Monday, June 30, 2008

There Are Know Secrets, Anymore...


The agreements between the Walt Disney Company and the Oriental Land Company provides that the OLC not advertise the resort outside Japan. When this began in 1983 with the original Tokyo Disneyland there was essentially no Internet. It was expanded in the late 90's when the park became a resort at a time when the Internet was just starting to become a factor around the world...

The Mouse put these agreements into place for various reasons, but one was to limit the exposure that Disney fans stateside could have to what they knew would be more elaborately funded attractions. In the new century with access to the net through sites like YouTube it's impossible to hide the knowledge of these rides and the experience of the Tokyo Disney Resort. Through the Internet, the OLC actually gets free advertising. The agreement is a relic of a bygone time and shows how quickly things can change. The great thing for the resort is that it doesn't have to advertise... the videos, images and fan websites we find on the web represent a "viral advertising" effort that doesn't have to be funded. Tokyo Disney Resort doesn't have to spend a dime and it gets free publicity. It's a self published environment that lets we Disney Fans/Geeks have access to information that helps us plan our vacations and give us valuable information when we hear Suits tell us about attractions that are "cutting edge" or "funding was limited" or my favorite, that the experiences at each park are "equally equivalent"...

Riiiiiiiiigggghhht.

In the future, when a Suit says that an attraction is world-class, we actually can compare them to their counterparts across the sea and make our own judgements. That makes some Mouse representatives uneasy... they have to actually back up what they promote. Information is a powerful tool. Let's use it wisely...

If you'd like some examples of what you can find out there, take a look at this professional video for the resort that was put together to show the wonder that is Tokyo DisneySEA. Part One. Part Two.

Also, the Travel Channel had a special on the air a few years ago that is almost impossible to find(wonder why?). Here are a couple parts of it... unfortunately it's only about half the show, but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about. Part One. Part Two.

With the advent of the Internet there is no stopping what can be found. No stopping what can be known...

Those at TeamDisney that didn't want this information out there are in an uncomfortable position. There are no secrets anymore.

14 comments:

Corruption said...

Amen!

Now let's hope that "knowledge" starts actually making a real difference.

Honor Hunter said...

Stop agreeing with me, Corruption. People are going to start whispering about some sort of conspiracy between you and me...

Spokker said...

Best post on this blog thus far. Thank you.

American Disney fans should wake up and smell the coffee and realize what a inferior product they are getting for their money.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the OLC does Disney better than Disney.

Honor Hunter said...

Disney right now is acting much more like the OLC, Spokker...

The budgets that projects are getting right now are on par with the ones that TDL/TDS have gotten. Let's hope it continues and grows.

The difference between Disney management now and five years ago is a lot more different than the difference between OLC and Disney today...

Thanks Bob Iger, Ed Catmull, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs and Dick Cook as well as several others.

Spokker said...

Even if you count the original investment in DCA and the 1.1 billion overhaul it still doesn't add up to what the OLC spent on DisneySea.

Despite the improvement at the American parks (well at Disneyland anyway), The Walt Disney Co. is still a very risk-adverse company. They still aren't going to build an attraction that isn't based on a marketable existing brand.

Instead of building something like Sinbad or Journey to the Center of the Earth they build Carsland and The Little Mermaid ride. Fine, but if it ain't gonna sell merchandise, it ain't going into the Disneyland Resort, unless it's cheap.

Even on a daily operational level the OLC does it so much better than Disney. Crowd control, quality of cast members, and maintenance.

They still can't figure out how to keep Space Mountain's dome clean in Anaheim, and yet you'd be hard pressed to find a picture of TDL's Space Mountain that you couldn't eat off of.

Spokker said...

Even after the DCA makeover is completed TDS will continue to be a huge draw for people who want to experience what WDI is really capable of.

Corruption said...

Honor,

I have no problem agreeing with you when you write posts such as this one.

