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  • Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

    Two questions:
    1. Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics?

    Go on the
    Tiki Room and marvel at what was done so well over 50 years ago. Mr. Lincoln also blew people away in 1964, and Universal's dinosaurs on Jurassic Park are huge and, in some cases, fast moving. When the J. Park dinosaurs (rarely, it seems to me) break down, Universal fixes them very quickly. Universal's Transformers has some complex tech that I've seen work perfectly on numerous occasions, and in Innoventions Honda's Asimo amazes crowds, even if they no longer have him "running."

    Now look at Disney in recent years. Murphy the dragon at Fantasmic. The Yeti--star of Everest. And now the different major elements in the Radiator Springs Racers that frequently fail to work. I don't remember broken AAs at WDW in the 70s & 80s, or at Disneyland in the early 80s, and, again, Universal's Transformers seems highly reliable, despite being complex and new. So why does Disney seem to have become so inept in planning and operating high-tech elements in their attractions?

    And
    2, this not closely related: the holographic Blue Fairy appeared and disappeared impressively from Pinocchio's attraction at Disneyland, and Randall seems to do the same in DCA's Monsters, Inc. But the Blue Fairy debuted about 29 years ago--why hasn't Disney been pushing the holographic technology envelope in its attractions? [NOTE: a few posts have pointed out that the Blue Fairy is not a hologram. My bad.]

    Despite Lasseter and some impressive imagineers, is Disney still too much of an Iger/Rasulo/Staggs extension of Pressler/post-Wells Eisner?

    OK, Iger got Pixar, and The Avengers have made some big bucks, but couldn't Disney also entice some nearby Cal Tech/JPL folks to work on making millions of people happy? I know the Curiosity landing & complex rover boldly went where no person has yet set foot, but I want some of that Apple-level design dancing before millions of inspired, international tourists in Anaheim & Lake Buena Vista.
    Last edited by jcruise86; 09-01-2012, 10:13 AM.

  • #2
    Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

    I agree with some of these points, but then I look at the animatronics in "The Little Mermaid" ride, and the new animatronics in the Belle walkthrough at WDW.

    Sure, some need replacement, but they're still creating jaw-dropping AAs.
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    • #3
      Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

      currently there are cars that talk in radiator springs. Their "lips" move. I find this amazing. Some might even call it "advanced."


      For some some great trip reports, features and reviews, please check out http://www.thedisneylandreport.com.

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      • #4
        Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

        Originally posted by disneylandreport View Post
        currently there are cars that talk in radiator springs. Their "lips" move. I find this amazing. Some might even call it "advanced."
        But they weren't moving in Norm's (Fishbulb's) Disneyland update today.

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        • #5
          Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

          Originally posted by jcruise86 View Post
          ...Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics?

          ...
          why does Disney seem to have become so inept in planning and operating high-tech elements in their attractions?

          ...why hasn't Disney been pushing the holographic technology envelope in its attractions?
          Pushing the boundaries of innovation in show technology is not what Disney Corp does. Breaking new creative grounds with bold, longterm vision for theme parks is not what Disney Corp does.

          Disney Corp is a media marketing corporation which is run, Wall Street-style, with the goal of maximizing shareholder profits by synergizing and marketing already-existing, already-successful brands, not by investing in longterm R&D.

          This is Disney Corp. Compared to the innovation, vision and risktaking that built the Walt Disney Company in the first place, and which created Disneyland, the only thing "Disney" about Disney Corp is its name.
          "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

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          • #6
            Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

            Just a point of fact: the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio is not a hologram. That is a simple reflection in glass.

            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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            • #7
              Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

              Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
              Pushing the boundaries of innovation in show technology is not what Disney Corp does. Breaking new creative grounds with bold, longterm vision for theme parks is not what Disney Corp does.

              Disney Corp is a media marketing corporation which is run, Wall Street-style, with the goal of maximizing shareholder profits by synergizing and marketing already-existing, already-successful brands, not by investing in longterm R&D.

              This is Disney Corp. Compared to the innovation, vision and risktaking that built the Walt Disney Company in the first place, and which created Disneyland, the only thing "Disney" about Disney Corp is its name.
              Oh how I wish Steve Jobs hadn't died and (as Disney's biggest shareholder) had brought his passion for beautifully designed innovations to Disney's resorts. He was so much like Walt in how he used capitalism to create wonders.

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              • #8
                Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                WDI doesn't build the animatronics for attractions anymore if I remember correctly. Also a lot of the issues you see with show pieces is TDA and TDO's reluctance to invest enough in maintanance. TDO is also known to keep attractions operating no matter how neglected, broken, and horrible the show scenes get (TDA still struggles with this but TDO is much worse). No show effect is impervious to breaking down from time to time. What made Disneyland/ WDW different was their attention to detail and maintance. Modern Disney has changed from emphasis on quality to emphasis on profits.
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                • #9
                  Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                  Originally posted by jcruise86 View Post
                  But they weren't moving in Norm's (Fishbulb's) Disneyland update today.
                  Link? I'm not finding what you're referring to...

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                    Just go to Mice Age (the overall owner of Mice Chat) and you will find Norm's update there. The link is part of the header on top of this page. You should bookmark it and go every day as there are updates every single day.
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                    • #11
                      Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                      Originally posted by jcruise86 View Post

                      Now look at Disney in recent years. Murphy the dragon at Fantasmic. The Yeti--star of Everest. And now the different major elements in the Radiator Springs Racers that frequently fail to work. I don't remember broken AAs at WDW in the 70s & 80s, or at Disneyland in the early 80s, and, again, Universal's Transformers seems highly reliable, despite being complex and new. So why does Disney seem to have become so inept in planning and operating high-tech elements in their attractions?


