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

Jim Hill

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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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  • JHM does usually trash Pixar, but I don't think he has done so in this article.......oh, but he will.

    I do have to agree with the lack of info in the piece; certainly kind of vauge. Do you have a real story here or not? Usually not. We know you have a better article in you.

    Lastly, what is the rush!!!!!!!!!!! Impaitent bunch. I would rather the Imagineers take thier time in getting the attraction perfected instead of opening it to soon and be full of glitches.  

  • I'm not so sure that this is a "Pixar" bash but it could be construed as a Lasseter bash with an end statement like "WDI doesn't want to risk further aggravating John Lasseter."  

    I'm sure WDI doesn't want to upset a lot of people: Iger, Jim Hill, others in the Disney fan/blog community, etc.  Jim makes it sounds like we don't want to poke that big mean giant Lasseter with a stick and make him mad.  Lasseter is Jim's favorite scapegoat next to "Wall Street Insiders."

    Question...if there is a "problem" then why would you invite the public NEXT WEDNESDAY instead of just taking volunteers from a diversified group of cast members?

  • Indy is probably a better example, considering Splash Mountain is a simple flume attraction.

        Actually Disney screwed up on the schematics of the final drop  that set them back a few months not to mention many electrical issues it is anything but a simple flume

  • For the record.... the clips on YouTube showing Mr. Potato Head are pretty amazing!

    It's been awhile since I've seen something from Disney that made me say,"wow".

  • How is this any different than the "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters" attraction in Disneyland?  The photos and design drawings make it look exactly the same.

  • Actually this is not the first collaboration betwteen WDI and Pixar.  The first one was the monters Inc overlay and attraction for DCA and Tokyo.

    Bugs land was done all by WDI

  • perrybw said:

    How is this any different than the "Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters" attraction in Disneyland?  The photos and design drawings make it look exactly the same.

    Instead of animatronics, you shoot at interactive 3d projections.

  • Last time I went to WDW, the Everest ride was down...AGAIN. And there have been times when the ride was operational, but the Yeti wasn't. I wonder what the deal is? Is the technology Disney's using right now that touchy, that flawed? I don't remember any of the "classic" Disney rides being down so often. Is the tech stuff still being done in-house, or is it outsourced, and if it's outsourced, could that be the problem?

  • The article sounds more like a critique of WDI than Pixar.  Still, it can't compare to the first test run of the Popeye ride, when the geniuses at Universal discovered that water actually makes things float; the first dummy-filled tub sheared off all the low-hanging decors put in place by designers who apparently forgot that the tubs would not be rolling down a dry stream bed.

    I have to wonder, though, about the respondents who attack Jim for his article about the gator invader by saying it must be a slow news day, yet when we get an article from one of the Disney insiders about ants in a doughnut machine everyone gushes about how wonderful that tale was.  How about a little consistency, folks.

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