Thursday, May 29, 2008

Work In Progress...


Yeah, I know...

I've gotten a lot of response to the latest "Blue Sky Buzz" update about Walt Disney World. Both here in the comments section and in my e-mails I've received an earful. Both positive and negative. But I just wanted to clear up some things...

First off, I haven't turned into one of those raving negative nabobs we have mentioned quite a bit. Second, I'm still not a tool for the Walt Disney Company, no matter what you think. And lastly, I wanted to address what I believe is a pivotal time for the Mouse, its Shareholders and its fans.

Everyone that's read my posts knows that I'm no fan of Jay Rasulo. I believe he's the single-most impediment to the theme parks shining and blooming under the watchful eye of some great Imagineers and John Lasseter's guidance. Thankfully Lasseter is there to counter many(but not all) of the boneheaded decisions he has made or at least wanted to make. If it was up to Jay the Finding Nemo Submarine ride wouldn't have been anywhere near as elaborate as the one we got. It would have been more along the lines of an aquatic version of DCA's Monsters Inc. ride. The budget alone would have been close to half what it wound up costing. Now I'm sure that would have save the Disneyland Resort a great deal of money, but it would have also cost it with the amount of guest coming to ride it... and even more so when having them return to ride it again. Those two hour lines people have had to wait in to ride it wouldn't be there, but neither would the desire to stand in an even shorter line for a mediocre attraction. And let's not get me started about what Toy Story Midway Mania would have wound up looking like had Lasseter not dove in to make sure this attraction had all the bells and whistles it needed to be a supremely fun, elaborate "D-Ticket". Lasseter has been the buoy that has kept many projects alive and his direct link to Iger has prevented Jay from screwing up a lot of projects.

While I may be frustrated by the cloning of "The Little Mermaid" attraction, I am happy that MK is getting an extremely nice addition to the park. I just wished it was one of several other rides that have been proposed and brushed off by WDW park management. Heck, I'd be happy if they went ahead with a Mermaid ride, but had it be different than the one DCA is getting. What looks like will happen is a repeat of TSMM with the same ride being built in both parks housed in entirely different buildings. Maybe if there is a bright side, if the attraction gives the park a boost maybe some of those Suits will figure out that more attractions, better attractions will actually help the park. I'm not holding my breath, but that's what I hope happens... then maybe one of two or three really cool attractions they've pitched will also be added to the World and we won't have such a long drought like we had between Splash Mountain and The Little Mermaid.

As for all the questions I got about Cars Land, I can't put it in writing, but it will be very difficult to clone. It is a whole land after all, not just a ride. There are no plans to add lands to WDW's parks so I really don't see it happening. Add to that the emphasis Lasseter and Weis have wanted to give the parks in California. See they believe somewhat in my idea about the parks being unique... but even they are not all powerful. Sometimes Rasulo gets his way. I'm just praying Lasseter keeps amassing power so that in a year or two he's able to walk Jay Rasulo to the door and nudge him or kick him out of it. Much of the management change at WDI has been for the good, but in the Parks and Resorts division of the Mouse there are still too many Suits left over from the past regime. I can't say for sure, but I know that Lasseter does recognize some of the problems with this management. I'm crossing my fingers that "Wall-E" and "Up" and "Bolt" wind up giving him the clout to sweep this crew out of Burbank, Orlando and Anaheim. Maybe they can stop by the unemployment office and chat with Paul Pressler as they search for a new job.

I will say that there are a lot of things that are going to be coming to the parks over the next four or five years that are really cool. Some things are moving through the proposal phase in Glendale that wouldn't have even been possible three years ago. Lasseter and his crew are busy trying to rid the place of the toxic atmosphere that has built up over the last decade and I'm a realist about it. This will take a long time. Perhaps it wont even be done for another decade. Perhaps it won't ever be done. But I can tell you it's moving in the right direction. It takes detours every now and again and sometimes there are stumbles, but I feel that WDI is making progress. It's not as much headway as he's done with the animation division, but that is his primary element. Once he's proven they're on the right track, he'll be able to devote more attention to the makeovers not only in the parks, but in the halls and walls of Glendale as well.

Sometimes magic happens slowly and maybe even I'm a little more impatient than I should be...

8 comments:

Corruption said...

This was a well-written post, Honor -- thank you.

I still, however, am going to disagree with you about the imminence of this attraction being built.

Your sources may think it's going ahead full-steam, but I have a hunch that WDW officials are not quite as certain about this as your sources seem to think

That said, it is in line with the kind of thinking Disney has been about as of late. I think that, for example, WDW is more likely to "clone" a Mermaid ride than to build anything different or more unique in Fantasyland, though. So props to your source in that sense.

Anonymous said...

This is the post you should have written. Its objective, comes from the heart, and expresses your opinion without being whiny. Always remember that you set the tone. The emails and comments that follow are mirroring your tone.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I agree with the other poster who said you really shine with this kind of stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Honor,

I just wanted to chime in with a voice of appreciation for your wit, intelligence, and your surprising balanced voice. The internet is lacking in those things, especially from hardcore fansites/blogs. Its always refreshing to come to your site and find those qualities in abundance, like this post, and yes even the first one about the mermaid attraction that caused all the fuss to begin with. Kudos, man. And keep up the good work!

t said...

Not just "WALL-E", "Bolt" and "UP"...but "The Princess and the Frog" and "Rapunzel" I have been hearing incredible things about.

I think John and Ed have WDAS steered on the right path now...hopefully after these films are proven BIG, HIT successes, he can devote more time to re-imagineering WDI.

I don't doubt those films will be big hits either!


Honor-
do you know anything about the new building WDAS is supposed to be getting next to WDI in Glendale? I heard it got pushed back a bit, but have you heard anymore on that?

Anonymous said...

“Much of the management change at WDI has been for the good, but in the Parks and Resorts division of the Mouse there are still too many Suits left over from the past regime. I can't say for sure, but I know that Lasseter does recognize some of the problems with this management. I'm crossing my fingers that "Wall-E" and "Up" and "Bolt" wind up giving him the clout to sweep this crew out of Burbank, Orlando and Anaheim. Maybe they can stop by the unemployment office and chat with Paul Pressler as they search for a new job.”

Yes, the change in management at WDI helped relieve some of the upper management political pressure. However the WDI version of “Suits (and their minions) left over from the past regime” also remain.

While Lasseter may be aware of the problems there, I just don’t think that he is capable of dealing with it. As he is only at WDI a couple of days a month, his focus is extremely limited as to what he can deal with. And that’s usually on specific attraction creative issues.

Imagineers have been looking for the significant changes that they expected to come, first from Iger taking over Disney, then from Lasseter being brought on board. But, outside of some superficial improvements, a lot of the former issues remain. I hope your scenario above is achieved.

KINGCRAB said...

Good article, but personally, I think Toy Story Mania is a great attraction as it is and that copying the Little Mermaid ride for WDW (if it happens) would be good idea.

I also remain optimistic that any leftover suits from the Eisner regime will eventually be shown the door and Lasseter will assume more and more power at WDI.

Even though there are still some flaws in the company that need to be taken care of, I must say that this is a much better time to be a Disney fan than it was just a few years ago.

Colorado Mommy said...

I love your posts. Keep them up. Where are the they putting the Mermaid Ride in WDW? Fantasyland where? I hope it comes to fruition.