Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Too Much, Too Many, Too Little, Too Late...

Blue Sky Disney gets a lot of e-mail. A LOT. When I started this sight it was simply an outlet of my love of all things Disney... a vent for releasing a little of my interest in the Mouse so that the girls I date don't start thinking I'm too weird. I tend to not sleep very much and it's a good cure for that... it's also very cathartic. So anyway, back to what I was saying...

In the winter of 2006 as I began posting, I got maybe an e-mail once every two or three weeks. Around the turn of the new year in 2007 that began to change as some websites started clicking onto my site and liking what I wrote. I don't know why, but I'm grateful for their support. Many of them starting linking to posts that I've written and in so doing the e-mails have climbed higher and higher. By March of 2007, I was getting 5 to 10 e-mails a week. By summer I was getting 10 to 15 a week and as the end of the year drew near I was getting about 20 to 30 a week. As the new year begins, I'm getting even more than that so my apologies to all those that think I'm being rude in not responding. I simply don't have the time to answer all the e-mail I've been getting. The interest fellow Disney Geeks have placed on my blog is truly something I never thought I'd see. I just started this little blog as a hobby. I never expected it would affect so many other people.

Anyway, I've tried to respond to questions that people have sent repeatedly by posting an article on it and try and use that as a way to answer some people's questions about the Mouse. One such question or critique I've been seeing a lot of e-mail on lately is the Extreme Makeover of DCA. In particular, the great number of rides that are coming to the park based on animated movies/characters. The complaint has been that there are too many of these. That they need to create more attractions like Tokyo DisneySEA. That Walt Disney wouldn't have thrown so many rides into one of his parks that were just "cartoons".

So I decided to take a look at TDS and DCA and compare them in regards to Attraction(rides and shows), Shops(all manner of retail places)and Restaurants(sit down and ODV carts). Stay with me here...

This may get kind of confusing because it's a lot of numbers. So lets dig through this and see what we find...

First off, we have Tokyo DisneySEA... the Disney Geeks/Fans crowning jewel. The one everyone of us lusts after like the girl the jock dated in high school that we always wanted to be with but knew we had no chance of being with. I know, you're saying... speak for yourself, bub. Anyway, long-time readers will know my love for this park... it is my second favorite park after Disneyland itself. That being said, I thought we'd examine just how many things it had in it that were cartoon versus non-cartoon.

Now first and most important is to examine the attractions. They are the main reason we go to a theme park, particularly a Disney theme park.

Tokyo DisneySEA Attractions:

Mediterranean Harbor - Fortress Explorations, Venetian Gondolas, DisneySea Transit Steamer Line. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 3

Mysterious Island
- Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 2

Mermaid Lagoon - Flounder's Flying Fish Coaster, Scuttle's Scooters, Jumpin' Jellyfish, Blowfish Balloon Race, The Whirlpool, Ariel's Playground. Cartoon Attractions: 6, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 0

Arabian Coast
- Sinbad's Seven Voyages, Magic Lamp Theater, Caravan Carousel. Cartoon Attractions: 3, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 0

Lost River Delta - Indiana Jones Adventure, Raging Spirits. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 2

Port Discovery - StormRider, Aquatopia, DisneySea Electric Railway. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 3

American Waterfront - Tower of Terror, City Vehicles, DisneySea Electric Railway. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 3

Total Cartoon attractions:
9 Total Non-Cartoon Attractions: 12

Tokyo DisneySEA Shops:

(C): Cartoon, (X): Non-Cartoon

Mediterranean Harbor - Galleria Disney(C), Emporio(C), Valentina's Sweets(X), Fotografica (X), Il Postino Stationery(X), Nicolo's Workshop(X), Figrao's Clothiers(C), Merchant of Venice Confections(C), Venetian Carnival Market(X), Romeo's Watches & Jewelry(X), Juliet's Collections & Treasures(X), ODV Stands/Carts(C). Cartoon Shops: 5, Non-Cartoon Shops: 7

Mysterious Island - Nautilus Gifts. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 1

Mermaid Lagoon - The Sleepy Whale Shoppe, Mermaid Treasures, Kiss de Girl Fashions. Cartoon Shops: 3, Non-Cartoon Shops: 0

Arabian Coast - Agrabah Marketplace. Cartoon Shops: 1, Non-Cartoon Shops: 0

Lost River Delta - Lost River Outfitters. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 1

Port Discovery
- Discovery Gifts. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 1

