What A Sad, Boring Place

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by jvptravels, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    I think Eisner's early days were great, and he became progressively worse. The expansion of WDW to a full fledged destination resort is really thanks to him. But I wonder if a lot of that "switch" had to do with the death of Frank Wells. I wonder if he was a tempering influence on Eisner, and was able to keep his ego in check.

    Iger best legacy is going to be his aquisitions, no doubt. Getting PIXAR/Lassiter into the fold was the wisest thing he did, with aquiring Marvel and maybe Lucasfilm #2 and #3.

    I'm am not sure who the right person to give credit to for the recent years of the parks. I think what they did in DCA was both brave and brilliant in admitting a mistake and successfully fixing it. And I think the FLE, which is really the first major item in Florida since EE looks to be a home run. So, to me, it looks like the US parks are on the right "track". Can this continue? IDK.
     
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  3. DVC-Landbaron

    DVC-Landbaron What Would Walt Do?

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    Can you cite an example of that greatness. Other than the fact he did two obvious things. He opened the Disney Vault (i.e Disney videos) and he started to develop the WDW property. Something ANYONE should have done. It was only the 'deer in the headlights' thinking that stopped Ron Miller and Card Walker from doing it. Those poor souls were utterly lost and afraid of making an UN-Walt move. So they did NOTHING. Ei$ner came in and did "something". But the question remains...

    Was it the right "something"?
     
  4. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    I would agree that Eisner's earlier days as CEO were more successful. But (like you imply), I'm not sure it was really BECAUSE of Eisner. It was because he had people like Wells, Katzenberg, Roy, etc. Granted, Eisner signed off on what was done...but much of the stuff you sort of attribute to Eisner, I'd say was largely spearheaded by someone else. Either that, or was such a no brainer (harvesting the Disney back catalog for home release) that I have a hard time giving him much credit for it.

    Pixar aquisition will probably have the largest influence on Disney, directly and indirectly, of anything that's been done since Walt passed. A bold statement, I know. But one I think history will hold up.

    The Marvel purchase....maybe. Some of that is going to depend on how that medium translates into the future. There are days, not far away, where paper and ink are going to disappear. The question is: Can Marvel continue to develop NEW IP, and create new "modern fables/myths", once the paper medium goes away. Will "comic books" be able to make the jump to a purely digital format. We've seen some of it, in varying initiatives...but the truth is that the demographic for comics is aging, dramtically. And while it's true that film/cartoons/etc introduces (or re-introduces, or re-familiarizes) the younger generation with these properties....to really make Marvel worth the massive amount of cash Disney put up, it's going to have to prove that it can move from pulp to liquid crystal, and grab younger eyes. I think they can do it..but I'm not SURE they can do it.

    Lucasfilm...it's still too early to tell. This looks VERY different than Marvel (where Disney has really let the creative side continue to run with relative independance). It looks like Disney is taking complete and total control (regardless of the "consultant" title Lucas maintains) of the Star Wars properties. Until I see their products and integration, I remain a little skeptical. It will probably make Disney scads of money...so good on that. I'm not sure if it will be a long term IP for Disney to mine....and I have doubts it will have much influence on the company, itself.

    To add: It sure looks like Disney is becoming, quite quickly, a massive media content owner. I wonder if a day will come when they stop actually producing that content, and start just licensing it out for others to use/create. You'd think, for long term health, they'd have to continue to create...but if you look at what they've been doing over the past 10 years, you have to wonder. Most of the really compelling content they have layed hands on has been via mergers and purchase.


    I think everything at DLR has Lassiters handprints all over it. I think it's telling that the DCA redesign sort of changed directions, completely, over the proposals once he started to get his hands dirty.

    With FLE...I'm not sure. It's a promising (and recent) exception to what we've seen in Florida, recently. And as much as I love EE...it's an epic technical failure. I haven't heard who spearheaded the FLE project. I've heard Lassiter has actually been showing a bit more interest in Florida over the past couple years. Not as much as with DLR, but more. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it, or not. I will say this: The only complaint I have with FLE is that the level of detail and theming is actually JARRING compared to some other areas of the parks.
     
