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View Full Version : From Theme Park to Amusement Park: The D-Land I Remember is Gone (Long negative rant)



smd4
07-21-2003, 11:35 AM
I just got the latest issue of the E ticket the other day. I love when a new issue arrives—as soon as I finish poring over the articles and pictures, I insert it into my binder of past issues. And this is where the fun starts.

I get sucked into thumbing through all the older issues, and seeing the park the way it once was. I read about the old, long gone attractions like the Submarines or the Peoplemover. I study the pictures that show Main Street the way it once was, with the building bricks of one color, and not the motley patchwork they’ve now become. I read the text that describes the “Magic” that once flourished there. And then, I become melancholy about the way things are now.

Disneyland is becoming a caricature of itself. Once many of its attractions and lands were designed to be realistic, in order to fully immerse the guest in the “fantasy” and remove one from the real world. Today, the park is being made to look like an amusement park instead of a theme park.

Take my Main Street example from above. At one time, each individual building had brickwork that was essentially painted the same color. One building would have all red bricks; another, all cream colored bricks, etc. Now, most of the buildings wear bickwork where each brick is painted a different color. Why? Are they meant to look like “used” brick? Why would a building on a Turn-of-the-Century Main Street decide to use used brick?

My point here is that the original paint scheme of the buildings was oh-so-much-more realistic in the past. Not that Main Street was ever supposed to be ultra-realistic. It was, instead, an “impressionist” view of a typical Main Street. But the paint scheme of the past supported this. Now, however, the garish facades do little to take me away from the modern world.

Main Street Station is another: Why is it necessary for each band of shingles to be painted a different color?

The Castle is the same way. Where once, it was supposed to look like a fairly realistic fortress, now, with its “cutesy” squirrel-themed downspouts, it has left the realm of realism and forever become a castle worthy of being the centerpiece of any miniature golf course.

And that abomination of a "tree house,” where once was a highly realistic--if primitive—residence that inspired me as a child, is now a stationary shill for a nearly forgotten cartoon.

Why does the end of my Main Street have an Orbitron/Rocket, competing with the Castle for my attention? Why is it at the ENTRANCE to Tommorwland? Didn’t the Imagineers read about how weenies are supposed to draw one into a land, not be a road block at the entrance??

So many changes to the park have happened, and many for the better. But why must changes be made merely for the sake of making changes? The old saw about Disneyland remaining unfinished should not be taken to ridiculous extremes by making unnecessary changes.

Why the constant need to change things that do not need changing?

The wonderfully inspiring theme park I knew as a child has slowly devolved into an amusement park. The pathways are overcrowded because of an ill-conceived idea that riders could make “reservations” for rides; Restaurants are closing because of an ill-conceived idea that a churro could substitute for a fine meal, al fresco. Lands have become deserted, and thought provoking or inspiring attractions were eliminated because they were deemed to be “unprofitable” (as if I paid a separate fare to ride the Submarines or the Peoplemover).

So, I find myself more and more drawn into my old E Tickets. I would rather revel, in the comfort of my own living room, in the glory of what the park was, than actually experience what it has become.

And you know what? I really miss the place...

tod
07-21-2003, 12:46 PM
Originally posted by smd4
Why does the end of my Main Street have an Orbitron/Rocket, competing with the Castle for my attention? Why is it at the ENTRANCE to Tomorrowland? Didn’t the Imagineers read about how weenies are supposed to draw one into a land, not be a road block at the entrance??


The Orbitron is there for one reason: He-who-must-not-be-named, The Guy Who Went To The Gap, wanted it there. Walt was a showman: He believed that you have to have a weenie at the end of every street to draw people in.

H-w-m-n-b-n, TGWWTTG, is a shopkeeper. HE believed that you need a DISPLAY WINDOW in the FRONT to draw people in.

It is this kind of genius that has brought Disneyland to the sorry state it's in now.

--T
============
Support our troops! Get them home out of harm's way!!

furbE95
07-21-2003, 09:53 PM
Originally posted by smd4

Why the constant need to change things that do not need changing?


Because Walt wanted it that way. He always said that Disneyland was never to be finished and it should always be changing (paraphrased big time)

YellowMan
07-21-2003, 10:19 PM
Why the constant need to change things that do not need changing? Cause times change.
I would rather revel, in the comfort of my own living room, in the glory of what the park was, than actually experience what it has become. Good...the crowds will be one lighter. Sorry to be insensitive, but I have heard this same story from many people here, and I honestly feel that, while Disneyland isn't what it used to be, it is far far far away from becoming a common amusement park.

