writing here is essential and significant because in order for the show to be "justified" in altering the WED original, Iago, as the voice of change in the show, has to be the hero - but he is portrayed as a villain. He sits on a pillow, shouts through a megaphone, and says of Zaszu, who warns Iago that he "cannot toy with the Enchanted Tiki Room", "He's not my friend!". Where we have been constantly warned about "New Management", seen talent agents, heard shouted arguments about money and ego, and now had a Walt Disney product violated in front of us, it's easy to connect the dots. Iago, a villain in Aladdin, is a stand in for the "empty suits" who greenlit the project and demanded change, whereas Zaszu is the protesting creative team.

                        "Hey you boring old Tiki birds!
                        I'm a big celebrity!
                        That's why we're gonna go and change the show!
                        Ain't it great to have a friend like me?"

                        This is not a positive picture being painted of the whole concept of a brand new Tiki Room.

                        Iago not only violates the Walt Disney era song, but one of his own product, "Friend Like Me", and turns it on its' head - from a celebration of the possibilities of Aladdin to become a "someone" via the Genie in the 1993 film to the ego driven mania to change things because Iago is in a position of power over the 1963 show. Even the trademark "friend like me" line is corrupted to become cynical.

                        The Tiki Room, however, will have the last word. The third component of this nexis of "new management" vs "old management" is the Tiki Room itself, which is obviously a stand-in for Walt Disney and all the corporate heritage that comes with his work. In protest, the architecture of the Tiki Room itself seems to summon fictional Tiki goddess Uhoah, who literally blows up Iago, banishing him. It is literally the past materializing in the present to banish "new management", and its' short sighted profit minded ventures.

                        The show goes on for a few more minutes at this point, ending rather inconclusively. The remaining original Tiki Room effects - chanting totems, the girlie birdie wheel, etc are displayed very shortly and the audience is shuffled out the door with the show in full swing. Iago returns and declares the Tiki birds acceptable. There is an atmosphere of dulling the business end of the message of what has transpired, and ending the thing as quickly as possible. Neither "old management" nor "new management" has won in the end, interestingly, and the Tiki room show goes on. The largest weakness, actually, of the show's integrity (not of the original version, but of this version, by itself) is not that it models a dynamic, as lopsided as it may be towards "new management", but that the show fails to resolve it.

                        The show's final message may actually be best voiced by Morris at the very end of the preshow: "Hey, who am I to go against the status crow?"

                        Yet that is the corporate culture of Disney, where neither side wins but the company grinds on regardless. Many people dislike the new Tiki Room show but many do like it, doubtlessly because it is loud, colorful and short. It may be the nearest Disney ever got to creating something analogous to a music video, right in the middle of the height of the "MTV Generation". The Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management is irreverant, disposable and easy to dislike, but the reverberations of its' core message should not be forgoten or swept under the rug so quickly - it has some sharp teeth behind that smile.

                        IV. Summation / Some Warnings

                        I have profiled one Disney attraction here which I personally find lacking and two which are nearly continously condemed in the mainstream of Disney writing, but I do not come to this subject to condone or condenm. Even if such labels were easily applied to anything, both "good texts" and "bad texts" deserve equal weight, and I believe that all of these attractions profiled above have recieved insubstantial serious treatment. The label of "Post-Themed-Attraction Design" does not inherently mean any one work is bad, nor is it exclusive to bad or second tier attractions; Countdown to Extinction and Kilimanjaro Safaris contain echoes of this style.

                        There also remain other major works which either partially or fully model this mode. Ellen's Energy Adventure is one of the most successful and pleasing. Test Track contains some elements of Post-Themed design, and Stitch's Great Escape may be added to the "infamous two" profiled above as a crucial "third part" of an informal trifecta of key Post-Themed works. I can only hope that this new concept proves useful in charting Imagineering's past, present and future of design as well as filling in a major discussion point which I often feel is lacking in current discussions of the possibilities and the products of our modern era of theme park going.

                        Comment


                        • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                          Interesting that the article leaves out arguably the first post-modern theme park attraction: Muppet*Vision 3D... "you can't you old fool, we're bolted to the seats!"

                          Comment


                          • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                            Very interesting article! And I'm really enjoying reading the lengthy posts.

                            On the subject of the Muppets: it is an important conceit in most Muppet humor that the Muppets are aware of their surroundings and their audience. I feel that an attraction based around them would be lacking were they not to acknowledge this fact.

                            What is the general consensus on the Jungle Cruise? The skipper frequently acknowledges that we're a in a theme park, but if the boat ride were silent, we'd never know that. How was the Jungle Cruise presented in Walt's day?
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                            • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                              Originally posted by nicoleloveswalt View Post
                              On the subject of the Muppets: it is an important conceit in most Muppet humor that the Muppets are aware of their surroundings and their audience. I feel that an attraction based around them would be lacking were they not to acknowledge this fact.
                              Good point. I think it's okay for certain things to be self aware but it does seem to play like an old record sometimes.


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                              • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                Originally posted by nicoleloveswalt View Post
                                What is the general consensus on the Jungle Cruise? The skipper frequently acknowledges that we're a in a theme park, but if the boat ride were silent, we'd never know that. How was the Jungle Cruise presented in Walt's day?
                                Here's an interesting thread about the Jungle Cruise's transition from "realistic" spiel to self-referential humor. The consensus is that the shift took place within just a few years of Disneyland's opening.

