Sunday, January 21, 2007

Fossilizing Disney

“Anonymous” wrote an impassioned and lengthy response to my post called “A Horrible Decision.” In part, it read (and you can read the whole thing here):

“I guess where you and I differ is that you want to mummify Disney where I am excited to see it develop. “How can you possibly call POT "mediocre"? Millions of people around the world beg to differ with you. … And you are just plain wrong on the Disney Channel. The truth is this - the "Vault Disney" strategy which the Channel so dutifully embraced through most of the 80's and 90's was an abject failure. … You continually say that you know Disney better than Disney's own executives. But I don't think you do. As important as the "core fans" are, they don't own Disney. Disney has to innovate and evolve, not just because that's what's required of it to remain vital as a business, but because that is what is in its DNA. … There were many people back in the 30's who would have liked Walt to stick to his kniting(sic and keep making more Mickey serials. Snow White was called "Walt's Folly,” but in the end he was right to push forward.

“You would fossilize the company and turn it into a museum and I am here to tell you that its that kind of thinking that is the reason Epcot is in the state it is today. … Sure, there are things you can still complain about, but give Bob Iger a break. He has been on the job only 16 months now ... (I)t is really disappointing that you cannot give Disney any credit for what has been a spectacular year and a great turnaround and that you constantly poo poo anything new or fresh or innovative coming out of Disney. I think for you complaining about Disney has become your favorite sport …

“The difference between you and me is that the public actually agrees with me.”

It’s a viewpoint that deserves a response – at least partly because “Anonymous” has misinterpreted my stance, or I have not done a particularly good job at making it.

I absolutely do not want to “fossilize” Disney or turn it into a museum. Such a thought is anathema. Indeed, the references “Anonymous” makes to Walt Disney are ones I would use to show why “fossilizing” is exactly the wrong thing to do.

The reader is right that Disney “has to innovate and evolve,” and that such pursuits are “in its DNA.” So why, I wonder, has the company spent so much time going against its nature? Where is today’s “folly”? Disney is doing nothing but playing it safe, creating entertainments that are harmless enough but hardly memorable.

I stick to my belief that Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was mediocre. The first movie was brilliant: Engaging, fun and original, despite being an adaptation. (Let’s not forget it also was a movie no one expected to succeed; coming off of The Country Bears, the concept of a movie based on a theme-park attraction was laughable and even Disney, which barely licensed the movies or got promotional partners on board, doubted its prospects.) But instead of moving on, Disney’s resident marketing geniuses decided to sail forth with a sequel … no, two … wait, three! That’s absolutely the way today’s entertainment industry works. But remember when your mother used to ask, “If everyone jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, would you?” The lackluster Pirates 2 was Disney’s attempt to be like everyone else, instead of following the “Walt model” of taking some extraordinary profits and doing something even more extraordinary with them.

As for the Disney Channel, once again I can’t fault the logic “Anonymous” uses. Everyone wants to reach the ‘tween market, and if everyone wants to do it, it must be right, right? Nevermind that in Disney’s case, anecdotal evidence holds that pre-teen girls don’t watch Hannah Montana or High School Musical because they’re on the Disney Channel, they watch the Disney Channel because that’s where Hannah Montana and High School Musical are.

Disney covets this audience because everyone else does, and they can tell advertisers that Disney Channel reels ‘em in. What’s suspect is not only whether the kids care any more about Disney because of the shows, but also whether the kids are the “core” Disney audience, anyway.

We could debate endlessly about this “core” audience, but two things are of relevance to this particular blog and its readers: 1) If the thousands of 20-, 30- and 40-somethings who read this and other Disney blogsites are to be believed, they care passionately about Disney in a way that the fickle teen audience simply can’t; and 2) Disney’s zeal to capture that young audience has absolutely come at the expense of these most loyal fans.

