View Full Version : WHat Makes a Disney Attraction, a Disney attraction?

05-18-2001, 06:45 PM
SO this is an interesting question that I was pondering in my thoughtful place last night and just as I thought I had it figured out, Landbaron Shocks me by declaring Dumbo to Not be a DIsney ride. It took me about an hour to recover, now I'm ready to delve head first into the subject.

Please note that while it may devolve into an argument over this ride or that, my intentions are to avoid such a discussion, but the mere act of using examples garuntees that this will happen. So be it.

SO Here we go. What makes a Disney Attraction?

HEre are the ingredients in order from most important to least important.


Story A Disney attraction tells a story. A story can be told in any number of ways. There's the obvious as shown in Snow White or Peter Pan to the Theme such as mainstreet USA which in Disneyland tells the story of smalltown Missouri at the turn of the century. Mainstreet USA tells a Story. Even Dumbo tells a story. It tells a story using imagination as only a child can. Flying on Dumbo's back.
Every aspect of a Disney Attraction that follows is there to support the story.

Quality I don't have Landbaron's sources or memory to Quote Walt Directly, but it should come as no surprise that Quality was quite important. Quality can mean $5000 Chandeliers, it can also mean making sure the ride vehicles run 200 hours between maintainence instead of 100.

Thrill I know what your thinking, Where's the Thrill in Peter Pan's flight. Ah, but you seee thrill is such a nebulous term. Is there not a Thrill in watching MSEP or SpectroMagic? The other side of it is when you do build a "Thrill" ride, its with a nod and a Wink. The thrill is in the storytelling and IF its a looping coaster, then that looping is part of telling the story.

Technology Last but hardly least is Technology. I know some of you are shaking your head that I picked this last. What about the ground breaking Animatronics? you sputter, What about the EMV?

To you I say irrelevent. Technology is a tool and you use the right tool for the right Job. Now Walt was a Technologist, no doubt. But Mainstreet USA is no bastion of Technology and it is as emersive as Indy or spiderman or any other attraction. Remember, Quality, Thrill and Technology are dedicated to telling the story. If you can tell the story using 19th century technology better then using 21st century technology, then so be it. My Example here is Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin. This has all the indications of approaching the popularity of Dumbo and yet, all it is is a simple Darkride Mech with controllable cars and a Lasertag gun attached. The Theme and Story are represented primarily with 2D-cutouts in Balcklit rooms!

So I put it to you that everything in every park should tell a story. If it tells a story and does it well, emerses you in it, then its a Disney Attraction, even if its a spinner.

I've tried to limit my examples to avoid too many arguments on that front though I'll make some comments if it seems reasonable to do so. I'm more interested in other's take on my theory.

05-18-2001, 07:28 PM
I think you also have to take into account theming. I mean look at the rides on Paridise Pier. They are rides, but they are not quality rides because you can find almost exact copies of the rides someplace else. Pirates of the Carribbean is a great example of this. The ride is just a plain water ride with great theming. Very few people go on the ride just because it is a water ride, but rather to see the theming. Or take Tower of Terror. It could have looked like the Maliboomer.:rolleyes:

05-18-2001, 07:30 PM
You forgot that touch of Disney magic! ;) But everything else you covered was good. I think the most important part of an attraction is the story. If there's no story to the attraction, it's not going to make it.

05-18-2001, 07:44 PM
Now see, to me, I don't consider Themeing to be seperate from Story. The theme is the story.

and now your dragging me in, because I have some opnions about Paradise peir. First of all, I think its very hard to tell a story about a place, event or time when the protagonist of the story is close to people's hearts and minds. This isn't about what goes into a disney Attraction, but how a Disney attraction is chosen. It was a bad choice to Try to bring back memories of Santa Cruz boardwalk, or Coney Island, when the Santa Cruz Board walk is a couple hours away. tht concept would play better in florida.

And here's my first bit of controversy. I think Paradise peir could have been a great Disney Park and Attraction if they had done two things.

1: Move it to florida where the combinations of Distance and International tourists craving a bit of americana would eat it up.

2: done a better job of telling the story's time period. I mean the Maliboomer just doesn't fit does it?

Pradise pier should have been a mainstreet USA with rides. The rides at paradise peir while nothing thematically special in and of themselves help tell the story that the pier trys to tell.

As for that Disney Magic, that Touch of Pixie Dust. I am merely suggesting the ingriedents in Walt's Cauldron. The Ingredients to Walt's magic. It really can be done b anyone with the heart to do it.

05-18-2001, 10:26 PM
I think YoHo hit it right on the head. These are the areas which make a Disney attraction, Disney.

05-19-2001, 10:14 AM
It's all about atmosphere. Atmosphere is created when creative minds come together to produce a beautifully themed ride. The ride must contain a story. It must vortex you into a new world. It's like your on an adventure. Steel rides are not for disney. They are made primarily for thrills. I think you can still create a very thrilling ride without letting go of that element of atmosphere. Just imagine yourself on say a HUGE rollercoaster in Valleyfair, your on a rollercoaster and that's all. Now imagine yourself on a space moutain, thunder moutain or rock n rollercoaster, they all have a story to tell.
Jo :pinkbounc

05-21-2001, 08:57 AM
Emmersive is the best word for me. It's theming and attention to detail so that you really believe you are there. It's why Disney does dark rides. This way they can control the environment (the sensory experiences, mainly lighting), and you can be completely cut-off from the outside world.

Instead of thrill I might pick novelty. It is presenting something is a unique way, or some effect I've never experienced, or the anticipation of what is waiting ahead. I agree that you don't need cutting edge technology to do this.

Gee, I always considered the Matterhorn, Space Mtn as steel rides. I think any ride technology is a candidate. The key is taking the experience that I can get anywhere else and making it emmersive and novel. That is why I don't have a concept problem with RnR. To me it is a less ambitious version of Space Mtn.

I would agree that current coaster technology does present some challenges. It can be difficult to tell much of a story when you are whizzing along at 70 MPH in an inverted corkscrew. Also time is money. It ain't cheap to make an emmersive environment. The faster I travel the more ground I cover and the more emmersion I need to build. Hey RnR isn't too short because it was way too expensive to put in more coaster track.

