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View Full Version : DEBATE: The Commerce and Business of WDW, and Walt Himself.


DisneyKidds
10-04-2002, 10:11 AM
I was going to submit this as a reply on another thread, but I thought it might be worthy of it's own discussion. My continuing Disney education, couple with the following quote, got me to thinking (and you know how dangerous that can be :crazy: ).......................



quote:
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WDW was always about commerce. MK was only built to finance Progress City.
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Was this tongue in cheek or can you really not see what we are talking about?

Many would agree, myself included, that the commercialization of WDW is more so than what it ever was, or should be, and is perhaps out of hand. However, would anyone dispute the assertion that the Florida Project was but a means for Walt to finance his city of the future?

I've been reading some more...........................:eek:, and it becomes more and more apparent that many believe Walt ONLY designed the Florida Project so that it could make the money that would build his city of the future. Some believe that, if not for Walt's dream of his planned and controlled working city, devoid of unemployment, poverty, pollution, the riots of the day, the poorly planned infrastruction, the inadequate facilities, the, the, the...... that WDW would not have been something Walt pursued.

There is so much talk about Walt being the guiding force behind WDW (through the MK?, through Epcot?). Sure, the principles he employed in DL were improved upon. Sure, his penchant for 'artful' implementation was tantamount. Sure, his demand for quality was a mantra. However, did not Walt spend the lion's share of his Florida Project planning time researching what companies were doing that was cutting edge and could be implemented in his city of tomorrow? Did he not spend most of his time relentlessly pursuing concepts to be employed in EPCOT, a vision which is totally unrelated to Epcot? It appears that the passion Walt had for the MK paled in comparison to the burning desire he had to make his EPCOT a reality. Yes, Walt did see in WDW an opportunity to improve upon the mistakes of Disneyland, primarily related to proximity to the outside world. However, short of the realization of his EPCOT, WDW and the MK seem as though they may have been as much a business proposition as anything else.

The Disneyland TV show on ABC was a means to finance Disneyland. The Florida Project was a means to finance an EPCOT that would never be. Maybe some would draw a distinction between commerce and commercialization, but can we deny that Walt was more a man about business and commerce than he is generally given credit for? Sure, his business was guided by art and uncompromising quality, that is what made him different, but it was still business. That business may have supported loftier goals than any other businessman ever could have thought of, but business has always been omnipresent.

Agree? Disagree? Discuss........................

wdwguide
10-04-2002, 11:21 AM
Not sure if the Magic Kingdom was designed specifically to finance EPCOT - the original plans called for both to open at the same time, visitors would have had to pay an admission fee equal to that of the theme park to see EPCOT, and, of course, the company would have made significant amounts of money from rent and leases in the city.
It's hard to say whether or not EPCOT would have been self-sustaining - it probably would have been in the long run, with the MK and the company's other divisions "subsidizing" the short run.
Also, EPCOT was to be Walt Disney's legacy and a key point in his negotiations with the Florida government in getting the concessions that he needed to build anything on the property. One might say that without his plans for EPCOT, there would not be a RCID. In a way, without the MK there may not have been an EPCOT, and without EPCOT, there may not have been a MK.
Of course, once Walt died and the company lawyer's found that they didn't actually have to build EPCOT right away, and that they didn't actually have to make it a city at all, they were able to drop the project while still benefitting from all the legal infrastructure that was created for it.

I certainly agree with you that many people ignore that Walt was an excellent businessman, especially in his later years. After all, he was the one who set up and for the most part ran WED and Retlaw.

Harryo
10-04-2002, 11:57 AM
Wasn't it actually Roy Disney was the buisnessman and Walt was the visionary?

Captain Crook
10-04-2002, 12:33 PM
I agree with you Mr. Kidds. Had Walt been able to build his vision, the MK is the only theme park Florida would have received (IMO) and that would have been solely to fund 'the city'. Disney's expansion would have taken a more "realistic" turn, all profits would have been poured into making this 'city of tomorrow' -Walt's preferred legacy. DL would have been relegated to the role of cash cow along side of MK.

I think Disney was virtually finished with theme parks at this point (certainly Walt was) and only because Walt died and those remaining (Roy, etal) didn't have the forsight or intestinal fortitude that Walt possesed to go ahead with 'the city' - the next step.

Walt very well may have pulled 'the city' off, he WAS that bright and the Country would have been much better off for it, I'm sure...But had it failed the Company would have been gone (Roy's big concern, I'm sure).

By not taking the risk, Roy, then Card, Ron & especially Mike have all taken us down the path already travelled by Walt to what we have today, namely theme parks...

Good, bad or somewhere inbetween we'll never know because realistically Walt was the only guy at that time who could imagine such a dream...
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

DisneyKidds
10-04-2002, 12:50 PM
wdwg - didn't know that about MK and EPCOT planned by Walt to open at the same time, but the reading continues.................. ;).

Harryo - Roy kept the books and tried to keep Walt grounded financially. Many simply see Roy as the business guy and Walt as the creative brains of the outfit. While Roy did handle most of the business transactions, I believe Walt was very skilled at making smart business decisions. Many thought those decisions were nuts at the time, but Walt new better than all the other 'businessmen' of the day. Think about it - he developed a very successful business model. Was that by accident? I don't think so. Sure, Roy may have implemented the decisions financially, but it was Walt who not only possessed the creative genius, but also the business vision to develop ideas to make that creative genius come alive. That is what a true businessman is all about - not only developing great ideas, but figuring great ways to bring those ideas to life. Anyone can surround themselves with bean counters, money crunchers, and creative financiers (not that I'm saying that is all Roy was). So, while Walt may have been a creative visionary first and a businessman second, it was a much closer second than many realize, IMHO.

Another Voice
10-04-2002, 01:16 PM
When all is said and done, I would much rather have had Disney taken down by a failed utopian city than a failed broadcast network.

Captain Crook
10-04-2002, 03:03 PM
Six of one, half dozen of the other...
When all is said and done, I would much rather have had Disney taken down by a utopian city than a failed broadcast network. Interesting comment but I'm not sure I understand it in this context. If 'the city' had been attempted we 'd never have experieniced the Disney we have had for the past 2 decades. The actual path has worked out great for me as my family has been able to enjoy these fruits. On the other hand I believe I personally would have supported the Utopian Plan that woul be of far greater benefit to mankind than any theme park could ever be were it to be successful...And of course I'd be out doing something else right now...
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

DisneyKidds
10-04-2002, 03:23 PM
hmmmm..............assuming failure either way, have the company taken down 20 years ago by the utopian city, or take the 20 we've had and lose it now to a broadcast network? I guess I'm with the Captain - I'll take the 20 ;). Now if the utopian city had thrived and changed the way we live, would I have been happy to not have had a WDW vacation destination? Tough one. Maybe I'd be living in the utopian city and wouldn't need a vacation ;).

AV - a question. Is there anything to be read into two seemingly unrelated posts by yours truely...........

I would much rather have had Disney taken down by a failed utopian city than a failed broadcast network.
That leaves Disney as the only struggling media giant without a way out of its mess. And it's very soon to be nothing but junk status.

Have had = past tense? Soon to be junk?

Is there more trouble brewing in the Atlantic, so to speak? Are there more storms on the horizon that haven't hit our radar yet? The cryptic nature of your posting history requires that I inquire ;).

DisneyKidds
10-06-2002, 02:02 AM
Ahhhhhhhh................the sound of silence. Gotta love it ;). Now if certain people could take those things they knew to be true and apply it to their general thinking..............

DVC-Landbaron
10-06-2002, 11:15 AM
OK, Mr. Kidds!! I was going to leave it alone. Maybe I don’t understand your point, but here’s my take on the subject you brought up:However, would anyone dispute the assertion that the Florida Project was but a means for Walt to finance his city of the future?So what? I mean that kind of thing happens all the time. The question is, how did he handle it? Did he put out a cheap trinket hoping to dupe the public? Did he play a shell game with the public? Or did he put out a quality resort, rewriting the concept of family vacation, and at the same time maintaining and staying true, and perhaps even advancing, his principles and philosophy? In other words, did the public get their money’s worth?
However, did not Walt spend the lion's share of his Florida Project planning time researching what companies were doing that was cutting edge and could be implemented in his city of tomorrow?Sure. And again, so what!? At the time, he planned to build it! It’d be kind of silly not to research the project, wouldn’t you say? Now after his death, since he was the only guy that knew what he was doing, all those plans changed.
However, short of the realization of his EPCOT, WDW and the MK seem as though they may have been as much a business proposition as anything else.Of course it was business!! So was Disneyland! But the question again is not if it was business, but how that business was carry out? Did he fleece the public with “sharp practices” or did he do it with unparalleled quality and ‘value’ (sorry Head, but I can’t think of a better word)?
That business may have supported loftier goals than any other businessman ever could have thought of, but business has always been omnipresent.It seems as though you and I ultimately agree!!! The salient phrase, of course, is “supported loftier goals” and that makes all the difference in the world!! Don’t you agree?

DisneyKidds
10-07-2002, 09:04 AM
OK, Mr. Kidds!! I was going to leave it alone.
Well, I couldn't let that happen!!! Especially knowing how easy it is to hook you ;).
It seems as though you and I ultimately agree!!! The salient phrase, of course, is “supported loftier goals” and that makes all the difference in the world!! Don’t you agree?
We probably agree on more things than our 10 pagers would suggest. Fine lines, my friend. Fine lines :).

What did I hope to accomplish with this thread, other than the potential to ignite some controversy (and almost any thread around here will do that :crazy: )? Just to share my learning, most of which many of you already know, and to remind folks (at the risk of making Walt sound dirty) that Walt had is eye on making a buck, for his reasons, as much as anyone else. You are very correct that he made that buck in a much better way. I also wanted to respond somewhat to many of the assertions that the MK was guided by the hand of Walt, a direct result of Walt's vision. It seems to me that the only Walt guidance in the MK is the standard established in DL - and that is a great thing. Otherwise, it seems Walt had little focus on the MK while most of his visions involved his EPCOT. That's all :wave:.

raidermatt
10-07-2002, 08:57 PM
Walt had is eye on making a buck, for his reasons, as much as anyone else.

Well, if you mean he wanted his business to succeed, then of course, your statement is true.

But that's not quite the same as "making a buck", which implies that financial wealth is the goal, as opposed to a successful product and business.

A subtle difference, perhaps, but an important one.