  5. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    -He stabilized a company that was on the verge of being taken over and sold off for parts.
    -He expanded the live action film-making. Things like Splash, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, League of their own (i think), made the company more profitable.
    -He brought in people to run the animation business that in turn made Disney Animation great again (lots of credit to Roy Disney for this also, but Eisner had a major hand in it with Katzenberg).
    -And I will disagree on the obviousness of the expansion. WDW had been around for almost 20 years, having only developed two parks and a handfull of hotels. He looked to major expansion: theme parks, water parks, hotels of all sorts that truly made it the unique on property experience it is today. I don't think the rate and the breadth of that was at all obvious and was pretty risky.
    -He also made the original deal with Pixar/Jobs to distribute their films, something Disney doesn't do a lot of in case you haven't noticed.

    I think later in his tenure he became a more typical running-scared, short sighted, look at the numbers suit. Again, I wonder how much of that change was predicated by Frank Wells death.

    If haven't seen "Waking Sleeping Beauty", which details these early days of Eisners reign, while focusing mostly on animation and movies, it is really a fairly fascinating, warts and all, review of the rise and fall of Disney Animation, but also while it doesn't get into it, you can see the fall of Eisner coming.
     
  6. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    I think the early stuff...opening the vaults, expanding WDW, and riding herd on a rebirth of Disney animation (Beauty, Aladdin, Lion King, etc)...was definitely the right "something". Granted, his contribution was largely agreeing to sign checks. But, IMHO, it was right both in terms of what was right for the company AND the customer.

    I think the later stuff...after much of the creative inner circle had left , been pushed out, or had jumped out (or, in Wells case, gone on to meet his maker)...was "wrong". I especially think the way DLR was managed, possibly at the expense of the WDW expansion, was terrible. I think the concept behind DCA (which really was built while Eisner's watch) was TERRIBLE. I think the leadership Eisner appointed for DLR was....and this is being kind...$#%^@ terrible. You can find similar "terrible" variations across the other business units.

    In short, I think there was a LOT more "terrible" than there was "good" or "right". And, if you look, the worm sort of turned when Eisner's insecurities wouldn't allow him to build/maintain a strong group of high placed executive advisers. People who had the vision and power to actually effect change and get things done. The people Eisner decided, it seems, were some sort of threat to him. Instead, once the "Yes" men and sharp pencil guys surrounded him....it all seemed to go bad.
     
  7. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    I would give as much..and maybe more..credit to Roy Disney, Sid Bass, and Frank Wells (with an assist from Miller).

    Their decision to install Eisner into the CEO role really is what stabilized the company and calmed the shareholders.

    Granted, Eisner's decisions kept him there, and continued the calm....but his name and reputation did as much as HE actually did.

    Having Wells agree to come over and, essentially, be Eisner's number 2 (which, IMHO, was a pretty big example of putting your ego to the side) cemented it all.

    That was his wheelhouse at Paramount. I'd agree, it was an early hallmark..that then ended up falling to pieces on his watch. Also...I think Roger Rabbit was considered an Animation release. Anyone know for sure?

    Wells really was the spearhead behind the animation side. That was his wheelhouse during his time with Warner Bros.

    Mmmm, I don't know. You have hundreds of acres of land, unused and undeveloped, that's not making you any money at all. I would agree that expansion was SOMETHING of a no brainer, all things considered. As for the direction and type of expansion....that's where we can debate who pushed what. Again, though...he did greenlight it all, and signed the checks.

    Very true. And it was uber-risky, all things considered. But, likewise, his ego almost scuttled the relationship when it was likely MOST important, to Disney, to keep it.

    It's a mixed bag/history on that one.

    I think he was always that guy...but early he had enough "good" voices in his ear, with influence, that it overshadowed those tendencies.

    But...you know what they say about absolute power?
     
  8. skier_pete

    skier_pete DIsney-holics Anon

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    pilferk, I think you and I are mostly agreeing, I think I am just giving him a little more credit for the early days than you are. You give credit for him stabilizing the company only in that he was there, but if the investors didn't consider his decisions sound, then it wouldn't have mattered. And I am sorry, but at that level, the MAIN thing that you do is install the right people in the right positions to have your company succeed, and he did that. Yes, THOSE people were successful, but they were there because he had a hand in putting them there.

    And let's agree to disagree...I don't care if expansion was "obvious" or not...he did it...he deserves credit for that.

    He eventually ended up alienating many of those same people, and replaced them with much worse people, which eventually led to his downfall. His last ten years resulted in a lot of the negatives the company went through, but it doesn't mean the first 10 didn't exist.