05-21-2001, 03:00 PM
Well YoHo. A very good topic. And you've almost got. Almost, but not quite. First let's cover all the items that I agree with.
Here are the ingredients in order from most important to least important:
I agree wholeheartedly. These items should definitely be included in a Disney attraction.

Now, with that said I do have two issues. And it's really a matter of semantics and a little nit-picky, but bear with me. If we can clearly define our terms so that apples really are apples, I think we may come to understand each other a little more easily.

The first issue is 'Story". Now in subsequent posts and in dialogue with others you stated that "Story" and "Theme" are one in the same. I STRONGLY disagree. I think you need a separate category for both "Story" and "Theme". Let me give you an example, and it's one of those "rides" (attractions) that probably spurred you to post this. I offer you Dumbo and the Tea Cups. Both are nothing but "spinners". Both are thrilling (to a point). Both are themed. But do they really tell a story? Do they take you on a journey from point "A" to point "B"? Or do they rely on a movie tie in, simply to further theme, in order to make some sort of "story" connection, no matter how vague? You could replace the Dumbo vehicle with any Disney invented character or devise that flies. They could have been the Absent Minded Professor's car, or Mary Poppin's umbrella, etc. The Tea Cups could be and other "wild" type device from another movie. Herbie the love bug for instance. And these elements can be interchanged (just look at the new Aladdin) without losing story, because the "story" was never there in the first place. But theme was.

Kiddyland has helicopters that spin and go up and down like Dumbo does. If they pipe in some Wagner and slap a sign up that changes the name from "Helicopters" to "The Apocalypse Now Adventure", does that create a good "story"? NO!! But it does a heck of a lot for theme.

Second, and this one is clearly semantics, is "thrill". I think a better word would be "thrill/unique experience". It can be an either or proposition or a combination. If it is a combination we are nearing "E" ticket territory. And as you described it later, this is clearly what you meant, but I find the term 'thrill' to be a little misleading and easily confused. I hope we agree. I'll presume that we do and continue anyway…

So, we agree (other than some minor point of verbiage) on the basic premise. So why doesn't the good OLD LandBaron just say ditto and be on his way?

Because everything in life is not merely black and white. We live in shades of gray. And that goes for Disney rides, too. Which is why, "back in the day", good old Walt invented tickets!! "A" thru "E"! Our Declaration of Independence says that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Unfortunately the same thing cannot be said about rides at Disney. To some went the prestige and honor of "E" ticket status. Others were destined to be unused, the only tickets left in the shoebox in the basement, chronicling vacations of years gone by. These tickets of course are the "A"s and "B"s of the (WD)World.

I never had a problem with the replacement of MR. Toad, a "C" ticket I believe, with the new Winnie the Pooh ride. To me it was a "C" for a "C". (Hey, not every ride can be a e-ticket!) I was a little disappointed that Disney did not take the opportunity to upgrade it into an E-Ticket, given the technology that Tokyo had and the fact that Fantasyland was a little sparse of the really "BIG" attractions since 20K closed. And that blatant "plush" shop…!!! Well, that's another story, but in the big picture Pooh didn't bother me at all. "C" for "C".

Well, all very nice DVC, but what's that got to do with anything???!!! A good question. It has to do with that list of Disney elements that we (semi) agreed on. Quite simply, it doesn't have to have all the elements to make it a "Disney" attraction. If it does has all the elements and they're all done well, we are talking about an E-Ticket attraction!! There could be no debate! However, if it is lacking one or more of those elements, it still may be a Disney attraction. The question is what "ticket" letter should be assigned to it? What area of gray does it fall? Outside of Disney's parameter's altogether? Or somewhere in-between? I think this is what we need to define.

In my mind Disney, with the opening of EPCOT, really upped the anti quite a bit. They created, although not officially, an "F" ticket. I think Bicker gave me this idea some time ago. And I think it fits. So where on the ticket scale do you put R&RC? An 'F" or perhaps an "E"? To me I think it is definitely a "Disney" attraction. But it doesn't quite live up to that high water mark of some of the other attractions that clearly warrant "E" or "F" status. To me, purely subjective of course, it is a "D" ticket. Still very, very good. Up there with the other "D" tickets, Peter Pan, Mickey Mouse Review, etc. But it lacks a little (and just a 'little') something in theme and in story. And it is definitely not unique, though it is thrilling, but no more thrilling than any Six Flags coaster.

I have always held that Disney does NOT need to, nor should it, create an E-Ticket ride every time!! NO!! They need to mix it up. They need some spinners (albeit with great theme). You will NEVER hear me complain about them ADDING (not replacing) an Alladin ride. It's a gift. Shut up and accept it. It's an extra!!! And it is what it is. A "B" ticket. But a "B" ticket where NOTHING was before!!

When I start to complain is when they replace an F-Ticket, with a C-Ticket and call it square (Imagination anyone?). Or build a "D" ticket ride (only in my opinion, I realize) and try to pass it off as the greatest E-Ticket ride Disney has every come up with!

I don't know. YoHo, are we still on the same page?

05-21-2001, 03:46 PM
...I've avoided this thread because, to a great extent, I've agreed with what everyone has said. But a dissertation I wrote for another thread and LandBaron's quote juxtaposed themselves in my mind, so here I go.

I have always held that Disney does NOT need to, nor should it, create an E-Ticket ride every time!!

It was that word "create" that jumped out at me.

What makes a Disney ride? Well, Disney makes a Disney ride. The more of the ride made by Disney, the more of a Disney ride it is.

I think Tower of Terror is a good Disney ride. Imagineering developed and built the ride system, and designed and implemented the theming. Even though I personally think it's a wuss little ride, I have to give credit for the creativity, innovation, and attention to detail.

I think Rock and Roller coaster is a bad Disney ride. The ride was bought from a third party, the "theme" involved licensing a rock band who (to my knowledge) had nothing to do with Disney in the past, and the Imagineers were left with only some neon and paint to make the theme. Even though I personally enjoy this ride, I have to speak up about the lack of creativity, innovation, and attention to detail.

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster could be picked up whole and dropped into any other amusement park in the US, and it would not seem out of place. It's not Disney, it's just like everything else, whether or not it's fun to ride.