We all know Walt wanted a successful business. If he didn't, he wouldn't have gone into business in the first place. The key is his philosophy for creating and maintaining a successful business. His philosophy of quality, showmanship, and "value".

The many complaints about current management are not aimed at getting a more benevolent soul in the CEO chair. They are about getting someone who subscribes to business philosophies that are more in-line with the philosophies that guided the Disney Company to its tremendous success.

Incidentally, I think a more accurate way of assessing Roy's expertise is to say he was far more skilled and interested in finance than Walt. Walt was a great businessman in the sense that he knew what the people wanted, and he believed in making that his first priority.

DisneyKidds
10-08-2002, 09:33 AM
Mr. Undefeated Raiders Fan - sometimes those differences are not as subtle as they would seem when you look at the cold, hard facts. I try to choose my words carefully (but am not always successful :(), so I did mean to say 'make a buck', with whatever connotations people would want to put with that phrase. Why do I say that? Well.............

Let's look at the Disneyland television show on ABC back in the days before Disneyland was built. I'll give you that Walt made sure it was a damned good television program. Top notch entertainment. However, the sole goal of that television show was to produce wealth, to generate financial gain. Walt didn't desire to go into the business of producing quality television programming back then. He simply wanted to create the financial resources to build Disneyland. He wanted to make a buck, pure and simple. As I stated before, Walt may have had loftier goals for those bucks he wanted to create, but that doesn't change the nature of what he did with the television program. Now you could say all of this was in relation to making the overall business succeed, and you would be correct - but that just proves that the desire to make a buck is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. Of course, if all you desire to do is make a buck for the sake of making a buck, it may be a bad thing. But Walt 'made a buck' before 'making a buck' gained any negative connotation.

Let's look at the premise I presented for WDW - that is was solely designed to generate the wealth, the fiancial gain, the resources to bulit the City of Tomorrow. Granted, that which was to be created to generate these financial resources would be wonderful and full of quality. It would make the business more successful. However, I don't know that we can truely say that it was Walt's goal in WDW to make the company successful. He had an idealistic dream of a utopian society - a dream that needed to be funded. He needed to make some bucks to support that lofty goal. If you disagree with the premise of WDW as a fianancing vehicle, then the 'make a buck' characterization would be misplaced. However, if you don't disagree with that premise, how can it be seen as anything other than making a buck? I agree those bucks were being made for a noble purpose, but not necessarily one directly related to the success of the company.

Questions, comments, concerns.............? ;)

Another Voice
10-08-2002, 12:21 PM
Mr. Disneykidds – are you trying to be provocative or do you actually believe what you’re writing is close to reality?

BRERALEX
10-08-2002, 12:43 PM
I think the most important thing Walt knew was that if yu built regular boring crap Yes people would come but it wouldnt be successful.
Which in turn means he knew, build something great, build somehting never done before, go over the top and people will come and come and come and tell their friends to come and he knew because it's common sense.

I dont think he worried about money which is obvious before disneyland got off the ground that his brother had that worry on his mind. But after disneyland and with the beginning of WDW Imo it was in the bag. I dont think he had insecurities or worries about if this or that would make money. He kne wit would. He believed it would.

Unlike how once again i like to point out that resort article in the Disney Magazine that they have to sell us on the resort and give us facts about how it was developed and created and how long it took blah blah. Walt knew his ideas and attractions would work cause to me he put every ounce of himself and every ounce of all creativity around him into anything with his name on it.

He didnt have to give us a bullet list of facts to sell us on the idea all he needed was his enthusiam andd your attention for a little bit and you were sold. The problem today being when they have our attention they let us down(with a couple of exceptions ofg course) but few and far between.

I dont think his goal was to make the company successful his primary goal was to entertain us fully and at all costs possible and achievable to the best of the disney ability and he knew the company would be successful thereafter.

He had creativity imagination and all that good stuff wrapped up in his self but the one thing he had that people overlook is common sense.

DisneyKidds
10-08-2002, 01:13 PM
Originally posted by Another Voice
Mr. Disneykidds – are you trying to be provocative or do you actually believe what you’re writing is close to reality?

AV - I simply endeavor to continue my Disney education. Based on some of the things I have read - yes, I do believe what I write has some basis in reality. Maybe I shade toward the provocative in my presentation, but I want to make my education fun ;). Of course my sources could be flawed, hence this thread. Please correct my misconceptions, as it appears you feel I am incorrect in some of my thinking :crazy:.

Am I wrong about the Disneyland television show? Am I wrong about Walt intending to use WDW to generate the money to build EPCOT? I very well could be, but I would rely on additional sources such as yourself to clear up any misconceptions I might have as books can only convey so much. Is it the characterization of Walt 'making a buck' that is so unrealistic? What is it you find so provocative about my musings? Please do tell. I am a sponge. Educate me. Really, I mean that most sincerely.

BRERALEX - I agree with everything you wrote. Very well put. Especially this sentence..........
I dont think he had insecurities or worries about if this or that would make money. He kne wit would. He believed it would.
But I am asking the follow on question to this thought. Walt knew that WDW would make money. He believed it. But what for? Based on my readings, he counted on WDW to make money, and he counted on it so that his EPCOT could become a reality. Now maybe AV will say that is a bunch of hooey, but I haven't heard that yet. And if someone believes it to be hooey, what is the basis for that opinion?

Your humble Disney student awaits............

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 02:09 PM
Hello folks, I hope you won't mind a newbie to this area of the boards dropping a thought or two into the mix. First may I say I only WISH my students would dig as deeply and think as critically as you all seem to do here for "fun".

That being said -

there are many definitions of business person. Roy was definitely the more financially oriented of the two - a "bean counter" if you like. Walt was the visionary. And as any student of management knows (or should) no organization is going to be successful if both aren't present. In addition, the visionary must clearly communicate the vision to others in the organization. Whether or not Walt did this successfully is open to debate. There are some who will point to the "what would Walt do" program as "proof" that he did. There are others who point to the seeming mis-steps over the years to say not.

EPCOT did not turn out to be anything close to Walt's original vision - in part because of the logistical difficulties in having this sort of community in which people were working/living as well as visitors coming through. In some sense Celebration has some of those initial elements of live-in community although not nearly as utopian as Walt's original vision.

Based on the amount of land Walt originally acquired one can speculate that the utopian community alone was not the plan. It has been pretty clearly documented from Walt's own statements that the reason he went to Florida was first to recreate Disneyland in an improved format. There were 2 compelling reasons for this. First, he had become disenchanted with the tacky hotels, eateries, etc. that surrounded Disneyland. His vision of theme park included exclusion of all the tackiness of the "carnival". By owning and controlling the access land the route into and out of the park was in essence themed as well.

Second, he was land locked. It wasn't economically feasible to acquire additional land around Disneyland to eliminate the tacky hotels, etc and expand the attraction.

Was Walt interested in making a profit? Of course. He purposefully created 5 dummy corporations to acquire the land. Once word did get out that it was the Disney Co. making these purchases, land prices skyrocketed from $200 to $1000 an acre.

The television show was indeed a way to help finance Disneyland but more importantly it was a marketing tool. It was a communication medium to educate people on this new concept - theme parks did not exist yet in the format we know them 40 plus years later. It was also a win-win with ABC, they were looking for programming. This relationship continued for some time and successfully - as both were innovators. This loss of innovation in the television industry is one of the reasons network television as a whole is faltering to cable.

Ok, this is long - especially for a new participant. Thanks for your patience in reading through. The classroom calls but I will be eagerly awaiting your thoughts and responses upon my return.

Deb

Another Voice
10-08-2002, 02:26 PM
To borrow some quotes from Sir Landbaron’s book, let’s see what Walt said about the topic.

“I’ve always said there will never be another Disneyland, and I think it’s going to work out that way. But it (Walt Disney World) will not be the equivalent of Disneyland. We know the basic things that have family appeal. There are many ways that you can use those certain basic concepts and give them a new décor, a new treatment. This concept here will have to be something that is unique, so there is a distinction between Disneyland in California and whatever Disney does in Florida.”

-- Walt Disney


Basic company legends have it that the Vacation Kingdom section of the Disney World project was presented as a bigger Disneyland only to sell Roy and the bankers on the idea. Walt had learned from rather bitter experience that the only ideas that sell are those based on something that’s already been successful (times haven’t changed much, have they?). Walt had simply followed the oldest Hollywood tradition – he dumbed down the presentation of his ideas get money from the suits.

And at the time of his death, Walt was working on many substantial changes to entire concept of a “theme park”. One of which as that all of the hotels would have been built inside the Magic Kingdom so that the distinction of park vs. everything else was completely gone. In Florida he had the room to experiment and explore, to take what he had done at Disneyland and expand the concept. Walt tinkered with everything he ever got his hands on. Had he lived I’m sure the Magic Kingdom would have been a very, very different experience.

In fact, the reason why WDW is located where it is because Walt was first thinking about fun and not his city. The company legend is that Walt was being flown over Central Florida looking for land. He saw Bay Lake with the island in the center (the former Discovery Island). When he landed, he told his men to start buying the property around Bay Lake. The reason – as a boy he always dreamed about deserted islands and pirate adventures, and the island in Bay Lake was the perfect place to build that.

So it was hardly accurate to say Walt was simply building a cheap Disneyland replica in order to gouge money from the public to fund his town. Yes, Walt was more excited by EPCOT (because it was a more exciting concept), but he certainly did not view the other sections of the project as nothing but money pumps. The Magic Kingdom was going to be a unique and different attraction in its own right.

When I get some more free time I’ll post something about Walt and television.

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 03:32 PM
Another Voice -

I think you misunderstood my point on WDW. It was not intended as a cheap imitation. I thought I had noted getting away from the cheap, tacky, tawdry and building on and beyond what was taking place at Disneyland was precisely the point. The idea of having hotels on property, if not actually within the park. That theme park was not a limited idea but could encompass mutliple themes was part of the process. Perhaps I did not express that clearly.

However, that MK was not intended solely as a funding source for EPCOT anymore than Wonderful World of Disney was intended solely as a funding source for Disneyland.

Or perhaps now I am misunderstanding your post.

