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Thread: Mary Blair's family speaks out against Small World changes!

  1. #1
    Scrambled Egghead
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    Mary Blair's family speaks out against Small World changes!

    (snip) "...While I fully understand and support the upgrade to the boats as a necessary safety upgrade, the addition of the Disney Characters and the Up with America section I do NOT support as it represents a gross desecration of the ride's original theme and my Mothers stylized artwork.

    The Disney characters of themselves are positive company icons, but they do NOT fit in with the original theme of the ride. They will do nothing except to marginalize the rightful stars of the ride The Children of the World. This marginalization will do nothing but infuriate the rides international guests and devoted Disney fans..." (snip)

    Much more of Kevin (Mary's son) Blair's letter to Disney executives at this Re-Imagineering link:

    http://imagineerebirth.blogspot.com/...ly-speaks.html


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  3. #2

    Is this for real???

    While I'm not necessarily in support of the proposed theming changes to IASW, I hardly think that they would be the cause of "the degradation of the companys talent" or "the subsequent decline at the Disneyland Park itself."

    What's more, I found this letter to be insulting and unprofessional ("I cannot believe someone from WDI was paid to come up with such an idiotic plan as this"). And if Mr. Blair wanted to be taken seriously in this formal complaint (assuming it has, in fact, been sent to Disney executives), he probably should have had an editor look over his draft. The punctuation and grammatical errors are glaring.

    Looks like a lesson in tact is in order.


  4. #3
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    It would be interesting to see an attempt to get some kind of historic landmark protection for a theme park attraction.


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    Quote Originally Posted by River Belle View Post
    While I'm not necessarily in support of the proposed theming changes to IASW, I hardly think that they would be the cause of "the degradation of the companys talent" or "the subsequent decline at the Disneyland Park itself."

    What's more, I found this letter to be insulting and unprofessional ("I cannot believe someone from WDI was paid to come up with such an idiotic plan as this"). And if Mr. Blair wanted to be taken seriously in this formal complaint (assuming it has, in fact, been sent to Disney executives), he probably should have had an editor look over his draft. The punctuation and grammatical errors are glaring.

    Looks like a lesson in tact is in order.
    Well, maybe, but if you had a parent with historic ties to major structures and art - and were not even consulted on changes - would you not as well be unnerved? Remember - this is the third piece of blair design that is being modified at Disneyland (yes, some consider an attraction to be art and design). I am not a historical bigot - I like change - but in some cases you wonder about short term gain versus long term cultural meaning.

    and no - I don't consider it to be "just another theme park ride"..
    "[Disneyland] has that thing - the imagination, and the feeling of happy excitement - I knew when I was a kid." - Walt Disney

  6. #5

    According to what is said in the "it's a small world" segment of this Hong Kong Disneyland promotional video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZHZDcgCao8, the updates to this attraction are exclusive to the Hong Kong Resort. Does anyone have factual confimation from the Company that the update will be used in the Disneyland Resort attraction? It's possible that someone misinterpreted some testing being done in the California ride for the Hong Kong attraction.


  7. #6

    I actually agree with the letter. Ripping out the rain forrest would be crazy. I really feel this is one ride that should be left alone. Other than the boat/canal part.


  8. #7
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    I'm not pro or con about any changes in IASW for now, I'd really like to see what they plan to do before I come down on either side. But....has anybody else noticed that America/USA really isn't represented in the children? We've got a cowboy and a surfer as far as I can tell. Maybe we are represented in others and I just missed it? If they just tweaked it a little I wouldn't be overly upset but, if they totally commercialize it by dressing the dolls in princess costumes, Jack's dreads on the boys and throw a plush in each kids hand it would be extremely tacky. Senergy(?) can be taken too far.

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    Considering the location of this attraction, and that now that it is closed, that section of the park becomes a ghost town after Toon Town closes, and given the fact that on a busy day, the line for the attraction winds across the street and around the corner, with lines equal or longer than those of Pirates of the Carabean (post Jack Sparrow), I would say this attraction has not lost one ounce of popularity in 40 some odd years. That is a tribute to the vision and timeless style of Blair's work.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


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    Huh, I always thought the last room, with the dolls from all over the world dressed in white represented America.


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    Quote Originally Posted by VickiC View Post
    Huh, I always thought the last room, with the dolls from all over the world dressed in white represented America.
    You are correct. The second to last room is the rainforest (except at Christmas, where it is just black drapes and "peace" and "joy" signs).

  12. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by olegc View Post
    Well, maybe, but if you had a parent with historic ties to major structures and art - and were not even consulted on changes - would you not as well be unnerved? Remember - this is the third piece of blair design that is being modified at Disneyland
    I am a huge fan of Mary Blair and will actually be very disappointed if there are major changes made to this attraction. I just wish that the author of this letter (writing as the representative of the Blair family) didn't resort to name-calling and an "I know better than you" mentality.

