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Old 01-20-2013, 03:25 PM   #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt's Frozen Head View Post
First I'll respond to the two quotes that seem directed at my post.

"I do agree that Soarin' was cut short of its full potential, but it's a very nice attraction."

And that's the heart of the argument I was trying to make: "cut short of its potential... but very nice" isn't what made Disney magical in the first place. "Cut short of its potential... but very nice" is what Michael Eisner settled for, what Michael Eisner established as Disney's norm.
Compare Tokyo DisneySea attractions overseen by Oriental Land Company with contemporaneous stateside attractions overseen by Michael Eisner. Eisner never tried to be the best, never raised the overall level by raising the expectations and the standard. Eisner did the the exact opposite of that.

"What has Iger done to "restore" the Magic of Disney?"

To be honest, I have no idea. I've actually been in Car 4 (are we still doing the "Car" thing?) for the better part of this past decade. After I read on the internet that more specialized merch was returning to the parks and resorts (another loss of the Eisner era was "The Fab Five" and the way the same exact merchandise starting showing up everywhere in the parks and resorts [not to mention the Disney Stores and Wal-Marts], replacing merch that was themed to individual lands and resorts, even individual rides and characters), I posted on the july171955 site a question as to whether this was a sign that positive changes were coming back, that someone along the line might "get it" and Iger, at least might not be quashing things out of pure evil delight. The responses did not fill me with much hope (along the lines of "even a blind pure evil squirrel finds a nut once in a while"), and I let it go at that. So I have no real answer for this.

I did want to mention one other thing, in regards to attributing Tower of Terror and Splash Mountain to Eisner. Over the years I've gotten flack for splitting this hair, but I believe that it's valid to split: ToT and Splash were not attributable to Michael Eisner and his policies, they were attributable to Frank Wells and his policies. I can agree that ToT is pure Disney Magic, likely the last great example of such on American soil. And Splash (which is really a dark ride, not a log flume, in its execution) is actually rather infamous for being the project that that convinced Eisner to be openly antagonistic to the Imagineering group (I wish AV were still around to tell this story, suffice to say that Imagineering missed some deadlines trying to get the ride right, and that adversely affected some pomp and circumstance Eisner wanted to enjoy. To Eisner, his self-aggrandizing dog and pony show was more important than the guests' ride experience, and Imagineering began its Eisner-directed descent into oblivion as soon as Michael no longer had to share the reins).

Eisner was CEO for twenty years, half with Wells as President, and half with Iger (Michael Ovitz? Never heard of him). It takes a long time for an institution as large as Disney to change its culture. It would take a decade or more to undo what Eisner did, and a CEO willing to undo it. I do not have any evidence to present that Iger has that willingness.
~Great post! I appreciate your honesty so much! You've made a lot of excellent points that I agree with. I'm even more confused now, because you are in "Car 4!" That's really harsh, at least move to "Car 3." I'm hopeful because Disney has finally allocated capital investment for the theme parks. Of course, we have no idea what *all* of the plans are, so we'll see.

~So basically, you despise Eisner, but you're not on team Iger, either. I *think* that's what I have been missing. At this point, I will concede because I can't argue, *Eisner* versus *Iger* effectively, if I am handicapped right from the start.

~Metaphorically speaking, it's like a chess match. When you refuse to acknowledge Eisner for ToT and Splash (among several other things) by giving all the credit to someone else under his leadership -- it's like removing my queen, bishops, rooks, knights and just leaving me with the pawns to fight with -- while Iger keeps his entire arsenal of chessman. It's impossible for me to win this argument when the platform to argue objectively, is severely compromised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bom_noite View Post
I think it is a Fantastic Thread.......

Walt bought up half of Central Florida for a reason: He was disgusted with the Hotels, Restaurants, Neighborhoods spawning around DisneyLand. He vowed never to have that happen again: Go in Large - anticipate Expansion!

The company died - for a time - after Walt died! The "Roy Side" took control of management. The country was in recession and there was a prolonged era of:
  • WWWD (What Would Walt Do?)
  • We were delighted by 14 Herbie Movies,
  • No new restaurants / hotels at WDW were built! The vultures build them on Irlo Bronson though - exactly what Walt did not want!
  • Epcot was built - thanks so little! I am not a Epcot hater - has anyone ever duplicated it, would they? Probably no -there is a reason! My son just left working there. His thought: It is a huge restaurant, bar and duty free that they charge $90 to visit!