LPnerd
07-22-2003, 01:08 AM
this place is so overcrowded, poorly managed, badly lit at nite and ridculously expensive, it has become a bad joke. I was there for the first time in years last sept. what a dissipointment. Thank god the Angels were in town. we did enjoy cal. Adventure. To bad they didn't use that land to spread DL. out a bit. wonder why???? TO DAMN GREEDY!!!!

Lost Boy
07-22-2003, 08:41 AM
Actually He WHo Must Not Be Named was not responsible for the Orbitron being where it was. This was a decision that the Imagineers made, and while I may not agree with thier decision, I think it looks nice at the entrance to Tomorrowland. Because it sits well back from the street, you really can't see from Town Square until you actually come into the Hub area. So that doesn't bother me all that much. Oh and by the way, I love the E-Ticket also. That is my Disneyland of the Past in there, and I love the arial shots. You can study those things for hours.

I kind of like the colorful aspect of Main Street now. And I like the new sidewalks and cobbelstoned street and real working gas lamps. I haven't been up to the Train Station is a long time, so I can't comment on that.

I agree that most changes made to the Park in You Know Who's reign are for the worse, and that not all the changes made to Disneyland are for the best. In fact, most are for the worse. I hate what they have done to that between area in the Emporium and the Clock shop. You know - the one with the big Plush Island at the back, and the plush island at the front. When the first redid that area several years ago, they had the most wonderful, full color, poster on the back wall advertising The Emporium, open since 1800 and something (I forget the exact date) and a picture (Painting) of Walter Elias Disney as the Founder of the Emporium. It looked like one of those old, turn of the Century advertising posters for new department stores, and was just a perfect tribute to Walt and Main Street. They also added the beautiful leaded windows on each side, up at the top. Now that whole area looks like a circus tent. I want that picture back. At least when I went in Sunday I noticed that all the scenes around the top of the main part of the Emporium were moving again. I have always liked those and in one form or another they have always been there.

The choice of merchandise seems to be getting worse and worse in the Emporium though. It's all the same thing over and over. What ever happened to Attraction Based things. Like the T-Shirts and Sweatshirts they used to sell. And Attraction Pins. And toys? Bring me more Attraction Based Toys! A new Die Cast every 6 months is not enough.

OK, I'll stop now before Ireally get going again.:D

stitch626
07-22-2003, 10:06 AM
He Who Must Not Be Named

:D Sounds like Lord Voldemort. :D

Anyways, I still like Disneyland even though theirs a lot missing. Sometimes in order to really appreciate the good, we must see the bad parts. You know what I mean? I think Fantasmic! has improved for the better.

smd4
07-22-2003, 10:54 AM
Lost Boy,

I was prescient enough to have taken a photo of the very mural you're talking about, and I'm really glad I did! The sign stated that the Emporim was "Est. 1855." (Get it?). It shows the Emporium building as HUGE ("occupying one city block!"). Really beautiful.

And Yellowman, I don't think you're being insensitive. I know folks will continue going to the park, and that's great for those who do not remember. And my hope is the same as yours--that the crowds get lighter. So light, I hope, that concrete changes will be made to bring back the park to the state it once occupied.

Disney stated that "Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world." He also said "It's something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing...and adding to." Both these quotes strongly indicate that the park would continue to grow; they do not suggest that things should be changed merely for the sake of change, or that the core ideas behind the idea of theming should be abandoned.

So much theorizing and philosophizing went into the develompment of Disneyland that it boggles the mind (the ultimate source of this is "Designing Disney's Theme Parks--The Architecture of Reassurance," edited by Karal Ann Marling. This is a must-read for folks who think the current management are doing a good job, or have done their homework; they haven't). I hardly see that thought applied to today's additions and unecessary changes. What I do see is a park driven by marketing, and apparently a lot of suckers, er, folks, are buying it. Which is great for the company, but bad for the park itself.

sancho
07-24-2003, 01:00 AM
Even though I love visiting the park as is, I thank you for putting together a well-reasoned argument for your dislike concerning the present state of affairs. It is intelligent and well written thus it is easy to respect your point of view. Thanks again.

