- "Waste of Time" or "Time well spent"?
reViewing continues with the readers!
|Reader reViews for 7/12/00:
|Hey guys liked your
I have a question. I know Disney World has an Innoventions
how is that attraction rated? If it does well at Disney World,
maybe Disneyland can steal some of its ideas. I think
Innoventions is a bore, I go in there every time I visit the
park hoping for change, but it is a real waste of time. I
would have also liked to see a show.
Are you guys going to
do a dual column on Rocket Rods or Tomorrowland?
See you at the park!
Regrettably I did not find the time to visit
Walt Disney World's incarnation of Innoventions. Everything I've heard, though, says it
is much better than Disneyland's (your mileage may vary, though).
|In November 99 we jaunted into Innoventions
to go see what it was about. We were given the
home-furnishings related "zone" and cheery
CMs opening doors to flashy models and displays and another CM
running the game show of sorts (then themed to the already
gone-lets-move-on-to-the-next-thing Inspector Gadget).
who obviously from his humor (which I'm sure didn't totally stick to the script. He asked a kid a trick
question then when the child started to leave the stage, he
called her back up) was obviously
aspiring to get a job on the Jungle Cruise.
Anyhow, my father is now of the age where he can't take
extended displays of slapstick and corny jokes, and quickly
After that was pretty much nothing to look at. The only
entertaining display was watching the children at the GM
display move all at once like something
out of 1984.
Since I'm a sucker for anything at DL (they could put rides
as-is from my local carnival with NO changes and I'd still
consider it top-notch stuff), I asked my
father what he thought and he compared it to a Best Buy.
1) What is that age? A former grandfather of mine
was the king of slapstick and corniness to the day he died (in his seventies).
2) You may be getting lucky. It is the opinion of
many people that with Disney's California Adventure management is pulling
attractions "as is" from your local carnival.
I really enjoyed your dual reviews for today. I read Watt's
book a little over a year ago and thought it was a much needed
cultural analysis of Walt Disney and his
impact on American cultural history. I am
happy to see the revisionists coming in and giving us a more
complete look at Walt Disney (the good
and the bad). What I am seeing more and more
is that there were many people who made "Walt
Disney" who and what is was and is
(was that a confusing statement?) People like Roy Disney, Art Babbitt, Herb Ryman, and the countless artists and
imagineers are finally
getting their role in the creation of the company known.
This is not to distract from Walt Disney, who had
the vision to bring these people
together (for good or for ill in the case of Babbitt) to accomplish so many remarkable tasks. It brings
Walt back down to earth, more of human
being than a saint or sinner -- and frankly, I like Walt Disney the human being. I know that is a little
off the topic, but I wanted to mention
how I see Watt's book (and Thomas' book on Roy) are fitting
into this trend. Comments?
As for Innoventions, I too am guilty of thinking about the attraction in relationship to other inhabitants
of the Carousel Theater. Your comments
were very enlightening. I hear they may be moth-balling
the Carousel of Progress in WDW. I know I am dreaming, but I would love to see it come home to Disneyland
with a revamped Progressland show! Place
the show in its historical context with Walt's fantastic
experimental city, and I think it could be a winner!
Thanks for your thoughts,
It is definitely a feature of modern academia that historical
figures need to be "deconstructed" to show their entire personality. Revisionist history isn't
inherently bad, but it definitely warrants a close watch.
Through the years Walt Disney
biographies have leaned more towards hagiography than to objectivity. In this light, The Magic
Kingdom is a nice bit of fresh air. Unfortunately, another feature cultural studies as found in
academia is the need for most scholars to fit everything into some predefined cosmology.
Steven Watts definitely shows some of this in his need to define absolutely every element of Walt
Disney World in terms of commodification.
|Dear Kevin and Alex,
This is in response to your debate about Innoventions.
First I must say your column is really great
and I found the article about Innoventions especially
interesting. I think that Innoventions is a lot
like the new 45th anniversary parade (Parade of the
Stars). They both are *okay* if you haven't seen anything
else in the park.
Like if you've never been to
DL or any other Disney park and Innoventions or the parade
is the first thing you see there, they may seem pretty
good. But then if you go on something like Indy or
Star Tours or any of the really great rides, you'll see how
bad and commercialized Innoventions really is. The
same thing with the parade. If you go to WDW afterwards
and see MSEP you'll see that the "Parade of the
Stars" is really bad, too.
I also want to say something more on the topic of commercialization.
I do understand that Indy and Star Tours
and a lot of the other great rides do have sponsors.
But they only have one each. I personally think
that more than one sponsor per ride is disgusting.
It's just not very "Disney." It reminds you
of the real world, which defeats the purpose of DL.