Finally the Disney Decade began - and - one of Eisner first decisions was to shuttle the original 10 Story boring design for what became the Swan / Dolphin. He got out of the contract and hired Michael Graves (a top 70's architect) to design the two buildings. Campy? I think so! But better then a 10 Story industrial design!

Eisner:
  • Capitalized the property. Not giving us resorts, but, themed resorts that are wonderful!
  • Brought us DS - which - are lackluster and a bad imersonation of what had been done by others.
  • Animal Kingdom - which - despite it's problems is a WWWD type of project!
  • Copied the Timeshare craze and used the land to build DVC division! Brilliant: Guaranteed vacations with returning customers!
  • Copied the Cruise craze and built himself some boats and bought an Island.
  • Eisner was never the brain child over the Fantasic Movies of the early 'Disney Decade': Bueaty and the Beast, Lion King, Toy Story (add 10 more)! No that was Katzenberg - and Eisner felt threatened and ran him off!
  • Somebody on this thread said Well's was the "creative" guy! Nothing more wrong could be written: Wells was the FINANCIAL Guy - but - his real gift was keeping large Ego's working together! Regardless, Well's put a huge Bean Counting environment which lives today!

IMHO:
  • We benefited from the Eisner era: Incredibly good entertainment, great resorts, the Animal Kingdom!
  • We still suffer from the Eisner / Wells era: We don't have to be better then our competition - those minions still will come!
  • Iger is a TV guy! He is following the Eisner strategy regarding the parks! In fact, he promoted an Accountant to run Parks! He is investing, but, it is far from the amount needed to be cutting edge!

In conclusion: Eisner/Wells had their problems, but, you cannot dismiss the era and it's impact on WDW: 12 (or so) new Themed Resorts with varying price ranges, 2 New Parks, DVC, Sports Complex, 100 new Characters, DTD Expansion.

WDW Today, for good or ill, is based on Eisner's vision - not Walt's!

The question truly is: If we could revive Walt for a week and give him a tour of the WDW property (and his competitors) - would he approve? And, that is a question I think of all the time!
~Awesome post! And to think, I just conceded, lol. Like I said before, I am hopeful because Disney is investing a lot of capital in the parks, again. So far, WDW has fared really well by ignoring the parks (until recently), raising rack room rates and ticket prices through the roof to get the masses hooked on fake "discounts" and all the "free" chicken nuggets you can eat <sarcasm>, among other gimmicks. Basically, I'm just patiently waiting to see what Disney will do with the Monorail & how they intend to "plus" the parks. I hope that doesn't sound too negative because overall I feel pretty positive for the future!
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Old 01-20-2013, 03:36 PM   #62
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I would say that Eisner was very successful in growing the parks and the resorts. However, I would say that he made major mistakes in the other entertainment ventures. The non-core Disney films, buying sports teams and the ABC deal. To many unrelated ventures that took the focus away from their core business.

I definitely have to say that the parks and the Disney experience were enhanced during the Eisner years but the focus on shareholder returns (and his own legacy and compensation) hindered the process. A great example is how he almost screwed up the whole Pixar thing.
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Old 01-20-2013, 05:04 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bom_noite View Post
I think it is a Fantastic Thread.......

Walt bought up half of Central Florida for a reason: He was disgusted with the Hotels, Restaurants, Neighborhoods spawning around DisneyLand. He vowed never to have that happen again: Go in Large - anticipate Expansion!

The company died - for a time - after Walt died! The "Roy Side" took control of management. The country was in recession and there was a prolonged era of:
  • WWWD (What Would Walt Do?)
  • We were delighted by 14 Herbie Movies,
  • No new restaurants / hotels at WDW were built! The vultures built them on Irlo Bronson though - exactly what Walt did not want!
  • Epcot was built - thanks so little! I am not a Epcot hater - has anyone ever duplicated it, would they? Probably no -there is a reason! My son just left working at Epcot as a College Program member. His thought: It is a huge restaurant, bar and duty free that they charge $90 to visit!