Most companies would kill to have a fan base as active (particularly financially) as these “adult” Disney fans, and would do anything to ensure their satisfaction. By and large, Disney ignores them. I’ll go one step further: In many cases, Disney actively disdains them, actually criticizing them for their comments and observations and going out of its way (as in this year’s shareholder’s meeting) to ensure that they cannot participate in the management of the company that they own by virtue of those stock shares.

If Steve Jobs, now Disney’s largest single shareholder, had allowed Apple to disregard its most active users in this way, do you think the company would have experienced the rebound it did? Disney will gladly take $10,000 or $20,000 out of your pocket to sell you a timeshare (disclosure: I’ve never done that), just don’t expect any sort of special consideration for that move.

Certainly Disney could make small moves to make this constituency a little happier? (And judging by the way writers at sites such as Mouseplanet and Miceage write about Disney, they’re increasingly discontent with the company’s direction.) I would be the last person to advocate the “Vault Disney” concept to the exclusion of all else; but when there are five Discovery Channels, 11 HBOs and a bazillion Showtimes, couldn’t there be two Disney Channels? (Maybe three, if that EPCOT Channel could get underway!)

Fossilizing Disney is the last thing I’d advocate. A creative Disney? That’s something I’d like to see – one that doesn’t pre-package and pre-define the name “Disney” to mean pabulum for kids and pre-teens.

The 1970s and early 1980s have long been considered the leanest years for Disney. But, wait a second. If that Disney acted like today’s Disney, we’d still be riding theme-park attractions based on The Black Hole, The $1,000,000 Duck, The Fox and the Hound and The North Avenue Irregulars. But when it came to the theme parks, particularly, we got “Space Mountain,” “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad,” “America Sings,” “Mission to Mars,” Tokyo Disneyland and, of course, EPCOT Center. None of them (well, with the exception of the Tokyo park) were based on Disney movies, none of them were simple film-based attractions, all of them were complex, multi-sensory experiences that expanded the definition of “Disney” and showcased why no one could build a theme park the way Disney could.

Compared with them, “Monsters Inc.: Mike & Sully to the Rescue,” “Stitch’s Great Escape,” “Primeval Whirl” and “Sounds Dangerous” seem like third-rate efforts, at best – and this is putting them up against attractions created when Disney was supposedly at its most moribund and least creative.

That’s the Disney I want … one that doesn’t let anyone on the outside define what it is, one that doesn’t look to focus groups and exit surveys to figure out what it’s doing wrong and right, but decides on its own. I want Disney to become the company that excites and thrills me with something new and unexpected, not that meets my most scaled-down expectations by delivering yet another mediocre theme-park attraction based on a recent movie – or a mediocre movie based on a classic theme-park ride.

After 16 months of enduring more of the same from Disney, especially with its callous disregard for EPCOT’s creative spirit, I do not give Mr. Iger a break, any more than I or any other executive would get a break if we got paid $16 million but didn’t exceed every expectation that the company’s owners had for us. I’ve known many an executive, at Disney and elsewhere in the entertainment world, who was fired for performance less lackluster than Iger’s.

I’m not stupid – as an investment, Disney has been a good one in the past two years. (That said, I’m still waiting to make a profit on shares I purchased in 2000.) On that front, Disney has delivered. As a short-term investment, it’s been great. But for the long term? I have my serious doubts. It’s creating entertainment that is about as good as what it turned out in the late 1960s through the early 1980s, though it is marketing it much better. But well-marketed pabulum is still drivel.

Sure, the public likes it. If that’s all the justification you need, then you’ll get exactly the company you deserve.

I want Disney to be more than it is. I want it to look closely at itself and learn what once made it great – genuinely great. I want it to lead, to forge a new path, not simply to follow the grooves in the ground that were created by everyone else it’s following.

EPCOT is, for my money, the most visible symbol of today’s Disney: It’s financially successful, it’s becoming more and more like its competitors, and it’s a far cry from what it was just 10 years ago. I don’t want that EPCOT back and fossilized. I just want its spirit to be rekindled. I want EPCOT to amaze me. I want Disney to inspire me.