Disney rides are a sum of all the things everyone has mentioned on this thread. Not every Disney ride has to have the same combination of factors in the same ratio to be "Disney." That said, buying a ride from one company and renting faces for "theme" from another company might make a fun ride, but it doesn't make a Disney ride.


PS - The reason I think this is an important distinction is that _creating_ the ride puts a company in a position of control and leadership. It requires an investment in your own people and systems, an investment that will pay off both on this ride and on future rides and concepts created with those systems and teams. The company becomes more capable and more creative.

_Buying_ that same ride, on the other hand, puts a company at the same creative level as every other company buying rides. All the investment in people and systems goes somewhere outside your company. The company becomes less creative for want of a chance to flex those muscles, and, if budget cuts were made since that group wasn't being used for this job, your company becomes less capable in and of itself.

05-21-2001, 03:50 PM
I don't really have the time needed to reply in full. Needless to say Landbaron, I think we're on the same page, but different paragraphs. You, like Mouskateer55 miss the forest for the trees. Walt Disney World Tells a story. Magic kingdom tells a story, Fantasyland tells a story and Dumbo, unpresuming little dumbo the spinner helps tell that story.That Story is the fantasy of the dumbo movie. Yes Dumbo is geared at younger riders, but Dumbo for all its simplicity tells a story and tells it well.

So, I understand your point, but I consider everything in Walt Disney World from the lowliest Petunia to Pirates of the Caribbean to be telling a story.

MGM-Grand in Vegas has themeing. Disneyworld Tells a story.

05-21-2001, 03:53 PM
We all agreed that story was at the top of the list. However, when I think about it I wonder what percentage of people would be able to write a couple sentences articulating what the story they have just experienced is all about on many rides.

If they rode Dumbo pretty much all they could say is that an elephant flies. Of course, so many people already knew the story that not much else was needed to let the rider imagine away.

What would most people write after exiting the Haunted Mansion. Would they articulate a cohesive story or would they just describe a bunch of different scenes?

Space Mountain is a classic e ticket. Is there a story here? I have to admit if there is I couldn't write it (other than I get to pretend I'm a space traveler).

Theming is the minimum prerequisite. If we can expand story to mean transporting someone to a different time or place than we can include my emersive comment.

05-21-2001, 04:11 PM
Jeff, 100% disagree with your theory that a purchased Ride Mech does not make a Disney attraction, HOWEVER I agree that in The recent past, Disney has not made good use of its creative talents on these rides. As for the group choice, I suppose you would then prefer A Brittany Spears RNRC? AeroSmith has had plenty of connections to Disney. The most recent previous to the RNRC being Armeggedon.

Lets look at Aladdin. I don't remember if Disney Built the story aspects or not, but they certainly Had an attraction built that helps tell the story that the Agrabah market area of adventurland tells. Or are you suggesting that E-tickets need to be Disney built? After all, to my knowledge Disney Designed, but didn't build the other coasters

05-21-2001, 04:40 PM
100% disagree with your theory that a purchased Ride Mech does not make a Disney attraction

I don't think that was precisely what I said. I did imply that purchasing a ride mech makes a ride _less_ Disney than if they created it, all else being equal. Again, if you factor in the investment in your own company versus investment in someone else's company, I still think that mine is a very fair assessment.

are you suggesting that E-tickets need to be Disney built

I'm suggesting that, in general, the more of any given ride created in house, the better, in both the sense of the quality and detail of that ride, and the sense of long term capability of the company.

It's going to be hard for me to adequately address your point about Aladdin, I'm another one that, to a certain extent, doesn't like your definition of "story" as it pertains to Disney rides. I agree with LandBaron, the Dumbo ride is themed, but does not have any meaningful story.

It sounds to me that you are describing as "story" something I've referred to as "character recognition." Kids line up for Dumbo rather than Astro Orbiter because they recognize the Dumbo character, not because "elephant flies in circle" is inherently superior to "rocket flies in circle" as a story.

In the same sense, I'm not sure what story you're refering to when you say "the story that the Agrabah market area of adventurland tells." I mean, to me that area tells the story of how ME will put price tags on Cast Members if they stand in one place too long, but I suspect that's not what you mean... I must give you a point for seeming to realize that the important aspect of the Adventureland changes were the Agrabah _Market_ makeovers.

Okay, enough smart mouth for this post. I don't want to seem like I'm quibbling over particular details on particular rides, I'm concerned with the trend to create less and buy more. On the whole, I feel that trend can only result in rides that are less "Disney."


05-21-2001, 05:21 PM
Walt Disney World Tells a story. Magic kingdom tells a story, Fantasyland tells a story and Dumbo, unpresuming little dumbo the spinner helps tell that story. That Story is the fantasy of the dumbo movie.


So, I understand your point, but I consider everything in Walt Disney World from the lowliest Petunia to Pirates of the Caribbean to be telling a story.
I have two MAJOR problems with this. I kind of agree with the last statement, but on a higher level. I think that it can be analogous to an insurance policy that covers the whole park. It presupposes that ANY loosely connected Disney inference can be acceptable 'theme' (not necessarily 'story'), if for no particular reason other than, by any stretch of the imagination, it can be tied to Disney. That is fine for making it a Disney ride in the first place. I can agree if you are saying, "If Disney touched it at all, no matter how loosely or inconsequential, it belongs in the parks"? But to further project that it inherently has an inbred story based on that statement, to me at least, doesn't make sense. Sorry. I can't make that leap.

I need to ask a question about the second problem I have before we continue. Is this true of MK only or ALL Disney parks. If it does mean all parks, then quite frankly, I don't see how the Studios can be considered a Disney park at all (and EPCOT is swiftly loosing its 'Disney' status as well). The Studios seem to me to be very disconnected from place to place. Other than that loose "feel" of a studio, at times, there is no connecting thread. I know this is subjective, but we touched on this before in the "hat" thread. If "theme" and "story" are indeed that important, PARK WIDE, then I really don't get that hat!!!!

I really have to throw in with larworth. You may argue (and have argued) that on some esoteric level Dumbo has a story. But I think the real test is the ability for an average guest to paraphrase that story. No paraphrase; no story. But again, that does not preclude its inclusion on the list of Disney rides. It merely lowers the ticket value. Hence, Dumbo = "B" ticket.

