27 March 2008

It's time we're aware

Guest response drives Disney. It may seem like I am reaching here, especially when we have lost such fine attractions as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which had tremendous support, but bear with me. There was a time when we were listened to, if you can think back to the opening of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, when guests arrived at a pirate-less park, they were outraged. Disney had thought that Floridians were not interested in something that had happened just down the coast from them, and that they had a personal history with. But, the overwhelming response from guests forced Disney to sideline a massive project in Frontierland, the Western River Expansion, in order to bring about an East Coast version of the much-loved Pirates of the Caribbean.

What I am getting at is a topic I have shied away from, until now. With the recent confirmation of the changes coming to Disneyland’s it’s a small world, I think now is the time to let our voices be heard. This attraction, created for UNICEF for the 1964 World’s Fair, featuring one of the most (insert recognizable or annoying here) songs every created, has become a classic. While I do not wish for the parks to ever become a museum to the way things were, and I do believe that it’s a small world may need some TLC, I also believe in upholding the core values intrinsic in a classic attraction. For the record, adding stylized characters, such as Stitch and Alice, does not uphold these values.

Below is the article from the L.A. Times and the letter by Mary Blair’s family. I only ask that you take some time to read over both the article and the letter. Then, if you feel so inclined, I have also included the address to Disneyland’s Guest Relations, so that you may write them a letter. I know I will.

LA Times

Blair Family Letter

Disneyland Guest Relations
1313 Harbor Boulevard
Post Office Box 3232
Anaheim, CA 92803

UPDATE: For those of you looking for more resources on the project, as well as what you can do, head for the Save the Rainforest, Save the Small World

12 comments:

Drew said...

A website has also been launched.

SavetheSmallWorld.com

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

I was actually just postint that as an update as you commented. Thanks for helping out Drew!

Nero2007 said...

First they took over "Pirates of the Caribbean" to include Jack Sparrow. I guess that was unnecessary. Now they want to change IASW. I hope they let our "World" in peace!!!

KINGCRAB said...

The DL Small World changes are only rumors!

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

KINGCRAB - The changes were only rumors, which is why I stayed away from the topic. Last week, and again this weekend, the rumors were confirmed in the LA Times.

KINGCRAB said...

Rumors or not, the obsessed fans, IMO, still need to shut up and get lives!

They're a nuisance and only hurt the Disney fan community rather than elevate it.

Personally, I'm still going to take the rumors as rumors until an official press release or something confirms them.

KINGCRAB said...

And another thing...

The company still listens to the general public, whether you think so or not.

Just because you don't always get what you want doesn't mean that they're ignoring you.

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

While I appreciate your passion and perspective, I would ask that you please find more suitable language to use when commenting in the future.

When the LA Times quotes Imagineering officials, I consider that to be confirmation. From the article in the Sunday LA Times Business section, "Walt Disney Imagineering spokeswoman Marilyn Waters said a number of familiar characters would appear in "stylized" form in the overhauled ride and placed into appropriate countries. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are not part of the plan, she said."

The original article actually states, and I quote, "Guest response drives Disney." I never stated that they didn't listen, I stated quite the opposite actually.

KINGCRAB said...

When the LA Times quotes Imagineering officials, I consider that to be confirmation. From the article in the Sunday LA Times Business section, "Walt Disney Imagineering spokeswoman Marilyn Waters said a number of familiar characters would appear in "stylized" form in the overhauled ride and placed into appropriate countries. Mickey and Minnie Mouse are not part of the plan, she said."

Well, she also said that any changes to DL's IaSW will not mirror the new HKDL version of the attraction.

So, it sounds to me that if DL's IaSW is going to indeed get stylized versions of Disney characters, they'll probably be extremely minimal compared to HKDL and may be limited to characters from films that Mary Blair herself worked on (Alice in Wonderland, etc.), resulting in the unnamed "children of the world" and the subtle world peace messages still dominating the attraction.

I also can't see them removing the rainforest scene for a North America one either--for one thing, the space in that section of the attraction is way too small for a larger scene like that to be installed and it'd be a waste of money, especially considering the fact that they hide the rainforest scene with black curtains when they do the holiday overlay anyway.

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

I agree, I don't think that we will see changes as drastic as those the version in HKDL saw. My opinion is that I don't see the benefit of refurbishing iasw in this manner, at least not DLs version. I could understand this in any of the other versions of the attraction that were created after the original, better than I comprehend these changes.

As for the rainforest, there hasn't been any confirmation, to my level of statisfaction, to make a judgement on. While I feel it would be boorish to destroy a representation of a rainforest and to replace it with renderings of North America, I also think that the talents in Imagineering have more between their ears than that.

KINGCRAB said...

My opinion is that I don't see the benefit of refurbishing iasw in this manner, at least not DLs version. I could understand this in any of the other versions of the attraction that were created after the original, better than I comprehend these changes.

Who knows?

Perhaps when the updates are unveiled to the general public, they'll turn out better than what many purists are thinking.

Besides, other similar attraction enhancements were met with similar pessimism in the past (Pirates, for example) and even though some remained stubborn in their beliefs after the changes were unveiled, many had a change of heart and started praising them.

After all, despite what some naysayers think, not everything is done for commercial reasons and to sell merchandise or whatever.

-- Ryan P. Wilson said...

Again, I see your point. In the end, no matter what the changes are, you can accept them and move on, or you can't and it becomes your own personal problem.

Pirates ended up being, at least in my humble opinion, an almost seemless addition and one that I enjoy. Public outcry returned Figment to his attraction, though in a much different capacity. Refurbishment and refreshment have their place, otherwise the parks would be museums, and that could lead to Walt Disney's worst nightmare, that one day no one shows up.

I can't say now what I will think of the attraction when it reopens, I haven't seen it yet to make such a judgement. All I know is that I rather not see these changes, and if we can't raise our voices in protest of something as small as an attraction at DL then how will we ever learn to use our voices on the real life issues that matter.