What's up With WDW (This topic sponsored by CoasterBuzz)?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008 12:45 PM
Hello Coaster Fans Who Are Busy Looking At All The Web Cams to See What Park Isn't Busy Today,

As a few of you know, I haven't been able to do my 3 amusement parks a week for over 4 years now. As matter of fact, my wife and I just ditched the kids for a week at Walt Disney World. This would be our first trip to a theme park, together, in forever. This leads up to going to Disney with HIGH expectations...of course. Not to mention we paid around $900 for the both of us. So, yes, I have HIGH expectations.

Overall we had a blast of course, but that's not what I want to ask.

I want to know what happen to Disney that certain parts lost the charm, and are SOoooo commercialized, they are ruined, or very closed to being ruined?

MANY of WDW looks and attractions blow your socks off...that's what people expect from WDW. It's the problem of such high standards that other things stick out like sore thumbs. Some of the things are:

Honey I shrunk the audience: The Kodak preshow was SOooo bad, and such a freakn' long commercial, that's all my wife and I made fun of through the show. Seriously it's one thing sponsoring something but to Brain Wash you with Kodak? Which leads me too...

Journey of Imagination:
I know they redid it...but at the end when you get off, it use to be a "COSI" (for those non-Ohio people, a really cool science play learning museum) and now you get off and KODAK is JAMMED down your throat with not so cool WAYYYyy outdated "take your picture and add a hat on it" things.

It seemed like almost every attraction at Epcot had some type of sponsor tied to it.

I felt like I was at a Nascar park.

One would think with the HUGE ticket prices WDW wouldn't need such partners to take care of the attractions. Epcot itself needs A LOT of work to fix what has happened to it. Between the Life building that house Body Wars (I think that's what it's called) To the East and West buildings.

Though it fairness to Epcot. I do see they have some construction going on. But it use to take us a full day at the park, and now we did it a little over half.

I also was wondering what happened to the Tiki Room? With the new shows were the imagineers smoking something? It felt like I watched a show where two birds yelled at each other, and then they wanted everybody to stand up and sing right after that. EVERYBODY left the place scratching their heads. This was so unDisney I was just baffled at what were they thinking?

In short (now long) does anyone know exactly why everything is sponsored, and some stuff very heavily sponsored. Of course I tie this with the ticket prices, in what I expect. But it just deters away from the magical feel. Much like when Six Flags started their sponsorship and a lot of people complained about it saying it ruined the park feel.

"The Future of Roller Coasters"
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 12:55 PM
Epcot has always been that comercialized, its really part of the "theme" of a worlds fair. Companies sponser the future world attractions, countries sponser the world showcase pavilion.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 1:46 PM
My wife and I were just down there at the beginning of July as well. There was a small history exhibit at Epcot (I believe it was in the West Building...never would have come across it if we hadn't ducked in to escape a surprise rainstorm) that showed sponsorships dating back to the park opening in 1982. Likewise at the Walt Disney history exhibit at the Studios they showed evidence of sponsorship/marketing tie-insgoing back decades before that. They were real innovators in that regard (for good or for bad depending on your perspective).

The Wikipedia article for Space Mountain describes some of the history or branding and unbranding that ride has experienced.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:01 PM
Epcot has been sponsor driven since day one. Every pavillion had a sponsor from conception that even helped design the shows. (Example...Kodak demanded that Figment be purple and not green, the color of Fuji Film!) Evenn the countries in world showcase had to pony up cash.

Epcot has had parts get messed up due to losing sponsors or sponsor demands. I LOVED Journey into Imagination, but it was Kodak's idea to change it up. (Rumors strongly point to it being redone at the end of the year and at least partially returned to it's former glory thanks to John Lassiter and Tony Baxter) Likewise, Metlife didn't renew it's sponsorship of Wonders of Life and Disney decided to kill the aging attractions in it. Again, GM wanted to put something new in World of Motion's place and that's why we have Test Track.

At least the American Adventure (which I consider perhaps Disney's greatest show ever) is in killer shape and hasn't been changed out.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:23 PM
It goes back farther than that: Disneyland had ride sponsorships at park opening (that's 1955, folks).
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 2:34 PM
So sponsorship/advertising in theme parks pretty much goes back to the beginning.

Hmmm.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 3:37 PM
Not surprised at all.

Just another interesting observation as so many people seem to complain about it so much like it's some offensive new approach to business. (and I don't just mean this thread)

I'll have to remember that walkthrough. Sounds interesting and we'll be there in October.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:23 PM
I believe a large number of parks had in park advertising and ride sponsorships extending back to the turn of the 20th century. The practice itself came from world's fairs and expositions.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 4:53 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Just another interesting observation as so many people seem to complain about it so much like it's some offensive new approach to business. (and I don't just mean this thread)

Corporate sponsorship in the past doesn't describe sponsorship today. There are places where it exists and doesn't feel tacky and distracting, and there are places where it's so in your face it's hard to look past it.

I personally don't end up complaining about it too much because the parks that tend to be the most obnoxious about it are the parks I don't generally care for or go to, anyway, but I think the dialogue has always been more about the parks that try to cram commercials down your throat at every chance, not necessarily that sponsorship on the whole is some sort of new, money-grabby enterprise. Or at least it should have been. Matter of perspective I guess. *** Edited 8/5/2008 9:21:40 PM UTC by matt.***

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 5:22 PM
I don't think the sponsorships are more in your face today than they were ages ago. As you age, you just grow more jaded.

Bank of America sponsored the original It's a Small World in Disneyland. In Disney World, Tomorrowland was overrun with rides named after their sponsors. It was General Electric's Carousel of Progress (and even used to have in-ride audio promotion of GE), Monsanto had the Circlevision 360 (now Monsters. Inc. Laugh Floor) and it went from Eastern's If You Had Wings to Delta's Dreamflight before being reborn ad the sponsor-less Buzz Lightyear. It has ALWAYS been a part of it. When you were young, maybe you didn't notice that Space Mountain was RCA, even with the mechanical pooch in the exit area. It was obvious when FedEx took over, with the monitors, but that seems to have been phased out now that FastPass keeps the lines outside of the final switchbacks limited.

There's a lot of money to be made in sponsorships and licensing fees. Just ask Six Flags. *** Edited 8/5/2008 9:23:09 PM UTC by Paris***

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 6:53 PM
I was there in February, had a blast, and by myself for most of the time. Going back in November. I dig it more than ever.
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Tuesday, August 5, 2008 7:47 PM

Paris said:
I don't think the sponsorships are more in your face today than they were ages ago. As you age, you just grow more jaded.


Exactly. Some parks are out of hand. The Epcot sponsorships (or pertty much all modern day Disney ones) are pretty laid back compared to "other" parks IMO.

Siemans just forked over a TON of cash to redo and sponsor Spaceship Earth and Illuminations at Epcot. After a huge giant rehab and updating at their expense you won't hear their name or see any of their products a single time in the ride, but will just see a rather tasteful "sponsored by" part of the main sign and you will see their presence in the post show exhibits (which are rather cool)

I guess what I'm saying is you won't see a sign every 19 inches for the "official burrito" or "official drinking straw" or "official vomit cleaning buckets" of Epcot. (again, unlike certain other parks)

I'm all for the sponsorships the way the Mouse does them. If it weren't for sponsorships there would be no Disneyland or WDW period. Where would the insutry be today if Walt hadn't built his park 50 years ago?

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