                      Universal's Transformer's attraction doesn't have any AA technology. All projection screens.

                      The Yeti in Everest continues to remain broken because TDO refuses to invest in closing the attraction. It's going to take a significant amount of capital to fix the figure and TDO just does not want to spend it.

                      After Murphy's tragic first summer, she's been working almost flawlessly the past 3 years.

                      As for Radiator Springs Racers, the main reason some of the AAs will be "broken" is that, during a downtime, the attraction needs to be reset. If the CMs get the attraction up and running before all the AAs are in A-mode, they will default them to B-mode just to get guests back in the attraction.

                      And
                      2, this not closely related: the holographic Blue Fairy appeared and disappeared impressively from Pinocchio's attraction at Disneyland, and Randall seems to do the same in DCA's Monsters, Inc. But the Blue Fairy debuted about 29 years ago--why hasn't Disney been pushing the holographic technology envelope in its attractions?
                      As mycroft said, the Blue Fairy and Randall are not holograms. They use the same 100-yeaer old technology used in the Haunted Mansion ball room scene. There is only 1 hologram in Disneyland: Lamwick's reflection in the hand mirror in Pinocchio's Daring Journey.

                      Despite Lasseter and some impressive imagineers, is Disney still too much of an Iger/Rasulo/Staggs extension of Pressler/post-Wells Eisner?
                      I wouldn't put today's management in the same category as Eisner's regime at all. While there are some areas that can be improved (ex. merchandise, marketing, branding), today's P&R management team understands that they need to spend money to make money. With Lasseter at the helm of WDI and with the financial support Iger and Staggs are giving WDI, expect some pretty cool things in the near future. Of course, things can always be improved, but the level of quality is certainly better than it was 10 years ago.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                        Originally posted by disneylandfan95 View Post



                        As for Radiator Springs Racers, the main reason some of the AAs will be "broken" is that, during a downtime, the attraction needs to be reset. If the CMs get the attraction up and running before all the AAs are in A-mode, they will default them to B-mode just to get guests back in the attraction.
                        Interesting. Is this why all the rides seem to be working perfectly (like Indy) early in the day? Because they haven't broken down and (not) been reset?

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                          Originally posted by Quarar44 View Post
                          Interesting. Is this why all the rides seem to be working perfectly (like Indy) early in the day? Because they haven't broken down and (not) been reset?
                          For some effects, yes. For example, the Sheriff AA takes somewhere around an hour to be reset. If the attraction breaks down and is ready for guests in the 40 minute area (average reset time), the Sheriff may not be working because it wasn't fully reset and therefore put into B-mode to get guests back on the attraction.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                            Do the breaking AA all come from the same source? Garner Holt? I've wonder more and more if they are outsourcing to the wrong supplier.
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                            • #15
                              Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                              Originally posted by swampymarsh View Post
                              Do the breaking AA all come from the same source? Garner Holt? I've wonder more and more if they are outsourcing to the wrong supplier.
                              Again, it's not that the AAs in RSR are "breaking", it's that they aren't given enough time to reset them before the rest of the attraction is back up.

                              No blame should be placed on Garner Holt what so ever. They do a fantastic job and create amazingly sophisticated and reliable AAs. If an AA is down, it's more likely Disney's fault than the manufacturer's.

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                              • #16
                                Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                                Originally posted by jcruise86 View Post
                                But they weren't moving in Norm's (Fishbulb's) Disneyland update today.
                                Weren't those still pictures? Of course they weren't moving.
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                                • #17
                                  Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                                  Originally posted by disneylandfan95 View Post
                                  No blame should be placed on Garner Holt what so ever. They do a fantastic job and create amazingly sophisticated and reliable AAs. If an AA is down, it's more likely Disney's fault than the manufacturer's.
                                  I agree. Garner Holt does some incredible work, and if you've ever been to their newer facility in San Bernadino, it's pretty incredible. They put A LOT of love into their work, almost like an early WED.

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                                  • #18
                                    Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                                    Originally posted by anazgnos View Post
                                    Link? I'm not finding what you're referring to...
                                    As Lost Boy wrote, go to Miceage.com for many excellent photo-filled updates every week.
                                    Don't blame me if this takes up at least a couple hours of time out of your life every month.:ap:

                                    Here's what Norm wrote today:

                                    "Despite that, the intricate attraction still falters at times with frequent shut downs (many of them extended). The evergreen trees at the beginning of the attraction are only getting more and more brown. (see dying). While on the inside of the attraction, there is always at least one show effect bugging out. On this trip, the Sheriff character was frozen. Completely stationary, voicing lines, but no movement."
                                    I thought that meant that his lips weren't moving.
                                    Last edited by jcruise86; 08-31-2012, 06:07 PM. Reason: To add a missing "S".

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                                    • #19
                                      Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                                      Holograms?

                                      Don't get me started about the sad, sorry state of science education in this country!





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                                      • #20
                                        Re: Why has Disney not advanced more with audio-animatronics & holograms?

                                        I'm sorry... Disney doesn't innovate for animatronics?

                                        I beg to differ

                                        Disney develops "face cloning" technique for animatronics

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