Finally the Disney Decade began - and - one of Eisner first decisions was to skuttle the original 10 Story boring design for what became the Swan / Dolphin. He got out of the contract and hired Michael Graves (a top 70's architect) to design the two buildings. Campy? I think so! But better then a 10 Story industrial design!

Eisner:
  • Capitalized the property. Not giving us resorts, but, themed resorts that are wonderful!
  • Brought us DS - which - is lackluster and a bad impersonation of what had been done by others.
  • Animal Kingdom - which - despite it's problems is a WWWD type of project!
  • Copied the Timeshare craze and used the land to build DVC division! Brilliant: Guaranteed occupancy with returning customers!
  • Copied the Cruise craze and built himself some boats and bought an Island.
  • Eisner was never the brain child over the Fantasic Movies of the early 'Disney Decade': Bueaty and the Beast, Lion King, Toy Story (add 10 more)! No that was Katzenberg - and Eisner felt threatened and ran him off!
  • Somebody on this thread said Well's was the "creative" guy! Nothing more wrong could be written: Wells was the FINANCIAL Guy - but - his real gift was keeping large Ego's working together! Regardless, Well's developed a huge Bean Counting environment that permeates the Lake Buena Vista property today!

IMHO:
  • We benefited from the Eisner era: Incredibly good entertainment, great resorts, the Animal Kingdom!
  • We still suffer from the Eisner / Wells era: We don't have to be better then our competition - our minion followers will still come!
  • Iger is a TV guy! He is following the Eisner strategy regarding the parks! In fact, he promoted an Accountant to run Parks! He is investing, but, it is far from the amount needed to be cutting edge!

In conclusion: Eisner/Wells had their problems, but, you cannot dismiss the era and it's impact on WDW: 12 (or so) new Themed Resorts with varying price ranges, 2 New Parks, DVC, Sports Complex, 100 new Characters, DTD Expansion.

WDW Today, for good or ill, is based on Eisner's vision - not Walt's!

The question truly is: If we could revive Walt for a week and give him a tour of the WDW property (and his competitors) - would he approve? And, I ponder that question all the time!

I think this is the post I most agree with in this thread. Great points have been shared by all and I think everyone has a bit of truth in their ideas.

I feel as though everyone here can agree that WDW today would be much, much different if Walt would have lived longer. However, who's to say that the people who took over after wouldn't have still been around and inherited the park after he left us eventually? Even then the leadership who took over after his death has done a great job of creating a brand that is well recognized and loved all over the world.

I do disagree with this post on the account of Epcot. Sure, Futureworld has fallen by the wayside a bit and much must be done in order to bring it back to the place it used to be. I believe the World Showcase is an excellent testimony to WDW and the World. Where else can you go and experience in person multiple countries and cultures all by just walking from one place to the other? I personally can't think of a place that allows me to choose between so many authentic restaurants in the same general area. (Outside of some large cities such as NYC or Los Angeles).
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:17 PM   #64
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I would STRONGLY encourage anyone who has read / contributed to this Thread to look for two books:

Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street, the raiders, and the battle for Disney.
John Taylor. 1987.
: This book looks at the Post Walt Company and focuses on the company up through the hiring of Eisner / Wells.

Disney War
James Stewart. 2006.
: This book takes up where "Storming" left off. It looks at the Eisner era from the beginning to right before his final departure.

Both books are wonderful reads, and, a must for all of us Disney geeks. Neither focus on the Parks, but, all things Disney business. I would consider them "Business Books". But, with that said - we all know Disney's Business, the Players and the Industries they play in (or we would not be posting here)! Both are extremely well written, easy reads and "Page Turners".

I would read them both in the order presented. If you are only interested in Eisner, then Disney War is more geared for you. Reading the OMG moment Eisner / Iger went through on 9-11 was an amazing insight in to running a large company! We all criticize those up top - I would not have traded my job for theirs on that day!

Storming gives a great insight in to the Post-Walt company. How dreadful the decisions were and how un-creative the bunch that followed Walt/Roy actually were! You learn how close we all were to lose a business which has become a National Icon! You learn Eisner/Wells were a savior!

While written by different Authors, with different angles and writing styles, you almost believe they are two books in one series. When you read both you really can visualize the People, the Problems, the Ego's, the Success and the Failures.