Anything less is a waste.


Anonymous said...

I agree with a lot of stuff that you say with a few exceptions. I think that as much as I hate the current crop of shows on that channel, the tween audience is the next generation of Disney fans. They don't have a Mickey Mouse Club, but they do have a High School Musical. They both work the same way, even though the latter lacks a certain mouse. Similarly, the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is similar to Davey Crockett, 20000 Leagues, or Zorro, in that it is an epic series which is innovative and extremely popular with most age groups. I don't know many people who thought Dead Man's Chest was better then the first (I do know more then one, though) but I also haven't met many people who would call it mediocre. Creatively speaking, the Pirates franchise is one of Disney's best assets, not just because it is no expenses spared popcorn adventure film, but because it funds other new creative areas for Disney to explore.

Captain Schnemo said...

....I also haven't met many people who would call [POTC2] mediocre.

The first movie was well-reviewed and popular. The second was only popular (check for objective confirmation).

Anonymous seems to think that copying the most profitable thing others are already doing is innovative. Change towards the end of providing low quality mass appeal product is not innovation.

As for the Disney Channel, they have found their niche, but they've also created an entire network of programming that adults find unwatchable. That's analogous to creating a highly popular porn network.

Anonymous said...

Just a few quick points. High School Musical and Hannah Montana definitely have Disney DNA, as did Lizzy McGuire before it. These are positive movies-shows that are not offensive to the adults. They have a little less “edge” to them than the real world has. Kids want to see older kids being…….sort of adults. Do you want that example to be the MTV’s “underage and engaged” (yes that is a real show) or Hannah Montana - a rock star worried about ditching her homework to go to a movie.

Parents are running from reality shows were people eat bugs as primetime entertainment. The name Disney means family entertainment.

As a parent, I love Disney channel for 2 reasons. The content rarely causes any concerns and the only advertisements are for Disney DVD’s and parks (which we would spend plenty on anyway). Nickelodeon pounds the kids with unending advertisements for crap nutrition and toys. It takes about a tenth of a second before hearing “I want that, I want that”.

My point is that Disney Channel is absolutely part of the Disney Brand (although it may not relate to the parks so much). Oh yeah and to the other parents I am aware of PBS, Discovery and other channels. I know telling kids no to commercials is a part of being a parent, and I know kids can see too much TV. Please save the flames.

Epcot82 said...

Hey Cliff, thanks for your comment. Do they have "Disney DNA"? Yeah, in the sense that they're contemporary versions of the kind of Annette-and-Tommy-centric entertainment Disney made as filler back in the 1960s. The key difference is that the Disney brand was neither harmed nor helped by those weak, teen-oriented comedies (and occasionally one broke out, like "The Shaggy Dog"), but they were not the basis of Disney's business back then. Today, Disney is presenting these mild efforts as "the new Disney." Again, my overall point is, Disney is much more than that, and should be trying a lot harder.

Keep the teen-oriented Disney Channel, absolutely! But why not augment it with additional Disney Channels that explore the other definitions of "Disney"?

By the way, the Nielsen ratings don't back up the idea that parents are "running away" from shows like Survivor, The Apprentice and The Amazing Race -- these are indeed considered "family entertainment," and are quite popular among many families with kids I know, too! That doesn't mean you have to like them or have your family watch them ... just in the same way that the popularity of, say, High School Musical on the Disney Channel doesn't necessarily mean I have to like what the Channel is doing!

Captain Schnemo said...

As a parent, I love Disney channel for 2 reasons. The content rarely causes any concerns and the only advertisements are for Disney DVD’s and parks (which we would spend plenty on anyway).

I notice that being entertained by the shows themselves didn't make the Top 2. Pick up some of the "Legacy" or "Treasures" Disney DVDs for entertainment that appeals to all ages, not simply children of a specific age.

