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Monday Mouse Watch: "The fans really need to lighten up"

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Monday Mouse Watch: "The fans really need to lighten up"

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It has become the kneejerk reaction of many members of the on-line Disneyana community. Essentially the default position for every hardcore web-based Disney weenie out there.

What am I talking about? Whenever the Walt Disney Company announces that it will soon begin rehabbing some structure at the theme parks (EX: The old Circlevision 360 building in the Tomorrowland section of WDW's Magic Kingdom that previously housed the "Timekeeper" show) to make room for some brand-new attraction (I.E. "Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club"), it is almost inevitable that the most vocal members of the on-line Disneyana community will immediately begin bitching about:

  • What a huge tragedy this is.
  • How Walt would have never allowed this to happen.
  • About how cheap the Walt Disney Company has become over the past few years.
  • Most importantly, how they long for the days when the Mouse was actually willing to spend the money necessary to build really decent rides, shows and attractions for the parks.
 

If you'll check out the discussion boards over at WDWMagic, LaughingPlace, MouseInfo, MiceAge, MousePlanet ... Hell, even here at JHM in the TalkBacks that you'll find tacked onto the bottom of every article ... You'll see that I'm honestly not exaggerating. All too often, the on-line Disneyana community's initial reaction to any news about proposed changes at the Disney theme parks is to first attack that idea, then endlessly whine about that project in the weeks & months that lead up to the actual opening of that particular attraction.

Which perhaps explains why -- at the "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" premiere that was held at Disneyland back in May -- when a reporter asked Disney's new CEO about how he felt about the Disneyana community's reaction to the recent additions that WDI had made to that theme park's "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, Bob Iger was heard to reply:

"The fans really need to lighten up."

You remember what the initial on-line reaction was like when that proposed POTC change-out was first announced, right? When the news first broke that the Imagineers were considering adding Capt. Jack Sparrow to both the Disneyland & Walt Disney World versions of this theme park favorite ... Well, given how loudly the dweebs began howling, you would have thought that the Walt Disney Company was planning on adding a set of enormous Mouse Ears to the Lincoln Memorial. Seriously, there were Disney fans out there who actually compared this relatively minor addition to that attraction to desecration of a national monument.

Which was just plain silly. Particularly given how quickly Disneyana fans embraced this newly enchanced version of "Pirates of the Caribbean" once they actually got to ride the thing.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

That (according to several Disney insiders that I've spoken with about this matter) is what just makes Mouse House officials crazy when it comes to the Internet. That Disney's biggest fans -- those folks who spend hours studying the history of the corporation, who obsess over even the smallest pieces of Mouse-related minutiae -- are usually the quickest to condemn the company.

As one executive that I spoke with while prepping this article put it:

"I think that it's great that Disney has such a big fan base on the Web. Most companies would kill to have what we have. Truly dedicated customers who have such obvious passion when it comes to our films, TV shows, theme parks, characters and products.

But you know what I don't like? How quick the Web community is to judge the Walt Disney Company. How -- without really giving the public a chance to decide how it feels about a new ride or show for the parks -- the Web-based fans are already out there passing judgment. Quickly spreading the word about how awful a new attraction supposedly is.

That's one of the main reasons that I believe that 'Mission: SPACE' has such a lousy reputation now. Even before that Epcot attraction was officially open to the public, Disneyana fans were already on-line talking about how rough this new Future World ride was, how it was making people sick. Then the mainstream media picked up on that story. And -- as a direct result -- what was supposed to have been Disney's next franchise attraction then became this huge PR nightmare for the company.

This is why so many people in management now keep close tabs on what's being said about the company on the Web. Not because they actually enjoy seeing what Disneyana fans are saying. But because they want some advance notice when it comes to Disney's next PR crisis."

Of course, what also troubles Mouse House officials about the on-line Disneyana community is the massive disconnect between what the corporation's web-based fans are saying and how the general public actually feels about the Walt Disney Company.