I hesitate to get involved with this. And I won't get into the entire topic of "Disney Built" other than to say I basically agree, however, again, it doesn't have to be EVERY time, just most of the time. And R&RC is THE perfect example. But there was one little thing that really caught me eye.
After all, to my knowledge Disney Designed, but didn't build the other coasters
Well, not quite. The reason that Walt was so reluctant to put a roller coaster in Disneyland was because he didn't like the look of them. It reminded him of everything that he hated about amusement parks (Hmmm, wonder what he would think about DCA?). But that didn't mean he didn't like them. And with the Matterhorn idea he felt comfortable that he could cover the tracks enough to hide that "cheap" look he despised. (Ei$ner's idea was to fill it with neon. Another big difference in philosophy!) Anyway, Walt wasn't satisfied with that and he had his team (I can't recall if it was WedWay by then or not) DESIGN new concepts in steel roller coasters. I can't remember all the details, maybe someone can help out, but it was a totally new and innovative rail system(?) ride mechanism(?) that came from that enterprise. Once again, Disney out did itself!! And at the same time controlled its destiny AND added a couple patents to their coffers.

05-22-2001, 03:03 AM
I think another thing that makes a Disney attraction is the fact that most of them bring us back to our childhoods...a time when magic was real. When you ride a Disney ride, you become a kid again and the magic takes over. That to me is a Disney ride. :bounce:

Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 02:12 PM
Nice topic Yoho. It should help us gain further knowledge of one anothers opinions.

I think the only real important element of a Disney attraction is quality. Without it we have jiyi, or to blame one on Walt's generation, the Tomorrowland Speedway.
Rides with no ability to really grab you.

I think any quality ride or attraction can become a Disney attraction by sheer proximity. Point in case RnR. A great, fun, relatively inexpensive ride. JJ thinks it could be plunked down anywhere and is correct, but in logistics only, for if RnR were plunked down in Six Flags Hoboken it would then be a Six Flags ride. By being chosen by Disney it was given better themeing than others would give it (yes, I think the 'cheap' alley & Aerosmith tie in is clever) but more importantly location...It landed in a Disney theme Park, with Disney CM's and Disney quality surrounding it (everything from cleanliness to friendliness) goes into making the attraction what it is.

IMO the attraction is only a spoke in the wheel, without the overall quality of the entire package the attraction is just an attraction. Look at IOA. They have some great attractions. Spiderman, particularily comes to mind, but it's an IOA attraction and therefore due to its location (at IOA) the experience suffers. IOA would have to build multitudes of spectacular rides to make headway against the things that are truely Disney. But in the end they will still be inferior because they can't match the legacy of overall quality Walt has instilled at Disney. Eisner lovers, Eisner haters can all agree that the quality, feeling & attitude of the Disney CM alone makes Disney stand out head & shoulders above the rest. Then throw in the Disney attention to cleanliness & efficiency and you've got an unbeatable package that still works all these years after Walt's death - even if some feel it is diminishing.

Further, I think Walt's ideas back up my theory. He gave us a bunch of relatively simple attractions and many really corny ones. Yes he pioneered many innovations like animatronics but in general the aspect of the show that was most imortant to him was the quality of the overall presentation, which is why CM's were born. Walt knew which ideals would make Disneyland stand out, and quality is the name of the game!

Therefore, I belive Disney must only offer us QUALITY attractions( which includes themeing IMO) as long as the rest of the Mouse House is in order...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-22-2001, 02:57 PM
I think the only real important element of a Disney attraction is quality.
Capt… I'm sorry!! Peter, my favorite Pirate. You're wrong again! Are you spending too much time in the sun?

Let's really examine what you are saying. You take a roller coaster. An off the shelf roller coaster because you disagree with JJ that it needs to be "Disney" designed. And you erect that roller coaster with as much quality as is humanly possible. You use the best steel, purchase the finest wheels, integrate it with a state-of-the-art computer ride guidance system and hire the best workmen and engineers to put it all together. Quite a bit of quality there!! Never mind that the structure is visible throughout most of the park (ala Six Flags), and never mind that the 'ride' (it is no longer an attraction) tells no story and finally, never mind that this same experience (thrill-wise) can be had coast to coast in every two bit amusement park. Staff it with 'quality' CMs, keep it impeccably clean and maintain the 'ride' with as much 'quality' as you can. And now what have you got? A Disney 'attraction'? Or some ride that could be in Anywhere USA, but just happens to reside in WDW?

What happened to Story? No matter, we've got 'Quality'!! What happened to at least some theme? No matter!! We keep it staffed with 'quality CMs and have you noticed there's not a scrap of paper or garbage any where in sight?

I don't know, Peter. Do we go to the same WDW. You know, the one in Florida? In the middle of the state. Straight north of you I think. If you haven't been there, you should really try it. Because if you're satisfied with just 'QUALITY' and none of the other elements that we've discussed, this place will simply BLOW YOU AWAY!!!!!

You can find the directions to the wonderful amusement park in my post header!!!

Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 03:28 PM
LandBaron, certainly a huge Coaster as you described wouldn't be right (even if it were totally first class). You looked big when I really was aiming small. But I'll bet the imagineers will build a big, huge first class coaster someday and it won't be any more out of place than other attractions seem...

I also meant to infer that story, theming (show) are simply inherent in anything Disney is going to do. Quality is a big, catch all word which would certainly include theming & story to a certain degree. I don't know where I fall on the Dumbo debate you & Yoho have been having. I guess I don't see a story per se but I see the fit & I do with the new Aladdin ride as well.

My point is that (almost) anything Disney has done and will do will be done in a Disney manner insuring that it will be a Disney attraction in my eyes. The thing that makes the Parks special to me is not the attractions themselves (although they are a big part of it) but the over all ambiance and feeling I get from being at a Disney Park. I don't get that feeling at IOA or SeaWorld, although I like them both, but they do not have that magnet that pulls me back.

So what I'm saying is that any quality attraction Disney puts forth WILL become a Disney attaction (example: Once again RnR. Is Aerosmith a Disney icon? Well, they weren't but they are now. My kids were exposed to Aerosmith at RnR and now listen to their music and equate Aerosmith with Disney. Do I? No, of course not, but the next generation of Disney goers, the young people, do).