If the best thing you can say about Disney entertainment is that it's safe and inoffensive, then they have failed on a massive scale.

Anonymous said...

I don`t think any true fan of the parks wants to `fossilize` them.

What I DO want however is the Atlantis water coaster (based on the film, not SeaWorld!), Poohs Honey Hunt, Journeys in Space, the Energy and Horizons updates we never had, Roger Rabbits Hollywood, Dick Traceys Crimestoppers (the EMV attraction, not the show), Italys Gondolas, Germanys Rhine River, Japans CV360 or Fuji, Switzerland, Denmark, Russia....

NOT Poohs playground, Mission:Space, Soarin`, Ellens Energy Adventure, Toy Story Mania, SGE, The Laugh Floor, Chester and Hesters and other 3rd rate attractions :)

Standing still would kill the parks. Moving forward led by accountants will ultimatley do the same. 20 years ago none of this would have happened.

Mr Banks said...

Don't let this typical argument scare you. This is another one of those takes from someone fixated on spreadsheets and 'facts'.

Millions of people may have gone to see Pirates of the Caribbean 2, but that doesn't make it a good film (it was an abysmal film) nor does it make it the right decision for Disney to make creatively.

As for the whole Disneyland / Epcot fossil/museum argument it's getting very old and very tired. As noted in "Disneyland is not a museum!" entry at Re-Imagineering, this is an argument meant to stifle debate, not engage in it.

Moving on...

Anonymous said...

Gosh, when I was a kid I thought the whole PLACE was one big playground! I just don't get why a playground qualifies as entertainment worthy of $65 a day? Given what it "replaced," this is like the Disney version of "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot." How boring and mundane.

Hey, I have no doubt it's fun for the kids, but if they need a playground and want to go there above anything else, maybe they weren't quite ready to visit Disney World?

I once saw two kids at Animal Kingdom who could not get enough of the trash cans. These weren't special trash cans, just your every day, rank and file trash cans, but these kids thought they were the greatest thing ever. Their parents couldn't get them to wait in line for "Dinosaur," because they wanted to play at the trash cans.

So, maybe what we need is a whole trash-can playground?

Seriously, if a kid (and it's ALL for kids, there's nothing family oriented about a playground!) needs and wants to visit a tricked-out playground, it may be that he's at Walt Disney World because his PARENTS wanted to go. Which gets back around to that whole "who's the audience" argument you guys were having....

Anonymous said...

Do you have kids?

Playgrounds are solidly family-oriented: The kids get unstructured run-around time and the parents get to sit down, which is exactly what each needs after touring from attraction to attraction for hours. You don't pay $65 to go to a playground all day, but you do benefit from a break, and nothing beats a good playground.

The Boneyard at Animal Kingdom is a godsend. My kids launched themselves at the jungle-gym structures, and...well, the moment we walked into the Boneyard, every single adult said "Ooooh," because the floor is soft. It's cushioned. That's important for a playground, of course (it may be required by law, come to think of it), but it's also amazing for your feet when you've been hoofing around the concrete pathways of a Disney park. And the Boneyard has nice themed "rock" outcroppings, which just-so-happen to be great places to sit. The climbing areas are mostly open scaffolding, so you can keep reasonable track of the little ones, and the entire area has a single entrance/exit that's easy to watch. Brilliant design. I'd bulldoze the Dino-Rama without a second thought, but the Boneyard could not be a more welcome stop.

Regarding Dead Man's Chest: It's visually spectacular, for sure, but it's a joyless film. It was cool-looking, but it wasn't fun. That's not entertainment, IMO.

Anonymous said...

(Note: By "open scaffolding," I don't mean "construction framework that you can fall out of from all directions." They're very open-looking, but they're remarkably well-enclosed for safety.)

Digital Jedi said...

"Anonymous" misses the point entirely by once again throwing out the "Disney is not a Museum" argument. I wonder how often we'll have to deflect the false implications of that statement?