Deb

DisneyKidds
10-08-2002, 03:44 PM
FDF - not sure how many of our little 'chats' you have dropped by, but if you think your post was long you ain't seen nothin yet ;). Thanks for the input. Regarding Walt, I think he communicated his vision rather well. Regarding EPCOT vs Celebration - well, let's just say that, as speculated in a book I recently finished, if Walt was unfrozen from that cryogenic chamber he is in ;) and saw Epcot and Celebration, he'd climb back in and tell them to thaw him out when the real EPCOT arrived. On TV, I realize the wider implications of the DL show as a broader marketing tool for the entire company, but I still believe it had it's roots in making DL the theme park a reality. Of course I await Mr. AV's thoughts on that - when he has the time.

Mr. AV............
Basic company legends have it
The nuggets for which we look to folks such as yourself. You see, as many books as one reads, book smarts can only get you so far ;).
Walt had learned from rather bitter experience that the only ideas that sell are those based on something that’s already been successful (times haven’t changed much, have they?)
I am familiar with Walts's difficulties in this regard. Sadly, no - times have not changed much :(.

Now I do have to take exception to this.............
So it was hardly accurate to say Walt was simply building a cheap Disneyland replica in order to gouge money from the public to fund his town. Yes, Walt was more excited by EPCOT (because it was a more exciting concept), but he certainly did not view the other sections of the project as nothing but money pumps.
............because it is not at all what I have been saying. Maybe it is that communication medium getting in the way again. I don't believe, and never said, that WDW was a cheap DL replica. Nor have I implied that Walt had any intention of gouging, or that the MK was solely a money pump. I have said many a time (but not in this thread - sorry) that WDW was Walt's opportunity to improve on the shortcomings of DL. For a time I believed that was the only, if not the major, motivation for the project. However, there are two sides to every coin - a book can't be judged by it's cover. So, I dig deeper and learn more. There were certainly a number of things at play in Walt's decisions - most of which we will never know. I'm guilty as charged in taking the provocative line in this thread regarding the idea that WDW was only developed as a funding source - but I am just conveying what others believe to be true. I realize there was a bigger picture, but I am still filling in the colors.
When I get some more free time I’ll post something about Walt and television.
Bring it on - and thank you for taking the time :).

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 03:50 PM
As I noted in my original post I'm fairly new to this particular area of the boards. Usually hang out in the cruise area but had some unscheduled time this afternoon between classes and went exploring! :cool: I recognized fairly quickly that what I was posting wasn't as long as some but know from teaching online that attention span starts waning and not all is carefully read.

It appears I interpreted part of AV's post as a response to mine when in fact he was replying to your's. I suspect I may continue to participate if this isn't usually a "private party". Just keep in mind that my perspective is as a professor of management/marketing and creativity & innovation. Yes, creativity and innovation are actually taught at the university level these days. And underwater basket weaving it isn't! More like a strenuous aerobic workout! LOL

Deb

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 03:59 PM
Also, I agree that Celebration/EPCOT do not meet Walt's original vision. However, both incorporate SOME of the ideas in that vision. Given the climate - political, social, economic - of the times I'm not sure if the EPCOT Walt envisioned was possible. I don't believe it is possible today - although the company is stronger today than it was in the early 80's, even given the devaluation of the stock in recent months.

While ABC was initially looking for programming, definitely Walt saw this as a way to gain both revenue and exposure. Earlier posts commenting on his enthusiasm are right on target. He was able to communicate his vision to his target market through the television show. The public had buy in on that project from the early stages.

There has been much written on Walt and his vision. Some of the older works which one would think might be more accurate as they were written theoretically with greater access to Walt, his writings, musings, and events being covered are often less accurate as folks interviewed and quoted later admitted they softened the edges in deference to Walt and his family.

Although Roy was originally the bean counter in the company, he eventually caught much of his brother's vision and enthusiasm and did his best to pass that through in company culture. I agree with your comment that Walt was reasonably successful in communicating his vision. However, I also harbor the suspiscion that we didn't get all of it because he looked at the world from a vastly different perspective than most of us.

Deb

DisneyKidds
10-08-2002, 04:12 PM
Deb - the more the merrier :). No private parties around here, and while we might have our carpools, we certainly don't have the clique politics that other boards might have :eek:. I'm sure we will all look forward to your input and perspective. Too bad those taking courses in business creativity and innovation aren't getting hired by Disney ;).
I'm not sure if the EPCOT Walt envisioned was possible.
But I bet we all agree that if anyone could have done it, it would have been Walt.

With respect to what has been written about Walt, especially the early stuff, do you have a reading list (I bet Disney must be some part of a curriculum on business creativity and innovation ;))? I have taken the suggestions of a few others here in a few of the books I have read/am reading (the Bob Thomas bio and Since the World Began) - but I value additional suggestions. I am currently reading 'Inside the Magic Kingdom (Seven Keys to Disney's Success)' and it is rather interesting - but it is all second hand opinion. It does have some great true life anecdotes and MK little known tidbits thought - as well as being an interesting take on what makes Disney, or any business, successful.

Sarangel
10-08-2002, 04:15 PM
First, FDF: Welcome to our cozy little corner of the DIS! We're always happy to engage in discussion and welcome those who have the inclination to contribute (as well as those who simply read through our somewhat exhaustive discussions). You will find that our rule is "the more the merrier."

As for Walt & WDW, some points:

ABC - ABC was a financial partner in the building of Disneyland (they weren't bought out until 10 years or so after the park was built), and part of the deal Walt & Roy made with ABC was that Walt would put together programming for ABC, who needed new content. Walt, being a pretty sharp cookie, asked ABC if he could talk about the park project and received permission. He also used it to promote 20,000 leagues under the sea and other projects. I'm sure AV has more on this subject, but that's what my reading leads me to believe the situation with Disney & ABC was.

WDW - It's really hard to say what "the Florida Project" would have been if Walt had been able to keep his mitts on it through completion. As it is, we are left with Roy & the Imagineer's interpretation of Walt's initial plans for the Magic Kingdom and it's monorail resorts (everything else showed up later). I recall reading that one of Walt's reasons for wanting the Florida Project to be built was the encroachment of the twadry on Disneyland. I also recall that he had a number of projects in the wings after Disneyland - one of which (a resort in the So. CA mountains never did take off) - so it's hard to say whether he or Roy expected the Florida Project to fund anything. Walt seems to have worried less about where the money was coming from than those who have posted so far have said. He was a visionary, and visions aren't business plans, financial statments or bank loans, they're visions.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Sarangel

DisneyKidds
10-08-2002, 04:36 PM
a resort in the So. CA mountains never did take off
As a skier I can only dream about what could have been. Walt actually put some serious effort into building a ski resort. Picked a mountain and all. Alas, I believe environmental and permit issues were the undoing. If only..........................;(.

Sarangel
10-08-2002, 04:43 PM
First, FDF: Welcome to our cozy little corner of the DIS! We're always happy to engage in discussion and welcome those who have the inclination to contribute (as well as those who simply read through our somewhat exhaustive discussions). You will find that our rule is "the more the merrier."

As for Walt & WDW, some points:

ABC - ABC was a financial partner in the building of Disneyland (they weren't bought out until 10 years or so after the park was built), and part of the deal Walt & Roy made with ABC was that Walt would put together programming for ABC, who needed new content. Walt, being a pretty sharp cookie, asked ABC if he could talk about the park project and received permission. He also used it to promote 20,000 leagues under the sea and other projects. I'm sure AV has more on this subject, but that's what my reading leads me to believe the situation with Disney & ABC was.

WDW - It's really hard to say what "the Florida Project" would have been if Walt had been able to keep his mitts on it through completion. As it is, we are left with Roy & the Imagineer's interpretation of Walt's initial plans for the Magic Kingdom and it's monorail resorts (everything else showed up later). I recall reading that one of Walt's reasons for wanting the Florida Project to be built was the encroachment of the twadry on Disneyland. I also recall that he had a number of projects in the wings after Disneyland - one of which (a resort in the So. CA mountains never did take off) - so it's hard to say whether he or Roy expected the Florida Project to fund anything. Walt seems to have worried less about where the money was coming from than those who have posted so far have said. He was a visionary, and visions aren't business plans, financial statments or bank loans, they're visions.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Sarangel

Bstanley
10-08-2002, 04:48 PM
I was watching 'Logan's Run' last night and was reminded of the model for EPCOT that you can see from the WEDWay PeopleMover in Tomorrowland.

One thing for sure (IMHO :-) - what Walt had in his Mind's Eye for The Florida Project would have been much more like the city in Logan's Run than 'Epcot'.

We'll never know whether a 'real' EPCOT would have been successful - but like the last line in my favorite movie (The Wind and The Lion) explains

Is there not one thing in your life that is worth risking everything for?

just the attempt would have been glorious...

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 05:06 PM
Thanks for the welcome folks. Having stumbled onto your corner of the boards I'll probably hang around.

DK there is so much written on Disney: some good some not so good - some valuable some not so valuable. The Keys to the Kingdom book is actually a book I have my customer service students read. Although second hand opinion as you note, it does get them THINKING about customer service in different ways.

And actually there isn't much reading about Disney, except in passing, in the creativity and innovation class. The focus of that class is more on exercises and techniques for stimulating creativity. The primary sources being "Leading on the Creative Edge" by Firestein and "Aha!" by Ayan. Of course Walt is mentioned in those.

One book you might find interesting is "The Disney Touch: Disney, ABC, & the Quest for the World's Greatest Media Empire" by Ron Grover. I also have several on Disney management techniques but as I survey my shelves here in the office don't see them - must be on the shelves at home.

Sarangel - thanks for the reminder on the partnership with ABC. Even as I was posting I was checking with one of my colleagues who has also studied Disney intensively and we knew we were forgetting a piece of the puzzle. It happens.

IMHO the Wonderful World of Disney television program was marketing genius. For whatever reason it developed it became part and parcel of the American experience, allowed for promotion of the park, movies (can we say Davy Crockett and coonskin hats?), and so much more. It was one of, if not the first, weekly program to broadcast in color.

Deb

DVC-Landbaron
10-08-2002, 08:57 PM
WOW!!! How a thread can grow in a short time!! I'm going back to read it all, and by all indications I'll be back!!

In the mean time, at a glance this caught my eye:Yes, creativity and innovation are actually taught at the university level these days. Can we get Ei$ner enrolled!! FAST! (It'd have to be a remedial class though. A 101 would be way too advanced!!)

