Friday, August 21, 2009

Mickey's 10 Commandments

Marty Sklar (if you don't know who he is stop reading) came up with a list of commandments Imagineers (more importantly, Disney top brass) should follow to maintain the high standards of storytelling Walt set forth. These commandments are how Disney distances itself from other "amusement" parks and the reason guests continue to come back. Do you think that these are still valid? Does Disney Parks still live by these standards (both creatively and business operations)? What do you think?

1. Know your audience - Don't bore people, talk down to them or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.

2. Wear your guest's shoes - Insist that designers, staff and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.

3. Organize the flow of people and ideas - Use good story telling techniques, tell good stories not lectures, lay out your exhibit with a clear logic.

4. Create a weenie - Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey

5. Communicate with visual literacy - Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication - color, shape, form, texture.

6. Avoid overload - Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects, don't force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.

7. Tell one story at a time - If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories, people can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.

8. Avoid contradiction - Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. Public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen.

9. For every ounce of treatment , provide a ton of fun - How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let people participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all senses.

10. Keep it up - Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance, people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on broken and dirty stuff.

Martin Sklar, Walt Disney Imagineering, Education vs. Entertainment: Competing for audiences, AAM Annual meeting, 1987

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Horizons pics

As promised, here are a few more Horizons pics from closing day.

Better shot of the Hidden Mickey

That's our daughter the desert dweller. She's doing wonderful things out there in the desert. (She also has a ginormous booty as seen in previous blog post).

Old Uncle Jules may not have had all the answers, but his space capsule sure smelled like animal dung. (No privacy at all 'round this place).

This picture speaks for itself. Somebody on the Imagineering team was a fan of the ladies.

...and someone was a fan of the fellas. (Aw, now that's really lovely. Practical too. Practical indeed).

Love this pic.

Oh, the irony. Tom Fitzgerald fixing a sub. Subs get sunk in the water. Fitzgerald sunk Imagineering. Ironic.

This poor guy's been waiting over 15 years for his wife to show up. Unfortunately, she's off with her "other" family.


A feat of engineering if you really think about this show scene.

Hope these photos have helped to give you a sense of how wonderfully detailed this attraction was. Can't seem to think of any new ones this detailed. Of course, if you count a ton of tv screens as detailed, well then, I guess today's rides are detailed. :(

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Day Horizons Closed

So long Horizons...

Now, I think you all know my fascination with Horizons; it was the ultimate attraction. Enormous, overly detailed, great music, great storyline, and never a wait. I can recall first riding in early 1984 and immediately falling in love with it. In fact, while most of my family was off exploring the rest of the park I could be found at Horizons riding over and over. I even had the pleasure of working a couple of shifts there during my stint in Epcot attractions. I sure wish I was smart enough to bring a camera along, but appreciating an attraction and working an attraction are two very different scopes. Anyways, I thought I would post a few pictures of Horizons from January 9th, 1999. Fans will recognize this date as the day Horizons closed for good to the public. It did run though afterwards for events and private parties till about April. Anyways, these pictures may not be as cool as my friends over at Mesa Verde Times' pics (which are flippin' awesome), but they're special to me. I apologize for the quality. These pictures were taken with a 1st Generation Sony MAVICA digital camera that took photos on 3.5 floppies. Also, there's really no order to the photos as I have a ton of them. Enjoy!

As you can see it's 1st thing in the morning and it's chilly. We headed straight to Horizons to get in as many rides as possible. The best part was as we were castmembers, we could park back by Wardrobe (between WOM & Mexico) and just walk in a little early.

Cheesy, but anywhere I ever hear this phrase, it makes me think of Horizons.

I'd give anything to hop the Mag Lev Express service to Mesa Verde or Sea Castle.

Always dug how these pictures moved. Kudos to George McGinnis!

Dedicated to the great Georges Méliès' 1902 classic A Trip to the Moon.

Easy living indeed. I always wondered if the guy getting a tan was the freeloading Cousin Orville from Carousel of Progress. "No privacy at all 'round this place!" Dig the curved design, very retro.

Loved the '50s music in this scene. Does anyone else remember the "beep beep beep beep" that went to the rhythm of the music? This reminded me of the Jetsons.

I'm sorry, but this lady had a ginormous, flat ass. That jumpsuit isn't helping her cause any.

Shut up Scott. No one likes a teacher's pet. As you can see Rover's about to chew his face off.

I always called her 'basketball head'. I know, classy.

The mix of distance, rear projection and matte paintings really made this work well.

Hidden Mickey in Nova Cite

Hidden Mickey in Space Colony

That's it for now. I'll post more later.