I just looked, both are available on Amazon used for $.01! I would not sell my copies at any price!

Last edited by bom_noite; 01-20-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:30 PM   #65
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bom_noite View Post
I would STRONGLY encourage anyone who has read / contributed to this Thread to look for two books:

Storming the Magic Kingdom: Wall Street, the raiders, and the battle for Disney.
John Taylor. 1987.
: This book looks at the Post Walt Company and focuses on the company up through the hiring of Eisner / Wells.

Disney War
James Stewart. 2006.
: This book takes up where "Storming" left off. It looks at the Eisner era from the beginning to right before his final departure.

Both books are wonderful reads, and, a must for all of us Disney geeks. Both focus not on the Parks, but, all things Disney business. I would consider them "Business Books". But, with that said - we all know Disney's Business, the Players and the Industry - or we would not be posting here! Both are extremely well written and "Page Turners".

I would read them both in the order presented. If you are only interested in Eisner, then Disney War is more geared for you.

Regardless, Storming gives a great insight in to the Post-Walt company. How dreadful the decisions were and how un-creative the bunch that followed Walt/Roy actually were! You learn how close we all were to lose a business which has become a National Icon!

While written by different Authors, when you read both you really can visualize the People, the Problems, the Ego's, the Success and the Failures.

I just looked, both are available on Amazon used for $.01! I would not sell my copies at any price!
That is a good suggestion but it should be known tha ALL of the oldtimers participating in this thread read those books 10 years ago.
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Old 01-20-2013, 06:57 PM   #66
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Pirate 2 View Post
That is a good suggestion but it should be known tha ALL of the oldtimers participating in this thread read those books 10 years ago.
Thanks - I feel younger! But question the purpose of this post?

Last edited by bom_noite; 01-20-2013 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #67
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You asked for comments - will do my best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
1. Michael Eisner was hired as the creative executive. Frank Wells was the person really running the company along with the heads of the individual business units. Yes, Eisner did bring in Katzenberg, but he quickly developed his own power base and can’t really be considered a “Michael” person even in the best of times. Notably Attractions remained managed by “Walt and Ron” people all throughout the “golden Eisner years”.
Cannot disagree. Katzenberg was brilliant! He was also brash, crass and unlikable. Roy and Gold did not like him one iota - and they wanted him out!
My feeling that his brashness and success was usurping Roy's Kingdom. For whatever reason he became an Eisner enemy.

Lets be honest though: Katzenberg was turning huge profits. Making Eisner look un-Eisnerish. He had to go!

While I see Katzenberg for what he is worth - arguably he kicked out more classic's then Walt ever did in a shorter period: Mermaid, Beast, Aladdin, King, Toy Story (and that is just the Animation releases - he was the head of a TON of traditional Releases!) And, he continued that at DreamWorks.

I never liked the guy, but, you have to respect his contribution!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
2. These people were able to run their divisions as they wanted with the occasional interruption from Eisner. They were able to stop most of his really dumb ideas early – closing Animation, selling EPCOT Center, opening up a chain of fast food joints, etc.
I cannot debate this totally. I debate the fact the "occasional interruption" statement - I think it was more like "constant interruption"! If he got rid of Katzenberg, he would get rid of anyone!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
3. Eisner’s primary purpose in the early years was to lend his Hollywood credibility and let Jeffrey borrow the rolodex to stars at the Betty Ford clinic. Yes, he did jump start the studio, but that was a process that had already started. Many people had been waiting for Disney to reawaken and jumped at the chance to help. And the single event that most sparked the company, ‘The Little Mermaid’ was a project that pre-dated Eisner (and one he wanted killed).

Eisner had a notable "Singles and Doubles" strategy. When they signed on Midler her agent wanted more money. Eister / Katzenberg argued: "Your client has no Career! Take it or leave it". They won.

I personally believe if I was a Hollywood exec I would follow that simple low-budget strategy! And, they did until Katzenberg left. Then, we got Pearl, Alamo, and other Big Budget busts!

Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
4. Eisner micromanages in the things that interest him, and utterly ignores those that do not. While he’s more than willing to spend an entire day picking out the fabric for the lobby chairs, the man couldn’t tell you what “rack rate” means to the hotel business. Many times he would get involved in the most mundane of decisions – and override the management that made the calls in the first place – while ignoring the serious issues around him. This caused tremendous problems between him and the company’s upper management. It’s very hard to look seriously at a man for strategic guidance when his only interest seems to be how quickly you can manufacture the new monorail costumes his wife just designed.
My only thought regarding what I know ( have some personal experience), have heard, have read: Eisner micro-managed EVERYTHING! Not just certain divisions!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
5. He has no ability to “tough out” a problem when they appear. It’s an ability that’s become legendary about town. He flung himself into the design decisions about Euro Disney and California Adventure and then completely abandoned both projects when troubles arose. Also witness his approach to Animation – he hated it at the beginning (because it was perceived as a failure), then “fell in love” when it made gobs of cash, but now since there hasn’t been another ‘The Lion King’ again he’s shutting down the division. There has been no attempt to fix the division or to find out what went wrong. It’s just been dropped like a worn out toy.
I agree. Do you realize Eisner and staff gave away the International distribution rights to Sixth Sense for 12.5%? They lost 100's of Millions as the Exec who Green-Lit the thing was on the outs! Perhaps the most stupid decision in the Eisner Reign! Ahhh, now there were many more.

The entire "GO" Internet Network concept crashed and died.

The purchase of the Family Network was just dreadful and they lost Ka-Billions. The original thought: Re-broadcast ABC / Dis Channel shows on the network. Uhhhh, the contracts they held on both networks with the developers prohibited re-broadcasting without a huge syndication fee! Ooooooooooop's!

I was actually staying at the Beach Club and had a long talk in the Yacht Club Bar with a show Exec. He was there for a for a huge "Family Channel" get together a year after the purchase. He told me: "Disney is wining and dining me and my family here for 2 days, and 3 days on a Cruise to help us change our mind on distribution fee's!". I asked: "Will you relent?" He said: "Why would any of us - we have firm contracts?" He bought my drinks (paid by Disney). I won!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
6. Eisner’s tinkering, ego, and lack of true business skills forced out all of the company’s top management and a created turnover rate remarkable even for Hollywood. In the last five years alone, how many studio heads have rolled through the lot? Through the death of Frank Wells and the loss of anyone with the intestines to say “NO!”, what you’re seeing today is pretty much the Eisner that’s been there all along.
Agree / Disagree! Katzenberg sut down his fare share of projects. Also, Katzenberg came up with HUGE ideas on Lion King, Toy Story that turned disaster to CLASSIC!

Don't get me wrong - I see the man for the arrogant exec he is. That said - if I owned a Hollywood company he would have been the first person I hired, then, try to control him! The man is brilliant - and - he has proven it for years! Like I said, he pushed out more "Classics" then Walt ever did! I do not think that fact is debatable.



Quote:
Originally Posted by DVC-Landbaron View Post
7. Well, maybe not all along. It’s worse now after a decade of self-promotion and being surrounded by yes-droids. He honestly thinks he’s the business genius that he’s been pretending to be and that makes him dangerous as well. People were laughing at him for the Fox Family deal, both inside and outside of the company. Only the ones on the outside didn’t both the wait until his back was turned.

No, Eisner is not to blame for all the bad things that have happened or are happening, but he should likewise receive the appropriate amount of praise for what went right. Eisner was good as the Hollywood smoozer to whisper sweet nothings into the ears of stars and to parade himself about at the premier parties. But he’s not a businessman. He never has been nor ever will be.

Too bad we can't call in for a stunt double whenever a real decision has to be made.[B][SIZE="5"][SIZE="4"]
At the end of the day, Eisner was an Executive - charged with making the company and it's stockholders money! After adjustments, the day he took over the Stock could be purchased for $1.33 per share. A few months prior to his arrival, you could buy Disney stock for under $.50 per share.

When he left - 20 years later the stock was worth: $28.25 per share. Those who made this money on WDW stock are not here complaining about Eisner - trust me!

Question: Give me $1 today, and, I promise to give you $28 twenty years from now. Would you say yes or no? Actually it turned out to be: Give me $1 today and I give you $28 twenty years from now or $65 thirty years from now! Maybe $100 40 years from now.

In essence, everyone reading this could have secured their retirement by investing 10K in Disney in 1980!

I think the man, despite his faults, did his job!