I agree that Innoventions does not belong in Tomorrowland
(or DL for that matter). It's too modern, not
futuristic at all.
I must say the whole "educational" thing is not a
good idea. Very few people go to DL to learn
anything. People want to have fun when
there on vacation at DL. It has, in a
way to do with the philosophy of DL. It's a
fantasy. And very few people who come to DL have fantasies
about going to museums, as Alex compared Innoventions to.
I do have a *few* positive things to say about Innoventions,
though. You never have to wait too long to
get inside the "A/C'd" building. On an old
"Walt Disney Presents" about
the 1967 new Tomorrowland there was a
huge line of people waiting to go on the Carrousel
of Progress. I don't know if it was always like
that, though. I never had a chance to go on it or America
Sings, since they both closed before I was born.
The other thing I have to say is that I really like
Tom Morrow. I agree with Kevin that Tom Morrow is one
of the only reasons to go in there. But even though
"he's" a good incentive to go in there, he still
didn't bring me in the last 20 or so times I've been
to DL in the past ten months.
|Dear Tom Morrow,
I'm betting that's not your real
name, do I win anything?
I agree with most everything you say.
The big point here is that Innoventions really is "just
okay" as you say here, maybe something to see if it's
brand new to you, but otherwise not.
|Hey Kevin and Alex,
I'm a current cast member who went to University of
Missouri-Columbia. Steve Watts was my
History professor Freshman year. He was amazing and I learned
a lot. He was working on his book at the
time. Glad you enjoyed it.
As I said in the Dual Review, I
quite enjoyed Prof. Watts' book. I can only imagine how the
student experience would be. Did you get to study Walt Disney
as part of the course?
He-he I'm not surprised to hear he
was amazing. I hope to meet him sometimes.
|I have to say I go to Innoventions quite a
bit, but only during the summer when it is hot. The A/C is
nice from 1 to 4 pm if it is really hot out. That is probably the best thing
Now some of the ideas within Innoventions are OK. I thought
the very best thing about the whole exhibit
was the Sun Microsystems exhibit on graphics. Some wonderful examples of cutting
edge graphics and the hardware that produces them. Most
people have very little experience with how the end product is produced and
this exhibit shed some light on it. Of course, this was removed for
the Bug's Life exhibit.
The GM Exhibit has quite a bit of thought put into it, but
aside from the queuing, it really does not have much to
offer. Sparky is fun, but the ride is something of a let down.
Compaq is almost a complete waste. When the industry
changes every three months for something faster and better
have machines that are over a year older than what you can see
at CompUSA is rather silly. If DL was really smart, get Sony there to demo Disney
games and short demos of games that are coming out in two to
three months. E3, a video game convention, offers much more innovation and
imagination than you see in Innoventions. What if games being
sold in Japan were demo'ed in DL six months before they go on sale here?
SAP is a good explanation for a relatively unknown company.
But honestly, how interesting can SAP be
and be a relatively unknown company. Can anyone really get
excited about Cisco? Or Adaptec?
I think the new product outlook for things like HDTV and
electric cars are nice, but things move! Innoventions
covers only those things that exist now or are about to be
released. Let's look at some things that are farther off. Will Compaq be looking into
Biocomputers? How far away is AI (artificial intelligence)?
What are the chances for computer graphics to replace live action
I think the idea should be to glance at what is just around the corner and
focus on the horizon. This seems
like what the TL of the 1960's did. The house of the future
was not something due out in the
stores. Everything was looking 15-40 years into
the possible future. I think a good Innoventions (and TL
itself) could do with a bit more
vision, looking not down at where we set our feet
on the path, but on the horizon where the future and magic
Considering the number of people who are using
Innoventions simply for its air conditioning, perhaps what Disney should do is:
Hollow it out; put a bit ice cream shop in the middle; insert many tables, chairs and benches;
turn the A/C way up.
Actually, it is probably big enough for a brew pub!
|I haven't visited Disneyland in many years,
but I always keep up with the news about
what is currently going on at the park.
I just want to add my two cents and say
that it seems that as time goes by, there have been
some neat things that have been added.
I wished that I would be able to see what has taken place
in all of the Magic Kingdom such as Rocket Rods (which
I hear as a rumor that they may be headed on the
way out). If they ever do go away, let's hope that the
people who make decisions, will decide to just give
all of us old timers an updated version of the PeopleMovers
in its place! I used to love that ride, and it was relaxing
and neat as well. Oh well...
All in all, I still enjoy hearing about Disneyland, and
even if some attractions don't merit up to what I would
like to see, there's probably a reason behind it.
As for the Innoventions attraction which I have stated
several times now that I haven't had the chance of
seeing yet, from the sound of it, it's like one of those
things that I would want to see only ONCE. Then if
I ever went back to DL, I'd schedule my day and purposely
avoid seeing it.