Take -- for example -- adding those Johnny Depp AA figures to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride. Based on the significant number of negative comments that this proposed addition to POTC was getting on-line earlier this year, Disney execs were wondering if they had another "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" situation on its hands (To explain: Back in 1990, company officials found themselves awash in bad publicity when word leaked out that the Imagineers were planning on booting Mr. Lincoln out of the Main Street Opera House to make room for a West Coast edition of "Muppet Vision 3D." Orange County residents raised such a ruckus that WDI eventually abandoned its plans to evict Honest Abe. And -- as a direct result -- it would take another ten years 'til Kermit & Co. were finally allowed to set up shop at the Anaheim Resort. And even then this Muppet 3D movie couldn't be shown at Disneyland. It had to be screened over at DCA).


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

Anyway ... Getting back to those Johnny Depp AA figures: Disneyland officials were so concerned about the public's possible reaction to these proposed POTC additions that they actually did some guest survey work. And you know what they found out? That while the on-line Disneyana community was up in arms over this particular issue, the general public (I.E. Those folks who'd most likely buy a single day admission to that theme park, rather than purchase an annual pass to Disneyland) really couldn't care less. If anything, they were actually excited about being able to see Capt. Jack Sparrow the next time they rode through the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction.

Of course, in some cases, what the on-line Disneyana community is saying sometimes does serve as the canary in the coal mine. As in: Giving the Mouse its first real indication that something has gone seriously wrong. Which is why Disney officials do carefully monitor what's being said on the Web about the company's movies and theme parks. And when certain articles & postings get people's attention, they then quickly get forwarded to the Team Disney Burbank building.

I'm also told that -- over the past year or so -- Mickey has taken a much more pro-active approach when it comes to the Net. As in: Actually paying employees to go on-line and post at various Disney-related websites. So that the company can then put a much more positive spin out there on certain stories, get ahead of various PR crisises and even do some real-time damage control.

"And just who exactly is serving as the Mouse's unofficial mouthpieces to the on-line Disneyana community?," you ask. Sorry, but that would be telling. But -- based on what several company insiders have told me over the past few months -- I believe there are at least two of these individuals who currently post at prominent Disney-related websites.

Anyway ... That's a quick look at the Walt Disney Company's rather complicated relationship with its on-line Disneyana community. The corporation's on-going frustration with its web-based fans as well as the Mouse's recent attempts at doing some spin control.

Here's a question for you folks: Why do you suppose the public's perception of how the Walt Disney Company is doing so rarely matches up with what the on-line Disneyana community thinks?

Your thoughts?

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  • I agree in general, Jim.  But the Disneyana fans are also right on a number of times.  DCA, anyone?

    I think the last ten years of Eisner, Pressler and Braverman have soured the fans as to what to expect.  I know a lot of people don't like the "Pirate Island" makeover of TSI, but I think it is ripe with great possiblities.

    Sometimes peoples nostalgia can blind them to the real world.  Even the "real" world of Disney, but the company needs to understand that the global world we live in doesn't let them hide the shortcuts they wind up giving their American fans.  Afterall, you don't have to go to Japan to see the contrast of Tokyo Disneysea.  You don't even have to go on the internet.

    You just have to go to California Adventure...

  • First thing The online community hides behind thier Screenname. The Walt Disney Company cant get face to face to you or pull you aside to speak to you online. Therefore people say what they want, how they want because all they are is a screenname.

    Most of the online comunity are "purists" that would be perfectly happy with Disney in the past. Notice I said MOST not all. I welcome change. I dont always agree with it, but I am not in charge so really theres nothing I can do about it.  

    Lets use the Living Seas at Epcot for an example. When the WDC announced that nemo was coming to The Living Seas. I said NO not nemo, why the hell are they doing to that. I liked Sea Base Alpha. But then came to the realization that I guess it is a good match. I mean If they can possibly bring the dead Seas Pavillion back then Why not nemo. Nemo lives in the sea, So I can see where they could possibly go with this.  I quicky found out I was in the minority with my thinking in most of the Disney forums. They were slamming the new ride before it was done. hell some of the folks that were trashing the ride before it opened actully apologised for trashing it and said they liked it when they rode it. When the ride opened I was there to ride and thought it was a cute ride. It is bringing people to the pavillion so thats a good thing.