Last edited by bom_noite; 01-20-2013 at 09:09 PM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:08 PM   #68
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"So basically, you despise Eisner, but you're not on team Iger, either."

In some ways, it would be difficult for me to ever be on "Team Iger," because Iger was Eisner's hand-picked toady... Smithers to Eisner's Burns. While Iger was learning everything he knows from Eisner, Eisner was pocketing about a billion of Disney's dollars. In America, that cumulative paycheck makes Eisner a success no matter how he came about it, and it's hard for me to imagine Iger _not_ being affected by watching it happen, and affected in a way I would consider to be adversely.

And let me be clear about this as well: I don't despise Michael Eisner, I've never met the man personally. I don't even begrudge him his billion dollars. What I despise is what he did to the Disney organization; what bothers me is to compare his compensation for what he did to Walt's compensation for what he did. Eisner was in it for personal gain, so it's predictable what he turned Disney into: a money-printing machine. The old Disney was a story-telling machine, probably the best one ever devised, and the money just naturally followed because we human beings really need such a machine in our lives.

I would never have written word one about Michael Eisner if he'd worked for Wal-Mart or Monsanto... businesses that had long ago sold whatever whatever greasy goo passed for their souls in the pursuit of the almighty billions of dollars. But Disney was different... up until Eisner was wholly in charge.

"When you refuse to acknowledge Eisner for ToT and Splash (among several other things) by giving all the credit to someone else under his leadership -- it's like removing my queen, bishops, rooks, knights and just leaving me with the pawns to fight with -- while Iger keeps his entire arsenal of chessman."

My apologies if it came across that that was the "side" I was taking in an argument. I have a habit of fixating on a portion of a thread or a post and making that a jumping-off point for the latest version of what is essentially the same thing I've been typing since about the turn of the millenium. I think Disney was Special, capital "S," and yes, Magical, capital "M." Michael Eisner changed that, and made Disney merely Profitable, capital "$." I don't know that Iger could or would change that back... his history makes me skeptical, and the opinions of people I respect suggest it just ain't happenin'.

My purpose is to point out how and why Disney changed, and how and why that damaged every one of us. I am not arguing with you, I am telling you, as they say.

Walt built an amazing machine: The Disney Company itself. I used the shorthand "Wells' policies" when splitting the ToT/Splash hair, but it was really Walt's policies and systems that Wells had enough sense and brassies to protect from Eisner. Once Wells was gone, Eisner got to do what most of us believed he always wanted to do: gut Disney's creativity in the name of cost savings and run off copies of (and change laws to extend the copyrights on) what was already in the tank.

Eisner also built a formidable machine, but the machine Eisner built was meant for a different purpose than the one Walt built. I know my children and I are the poorer for that difference, and I deeply believe that you are, too.
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:33 PM   #69
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I would say that all these past and current Disney leaders (that came after Walt of course) have done a lot right and a lot wrong. My biggest concern at this point is that Pixar is doing the same formula too much. Lasseter is a genius for story-telling but it seems like a lot of his stories start with the same inspiration... look around the room and pick an inanimate (or non-human) object that has some features that could be related to human expression and animate it, bring it to life... okay what is in my room, toys, fish, robot, a bug walking on the floor, monster in my closet, superhero, a rat walking on the floor, my video games, talking cars, talking planes, talking dogs, talking bears, ooh look a dinosaur (2014). It's been a fun trip but Pixar has yet to be broad the way Walt Disney was in making his films that were live action, animated, experimental, etc. Can Pixar make a movie like Swiss Family Robinson, Mary Poppins, Treasure Island, etc. (huge successes under Walt)? Movies like this are left up to others like Bruckheimer. Lasseter is great at what he does, the best, but I would like to see him take all his energy, talent, and dedication to Disney and try something totally new that doesn't involve a talking animal/machine that otherwise should not be talking. It's like that little jumping lamp is warning me, next up... the story of a talking microwave! How far can the parks grow on this same formula? No one has done it better than Lasseter but I want to see more diversity in his films because that translates into diversity in the parks. IMHO

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Old 01-21-2013, 12:22 AM   #70
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Let me ask this... Which rides in WDW represent the best technology could offer at the time or theming so great that it blows people away. The truly great rides?

