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An interview with Al Lutz from October - "Beating the big guns on the Disney beat"


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  • An interview with Al Lutz from October - "Beating the big guns on the Disney beat"

    I just came across this very interesting interview conducted by Robert Niles at the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review website from October 22nd, 2007.

    I've been covering theme parks, online and off, for more than a decade. But Lutz is the dean of theme park reporters on the Internet. A former music recording producer, Lutz started writing about Disneyland on USENET, then on a series of websites. For fans used to ever-positive coverage about Disney and its theme parks in the traditional press, Lutz provided a bracing splash of reality. His reports detailed an ugly side at the so-called Happiest Place on Earth, from chipped paint and burned-out lights to maintenance cutbacks that other critics charged endangered the public safety. Two fatal accidents at the park, later blamed on park personnel and mainentance failures, brought more attention to Lutz's critical work.

    In 2003, he left MousePlanet, a Disneyland news site founded by a group of USENET veterans, to go solo on MiceAge. Since then, he's added other writers his site, where they've broken many stories about developments at Walt Disney theme parks, including the plans to revamp California Adventure.
    Despite the fact that we've covered the same industry for years, I'd not had the chance to meet Lutz in person. So last week, I called and arranged a get-together, where we talked about how Lutz found his way into Web publishing, as well as how he's managed to build a part-time interest into a news-breaking bully pulpit about a multi-billion-dollar industry. An edited transcript follows:
    Read the interview at the link above....
    Check out my Theme Park Photos at

  • #2
    Re: An interview with Al Lutz from October - "Beating the big guns on the Disney beat

    Great interview, thanks for sharing Darkbeer!

    This statement is so very true and answers a lot of the "Why?"

    Dick Cook and John Lasseter are former theme park people. All the people at Disney who are involved in films are former theme park people. There's going to be an even tighter integration now, then ever before between these properties, because it works. It brings in cold, hard cash that they don't have to split with anyone, like they have to do in a theater.
    "If you build it right, they will come." - Bob Iger

    "I'm not a literary person. As far as realism is concerned, you can find dirt anyplace you look for it. I'm one of those optimists. There's always a rainbow." - Walt Disney

    "I don't care about critics. Critics take themselves too seriously. They think the only way to be noticed and to be the smart guy is to pick and find fault with things. It's the public I'm making pictures for." - Walt Disney


    • #3
      Re: An interview with Al Lutz from October - "Beating the big guns on the Disney beat

      I would say that Al Lutz contributed to the end of the Pressler era more so than any other net journalist. Each of us here on MiceChat can feel proud of our respective roles in breaking through the ugly shroud of Disney lawyers, accountaneers and past disfunctional management suits. In doing so, we've made a positive impact on Disney;s decision making process. The significantly more progressive track that the Disneyland resort is on today is evidence to this fact.
      To Boldly Go Where No MiceChatter Has Gone Before!


      • #4
        Re: An interview with Al Lutz from October - "Beating the big guns on the Disney beat

        Yes, Al Lutz had a LOT to do with the improving conditions at Disney, but let's not also forget the very hard battle fought by Roy Disney (who incidentally was the one who got Eisner the job in the first place, oops?)


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