Perhaps I'm not disagreeing as much as I thought, just using a different term or interpretation, and that's a good thing. But I believe if Disney just gives us quality products, the rest is inherent (thanks to Walt).

:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-22-2001, 03:55 PM
OK! I think I understand. What you're really saying is that Disney = Quality. And that this "Quality" has five aspects to it. Individually these elements do not necessarily turn an ordinary ride into a Disney Attraction. But working in combination or collectively the sum of the parts equal magic!!!

So with your heading of QUALITY the following would apply:

Disney "Quality" (Touch, Magic, Pixie Dust)
1- Quality
2- Theme
3- Story
4- Thrill/Unique Experience
5- Technology

If we can agree on the above we can move on.

Imagination, in my opinion, is simply a bad ride. It had aspirations of that coveted "E" or "F" ticket status and fell miserably short of the mark. To me it is simply a failure. No sense ranking it. In my mind, no letter ticket can or should be associated with this ride.

However, R&RC is a success (as most Disney attractions are). It pleases the crowds (yours truly included) and it covers most of the five aspects. But in my mind the question arises, how well. On what level does it succeed? Peter Pan covers most of the five aspects as well, but not quite up to the standards of say Pirates or Haunted Mansion. It falls short on a couple. Not by much, just not quite there on a few. And Walt (or at least the keepers of the flame at the time) agreed. It was a "D" ticket. So my question to you is: What ticket letter does R&RC deserve? Use "A" through "F". Make it "G" if that's what you think it needs. But be honest. Is it REALLY and "E" ticket. Did they hit a home run with all five facets of the above criteria, as a Splash Mountain did? Or did it fall short in some areas? I think it did indeed fall short. I would give it a "D" ticket status. How about you?

05-22-2001, 03:59 PM
My point is that (almost) anything Disney has done and will do will be done in a Disney manner insuring that it will be a Disney attraction in my eyes.
I also meant to infer that story, theming (show) are simply inherent in anything Disney is going to do.

You and I seem to view Disney's past ten years of business decisions (and their implications) too differently to have any meaningful conversation.

I don't mean this to be a swipe at you, but if you honestly believe the two quotes above, I just can't find the common ground from which to start a discussion (This situation reminds me of one of my favorite jokes: I told my girlfriend "You just don't understand me," and she said "Quoi?").

I mean, to read those quotes it sounds like anything they might cough up in a Disney park is a "Disney" attraction. While on the surface that's a tautology, in the context of the thread, it seems to me like you missed the real question.

Let's go at it the other way, for the sake of argument: In your first quote above, you used the words "(almost) anything Disney has done." Why the "almost?" What attractions made you use that qualifier, and why? It sounds like you're suggesting there are a couple rides in Disney parks that you do _not_ consider "Disney" rides, even though they're on property. What is it about those rides that disqualifies them?


Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 04:30 PM
Well Jeff, I do believe we see little of the past 10 years through the same light, but I'll try to explain my view anyway.

I did offer two examples of qualifiers in Tomorrowland Speedway (an error of bygone leadership) & JIYI (today's most glaring miscue). Where I feel these miss the mark is primarily they aren't very entertaining. JIYI has decent enough intentions, it just didn't follow through and The Speedway is just too noisy & obnoxious to get your arms around IMO.

It isn't that I believe any piece of junk WILL become a 'Disnye ride' , but I don't believe Disney will just give us 'junk' from now on. I know the spinners drive people crazy around here, but Dumbo is a huge favorite with the kiddies & I'm sure Aladdin will be as well. Disney needs to satisfy the desires of the under 42" crowd as well (the addition of Alladin may lower the wait times for Dumbo, satisfying parents as well). Besides Space is under construction as are the family coasters at AK.

I think the last 10 years have given us great 'future classics' in TOT, RnR, TT, SW.

Again it could be that because I visit so frequently I see things in a different light or because I'm going with my kids and it's 'our time.' But I believe the Magic lies in Disney itself and not the attraction.

Landbaron, we can agree on the (new) scale. I think if quality, by my definition is achieved then a Disney ride will most always be born whether it was self produced or bought off the shelf.

Lastly, my opinion of RnR is "E ticket" all the way. The only two faults I have with it are (1) the length of the ride & (2) The Aerosmith tie in. But I think Disney intentianlly made the ride short knowing that most Disney guests aren't coaster nuts and this is a "preview" to a real coaster, if you will. As for the Aerosmith tie in, I think Aerosmith will soon get Old (no pun intended), but the beauty of the ride is that a new scenerio will be a reletively inexpensive and the re-hab quick...

:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-22-2001, 06:57 PM
I (as usual) will disagree with the presumption that Aerosmith, a band that has had billboard topping Singles and records in each of the past 3 DECADES will be old. Aerosmith was a band when WDW was still a swamp.

First, I think the pirate and I are at least close to on the same page here. WDW is an expireance and while I May or may not have gone overboard on my story angle, I really must say that WDW is an expireance, not a collection of rides, or even attractions.

Now as for landbaron's rating the Disneyness of an attraction based on its ticket value, I just disagree.
as I've been try ing to point out, To me, Mainstreet USA is an attraction in and of itself and to me it has everything we've talkedd about that make up an E-ticket. Yet it is given to us for free.

I'll have more to say when II'm on a computer whose keyboard works.

05-22-2001, 07:53 PM
Where I feel these miss the mark is primarily they aren't very entertaining.
...fair enough, realizing "entertaining" is an entirely subjective criteria for measuring Disney-ness. On that scale, I personally think the ride suffers most from lack of a tie-in to the "rest" of Disney, although at the time it was built, it did kind of fit the Tomorrowland theme.

About calling the Speedway "an error of bygone leadership..." Although I don't stand in line for the ride anymore, myself, it was quite an experience in 1972 when I was seven (this past March, my 33 year old sister _did_ wait in line to ride the Speedway with her husband and baby girl. I just took pictures, but WDW still means Speedway to some people). That was long before there were go-cart parks in every town, and the Speedway was a highlight of several trips. I don't remember a short line, once.

While I agree the Speedway has outlived its usefulness, I think labelling the whole shebang an error is pretty unfair.