American Waterfront
- McDuck's Department Store, Steamboat Mickey's, Aunt Peg's Village Store. Cartoon Shops: 2, Non-Cartoon Shops: 1

Total Cartoon Shops:
11 Total Non-Cartoon Shops: 11

Tokyo DisneySEA Restaurants:

Mediterranean Harbor - Cafe Portofino(X), Zambini Brother's Ristorante(X), Mamma Biscotti's Bakery(X), Fotografica (X), Magellan's(X). Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 5

Mysterious Island - Vulcania Restaurant, Nautilus Galley, Refreshment Station. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 3

Mermaid Lagoon - Sebastian's Calypso Kitchen. Cartoon Restaurants: 1, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 0

Arabian Coast - Sultan's Oasis, Casbah Food Court. Cartoon Restaurants: 2, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 0

Lost River Delta - Yucatan Base Camp Grill, Miguel El Dorado Cantina, Expedition Eats, Lost River Cookhouse, Tropic Al's. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 5

Port Discovery - Horizon Bay Restaurant. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 1

American Waterfront - S.S. Columbia Dining Room, The Teddy Roosevelt Lounge, Restaurant Sakura, Sailing Day Buffet, New York Deli, Cape Cod Cook-Off, Delancey Catering, Liberty Landing Diner. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 8

Total Cartoon Restaurants:
3 Total Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 22

I know, it's a lot of numbers to digest... but in the end it adds up to 23 Cartoon Attractions, Shops and Restaurants and 45 Non-Cartoon Attractions, Shops and Restaurants. Now while that might sound like a lot, you really have to take the restaurants out because most restaurants in DCA and other Disney theme parks are not based on cartoons. The best way to look at it is by taking the attractions and shops and seeing what this totals out to. The result of this is 21 Non-Cartoon Attractions and Shops compared to 22 Cartoon Attractions and Shops. So it comes down to a pretty even score... almost a 50/50 splint. That doesn't seem like too many cartoons to me, really. There are a great many animated characters in TDS and they seem balanced out with the parks other entertainment offerings.

Now, let's look at DCA.

Disney's California Adventure Attractions:

Sunshine Plaza - Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 0

Hollywood Pictures Backlot - Monsters, Inc., Animation Academy, Character Close up, Sorcerer's Workshop, Disney's Aladdin - A Musical Spectacular, Muppet-Vision™ 3D, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Playhouse Disney Live, Turtle Talk with Crush, Hollywood Backlot Stage. Cartoon Attractions: 8, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 2

Golden State - Seasons of the Vine, Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Grizzly River Run. Golden Dreams, Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 4 (of note, I didn't count Redwood as a character ride because the Brother Bear facade out front was added later and is not really part of the trail itself).

A Bug's Land - It's Tough To Be A Bug, Bountiful Valley Farm, Flicks Flyers, Francis' Ladybug Boogie, Heimlich's Chew Chew Train, Princess Dot Puddle Park, Tuck and Roll's Drive 'Em Buggies. Cartoon Attractions: 6, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 1

Condor Flats - Soarin' Over California. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 1

Paradise Pier - California Screamin', Maliboomer, Sun Wheel, Mulholland Madness, Orange Stinger, Golden Zephyr, King Triton's Carousel, Jumpin' Jellyfish, S.S. Rustworth, Games of the Boardwalk. Cartoon Attractions: 2, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 8

Pacific Wharf - Mission Tortilla Factory, The Bakery Tour. Cartoon Attractions: 0, Non-Cartoon Attractions: 2

Total Cartoon attractions: 16 Total Non-Cartoon Attractions: 18

Disney's California Adventure Shops:

Sunshine Plaza - Engine-Ears Toys, Greetings From California. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 2

Hollywood Pictures Backlot - Gone Hollywood, Off-The-Page, Studio Store. Cartoon Shops: 1, Non-Cartoon Shops: 2

Golden State - Rushin' River Outfitters. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 1

A Bug's Land - P.T. Flea Market. Cartoon Shops: 1, Non-Cartoon Shops: 0

Condor Flats - None. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 0

Paradise Pier - Souvenir 66, Point Mugu Tattoo, Sideshow Shirts, Treasures In Paradise, Dinosaur Jack's Sunglass Shack, Man, Hat N' Beach. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 6

Pacific Wharf - None. Cartoon Shops: 0, Non-Cartoon Shops: 0

Total Cartoon Shops: 2 Total Non-Cartoon Shops: 11

Disney's California Adventure Restaurants:

