Friday, January 30, 2009

A Quick Word to the Wise

To the marketing gurus behind the new Walt Disney World website: Spaceship Earth is many things, including an architectural icon, an engineering work of wonder and a symbol of hope and progress. But calling it a "giant golf ball" is demeaning and insulting. Sadly, it's also not surprising.

17 comments:

Tangaroa said...

Oh, good grief. The inmates really have taken over the asylum. How long until they start printing all their marketing material phonetically? Or in LOLspeak?

Digital Jedi said...

"...looking like a giant golf ball rising high above the horizon..."

Stop. You're getting me all misty.

Anonymous said...

It's kind of like calling someone a "geek." A geek can use the term. Anyone else uses it, it's an insult. EPCOT guests who have a soft spot for Spaceship Earth call it "the golf ball" all the time. For Disney itself to do it, well ... what's Mickey Mouse, just some overly commercialized cartoon character?

Spokker said...

The new marketing for It's A Small World calls the "children of the world" simply dolls. The vintage marketing actually calls them children of the world.

So much for suspension of disbelief.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to head on down to the EPCO-...err, "Epcot" driving range and hit a few balls! Come'on Fred lets go practice our swing! I hear they got a doozy of one!


What are the publicists thinking!?! (or NOT thinking...)

Dan said...

I just left this comment under their "Share Website Feedback" link:

I would like to bring to your attention the way that you describe Spaceship Earth here: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot/. Referring to what is debatable the most iconic structure in my home state as "looking like a giant golf ball rising high above the horizon" is a poorly conceived mistake.

Spaceship Earth is the first geodesic sphere ever completed. Buckminster Fuller, the visionary architect and engineer that coined the term "Spaceship Earth", dreamed up the design as an ideal architectural shape that he was only able to aspire to when he created geodesic domes (such as the one found at the American pavilion of Expo '67 in Montreal).

More importantly, Spaceship Earth is the symbol which best establishes the theme of this innovative and unique park. Its radical design represents innovation. Its shape conjures ideas of globes and the international exchange that awaits them beyond the gates.

When given the opportunity to put any image on the back of the quarters printed in 2004 that would represent the state of Florida, more than a few people seriously considered using an image of Spaceship Earth. It has a meaning far beyond the first common trinket that pops into one uninspired text writer's head. The building is an icon and a symbol that represents the ideals of a special place. Please be able to recognize that when you describe it to potential visitors.

Thanks.

IncrediBill said...

Note that this is not just a term placed in by Walt Disney World website writers. In one mission of the Kim Possible adventure, there's a reference to the "golf ball" across the lake. It seems this term comes from higher up. I can only imagine that strategy meeting.

Kris said...

Well, at Disney's Hollywood Studios, they thought it was OK to replace the landmark, iconic Chinese Theater with a big, giant hat. Which they all call a big, giant hat. And which is nothing more than a store. And not a very good one at that. So that says alot. Disney has no sense of tradition or respect and does not try to impart a sense of awe and magic. They just want to sell stuff.

Mike said...

I noticed that Martin Short refers to it as a "golf ball" in the new Canada movie as well.

First that, then Judy Dench who has not a single bit of "epic" feel in her voice doing the voiceover.

Disgraceful...

Josh from England said...

If you live outside the States, like me, then you will be re-directed to the Park's page in your country, which omits the 'golf ball' part, if only because it's barely ever updated. So, here's a link which will work anywhere.

http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL2Rpc25leXdvcmxkLmRpc25leS5nby5jb20vcGFya3MvZXBjb3Qv

Horizons (or at least Horizon is mentioned though).

Golf ball. Ha! Try this!
http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/uncyclopedia/images/1/13/Epcotgolf.jpg

Spokker said...

That's a hilarious picture. I like most parodies of Epcot. The Simpsons did one that called it the most boringest place on Earth. Great.

The problem is that this is the official Epcot web site, which you'd expect at least a modicum of respect for the joint.

Eli said...

I think it is idiotic for WDW to be so careless in referring to spaceship earth as a golf ball. If anyone should not refer to it as a golf ball, it should be the company that built it. If the WDW site is dumbing down EPCOT and trivializing its symbol, why should we as guests be expected to percieve the park as anything more than silly eye candy?

Anonymous said...

When I went to St. Marco in Venice, which is completely covered with mosaics made of gold from wall to wall on the inside, my friend said she felt like she was in "Goldmember". To me calling Spaceship Earth a "Golf Ball" is the same kind of ignorant, degrading comment. However, I can't imagine a Venetian tour guide ever saying to his/her tourists that St. Marco is the church that looks like "Goldmember". It's almost like Disney feels that its critics will think they're "cooler" if they rip on themselves. You know? Like if you're insecure about your hair, you weight, your car, etc. you'll crack jokes about those things in hopes that no one will catch on to your insecurities about them. In reality, it couldn't be more obvious that you're not really happy about those things and trying to cover it up. I really think Disney never seemed to have recovered from the impact of that Simpson's episode, or when Lance Bass on "I Love The 80s" said EPCOT was the most boring place he's ever been in his entire life. And they've been almost helping others make fun of them to be a part of the joke rather than the butt of the joke.

Spokker said...

That goes back to the great update on Re-Imagineering that suggests that Disney simply be itself.

Right now Epcot is trying to be something it's not. It's trying to fit in with the cool kids and failing miserably.

Anonymous said...

It's as though, if people were to be horrible enough to crack jokes that you have an ugly child, and suddenly to fit in, you start to refer to that child as the ugly one. This is wrong on so many levels!

Orlando Hotels said...

I rather think it looks like the "Technodrome" of Krang from Ninja Turtles. anyhow, I'm still going to visit Epcot asap when i get to Orlando in my soon-to-come Florida trip.

Orlando Hotels said...

This golf ball is a great thing for the view of Orlando and the area. wish i could live inside it :)