Another Voice
10-08-2002, 09:17 PM
First, let me add my welcome to Ms. FantasticDisFamily. I have many clients that I’d love to send to a professor of creativity although, sadly, I doubt if any of them can be taught – but no one has ever accused most people in Hollywood of being intelligent. Gee, the “best” in town can’t even look up a Shakespeare quote correctly.


From what I’ve heard and read, I think one of the strongest arcs in Walt Disney’s life was his growing resistance against constraints. Hollywood worked a little differently in those days. For films, a company like Disney first had to sell a movie to a film distributor. Then the distributor had to sell it to theaters. And then the theaters had to sell it to the public. At each level there was someone telling Disney “what the public wants”, and more often than not they tried to shoot down Disney’s plans. Naturally Disney hated this because, basically, Walt really thought he knew better than the suits. And time and time again he was proven correct.

With television, he had a golden opportunity to eliminate all the middlemen and present his shows directly to the public. TV provided him with ultimate freedom and he took full advantage of it. He could make the shows he wanted, show them when he wanted. For the first time ever, he found a business that would give him complete control.

In the mid-1950s all of the big studios were terrified of television and quite literally tried to kill the new medium. Anyone – writer, director, actor – who “crossed over” was finished in movies. And any company that made TV shows was blackballed. This left the networks without the “big name talent” they desperately needed and the means to fulfill the increase demand for product. They were willing to do almost anything for “legitimate” companies and talent to deal with them. And by this time Walt was basically well outside (and above) the Hollywood Studio System. Thanks to revenue from international film distribution (the only studio in Hollywood with significant overseas revenue at the time), merchandise and constant revenue from the seven-year re-release cycle, Walt could flaunt a lot of Hollywood conventions to achieve his own goals.

So what you had was a market pleading for product and only one seller in town. No one has ever accused the Disney brothers of not being clever. The move into television was going to happen; Walt and Roy simply made the networks pay as much as possible for the product. So ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’ wasn’t created specifically to finance Disneyland; the investment in the park was just part of the price ABC paid to get a show. They also picked up a good chunk of ’20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ (the most expensive movie made to that date) and even ran the commissary on the Studio lot for a while.

Like the Magic Kingdom, television existed for its own merits and for its own purposes. It was not created solely or even mainly to finance another project. I really don’t think Walt ever thought in those terms either. Certainly making a sequel to ‘Snow White’ just for the money would have brought in huge bucks, just as he had offers to build replica Disneylands all over the U.S. and Europe. Walt Disney was always looking for something new to do. He was in business for the joy of it, not to get rich. Those kinds of people can later.

The simple rule of the entertainment industry is that if you present a good show that the audience wants to see – the financial returns will find you. It’s only the bad or unappealing shows that have to work for it.

FantasticDisFamily
10-08-2002, 09:35 PM
DVC-Landbaron (and anyone else interested) the creativity and innovation course is actually available online. If anyone is interested please PM me and I can direct you to the appropriate links. Folks without a bachelor's degree would need to meet prerequisites, but nearly anyone with a bachelor's degree or more could qualify as a guest student.

As for Ms. Striesand's quote - well her fame has been her voice I believe and not her scholarly pursuits!:rolleyes:

Deb

airlarry!
10-09-2002, 12:23 AM
And let me give my own belated welcome to Prof FDF...I was a bit busy contending with a week without 'e-lek-tricity' due to our most unwelcome visitor, Madame Lili.

May I summarize our position thus far?

There is no certain proof that Uncle Walt's model and Cousin Mike's model even resemble each other. One mined the fertile imaginations of his friends and employees (and his own brain) for new ideas to 'sell' to the consumer, for that was what he created the company for, as an outlet for what he thought the public wanted.

The other has mined the fertile earth of the 'Brand' he inherited, and especially in the last half-decade or so.

Where Walt abhorred a sequel, unless it could stand up in its own rights, Michael never met a sequel he didn't like.

And where Walt took an idea, and then decided to improve upon it (for business purposes? for investment? for expansion? for the need of a creative outlet? Does it matter in the end?) by looking at the California project and expanding it 10 fold into the Florida project, Michael shrunk the goal. Hi$ focus was on doubling the length of stay, and increasing per capita spending, not on creating the next generation of theme park--never mind the rhetoric, look at the actual product and the actual presentation.

I like this thread. It reminds us of that famous quote for those who ignore history. It reminds us that our beloved company got here by following one road, but took the left fork some time ago.

I personally don't believe that the 'good times (are) really over for good' (thanks Merle). The flip side to brand is that while Jeaux Customer may not give a hoot (no offense to anyone here, just using an example) whether K-Mart or Xerox survive other than the people who work there, there are many Jeaux Bluejeans out there who care whether Disney is still Disney...or whether it becomes (stays?) Di$ney.

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 01:07 PM
There are numerous excellent lessons to be gleaned from what the Walt Disney Co. has undergone and how it does business - both the positives and the negatives. In response to DisneyKidds inquiry I took a quick glance on my shelves at home between night class last night and heading into campus again this morning.

An additional reading suggestion for those who are interested in another perspective on how the successful approaches from the Disney Co. can be adapted, transferred, utilized in other endeavors I'd suggest the work of Bill Capodagli (see why I had to check the shelf? No way I'd have gotten that spellling right from memory!) and Lynn Jackson. They have written "The Disney Way: Harnessing the management secrets of Disney in your company" and also "The Disney Way Fieldbook: How to Implement Walt Disney's Vision of Dream, Believe, Dare, Do in your own company"

This latter title includes Walt's most deeply held belief in terms of how to strategically shape and move the company. The Dream was absolutely critical - today we call that thinking outside of the box or paradigm breaking. In essence it isn't being afraid to try something different. That different or new thing doesn't always have to be totally unheard of before. When Michael (and I know many of you are not Eisner fans from what you've posted) took over Disney in 1984 his approach was radical for the time - his dream to expand the entire family entertainment business was dreaming. To announce a 10 year plan to expand the theme parks throughout the 1990s in the context of that time was dreaming - remember this was when all the boomers were delaying their families and the US was running full tilt AWAY from "wholesome" activities. It was pretty daring to re-launch the animated movie business.

I agree that over the last several years Disney seems to have lost steam. Maybe it is time for a new visionary? I'm not sure but I don't think that the Dream, Believe, Dare, Do model is dead at Disney - just seems a bit dormant.

Deb

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 01:07 PM
There are numerous excellent lessons to be gleaned from what the Walt Disney Co. has undergone and how it does business - both the positives and the negatives. In response to DisneyKidds inquiry I took a quick glance on my shelves at home between night class last night and heading into campus again this morning.

An additional reading suggestion for those who are interested in another perspective on how the successful approaches from the Disney Co. can be adapted, transferred, utilized in other endeavors I'd suggest the work of Bill Capodagli (see why I had to check the shelf? No way I'd have gotten that spellling right from memory!) and Lynn Jackson. They have written "The Disney Way: Harnessing the management secrets of Disney in your company" and also "The Disney Way Fieldbook: How to Implement Walt Disney's Vision of Dream, Believe, Dare, Do in your own company"

This latter title includes Walt's most deeply held belief in terms of how to strategically shape and move the company. The Dream was absolutely critical - today we call that thinking outside of the box or paradigm breaking. In essence it isn't being afraid to try something different. That different or new thing doesn't always have to be totally unheard of before. When Michael (and I know many of you are not Eisner fans from what you've posted) took over Disney in 1984 his approach was radical for the time - his dream to expand the entire family entertainment business was dreaming. To announce a 10 year plan to expand the theme parks throughout the 1990s in the context of that time was dreaming - remember this was when all the boomers were delaying their families and the US was running full tilt AWAY from "wholesome" activities. It was pretty daring to re-launch the animated movie business.

I agree that over the last several years Disney seems to have lost steam. Maybe it is time for a new visionary? I'm not sure - but I don't think that the Dream, Believe, Dare, Do model is dead at Disney - just seems a bit dormant.

Deb

DisneyKidds
10-09-2002, 02:24 PM
Professor (if I may call you that) ;) - the Fieldbook sounds interesting. Perhaps when I finish the couple of other books I am on now..........thanks.

An interesting thing about the success, and recent downturn, in Disney that I noticed while reading Inside the Magic Kingdom (Seven Keys). While Disney still very much holds true to some of the keys, I could see where recent decisions and actions kind of depart from some of the keys. The book was written in 1996 I believe. It would be interesting to see Connellan's view on Disney as it stands today, especially in relation to his opinion when he wrote the book. For anyone who hasn't read it, it is a very quick and interesting read.

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 02:32 PM
DisneyKidds -

You certainly may call me Professor but it isn't necessary. As I work primarily with returning adult students we are generally on a first name basis.

I agree that many of the observations in Keys are less accurate today. I read a recent article regarding the painting of the hitching posts as a for instance - it is no longer attended to as regularly. It is now routine maintenance that happens on approximately a monthly basis.

A recent post on the cruise trip reports discussed this very topic - how the extending of maintenance, cost cutting is making WDW less attractive to repeaters.

From a personal standpoint I went to WDW a year ago with my daughter and another mom & daughter. My daughter & I were repeaters but the others were first timers. They were "in awe" of the attention to detail. But my daughter & I noticed a definite lowering of attention to detail. Not necessarily something one could say - There! That isn't as well cared for but an overall sense. I too would be interested in Connellan's observations.

Deb

DisneyKidds
10-09-2002, 02:53 PM
............but do they still use 23k gold leaf on the carousel? ;).

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 03:15 PM
Yes, as far as I could tell but didn't look quite as shiny as usual.

Deb

airlarry!
10-09-2002, 03:41 PM
You certainly may call me Professor but it isn't necessary.

We like nicknames here. ;) I think we've found yours..."The Professor"



But my daughter & I noticed a definite lowering of attention to detail. Not necessarily something one could say - There! That isn't as well cared for but an overall sense

This is what we worry about. Walt's 'business plan' was to impress upon the visitor that she was visiting a world unlike our own where there *is* attention to detail, and the Connellon book (which I read a few years ago) seems to argue that the new Disney embodied that plan.

But is this true? Does the new regime care the same as Walt's people did? It is a generalization to say either way, but I tend to think that there is ample evidence that Cou$in Michael doesn't believe that attention to detail is the key to the Kingdom....unless it is for attention to the bottom line

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 03:56 PM
OK, "The Professor" it is - then I will put on my professor's hat and play devil's advocate with you.;)

Airlarry! said

"I tend to think that there is ample evidence that Cou$in Michael doesn't believe that attention to detail is the key to the Kingdom....unless it is for attention to the bottom line"

However, many of the attractions built under his regime have great attention to detail - did the tree of life have to have bugs carved in up to the very top? Why put liner notes on the CDs in Monster's Inc? With respect to the parks - didn't many of the changes which have been cited as cost cutting (quality cutting)happen under just one head honcho - who has recently been replaced?

