Imagineering - Ei$ner style

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by DVC-Landbaron, May 31, 2001.

  1. DVC-Landbaron

    DVC-Landbaron What Would Walt Do?

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    This was posted on the DIZ BIZ Board this morning at 8:31 Chicago time. As I write this it is now 2:10 in the afternoon. And it received only 12 views and one reply!!! This is INSANITY!!! This needs to be heard. You don't have to agree with a word of it (Captain) but everyone should at least be cognizant of this perspective. So, thanks tiggerstheman1. I appreciate it, greatly!!

    Welcome back!! What'd ya think?
     
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  3. JeffJewell

    JeffJewell DIS Veteran

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    ...I stand by my lonely reply on the DIZ BIZ board. Call it bad attitude, but I think I can pretty much predict the responses you're going to get.

    Jeff
     
  4. mrgoofy

    mrgoofy Hopelessy Hooked on Epcot

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    That doesn't seem entirely true, Paul Pressler is the official head of Imagineering, and Theme Parks & Resorts. It seems to me that he'd get to yeah or nay the project somewhere along the approval process. And he's neither a hotel or attractions man, he moved up from being the head of the Disney stores. So there is some outside people in there. I find it hard to believe that the hotel people have such a creative strangle-hold over the Imagineering division. Imagineers like Marty Sklar and Tony Baxter are well respected within the company so I think their opinion of a project will have a lot to do with whether or not it gets approved.

    OK, I already know what most of you think of Paul Pressler, so there is no need to shout.
     
  5. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    WHat I find interesting here is that it sounds likeWDI had problems of its own with its internal managment. Creativity and Walt aside. Meeting budgets and deadlines is Important. Sure, Budgets and deadlines aren't as important as quality, but a good engineering staff can do all three. Thus I conclude that my assumption eslsewhere was true WDI was not running on all cylinders even before Ei$ner Mucked with it. Obviously then the error of upper managment was in not fixing the problem, but buring it under managment with a different agenda. DDC was probably run well and great in and of itself. WDI needed equallly effective, SEPERATE managment to remain effective.
     
  6. gary

    gary Mouseketeer

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    Actually, there's an old engineering saying... "You can have it good, cheap, or fast. Pick two of the three."


    Gary
     
  7. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Well, okay, but it sounds to me like Imagineering was opting for good Expensive and slow. NOT in line with your quote.
     
  8. Another Voice

    Another Voice Charter Member of The Element

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    Jim Hill’s article was very accurate, but out of necessity, he left out a lot of what happened. The biggest omission was Michael Eisner’s attitude toward WED/WDI. Remember, Eisner came from a movie background and he expected WED to operate just like a studio: here’s the budget, here’s the release date, I’ll see you at the premier. In all honesty, that’s probably not a bad way to run the business.

    The problem was that WED never worked like that. The tradition in the company was to make the best attraction possible – no if’s, and’s or but’s. The story about how Walt had ripped-out ‘Pirates’ and started all over again was quoted so often that people had the feeling it was engraved in a stone tablet somewhere.

    Things came to head over Splash Mountain at Disneyland. It had been sold as a quick and easy “off the shelf” ride. Eisner and Attractions Management wanted a fast thrill ride. WDI knew that flume rides were slow (oh so slow), but they promised it to Disneyland anyway. Well, the “off the shelf” didn’t really work the way WDI wanted – costs soared and construction lagged. Eisner was courting a huge sponsorship with McDonald’s on this attraction and he was getting nervous. He asked WDI for some assurances, and WDI told their boss that everything was okay. Well, months of delays and more cost overruns (including scrapping all of the original ride vehicles) and a HUGE check to McDonalds to cover the costs of the tie-in promotion pretty much killed any trust that Eisner had in WDI.

    And he’s never gotten it back.
     
  9. JeffJewell

    JeffJewell DIS Veteran

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    ...thanks for the great background.

    I've always wondered why Eisner has been systematically crippling Imagineering. I guess that was more palatable to him than was installing some discipline... you know, providing some management.

    Jeff

    PS - Eisner's foreword to the 1996 book "Imagineering" read: "...no one could do exactly what the Imagineers can do. They are the best in the business. They invented the business. Imagineers are the only ones who can turn impossible dreams into real magic." I don't know why he's fired so many of them between then and now, they sure sound like valuable business assets.
     
  10. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Look, Jeff, your helping my point about Eisner wasn't always Ei$ner :bounce:


    At any rate, Thanks for the Insiteful comments AV. From a purely practical perspective, one wonders how WDI/WED stayed in good graces if they had such trouble with deadlines. Ripping out all of Pirates is all well and good, but its not an excuse. Perhaps Walt just had better control (and more focused people) and Walker/Miller just left them alone out of reverence, and that combined to produce a less then stellar group Buisnesswise.

    I swear this stuff is so Interesting from a history perspective. What happened to the Kingdom after Walt Died. I bet there's a lot more there then meets the eye.
     
  11. larworth

    larworth DIS Veteran

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    Very sobering.

    Love to get more corroboration, either way. Sounds like AV backs it up.

    It would support my perception of a noticeable change in investment approach starting in the mid-90's.

    I agree with JeffJ. If this was the core of my business I sure wouldn’t try to fix any problems in it by turning it over to another unit to manage.

    It does sound like a plausible story. I can see the hotel boys having a different mentality than the park guys. I could see how they might be more skeptical about the need to continue to make major investments in established parks. Hey, if the occupancy (attendance) rates are high why invest. You run with what you got until rates start to drop and then you do some remodeling.