Germboy
07-24-2003, 03:04 AM
smd4, I can only say that it is a cool drink of water to know that there are still people out there like you, who DO remember. I couldn't agree with your viewpoint more.

And to those who want to point to Disney's own words to legitimize changes at the park just for change's sake (what was the comment?--"...cause times change..."?): I think we would ALL agree that Walt would not have meant replacing top-notch attractions with inferior ones, just because "times change."

Take heart, Yellowman, there won't be "one less" if smd4 decides not to go to the park anymore. Sure, there will be one less person who remembers WHY the park enjoys its reputation. More and more hoards of people will continue to cram the park, no matter WHAT they do to it. The fact that the throngs of people are unaware that they are paying more and more and more for less and less and less will NOT change the fact that they will continue to come IN DROVES. Disney knows that too. That's why they get away with it. That's why they have ramped up their advertisements in places like Tijuana. Disneyland sure beats much of the entertainment down there, and it is probably safe to assume that NO ONE from Tijuana will notice how the park has deteriorated in the last fifteen or twenty years. Only when you talk to people like my parents (in their 70's, living five miles from the park since 1965, and won't go near the park anymore), do you hear just how much it has fallen apart.

And if you think many of us "complainers" on here are hard to swallow, you ought to listen to our older family members and friends who remember the park from when it was still "Disneyland". Yeah, times change. Too bad you and I are getting the short end of the stick. Big time.

YellowMan
07-24-2003, 03:31 AM
Originally posted by Germboy
And to those who want to point to Disney's own words to legitimize changes at the park just for change's sake (what was the comment?--"...cause times change..."?): I think we would ALL agree that Walt would not have meant replacing top-notch attractions with inferior ones, just because "times change."But the question was not "Why replace attractions with inferior ones?" It was "Why the constant need to change things that do not need changing?" They may not seem to need changing from your standpoint, but not necessarily from mine or others' standpoints. The truth is that some of us actually enjoy the new "looks" of Disneyland, the new "feel" of Disneyland, and the new attractions, even if they are thought of as "inferior" compared to their dated predecessors.
Originally posted by Germboy
And if you think many of us "complainers" on here are hard to swallow, you ought to listen to our older family members and friends who remember the park from when it was still "Disneyland". Yeah, times change. Too bad you and I are getting the short end of the stick. Big time. Oh, believe me, I do listen to my older family members. I also visit the park with them often. Why? Because they grew up with Disneyland, watching the changes taking place around the park right before their eyes, yet they still have fun there and enjoy the place for what it has become, not longing for the past simply because they miss old attractions.

I don't understand why you people bother complaining. I swear, I see more of these type of threads in one month on this discussion board than I've seen on other sites in a year's time. What is this complaining going to do for you? Find you another person who agrees so you can both feel terrible together? You said it yourself, Disney knows how the people will react to their changes and that people will come no matter what. Do you honestly believe that by some stroke of bizzare luck, some high up will read this post and come to tears realizing what they've done to Disneyland? If so, then keep on complaining. Keep on tearing down the Disneyland of today because it isn't what you want it to be. Meanwhile, I'll be out having fun, making new memories, and enjoying Disneyland not because as it is today is all I've ever known (because it certainly isn't) but because it's Disneyland.

sancho
07-24-2003, 03:40 AM
Originally posted by Germboy


That's why they have ramped up their advertisements in places like Tijuana. Disneyland sure beats much of the entertainment down there, and it is probably safe to assume that NO ONE from Tijuana will notice how the park has deteriorated in the last fifteen or twenty years.

Please watch comments like these...they imply more than you probably mean. You could have made your point without singling out an ethnicity.

Germboy
07-24-2003, 04:35 AM
Yes, the question related to changing things that DO NOT NEED CHANGING. You must have missed my point. Why would you pay for admission to a park where you believe that things need changed? Do you not appreciate what is there to begin with?

Just because something is "old", "original", or a "predecessor" does NOT make it "dated" (your words, Yellowman). Consider the Constitution of the US, the Mayflower Compact, a Picasso painting, the Eiffel Tower, El Mio Cid, etc etc.

If you think that the reason people are complaining is "simply because they miss old attractions," then you don't get it. And obviously you don't understand why "we people" keep complaining. I, for one, DO believe that the company is very sensitive to these boards. And when I see results in the park that seem to reflect what is being discussed on the boards, then yes, I think expressing our opinions here does work. Believe me. Or we wouldn't continue. Keep your rose colored glasses on . You won't know the difference either way.