Might it not be more accurate to suggest that Eisner believes in attention to detail and Walt's original ideas but has allowed his second in commands to get sloppy?

Your thoughts....

Deb

DisneyKidds
10-09-2002, 04:06 PM
Might it not be more accurate to suggest that Eisner believes in attention to detail and Walt's original ideas but has allowed his second in commands to get sloppy?
My good Professor - I'm sure you will get a lot of 'the apple doesn't fall far from the tree' arguments on this one. Some probably believe that the Ei$ner machine is a many headed monster, all taking direction from the main head, which is the only one that can be cut off to stop the beast ;). (note to Professor - you will find we like analogies around here, too :))

I do think that Disney under Eisner has provided a lot of offerings with great attention to detail. Some of that attention is so subtle and well incorporated that many people won't even notice - just like the gold leaf on the carousel. Alas, I doubt that Eisner would ever paint anything with gold the way Walt's Disney did.

airlarry!
10-09-2002, 04:43 PM
Professor:

Good points, I will admit. But I am one (of the few it seems) that likes both the idea and the presentation of DAK. I just think they haven't finished it. (but that's a whole 'nother topic).

Yes, the Imagineers have shown great attention to detail in their Disney offerings. I will not budge on one point...anything that John Lassiter et al put out from Pixar is Pixar's alone...and no credit should be given to Cou$in Michael. Disney has a relationship with Pixar that is wholly unlike its relationship with WDI or other in-house efforts, and I don't think they should be compared.

Sticking to the original topic as best as I can, we can still say that the two regimes focus on different business plans that can't be blamed on second-in-commands. That cutting problem you alluded to? It goes way back...way before the terrorist attacks...way back to 1998 or so when Ei$ner started calling for the infamous 10/10 plan...of cutting each year 10% in operational costs while increasing net profits 10% in each department. It is his mantra..

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 05:11 PM
:D
I was just getting the pulse of this group. I would agree that ultimately the head of the organization is ultimately responsibe. And it is that head's biggest responsibility to clearly articulate the vision.

However, in an organization the size and scope of Disney there must also be delegation. Unfortunatley in this situation it seems to me that the 1998 mandate was not a full nor clear articulation of the strategy. The focus was too heavy on the cost cutting. And underscored by actions such as the appointment of Paul Pressler. That mandate also seemed strange to me, coming along with the cruise line launch, opening and ongoing plans for DAK (which BTW airlarry! is my favorite park - but not all of it, a different topic), and so forth. The stock had just gone through a 3 for 1 split.

To discuss the need to control costs is always appropriate. To me the bottom line (pun intended) of this discussion is that efficiency is out of balance with effectiveness. Doing the right thing (effectiveness) in the right way (efficiency) is a management foundations principle. It doesn't mean using the fewest possible resources, but using the optimum resources to achieve the desired results.

Walt knew this at times spending more than the minimum, and taking relatively short term losses in order to achieve long term gains. Not that he always measured success in terms of profit or failure in terms of loss. Making a profit is a requirement of staying in business. Without doing so Disney would fold, as would any business.

Now let me extend the discussion by suggesting another possibility. Throughout the 1990s the stock market was soaring to higher and higher heights. Stockholders were happy. Then as the 1990s drew towards a close things began to falter. Possibly Eisner and his seconds "saw" something that suggested a tightening of the belt was necessary?

That being said - the tightening should not have overridden the ultimate goal of the organization. Unless I have missed something Disney has not rewritten their primary mission statement, "To Make People Happy", and the direction they are taking is not meeting that mission.

Deb

Bstanley
10-09-2002, 05:23 PM
Professor,

Rather than advising you to go back and rummage through gajillions of old messages I will summarize:

1. The Big ME has never done anything Magical/useful/valuable during his tenure as CEO of Disney.

2. Anything Magical/useful/valuable that has occurred during his tenure as CEO of Disney has been done DESPITE his obstructionism/incompetence.

Please note that these are not my opinions, but if you continue to say anything that doesn't lay the blame firmly at The Big ME's feet you will be introduced to those that expouse them.

Forewarned be ye, say I.

;-)

airlarry!
10-09-2002, 05:24 PM
Not much of a debate here, Professor, 'cause I keep agreeing with your points.

Have you studied that favorite Disney law of LandBaron's? That of the order of business that every department of Disney is supposed to govern their actions? (sort of like the 4-way test in Rotary)?

It has Efficiency down at the bottom of it. (The Baron is better at remembering the order, and in fact had a whole topic devoted to where in the chain it was). I would be curious to know if your studies of the Disney company...specifically the company led by Walt Disney...include whether or not the company really lived by that ordering of Safety, Courtesy, Show & Efficiency (help me out here Baron) back then under Uncle Walt's guidance, and whether or not the company is still doing so today under Michael'$ guidance.

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 05:43 PM
In fact I have studied that "law". In the days of Disney University extensive training in this area was available for college/university educators. The Disney folks also took that show on the road so to speak putting on seminars around the country. Somewhere in this mass of books, binders, shelves, and files I have the spiral from that training.

Safety is always #1 - it overrides all other considerations

I know Show & Courtesy were in the middle and closely linked. As I recall (and as noted can not find the reference at the moment) which came before the other was in some instances dictated by the circumstances. For instance, Cast Members were not to "fall out of character" to provide detailed directions to a guest if they were working Haunted Mansion or Tower of Terror, but were to pay attention and within character do what they could. Up to the point safety was at issue.

An example is at Tower of Terror several years ago when my children were younger and were not going to go on the attraction. They were 10 & 12. I debated on leaving them in the courtyard where the attraction empties. A cast member overheard the conversation and, in character, advised that, "Oh madame, they will be well looked after" with a bit of a sinister grin. And they were. The CM never broke character maintaining the show but was also courteous. Although others might not have interpreted this as being courteous. Safety was also observed. However, had a lone child shown up obviously scared and lost I am also quite certain the CM would have broken character to preserve the safety requirement.

Ok, back on track of your question. Efficiency is at the bottom of that list. It was made clear that Disney looks for ways to maintain efficient operations, but not at the expense of safety, show or courtesy. This was the foundation of my original comment.

Bstanley - please note that many of my comments have included reference to playing devil's advocate and extending the debate. I was not necessarily defending Eisner nor bashing him either. Note that I did state in agreement with others that as the head of the organization he is ultimately responsible. That means he gets to take credit as well as blame.;) I be forewarned...and shall never hesitate to push the boundaries of the discussion...

regardless of my personal opinion.:smooth:

The Professor

DVC-Landbaron
10-09-2002, 06:34 PM
Forewarned be ye, say I.Too late!! ;)

Might it not be more accurate to suggest that Eisner believes in attention to detail and Walt's original ideas but has allowed his second in commands to get sloppy?NO!

I was just getting the pulse of this group. I would agree that ultimately the head of the organization is ultimately responsible. And it is that head's biggest responsibility to clearly articulate the vision.YES!!! GOOD SAVE!!! :bounce:

And underscored by actions such as the appointment of Paul Pressler{NOTE: the proper spelling is P-R-E-$-$-L-E-R} I don't care if he's gone or not!!

That being said - the tightening should not have overridden the ultimate goal of the organization. Unless I have missed something Disney has not rewritten their primary mission statement, "To Make People Happy", and the direction they are taking is not meeting that mission.Ah! Evidently you have never hung around RADP. There is a certain sect that claims this ‘mission statement’ is inherently WRONG!! They claim that their true mission statement is to ‘increase shareholder value’. PERIOD!

"To Make People Happy", does not have a place in the mission statement. I believe that Ei$ner would fit right in with this thinking. Especially given his propensity to take the huge profits of the parks and use them to prop up his many other failing enterprises or increase a quarterly report!!

Have you studied that favorite Disney law of LandBaron's? That of the order of business that every department of Disney is supposed to govern their actions? (sort of like the 4-way test in Rotary)?I wish I could take credit for it, but it’s not mine, it’s Walt’s. It is directly from the Traditions Program (the training program for new CMs). And the concept is simple. They are to follow four rules in any situation and most important, in the correct order. They are:

1- Safety
2- Courtesy
3- SHOW
4- Efficiency

It’s really that simple. And if Ei$ner had followed those simple principles since 1984 we would not be in the predicament that we now find ourselves!!

or

OK, back on track of your question. Efficiency is at the bottom of that list. It was made clear that Disney looks for ways to maintain efficient operations, but not at the expense of safety, show or courtesy. This was the foundation of my original comment.WOW!!! Professor!! First, let me take this opportunity to welcome you!! And second - VERY WELL WRITTEN!!!! BRAVO!! :bounce:

I be forewarned...and shall never hesitate to push the boundaries of the discussion...Professor, I think this may be a start of a beautiful friendship!*







* (obscure movie reference. Point given! :cool: )

FantasticDisFamily
10-09-2002, 07:59 PM
Thanks for the welcome DVC-Landbaron.

Ok, guys you're gonna love this (I think)...I am on a break from my Principles of Management course - have to grade quizzes while "the kids" work on a communications and teamwork worksheet. Well they also had to select their term project cases.

I ALWAYS eliminate Disney as an option. Do not want a hint of conflict of interest, my take influencing my assessment of their work, etc. So several were lobbying to do Disney anyway.

I finally convinced them this would be a bad idea by letting them know I was presently involved in a rather extensive online discussion on the strategic direction of Disney, the appropriateness of the present mission statement, etc etc. They decided it was a bad idea after all.

So THANKS everyone. You saved me from reading a bunch of poorly written, kiss up to the prof papers!:rolleyes: ;)

The Professor

DisneyKidds
10-09-2002, 08:58 PM
So THANKS everyone. You saved me from reading a bunch of poorly written, kiss up to the prof papers!
Glad we could be of assistance ;).

Patch'sD
10-10-2002, 10:57 AM
When Walt and Roy decided to take the Disney Studios public, all things changed. No longer was the company Walt's and Roy's it was the share holders. I believe that today the mission statement is to improve share holder value. Which up to now ME has done a very poor job of, and should be held accountable for that. That's Today's business model, What Disney needs is someone who can do that while holding to Walt's vision of quality. Can someone be found to do that?

