We receive considerable feedback regarding our site. Although we cannot
publish all of them, the following may be of interest to other readers.
Feedback for David Koenig
[Mail continues to come in after David's article about layoffs
at Disney Feature Animation (Suspended
Animation, August 14).]
First off, more bad news from the Feature Animation front, this
time from France.
A Disney animator in Paris wrote:
I wanted to truly thank you for your shocking article on the
Disney Feature Disaster. About two months ago the Parisian crew
got their bad news after more than a year and a half of stress,
false hope the studio would be bought over by another label and
a training in 3-D we all took as the only way to survive in this
business. The end of September the crew of 89 really talented
people will receive their last paycheck!
I've been working here for (many) years now and I still can't
understand why we're treated like we're pariahs.
No word of sympathy, a poor social plan, and Disney is trying
to send us away with the smallest package possible. Not a word
from David Stainton who ran this studio for about three years
while we were churning out all of the animation of the Tarzan
character with Glen Keane heading the crew.
Most of us were starting to be really good on computer, and have
proven we have the potential to adapt ourselves in the 3-D field.
Just to let you know how sad we are Disney is not willing to find
a solution to save this unique European Studio.
Bummed in Burbank wrote:
As for 2-D, really, I think it's deader than a doornail. As you
know, Disney has gutted the animation, cleanup and effects departments,
which is sad, but they've also completely gutted the CAPS,
Scene Planning, Camera and Scanning departments.
Right now we couldn't make one frame of 2-D animation in our
Everyone has come to the realization that even if Brother Bear
is bigger than Nemo, it's still game over for us. And worse, with
the CORE Digital, Vanguard and Shadedbox deals, as well as our
own TVAer, ahDisneyToon Studios some of
us wonder if all of feature animation is going to be outsourced
to save pennies.
But the real question we're all asking is, will Katzenberg still
rip off Disney if Disney isn't even made by Disney anymore? Will
he make a cheaper carrier pigeon in W.W. II movie? Will he make
a ripped-off animals escaping from a zoo flick?
We'll just wait and see.
As for me, I'm selling all my Disney stock soon. If it's good
enough for Roy
Eddie Pittman wrote:
Thank you for posting what's really going on at Disney animation!
Although I've been watching all these layoffs for some time, I
still have a hard time imagining why John Pomeroy and other great
animators should put down their pencils and pick up a mouse.
Keep up the good work. Maybe one day someone (probably not Disney)
will realize what a huge mistake this is and bring back 2-D.
It seems now that Walt's legacy is in the hands of Pixarbut
at least they're good hands.
Norman Drew wrote:
As you've so adroitly pointed out, and as I have been espousing
my entire 40 years in animation, It ain't in the tools,
it's in the soul.
When an industry becomes top heavy with filing clerks upped via
the casting couch to middle managers and VPs to the VPs; when
not only the bottom line, but the top one and every one in-between
(pun intended) is simply profit margin and market share, the essence
of the thing is lost. There is no room for soul, nothing for the
audience to resonate with. Wall-to-wall vapidity.
Profiteering pragmatists may have the skills of the strip-miner
to turn around the corporate ledger, may know the price, but not
the human value of what they're creating and distributing.
When creators like Nick Park on paltry budgets but with tons
of loving care, who know this truth, using simple stop-motion
figures create three short films and win an Oscar for each, there
remains hope that the truth will prevail. In the words of Abe
Lincoln, You cannot fool all the people all the time.
The issue is neither 2-D nor 3-D, 4-D, 5-D, pencils, string or
sealing wax. Gimmickry and glossy surface values (soon we'll read
movie ads featuring new animation smell)can snag the
gullible in the short term, but what the film has to say, how
deeply it touches our humanity, our soul, is the key to lasting
memorability; in short, to its being loved.
Novelist John G. Hemry penned:
I (like many others) read your report on cutbacks in the ranks
of Disney animators with dismay. Many of your correspondents noted
that the high-profile failures which Disney animation has suffered
were the result not of bad animation but of bad storytelling.
I thought you might to like hear the reaction of a professional
writer (novels and short fiction) to one of those failures (Atlantis).
Here's what struck me when I watched that film.
The lead character of Milo was an idiot for most of the film.
It's okay for a lead character to have some quirks, but Milo wasn't
anyone the audience would want to identify with. He was clueless,
he was a doormat, he was a screw-upright until most of the
way into the movie when he inexplicably attracted the love of
a beautiful princess and somehow morphed into an action hero.
There were way too many secondary characters whose presence did
nothing to advance the story but took up time and confused things.
Get rid of Mole and how would it have hurt the story? Not at all.
Same for the Cook. And the Secretary. When they weren't clogging
up the story, those characters were busy clashing with each other.
A cowboy cook and an elderly business secretary in the same story?
