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Rainworks!

May 22, 2015 Leave a comment

I’m very curious by nature, which plays along nicely with my Disney fascination. As such, I occasionally run across things that I find interesting and I think, “hey, Disney should take a look at this“. Today, I found just such an idea. Take a look and see if you agree:

With the rain that central Florida gets almost every day in the summer time, this would be an incredible idea to do in the parks, at the resorts, around pools, etc. etc.

They already do something similar in the parks, in almost a reverse kind of way with soap and water. Disney artists, masquerading as custodians can be found on occasion drawing characters on the sidewalks (see video below). So, why not do this in more of a permanent kind of way. It would be just another of those “hidden magic” items you find at Disney, only these would “magically” appear when it rains.

You can see more about Rainworks at:  http://rain.works/

The Failure of Epcot

October 8, 2014 2 comments

In response to a recent post on Screamscape regarding Epcot’s failure.

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I believe Epcot’s “failure” began a long time ago, when the remaining execs at Disney launched the idea and began building the park. It was an idea that I think existed solely in the mind of its creator, Walt Disney, and nobody in the company had the vision or any idea of how to bring it to reality. So, they came up with this idea, that wasn’t bad really, and had some merit, but lacked a true leader who was charismatic enough to make it successful. Businesses and even some countries bought in to it, only because of the Disney name, which was known for several successful ventures prior. However, as they quickly found out, this wasn’t exactly an idea that Walt dreamed up, and it didn’t have the kind of creative vision and sustaining entertainment value that the public would embrace more than once. Without this, the park soon began to falter and they started tweaking the model to try and stem the flow of bad press, attract guests and hopefully have them return. But, once word got out that it was a dull and boring place with little entertainment value, crowds died down, businesses turned away as did the flow of money to sponsor attractions and pavilions due to little or no return for their contributions. Which is kind of where we are today. Without major investors willing to commit millions of dollars for essentially advertising, not too many are willing to jump in with Disney. The name is no longer known for success and more importantly, investing in a Disney park provides very little return for a company.

So, where did it all go wrong? In my opinion, it was the death of Walt that killed the idea of Epcot. In the absence of a charismatic visionary who could lead the company and sell its successes in such a way that businesses would eagerly buy into and even line up to be a part of, it became more of an expense for the companies that did buy in rather than an investment that yielded returns as well as recognition. Without investors to help fund the parks and attractions, Disney is left developing and funding them out of their own pockets, which means they have to find something suitable and entertaining enough to draw the public in order to produce a quick return on their investment. Good or bad, this means that many of the attractions are going to be based on pop-culture or current, proven entertainment media such as movies like Frozen or even Avatar, because, developing and building original attractions and stories is expensive and a risk that nobody wants to gamble millions of dollars on.

That’s not to say that I’m displeased with what’s happening, I’m just a little let down. Because, like many, I liked the idea of Epcot, and specifically World Showcase, a place where you could get a small taste of a variety of real cultures from around the world. But, in the spirit of Walt’s famous words about Disneyland, I know that Epcot (as well as all the parks) will never be completed and will continue to grow and change, based on imagination and the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar.

File:Lindbergh.JPG

Categories: Randomness Tags: , , , ,

Observations

May 28, 2013 1 comment

I recently returned from a 4-day trip to WDW following 3 days on board the Disney Dream. As luck would have it, my last two days at WDW weren’t the best, due in part by a chest cold I picked up.

Here’s a few observations I made during the trip, that Disney could take and use to improve the parks and resorts, even if only marginally.

Hand Sanitizer

One thing that we encountered on the Dream that was new to us was the abundant use of hand sanitizer wipes at the entrance to every restaurant.  I remember hearing they had started this a while back to reduce outbreaks of noro/rotovirus like those that have hit many cruise ship passengers over the past few years. What I find curious though is why Disney hasn’t extended this same practice to the parks and resorts, or even the restaurants on property. I realize it costs money to provide this as a service, but it just seems like it would be a big help in potentially saving some guests’ vacation from ruin. I won’t go so far as to blame the lack of hand sanitizers on my own sickness, but whose to say that it wouldn’t have helped in preventing it?

Water bottle fill stations
Numerous times throughout the trip, I witnessed and partook of myself, an attempt at re-filling a water bottle I had purchased earlier. I know Disney offers free cups of ice water at most every restaurant and counter that serves drinks, however, I would prefer to keep my water bottle so I can have it available when I need it while standing in line or just enjoying the parks. Besides, most of the time, the cups of water they offer are very small and flimsy and don’t travel well. Surely there’s a better way to handle this Disney.