I have only come across one thing that showed Walt's vision for the Florida Project. It was a hand drawn sketch. I think it included a theme park, hotels, EPCOT, and a swamp ride. It was in the book Since the World began. Someone borrowed it from me and never returned it ( The Sketches for Animal Kingdom in it's complete intended form are excellent). From the book Vinyl leaves. I gathered that Walt was so concerned with EPCOT that he spent many hours of every day in a room go over plans for the Florida Project. According to Legend he had the only key to this room. From what I could gather this consumed much of his time until his death. Again According to Legend, he made several tapes of himself to be played out at future board meetings to status the company's projects in the outyears. I believe if Walt survived that the Florida Project would be as diagramed a Themepark and resorts and the Centerpiece EPCOT a city of tomorrow.

I agree with many that Walt was a true visionary, who was unique and the world will never see the likes of him again. But in today's business climate would Walt have survived. Today Return on Capital Investment is measured in month not years. Would Walt have survived owning a private company, WED, that was responsible for all of the planning and development of the Disney Studios projects.

In my Opinion, Walt would have used MK to fund EPCOT. and inturn EPCOT would have funded MK.

Walt's Frozen Head
10-11-2002, 10:29 AM
The Aladdin's Magic Carpets discussion in another thread made me think of two business situations that illustrate my concept of the inherent difference between the way Walt viewed money and the way his modern counterparts view it today.

As you exit Pirates of the Caribbean, you are met with Pirate-y knick-knacks and toys for your spending needs. As you exit Magic Carpets of Aladdin, you are met with Aladdin paraphernalia for the same purpose.

What I need to know is this: does anyone believe that the business motivations behind those two projects were the same? That "cost, "show," and "profit" were given the same value when those two areas were designed?

The difference between money being the goal and money being a tool you use in service of real goal is the difference between Aladdin and Pirates. The Aladdin ride is a cheap and common ride designed to provide a focus for the merchandise. The Pirates ride is a unique, creative tour-de-force, designed to entertain and delight... and it happens to be expensive to do that, so we're selling some overpriced crap to help us pay for it.

Pirates focused on the ride... the merchandizing was intended to help supply Disney the money to do the ride right. Aladdin focuses on the merchandizing... the cheap catalog-purchased ride was intended to help supply Disney the maximum profit margin on the merchandise.

We can get awfully lost in tangential and semantic arguments... but at the center, at the root...

...does anyone _not_ agree that there's a basic difference in philosophy there?

...does anyone _not_ think that describing that difference as "a focus on money, instead of focus on product" is accurate?

Subjective? Sure. But can anyone honestly step forward and claim the opposite subjective viewpoint... that Pirates of the Caribbean was thrown together so they'd have a place to sell plastic swords, while all those remaindered Aladdin toys were flown in to offset the tremendous expense of the incomparable Flying Carpets?

With Pirates, the money was something Walt used to create his real goal, the ride. With Aladdin, the ride was something Eisner used to generate his real goal, plush sales.

-WFH

Sarangel
10-11-2002, 11:01 AM
As you exit Pirates of the Caribbean, you are met with Pirate-y knick-knacks and toys for your spending needs. As you exit Magic Carpets of Aladdin, you are met with Aladdin paraphernalia for the same purpose.Actually, (with acknowledgement that I don't know if this is true in Florida), the souviner shop at the exit of Pirates is a recent ammendment. The shops in New Orleans Square used to be more unique and themed: the One of a Kind Shop, a Kitchen Shop, a mask shop, etc. Yes, there was some Pirate paraphanealea, but it was not anywhere near as overwhelming as it is today and it was more generic than it is now.

I guess my point here is that the focus on Merchandising is part of the Eisner/Pressler regime, and not a legacy of Walt and Roy. I'm not saying that Walt & Roy didn't merchandise, just that (as Walt's Frozen Head points out) their focus was on the quality products and attractions they were creating not on the souviners that were sold as a by-product of their creativity.

Sarangel

DisneyKidds
10-11-2002, 12:52 PM
Not much time now, but are you actually saying that they put the Aladdin ride in as a way to sell plush? I find that rather absurd. Ei$ners Disney will take any opportunity to sell plush, even throw it in your face so you can't avoid it :(. However, to put in a ride just to capture people to buy plush....................:rolleyes:.

I'll get back to you on that philosophical question.............

Another Voice
10-11-2002, 01:12 PM
Ah... have you heard about the reduced 'Winnie the Pooh' ride that's going into Disneyland?

Guess the one and only reason why that ride's going in.

P.S. - And guess how two clever WDI people convinced Pressler to put in the WP ride at WDW in the first place. It wasn't because it was cheaper than leaving 'Mr. Toad' where it was...

Walt's Frozen Head
10-11-2002, 02:00 PM
are you actually saying that they put the Aladdin ride in as a way to sell plush? I'm saying the choice of ride mechanism, theme and level of detail were chosen and implemented so as to move the most possible product with the least possible investment.

I contrasted this with Pirates, where I said the choice of ride mechanism, theme, and level of detail were chosen and implemented so as to delight and amaze the widest possible variety of guests to the greatest possible degree.

What I said was the focus was now different... that decisions were made based on money, not the quality of the product. I even asked specifically: "does anyone _not_ think that describing that difference as 'a focus on money, instead of focus on product' is accurate?"

-WFH

Patch'sD
10-11-2002, 02:35 PM
In response to Sarangel, in Florida, Pirates always exited into a shop. As for the merchandising it always existed. Walt with the plush toys and Mickey Mouse watches and the Mickey Mouse Club stuff. Isn't main street in Disneyland and WDW loaded with shops. Yes I remember the Magic Shop, and them selling leather goods in some of the stores in the 70's. Some of the merchandise was nice and some was crap. Now they basically have Disney Branded Crap and Nice stuff.

I have not seen the new Aladdin ride, so I can't say if the ride is just there to sell merchandise. But I would ask this question. Are there children on this ride with smiling faces having fun. If the answer is yes, than the ride is being enjoyed and there is some magic there, it may not be Walt's type of magic but it is there a little cheaper than it should. We as the faithful, see it as a bad thing, through the eyes of the new guest how do they see it. After all is it geared to us aging baby boomers or towards those generation X'rs with young families now.

Looking at the charts posted with regards to attendance. It shows through the 90's that attendance was increasing. After 9/11 everything went thought the crapper, but has not recovered. As craftsmanship went down people still were throwing their money the Disney way. Why, we all know they don't make them like the used to but we still buy them anyway for the older consumer, and the newer consumer just does not know how good we used to have it. Then in the late 90's the second shoe dropped, ME trying to increase share holder value Capital Investment was stopped and cost cutting measures were implemented. Big mistake. Now your effecting the customer with less hours, less service, less magic, and dated attractions. (As you can tell, I don't ride in any car, I sort of just hitch a ride and see where it will take me). I equate what Disney did here to the Peter Principle. I call it the Pressler Principle. Disney didn’t know how deep to cut. They cut a little and people still came, cut a little more and people still came. It sort of like complaining about the state of the parks, but still taking a 28 day vacation at WDW. Keep on turning those thumb screws until they say Uncle. I think that Disney after 9/11 made some drastic cuts that must have really gotten to some people and they finally reached the “ I mad as heck, and I am not going to take it anymore” level. So what do they do, give it back and call it something else so the newbie thinks he is getting something extra. Great marketing.

In my opinion, Eisner's a bum. I feel that he brought the Disney Company back from the brink only to run it into the ground again. Yeah I know when things were good it was the midget and Frank Wells, but come on Eisner had to say yes and green light those projects. But Eisner then bent on becoming a Media Giant took that "three hour tour" in 1995 and bought Capital Cities. Can you hear that big sucking sound Ross Perot talked about. It wasn't the North American Free Trade Agreement, it was ABC sucking all the money out of the Disney Company. That is what has brought us today's problem taking from Peter to pay Paul.

Walt was the most magnificent marketer ever created. Walt used to come into my living room every Sunday Night and Sell me on Disneyland, Sell me on the Florida Project, New Movies and alike. Every Sunday he used to talk to me through the medium of television. I would in turn tell my parents I want, I want, I want. I Believe it was all about Merchandising and using one medium to pay for the other. It started with Walt and still goes on today. Walt was in the open about it, Eisner is just a lot more slicker.

airlarry!
10-14-2002, 10:51 AM
Two great things have emerged from this thread.

#1 is 'The Pre$$ler Principle'. I love it.

#2 is the knowledge that one question really can divide our audience better than any other I've read:

Do you believe that under the current regime attractions can be greenlighted almost solely on their ability to 'sell plu$h' (a euphemism for crass merchandising)?

In other words, do you think that Aladdin & the Ca. Winnie adventure were given the go-ahead based upon merchandising increases as *the primary reason* and not for creativity, show, staying on the cutting edge of entertainment or any other reason except for plush sales?


How you compare Walt's philosophy to the Pre$$ler philosophy is a direct result of your answer to that question, IMO.

DisneyKidds
10-14-2002, 12:13 PM
Back with thoughts on the Head's earlier question and the view of his airness.
How you compare Walt's philosophy to the Pre$$ler philosophy is a direct result of your answer to that question, IMO.
I think that Ei$ner and Pre$$ler are given too much credit for having a philosophy at all. Heck, if they had a real philosophy, even one we disagreed with, we might be better off than we are today. However, many of the decisions they have made seem to lack the cohesive thought that would indicate a philosophy of any kind. Walt had philosophy, vision, creativity, and the wherewithall to make it into something real. Ei$ner and Pre$$ler seem to lack these items and focus solely on the business end, without realizing that philosophy, vision, and creativity all go into making a business successful. When Prei$$ner had folks around him that did have some creativity and a little bit of Walt in them things worked out. Unfortunately the Prei$$ner monster consumed these people and things took a turn.
Do you believe that under the current regime attractions can be greenlighted almost solely on their ability to 'sell plu$h' (a euphemism for crass merchandising)?

In other words, do you think that Aladdin & the Ca. Winnie adventure were given the go-ahead based upon merchandising increases as *the primary reason* and not for creativity, show, staying on the cutting edge of entertainment or any other reason except for plush sales?
Do I belive that Ei$ner and Pr$$ler had an articulated philosophy whereby they determine first what will produce the highest plush sales and then develop an attraction around that? No. I could be wrong, but I don't believe this is the case.