    And Disney animation had a hand in Roger Rabbit in that they picked some guys off the WDA staff for it, but moved them to UK for the animation. It was a touchstone picture, though.
     
  9. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    See, thats the rub. Largely...the BOARD installed the executive structure (specifically Bass and Roy) around Eisner in the early days. He accepted it, and he had input in it. But he also cleared those folks out, too, as the board eased it's involvement in the day to day.

    Fair enough: Agree to disagree.

    Again, the one thing we agree on is that the first 10 worked pretty well. We just disagree on how much of that was actually BECAUSE of Eisner, directly.

    Thanks. I thought I'd read that Disney Animation really was "behind" it and they waffled before finally putting it under the touchstone umbrella (and finally decided to because it was a little "rough" in terms of themes for a traditional Disney release).
     
  10. YoHo

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

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    Well, the other thread clarifies some of this, but there's some misunderstood Disney history here. Even Baron Participated.

    Ron Miller was not a Deer caught in the Headlights. In fact, Ron Miller is 100% directly responsible for the rebirth of the Disney studios. Splash was a film Ron Miller had made. Little Mermaid was pitched when Miller was in charge.

    Nearly every good think Eisner and Wells did in the initial period were ideas that started in the Miller era.

    So saying that Eisner did something good is utter bull. He did nothing but take his predecessors ideas and do them. And even then it was really Wells.


    And Roy E. Disney saved the company? It's Roy E. Disney's fault the company was as screwed up as it was. Roy and Ron (and Card Walker) had Familial squabbles that made Roy bitter. He intentionally set things up to screw over Ron Miller. He could have worked with his cousin. He could have tried to let Card's insults fall away, but he didn't he was an a$$ and so he was cruel to his cousin and brought in the Chief Executive Moron Eisner.

    Was Disney a target for hostile takeover? Maybe? Certainly Card had not done a sufficiently good job of managing things, but it was ultimately Roy's unwillingness to work with the Walt side of the Family that caused the real problem. Had Ron Miller had the support of his cousin and his cousin's shares, they may have done significantly better, had Miller had the chance to see his creations through, the Disney decade very likely still would have come.


    One more note on Roy E. the single thing that caused Disney to avoid being a takeover target was the opening of the vault to Video distribution. Roy E. fought that move to the end. He thought it would hurt the company.

    So don't go saying Roy E. Saved the company. It best he saved it from his own bitterness.



    As for Iger, I'm not a fan per se' BUT:

    Iger doesn't seem to have an inferiority complex and talented people (Lasseter) aren't shuned.
    Iger isn't affraid to go big when he perceives he needs to (DCA, Pixar, Lucasfilm)
    Iger has stabilized the company and allowed some modest improvements. At least on the west coast.

    Iger is better than Eisner.

    Of course, twice nothing is still nothing, but Peter is wrong, Iger is better.
     
  11. DRDISNEYMD

    DRDISNEYMD *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* *+*~The Snow Queen~*+* ~A gi

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    ~I'm really trying to grasp some of the perspective(s) thrown around within the context of this argument, but it's really difficult for me to follow, when the bias is so evident -- it totally weakens any argument against Eisner.

    ~I've noticed that Eisner gets no credit for anything, it's always someone on his team who deserves the credit. But with Iger, he gets all the credit as if he did everything all by himself.

    ~By no means -- am I in a position to provide an overall SWOT analysis that demonstrates how Disney fared under the leadership of both Iger & Eisner. But really, I see Eisner ahead by a mile. As a whole, I like Iger, but he gets a big fat F for WDW. Currently, he is trying to "make up" for this failure, so I am willing to wait & see what's in store. :goodvibes
     
  12. YoHo

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

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    Iger is not being praised (by me anyway) for things he hasn't done.

    Iger gets praise from me for having a more genial personality and being a better CEO in general than Eisner. Something that is true regardless of whether Eisner's minions had more success's than Igers have had.
     
  13. Peter Pirate 2

    Peter Pirate 2 <font color=red>I may be a Disney curmudgeon but I

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    Well, there had to one person who thinks Iger is better than Eisner.