For one thing, nostalgia is not the same thing as fossilization. And I'm quite concerned that so many people still mix and match and the two concepts. For starters, Disney is not MTV. MTV's business policy is "evolve or die". In the extreme, MTV lives up to this policy. Television shows on this channel are broadcast on borrowed time. Whether a series is successful or not, MTV caters to the most common and least desirable aspect of a young one's personality, by giving them bits of flash and little substance catering their short attention spans and the fact that they're not going to be their audience in the next few years anyway. It's a focused (and debatably close-minded) philosophy that caters to one demographic and one niche (albeit lucrative) market.

Whether this is a successful business strategy or not is not the point. The point is that this in NOT in Disney’s DNA. Disneyland, from it's' inception, was a place where "age relives fond memories of the past ... and ...youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future." If you look at Walt's words for what they are, there's a balance here that purists and "anti-museumists" alike tend to overlook. Disneyland, and World, were to be a delicate balance between evolution and restoration. Propagation and preservation. It was to be neither too much of one or too much of another, but since we inevitably have to look forward because life moves in that direction, we could dream and theorize about that future, while at the same time, reflect on the positive aspects of our past.

Never was this more beautifully executed then in the development of Epcot Center. Epcot was 50% a glimpse into all mankind's future and 50% a glimpse into mankind’s past. We were introduced, upon entrance into the park, to mankind's promise of wonder and technology, and later charmed by the history and culture of planet's rich history. Tomorrow and yesterday were not at odds with each other as some would seem to suggest they can only be. They were carefully and painstakingly set side by side in perfect aesthetic, architectural and philosophical harmony.

Epcot no longer attempts to maintain this harmony. And this is what angers us so much. Yes, we miss World of Motion, Horizons and the original Journey into Imagination. But the only reason we bring them up when talking about Disney foibles is not because we think the rides should have been wrapped in freezer bags, pickled and frozen. We bring them up because they were some of the last things Disney did right in the name of balance between the old and the new.

The attractions we miss are missed because what's replaced them is not only a poor substitute, but disruption of that balance. Test Track neither takes you into the future or the past, but it takes you into Orlando Florida. Mission:SPACE takes you into space, but does little to make you feel good about the prospect or make you dream of doing it again. The list of mismanagement goes on.

It's not about Disney evolving, it's about what Disney is evolving into.

>>>“The difference between you and me is that the public actually agrees with me.”<<<

Do they? Success of a product is not tantamount to the correctness or usefulness of that product. Remember when everyone, including the medical community, thought smoking was good for you? Especially Menthols? Turns out it wasn’t the greatest of ideas, and there’s still a thriving business that caters to its sale. And why is that? Because there are people that will still by it.

Now compare that to modern day Disney. Walt got us hooked on Disney years ago, only then we were hooked on a quality product. Now that he's gone and the suits have taken over, our addiction for this place is being abused. Of course Disney is making money on their theme parks, TV Channels and movies. Disney is capitalizing on the easiest paths to fortune, playing to, not only our addictions, but also to our children’s short attention spans and our audience's fickle hearts.

Evolution for Disney is not about catering to the standards of everyone else. Evolution for Disney is about setting that standard, and setting it remarkably higher. Walt, indeed, pushed forward, and everyone else in the entertainment industry tried desperately to keep up. Disney needs to be the trend center again, not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Re: Playgrounds. I agree it's a bad concept for Disney parks UNLESS it's executed in a way that allows children and parents to play together. I remember going to Tom Sawyer's Island as a kid and my parents were there on the rope bridge with me, doing the little obstacle courses, teaching me a little about Tom Sawyer while we enjoyed time together. Isn't that what Disney theme parks are supposed to be about? Didn't Walt get disgruntled at the whole "amusement park" concept when his kids were off doing things that "Daddy" couldn't do with them?

A straightforward playground is unimaginative (no matter how creatively executed) and exactly opposite from what was intended.