Exit at DHS after Fantasmic

The last night were at WDW, we hopped over to DHS to see the 10:00pm showing of Fantasmic! And while I think this show is still sub-par in comparison to its Disneyland counterpart, it’s still an enjoyable way to cap a night or even a trip. One thing I noticed though, that they’ve been doing for quite a while, is in regards to the routing of guests leaving the show. We arrived at the park just after 8pm while the first showing was still playing and noticed they had the gates open beside the service station to the right, immediately after the entrance gates for guests leaving. Oddly, when we left the 10pm show, these same gates were not opened, which would have shortened our walk, allowing us to exit the park instead of being re-routed to Sunset Boulevard. If I had to guess, I would say they do this to encourage guests to spend more at the shops that are still open, but to a cold, tired and grumpy guest who’s not feeling well (as was I), these extra steps just add to the frustration and maybe even slight dis-satisfaction.

Exit Magic Kingdom
Another example of poor exit routing that has puzzled me over the years still exists at MK and of course, we experienced it. When leaving MK late at night, many times they will only open a few turnstiles/lanes on the far right side (walking toward the lake) for exiting. We just so happened to exit Town Square via the left tunnel nearest Town Square Theater and then were “kindly” routed to the far right where we were able to walk through a turnstile. Unlike the exit at DHS where there were  gift shops to pass thru, there is NOTHING here, so it really doesn’t make any sense to me. Perhaps it’s manpower issue or something else, but for guests heading to the busses, and thinking they can save a few steps by going thru the left tunnel, but then being re-directed to the other side only to have to traverse back the other way to the left to reach their transportation completely baffles me, and truth be told it kind of made me angry too considering I was already tired and not feeling well.
 
I know all of these are minor, and in some sense the rants of a somewhat exasperated (grumpy) fan of the parks, mostly due to not feeling well. None of these are really of the effect that they would make me not want to go back, nonetheless, they are irritants that seemingly could be easily fixed to make for a much better experience, not just for myself, but maybe a few other occasionally grumpy fans.
 
How about you? What irritants have you found at Disney that don’t make sense, and might have just made your vacation a little better, aside from long lines of course.

NextGen Peeps

November 2, 2012 Leave a comment

If you’ve been around the Disney fan community within the last 2 years, you’ve likely heard about Disney’s NextGen project. If not, just Google it. In short, it’s a big project they’ve come up with to try and take the parks into the Next Generation, some of which involves the use of RFID technology. A particular implementation of this seems to be moving toward the use of a bracelet worn by guests while at WDW. Wirelessgoodness.com, reported last month such a device that has been submitted to the FCC for approval.

Now, I’m neither pro nor con on the bracelets and other new technologies that Disney is testing, including a more advanced version of FastPass which will allow guests to pre-select passes before they even get to WDW, called FastPass+. From everything I’ve seen and what’s been rumored, I think it all sounds pretty neat and should hopefully make for a better park experience. However, a funny/quirky thought occurred to me today about how much the new technology might emulate the peep (guest) control and information that was available in Chris Sawyer’s popular Roller Coaster Tycoon games. Several years ago when the first version of this game came out, and the second, I played for hours on end trying to build and manage the perfect parks and attractions. If you’re familiar with the game, then you should remember there were multiple aspects which you could monitor guests on.

 

Roller Coaster Tycoon Guest Levels:

  • Overall Happiness
  • Energy
  • Hunger
  • Thirst
  • Nausea
  • Bathroom

Other Guest Information:

  • Time in the Park
  • Preferred ride intensity
  • Rides they’ve ridden
  • Money spent/available
  • Recent thoughts
  • Carrying – purchases

Below is a screenshot from the game showing the overall guest thoughts, an aerial shot of a guest, the levels, rides they’ve been on, money spent/available, recent thoughts, and then what they’re carrying.
Roller Coaster Tycoon 2 Guest View

Of the stats that RCT was able to provide, I think Disney, with this new tech, might be able to ascertain the following:
  • Time in the Park
  • Preferred ride intensity (favorites?)
  • Rides ridden
  • Money spent/available (optional, if using for purchases)
  • Other?

While some in the fan community have argued that much of this information is personal/private and they don’t want Disney “peeking” into their life while in the parks, I don’t necessarily see the harm. I understand it may be seen as invasive, but I really don’t see how they could use this information in any foul manner. At the worst, they will use it to figure out a way to get me to spend more money. But, at the best, I see them looking at the data to find a way to make the parks more enjoyable. Of course, in the end their efforts/intent would probably be an attempt to get me to spend more money.

