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  • Where has all the Magic gone?

    So what's my problem with the MK? That's what a Disney fanboy on another site asked me in a private message a while ago. I just ignored it, but I think I'd like to explain a bit.

    So let's go back in time to 1987 and compare the MK then and now, shall we? And please if you disagree, let's not point out obvious facts that are irrelevant to this discussion. Everyone knows WDW now has four parks, two water parks and 30,000 plus rooms and timeshares. But they aren't what this thread is about, it's why I feel the MK is a pale, stale shadow of its former self.

    Let's start with show and how important it used to be.

    Most people here probably don't see an issue with character-based entertainment in any/every land. But that's not what the MK was. In 1987 (and it's just a random year I picked because it's two decades ago) the only land with character-based entertainment/attractions was Fantasyland. The lands had meaning. Frontierland was about the wild west American frontier. Liberty Square went even further back to the Colonial/Revolutionary period. Tomorrowland was about the future. Adventureland was about visiting exotic lands where you could be attacked by hippos, climb a jungle treehouse, set sail with Pirates etc..., Main Street was about a nostalgic return to turn of the century small--town America.

    None of the lands had attractions with animated characters tossed in.

    Today?

    Every land but one now has Disney characters in attractions or as the basis of them. That's despite the fact that a year after my date, Mickey's Birthdayland opened as a 'home' for the characters. It has since gone through two changes, but is still -- at it's heart -- the same.

    How about show?

    As in carrying the theme through in everything from shopping to dining to trash cans. Today, every shop sells the same merchandise. Most of it is cheap WalMart quality. Things that are overpriced at cast sales, let alone full price. The shops have stopped telling a story. You can no longer buy Western wear or that type of product in Frontierland. There are no future-thinking toys in Tomorrowland. Indeed, the entire left side of Main Street has become a giant World of Disney store without any real differentiation, but with different facades facing the Street. The sense of time and place have been destroyed. Instead of being on a turn of the century street with a magic shop, Penny Arcade, Cinema, Market House ... even Smoke Shop ... has the feel of a giant Disney outlet. Don;'t forget that Hannah Montana CD, Jack Sparrow figurine or Tink sweatshirt on the way out.

    Entertainment has been WalMarted as well. The extremely popular Diamond Horseshoe Review ended because it was cheaper to hire college kids to dress as characters than have real, unionized entertainers putting on a western show. All entertainment is character-based. Disney execs and PR hacks will tell you it's because 'that's what our guests want.' To that I say, bull*&^%. That's the same as CNN and FOX doing non-stop Paris Hilton coverage and saying people want it. How do you know? Are you giving them a choice? Parades that were changed frequently now get announced as major additions for marketing celebrations and then stay 'due to popular demand' for years later. Do you really want a six-year-old daytime parade and a 15-year-old night-time one vs. something new and creative? Seasonal entertainment only exists now if you are willing to pay extra for it. Want Halloween? Pay an extra $50. Want Christmas? Not without giving the Mouse an extra $50. The Candlelight Procession went down Main Street and you didn't have to buy a dinner package to get a good view.

    Individual lands had live entertainers, bands, comedians etc ...

    In 1987, CMs were almost all folks who were handpicked to work at WDW. Many were full-time and there was a legit opportunity to start out working in the Emporium and wind up a VP. Now? Find a full-time CM who isn't in management. They're tougher to find than a piece of clean pavement. The Disney Look was important. CMs were clean-cut, spoke English well and went out of their way to exceed guest expectations. Management became known as 'suits' because that's how you'd recognize them. Even on a miserable, hot summer day, the suit and tie and professional look was always there. Today? A typical manager is wearing clothes you'd expect of a mall-worker with dangling lanyards, cell phones ... clothes may well be disheveled too.

    Cleanliness and upkeep were vital. The analogy of the person dropping a box of popcorn and having it disappear before it reached the pavement wasn't far off. There certainly wasn't gum all over the pavement. The queues weren't ghetto. Now ... well, you look around and make your own decision.

    Guest comfort was very crucial. So trees were provided for shade, not cut down to improve fireworks sightlines. FastPass didn't exist so Space Mountain hardly ever had a line of guests stretching out in the hot sun.

    Attractions weren't removed and not replaced. There was a Skyway and Explorer Canoes and Keel Boats and a crystal clear submarine lagoon with Captain Nemo's fleet circling. Main Street USA featured an homage to the man we have to thank for everything that now entertains us ... it had a bunch of period vehicles that traveled to the Hub.

    There were no dead zones, no shops with blacked out windows. No restaurants that sat empty.

    There were no playgrounds. No attractions that talked down to guests. No character meals. For the most part, every attraction in the park could be enjoyed by most members of the family.

    Everything wasn't perfect. But that was the standard. That was the goal. The MK was supposed to look brand new every day, and for the most part, it did.

    The cast wasn't perfect, but they all seemed on the same page: to exceed guest expectations. Today? Again ... I'll leave that up to you to decide.

    So when I say the MK feels stale to me, well, maybe this will explain why.

    It feels a whole lot smaller and simpler place, a less vibrant one, to me than it did 20 years ago ... and I know I'm not speaking from rose-colored glasses, just experience.

    OK, I'm not writing a novel here so I'll stop ... but I'm interested in feedback.