Spokker is right, too, though -- we need less Nemo and Ariel and more Discovery Bay and Beastly Kingdom, broad literary concepts.

That was the shame of the pirates overlay of TSI -- I personally think it's bad (very bad, actually) if kids today don't know who Tom Sawyer is. It was (and still is) one of my favorite stories.

Here's to hoping for some steampunk-based lands, as well as some art nouveau, etc.

With really, really, really big budgets.

Anonymous said...

Great post Honor.

And Spokker, if I'm not mistaken, DisneySea was built for 2 bil, right? And DCA was 600 mil, so that plus the 1.1 bl, plus the additions in between opening day and today, such as Tower of Terror, Midway Mania, Bugsland, easily adding up to a couple hundred mil, puts both parks pretty close in price tag, though.

And even if DisneySea pulls out ahead as the more expensive park in the end, the very fact that today we are talking about DCA, the cheap bastard child of Disney Parks as being comparable in budget to the ultimate Disney park in the form of DisneySea is practically miraculous! Who woulda' thought that possible even just a couple of years ago? Thank you Bob Iger and company indeed!

Spokker said...

The figure I see thrown around most often for DisneySea is 3-4 billion. The figure I see thrown around most often for DCA is 700 million to 1 billion.

These are all estimated figures so I must admit that it's difficult for anyone to know for sure.

Spokker said...

Oh, and don't get me wrong, anonymous, but the DCA overhaul is VERY good thing. I actually AM excited for Radiator Springs Racers and The Little Mermaid Ride. I'm really glad we're not hearing rumors about budgets being cut, but budgets being inflated!

But even after this makeover is over, I think TDS will continue to be a draw for hardcore Disney geeks like me and you.

Honor Hunter said...

DCA - $650 million
Grand California Hotel/Downtown Disney - $750 million

Total for Resort - 1.4 billion

The cost of the new expansion - 800-900 million dollars

TDS - 2.2 billion

Ambasador/MiraCosta, Ikspiari(Japanese version of Downtown Disney) - 1.1 billion

Total for Resort - 3.3 billion

Anonymous said...

"But even after this makeover is over, I think TDS will continue to be a draw for hardcore Disney geeks like me and you."

As it should be! I think the ultimate goal of Disney should be to have each individual park be unique and of sufficient quality that each is a draw for hardcore Disney geeks like you and me.

I would have no issue with planning my overseas vacations in such a way that each one would include a visit to a Disney park. I just want each one to be of a quality level and with enough unique attractions that they are worth visiting.

What irks me is the Jay Rasulo cookie cutter philosophy that every park ought to be the same since folks only need to visit one location to get it all.

Anonymous said...

First off: Can anyone tell me where to get the wonderful Tokyo Disney music that's playing in the background on the movies without narration.

Second: To a certain degree there's quite a bit of sense in the risk-averse attitude of the Disney suits, being a publicly listed company and having to cope with being so large and managing a diverse set of customer segments of whom its most fanatic are rightfully expecting only the best - the way Disney used to be and how they became so big.

Third: It must be said that Tokyo DisneySEA is a marvelous achievement and evidence of the wonder Disney can create. I just get all filled up with Disney nostalgia, thinking back of my first trip, when I feel the excitement of spectacularly detailed and thrilling rides, combined with the most elaborate and enchanting shows, only to find peace in one of its tasteful restaurants. The atmosphere "Magellan's" breathes, has simply captured my heart! This looks like a place where Disney fans of all ages can dream once again -as it was meant- and a place where many new Disney dreamers are born.

I'd like to thank all of you for your high expectations, your search for Disney excellence, for the passion that permeates each and every critical statement anyone posts here. It simply shows you care, and as a Disney fan...what's not to love about that!

While our faith in the Disney suits has been damaged by Eisner's final years, I think we can trust the fact there still is plenty of imagination at Disney...

- A true fan from Europe

Anonymous said...

Those videos are sick. What a cool place DisneySea is! I am so jealous.