What I don't get is, Walt Disney laid out a very clear strategy for the parks, and the strategy was incredibly well executed up through the early 1990s -- then MBAs and lawyers took over, and everything became about "marketing" and "safety," rather than imagination and fun. There is a way for the two opposing sides to work together ... if you doubt me, just look at Disney theme parks from 1955 to 1995! EPCOT is just one of the parks that went south about that time; I feel all of the U.S. parks began losing their luster as Disney tried to make them more and more alike and remove the little touches (Skyway, elements of Tom Sawyer's Island, slow-moving ride-throughs at EPCOT) in order to satisfy the lawyers and make the parks more "marketable" (that is, like everything else).

Pandering to the lowest-common-denominator is a surefire way to lose the creative spark. We're seeing that at Disney parks.

When a playground can be considered an "attraction," we're in dire straits. If the kids need some time off, take them back to the hotel, take 'em over to Tom Sawyer's Island or get 'em to a water park. But don't build yet another thing that EVERYONE can't enjoy.

Digital Jedi said...

>>> Playgrounds are solidly family-oriented: The kids get unstructured run-around time and the parents get to sit down, which is exactly what each needs after touring from attraction to attraction for hours. You don't pay $65 to go to a playground all day, but you do benefit from a break, and nothing beats a good playground. <<<

The concept of Disneyland brought families together in a unique way. Kids wanted to stay with their parents and parents wanted to stay with their kids. Seeing the park through your children’s eyes was part and parcel of the wondrous family experience.

Sadly, the Bone Yard is just one aspect of what's wrong with Disney's modern day philosophies. While it wins points for themeing and style, it also perpetuates the idea that, on a day that is supposed to be dedicated to being about the family, that we still need a break from them at some point during that day. That for one day out of thousands, we can't actually enjoy every aspect of the park together, as a unit. There are places where playgrounds fit in and there are places where they don't fit in. Disney Parks are some of them. I mean, can you imagine a playground smack dab in the middle of Future World?

Epcot82 said...

Don't start giving them ideas, Digital Jedi! ;-)

Yes, I totally agree with you. The execution isn't in question, it's the overall concept. Besides, what about the large percentage of adults without children and teenagers who visit the parks? They're completely shut out of these areas. Imagine the uproar if Disney opened a section that was ONLY for those aged 40 and older?

Anonymous said...

I mean, can you imagine a playground smack dab in the middle of Future World?

Yes, and you've got several right there under your nose: The swirling fiber-optic sidewalk lights. The jumping water in front of Imagination. The fountain-out-of-the-ground in the west side of the walkway to World Showcase. Everyone can enjoy these; nobody's excluded -- and, for those so inclined, it's a chance for parents to sit down, breathe, and watch the kids have fun playing for a little while.

If kids run around in a defined area, playing in an unstructured manner with specially-built features, it's a playground, no? Leave it to Epcot to provide playgrounds that you don't even think of as playgrounds. They're integrated into the landscape. They're not "attractions." They could just be art, for all you care when you're just walking by -- but you can have fun with them if you choose, and you'll find others playing with you. And there's no age limit. And that, it seems to me, is the true genius of Future World that we are so alarmed to see fall by the wayside.

That said, even relatively normal playgrounds are, for certain visitors, as useful and important as restaurants or water fountains or bathrooms. The Boneyard is a remarkably good playground. Is it Epcot? Hell, no. I wish it were. I wish Disney would give the other parks such ingeniously, seamlessly integrated, all-inviting play areas.

But, unless and until that happens, I'll defend the Boneyard, and (since I still need to see it for myself) I'll give the benefit of the doubt to Pooh's Playful Spot.

Captain Schnemo said...

>>>“The difference between you and me is that the public actually agrees with me.”<<<
Do they?

Sadly, I think the answer is yes. It's not that the masses don't like quality, they simply don't require it to be entertained and, more importantly, to spend loads of cash.