  • #2
    Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

    :bow: :bow: :bow:

    You make fantastic points. I have nothing to argue with.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

      You are probably one of those people who is going to end up writing a bestselling novel about disney today, or become a CEO of the walt disney company and change everything so it will become better.
      I cant imagine how long it took to write that, but very well written
      ADD ME.[:


      WHAT I'VE LEARNED FROM MICECHAT...
      1. IF YOU APPRECIATE SOMETHING THAT ISN'T THE MAJORITY OPINION, YOU'RE NOT WANTED HERE.
      2. IF THERE'S CHIPPED PAINT IN THE QUEUE FOR A LINE, EXPECT SOMEONE TO WRITE OUT A BIG STORY BASHING IT. WOOHOO.
      3. IF YOU'RE UNDER THE AGE OF 24, YOU'RE AN 'EISNER BRAT.'
      4. PEOPLE WHO ARE DEEMED AS 'MODERATORS' AND OTHER ADMINISTRATION ARE MORE IMPORTANT DIETIES THAN JESUS CHRIST.
      5. YOU CAN EXCPECT TO BE BADLY REPPED IF YOU TRY AND MAKE A SERIOUS POINT.
      6. YOU ARENT TAKEN SERIOUS IF YOU'RE UNDER THE AGE OF 16.
      7. AS AN ADD-ON TO #6, YOU SHOULD BE TREATED AS A SUBORDINATEIF YOU ARE IN A THEME PARK WAITING 30 MINUTES IN LINE FOR A DRINK WHILE SOMEONE HAS TO RECOUNT PIZZAS.
      8. "Disney may not care to hear your comments, but we do." WTFFF??? THIS ISN'T A DISNEY FAN FORUM, IT'S A DISNETY BASHING SITE.
      9. CERTAIN PEOPLE OVER ANALYZE A SIMPLE THREAD AND CONSIDER IT TO BE A CONTRACT FULL OF LOOPHOLES THAT HE/SHE CAN GET AROUND.
      AND FINALLY...
      10. PROLONGED USE OF THIS SITE CAN CAUSE AN EXTREME HATE OF DISNEY AND ALL DISNEY RELATED THINGS.

      M-U-H Muhfukka.
      [:

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      • #4
        Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

        I agree with everything you said. I would give just about anything to see WDW return to its "Glory Days".

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

          That was beautiful. I really wish I was old enough to have enjoyed Disney during its "glory days". What really makes you wonder is what wondrous things Walt could have done if he had lived a few years longer.....

          *sigh*

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

            I do remember it from 1987 (well a year or two earlier to be exact)

            I had the benefit of not going for about 15 years, and then starting to go again. I have only been going on a regular basis again since about 4 years ago. I must say, the parks did seem fresh and new 4 years ago, and are duller now as well. Not as fresh and new as they did in 86, but still fresh.

            Judging from that, I would be inclined to say my judgement of the parks is about %15 "burnout" "overload" whatever you want to call it, and %85 actual degragation in park quality. I wonder if you have a touch of burnout in your mix as well. Although I do agree with you, the vast majority of it is a loss of quality.

            -dave
            "I'm gonna build my own amusement park. But with gambling and hookers!" - Bender
            "You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity." - Bullet Tooth Tony

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

              Originally posted by WDWGirl View Post
              That was beautiful. I really wish I was old enough to have enjoyed Disney during its "glory days". What really makes you wonder is what wondrous things Walt could have done if he had lived a few years longer.....

              *sigh*
              EPCOT would probably be the dying focus.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                Originally posted by WDW1974 View Post
                Attractions weren't removed and not replaced. There was a Skyway and Explorer Canoes and Keel Boats and a crystal clear submarine lagoon with Captain Nemo's fleet circling. Main Street USA featured an homage to the man we have to thank for everything that now entertains us ... it had a bunch of period vehicles that traveled to the Hub.
                Toad was there too:wave:

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                  Amen, Woody's Roundup instead of the Diamond Horseshoe is a travesty. I hope one day to see that MK again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                    I had a couple hundred word response to this thread but decided against posting it.

                    I will just say that this is very well written.
                    sigpic


                    Originally posted by Phonedave
                    Well, if your parents can't teach you, maybe you can learn from a taser.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                      My first visit was 2001 so technically I can't respond to most points.

                      Other than to state the obvious by saying that if the documented mistakes were reversed, the MK would be so much more enjoyable than it is today.

                      Guest comfort was very crucial. So trees were provided for shade, not cut down to improve fireworks sightlines.
                      This however I can emphatically agree with. Forget shade, the trees at the hub just looked nicer........softened the transition between lands even. The tree-less, curb-less hub is so much more.......generic.........than I remember it being in 2001.
                      48 Favourites From WDW [Photos]



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                      • #12
                        Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                        Although my earliest visit to the Magic Kingdom dates back to 1993, I can completely agree with what you're saying. While still a fantastic park, quality has taken a bit of a dive in recent years. I blame it all on the homogenization that you mentioned- the things that made each part of the park unique (like area-specific shows, trash cans and merchandise) have given way to stuff that can be purchased in larger quantities and thus at a lower price. Disney- like most companies that do this- probably don't think that people notice, but they do. Unfortunately, I have no answers on how to reverse this trend. It's definitely the way stuff gets done in the age of Wal-Mart.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                          I'd start by getting rid of the DVC booths.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                            Sure MK is not in its heyday and it would be great to see it return to how it was but I would never say that all the magic has gone. Regardless of whether anyone visited in '87 or not, MK is still a wonderful place to visit with at least some magic. I agree with you, but it's not like it's a total craphole

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Where has all the Magic gone?

                              It think another thing to keep in mind is it depends on if someones been there before....I was a CP in the Backlot Tour in 05...Catastrophe Canyon is a piece of junk and all I heard from all the old cm's is how much better it used to be yada yada yada...but i've seen the faces of people when they are seeing those explosions or that flood come down the canyon for the first time and they're still impressed...same w/ MK ...its still a wonderful place reguardless..still like no place else on earth I've been 2 (never been to DL). Of course things can always get better and I dont doubt that it has gone down hill from what it was back in its hayday...but I still think a lot of it depends on how you view it coming in...

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