I don't believe Disney will just give us 'junk' from now on.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on that one. I believe the best indicator of future actions are past actions, so I think Imagineering will continue to be cut, jobs will continue to be shopped out, and contracts will continue to go to the lowest bidder. I think that's a poor way to put together rides that have the characteristics we've mentioned in this thread.

I believe the Magic lies in Disney itself and not the attraction
I guess I just don't understand your definition of that Magic.

I say that because I agree completely with that statement, but not in the context you use it. The Magic for me was the hard-to-define attention to detail that was largely the product of the Imagineering department. The same Imagineering department losing work when rides are bought from outside, and consequently keeps getting its budgets cut. WDI was the heart of the "Disney" I'm talking about, but has been mostly cut out of the current Disney you're talking about.

Without its heart, I don't feel the Magic lies in Disney itself anymore. With the crippled creative division becoming lost in the media empire, the rides themselves have been hit and miss and the overall focus seems to be blurring.

The Disney that created so much of its output from the same offices had more focus. More heart, I think.


05-22-2001, 08:06 PM
The Magic for me was the hard-to-define attention to detail that was largely the product of the Imagineering department.
Even as far back as 1972 used to call that elusive "hard-to-define" thing as the Disney "TOUCH".

The Disney that created so much of its output from the same offices had more focus. More heart, I think.
I used to call Ei$ner's leadership a cancer. But lately I've changed it to "Heart Disease". Better imagery and more in keeping with Disney I think. ;)

Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 08:18 PM
Yoho, I think Aerosmith is fine for the time being, but you have to admit that they will lose their appeal in relatively short time (they're in their mid 50's aren't they?). Aside from that, we pretty much agree (although I hope your small "p" in pirate was a typo, lol). I too agree that it is WDW as a whole that makes the experience. Comparing Tiki Birds to Space Mountain is a comparison that IMO, just doesn't need to be made...

Jeff, I too can agree with your explanation of the Speedway, but it has far outlived its usefulness. Further, while it was fun (before go-carts and all) does it ring of Disney? It just never did to me...We will have to agree to disagree on the past & coming attractions, I guess, as I'm excited about all of them (including the spinner Aladdin, which will be a real nice addition to that particular area).

While we agree on definition, you were more impressed with the technology & presentation while I am more impressed by the general ambiance Disney has created. The freedom to escape the everyday hustle & bustle, the relative safety, the cleanliness, the smiling CM's, the characters, the little gifts (like the Statues in France or the Acrobats in China or the hidden trail in AK or looking for the hidden Mickey's). See, our definition is the same, I think it's just our perspective that differs...And thats OK too, as long as Disney continues...
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-22-2001, 09:41 PM
While we agree on definition, you were more impressed with the technology & presentation while I am more impressed by the general ambiance Disney has created.
What’s the title of this thread anyway??!! Man oh man!! You don’t see me drifting “off-topic” like this!! ;) Am I the only one grounded here? Do you want to talk Disney ambiance or are we talking rides? (I can do both!!) I believe the title of the thread is “What Makes a Disney Attraction, a Disney attraction?” Attractions!! Rides!! Not over-all feel of the park! So it makes perfect sense to:
Comparing Tiki Birds to Space Mountain is a comparison that IMO, just doesn't need to be made
Is Tiki Birds a Disney Attraction? Does it have some (if not all) of the elements we have been talking about? Is Space Mountain a Disney Attraction? Does it have some (if not all) of the elements we have been talking about? Yet, are they the same? Are they different, yet still “Disney”? How far apart are they? Can the difference be measured? If so, how would you quantify the difference? And what can we learn from this exercise that can be extrapolated to future attractions and rumors that we hear?

PETER!!!! For one of the first times since I met you, I’m at least semi on your side!! Many call for Disney to add “E” ticket rides every year. They moan and complain that Disney has not added enough. And every time they offer up a new attraction or we hear a rumor, they clamor about “Disney” this and “Disney” that, and how it needs to be bigger and better and… well… I guess… “E” ticket stuff!!! I’m trying, in my way, to join the Eisner defenders (Oh my God!! Did I say that???) and defend some ‘lesser’ Disney attractions.

The way I see it, YoHo asked a question. “What Makes a Disney Attraction, a Disney Attraction?” I have been trying to answer that. You keep changing the topic. If you want to talk about ambiance and Disney ‘feel’, that’s fine. But let’s not confuse it with what makes up a Disney attraction.

Now I keeping with attractions; Why aren’t Tiki Birds and Space Mountain the same? Are they still both Disney attractions? Etc. etc. etc. (fill in you own questions)

OR – If you want to talk about ambiance. What’s the deal with them making a shopping mall out of Main Street!!!! Talk about a BAD show!!! GOOD GRIEF!!!! Won’t Ei$ner ever get a grip!! Did they really need to cut into that wonderful ambiance by taking away that alley? That cozy little…. - Anyway, you get the idea!! ;)

Peter Pirate
05-22-2001, 10:31 PM
I didn't intend to change the subject but I see that I did and I apologize. I was merely trying to answer Jeff's points, but things he sees one way make no sense to me because my love of Disney comes from another direction, thusly making no sense to him (no right or wrong, mind you).

Maybe in my dreams a proper response will come but last night I dreamed of a girl friend I had my sophomore
year in college (and haven't thought of since)...My wife wasn't pleased when I told her about it. I told her it was better than dreaming about Eisner and she had to reuctantly concur...So, tonight it'll either be junior year or The Tiki Birds...hmmm...;)

Blame my incoherence on Landbaron. He confused me and I'm normally used to that state...Captain Crook, please sail home... now!
:cool: :cool: :bounce: :cool: :cool:

05-23-2001, 07:52 AM
I didn't intend to change the subject but I see that I did and I apologize. I was merely trying to answer Jeff's points

...as you allude, you did have some help in changing the topic. Sometimes it's difficult for me to explain the part of Disney that meant so much to me without using (what I feel to be) present-day examples of the opposite. Since that usually ends up encouraging folks to address those examples, well, let's just say I realize that I'm probably the biggest culprit when it comes to a lot of our conversations heading in the same direction.

