Roy Disney continues crusade against Eisner

Posted Thursday, February 5, 2004 8:19 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Roy Disney continues his campaign to get Eisner out of the Walt Disney Company's top spot, filing a document with the Securities and Exchange Commissoin, saying the company no longer supports "the creative soul" of its artists, according to Reuters. He also says that "off-the-shelf" rides at Disney's California Adventure in part led to that park's lackluster draw in its opening years.

Read more from Reuters.

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Thursday, February 5, 2004 8:32 AM
And my point from the story of the Japanese execs taking cuts is proven in this story. The top 5 execs of Disney in the past three years have made nearly $68 million while the stock price has fallen by 50%. Talk about rewarding mediocrity.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 9:53 AM
Hi all,

"off-the-shelf" rides at Disney's California Adventure"

Is that really accurate? I thought many of the rides there were custom instalations. Not being educated in the stock market, my opinion might not count for much, but a 50% fall in stock price seems to represent more than rewarding mediocrity to me; more like rewarding for very sub-standard performance. Of course, I acknowledge that stock prices have to be examined in the appropriate context and that factors other than the park itself can affect prices. I also wonder how much of this stock price fall can be attributed to this dispute- were they declining before it started and if so, what was the magnitude of the decline.

Just out of curiosity: how are other chains of themeparks doing?

Best. B

Thursday, February 5, 2004 10:38 AM
There are quite a few off the shelf rides at DCA. All of Flik's Fun Faire, the MaliBoomer, the Orange Stinger [Wave Swinger], Mulholland Madness [Mouse], and the Carousel. But other than the S&S towers none are what would be considered e-ticket rides and most are unique, custom-themed versions.

DCA is only three years old and needs time to grow. Adding ToT is a step in the right direction.


Thursday, February 5, 2004 10:50 AM
I believe he also means Disney "Off the shelf rides" such as Muppet Vision 3D in that area too.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 11:17 AM
Moosh-- While I agree with you, isn't ToT also technically another "off-the-shelf" ride? Hmm...
Thursday, February 5, 2004 12:04 PM
NitroDave - if it is, then I want Disney to pull more rides off that shelf ;)
Thursday, February 5, 2004 12:20 PM
Mamoosh. I couldn't agree more. Heavily themed free fall towers they may be, but IMHO they epitomise Disney magic; turning a ride into an experience. I would also agree that people are judging DCA too early. How long has Epcot been around for? I know that people say that you can't judge Epcot as you would a normal theme park i.e on the quuality of the rides, as it's intended more as a world fair, or showcase of sorts. Be that as it may, with the exception of Test Track, the Living Seas and the ride that takes place in the sphere (the name escapes me) and yes, I know I'm sad :-) the rest of it has never really inspired the "wow" factor the way that Disney attractions should.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 1:08 PM
Having never been to Epcot, I'm probably not the best person to comment, but since most of the early attractions were dark rides, a standard conveyance system was used. There was nothing new about the ride itself, just the displays and content around it.

You could say the same thing about a lot of other Disney rides - there's nothing new about the rides themselves. Is there a huge difference between it's a small world or Pirates and any other Arrow log flume? The boats are bigger, sure, but there's no real technological difference. It's all about the presentation, and that's what Disney does/did well.

Thursday, February 5, 2004 2:04 PM
Agreed. :)
Thursday, February 5, 2004 3:59 PM
Mooshie said: "if it is, then I want Disney to pull more rides off that shelf"....THAT'S the (E) ticket...:)

Seriously, I'd call the Reverchon mouse at DAK to be an "off-the shelf" ride modified fairly heavily by theming...don't know that I'd say that about ToT, even if Disney produced one before. There's a large cost savings still, but it's not like an attraction ANY park could just "order up"...

Thursday, February 5, 2004 5:23 PM
Modified fairly heavily? Have you been to Animal Kingdom? ;)

Take away those colorful backdrop panels, and you have a Crazy Mouse that differs none whatsoever than the others I have ridden. The only thing that looks remotely unique are the cars, which are closer to leftovers from Close Encounters of the Third Kind than standard Crazy mice.

I'm not complaining- I like Crazy Mouse coasters, and I think that more parks should have them. But it is evidence that Disney buying nothing but slightly-gussied-up off-the-shelf rides extends well beyond DCA. I do agree that ToT is not an off-the-shelf ride because its something unique to Disney. If ToT is off-the-shelf, then so are Splash Mtn, BTMRR and a host of other Disneyland/Magic Kingdom mainstays.