Now I won't say they don't consider merchandising in the mix, even as a large ingredient - but not the primary one. Take replacing Mr. Toad with Pooh in the MK. Mr. Toad wasn't setting records for ridership. Pooh is one of the most popular of the 'Disney' characters. Prei$$ner figures - why not replace a less popular, aging ride with one that will be very popular and can be done cheaply by using a similar ride mechanism? It will be viewed by many as an improvement and will add to the guest experience. Give the people something they will like that can be done pretty cheap. That is what I see as the Prei$$ner prime directive. Of course, the decision is aided by the fact that Pooh is big for merchandising - and that made the two headed Prei$$ner beast salivate.

Aladdin, Pooh in CA - same deal. Cheap rides based on exisiting platforms that people like, ok - some people like ;). Not very creative, not the greatest show, not cutting edge - but cheap and safe additions or improvements. That is what I see as the primary reason for the rides - not that I agree that should be the case. All the plush is gravy. Granted, Prei$$ner was good at making gravy, but that is just something they heap upon these rides to make them taste better.

That how I call it. I call em as I see em - but my vision ain't always 20/20 :crazy:.

Andrew015
10-14-2002, 12:15 PM
Slightly off topic....just a thought inspired by this thread:
Before WDW was set up, and during the period of time right after the opening of WDW, Orlando especially, as well as the rest of florida was nothing but open fields and cow pastures. It was the little mouse that made Florida what it is today. I have in my possession the ENTIRE collection of every issue of Orlando Magizene from my dad. The early issues of this magizene would give credit where it was due, to WDW, for making florida into the bustling place that it was becoming, and is now today. The people of orlando, and most of florida, hate to admit that it was a little cartoon mouse that gave birth to their home area. In recent issues of Orlando magizene, they hardly even mention WDW, and you're lucky to even get a comment/article about the place. Just an interesting thought......:rolleyes:

raidermatt
10-14-2002, 04:59 PM
Are there children on this ride with smiling faces having fun. If the answer is yes, than the ride is being enjoyed and there is some magic there, it may not be Walt's type of magic but it is there a little cheaper than it should.

Go take a look a the jungle-gym at a local park. Lots of children with smiling faces, huh?

Fortunately, Disney was built on more than that. Its built on the concept of finding attractions and entertainment that not only put smiles on children, but elicit looks of wonder from children and adults alike.

So, sure, I think we can all agree that children have fun on Aladdin, and that's a good thing. But that's just not enough for Disney. Or at least it shouldn't be.


DK, I am pretty sure plush plays a bigger part in park decisions than you believe they do. But since I don't sit in on the discussions, I can't prove it.

However, given how unfortunate even your scenario is, there's not much point in debating the issue. Its just a question of whether things are bad, or "bleep"ing bad.

DisneyKidds
10-14-2002, 05:09 PM
Go take a look a the jungle-gym at a local park. Lots of children with smiling faces, huh?
Now Mr. Not-So-Undefeated-Raiders-Fan - aren't we being a little too literal here? You know there was more behind this comment, and you know there are more to the smiles on Aladdin than those found on the playground. I fail to see how Dumbo, which is an accepted Disney classis, is any different.
I am pretty sure plush plays a bigger part in park decisions than you believe they do. But since I don't sit in on the discussions, I can't prove it.
You say more than I think, I say less than you think....................the answer, my friend, is blowin in the wind, ooops - wrong thing - the answer, my friend, is somewhere in the middle. Back to those darn shades of gray again ;).
Its just a question of whether things are bad, or "bleep"ing bad.
Heck, I'll go with 'bleep'ing right now. However, the subtle difference lies in the ability to take corrective action.

raidermatt
10-14-2002, 07:02 PM
Now Mr. Not-So-Undefeated-Raiders-Fan - aren't we being a little too literal here?
Nope. Happy children are a wonderful, beautiful thing. But its a given that a family attraction must accomplish this. If it doesn't, it can't even exist. If it does, that's nice, but there must be more. I fail to see how Dumbo, which is an accepted Disney classis, is any different.
Ah, a common comparison. I even made it myself awhile back. Both Dumbo and Aladding are meant to allow you to fly like characters in classic Disney animated films. Cool. Aladdin has even got a little more in the way of movement. Cool.

And on that level, sure, Aladdin is ok. It is not a BAD attraction. Is just that it is a departure from the theme of Adventureland (I know, you disagree here), AND it is a near duplicate of an attraction built nearly 50 years ago (that's not really disputeable, is it?).

Reverse the order and timeframe of Dumbo and Aladdin, and the criticism of Dumbo WOULD be loud.

However, the subtle difference lies in the ability to take corrective action.
I don't know, I'd say that ability has very little to do with it right now. Motivation and intent are the first steps, without which, ability doesn't matter. That's how I'd draw the line between bad and "bleeping"bad. (DISCLAIMER: I'm referring to direction here, not the current state of the still Magical parks.)

The question is, if/when the motivation and intent materializes, how long will it take to re-locate the ability and make it work?

Captain Crook
10-14-2002, 07:09 PM
Man, I like you guys a lot...But there's a lot of mumbo jumbo going on around here...;)
:smooth: :smooth: :bounce: :smooth: :smooth:

raidermatt
10-14-2002, 08:01 PM
Hmmm.... mumbo, jumbo, both rhyme with Dumbo....

Captain Crook, sounds a lot like Captain Hook....

Captain Hook is in Peter Pan, which is a short walk away from Dumbo....

Hmmm....

More mumbo, jumbo?

Mabye... or maybe there is more to this...

DisneyKidds
10-15-2002, 01:26 AM
I don't know, I'd say that ability has very little to do with it right now. Motivation and intent are the first steps, without which, ability doesn't matter.
:crazy: Now for my evening dose of mumbo jumbo.......

I liken the Pre$$ler principle (determine the merchandising goal and design the attraction to fit) to murder in the first. A premeditated, cold, calculated crime committed by a person who does not have the ability to be rehabilitated and should be put behind Disney bars for life. On the other hand, I liken the ride first for popularity (even if cheap), followed closely by motivation for plush sales, to manslaughter. This person may have made a mistake, and should pay for their crime, but he/she has the ability to be rehabilitated and will be eligible for parole, hopefully soon. So, as such, I think the ability to see the err of ones ways and take corrective action is important. The underlying motivation goes to intent, and gives us some insight as to which charge the jury will convict on. Here ends my hocus pocus :crazy:.

Patch'sD
10-15-2002, 11:09 AM
What is the TDS's mermaid ride like. I sort of have the same opinion that MK will only see rides geared to the younger family. I kind of think the new addition would be an update of 20K as a tour of Little mermaid underwater sea area. Something that fits with fantasy land and the one of the popular post Walt Disney features. I think that is the commerce of WDW, specific parks for specific tastes. MK and AK where the K will stand for Kids.

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 02:41 PM
Hogwash! Kids need kids rides...not CAVE technology or nextgen simulators. They need rides which make them laugh and make them feel brave.

Scoop, since when is Disney unable to make family rides that appeal to the WHOLE FAMILY?

Why, all of a sudden, is it necessary to build only thrill rides with height requirements, or "kiddie" rides?

Nobody is saying an attraction that appeals to children should not be built. That WOULD be hogwash. But there is a difference between a new family attraction and another kiddie spinner.

Disney used to understand that difference. That understanding is why we didn't see a new spinner for 30 years. The loss of that understanding is why we were given two within a year.

Yes, I've already said that a much better job was done with Aladdin than Triceratops Spin. And maybe if Aladdin were an example of Disney's worst current work, it would be a little harder to be critical. But, sadly, its far from the worst...

DisneyKidds
10-15-2002, 03:08 PM
Disney used to understand that difference. That understanding is why we didn't see a new spinner for 30 years. The loss of that understanding is why we were given two within a year.
So I guess all those attractions that many people want to see will appeal to the WHOLE FAMILY? M:S - don't think so. Forbidden Mountain (if it happens) - don't think so. Does RnR appeal to the whole family? How about ToT? Test Track? That would be no, no and no. These are some of the more recent additions. Buliding a park, building attractions that appeal to the WHOLE FAMILY doesn't mean that EVERY ride has to be shared by the entire family. There needs to be a mix bigger/thrill rides, intermediate rides that everyone enjoys at the same time, and kids rides. Something for everyone. That is what creates a park that the WHOLE FAMILY can enjoy together. That is why WDW included rides like Dumbo in the first place. I don't see anyone knocking RnR or ToT because they only appeal to those taller than 48 inches, so why should we knock Aladdin because it appeals primarily to those shorter than 40 inches? Maybe, just maybe, there was a need for more rides geared toward the kiddies. Certainly when you look at the AK mix it was needed, not that it couldn't use some other rides (and not that TS couldn't have been done better). When you look at the MK, it could use another kiddie ride as much as anything else. When it comes to these spinners you had better stick to your 'doesn't fit in the land' theme, as it works better (even though I don't necessarily agree). OK, so Disney has been looking to be cheap as of late and these kid additions happen to be cheap. So what - other, bigger things are in the works. BTW - the WHOLE FAMILY is much more likely to enjoy Aladdin together than many, many other rides.

Walt's Frozen Head
10-15-2002, 03:32 PM
I don't mean this to be argumentative... I've seen a couple folks mention it, I just don't see it, myself, and I'm looking for insight.

What is it about the Aladdin spinner that is done so much better than Triceratops Spin?

The differences I see in the decoration of the two ride mechs are minor and a preference for one or the other subjective... I certainly don't see what folks are talking about on that end. And although I'm on record as declaring "parking lot carnival" is a pretty lazy excuse for a Disney theme, DinoRama does have some semblance of a theme that connects it to Dinosaur and grounds it in Dinoland. I can't see that any attempt was made to thematically "locate" Aladdin within Adventureland or have it "fit" with anything already there... so I don't see that Aladdin is superior in that way, either.

Is Aladdin the ride "better" just because Aladdin the character is more distinctly recognizable? Because plush sales are less odious than carnival games?

I don't see what people are talking about on this.

-WFH

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 04:44 PM
So I guess all those attractions that many people want to see will appeal to the WHOLE FAMILY? M:S - don't think so. Forbidden Mountain (if it happens) - don't think so. Does RnR appeal to the whole family? How about ToT? Test Track? That would be no, no and no.
YES! You've got it. The fact that virtually every major attraction added over the last 7 years is a thrill ride with a height requirement IS an issue.

