Sunday, June 6, 2010

Yeah, yeah I know......

So, it's been a long time since I posted to my blog. So much going on in my life (new job, getting married blah blah... Plus, the good folks at and at should have kept you more than occupied and entertained. I know you've been clamoring for more, so I will try my best to keep this thing updated.

Anyways, let's get to today's topic.

I've been thinking about this for awhile and finally decided to get my thoughts on the screen. Before you get to reading I just want to forewarn you that yes, this will be an observation of the general decline of Disney's dedication to quality. "Oh, Christ! Another bitchy story about Disney, from an angry Disney-phile living in the past," you shriek. Well, sort of and not really. Just read on and tell me if I'm full of shit or not.

It all started with an iPhone, my iPhone to be exact. Now, I love Apple. I mean, love Apple. The way they paved the road in terms of software and hardware to address the needs of creative minded designers like me (I can't live without my Mac, Pro Tools, and Photoshop - even though, those programs come on PC based systems, you've got to be joking if you actually use them) is simply astounding. They carved out their niche audience and stuck with them..... That is, until the iPhone.

Yes, it's a game changer and yes, it paved the way for other smart phones. But the iPhone symbolized the end of Apple's dedication to the designers out there. Now, we have iPads, iAds, iTVs, et al. All this time could have been spent re-designing, testing and adjusting more powerful designing tools instead of churning out consumer facing devices that only the suckers buy the 1st version. Today, it's all about the bottom line, scale.

Now, how does this fit to Disney? I'm going to focus on the parks, but my argument is basically made if you switch on the Disney Channel at any point of the day.

So let's take a look at what I mean.

Take for instance, Epcot. Epcot was once an incredible experience. It was full of wonder, imagination, creativity, enlightenment, education, and discovery...back when it was EPCOT Center. It was built to serve one purpose - a tangible view of the future endeavors we as a planet could achieve will imagination and the determination to better ourselves. We could witness what computers will be able to accomplish, how to harness the sea and sun to provide sustainable life, and most importantly, what 21st Century living will be like on land, at sea, and even out in space.
It was a mecca of discovery. Unfortunately, like Horizons, World of Motion, The Living Seas, World and other great attractions, it has ceased to exist. Names like Coates, McGinnis, Davis, Blair, and Crump have been replaced by well, who knows? At least Joe Rhode is hanging on.

The park today has been transformed to something completely different, but I can't seem to figure out what. Maybe you can help. The Living Seas is now Seas with Nemo. World of of Motion has become GM Test Track. Horizons has become a carnival vomit comet (and killer), even Akhershus in Norway has become a character dining restaurant. And what the Hell is Kim Possible doing in World Showcase? Basically, Epcot has been reduced to a bigger Magic Kingdom which is frustrating to say the least. Don't even get me started on the amount of merchandise carts.

Vibrant, Exciting, Garry Owens!

I've ridden this before. It was called my drive to Epcot.

Sea Base Alpha

Stupid Birds

Untouchable Greatness

Ugh. Someone please punch me in the throat.

To quote a great attraction, "...there was always someone saying turn back, turn back. But, there is no turning back, not for us, and not for our carousel..."

Or is there?

Enter John Lasseter - the man who will save the mouse.

If you don't know John Lasseter, I don't know how you stumbled upon this blog. Anyways, the elevator pitch version:

John Lasseter was born.
John Lasseter goes to work at the Jungle Cruise at DL as a teenager.
John Lasseter grows up to start PIXAR animation studios.
John Lasseter churns out kick ass movies.
Disney acquires PIXAR.
John Lasseter becomes Disney's Chief Creative Officer.
John Lasseter learns to walk on water.

The best thing about John Lasseter is that he's not taking bullshit from anyone (not even Chuck Norris). John's vision is to restore the Disney Parks experience to Walt's vision and to a larger audience than just the Disney-philes (have you notice a little thing called the California Adventure rehab?) and it's starting to show in spades.

Take for instance Spaceship Earth. Sure, we're all kinda "meh" over Dame Judy Dench. But, it's not her fault as the Jermey Irons version was just so well done (as was Walter Cronkite's). However, listening to the new score of the attraction shows signs of the dedication to the attraction. Bruce Broughton's Spaceship score is carefully crafted to fit perfectly within the story of the attraction much like the attractions of yore. Back in the day, not only did the attractions have scores penned specifically, for them, but also had queue music, and outside the attraction "experience music". Through the 2000's most of the attraction outside music was just re-appropriated movie scores. All the work of JL.

You've heard Bruce Broughton more than you think.

So, you see we're getting there. We finally have infiltrated the ranks of the suits with one of our own. Hopefully, this is the sign of well crafted attractions with gripping story lines, attention to the most minute details, and less cross promotion with other Disney properties.

We'll see what the future holds.

Oh, and welcome back Captain EO.



Disgruntled Disneyphile said...

No offense, but here's the scorecard thus far -

* No Horizons 2.0 replacement.
* Empty Wonders of Life pavilion (and no, I don't count that it's used for festivals).
* Mission: Space & Test Track still exist.
* There's still far too much Pixar in my "The Living Seas."
* "Innovations" is the saddest excuse for a replacement of "Communicore" that could possibly exist.
* No Dreamfinder (I mean, really, just how many years does it take for Lassiter to get THIS ball rolling? It's ONE character... You can't get ONE character into the pavilion? And speaking of the pavilion...)
* The 2nd floor of the JII pavilion is STILL closed.
* Eric Idle still exists in my JII.
* Every 10 some-odd feet, I'm bombarded by "bored out of their skull" Disney employee manning merchandise wagons all throughout "Epcot" (Really, how many people actually buy $30 dollar Crocs?).

However, before anyone thinks that I'm too disgruntled...

* The Wand is gone.
* You get to drink bitter Italian soda at Club Cool (which should be transferred to World Showcase where it would actually fit in).
* Even a "fast food" lunch at Epcot sets you back about $10 bucks.

Oh, wait, I slipped back into disgruntled mode. Let me try again...

* At least they haven't disassembled the monorail yet.
* Every time they add something in World Showcase, it's either a shop or a store...

OK, this isn't working. I don't know but Lassiter better start getting some results soon. I mean... No Dreamfinder after HOW many years at the helm? It's ONE CHARACTER! Lassiter can't push through the re-introduction of ONE CHARACTER while he's in charge!

And how incredibly hard is it to re-open the 2nd floor of JII? What's preventing THAT from happening?!!

Enough. Ditch him for someone who can actually get things done.

Anonymous said...

Not to sound too disgruntled either, but I hate the new Spaceship Earth score. I find it simply uninspired and nowhere near as exceptional as the last. Last time I listened to the Irons version, it really struck me just how inferior the new score is.