For example: The exemplar right now is The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This land has top notch theming. The Forbidden Journey queue through Hogwarts is the best queue anywhere, and the ride itself is state of the art mind blowing good (and butterbeer is awesome).

At WDW what would have been those rides and who was in charge during the development? (I think things have to be viewed in their own time for this to work. For example, Little Mermaid may have been awesome in 1964, but not now in 2012.)


Haunted Mansion 1969/1971
Small World 1966/1971
Carousel of Progress 1967/1975
Pirates of the Caribbean 1967/1973
Space Mountain 1975
Splash Mountain - 1989/1992
Tower of Terror - 1994
Soarin 2001/2005 WDW
Fully Functioning Expedition Everest? (Does it still count with the broken Yeti?) 2006
Toy Story Midway Mania - 2008


What is missing? What needs to be removed?
Star Tours was pretty sota when opened and had good theming.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:45 AM   #71
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OK. There is so much… ah… well… let’s call it… conversation (as opposed to mistakes, fictionalized accounts and/or outright lies!) that it’s going to take a while to catch up.

When I got in today and looked at my thread, it had grown. And not in the right way!!! At least to my way of thinking. On the very first new post (for me anyway) was from bom_noite. In it he said:

Quote:
Finally the Disney Decade began - and - one of Eisner first decisions was to skuttle the original 10 Story boring design for what became the Swan / Dolphin. He got out of the contract and hired Michael Graves (a top 70's architect) to design the two buildings. Campy? I think so! But better then a 10 Story industrial design!
Well! Not quite. He did not “Get out of the contract”. In fact he caused the lawsuit by trying to figuratively tear it up!! Which Tishman thought might be a tad illegal, and the court agreed!!

So it was Ei$ner that landed Disney in court and LOST!! And that cost Disney a whole bunch of money AND control!! One of the original plans, I believe, was to situate the agreed upon Convention Center behind Hotel Plaza. Disney did not have the wherewithal or the desire at the time to build, operate and maintain such a convention center. E.P.C.O.T. Center (notice the punctuations!!) had pretty much drained the company. Better to let Tishman build it and run it. In steps Ei$ner and totally screwed up the deal so much that it lands in court.

And Disney loses. Now the company has almost no control over the project and has financial losses as well. The location goes to E.P.C.O.T. Center and World Showcase in particular. (Yes, then refrigerator like buildings were planned.) The ONLY concession that Ei$ner won was naming the architect. And he really picked a winner, didn’t he? Someone that was really in tune with that old fashioned Disney “MAGIC”. Someone who could evoke an emotional response by recreating a movie-like 3D experience that was an extension of the Theme Parks.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have an emotional response to those two monstrosities. Hate/Rage/Anger/Fury/Revulsion… Take your pick.

Anyway, no time do answer everything. In someone’s immortal words “I’LL BE BACK!!”
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:05 AM   #72
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One other thing. It’s short. Promise.

bom_noite suggested we read Storming the Magic Kingdom and Disney Wars. My friend the Pirate said what is obvious to anyone hanging around these boards ten years ago:
Quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Pirate 2
That is a good suggestion but it should be known tha ALL of the oldtimers participating in this thread read those books 10 years ago.
To which bom_noite said:
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Thanks - I feel younger! But question the purpose of this post?
The purpose was to make sure that you understood that we (the gone but not forgotten “old-timers”) have indeed done their homework a long time ago and are well acquainted with the material mentioned. Nothing more. And certainly nothing less. For the most part – We know what we’re talking about.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:14 AM   #73
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I would say that all these past and current Disney leaders (that came after Walt of course) have done a lot right and a lot wrong. My biggest concern at this point is that Pixar is doing the same formula too much.
Oh gosh it's funny you say this because DH and I were having a convo recently about how (we thought) Pixar does such a great job of coming up with pretty original and non-formulaic ideas. For years the animated movies were about the girl in trouble, a central villain that may or may not have a sidekick, and the love interest that ultimately saves her (or she saves him if you go past 1990) and they live happily ever after. Then someone pointed out to me how many Pixar films are about the central character getting lost and their journey to get home. Is this the Pixar forumla? I can see it in Toy Story, Nemo, and Cars. But their other films, I dunno I don't see it. Bug's Life, Incredibles, Monster's (I guess kind of maybe), Ratatouille, Wall-E and UP. While they aren't all winners I always considered them pretty original. Not always a main villain that "must be stopped." What am I missing? I love their big cast of characters and attention to detail. I was blown away by their movies before I even had kids. Sorry I know this isn't the main topic, was just curious since I had just been discussing this with several other people!