The proposed 'Alien Jamboree Show' concept sounds like
it would've been a neat idea, and another
milestone in Disney Audio-Animatronic
entertainment, not to mention a new show
in Tomorrowland. An Instant Classic. Just like
all of the new Disney Animated Movies coming out.
Anyone know why this attraction didn't get produced?
Anyway, I am always amazed at the ideas that come forth
out of Walt Disney Imagineering - even if they don't
always get produced. I guess one has to
look at reality - if this show - Innoventions
- is all about current technology and a look
at what's coming, even in the land of tomorrow, it
can still have a place. I mean I like to see new and
upcoming things, so if these things are placed in a
futuristic environment, and remembering that many shows
there at Disneyland do have corporate sponsoring (Space
Mountain used to be sponsored by RCA), the sponsors
must just love being able to present their shows
and displays in an entertaining setting.
In the case of real ride attractions there at the park, I
personally don't mind seeing a corporate logo attached
as a sponsor for an attraction. I know that's how
many of the attractions at Disneyland originally came
into being. As you probably already know, that's how
you get attractions designed and built for little money
and everyone's happy. Sponsors, people, and the company.
The one and only thing that I don't particularly want to
be reminded of while visiting the fantasy
environment of Disneyland, is to be reminded of
'the real world'. In the case of
'corporate sponsoring' which you just
can't escape in the modern world today on
a daily basis, you are going to have to live with it.
I guess there's no way in which to escape it - it's
a fact of modern life. Even in the House of the Mouse.
They're a business first, then to everyone else...
you get the idea.
Anyway, if like like Innoventions, that's good. Or if
you don't, well, then it's bad as in the story
that I had just finished reading on your
site. I can't say anything about it
since I've never seen it, but you can be
sure that one way or another you can't always get
what you hope for (I'm actually hoping that one day
we'll all get to see the entire show that Marc Davis
had conceived in its entirety - someday, somehow,
we'll end up seeing the Western River Expedition
in all what could have been its glory! Oh well,
can't sit around forever hoping!).
So who knows? I was one of those that was fortunate enough
to see the original General Electric's Carousel of
Progress when it was there, and for its day and age,
it was a neat show. The Audio-Animatronic figures were
especially neat, because not too many shows had featured
them then. If that show was to re-appear now, which
is highly unlikely, they would just be a little bit
I also enjoyed the 'America Sings' show when it played,
and it was a really fun and lively show. Maybe one
day, all your dreams will come true, and there will
be a great and neat show to replace Innoventions. All
we should hope for is that something doesn't take its
place that's much worse.
You raise a number of points.
First, about the alien jamboree show "Plectu's"
which we mentioned: this was to be an integral part of the
"Tomorrowland 2055" redesign, and Eisner pulled the
plug on that design. So we can safely point to him, here.
Now, about corporate sponsors:
this is fodder for a future Dual Review, so I'll be brief and
say that I'm fundamentally opposed to the sponsorships. Yes, I
know they have been there forever. Coke is a product of the
real world too. Still, I think DL would be an even better
immersive experience if absolutely NONE of that existed.
A friend and I visited Disneyland during
spring break of 99. This was not to long after the changes to
tomorrow land had been completed. We soon found that afternoons
were the most crowded part of the day. We decided to try to
avoid the e-rides during this time.
On one of our three days in DL we went to inventions
to fill the afternoon. The intro out side the building was
pointless and boring. Once inside it was
apparent the entire building was full of advertisements.
The outer circle exhibits were not that interesting. We are both highly technical people and did not find
anything there enlightening.
At least it was
air-conditioned. There was one game where you fired disks
across a round rotating table. It kept
jamming up and was not that fun to play. The only fun
we had was when we tried to get out to the Internet on one of
the numerous PC’s in the building. We
thought it would be novel to install ICQ and message some
friends from inside DL. However they had excellent security on
The GM "ride"
was a pointless advertisement. After waiting in line for
twenty minutes, we were greatly disappointed. The I couldn’t
help feeling betrayed as we left the
building. It seems like a waste of valuable real estate.
Your reactions mirror those of
many people, including mine. I even tried to mess with the
computers too, as they must have known people would do, but
like you found their security impressively good (good for
them). And the experience really could be, as you state,
happy to read your further comments, but our next mail
column will center around the subsequent reView topic,
and not any longer on this one.
Alex and Kevin debate current events and
review Disney books.
column is about opinions; unfortunately, we don't know
any important Disney insiders so they are just our
opinions. We are bringing this column to you as two
ordinary Disney fans, much like yourself. We hope you
enjoy and respond.