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View Full Version : Disney to close Florida Animation?


Peter Pirate
11-17-2003, 07:57 AM
The Dow Jones Business News is reporting that Disney is considering the closing of the Florida Animation Studio after canceling further work on the only movie currently in production (A Few Good Ghosts). This means there is a possibility of 248 pink slips being handed out and the closure of the studio that has been quite successful (Brother Bear & Lilo & Stitch).

People around here often wonder how I can always support Disney through thick and thin and while this decision will have no bearing on my future enjoyment of WDW, for instance, I am appalled and disgusted that such a short sighted and really unecessary move is being considered. It isn't like Florida Animation hasn't been successful.

This type of decision, more than producing non-Disney type movies at Miramax, cutting the opening hours at Adventureland, or making direct to DVD videos, is what makes me call for a change in direction at Disney. If Disney does this where will the next L&S or BB come from? I'm not happy getting just Pixar stuff (assuming a deal is reached). Pixar is great but they don't have the same Disney storylines or the HDA style that harkens back to the Disney movies of the past.

I think this would be a huge decsion, a big step backwards and an indication that although a change may be in progress with regard to the way the theme parks are viewed, the Company itself still has major issues...
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wdwguide
11-17-2003, 08:38 AM
Puzzling that they would can those people who have actually produced the only decent traditionally animated films of the last few years instead of those over in California who are responsible for Treasure Planet and Atlantis.

airlarry!
11-17-2003, 08:46 AM
Ugh.

Please tell me this is one of those 'trial balloon' things that get tossed out to see how Wall Street would respond.

Another Voice
11-17-2003, 08:58 AM
But Mr. Pirate….

Of course it's all related. It's been that way for years and a lot of people have been writing about it for years as well.

Disney isn't about "creating" anymore, it's all about marketing. They don't actually want to make anything – but they will sell you anything you care to buy.

When you go from an artist to a peddler a lot of things go out the window: standards, respect, obligation, talent, creativity.

It's all about moving the goods; it's all about shoving them out for as little cost as possible and taking as much as you can from your "customers".

Shortened hours, mass produced attractions, threadbare maintenance, and the flat out hucksterism at the parks are exactly the same philosophy as selling cheap DVD movies that do nothing but trade off the "Disney" brand. They are the same as slaughtering the creative core of the company and becoming a retailer of other people's movies.

The Disney of old (THE philosophy you ridicule so much) was based on the premise that making things the public wanted to buy is the road to success. The NEW philosophy is based on the idea that selling the public stuff is the road to fortune.

Sorry, but some of us will take imagination over marketing any day.

DisneyKidds
11-17-2003, 09:18 AM
THE philosophy you ridicule so much
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Nobody is rediculing THE Philosophy, just pointing out that 100% is not coming back. Too bad you can't see the difference.

A shame if they do shut down the FL Animation Studio..................it will be interesting to see what actually happens.

Peter Pirate
11-17-2003, 09:43 AM
Thank you Mr. Kidds, I was beginning to think I wasn't making myself clear.

Larry, I'm with you. This is still under consideration, perhaps saner minds will prevail.
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raidermatt
11-17-2003, 03:55 PM
This is still under consideration, perhaps saner minds will prevail. Perhaps. Perhaps not.

It is the logical progression, and we have been told this day could be coming.

Pete, I'll grant that I don't believe you ridicule The Philosophy. However, AV made some very valid points, about how this really would be just another link in the chain... that the reasoning behind this move is the same reasoning behind so many other decisions Disney has made.

The same strategy that brings us the Pixar deal, as well as the other CGI deal, can also logically bring us the closure of Florida Animation. Its everywhere in Disney's thinking.

With the understanding that criticism (or praise) of Disney's strategies does not, in and of itself, change the level of enjoyment you get at WDW one iota, do you have any thoughts on the other parts of his post?

Nobody is rediculing THE Philosophy, just pointing out that 100% is not coming back. Well, some do ridicule the philosophy, but I'll agree that its not you or Pete. That said, I still can't take it as a given that it won't 100% come back. If its a sound business strategy, and I believe it is, then it certainly can come back to Disney.

Certainly it could come back to the extent that a closure like this wouldn't even be seriously considered, never mind actually happening.

KNWVIKING
11-17-2003, 05:15 PM
***"Well, some do ridicule the philosophy, but I'll agree that its not you or Pete. That said, I still can't take it as a given that it won't 100% come back. If its a sound business strategy, and I believe it is, then it certainly can come back to Disney."***

It's too bad you can't be at the Poly for the Jets game. I would really like to discuss this business model face to face. Walt's business model is great, no disputing that. BUT, why aren't the great business schools of this country teaching it. Name me another large cap,mid cap or even small cap company that comes close to this model,( and before we jump on the Costco bandwagon, let's see what a few more losing quarters do for their CEO's bravado) ?