On one level, we're all on precisely the same page: we each have an attachment to Disney that is important to us and we hope to further cultivate that attachment in the future. Our differences come about from differing opinions on what would most enable us to further cultivate that attachment.

I'll probably back out of the thread at this point, mostly because I think I've already captured what I wanted to say in it, and more reiteration would probably lead to more heading off topic. But I'll still be reading to see the rest of you further define your own "Disney" attractions.


05-23-2001, 04:38 PM
What a Love fest:crazy:

I too have to claim responsibilty for taking us off topic. But I didn't intend for it to be off topic. Afterall, it was landbaron who in another thread said that attraction does not just mean ride. A far cry from his more recent comment. I myself am trying to make the case that many of the Ambience things are attractions in and of themselves and that those touches are help what turn a themed spinner into a Disney ride, or even, dare I suggest it a story. Upon further thought, I think Aladdin and to a far lesser extent the Astro orbitoprs are better examples of this then Dumbo. Aladdin is the centerpiece of a themed areathat brings you in to the story of Agrabah. In this case, the story isn't a linear prose story, but an emersive one that others have deemed to describe as a different heading. at any rate. To my mind, a Disney attraction does not refer simply to rides, or even simply to a singular expireance. Others are free to and likely to disagree.

05-23-2001, 08:58 PM
Hi guys,

I don't normally post on this particular board, but if some of you read the LaughingPlace Message Boards or read rec.arts.disney.parks 3-5 years ago you may have seen my posts before.

This topic came up on LP not to long ago, and unfortunately the discussion didn't continue too long because the thread quickly degenerated, but when I saw the question here I thought I'd try and repost my thoughts.

Basically I've decided that words like "story" and "theme" aren't good enough words to adequately describe what I think makes Disney attractions *Disney*. I'm currently leaning toward something more of Disney attractions create "emotional connections." The reasons they succeed is in huge part because of the emotional baggage people bring with them to the parks. And that theming, story and details aren't as important as generating that emotional connection. They are the tools to help establish that connection, but the level of theming or the depth of story can be minimized or maximized depending on necessity. That's why it's hard to look at a ride and answer the question, "what's the story?" There is no one answer a lot of the time because it's different for everyone, because *you* bring half of it with you!

Think back to when you were a kid. What did you pretend to be, what did you want to be when you grew up, who did you want to be for Halloween. How many of those things are represented by Disney attractions? For me, I used to trapse around the empty lot with tall grasses pretending to be in the jungle, so Jungle Cruise was a really cool thing for me to ride and still is. Even things like Dumbo worked for me, more than the almost identical Rocket Jets, because I had the Dumbo Golden Book and read it a lot, and I thought an elephant flying was insanely funny. Airplanes that's standard but elephants!

Some of the recent Disney fare hasn't worked well for me, and I think it's because the emotional connection isn't there. I think something like Rock & Roller Coaster would work better for me if it wasn't Aerosmith. I particularly care for their music, never wanted to be a rock star, so even though the ride itself is fun the overall experience is only eh. By putting Aerosmith in there it makes it too limiting. It works really well for people who like Aerosmith and wanted to be in Hollywood, it works pretty well for people who wanted to be in Hollywood (but would have worked the same if Aerosmith wasn't there and a generic rock song was played instead), but it doesn't work so well for people who don't like Aerosmith or wanted to be in Hollywood.

Same thing with the Paradise Pier section of DCA. Up in Wa we don't have those seaside amusement parks, there is nothing from my life experience to make me feel any sense of nostalgia. I don't have any, "This reminds me of those trips we used to take to ____" And the simple things like the Maliboomer, who ever wanted to be part of a test of strength game? I think Paradise Pier probably works well for S. Californians and probably New Yorkers, but if the goal of the park is to get hotel guests to stay another day or two, they should have considered that those out of town guests might not care about reliving the days of the old seaside amusement park because they never went to them in the first place!

I also think that sometimes you can have a successful attraction even if people don't have that emotional connection. But I think that comes from overwhelming the senses. Speed, noise, lots of colors, lots of action, stuff like that. It creates an adreneline and endorphin rush which pleases the body, but wears off with time, which is why we can get into the "build it higher & faster" mentality.

I also think presentation (where maintence, cleanliness come into play) is a big key. I'm remembering the Cosby Show episode when Vanessa brings home Dabnus and Cliff explains presentation to Dabnus with the difference between a 5-course meal being presented on a china plate and the exact same food being presented on a garbage can lid.

Oh that was long, but I hope you get the general idea even if you think the examples leave room to be desired.

05-24-2001, 09:23 AM
I agree, an emotional connection makes many of these experiences much better. Dumbo works with no real story being provided, because so many people bring the story with them.

ToT goes up a notch in my book because of the Twilight Zone connection. I love the whole pre-show, pre-drop set-up. My kids love the ride, but would be happy to skip the pre-show. They had never seen a TZ re-run. Funny there are none on cable today.

Same for RnR coaster. To me the Aerosmith music is the perfect companion for this ride. While they could have gotten by with an unknown score my brain says WOW this music is perfect, and it makes it that much more enjoyable. Plus, when I hear one of their songs on the radio today I flashback to the parks. Something I wouldn’t get if the score was original (see rating below)

My favorite ride is Splash Mountain. However, I have no emotional connection to this ride. Never saw Song of the South. I am just continually blown away by the experience. I was never a huge muppets fan, but Muppets 3D for some reason touches something inside that makes me smile. Couldn’t think of visiting WDW and not doing this.

No problem adding this to the list. It definitely enhances the experience, but for me it is not an essential ingredient.

RnR: I think DVC asked earlier what rating we would give this ride. I'm fine with everything, but the ride length. Your just getting into it and it is over. The fact that it is 30 seconds too short puts it into the D, D+ range.

05-24-2001, 01:07 PM
hopemax, I like your thinking, but I also think it needn't apply all the time.

There are some things that are sort of considered global history for all americans. Small town Missouri is nothing like small town Washington St, yet Mainstreet USA touches a huge emoptional nerve. Similarly, we individuals may have no connection to the golden age of hollywood, yet The entrance and main streets of Disney Studios connect with many guests. Finally, If emotional baggage is all that matters, then how does Epcot work at all?

