Saturday, June 23, 2007

Blue Sky Alert-America (Anaheim): Tremors...


Remember that movie, "The Lord of the Rings" Where they mentioned One Ring to rule them all? Well it's starting to appear that this Ring wasn't made for the Dark Lord Sauron... but more for the Bright, Optimistic Lord John Lasseter. He's become very powerful... and he's got a lot of friends that add weight to that power. Friends like Steve Jobs, his old employer and the largest single stock holder in the Walt Disney Company. Like his partner Ed Catmull who is like the other side of the coin when it comes to running the animation departments. Like Dick Cook, the head of Walt Disney Pictures, who has tremendous respect for John. And then the main man himself, Bob Iger. He may be Uncle John's boss, but he respects him and has given him a wide degree of latitude when restructuring much of the company.

I'm sure if you're a Disney fan then you've already heard that the parks each have a new master. A very good idea that the powers that be have come up with to "guide" each park and make sure someone is looking out for it. This happened before in DAK with Joe Rohde, but nowhere else in the resorts. Until now.

Tony Baxter is in charge of Disneyland and will be concentrating on maintaining the high quality that has become the norm since Pressler left and Matt Ouimet took over. There are a few projects that he wants to get to work on, but that will be the focus of another update later this year. This update will mainly be on DCA.

Now, Tony may be in charge of Disneyland, but who is in charge of Disney's California Adventure you ask? Those of you that follow Imagineering will recognize his name...

Bob Weis.

Those that don't know his name... shame on you! Bob is a great Imagineer. He left the company several years ago after tiring of having to deal with Eisner and Pressler on so many projects that died of neglect or downright murdered by Eisner and his Polit-Buro style of managing creativity. Bob is the designer of Disney-MGM Studios Paris and NO that is not what is built next to Disneyland Paris right now. Bob's version would have been bigger and much grander than our very own in Orlando. Think of it as a steroid version of what Florida got. The crushing financial disaster that EuroDisney became destroyed any chance of seeing this park come about. The park we got was a small, hodge-podge of decide by committee concoction the Suits came up with. But I digress, Bob also was responsible for the "Disney's America" project that was a labor of love for Eisner until the company made so many political missteps that this park died under the weight of it's own complications. Bob was lured back to WDI with promises of much more control than he'd previously had and Lasseter's pitch apparently worked. It takes a lot to get a man to leave a company he started(Design Island) that still has several projects in development. Now, if I can just get Lasseter to do the same with the Kirks and their Kirk Designs, Inc... then I'd be in Imagineer-Geek heaven! But back to the business at hand. This was an important week at Team Disney Burbank...

The meetings have happened. The proposals have been proposed. Now comes the decision. Oh, what a decision. There are major changes happening in the resort that started it all. The Earthquake has happened and now the tremors begin...

Tremors...

Tremors that will be felt all the way through the Anaheim Resort. "The Happiest Place On Earth" will be even happier...

Well it appears Al was right about the high end of the proposals. Well over a billion for the "high-end" proposal. Almost a billion and a quarter for the top price for this expansion or reboot as some are calling it.

Most likely, it appears that Iger will give a lot of weight to Lasseter's arguments for addressing the flaws of the park. Maybe not all his arguments, but most of them. We probably won't see the high-end, but far more than anyone expected will be allocated to DCA. Much, much more.

And you know what the great news is? I'm just talking about DCA... this has nothing to do with the lovely, new hotels that will be added or any attraction that is currently being built. This budget has NOTHING to do with any of those. All this money will be directed towards totally new attractions and theming. And that's a lot of theming my friends. Amazingly cool theming...

The proposed plans for the park are much more than I could ever have imagined. The designs for Paradise Pier will simply turn that area into a gorgeous detailed Disney theme that draws on the best parts of the past. This will be "the" area to go to in this park. The early "Mictorian" feel of Del Coronado or the Grand Floridian will give you the essence of what to expect. The designs I've seen remind me of the artwork Dan Goozee created for the Plaza Inn section of Disneyland Paris. This will also be the first section done when the "Wonderful World Of Color" water show premieres in 2009.

That's not to say that the rest of DCA won't be getting the layered treatment. Almost everything will get some form of "plussing". And this new plan will not end when DCA celebrates its 10th anniversary. This is a decade long plan. A very well thought out plan. One that includes an incredibly different entrance. One that evokes old Los Angeles, lots of lush trees and greenery. Bye, bye plaza... hello Hollywood! Like walking back into the world Walt encountered during his early years in LA. One might expect to find Clark Gable or the Marx Brothers walking around in front of you. It brings up that kinda feel. Main Street USA will finally have some competition across the Esplanade.

I can truly say that if Lasseter's vision gets approved, and there's a very good chance it will, DCA will be one of the most lavish Disney resorts... transformed from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan within the next decade. These plans are big and bold. There's talk of expanding the park to where it can handle almost as much as the current Disneyland's capacity. There are many in WDI that are on pins and needles just waiting for the approval of these designs so they can get to work on turning this park into a Disney jewel.

Those of you that have been impatient for news should be rewarded very soon. There should be announcements as to the focus of the resorts made public within the next few weeks. That's right... unless Disney gets cold feet about making it public... the news should be going out over the airwaves by end of summer at the latest.

Now as for the rest of the resort. Those stunningly beautiful hotels and that expansion of Downtown Disney? Well that will have to come in an update sometime in late July.

Till next time...

11 comments:

Biblioadonis said...

Wow. Let's hope that this comes to fruition.

Keep us posted, Honor. Not many people are as in touch as you are with what is happening in Glendale.

Anonymous said...

How about some CONCEPT ART?
PLEASE?

Anonymous said...

Somewhere someone should discuss how the 50-year, known 'round the world slogan for Disneyland - "The Happiest Place on Earth" - has been banished and replaced with 'Where Dreams Come True" - now being used to describe ALL of the Disney Parks around the world. Wonder how Uncle John would feel about that? It makes Disney's Parks look like McDonalds - Why don't they just use "Six Billion Served!"

Anonymous said...

Do any of the proposals for DCA include a giant bulldozer?

That's the only idea Iger should approve.

Honor Hunter said...

Nice to see you have an open mind, anonymous...

I'd wait until you've visited the park four or five years from now before making a judgement if I was you.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear DCA will get an overhaul... But, first thing that pops up in my mind is: and what about the Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris? Will we left on our own with just a few rides added each couple of years when there are funds?

Honor Hunter said...

I see you're not a regular reader to this blog. Look through the list of "Blue Sky Alerts" and find the one a couple weeks ago entitled Paris for news as to what is expected.

Anonymous said...

Well surely Disneyland deserves the jewl of the Disney Parks. After-all, its where it all started.

Very interesting and I cant wait to find out more.


Now...what about WDW?

Anonymous said...

I second the bulldozer idea. Mr. Iger should pick that one.

jummie junsun said...

I can't wait to see the park in a few years. It sounds great!

Anonymous said...

1 bill? spend that money where it belongs.. WDW !!!