    While Eisner had vast personality issues, which you've highlighted, those picadellos pale in comparison to Iger's strict bottom line, Wall St. thinking. Heck, Iger's only claim to fame is buying Pixar, a company that certainly should have been built in house were there any real confidence. Eiisner, at the very least, built some nice hotels.

    Ron Miler? Card Walker? Please.:love:

    Here's a surprise, I totally agree with your take on Roy E.:thumbsup2
     
  14. pilferk

    pilferk <font color=red>Jambo Wildbunch Gang<br><font colo

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    Agree with most of that...I didn't mean to imply Roy was blameless in the companies troubles. He was a big part of WHY (along with the other parties you mentioned) they had to bring in someone like Eisner (well known, firmly entrenched executive on a CEO track that investors...specifically institutional investors...would like). It DOES take 2 to tango (or, in this case, 3), though.

    But I feel Roy DOES deserve some credit for cleaning up the mess, too. The threat of a hostile takeover and divestment of the pieces wasn't a passing concern. It was almost assuredly going to happen if the company continued on it's course. The investors saw that the family dynamic was toxic to the company, too. If Ron had engineered the cleanup efforts, I'd give him just as much credit as I do Roy. And I do/did give Ron credit for other things. That's where we disagree a bit..and some of it is semantics. I think we agree on a lot more of the "hows, whys, and whatefores" than not.

    I feel much the same way about Iger. I'd hardly call it "praise", though...when effectively the biggest plus is saying he has a bit more humanity than the last guy and so is willing to surround himself with stronger advisers/minions. I'm also glad he plans to get out before he wears out his welcome TOO much.
     
  15. DVC-Landbaron

    DVC-Landbaron What Would Walt Do?

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    We need a little clarification!!!

    Whenever there is a ‘misunderstanding’ I tend to blame the listener. But in this case I was at fault. I was not clear enough. I stopped short, which is certainly not my style. I didn’t want to be overly wordy. Again, not my style. So let me expound!!!

    What I said was…

    I think you can see that I was talking about those two very specific things here (WDW property and the “Vault”). YES! YES! Ron was the man when it came to Touchstone and animation. Those projects you mentioned were indeed initiated well before Ei$ner was even a glint in the Bass Brothers eyes!! And it is also true that Ei$ner tried to kill the Little Mermaid (goes toward the argument of his being TOTALLY inept instead of just a money-grubbing suit! But in his case it can be both!).

    I was talking about what made them ripe for take-over. It was NOT the animation department!! Before Little Mermaid this department (since Walt’s death) was an anchor weighing down the whole company! NO ONE wanted Disney because of animation! And it was certainly NOT Touchstone! That was an unproven commodity at that time.

    No. It was the Disney “Vault” and most of all it was the undeveloped land holdings in central Florida (i.e. WDW).

    And as far as that was concerned Card Walker (mainly) but to a certain extent Ron Miller were indeed ‘deer caught in the headlights’! Yes. They built EPCOT but they were very reluctant to develop the rest of the property (more gates, expansion of the theme parks, especially hotels, etc.) and that is what made them ripe for take-over!

    Is that better?

    Now. Did they stop the ‘take-over’? I say – NO!!!! They did NOT!! They were taken over from the inside. BTW YoHo, you are absolutely correct about the dim-witted nephew!! He was the one who did the take over. From the inside! And nothing really was radically different from being taken over from “the outside”.

    Parts were sold off, new acquisitions made (and not always in the best interest of the ‘core’ company or the ideals therein) and most important of all - the business philosophy was radically changed!! Changed so much that Iger seems like a breath of fresh air compared to Ei$ner. And that is really sad. That this rather dull, sharp pencil suit, who clearly doesn’t “GET IT”, should be praised because he’s not as bad as the last guy.

    I don’t know about you, but I’m depressed again!
     
  16. YoHo

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

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    Well, I'd argue, and if you read some of the history and read some back threads of AV's that Ron Miller actually had some fairly good ideas about how to utilize the company assets. It was pretty much Card Walker exclusively that clung to the WWWD mentality.

    Also, lets not forget that Miller and the management team succeeded in fending off the first corporate raider attempts. It was expensive, but it worked. The second round that ended up bringing in Eisner and Wells was almost entirely caused by Roy. Again, had Roy been a better person, the barbarians would have never been at the gates.

