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Why the Imagineers are still tinker(toy)ing with "Toy Story Mania"

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Why the Imagineers are still tinker(toy)ing with "Toy Story Mania"

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Have you seen that clip on YouTube? The one that shows how the Mr. Potato Head AA figure that you find in the queue area of Disney's "Toy Story Mania" can actually pull off its own ear?

Well, that's nothing. Wait 'til you hear about how the Imagineers are now pulling out their hair as they try & get the Disney's Hollywood Studios version of this new attraction to work properly.

Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

"So what's the problem?," you ask. Long story short: This is perhaps the most technologically sophisticated attraction to ever be installed in the stateside Disney parks. And -- as of yesterday morning -- the Imagineers have yet to be able to to get this $70 million addition to the Studios to work properly.

This is why WDW officials have quietly cancelled the Cast Member Previews that were originally scheduled for this coming weekend. With the hope that -- with a little extra effort -- "Toy Story Mania" will then be able to pass its 72-hours-of-continuous-operations test. Which would then allow WDI to officially hand this new attraction over to Ops.

Copyright 2006 Disney. All Rights Reserved

Now please note that no one at the Walt Disney World Resort has hit the "Panic Button." Not yet, anyway. Which is why -- even though the Cast Member Preview of this new DHS attraction has been temporarily postponed -- everything else that's associated with the launch of "Toy Story Mania" is still right on schedule.

This includes next Wednesday's B Roll shoot. In fact, if you live in the Orlando area and want to be among the first to actually experience this ride, you should check out this ad over on Craigslist. Where they're attempting to recruit " ... volunteer families, kids, and people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to come and experience Disney's newest 4-D attraction."

Copyright 2007 Disney. All Rights Reserved

WDW officials are also pushing forward with their plans to hold a huge after-hours party at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 8th. Where the movers & shakers in Central Florida's hospitality industry will first be wined & dined, and then have exclusive access to this brand-new attraction.

This sort of stuff -- the last minute delays, the B Roll shoot, the after-hours party for hospitality industry types -- is typically part of the launch of a brand-new attraction at the Parks. So why are the Imagineers tenser than usual with "Toy Story Mania" ?

Well, that's because this hi-tech shooter attraction is the first collaboration between Walt Disney Imagineering and Pixar since the Mouse acquired that animation studio back in 2006. And given that there's already been something of a culture clash when it comes to these two very different divisions of the Mouse House ... Well, WDI doesn't want to risk further aggravating John Lasseter & Co. by bobbling its first assignment.

"What culture clash?," you query. Come back to JHM next Monday and I'll tell you all about it.

Your thoughts?

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  • Hey...even if the ride is delayed in opening, it still won't be as long as it took the Imagineers to get Test Track open.

  • Oh goody ... it's time for more "Jim Hill Bashes the Pixar Guys" ... I can't wait ...

    Jim, your selection of articles lately has been nothing short of stupefying. Can you PLEASE write a story someone actually wants to read???

    I mean really ... I still don't get how you have COMPLETELY IGNORED the Spaceship Earth revamp and not written ONE SINGLE WORD on it! Not to mention there hasn't been a peep about any of the other big news coming out of WDW. Instead we're forced to choke down yet another "Ooooh!! Ooooh!! The Pixar people are so darn mean!!" article ...

    I honestly don't know why I bother anymore. Bogus stories about "Night Kingdoms" and endless Pixar bashing ... when was the last time Jim wrote anything truly worth reading???

  • I don't even read the articles anymore...I just go straight to the comments......they are a lot more interesting.

  • Not that I think Jim needs defending, but I dare say that this is an article that the majority of JHM regulars will find interesting even thought it is very brief...but 2 questions:

    1.  Where in this article did Jim bash Pixar?

    2.  How can you trash the next article, which you haven't even read yet, based on the assumption that it will bash Pixar?

    I'm all for being critical when you find something objectionable, but do you really need to make up objectionable ideas which aren't there just so you can complain about them?  Isn't that kind of "misinformation" the same thing you always accuse Jim of putting out there?

  • If you look at the history of Disney attractions, every "one-of-a-kind" attraction has had a bumpy start.

    I'm just wondering why there's no attribution in this post. Who said the Imagineers can't get it to work? I remember reading that they set up a mock version in Burbank to show executives. It probably wouldn't have been given the green light if it didn't work at all.

  • You can tell from the last paragraph in this article (and Jim's past history) that the next article is going to be anti-Pixar ... he says, " ... WDI doesn't want to risk further aggravating John Lasseter & Co. by bobbling its first assignment."

    Does that sound like he's going to blame Disney???

  • I've got a simple question, and it's one I'm surprised nobody's asked yet:

    Not once in the article does Jim tell us what's going wrong.  WHY is the ride's soft open being pushed back?  Surely you have something more substantial than "it's not working right?"

  • spiderweb1986 said:

    "Not once in the article does Jim tell us what's going wrong.  WHY is the ride's soft open being pushed back?  Surely you have something more substantial than "it's not working right?"

    Good point.

  • That was kinda my question after reading it, too: "WHyfor" ain't it working?


  • Yeah details would be nice since now I can't go to the cast preview!  Plus, is the same problem coming up at DCA?

    Oh and I'm going off on a not-too-shakey limb and calling next week's article to be on WDI having to cut a little from Cars-land to make budget and Lasseter hanging out with WDI to make further complex requests for the ride.

  • I am a pretty strict critic of Jim but he didnt really bash Pixar here... All is he saying being that this is the first attraction as a collabaration between the new boss they want to make sure everything goes right Im sure we can all relate to that in the real world.   This is just a test and adjust phase they are in if you read carefully it sounds like its not making it past the 72hr mark  without breaking down. it could be a variety of things , emergency sensors, graphics ...   who knows but  if you look at splash mountain at disneyland  and the problems it had before it opened i think everything will be just fine.

  • Indy is probably a better example, considering Splash Mountain is a simple flume attraction. There have been plenty of problems with Indy since it opened, but that's the adjustment period for an experimental ride system. Unfortunately, the public doesn't see it that way. They see: Oh, the new ride doesn't work.

    If you want the best Toy Story: Midway Mania experience, go a year after it opens.

    One thing I don't understand is that the blogs keep talking about the Hollywood Studios attraction. Is the DCA version not going to get any attention? Because if you ask me the California Adventure attraction looks a lot better at this point. The interiors might be similar, but the exterior looks far cooler and fits with the location.

  • Yeah... I hafta agree, no Pixar bashing here (finally).

    I am disappointed that no explanation was given as to WHY it wasn't working. Maybe in the follow up article we will get some answers.

  • Did I miss something here or were both Nemo attractions done without Pixar coordination/help? (Epcot - Seas w/ Nemo & Friends and DL - Nemo Subs) Or are you referring to an all new ride versus a revamp of an existing attraction. I would have though Lasseter was involved with both of these at some level.

    BTW- the DCA version looks fantastic with all the themeing of the show building and connecting structures.  

  • Don't worry, I'm sure come Monday we'll see.... server issues.  "We're sorry, having some problems getting everything online once again"

    Geez, Community Server isn't rocket science.  Run it on a box that will hold up to the load.

    Then bash Pixar :)

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