You're also right about balance. Very few of us will say that no attractions should have a height requirement (certainly I won't.)

This was discussed ad nauseum in another thread a few months ago, but I'll go ahead and ask the question again... Where is the balance when it comes to new attractions?

Epcot is probably the easiest example of this problem. A new "no height requirement" attraction has not been added for years. I believe Maelstrom was the last. The park has been largely neglected, with the exception of Test Track. Attendance has plummeted, but TT has long lines. Management's interpretation? Guests don't want family rides, they want thrill rides with height requirements. Bring on M:S. Maybe soarin', and something called Time Racers (only rumored, of course).

Now, if these attractions are done extremely well, like Splash, and ToT, or at least reasonably well, like TT and RnRC, then a case can be made that they do have a place. PROVIDED THE BALANCE REMAINS.

So I ask you, where is that balance? Where is the new equivalent to Spaceship Earth, Pirates, Haunted Mansion, and even the Energy Adventure?

Those "intermediate" attractions are not being built, when they were one of the biggest factors in making Disney families' first choice.

Maybe, just maybe, there was a need for more rides geared toward the kiddies.
In MK? Come now...

When you look at the MK, it could use another kiddie ride as much as anything else.
Just stop and think about this for a second. AK was getting DR and a parade, so lets take it out of the equation. Of the three remaining parks, do you really think that the greatest need was for a kiddie ride? And even if that's all the budget would allow, was the greatest need in MK, and not Epcot or MGM?

Clearly Aladdin was not placed with "kiddie-needs" in mind. And even Pressler knows that a ride like Aladdin by itself wouldn't draw many people through the gates anyway. So, it gets placed where it will generate more plush sales, somewhere that already has high foot traffic, and can be directly tied to revenue generation.

Even if you won't admit that plush sales was the main driver, you must at least admit that placing a kiddie ride in the park with the greatest kiddie appeal over the park that is receiving growing criticism for its lack of kid-friendly stuff is inept at best.

BTW - the WHOLE FAMILY is much more likely to enjoy Aladdin together than many, many other rides.
You're right, but why is that? Because new rides are not being built with the whole family in mind.

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 04:54 PM
Mr. Head- Scoop summed up what I believe are most of the reasons why some of us see Aladdin as a better attraction than TS.

Before I even saw TS, I was asking myself who ever thought Triceratops could fly.

I can see your point about fitting better within its land, as TS does fit within DR better than Aladdin does within Adventureland. But as you pointed out, that's only because DR is a cheap roadside carnival, so I can't really give TS a lot of credit for living up to that billing.

It would be sort of like giving a dirty bathroom credit for being consistent with a whole park being dirty...

Oh, and DK, one other thing...
When it comes to these spinners you had better stick to your 'doesn't fit in the land' theme, as it works better (even though I don't necessarily agree).
I will certainly stick to it as one of the reasons Aladdin doesn't fit... but I guess I'll just have to wait until they plop down a flourescent pink spinner in Frontierland before you'll get on board.
;)

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 05:29 PM
In the end, the idea that "Disney used to understand the difference" is so fraught with personal preferences and is so lacking in any type of baseline, that its pretty clearly just code words for "I liked Haunted Mansion better than the Great Movie Ride"...
I'm beginning to understand why the Baron shows some frustration with you at times...

How you can turn a "family ride philosophy over a kiddie ride philosophy" into a purely personal preference is truly beyond me.

As I said to DK, a purely kiddie ride has its place here and there, just as a thrill ride does. But only if there is balance with true family attractions. (That's a proven business model for Disney parks...)

Your argument acts as if Disney had this large piece of real estate in Adventureland and decided to plop down a spinner instead of something grander. While that happened with DinoRama in my opinion, that is simply not the case here.
It it wasn't Disney's decision not to put in something "grander" (or more original), whose was it? If they made the decision with DR, they made it with Adventureland.

WDW execs heard the guests concerns that Adventureland didn't have much appeal to young children and added an attraction which does in a goal of steering more traffic out of the already crowded Fantasyland.
So if guests say Fantasyland doesn't have much appeal to adults, the answer would be to throw in a 48" height requirement coaster?
Finding out what your guests think is only part of the equation. Figureing out how to address what they want, while keeping in mind your overall mission is key, and its what was missed this time.

Many have talked themselves into the idea that every new WDW attraction has to be a groundbreaking immersive Tower of Terror level deal. That's commercially and creatively absurd.
Yes, it would be absurd. But its exactly this all or nothing kind of thinking that is the problem. It either has a height requirement, or its a kiddie ride. You may disagree, but I still believe its possible to create attractions that appeal to kiddies without boring adults, and appeal to adults without scaring the kiddies.

Alladin's Magical Carpets was never intended as a feature ride or an E ticket or whatever. It is what it is. A nice addition to an area of MK which really needed something fun for young kids.
And I maintain this could have been better accomplished with just a little more effort, and without breaking the bank.

For me, Test Track is an amazing attraction. For you maybe not. But, the important point is that while you don't think it demonstrates "the difference" I do.
How can you make a statement like this, then accuse me of using personal preference as a justification?

Forget what you or I prefer personally. Do you really believe that the average Disney guest would prefer to be transported to a GM test facility, instead of into some kind of adventure-type scenario (think Indiana Jones, James Bond, or whatever an Imagineer could dream up)?

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 06:01 PM
...but even that aside...what specifically could have been accomplished in this part of Adventureland with "a little more effort"?

Details, please.

Scoop, if I had the ability provide details of such potential creations, I would have been laid off from Imagineering long ago...;)

Truly, I don't know. There's a reason I'm not in a creative field. However, I do know that there are some VERY creative people out there who ARE capable of doing such things.

Question: How many Imagineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer: Why does it have to be a lightbulb?

I stole that from a book on Imagineering that I have, but I think its very relevant.

In this case, Scoop, I would pose your question to some of those creative minds I have (or should have) and see what they come up with.

If the best they could come up with is a souped up Dumbo, then I'd thank them and go find some new Imagineers...


(That's assuming that the reason for wanting an attraction in that area truly is to enhance the guest experience. I still believe there are other factors involved, but for the sake of arguement, I'm ignoring that in the context of your question.)


PS- I will give your question some more thought, though, and see what I can come up with. I honestly haven't up until now.

Walt's Frozen Head
10-15-2002, 06:12 PM
Before I even saw TS, I was asking myself who ever thought Triceratops could fly. But the theme is not "I'm back in time, flying on a Triceratops," it's "My parents visited the Dino Institute and all I got was this lousy Dino-painted spinner ride in the parking lot carnival across the street."I can see your point about fitting better within its land, as TS does fit within DR better than Aladdin does within Adventureland. But as you pointed out, that's only because DR is a cheap roadside carnival, so I can't really give TS a lot of credit for living up to that billing. I think we're just barely missing, here... I'm talking about DinoRama's overall theme within Dinoland and TS's role in that theme.

Pretty much all of Dinoland fits together... the Dino Institute is the centerpiece, the Dig Site is where the work happens, Restaurantasaurus is where the workers eat, and Chester and Hester's is the tourist trap with the carnival in their back parking lot. No "actual" time travel on the Whirl, no "real" dinosaurs on the Spin... just plywood and fiberglass to remind you of the "real" dinos and "actual" time travel across the street.

Yes, I think that particular theme was chosen exclusively so Disney could low-ball the rides themselves, and no, I don't think it's a good theme in any "Disney" sense, but still don't see how folks think it's less of a theme than "there was a flying carpet in the Aladdin movie."

Up until just now, I had forgotten about the spitting camels. The spitting camels do actually represent a nominal hardware upgrade over TS... but again, I don't see how that feature contributes to a backstory (did camels spit at the flying carpet in the movie? I would have thought I'd have remembered such tremendous camels rather vividly...).

-WFH

raidermatt
10-15-2002, 07:39 PM
I'm talking about DinoRama's overall theme within Dinoland and TS's role in that theme.

Ok, yes, the area does fit, and there is flow to Dinoland.

Certainly consistency of theme with the surrounding area is important, but in this case, I don't think that's enough for me to say TS was done better than Aladdin.

TS was asked to be a lame spinner in a cheap area, and it comes through. DR as a whole was asked to be a cheap/tacky area in an otherwise "un-cheap" land, and it also comes through.

Aladdin's decor and positioning make it stick out like a sore thumb. But flying on a magic carpet is an adventure. Its sort of like with TS they took out the adventure, and what additional mechanical upgrades they could, in order to make TS fit in DR. Sort of a dumbing down of an already simplistic attraction.

While that did make it a better fit than Aladdin, I still just can't say that makes it better.

Its a fine line I'm having trouble articulating, as you can probably tell...

DisneyKidds
10-16-2002, 12:48 AM
You're also right about balance...........Those "intermediate" attractions are not being built, when they were one of the biggest factors in making Disney families' first choice.
More agreement with the man from Oakland. Matt, just like the middle child, just like the middle class, the middle ground attractions are forgotten. I suppose with Philharmagic coming up we will get a good all in the family attraction. While the scale may be balanced between the height restricted rides and the kiddie rides, the way things are stacked is cockeyed. Hopefully we will get more things spaced a bit more evenly over the scale. However, in the interim, the kiddie rides are effective additions.
was the greatest need in MK, and not Epcot or MGM?
I don't know. Perhaps given the need for help that Epcot and/or MGM has, a cheap kiddie ride was best placed in the MK as it helps round out a land that could benefit from such a ride. The amount of money spent on Aladdin may not have provided any significant impact to Epcot or MGM. I'll give you that Disney went for cheap easy pickings with Aladdin, and were able to accomplish a lot with a little, and a lot more than they would have accomplished in Epcot or MGM with the same investment.
plop down a flourescent pink spinner in Frontierland
I just figured out why our good friend Baron was silent for a day or so. He was giving correspondence classes in inappropriate exaggeration. I take it you got an A+.
So if guests say Fantasyland doesn't have much appeal to adults, the answer would be to throw in a 48" height requirement coaster?
I can imagine how this might be a reality but for how much of a tightwad Ei$ner and crew have been. That 20,000 Leagues space is still waiting, and who knows what we will get there. It is just as likely a height restricted ride as anything else - and that would be fine with me.