    I still think most people hide behind thier screen name so people dont know who they are in real life.

    Im Tired of hiding im Robert Bish. Who are all of you?

  • Another question might be - Why do you suppose the executive boardroom's perception of how the Walt Disney Company is doing so rarely matches up with what the on-line Disneyana community and the general public thinks? An obvious answer is the company is no longer being run by a showman - it is run by accountants. You can get the same financial results, but not the same artistic results. Bonuses are far more important than entertainment - I guess that's what happens when it's somebody else's name on the door.

    When I hear members of the general public talk - the park isn't "as much fun", the company "is always selling", and the movies "aren't as good as they used to be." Members of the general public don't give the detailed answers that the dweebs can, but the sentiment is the same.

    Anyone who has ever run a business that depends on the general public, knows that the business has a small percentage of high-volume purchasers of the product or service. As a business owner, you ignore the feedback from this segment of your business at your own peril. They will give you the most information on your product, and how it appears to purchasers. It is the difference between aiming for excellence or just good enough. Accountants aim for just good enough. When you start blaming custmers for your problems, well that's a whole other story.

    After several years of drought, a highly-placed executive has an impressive showman background. The dweebs are happy. The accountants need to open the purse strings and shoot for excellence, while the webmasters really need to lighten up.

  • It doesn't matter which way the online community goes.  Disney is a company; they are still selling things and experiences to customers, some of whom make up this online community.  Customers have a right to voice their dissent, Disney should get used to it.  It's not going to change just because it upsets them.

  •  imagineerwarrior said:

    I agree in general, Jim.  But the Disneyana fans are also right on a number of times.  DCA, anyone?

    I know im in the minority here but I talked crap about DCA when it was being built. I saw it as the worst thing the WDC ever did. Ya wanna know something I was WRONG. I fell in love with DCA. I actully stopped going to Disneyland and found myself going to DCA all the time.

    The best thing DCA has going for itself is IT IS NOT DISNEYLAND. Gone were the cramped feeling one gets in Disneyland. The Feeling that hey look if we take out this planter we could put up a new merch cart. After walking around DCA for an afternoon one cant help but feel closterphobic/sp? in Disneyland. I actully enjoyed the open area of DCA. was this because i had an annual pass to disneyland for 15 straight years before DCA opened? I dont know but i found DCA a refreshing change. Again I am in the minority here and I know that. But someone has to stick up for the Disney/MGM studios of the west.

  • "Why do you suppose the public's perception of how the Walt Disney Company is doing so rarely matches up with what the on-line Disneyana community thinks?"

    First off, I don't think there's a difference in public perception -- only in the amount of time that perception takes hold with the public in general.  When it comes to the Disney Company, there's a good cross section of the public that simply enjoys the Disney brand -- and there's another cross section of the public for whom the Disney brand means more than just, well, a brand.

    What you have with Disney is something special.  Something unique.  Just how many movie studios/companies have such a dedicated, loyal fan base?  Does MGM?  Warner?  Microsoft?  DuPont? . . .  And under the efforts of which Disney executive was the largest percentage of that fan base earned?  Walt?  Ron?  Michael?  Bob?...  

    Guest surveying someone who's at the moment enjoying their stay at the "Happiest Place on Earth" is somewhat, well, useless.  Chances are, they're tickled pink to be there and they have a trust the company knows what it's doing.  After all, Disneyland's still the "Happiest Place on Earth".  The on-line community (peopled with folks who take the time to register, post, and keep themselves up to date on the Company) -- well, they know the Company isn't so infallible.  I mean, can the Company really argue against the fact it's made some real lackluster decisions the past ten years?  They lost the benefit of the doubt some time ago.

    "Actually paying employees to go on-line . . .  So that the company can then put a much more positive spin out there . . ."