And with regards to your comments, Sancho: How dare you. You don't know me in the least. If you want to take what I am saying and twist it into something that YOU believe it is (or maybe want it to be), then the onus is on you and you take credit for it. But I will thank you not to try to drag me into some kind of an "ethnicity" argument with which you seem to have issues. I did not single out ANY ethnicity. You did. My point for bringing up Tijuana had NOTHING to do with what you are trying to imply and I DO NOT APPRECIATE THAT.

sancho
07-24-2003, 04:49 AM
Originally posted by Germboy

And with regards to your comments, Sancho: How dare you. You don't know me in the least. If you want to take what I am saying and twist it into something that YOU believe it is (or maybe want it to be), then the onus is on you and you take credit for it. But I will thank you not to try to drag me into some kind of an "ethnicity" argument with which you seem to have issues. I did not single out ANY ethnicity. You did. My point for bringing up Tijuana had NOTHING to do with what you are trying to imply and I DO NOT APPRECIATE THAT.

I sincerely apologize if I offend you. My goal is not to drag you into an ethnicity argument. For this reason (if you read the wording of my post) I gave you the benefit of the doubt. It just hit a little to close to sensitive material. Again, I apologize.

smd4
07-24-2003, 09:15 AM
I am not against change, and I truly believe some of the recent changes have ENHANCED the park. The Indiana Jones Adventure fits in perfectly with the Adventurland theme, made a fantastic use of space by being placed outside the berm, and not really impacting existing attractions too much. The simultaneous re-theming of the Jungle Cruise launches, backdating them to 1930's era craft instead of gaily-draped pleasure boats, added immensly as well.

But sometimes it seems as if Disney has a lot of people with too much time on their hands. "Hey, let's paint each indivual brick on Main Street a different color! Then, those kids today will think they're entering a cool new mall, er, theme park, and the subtle education about real life at the turn of the century will be eliminated! Those kids today don't need education when they come here, they just need to see a Churro wagon every three steps they make!"

"Hey, I've got an idea! Let's turn that old Swiss treehouse into a commercial!"

"But sir, that was a great attraction! Can't we keep it as is so other generations can experince it?"

"Sorry, no. We could't find a sponsor for it. Swiss Miss Just wasn't interested..."

And on and on.

Another example, that, as yet, has not come to pass: As many of you know, Disneyland is in possession of a fifth steam locomotive on the Disneyland Railroad. It's been named Ward Kimball in honor of the great Disney animator and rail preservationist. As an homage to Ward, the imagineers determined that Ward should be honored by having him paint Jimminy Cricket and other Disney characters on the locomotive's headlight.

This idea appeals to so many who don't know that it's scary. Not that Ward should't have a locomotive, or have been involved in some way with its paint scheme (as he was with a few of the other engines). the point is, Walt Disney wanted his Railroad to be as realistic as he could make it, because he wanted the youth of his generation, being raised in automobiles and airplanes, to experience what rail travel was like at the turn of the century. In other words, the trains, stations, etc. were all meant to be as realistic as possible, to provide an experience: One of the first examples (of many in the park) of "Virtual Reality.

Having Jimminy Cricket on the headlight would destroy this illusion, even though the sentiment was honorable, and pehaps a majority of "fans" would approve. The "old school" management had the final say in a similar incident that saw the Santa Fe Railway wanting to implment Diesel Service on the DRR in the mid-1970's--an idea whose time, thankfully, never came. I'm afraid many today would't mind at all seeing "modern" trains plying the rails of the disneyland Railroad--after all, "Walt said Disneyland should always change."

It's too bad that management is gone, apparently for good.

It's not that I don't like Disneyland. Perhaps I like it too much, and just can't sit idly by as it continues to degrade. The final nail in the coffin, I'm afraid, will be from folks like Yellowman, who, while they claim to, remember, really don't. I've termed folks like them "frogs," in reference to the old saw about how a frog immersed in cool water that eventually is brought to a boil, fails to sense the urgency of their situation until it's too late.

Is the water approaching a rolling boil yet?

Allison
07-24-2003, 10:22 AM
I think most people can agree with some of your points.