    However, AK would be similar to opening a new hotel. You have to build it to a certain standard or you won't make your occupancy projections. They would understand that. It sure seems like they would quickly realize they really did need the deluxe pool (BK) after all and have rectified the situation by now.

    Funny, I almost got the feel after reading it that this was just another one of those interesting Disney tidbits. Right along with what tracks didn’t make it on the latest CD. Oh well, it is only about the potential dismantling of WDI.
     
  12. F.C. Fan

    F.C. Fan AHHH HAAAA

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    Is it true that Disney has lost of the Imagineers to Universal????

    If so I read an article recently in the Orlando Sentinel about Universal moving their whole creative team down here to Orlando,
    that could eventually have an affect on Disney since Universal is going to at least build 1 more park here and their new owners have very very deep pockets.
     
  13. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Actually, the new owners have made it quite clear that they are laying somewhat low. Just finishing up the projects they have already announced. I have to wonder if a full move to florida my cause more to walk though.
     
  14. F.C. Fan

    F.C. Fan AHHH HAAAA

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    They aren't laying that low because they're already building the 3rd hotel right now over by IOA ,USF, and CW, plus with the new addition for the Orange County Convention Center already going up quickly on the 200 acres that Universal sold to the county with some kind of rights to connect their own hotels to the convention center.
    They'll want to open their own hotels to take advantage of the convention money that'll be flowing in, and I'd think they'd also want their next park to open not too long after, to cash in even more.

    They also have sold 44 acres of the I-Drive property to Hyatt.

    With the exception of the 3rd hotel I know none of this will be done for a few years down the road, but it makes you wonder what's Disney thinking, ticking off their Imagineers???
     
  15. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    None of that is a New Theme Park.

    I'll root around for the thread, but Landbaron posted an article a couple weeks ago, that basically said the only themepark specific things vivendi was doing were in Japan and I think Spain.
    They were finishing off hotels, but that's not the same.
     
  16. F.C. Fan

    F.C. Fan AHHH HAAAA

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    I'm sorry I don't have the article about Universal's creative team moving here but in it it said the people who are basically in charge of the parks are here in Orlando and that they wanted the creative team here as well, it went on to say that some of their creative team members were reluctant to move here but were doing so anyways. It just makes sense that they would have their creative people out in California move down here when the company will be building in Orlando again in the next decade.
     
  17. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Old Landbaron thread

    There's the link to old thread. a link to the article is contained within.
     
  18. F.C. Fan

    F.C. Fan AHHH HAAAA

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    Yoho
    The article won't work it shows up as expired for me.

    I did not mean to sound like I was arguing with you.
    I too don't think any park will be there before 5-8 yrs but at the same time I see all the clearing of the land that they are doing daily and know they are not totally laying low either.
     
  19. JeffJewell

    JeffJewell DIS Veteran

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    ...it's true that a bunch of Animal Kingdom Imagineers were fired during the AK budget cuts, and some of them did end up working for Universal (some suggest Beastly Kingdom's Dragon's Tower shares a theme with IOA's Dueling Dragons for this reason).

    It's also true, in the same vein, that a bunch of the Dinosaur Imagineers got fired after that movie underperformed at creating demand for consumer goods, and some of them did end up working for PDI, the company that made Shrek for Dreamworks.

    I would think whenever a WDW Imagineer was fired, they'd at least send a resume to Universal.

    Jeff
     
  20. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    LA-times probably clears the old articles every so often.

    Oh well. What was the point of this thread again?
     
  21. Brer-Rabbit

    Brer-Rabbit <font color=navy>Creator of Royal Logos<br><font c

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    I am more of a lurker on this board and very rarely post, but this article has inspired me to post my thoughts and I hope I don't get flamed for it.....

    My impression from reading Hill's articles is that he likes to blow steam, he theorizes, he has no fact for these articles, at least he doesn't state any facts in the article. And there are too many fallacy's in his theories.

    For example, He states at the beginning of the article that Disney has focused on building 3 times the number of resort rooms it had in 1984, but Disney has created four times the number of parks it had since the 80's as well.

    I read the posts on this board on a daily basis, and as a business owner, I believe in many good business practices, one of which I learned young -- concentrate on the part of your business that is successful. (it doesn't mean ignore the parts that aren't, but moreover capitalize on what you KNOW works, while you work on fixing the rest).

    Disney has done this. The demand for the wheel and spoke rides are there. The lines for dumbo are LOOOOOOOONNNGGGGGGGG, so they have built another. And, because it brings people to fantasyland they figure it will bring people to AK too.

    Then last night I read this post about how they are going to expand MK. Some of the posts basically said why would Disney expand MK when they are struggling with AK, and others even said they NEED a 5th park. the answer is the same as why they are building another value resort (with 5700+ rooms) because its popular and it brings in money -- IT WORKS! The value resorts are a huge success, build another and more people will come to stay there and spend money in the parks (the good ones and the bad ones). The MK is a very popular park, it has the highest attendance-- It's successful -- It Works. Expanding it will raise attendance, raising attendance will bring in more money. Disney is abusiness and it is in the business to entertain -- hopefully it can manage to be successful AND continue to entertain us.

    Now don't get me wrong, while I believe they are focusing in the parts of WDW that work well, I do believe that they are doing a poor job of fixing the parts that are not. And, I know I am not telling you anything you don't already know. I guess sometimes as a lurker on this board I get frustrated with the sometimes pessimistic attitude that exits in some (and I stress some) of the posts on this board. JMHO! :)
     

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