    Wow.  Awkward.  The bad PR surrounding Mission:Space would've probably gone away were it not for real-life situations painting it black.  Or safety issues occuring at Big Thunder the year before.  Seriously though, what can web-based opinions do if 1) they're pretty much being shared in the forums amongst fellow 'dweebs'   2) they got enough 'one-day' ticket buyers -- who needs the season holders?  They're die-hard loonies!

    "This is why so many people in management now keep close tabs on what's being said about the company on the Web.  Not because they actually enjoy seeing what Disneyana fans are saying."

    Well, that's just the trouble isn't it?  Shouldn't the suits 'enjoy' what their loyal base has to say?  If they listened to this loyal base, perhaps they wouldn't of abandoned traditional animation so quickly.  Perhaps they wouldn't of started work on California Adventure until the plans reached a higher level of quality.  Perhaps they wouldn't have wasted time, money, and talent releasing "quick money", poor quality sequels.  Perhaps they wouldn't of started mimicking the "hip" tone of Dreamworks or rely so strongly on Pixar to bail them out.  Perhaps they wouldn't seek "one-day" ticket guests to Disneyland so much as look for ways to earn more "season pass" holders.

    There's a reason Disney has such a huge web-based community.  They love Disney!And much of this community, while not so savvy on economics or business, know exactly what they feel in their minds and hearts.  They give their criticism, sometimes constructive, sometimes over-impassioned -- but they give it because they love the Company and (gasp) -- they care!  To consider them dweebs or bitchers trying to give Disney a bad name is ridiculous.  What would the execs have us do?  Pat them on the back and say 'You're wonderful! . . .   Company's losing money?  Low ticket sales? -- Damn Disney dweebs.  It isn't your fault! -- I mean, you haven't unveiled a big-box-office hit, or successful ride, or themepark lately, but . . ."

    Mr. Iger says, "The fans really need to lighten up."  Perhaps.  But with all due respect, "The Company really needs to listen."  

  • Hmm... tough one to answer. I'll grant you that there are a lot of folks in the Disneyana online community who get off having a royal fit over nothing (I think my personal favorite was the guy on another site having a hissy fit because the manhole covers at DLP weren't properly aligned), others who aren't going to be happy unless the parks remain in the exact state they were in circa 1971, and that there are more than a few are willing to jump all over Disney before they really have a chance to see what was done.   But sometimes the community's spot on about their complaints - they just notice the problems sooner than the average theme park visitor does because they spend more time there.

    Since DCA's already been mentioned, I'll throw another example out - Hong Kong Disneyland. In the months before it opened, we Disney geeeks saw the plans for the park and were pretty much underwhelmed by them, and we said as much.  Disney's response was essentially, "Piffle. You guys don't know what you're talking about  - the Chinese will love the place the way we designed it. Wait and see."  So HKD opens, and guess what? First-year attendance targets didn't meet even the modest expectations set for the park, and folks who've gone there mention that they're dissatisfied because the park's too small and there's not enough to do - conincidentally, some of the key complaints brought up online prior to HKD's opening. Disney can't even pull out the old "everyone's attendance is down" chestnut they tried when DCA first opened, because Ocean Park, a competitor in HK, appears to be having banner attendance.  

    Are the folks in the online community picky? You betcha. But they're picky because they know what Disney's capable of when they've got the inclination and the money to do it right as opposed to deciding to put forth just enough money and effort to get by and hoping the Disney name and reputation will carry the project the rest of the way toward success. The fans recognize inferior product when they see it, and they're not afraid to call Disney on it.

    Iger could get away with telling the fans to lighten up about the POTC rehab because he knew WDI had put together a good effort that would impress the fans and the regular visitors.  You think Iger's going to be telling the fans to lighten up about DCA and HKD anytime soon based on the attendance figures?