Now, I don't think Disney succeeded in spite of the quality of the product, only that the quality is not necessary. Most people are quite happy with empty spectacle (witness POTC2, the recent Star Wars films, etc.).

The only reason Disney was special in the past (and the reason there are blogs like this) is because the desire to produce content of superlative content came from within the company. There was no outside force pushing them to go the extra mile. Capitalism doesn't work that way -- the rule is to maximize profits with minimum input, not to produce the best possible product for intangible reasons.

There are two paths to huge is easy and one is hard. That's why it's so difficult to get Disney to do "the right thing" now, because the easy path is demonstrably as profitable as the hard, risky path.

Once you get outside of Disney Blog World, you find people who think Test Track is just a hoot and up to Disney-level standards. (It's clean-looking, flashy, expensive, and inoffensive.)

As for the playgrounds, Disneyland was explicitly created because Walt noticed that in typical amusement parks, parents sat on benches and watched their children have fun, instead of sharing the experience. Thus, kiddie playgrounds (and extreme thrill rides) are both anathema to Disney parks.

Anonymous said...

"NOT Poohs playground, Mission:Space, Soarin`, Ellens Energy Adventure, Toy Story Mania, SGE, The Laugh Floor, Chester and Hesters and other 3rd rate attractions"

Mission Space and Soarin are not 3rd rate attractions. Soarin is a clone from DCA, but it's a great clone. Much in the spirit of Splash Mountain (in justification of it's cloning), it is a fascinating ride that fits thematically and is deservedly popular. Mission Space is not a third rate ride. It isn't right for Epcot, but taken as a thrill ride it is pretty good. (I am defending the ride, not it's placement in Epcot.) The Laugh Floor and Toy Story Mania aren't open yet, so it is premature to call them 3rd rate.

I also disagree with all the Pirates 2 bashing. It is more then empty spectacle. It is a bit safe, but it isn't entirely. Remember the scene where Will's father is forced to give him the cat of 9 tails? There was several things in that movie that involved emotional decisions. Doom Will to go down with the ship? Compare that to rewriting history to allow Davey Crockett to survive the Alamo. I understand that Pirates 2 isn't everyone's cup of tea, but most people do like it a lot.

It sounds like I'm disagreeing with a lot that's being said here, but I'm not. For the most part, with the exception of the above, I agree whole heartedly.

Digital Jedi said...

St. Chris said:
>>>Yes, and you've got several right there under your nose: The swirling fiber-optic sidewalk lights. The jumping water in front of Imagination. The fountain-out-of-the-ground in the west side of the walkway to World Showcase. Everyone can enjoy these; nobody's excluded -- and, for those so inclined, it's a chance for parents to sit down, breathe, and watch the kids have fun playing for a little while.

Well, that was sort of my point. Those are not playgrounds like the Bone Yard. This is a place for everyone. No demographic is targeted or excluded. Grandma can jump in if she really wants to. But you wont likely see her hanging from the Jungle Gym.

The matter is not if you don't care to jump around with your kids, or if you just need to sit and rest. The matter is that you have the option to do so. Not have the decision made for you by only having one.

You don't have to defend playgrounds, because that's not what's in question here. What's in question is could they have a done a better job with the Boneyard? As always, I expect more from Disney. Not something that I can find in any small town shopping mall.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the props for Tokyo Disneyland, Disney cannot really take the credit for it, other than for licensing the concept to the Oriental Land company which actually built it (and Tokyo DisneySea, which was actually wholly conceived and constructed by Oriental Land).

Tragically, Tokyo Disneyland is now embroiled in an "only in Japan" type of scandal:

Anonymous said...

I mean, can you imagine a playground smack dab in the middle of Future World?

Well, yeah -- that's kind of a cool idea!

Hrundi V. Bakshi said...

I'd take "Vault Disney" back in an hour or 2 block every Monday thru Friday (or for a few hours Sunday nights for that matter) in a heart beat.

More WALT Disney please.

Epcot82 said...

I hope THAT happens!