                                "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

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                                • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                  Originally posted by nicoleloveswalt View Post
                                  Very interesting article! And I'm really enjoying reading the lengthy posts.

                                  On the subject of the Muppets: it is an important conceit in most Muppet humor that the Muppets are aware of their surroundings and their audience. I feel that an attraction based around them would be lacking were they not to acknowledge this fact.

                                  What is the general consensus on the Jungle Cruise? The skipper frequently acknowledges that we're a in a theme park, but if the boat ride were silent, we'd never know that. How was the Jungle Cruise presented in Walt's day?
                                  Iterestingly, Walt's ORIGINAL intention was to have the Jungle Cruise featuring live animals rather than AA's. The idea was also introduced as a sort of water-based Kilimanjaro Safari for the Asian animals in DAK, but the thought was scrapped in the big budget cuts.

                                  Regarding Muppetvision being self-aware (I think this applies to Star Tours and others, too) I think the delivery is acceptable because of the nature of DHS as a whole. The entire theme of the park is that you're VISITING Hollywood, not being "immersed in a world that IS Hollywood," so the casing of the audience as guests on film sets, shows, and tours seems appropriate.

                                  Comment


                                  • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                    Originally posted by wizards8507 View Post
                                    Iterestingly, Walt's ORIGINAL intention was to have the Jungle Cruise featuring live animals rather than AA's. The idea was also introduced as a sort of water-based Kilimanjaro Safari for the Asian animals in DAK, but the thought was scrapped in the big budget cuts.

                                    Regarding Muppetvision being self-aware (I think this applies to Star Tours and others, too) I think the delivery is acceptable because of the nature of DHS as a whole. The entire theme of the park is that you're VISITING Hollywood, not being "immersed in a world that IS Hollywood," so the casing of the audience as guests on film sets, shows, and tours seems appropriate.
                                    Well I am not a fan of the "hot set" attraction design... alas I was not in charge of creating DHS. I remember when I first visited Disney-MGM Studios back in 96' I ran over to the imperial walker, and was sad when you stepped behind it and it was just a facade.

                                    There was a certain amount of magic that was totally lost after that.

                                    The theming was consistent until Tower of Terror, when you were actually going to the twilight zone, and rockin' roller coaster where you were actually going to a concert.

                                    Then there is Toy Story Midway Mania, where you are shrunk down to the size of a toy, and you get to experience a carnival that the toys are putting on.

                                    That is one thing that I personally enjoy about Universal Studios.

                                    Sure there are a few attractions similar to the hot set idea... Revenge of the Mummy. Twister, and DISASTER! are the only three that come to mind. The rest are immerse experiences where you are "in" the movie....

                                    So for fun let's compare DHS vs UO attractions of immerse vs hot set

                                    DHS: Hot Set
                                    Back Lot tour
                                    Lights Action Motors
                                    Star Tours
                                    Great Movie Ride
                                    Voyage of the Little Mermaid
                                    Indian Jones Epic Stunt Show Spectacular
                                    Muppets 4-D

                                    UO: Hot Set
                                    Disaster
                                    Twister
                                    Revenge of the Mummy
                                    Horror Monster Make Up Show

                                    DHS: Immerse
                                    Tower of Terror
                                    Rockin' Rollercoaster
                                    Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage
                                    American Idol Experience
                                    Toy Story Midway Mania

                                    UO: Immerse
                                    Jaws - On a boat tour
                                    Men in Black - visiting a secret testing facility below the world's fair, and thwart an Alien Attack
                                    Simpson's - testing out a new ride
                                    ET - You take ET home
                                    Shrek 4-D - You are in the dungeon
                                    Terminator 2 3-D - You are at cyberdyne and witness all the futurey stuff

                                    Just an interesting comparison.
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                                    • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                      What a perfect way of putting it!
                                      :blink: Bullets for Breakfast :blink:
                                      Join the party. Face the music.

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                                      • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                        [QUOTE=Taggart;1056076180]You couldn't be more incorrect. And what you say is terribly discouraging. The "WED Imagineering" you know is just from what you've read in books and have seen on Television. The people you mentioned were just publicised, just like the names you know now are the VPs that get the attention and recognition. In reality, PLENTY of old WED guys are still around and kickin' and there are hundreds of extremely talented and passionate people working hard and doing great things. There is more going on now at WDI than ever before.[QUOTE]

                                        I know, crazy me..what was I thinking? The heavy hitters are still around, and we have American Idol: The Experience and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage to show for it.

                                        Point taken!
                                        :blink: Bullets for Breakfast :blink:
                                        Join the party. Face the music.

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                                        • Re: Why the Imagineers can at any time beat WWohP, but at the same time can't

                                          Originally posted by manifest View Post
                                          I know, crazy me..what was I thinking? The heavy hitters are still around, and we have American Idol: The Experience and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage to show for it.
                                          You poor silly person! Didn't you know that Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is a "major E-Ticket attraction?" None other than Tony Baxter himself so labeled it, in his interview in the last issue of E-Ticket Magazine.

                                          "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

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