  • I could'nt agree with Gallopin' Gaucho more! the past 10 years or so in the disney theme parks planning has been sad to say the least. the last ride that has made a lasting impression has been splash mountain. there are a few more that are good, but not great. it has less to do with "disneyana dweebs" as it does with the bottom line. lately it has been how little do we have to spend to have maximum profit. instead of how can we blow everyone away. remember disney, "if you build it they will come" please for mouses sake build something that can stand the test of time and not be part of the latest craze or character from a movie. i am a dweeb and a disney fan. competing with universal or any other theme park will lead to your downfall.

  • First of all, put it in historical context:  We're Paul Pressler Survivors.

    In our 90's day, youngster, attractions weren't rehabbed because there was a new Imagineering concept, or a new technology, or outstanding audience demand...They got rehabbed because Paul Got Bored Again, and had a movie tie-in or a gift shop pasted over them.  Can you blame us for being -juuuuust- a little shellshocked/paranoid, even in peacetime?...Well, can you?

    And before we get our designation switched over from "Dweebs" to "Weenies" again, keep in mind the scars WE'VE had to heal, even since Good King Iger came in--You can talk about "The Imagineers have the parks' best interests at heart", but our grumpy old middle-generation still has Tiki Room: Under New Management there as a big black monument to stare us in the face every day.  We want closure, or nobody's going to relax.  -_-

    And as to Monsters Inc., the issue really seems to be more about "Okay, WHO'S the idiot with the Pixar fetish?  We want names!"--As even those who don't mind losing Timekeeper are starting to worry about management going to the Pixar and "interactive" wells too often to even start to worry John Lasseter...And if he's worried about the saturation too, that's a good reason to worry, but for the moment I'll still give one isolated TL show the benefit of the doubt until I see different.

    (And FWIW...the Muppets -do- work better at DCA:  It's Hollywood Backlot.  They make SENSE there.  Even if you didn't like "Sounds Lincoln", which I did.

    I flatter myself that I have enough sense of theming that I don't -want- Kermit the Frog on Main Street, next to the horse trolley and the Dapper Dans.)

  • (Oh, and:)

    "I'm also told that -- over the past year or so -- Mickey has taken a much more pro-active approach when it comes to the Net. As in: Actually paying employees to go on-line and post at various Disney-related websites. So that the company can then put a much more positive spin out there on certain stories, get ahead of various PR crisises and even do some real-time damage control.

    I believe there are at least two of these individuals who currently post at prominent Disney-related websites."

    ---

    <glances suspiciously askance in AskMike's direction...>   9_9

    Seriously, guys, if you're out there...We can spot you ten miles on a cloudy day.  If you don't think so, show us what you got.  :)

    Just ask anyone on the movie groups whether they can spot an "under-the-radar" studio shill--Their job is to deliver results, not subtlety; it's a great source of giggles, and once outed, gives us all a realistic peek at in-company jitters.

    (Ie., gosh, think there MIGHT have been any pro-Theatrical "spinners" on that Mary Poppins thread a week ago?)

  • I agree with most of the article - I haven't been to a Disney park in about 4 years and yet in that time I read how standards slipped, how guest services were on the down, how the rides were all boring.

    Well, I've just come back from Disney and can say that the predictions of it's demise have been greatly exaggerated. All seems just as memorable as it always was - sure, there are things that have changed for worse (Norway losing it's lovely food to now host Princesses-to-be comes to mind) but other changes are good ones (like the Nemo overlay on the Living Seas). So I generally try to experience it for myself before making a decision, but of course reading poor reviews of Mission Space did, for a moment, make me wonder if I should get on this ride at all: I might get sick!

    Not all change is bad and while I do dearly miss Horizons (mainly for it's music, btw) I can see that attendance was dwindling and needed a refresh so it the long run I guess it was a good idea. I do feel sorry for Wonders of Life and hope that someone can come to its rescue OR that something can replace it, which will be just as good. I do wish the wand would come off Spaceship Earth but I don't obsess about it.

    BTW, I am also a Disney shareholder so of course I want the company to do well. I just know that they are running a business and not a charity and, inevitably, a lot of decisons seem to be business ones, and not ones that come from the heart. I know that sometimes you gotta spend money to make money and I'll be the first to say that money needs spending on the parks. But I'm not going to whinge and whine everytime the company decides to do just that - I am all for progress!