Sunshine Plaza - Baker's Field Bakery, Bur-r-r Bank Ice Cream. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 2

Hollywood Pictures Backlot - Fairfax Market, Schmoozies, Award Weiners. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 3

Golden State - Wine Country Trattoria. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 1

A Bug's Land - ODV Carts. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 0(there are a couple ODV carts which are not cartoon themed)

Condor Flats - Taste Pilots' Grill. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 1

Paradise Pier - Ariel's Grotto, Burger Invasion, Catch A Flave, Corn Dog Castle, Pizza Oom Mow Mow. Cartoon Restaurants: 1, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 4

Pacific Wharf - Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Pacific Wharf Cafe, Rita's Baja Blenders. Cartoon Restaurants: 0, Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 3

Total Cartoon Restaurants: 1 Total Non-Cartoon Restaurants: 14

That adds up to 19 Cartoon Attractions, Shops and Restaurants and 43 Non-Cartoon Attractions, Shops and Restaurants. Now if you take away the restaurants like we did with TDS then that leaves you with 18 Cartoon Attractions and Shops compared with 29 Non-Cartoon Attractions and Shops. This doesn't appear to be out of line and it doesn't take into account the new attractions that are coming as part of the Extreme Makeover. With the Sun Wheel becoming Mickey's Sun Wheel, Mulholland becoming Goofy's Sky School, the addition of the Little Mermaid attraction plus the three Cars Land ride and TSMM the total comes to 23 Cartoon Attractions and Shops versus 28 Non-Cartoon Attractions and Shops...

I hope all those numbers weren't too confusing for you. I tried to be as accurate as I could. I may have missed a restaurant or shop, but I should be pretty close in the final count when all things are considered.

Again, this is not that much different that Tokyo DisneySEA in terms of percentages. These rides will be very nicely themed and the areas around them will be greatly improved. Judging by these figures it really doesn't seem that DCA is becoming a "Cartoon" park. It is adding more "Disney" characters, but not that many when compared to other parks... the problem is that it has been lacking in that Disney representation. For those of you that are still worried about this? Fear not, the Second Phase of this makeover has at least one, possibly two attractions that you'll be happy to know have nothing to do with animated characters. Of course, you'll have to wait a few years though. Patience. The park isn't turning into one giant Toon Town, it's just turning into a Disney park after a decade of having an identity crisis...

Now that it finally knows what it is, we will start to learn what it will become.


Anonymous said...

I'm thrilled to hear that your site is doing well, Honor. With all the hard work you've put into it, your success is well-deserved. :o)

Anonymous said...

Interesting article, it'll probably cause even more websites to clink to your sight.

Anonymous said...

I must say... You really did your research for this article, Honor.

Kudos to you.

Anonymous said...

Next time you feel like throwing data at your audience, go all out and create a chart. No one reads every number. People browse to your summary at the end.

Anonymous said...

Great article...and congrats on the site getting so much attention! Your passion for the subjects you write about, really comes through...with amazing consistency!

I might add, even though I'm not a details, numbers guy, I did actually read every number! Go figure.

Anonymous said...

Good article and I love this blog. My only complaint here is the lack of consideration of the quality of these non-cartoon based attractions. California Screamin', GRR, and pretty much everything on Paradise Pier lacks cartoon characters, but at the same time they are very poor rides, with little to no theming. At TDS you have high quality and extremely well themed rides like Journey to the Center of the Earth, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Stormrider.

Honor Hunter said...

I agree that there's very little theming in some of those areas and rides, anonymous...

That's going to be changing over the next five years. It won't be a bland park by then. It won't be TDS either, but I don't want it to be. Each park has to have its own identity.


Anonymous said...

I think Honor's response to the last poster - patience - is the real key here. With so much access to information, and opinions, it's too often that a fever builds up on the net as to what people THINK will happen - until they truly believe what they read was the truth.

Folks should wait out. So what if you're not first to know the details. It makes the reveal all that much more satisfying.

Thanks to Honor for such a fantastic and positive site.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read the "general" park going customer wants to see more Disney Characters on their vacation. This is what Disney's marketing is showing them. Speaking for myself (and I'm sure quite a few other Disney Geeks) a mix of original and character themed attractions are what we want. I'm also under the impression that the lack of characters in TDS is what is causing the less then expecting attendance numbers. Wouldn't surprise me, remember Epcot when it opened?