Thursday, September 23, 2010

A New Hope

NEW YORK - MARCH 12:  Founder of the Torante Company Michael Eisner speaks on stage during the Nickelodeon Upfront Presentation at the Hammerstein Ballroom on March 12, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

On this day in 1984, a new empire began. Michael Eisner and Frank Wells became Chairman and President of Walt Disney Productions. This began an unprecedented explosion of growth in the Disney company. While both of their careers ended with much scrutiny, I must give them both their due respect. Even though many of their decisions were made for the wrong reasons, they both had their share of home runs and showed a true commitment to the company. Eisner was so hands on that he demanded a test run on Splash Mountain before anyone had rode it. The Imagineers reluctantly placed a trash bag over their boss to keep him dry and sent him on his way. He was ecstatic when he returned to the station and demanded another ride. So even with all of the evil that came out in his later years, Eisner did in fact have a heart.

I like to consider Eisner and Wells like the Star Wars Franchise. In their early years, much like the original trilogy, they were newcomers that seemed unstoppable. But then, their egos got the best of them. And like Episode I, they turned into merchandising machines. So in retrospect, we must look at both the good and the bad. And we can only hope that current executives can learn from their mistakes.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on this on dynamic duo?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Image Copyright Disney

No, the image you're seeing it not a fake. It is from the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain. Months after returning from its major overhaul last November, Space Mountain finally has sound. Notice that I said sound, and not a sound track. That is because WDW was not as lucky as Disneyland when it got its Space Mountain plussed during the 50th anniversary celebration. When their Space Mountain reopened, it had new vehicles with on-board speakers that play an original soundtrack for the coaster. The Magic Kingdom wasn't so lucky. All it got was sound effects. Even the effects are barely audible due to the fact that the speakers are surrounding the track and not close enough to the guests.

While I appreciate the effort from the Imagineers, I deem this project unnecessary. The motto at WDI should be go big or go home. When you're the leader in theme park innovation and design, you shouldn't want to put your name on projects as tacky as this. Any changes to Space Mountain should be gratifying. Just should be in awe, not respond with a "meh" when told about the changes. WDI should and can do better.