    Just so I'm not hiding behind my screen name, I'm Claudia and live in the UK. I would also love to get that job where I get paid by Disney to write good things about them in online forums!!!

  • IT IS ME!!!!!

    You'll never take me alive all you Jim Hill readers... NEVER!!!

    Bwahahaha!!! (turns into a goblin and rides off on a magic carpet)

  • IdeaThat's one of the main reasons that I believe that 'Mission: SPACE' has such a lousy reputation now.[/i]

    MS has a bad rep because people died after riding it.  That's it plain and simple.  It wasn't some rumor on a fan site that circulated this info.  It was main stream media reporting on multiple deaths from a single ride at the park.  That's newsworthy.  And because its Fortune 500 and a giant in the theme parks & entertainment business and because it carries the name of "Walt Disney World", it is nationally newsworthy.  Connecting the resulting PR crisis to online disney dweebs is a complete cop out.  To me, this attitude is indicative of a much bigger problem.  This executive is in denial of what problems Disney really and truly faces.  I sincerely hope that is not the pervasive culture of Disney's management team.

    Sure, online Disney dweebs are a vocal lot.  Any internet group can be given the easy access of expressing one's self through the medium and ability to remain anonymous while doing so.  The appeal of saying exactly what you mean without sugar coating it, having an opportunity to stir a debate with little in the way of reprisal or real consequences makes it an ideal forum.  But in all actuality, its a small group, a subculture.  Its not reflective of the general public anymore than Star Wars or anime dweebs are.   So we might as well argue about Han shooting first or complain how removing the blood for the Americanized version of Naruto ruins it -- but unless you're a dweeb from that particular group of fans, no one else is going to know what the heck you're talking about, let alone care.

  • "without really giving the public a chance to decide how it feels about a new ride or show for the parks -- the Web-based fans are already out there passing judgment."

    What are we- chopped liver?  We're the public, too!

    "the Web-based fans"

    I'm sure that the vast majority of us were Disney fans way before we got Internet access...we're fans in "real life", too.

    "Disneyana fans were already on-line talking about how rough this new Future World ride was, how it was making people sick. Then the mainstream media picked up on that story. And -- as a direct result -- what was supposed to have been Disney's next franchise attraction then became this huge PR nightmare for the company."

    Were people gettiing sick?  If so, we have a right to talk about it.  It's not like a fan called up their local newspaper to talk about it.  However a journalist found out, it's the public's right to know- some lives may have been saved...look how popular the "less turbulant" version is.  I don't know what executive said all of these things, but, to blame your most loyal fans for something that they didn't create, is not a way to keep the loyal fans.  Luckily, we're not fans of the suits, just of the company...

    "Orange County residents raised such a ruckus"

    Doesn't sound like the on-line community to me in this case.

    "that they actually did some guest survey work"

    I feel that the parks (and, heck, maybe even other parts of the company) should be doing surveys of what guests/moviegoers/etc. think.  The only surveys I've come across at WDW are the ones asking how long I was staying, how many times I've been to the park in a year, etc.

    "in some cases, what the on-line Disneyana community is saying sometimes does serve as the canary in the coal mine"

    See, we're not all bad!  They go and blame us for things we didn't have any control over, and then they appreciate what we say.  Silly suits.

    ************************************************************

    "Why do you suppose the public's perception of how the Walt Disney Company is doing so rarely matches up with what the on-line Disneyana community thinks?"

    The first thing that comes to mind is that we care sooo much about the company and "want what's best for it".  That may not always be the case, though.  Many of us love the company, especially including its rich history.  We think that Walt Disney was the greatest man ever to walk the face of the earth.  If he built POTC/Tom Sawyer Island, etc., we don't want the company to wreck "Walt's vision".  We like to whine a lot.  