    I think that a more respectful letter would have been much more compelling.

    As for whether or not I believe the Blair family should have been consulted about changes to the attraction? No, I don't.

    I loved the original pirate shouting "Bloomin' Cockroachers" in POTC and was saddened to see him replaced by Barbossa, and don't even get me STARTED about Tarzan's invasion of the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse. I doubt that the children of the imagineers who created these characters/attractions were consulted...

    I'm a Disneyland "purist," but I've also come to accept that change is a large part of the park I love so much.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Belle View Post
    I loved the original pirate shouting "Bloomin' Cockroachers" in POTC and was saddened to see him replaced by Barbossa\
    I take comfort in that I can hear the old dialog in the Fireworks show.

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    Brady MacDonald of the LA Times got a WDI spokeperson to respond....

    http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/?p=1530


    Disney officials said some additions — known as “plussing” in Imagineering parlance — will be made to Small World but that no decision had been made on specific creative changes to the 14-minute ride despite the speculation.

    “No one approaches our classic attractions with more reverence than Disney Imagineers who take great care when refreshing beloved attractions,” said Marilyn Waters, a Disney Imagineering spokeswoman. “As with all our classics, any enhancements made to It’s a Small World will be in the original spirit of celebrating the children of the world.”
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  15. #14

    I think the attraction has always been wonderfully themed; a tribute to the children of the world, showing us all that we have many more similarities than differences with our neighbors, reminding us that "It's A Small World afterall!" The simple, yet beautiful and comfortable visuals created by Mary Blair accompanied by a theme song that everyone walks away humming make IASW a unique experience.

    It's one thing to update an attraction so that the people attending can better relate to it. Case in point, changing the Swiss Family Robinson treehouse to the Tarzan treehouse. But by the attendance draw at IASW, it has shown its universal appeal for 40 years now.

    I think that I am in the camp that opposes the corporate branding of IASW with Disney characters and making the lovely and simple dolls the background players. Not everything has to fit into the corporate synergy.

    I hope that in refurbishing IASW, they carefully consider any changes which could potentially undermine the attraction's original theme.


  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Bytebear View Post
    I take comfort in that I can hear the old dialog in the Fireworks show.

  17. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by VickiC View Post
    Huh, I always thought the last room, with the dolls from all over the world dressed in white represented America.
    That's an interesting take. I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.

    I have always thought it was just to show that we are really not that different from one another no matter where we're from.
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    Quote Originally Posted by shna View Post
    That's an interesting take. I never thought of it that way, but it makes sense.

    I have always thought it was just to show that we are really not that different from one another no matter where we're from.
    That's how I've always thought of it too.

  19. #18

    My dad thinks the final "white" room is heaven, where everyone gets along. He always wells up with tears in there, the old softie.

    Didn't Walt say that iasw did not have a representation of the US because it was meant for Americans to see something about the rest of the world? I am mangling his sentiment but I have read it somewhere. That's why I was so sure, a few MouseAdventures ago, that there was no Statue of Liberty in iasw. Unfortunately for me, there is now a depiction of a Statue of Liberty on one of the big postcards at the end of the ride. D'oh!!

    Personally, I really really REALLY hope that Mickey etc are not added to iasw. Just dust the place well, re-glitter everything and do whatever is needed from an operational point of view (fix the trench, install cameras, whatever). Please don't commercialize it with Disney characters. That would lessen its considerable charm.


  20. #19
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    I can comfortably go the rest of my life without ever again finding myself inside small world so I don't really care what they do in there. And the art that Mary Blair is famous for just doesn't really appeal to me for some reason.

    However, it does seem really unnecessary as this is hardly an attraction that has seen a large drop off over time.


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    The story has made TMZ now...

    http://www.tmz.com/2008/03/20/disney...tinuedcontents

    What I find interesting is the poll they are conducting, here are the current totals...


    Do you think Nemo and Mickey should be added to Small World?


    No - 90%

    Yes - 10%

    Total Votes: 8,580

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  22. #21
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    There is just no telling how much Walt Disney himself would have changed, or changed-out by now
    ... or if It's a Small World would even exist in any form in 2008.


    It's Disney's creation, it's Disney's attraction, it's Disney's park -- it's Disney's choice.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Dimension View Post

    It's Disney's creation, it's Disney's attraction, it's Disney's park -- it's Disney's choice.
    But ultimately, who is "Disney's" boss... The consumer, they are the one who ultimately pays the bills.

    If the change upsets a LOT of consumers, then Disney needs to pay attention to the opinions of the guests.

    Why do you think they pay for all those survey takers in the park (and out)?