    Further remember that Ron Miller made the first overture to Michael Eisner. The company wasn't blind to the need for someone with Hollywood shmooz credentials. Now of course we know that Eisner was a bad choice, but we're discussing the Disney executive's knowledge of their own needs and problems here. Further, Roy wanted Wells not Eisner. One of the few good choices he made. Eisner was there purely for the rolodex.

    What would a Miller/Wells lead Disney with a well liked industry insider in charge of the studio looked like? That's an organization that could have happened were it not for Roy.
     
  17. DVC-Landbaron

    DVC-Landbaron What Would Walt Do?

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    I don't seem to recall any ideas Ron had for WDW. Maybe AV gave that class after I departed. Care to lead me down that garden path of what might have been? I would like to know what kind of 'stuff' we're missing today because of 'the nephew's' short sighted pettiness!
     
  18. YoHo

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

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    Well, I don't think Ron had any sort of vision akin to Walt's. Its more that Ron was very willing to take risks that Card wasn't. So I can't walk you down that Garden path. Sadly Ron was taken out of management before he even had a chance to do much.

    What Ron did have was a lot of direct experience with his father in law and by all accounts had a good sense of what the company needed.

    I think the planning for Florida was all going on in Imagineering.


    If nothing else, that early master plan with the Various hotels around the Lagoon would likely have happened.
     
  19. lockedoutlogic

    lockedoutlogic DIS Veteran

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    Its rare to see so many ron miller fans....

    he certainly was active in alot of things that are disney staples today - disney channel and international parks and development being the big two...but he also wasn't equipped to navigate Disney through the robber baron 80's.

    Disney was like dangling fruit at that time...one of the most widely recognized/profitable brand and characters with little capital as a company and no clear direction.
    The vultures from the Street would have feasted on that carcass.

    so you have to give roy, evil mikey, and mountain climber frank that bit of credit...the management team did get it on course and really develop the company into a financial player...all the false credit and stupidity aside.

    But Ron Miller had one qualification for his job: and it was his dating life.

    I know we have alot of nostalgia for the "family run" business - especially when it comes to the "good ole days" of Uncle Walt and Steady Roy...
    But that doesn't mean it is the right choice. The Idiot son/son in law often continue to "not bankrupt" the family business...but that doesn't make them the right choice to do it.

    The reality is - wait for it - that we as fans have probably been lucky as a whole with the combination of all the management over the years.
    WDW is massive - it cost a fortune - and like it or not...it was always risky to dump that much money in the swamp. And they all did it...we have 20 hotel choices and 2,0.5,0.5 parks to visit. We have Boardwalk and Downtown (whats left of it) to go to in a era when retail is obsolete...if it had been ten years later, they wouldn't have built them.

    I hate to be the optimist of the group. But the reality is that its all more than any of us could have realistically asked for in 1970, 1985, or even perhaps 1995.

    Even if Iger is only a "steward" and did nothing but make the logical moves (which he did). The reality is the entertainment world's future is all content-based...and they have bought a massive portfolio of content over the last 6 years. Something that would have been almost inconceivable 10 years ago. Disney has to have the revenues and capital to be solvent to continue their own agenda - that isn't negotiable. They have seemed to follow that plan.

    Now its getting stale....MAN UP, CMB!

    Nothing will bring me down today, its a hockey day:woohoo:
     
  20. DRDISNEYMD

    DRDISNEYMD *+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* *+*~The Snow Queen~*+* ~A gi

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    ~It's still very difficult for me to acknowledge the validity of the argument against Eisner, when his biggest accomplishment(s) -- three new gates, water parks, hotel/motel expansion, The Disney Renaissance, the acquisition of ABC, the Pixar collaboration (the best Pixar Films were under Eisner), Disney Cruise Line & so much more -- are not appropriately attributed -- by refusing to recognize Eisner for any of these accomplishments -- with statements that assert how "ANYONE" would have done the same, vitiates the argument against Eisner. I just don't believe "anyone" would have done all of this. :(

    ~With that said, I tend to agree that Eisner stayed too long. Iger has done great things for Disney as a whole but not for the themeparks, especially WDW.

    ~Honestly, if it weren't for WWoHP, there would be no "Carslands" or "New Fantasyland" we would only be looking at more DVC like Aulani and a glorified fairy meet & greet. :goodvibes
     
  21. larry_poppins

    larry_poppins Mouseketeer

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    Hey what does CMB! stand for?
     

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