Anyway,back to the OP: If Orlando animators are on a roll with L&S and BB, why pull the plug. Seems more a Burbank ego issue rather then a $$$ one.

Peter Pirate
11-17-2003, 06:14 PM
Matt, I do see the substance in AV's post with regard to the company philosophy as a whole...But it seems to me that each individual area seems to be operating under different rules. Look at WDW. Nothing for a few years except Dinorama and Pop Century then boom(!) an explosion of additions seemingly going against corporate cost cutting directives.

Look at the movies. This time last year we were bemoaning their total lack of direction, quality and success. But this year its all Disney all the time and they seem to have it going quite well.

Where is all this leading? I think Disney Corporate doesn't have a plan much beyond $$$ and putting out fires (in grand fashion some times) where need be and yes I'd like a better quality based plan...My problem in discussing it is I just don't see it happening any time soon so I look for the good in the here and now...
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WebmasterCricket
11-18-2003, 07:36 AM
Wouldn't it be possible that they would just relocate some of them? Were they all hired off the street to begin with or were they relocated there from somewhere else to start out?

JC

jlambrig
11-18-2003, 01:17 PM
Originally posted by KNWVIKING
[/B]I would really like to discuss this business model face to face. Walt's business model is great, no disputing that. BUT, why aren't the great business schools of this country teaching it. Name me another large cap,mid cap or even small cap company that comes close to this model,( and before we jump on the Costco bandwagon, let's see what a few more losing quarters do for their CEO's bravado) ?[/B]

We studied Disney quite a bit in my MBA program. They are subject of a bunch of case studies. I even did a paper on whether or not they should get into the adult entertainment market with a Disney casino. So it is funny to see that debated elsewhere. The Disney philosophy is discussed extensive but in none of the cases that we looked at, did it promote Walt's way as the preminent business model. There were certianly pieces of it that were revered but never did we debate the need for total immersion in the philosophy.

However, we did compare and contrast it with Southwest Airlines. This is a company that has one focus, one overarching mission, one philosophy that comes from one man. Herb Kelleher is a modern day Walt in that the company is run according to his rules. End of story. You can debate that they are not upscale like Disney so it isn't relevant but the relevancy comes in that they have exacting standards, there is no margin for error that is acceptable. If you dismiss the notion of upscale vs low frills, Southwest is what Diseny was. Southwest is customer focused. The analysts love them. Their stock does well relative to their competition.

It can be done. Disney needs to shed some portfolios. The Angels aren't enough. They may be an entertainment company, but they need to focus back on their core competencies.

Disney still does great things. They should do more great things.

OnWithTheShow
11-18-2003, 01:36 PM
Perhaps threadbare maintenance is the case at DL but it just isnt true at WDW. I have seen things happen on a regular basis that completely refute this. For example a woman tripped on a peice of sidewalk and even though the piece of sidewalk was no more than 1/4 inch higher than the one next to it, in less than 10 minutes maintenance had grinded it level.

DisneyKidds
11-18-2003, 01:51 PM
but it just isnt true at WDW.
Ahhh......phooey. Who needs the truth.................it just gets in the way of one's ability to dramatize a point ;).

raidermatt
11-18-2003, 02:58 PM
Perhaps threadbare maintenance is the case at DL but it just isnt true at WDW.

Ahhh......phooey. Who needs the truth.................it just gets in the way of one's ability to dramatize a point C'mon guys... he didn't say it was the case in ALL Disney parks. Maybe its his opinion that it is, but he didn't say that.

I've just caught up with reading the latest on the three active threads and want to post some responses, particularly on this thread, but am now out of time!

Be back later...

DisneyKidds
11-18-2003, 03:15 PM
C'mon guys... he didn't say it was the case in ALL Disney parks. Maybe its his opinion that it is, but he didn't say that.
You may be right Matt..................but he does have a certain flare for creating more drama than real-life might actually provide, IMHO. But that is what Hollywood is all about, no? Many often paint with a wide brush...................and AV ain't alone on that ;).

crusader
11-20-2003, 07:23 AM
It's all about moving the goods; it's all about shoving them out for as little cost as possible and taking as much as you can from your "customers".

You're right. This is the way it is.

It's not pretty.

The customer has to deal with this for every single purchase decision they care to make.