As to the main topic, Disney is just like any big company and everything is driven by the person in charge, they get the credit for the good and the bad. It is late and I don't have the time, energy, or frankly as much Disney history knowledge as I would need to go into as much detail as some of you. But I'll generalize to say that every leader has different goals, priorities, strengths, weaknesses, etc. There will always be a variety of good and bad decisions attributed to each one of them. I can't imagine how large and stressful a job that has to be, especially to take it over from the family that created the brand. They have a team of people under them to help advise and carry out, and board members to answer to, the decisions don't just happen in a vacuum. But I agree that neither of them have Walt's vision, in my opinion. Could anyone? But at the time people criticized him, too. Some people said he was tyrannical to his employees and worked them to the bone. Much in the way people complained about Steve Jobs actually, a man I've often compared Walt to in the past. Some people claimed he was racist and an anti-Semite. There will always be criticisms, and people will try to pick apart every rumor or decision, but in the end it's the final product that ends up being important. I do believe Walt cared about customer experience and comfort (we've all heard the trash can story right?), but I don't believe he was altruistic and not in it for the money either. The sad part is that we will never know what could have been if Walt had lived longer, or what he would think of the last 50 years. I think he would obviously be pleased that his name lives on and his parks are so wildly successful. But it's hard to sit back and watch as the prices go up and up and sometimes the quality and/or fulfillment goes down. But all we can do is wait, and have another discussion like this in a decade or so when more decisions play out long term. Times they are a changing in the parks. We can gripe or praise the changes but they won't care about complaints and conjecture. The only messages that are received are the ones that hit their bottom line, that's the only time any major change occurs it seems.
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:21 AM   #74
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OK. he said:

Well! Not quite. He did not “Get out of the contract”. In fact he caused the lawsuit by trying to figuratively tear it up!! Which Tishman thought might be a tad illegal, and the court agreed!!

So it was Ei$ner that landed Disney in court and LOST!!
I guess I do not hate the two hotels as you do, but, they are Fish out of water when you look at the work done after that.

Certainly, Tishman sued Disney. But, everything I have ever read states that it never went to court. Tishman / Eisner settled before it got to court.

From a post on MiceChat:

"The relationship between Disney, which owns the property, and Tishman Realty, the managing partner that built and developed the hotels (with its partners), started out acrimoniously when Tishman sued Disney for an alleged breach of contract involving potential competition over a separate hotel scheme. The case was finally settled out of court. Eventually, Tishman and Disney reached an agreement in which Disney would assume creative control over two new hotels, the Swan (now operated by Westin) and the Dolphin (by Sheraton). In return, Tishman got the site he wanted - adjacent to Epcot, in the park's lucrative center."
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:40 PM   #75
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Quote:
"The relationship between Disney, which owns the property, and Tishman Realty, the managing partner that built and developed the hotels (with its partners), started out acrimoniously when Tishman sued Disney for an alleged breach of contract involving potential competition over a separate hotel scheme. The case was finally settled out of court. Eventually, Tishman and Disney reached an agreement in which Disney would assume creative control over two new hotels, the Swan (now operated by Westin) and the Dolphin (by Sheraton). In return, Tishman got the site he wanted - adjacent to Epcot, in the park's lucrative center."
Exactly!! If I didn't make mention of the fact that it never came to trial, I apologize. It was indeed an out of court settlement brought about because it was a lost cause in the courts and everyone knew it!

But my point was that the "convention center" was supposed to be located, I believe, SOUTH of I-4. And NOT within the sight lines of EPCOT. And that would have happened, as per contract if Ei$ner hadn't arrogantly gotten involved! He screwed it up so bad that now, right behind that forced perspective Eiffel Tower we have those hideous eyesores!! And to make it doubly bad he picked the designer! If he wanted to stick a knife in Epcot he couldn't have done a better job. Certainly not a fatal blow, but a severe wound nonetheless.
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