No, I think we need to expand the conceptof emotional baggage to include the collective american memorues. A concept which may slowly be drifting away. Epcot's World's fair plays well, because it is just an Atmosphere that the magority of Americans feel "right" in.

So, perhaps we add a subcategory that a good Disney attraction simply IS Americana. How and why, eh, that's a complex question, but Americana it is. Perhaps if Paradise peir had met its full potential, it would have overcome the lack of emotional baggage and been accepted into our collective memories.

05-31-2001, 09:30 PM
Hi everyone. Been away for a while (personal reasons) but it sounds like being the oldest of the group (grew up in the 50's) I have strong emotional ties to Disney.

To me the PARK(s) is the Attraction. Entering any Disney Park (in WDW, going to DL in November) brings back my childhood of Mickey Mouse Club, Wonderful World of Disney. I rate the Parks as E-ticket. Each individual ride/attraction/show is just a nice piece of the pie. Some slices bigger than others.

06-01-2001, 01:03 PM
Thanks DisDuck, its good to know someone else sees that its the magic all around you that makes it Disney

06-01-2001, 01:48 PM
My goodness YoHo and my good Duck. I will discuss any aspect of Disney you want to. Do you want to start a thread that reads:

Disney ambience - What it is?
What makes a Disney Park - Disney?
Disney rides and their surroundings - How should they interact?
Just what is the "Disney Touch"
The subtle Disney - IOA hasn't got a clue!

Or anything else. But you didn't!!!! You asked "WHat Makes a Disney Attraction, a Disney attraction?" For the first time since I timidly posted my first post on the DIS, I really tried to stay focused on the issue. Because I think it is an important issue. One that could use a 'whole bunch' of dialogue and thoughtful discussion.

As you may have guessed, I can talk Disney with the best of them. So, do you what to change topics?

06-01-2001, 04:11 PM
Landbaron, Your focus amazes me.

In this case. I wanted to make the implication that the Disneyness of an attraction can be aided and abetted by the supporting area Themeing. As a matter of fact, it has to. Its especially important in rides not enclosed in a structure.I am of course treading a fine line. And I take it by your comments that you reject my claim that Mainstreet USA is in and of itself and Attraction.

But, we can Diversify. What makes Disney Themeing/Story telling Disney Themeing and storytelling?

In this case, I think its the way they blend everything. A six flaggs or Busch park has themed buildings and themed Vegitation etc. they even occasionally have themed "Lands" but for all that, they do a terrible job of making things fit together.
At Disney. The Attractions, Landscaping, Food vendors, walkways all blend.

As an aside, this was my problem with the tommorrowland makeover. the buildings all look great, but the slabs of concrete and Ashphalt are the widest in the kingdom with the least effort payed to themeing. This was all well and good with the old Tomorrowland where austere and bland was the future. The New tomorrowland needs to reflect the ornate whimsy of the authors whose works it is based on. Heck, Even some moving Walkways from O'Hare Airport and some Startrek Style fake (or unique live) landscaping would help.

Anyway, its all about blend.

06-01-2001, 05:01 PM
I am of course treading a fine line. And I take it by your comments that you reject my claim that Mainstreet USA is in and of itself and Attraction.
Well. I can certainly see your point. But then we have to come up with another name for something that would have cost you money in the old days. You know, the "things" that people stand in line for. The 'things" that spin, roll, move or shows you a specific story at a predetermined time throughout the day. You see, that is what happens when the "passport" or the all inclusive, one price, all-rides-free concept takes over. I think it is VERY important to at least give a passing thought to the roots of the theme park as envisioned by Walt. What did he want to create on the very first day he thought about it.

The idea was to have an amusement park (could be a typical amusement park for all we know) that was clean, not seedy, and a fun place to be. He hadn't considered rides yet. This alone was a massive undertaking. Anyone who visited Coney Island or in Chicago, Riverview, saw an amusement park that was dirty (my God, they were filthy!!) loaded with undesirable people (swilling beer), little security, and while they were fun because of the rides they offered, by themselves they were nothing more than a collection of littler strewn sidewalks and filthy bathrooms (if the worked at all!). YUCK!!!!

So Walt set out to change that. He envisioned a park that was clean (darn well sparkling!!) and that served no alcohol (thus reducing the seedy, undesirable element) and was fun to be in without any rides!!! Lush landscaping, carefully detailed streets! WOW!! Like a movie set! HEY!! How about that? A movie guy building a 3-D movie set that people could interact with. Think this happened by accident? And we haven't even considered a ride yet!!

And to top it all off he wanted it to free to the public! 100% free! He didn't want to charge a thin dime for it. Roy, however, was horrified by this. Just the upkeep was enough to send them to the poor farm. So, he sold Walt on the idea of a NOMINAL charge to enter the park with the argument that it would keep the riff-raff out.

So, I ask you. What do we call this aspect of the park? We haven't discussed rides or attractions at all. Is Main Street an attraction? Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that Walt envisioned it to be pleasing, fun, interactive and magical. But, no, when Ei$ner puts in a themed area (or restaurant, etc.) and officially lists it as an attraction.

I'm out of ideas for the moment. Your turn. ;)

06-01-2001, 05:28 PM

All I can say is that I still feel that one of the best parts of DIsney is the way the attraction blends with the surroundings. THe best example might be Adventureland where you have starkly different architecture that all fits together. I actually can't wait to see Agrabah, I think that if it doesn't have that blend, then it may be the final Straw. And it will be tough since the desert is so vastly different from the Jungle. The Attraction in this case for me is an Afterthought.

So, Landbaron(and anyone else), I realize that in reality Attractions and Ambeiance are likely equals, but if you were forced at gun point to chose between Blend and general themeing, and Disney Attractions, Which do you think is more important? I would tend towards Blend and Themeing simply, because it was there from Day one. It is also the most obvious and important thing that Seperates Disney from a Kiddieland, Riverview, Coney Island (well, besides beer and dirt).

06-04-2001, 03:03 PM
I must defend Coney Island. In the 50's when I went to Steeplechase Park, the beer was there (I was too young to see it) but not the dirt. That was my DisneyLand as a child since DL existed only on TV for me and my family.

I go with YoHo. I see the blending/themeing. It hits me when I cross under the train station (pass the lockers) see Main Street with the Castle in the background. I am home.