    Yes, Disney can make decisions, they are the company, but if they make "poor" decisions, then they will have to pay the price, similar to what happened with DCA. Disney tried to go cheap and deliver a lesser product, and tried to charge a premium price for it. Well, the consumers said NO, and now Disney is committing a lot of money (more than the original park cost) to try and deliver a park that matches what the consumers expect from Disney.
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  24. #23
    -=椺²°`¯13¯`°²º¤æ=- Another Dimension's Avatar
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    But ultimately, who is "Disney's" boss... The consumer, they are the one who ultimately pays the bills.
    The consumer makes the corporation profit, the sponsors pay the bills, Bob Iger is "Disney's" boss.


    No sponsors, no Disneyland.


    If the change upsets a LOT of consumers, then Disney needs to pay attention to the opinions of the guests.
    Disney is never going to be able to satisfy everyone. Ever.
    They, (he for that matter) couldn't 100% do it 52 years ago, the Company couldn't do it 20 years ago...
    they can't now and they never will.


    What is a LOT... to a globally massive corporation like the Walt Disney Company?
    A few 1000 fans(!) on a few hundred-odd message boards, 14k on a TMZ poll?



    Do you think with the Disney channel... with it's millions of regular long-time viewers weren't more than a little bummed about the 100% killing off of Vault Disney overnight?
    How many tens of thousands, or more loyal viewers (AKA old time, hard core, decades-long fans)... do you think complained?
    Disney sure listened.


    Where were the anti-PC police police because Disney history was being erased? Where were the protests? Where were the online petitions?





    Why do you think they pay for all those survey takers in the park (and out)?
    No survey taker inside the park or out has ever asked me anything close to a direct question about 'changes' to Disneyland/DCA, nor any attraction specific question in the past decade and I've been surveyed dozens of times inside and outside of the parks.... and handed survey envelopes to fill out and mail in on several occasions.


    You?


    How long as Disneyland been surveying any Guests, anywhere; about It's a Small World and it's potential changes, internet rumors or anything similar, specifically?


    Didn't think so.



    Yes, Disney can make decisions, they are the company, but if they make "poor" decisions, then they will have to pay the price, similar to what happened with DCA.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah...

    Millions love the park. Millions don't.

    Face facts.

    There are two sides to every coin.


    Or just actually read posts by people of differing opinions... here on Mouse Pad, or on any Disney fan board you choose.



    Disney tried to go cheap and deliver a lesser product, and tried to charge a premium price for it.
    That record is broken and the horse is beyond dead. Ya should let both RIP.
    It's getting fixed... in segments.

    Get a new act, eh!!



    Well, the consumers said NO, and now Disney is committing a lot of money (more than the original park cost) to try and deliver a park that matches what the consumers expect from Disney.

    What a lot of Disney experts/watchdogs/guardians and self-appointed public mediocrity saviors can't seem to grasp is...
    Every Disney park wasn't perfect upon opening, none of them are perfect now, every Disney park grows, changes, makes mistakes, removes things, adds new things, removes good things, adds bad things, makes more mistakes, grows and changes even more.
    This should all be quite obvious to all Disney park fans. Innit?


    DCA is just getting more attention due to some misteps (locally and corporately), and the company made more mistakes originally and over the years.

    Everyone knows.


    Why is it so cool for some people to point out every single mistake Disney may have made in their opinion(s), when most people never want anyone to point out any mistakes they have factually, (not subjectively) made?

    People make mistakes all the time. As do companies and corporations.




    Some people still LOVE the park.
    Some don't.
    Some people will love it more after the changes.
    Some won't.
    Some never will.


    Just like Disneyland.
    Just like everything else in life.


    So what?


    Exactly.

    Don't like the place. Don't go. Try it. Seriously.



    Maybe some people will never like the place, much less love it.


    What is Disney going to do then?

    What group or individual fans (customers or Guests) is Disney supposed to listen to anyway?

    The ones that spend the most time in the parks?
    The ones that spend the most money in the parks?
    The ones that spend the most money on Disney products overall?
    The ones that complain the most?
    The ones that complain the loudest?
    The children?
    The parents?
    The teens?
    The 51+ years Disneyland fans?
    Any combination of the above?


    They don't know either.


    What's the correct answer?


  25. #24
    Registered User petesimac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by River Belle View Post
    And also in the 3rd Pirates movie; recorded for posterity!
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  26. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bytebear View Post
    I take comfort in that I can hear the old dialog in the Fireworks show.

    Sorry, I meant this post: as well as in the 3rd Pirates movie; recorded for posterity!
    1999 - Coronado Springs (1 night); 2003 - DL's Paradise Pier (5 nights); 2005 - All Star Music (7 nights); 2007 - POP Century (10 nights); 2008 - DL's Paradise Pier (5 nights); 2009 - POP Century (10 nights); 2010 - Dolphin (2 nights); 2011 - POP Century (7 nights); June 8-18, 2012 - POFQ (10 nights); June 18-22, 2013 - POFQ (5 nights); next trip, June 26-July 4, 2014 (8 nights) at POFQ.

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