Thursday, February 5, 2004 6:14 PM
I gotta agree with Roy, the Disney parks are most known and loved for their incredible dark rides, whether they be coasters, boat rides, whatever. DCA lacks even a single dark ride, with the embarrassingly bad and poorly/cheaply done Superstar Limo closed indefinitely. Any park can dress up carnival rides, the Disney and Universal parks are of the only few parks that go the extra mile to spend multi millions to make even a standard coaster an incredible dark ride experience. TOT is a step in the right direction, but DCA still has a long way to go to.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 9:32 PM
I don't know, Eisner is an idiot for not getting the Pixar contract. It doesn't help either that he said Finding Nemo would bomb. As for the rides at DCA from what I have seen they don't seem special. Disney rides are suppose to be awe-inspiring, something new, or very creative. Pirates or shudder to think now but the moonwalk 3d movie. The closest new awe-inspiring dark-ride type out there now would have to be Spider-man at IOA. . Now I think DCA isn't a bad idea, but coming from Disney it seems lackluster. Not to mention I agree with Roy that Eisner's time has passed and its becoming very obviously. As for Animal Kingdom its nice for the visitors but I have heard many complaints from the employees that its not a good place to work.
Thursday, February 5, 2004 10:55 PM
He's an idiot? How many Hollywood distribution deals have you brokered?
Friday, February 6, 2004 7:29 AM
I think "off-the-shelf" is being looked at in the wrong context. It's not about a stock ride design, it's about rides that have been designed as rides, not experiences which is what Disney is all about. Just look at Rock 'n Rollercoaster - it's "off-the-shelf" as coaster enthusiasts know it, but through WDI's efforts, it is truly an unparalleled experience.

California Screamin' is a fantastic ride, it's everything you could ever want in a coaster. However, it's not exactly what I'd expect in a Disney ride - aside from the soundtrack it's a rather shallow ride, relying on "cheap thrills" rather than atmosphere and charm like all of the stuff on the other side of the monorail tracks.

I think DCA is done as well as something can be with it's particular theme (the celebration of California), but I can't help wondering if they Paradise Pier was included just as a way to cheaply install some big bad rides without the huge overhead normally associated with Disney rides. Grizzly River Run is superb - the scenery in that area is amazing, and Soarin' is certainly up to Disney standards, but a lot of the park really isn't. I mean, compare Disney-MGM, which has fantastic grounds to DCA's "Hollywood", which I thought was quite tacky in comparison.

Tower of Terror will definitely add some much-needed Disney to the park, but they needed it from the moment the place opened, which was Roy's point.

Sunday, February 8, 2004 12:35 AM

Having never been to Epcot, I'm probably not the best person to comment, but since most of the early attractions were dark rides, a standard conveyance system was used. There was nothing new about the ride itself, just the displays and content around it.

I wouldn't say that. When Epcot opened it used some very innovative ride systems. Where else can you sit in a theatre that disassembles itself, leaves the room single file, and then reassembles itself in another location? All while following just a very thin wire embedded in the ground. It may not be a fast ride, but the Energy pavillion uses some pretty amazing technology.

And Spaceship Earth is a pretty unique ride system as well. Actually the whole building is unique for that matter. The original Figment show had some Disney Magic to it as well, but that was saddly ruined in a new butchered version of the ride. But most of the park is still amazing in my opinion. And I was amazed from the first time I stepped through the gates. Something that I can't say about DCA. I like it, but it doesn't have too much of a "wow factor", except for maybe Soarin'. Hopefully that will start changing with ToT.

Sunday, February 8, 2004 9:04 PM

He's an idiot? How many Hollywood distribution deals have you brokered?

I'm not sure if I'd like to live in a world where someone's work could only be criticized by someone whose done a similar job. Outside of the advantage of it placing most rock and movie critics out of business, I think most services would become a bit substandard if folks outside of their said industries weren't allowed to criticize due to not having prior experience.

But regardless, I'll be nice and rephrase NEWTs comment so maybe you won't be as upset: Under Michael Eisner's reign of late (from around um... 1994 on), both Disney's parks and films have suffered leading to a perception of mismanagement toward Eisner and a feeling that he is maybe worshipping the bottom line a bit too much at the expense of creativity, quality, and even safety. Eisner is directly responsible for said slide due to his being the "captain of the ship," and seemingly setting an example that trickles its way down to middle management and all aspects of Disney leading to the drop in quality we are seeing today.

Now personally, I thought "Eisner is an idiot" was a much more succinct and expressive way to summarize the last paragraph but hey, who am I? I haven't even brokered any Hollywood distribution deals!

Sunday, February 8, 2004 9:36 PM
Is Roy Disney quite done publicizing his opinions on Eisner? I thought we were bad about SFWoA! Sheesh, it's a new bashing every week! Walt's probably turning over in his grave.

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