I think the single largest factor of disappointment at DL is the steady cutbacks of care of the park. from painting, to the attractions themselves breaking down, in some cases falling down, the steady decline in the food, just cutback, slash, over and over. At least finally some things are being done. They will hopefully sit up and take notice at the number of visitors continuing to stream into DL, and not into DCA.
A few years ago, I wrote them and said you are ignoring your true gem, the reason people come here for vacation and spend their hard earned money, The original DL.

It still is a special place, I wouldn't call it an amusement park. if it was, at my age I would find other places to travel, but I still visit every chance I get, and I still become 10 again when I walk under that welcome sign, my heart pounding with excitement, as I give a warm hello to Walt when I pass his apartment window.
No, this is not a regular amusement park.

smd4
07-24-2003, 10:32 AM
No, this is not a regular amusement park. Give it time. Rome wasn't destroyed in a day...

YellowMan
07-24-2003, 09:01 PM
Originally posted by smd4
I am not against change, and I truly believe some of the recent changes have ENHANCED the park. The Indiana Jones Adventure fits in perfectly with the Adventurland theme, made a fantastic use of space by being placed outside the berm, and not really impacting existing attractions too much. The simultaneous re-theming of the Jungle Cruise launches, backdating them to 1930's era craft instead of gaily-draped pleasure boats, added immensly as well. I agree with you on this, and it makes me happy to know that we can agree on some things.


Originally posted by smd4
"Hey, let's paint each indivual brick on Main Street a different color! Then, those kids today will think they're entering a cool new mall, er, theme park, and the subtle education about real life at the turn of the century will be eliminated! Those kids today don't need education when they come here, they just need to see a Churro wagon every three steps they make!"Perhaps I do not understand, but is the paint scheme of the bricks truly that integral to the feel of Main Street? I honestly am struggling to believe you are seriously upset about this.
Originally posted by smd4
"Hey, I've got an idea! Let's turn that old Swiss treehouse into a commercial!"

"But sir, that was a great attraction! Can't we keep it as is so other generations can experince it?"

"Sorry, no. We could't find a sponsor for it. Swiss Miss Just wasn't interested..."I still do not see how Tarzan's Treehouse is a commercial. The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse was also a commercial, by this logic. The only difference is that you couldn't exit it, walk across the road into a shop and buy merchandise from it.

I will be the first to say that it wasn't executed correctly, but I do think that the update was a step in the right direction. Tarzan's Treehouse made use of the old tree to make a home for a newer Disney character. Obviously you have not been around young children recently, because Tarzan is far from becoming "a nearly forgotten cartoon." My little nephew still watches the movie from time to time with his friends, as well as many other Disney films, both "classics" and newer additions. Simply because you forget it or it doesn't appeal to you, does not mean that it is a waste or already forgotten.
Originally posted by smd4
The final nail in the coffin, I'm afraid, will be from folks like Yellowman, who, while they claim to, remember, really don't. I've termed folks like them "frogs," in reference to the old saw about how a frog immersed in cool water that eventually is brought to a boil, fails to sense the urgency of their situation until it's too late.
And who are you to decide what I do and do not remember? Because I do not hold the same opinion as yourself, because I am willing to enjoy the things I enjoy, rather than mope about losing my park when it wasn't my park to begin with? Because I don't claim to know exactly what Walt would have wanted and I don't speak as though I am his ambassador to the rest of the world? Again I ask, who are you to judge what I do and do not know? What I remember and what I don't? What I do know, and I thank God for, is that Walt was most definitely far from the person you appear to be, a person who wants only what they dream of, not what the rest of the world wants.

I began in this thread light-heartedly. I light-heartedly expressed my opinion, even apologizing for it's tone, yet immediately was attacked. As I read your last post, I had been pleased that you hadn't sunken to the level of others and looked forward to having a mature discussion with you. I was impressed that you hadn't quoted me, then twisted the words to insult me, as another did. But now that I have heard what you have to say I realize that you are no better than the rest. You are incapable of carrying on a mature conversation with opposition. The "frogs" as you so "intelligently" call us.

I am truly sorry that you look at Disneyland in the state you do. I am truly sorry that you apparently harbor such bitterness for those who do enjoy the Disneyland of today. I am also truly sorry that you did not feel we could carry on a mature discussion. Even so, I wish that we are both someday pleased with the Disneyland that we both love so much. I hope that God blesses you immensley and that both your dreams and my dreams can come true and coexist.

On that note, I will withdraw myself from this thread and this discussion.