National Volunteer Day

November 2, 2010 Leave a comment

I thought since elections are taking place today, it might be a good idea to re-post this.

Vote for Mickey button

Today is voting day here in Texas and many other states, and while I was thinking about who and what I’m voting for, I had the thought that it would be really cool if it were a holiday. Then, that led me to wonder how I would spend it. I’m too far away to take a day trip to Disney, buuut… what if our government could offer some sort of incentive to citizens who voted and volunteered, kind of like how Disney had the Give a day, Get a day celebration. I know, I know, there’s probably some legal ramifications and all, but just go with me here, we’re Imagineering.

They could call it National Volunteer Day, or Citizenship Day or Patriot’s Day, or something along those lines. It would require a state or national law to make it happen, but here’s how I think it should work, if it ever became reality.

  • Once or twice a year, or on voting day, there would be a national holiday set aside
  • Students in college and grade school would get the day off, and of course banks, post offices, etc. Optionally, they could issue extra credit for student involvement
  • All private businesses would be optional, but there would be tax incentives to both the business and employees who participated
  • Local and state governments would be responsible for organizing volunteer teams and organization
  • Businesses, churches, local organizations, schools could sign up for tasks around the community
  • Businesses or organizations that contributed supplies, food or equipment to be used during the national day would receive a tax incentive

Projects could include:

  • Road-side cleanup
  • Parks and recreation areas
  • Schools
  • Local community centers
  • Low income areas
  • Other?

It’s a crazy idea, yes, but it’s also a good idea too because it gets people involved in their communities. I think about the early days of our nation, and I’ve read how people in their communities and townships used to pitch in and work together to help build community buildings and even each other’s buildings including houses and barns. I don’t know what this was like, I’ve only seen it portrayed in numerous movies, but I’m hoping and guessing it was as much fun as most films portray. I have, however, personally witnessed this kind of community involvement and people pulling together and helping one another. Almost 2 years ago after hurricane Ike came thru Houston and left a mess of debris, interrupted power and lives for a week or more, I saw people working together cleaning up, lending things to each other, sharing power, food, water and all kinds of things. It should have been a time of stress and woe, but for me and my family and our friends and neighbors it was actually a time of great fellowship and brotherhood where we spent quality time with each other that I haven’t seen since the power was restored.

I would go so far as to say that during this time in our nation when we’re struggling financially, and many are out of work or struggling to make ends meet, something like this is just what we need to restore pride in our country and ourselves.

Regardless of whether this idea is ever considered or made a national holiday, everyone should go vote, it’s what our forefathers fought so hard for!

Categories: Imagineering, Randomness Tags: ,

Funny Business

July 5, 2010 Leave a comment

I hope your 4th of July weekend was better than mine. I spent a long grueling weekend at my in-laws house in Montgomery, AL cleaning out a storage building about the equivalent size of a 4-car garage, plus attic. The building contained furniture and other artifacts from 3 different families from over 30 years. However, as bad as it sounds, it wasn’t a total loss. In the melee of the cleaning this mess, I stumbled upon a small treasure chest. See pics below.

 Disney Comics 001 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 188, May 1956

Disney Comics 002 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 195, December 1956

Disney Comics 003 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 186, March 1956

Disney Comics 004 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 212, May 1958

Disney Comics 005 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 197, February 1957

Disney Comics 006  Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge, No. 9, Mar-May 1955

Disney Comics 010 Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, No. 190, July 1956

Disney Comics 013 Walt Disney’s Duck Album, No. 649, 1955

Disney Comics 014 Walt Disney’s Donald Duck, No. 68 Nov-Dec 1959

Then there was this one. It’s in pretty bad shape, but it’s a full length comic of Sleeping Beauty published in 1959.

Disney Comics 007

Here’s one that was pretty neat. Mickey Mouse No. 47, published in 1956. I’m not sure who the “mini Mickey’s” are, flying the kites, they’re not in this comic anywhere.

Disney Comics 008

And, finally, Walter Lantz’ Oswald the Rabbit, No. 792, published in 1957.

Disney Comics 009

I have no idea what (if anything) these are worth, but they sure made my day finding them.

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Happy Anniversary to Ricky @ Inside The Magic

April 12, 2010 Leave a comment

A BIG Thanks and Happy anniversary to Ricky Brigante and his crew at Inside the Magic. Ricky is celebrating 5 years of his podcast this week and was kind enough to host myself and many others in the Disney community at ITM-Con. If you’re not familiar with them, check it out at: http://www.insidethemagic.net/

Also, listen to this weeks show, which he’s calling ITM-Con.  But be warned, it’s 2 hours and 30 minutes long!


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