    BUT- in saying that, let's think about the "Cars" 'thing' that happened this summer.  We "web-based" fans weren't the ones saying that it would bomb- that was the Wall Street/financial people.  I didn't think that a Pixar movie could bomb...and it didn't.  Disneyana websites (*cough* JHM *cough*) fueled the fire, and made overly-heated debates about "Cars", but, in the end, it was a success.  Due, in part, to the "web-based" fans.  

    ************************************************************

    imagineerwarrior said: "I think the last ten years of Eisner, Pressler and Braverman have soured the fans as to what to expect."

    That's true.  I recently read "Prince of the Magic Kingdom" by Joe Flower (1991), and that even mentioned how Eisner had crazy ideas sometimes, but that usually they wouldn't make it anywhere (more recently: "What would happen if we remade our animated classics in CGI, frame by frame?!?").  Going from what imagineerwarrior said, we have been so used to some not-as-Disney quality ideas, some that have gone places (DCA- which I haven't been to, but I haven't heard many positives about it...but I'd still like to go...), and many that haven't.  

    Going with the theme of the article, before Bob Iger officially started his new position, people in the on-line community were saying that he was just a yes-man to Eisner, and that he wouldn't make any changes.  The Pixar-acquisition showed those people.  We do tend to over-think and sometimes we see the cup as half empty.  And sometimes we need to be put in our place (see above example).  But everyone has their faults.

    Epcotrob said: "Im Tired of hiding im Robert Bish. Who are all of you?"

    If Disney people go onto sites like this one and read people's posts, if, given the opportunity, would they write people's names down?  For example, my goal is to, after I graduate college in about a year and a half, work for Disney.  I've worked for WDW before, and they have my  name in their records, but I have gotten a "come back to work for us" postcard, so I'm sure there's no ill will between us.  But, it seems that these online scouts for Disney may not be happy with all that we post...would they made a "blacklist" of Disney fans?  I know it's extreme, but you never know.

    curmudgeon said: "When you start blaming custmers for your problems, well that's a whole other story."

    If Disney "blames customers", then I'm sure a lot of companies do.  How can a company even blame a customer for anything (unless they stole something, for instance)?  One could argue that all the negative "Cars" talk, even before it came out, could have put a message in someone's head that the movie would stink, so they shouldn't bother seeing it.  But, the "web-based" fans didn't even start that talk (right?  The Wall Street people did...?).  And, even if we did start that talk, who are we to say anything?  Why would the "public" take heart to what we say?

    Gudrun said: "Customers have a right to voice their dissent, Disney should get used to it."

    That's a very true statement.  The majority of hospitality businesses, for example, have comment cards you can fill out about your experience.  I'm assuming that the Disney hotels do, as well.  At a premiere movie screening, aren't there comment cards?  I guess that these online communities serve as a kind of comment card, how we think the company is doing.  

    Gallopin' Gaucho said: "they got enough 'one-day' ticket buyers -- who needs the season holders?"

    Sure, we don't pay $60+ dollars to get in every day, but we spend our money there just like everyone else.  If they don't need us, why do they offer the annual passes?  Or the season passes?  Since we go often, we spend more money in a year (minus ticket and hotel fees) than the 'one-day' ticket buyers, right?  

    Gallopin' Gaucho said: "If they listened to this loyal base, perhaps they wouldn't of abandoned traditional animation so quickly."

    Well, there is "Enchanted" and "The Frog Princess"...

    (I'm not trying to pick on anyone in particular, but certain people have certain points that I feel strongly about...)

    Gallopin' Gaucho said: "Perhaps they wouldn't have wasted time, money, and talent releasing "quick money", poor quality sequels."

    "Return of Jafar" was, in 1994, the best selling direct-to-video film.  Long story short, the sequels sell.  (I know I have all of them.)   Many of the customers are parents looking for a "babysitter" for their kids.  Some are Disney completists who must have every title ever released (I'm working on it).  Remember, the story is the main thing.  Some of the stories could have been better.  Some of the sequels have decent animation.  I don't think the sequels are as good as the animated features, but I think they're entertaining, nonetheless.