The public knows the drill.

The public chooses accordingly.

Welcome to the 21st century.

raidermatt
11-21-2003, 12:26 PM
It's all about moving the goods; it's all about shoving them out for as little cost as possible and taking as much as you can from your "customers".

You're right. This is the way it is.
It's not pretty.
...
The public chooses accordingly.
Welcome to the 21st century.


Yes, its the way many think. But not everybody.

In that way, its not different than the 20th Century.

The only real difference is on which side of the fence Disney has chosed to be on.


Where is all this leading? I think Disney Corporate doesn't have a plan much beyond $$$ and putting out fires (in grand fashion some times) where need be and yes I'd like a better quality based plan...My problem in discussing it is I just don't see it happening any time soon so I look for the good in the here and now... Fair enough, nobody is trying to tell you that you shouldn't have fun at WDW. Remember, many of us still go and still have as great a time as you do.

But if you think Disney's Corporate plan is flawed, it is inevitible that it has some kind of impact on everything the company touches. That doesn't mean WDW is bad vs. good. Only that its not what it could, and SHOULD be, and that is detrimental to all of us who care about the place, as well as the other products the company produces. Its also detrimental to the health of the company.

I have no problem saying as much, but still having great vacations, or enjoying L&S.

It's too bad you can't be at the Poly for the Jets game. I would really like to discuss this business model face to face. Walt's business model is great, no disputing that. BUT, why aren't the great business schools of this country teaching it. Name me another large cap,mid cap or even small cap company that comes close to this model,( and before we jump on the Costco bandwagon, let's see what a few more losing quarters do for their CEO's bravado) ? Are you sure Scoop is not "channeling" through you?;)
(This was one of his arguments for quite some time)

There's a variety of reasons. Jlambrig touched on one. No matter what company that is mentioned as having at least some of the old Disney philosophy, there are going to be holes that can be poked in the philosophy. The company is not the same size as Disney, or is not in the same business, or faces less public scrutiny, whatever.

Since you can't really find a company that closely resembles Disney at all, you sure aren't going to find one you can compare philosophies with.

Also, remember that the Disney model was not taught prior to Disney using it either... Rarely does doing the ordinary bring about exceptional results.

Admittedly, the model is a risky one, which is a big reason why so few are willing to take the approach. Achieving average results will rarely cost you your job, but shooting for the stars and falling on your face certainly can. That's not a justification for mediocrity, just reality.

If you are going to invest heavily in creativity and quality, you are going to have to hope the public buys it. That is a big risk to take.

But Disney doesn't have to take nearly the risk other companies have to take. Yes, its still going to require the courage to do things differently, but Disney has a built-in customer base that has proven they WANT Disney to go this route. Disney doesn't have to take the risk of starting from scratch.

The Disney brand is what it is BECAUSE they took the road less taken. In their case, there is little doubt as to the success that comes with that road.

Of course, its a lot easier to make more common choices, and to milk the brand. But following that long term strategy is going to have some serious repurcussions over that long term, and maybe we are already seeing those repurcussions.

Now, there are some things Walt did that I just can't see happening now no matter what. Like risking the entire existence of the company on a single, completely unproven project. Similar to what Walt did several times, and was working to do again with EPCOT (the city).

Yes, perhaps Walt would have pulled it off, and perhaps today he would be working on a project to colonize the Moon, but I never expect to see anyone in charge of Disney taking risks on that scale again.

But that doesn't preclude them from quality, innovation, and most importantly a belief that if you "give the public everything you can give them", you will be paid back in far greater amounts than any business school professor would have calculated in his Excel spreadsheet.

Now, it maybe that Disney has acquired some assets that do not lend themselves as well to this kind of philosophy, such as a TV network. While I don't accept this as a given, if it is the case, they should shed the asset(s) and invest elsewhere in a business that does lend itself to what the company's mission should be.

Anyway,back to the OP: If Orlando animators are on a roll with L&S and BB, why pull the plug. Seems more a Burbank ego issue rather then a $$$ one. Maybe that's it. Or maybe its a question of risk. Or maybe its just another decision based on the same business model Disney has been using in recent years... why invest in something, and therefore take on the associated risk, when you can pay somebody else to do it. The Pixar deal looks good on paper because Disney made money with it. Unfortunately, it doesn't take into account the opportunity cost to Disney of not commiting to the investment themselves.

So, they sign other deals with outside studios.

AV's terms may seem "dramatic", but really, it does boil down to a belief that you don't really have to create anything, and really can just get rich by "slapping the Disney label" on others creations.