    I agree with Gallopin' Gaucho's last two paragraphs completely.  

    pschnebs said: "First-year attendance targets didn't meet even the modest expectations set for the park"

    I'm sure that all companies have to set goals, but sometimes those goals can get you in trouble, which can make people angry at others (the suits weren't happy with how "Cars" performed?  Blame the crazy fans.  HKDL's attendance wasn't what we hoped for?  Blame the dweebs.).  Besides the "crazy fans", there are others to blame, if one wants to play the blame game.  Pretty much any financial worker at Disney can be blamed for any underperfomance, right?  

    Maybe sometimes we should just accept, learn from our mistakes, and move on, making the next project that much better so it's less likely to be a flop.  

    Derek J said: ""Okay, WHO'S the idiot with the Pixar fetish?""

    I don't have a problem with "another" Pixar attraction.  I'm sure that I'll enjoy the new Laugh Floor.  I understand that the technology used in Turtle Talk with Crush is new, and neat to boot.  A concern of mine is that it won't be too different from Turtle Talk.  Sure, Mike Wazowski and friends are from a different movie, and, instead of telling us what being a turtle is like, they'll tell us jokes, but the premise is the same.  We have Dumbo and Aladdin's Flying Carpets- we can handle two similar attractions (oh, and the Triceritops Spin...three).  The Toy Story attraction (MGM), to my knowledge, is a ride, so at least we'll have an honest-to-goodness Pixar RIDE, and not just shows.  

    I was saying Saturday while at WDW that Bambi is misrepresented.  Pinocchio at least has a Village Haus.  There are so many Disney films, including Pixar films, that would make great attractions, if only there was enough time/money.  I understand that not every idea that the Imagineers have can make it off the drawing board.  But, have they thought of making some attractions for some movies that are underrepresented at the parks?  For all of those who have seen the ride that never was on the "The Little Mermaid" DVD, didn't that look like a great ride?  Somewhat different than your ordinary dark ride.  The Imagineers are capable of a lot, but they're not always given the opportunity to do all that they want.

    Rosani said: "but of course reading poor reviews of Mission Space did, for a moment, make me wonder if I should get on this ride at all: I might get sick!"

    Living in Orlando, the stories of people getting sick on M:S was front-page news...in other parts of the country, did you find out from Disneyana message boards like this, or from "real" news sources (newspapers, TV news, online news sites, like Yahoo!)?  I'm just curious.  Because people really did get sick, whether or not the 'dweebs' talked about it.  And it really made the news.  I'm assuming that a Disney 'dweeb" may not have written the articles...good journalists did.

    The public has a right to know.

  • I love the classic Disney attractions, but I'm certainly not opposed to change, to say the least. Jim, when the Disney executive that you quote talks about the disconnect between the general public and the Internet when it comes to guest satisfaction, I have to say that is wildly subjective. When we took our last vacation to WDW in September, the resort that we stayed at had us participate in an online survey. We had a exciting and excellent trip, but the way their surveys are crafted, it is nearly impossible to register a negative point on their survey. They know this and it is a long running trick of many corporations when it comes to so-called market research. So, that's a wildly subjective comment by the exec and should be taken with a grain of salt.

    Secondly, that same executive certainly misses the boat on Mission: Space. Horizons was clearly my favorite WDW attraction, ever,  period. However, since it was gone, I had an extremely open mind about Mission: Space. Why there is a disliking of the ride has to do with many things including that it's the same old tired story line that their other simulators have, the one trick pony deal.

    As for the quality of the attractions, it's hard to argue that when detailed oriented attractions with multiple show elements keep getting replaced by 3D movies, that's not web dweebs being suspect of cost-cutting and lowering of the quality of attractions, it's just common sense.

    I assume Disney focuses their energy on what I consider to be nutjob Disney fans who see fault in any and everything online, and misses the point of a large sum of us, who like change and just want to see a quality product. It sounds sort of like the November election, people are tired of things being catered to the interest of people of the fringes.

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