Why? If Disney had pared the list of secondary supporting characters
down to the explosives guy and the doctor the story would've been
a lot cleaner. Instead, you get the image of a bunch of corporate
brains sitting around a table saying things like hey,
let's also add an ethnic Italian teenage girl engineer!
Moreover, the secondary characters usually failed the suspension
of belief test. A teenage girl as chief engineer around the 1900s?
Right. A black man who'd been trained as a doctor in the Army
in the late 1800s and apparently had never felt a trace of racism?
If Disney had axed most of the supporting cast they
would have had time to tell the story better. There was a brief
scene near the end, for example, when you saw how the doctor could've
become a surrogate father for Milo. That would've made a great
sub-story for the movie, but there wasn't any room for it because
they had to stuff in scenes for every other character.
Voice talentwhat idiot cast James Garner as the amoral
bad-guy's voice? Just about every person knows that voice. We
associate it with James Garner and the characters he's
made famous. None of them are bad guys.
The action sequences were often done all wrong. Apparently Disney
thought the audience wanted to see underground and underwater
dogfights between aircraft. During the battle with the Kraken,
the mini-subs moved like little fighter aircraft and the torpedoes
moved like missiles. There's a slow-motion rhythm and beauty to
underwater scenes when they're done right. You can imagine the
talent behind something like Cowboy Bebop or Princess
Mononoke doing a gorgeous underwater sequence with everything
moving at underwater speeds in underwater ways. Instead, you got
a twitch-and-shoot video game sequence that looked and felt out
of place. Naturally, Disney came up with another aerial dogfight
for the climatic battle. It takes real perversity to insert multiple
air battles into a story set underwater and underground.
The plot was full of holes big enough to drop the city of Atlantis
into. Just for example, if the Atlanteans had all been alive since
the island sank, how'd they forget how to make their machines
work or how to read their own writing? (More visions of corporate
suits reviewing the scripthey, then let's have a volcano
explode! And then some giant robots! And everything gets covered
The animation in Atlantis wasn't any great shakes, but
what made it a pain to watch was the awful job on the story. Compare
that to a brilliant sequence like the opening song in Mulan.
As the song and action proceed, the audience is introduced to
the character, is told what Chinese society expects of that character,
is shown how Mulan doesn't fit those expectations, and the story
line rolls along toward Mulan's disastrous encounter with matchmaker.
All this and some clever visual jokes as well, all at once and
so smoothly done you don't even realize all that plot development
has taken place while Mulan gets dolled up for the matchmaker.
A friend of mine once commented about a TV series: millions
for special effects and not one cent for writers. It appears
Disney's heading down that same road.
A media maven wrote:
I was just thankful that someone finally wrote about it. There
has been so little news about this in the media.
You did a very good job on this story except for a few points.
First, the obvious:
1. Most of the directors at Disney (and elsewhere) have pointed
to the success of Lilo & Stitch to debunk the argument
that 2-D is dead. But we all know why this is ignored: 2-D is
risky and calls for a lot of work, while CG is still a novelty
that can easily make money.
2. David Stainton isn't actually running Feature Animation. Michael
Eisner, more than ever before, has been making all of the major
decisions. Eisner has been picking which features to produce and
approves most (but not all) of the storyboards.
This didn't happen all at once but gradually after Jeffrey Katzenberg
left, then Peter Schneider. Eisner's claims to the contrary (and
the manipulation of the easily gullible L.A. Times) particularly
gall most of the employees in the know. Michael was able to distance
himself (with some justification) from Treasure Planet,
but there is no excuse for Brother Bear or Home on the
And, in still yet another sign that it's the '70s all over again,
some very high placed executives are drolly calling Brother
Bear the last picture to be directed by Woolie Reitherman.
Besides the above points, it is a little unfair to Disney to
report the layoffs of seven character animators as some big event.
Most of them were not long-time employees and typically migrate
from company to company.
Now there is a whole other story and it concerns the Disney Company
and the parks. MousePlanet and other fan sites keep on missing
the big picture. Disney's last quarter and nine months ending
June 30, 2003 were very revealing. Too revealing, with some trends
That parks are starting to decline again in net in a jobless
recovery probably means that they are more exposed than previously
believed. Some attendance is up, but ticket sales and spending
are down. It should now become clear to everyone that after 9/11
would have been the time to start making cutbacks at the parks
(and not nine years ago at the start of a recovery with jobs).
The company continues to mask the cost of [Disney's California
Adventure park] and its Paris twin, Walt Disney Studios. The Studios
have turned out to be the financial version of DCA at Disneyland
Paris (which has never been a big money maker).
Disney may have to write down DCA as a loss and split it apart
from Disneyland. They'll probably do it if that Tower of Terror
doesn't have long-term impact and if the entire company
has a very successful quarter. (Not to do this would be financial
insanity, but what else is new?)
The only good news is that Pixar makes money for Disney. (Yes,
that's the good news.) Unreported good news would have to include
the royalties from Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySeas (pure profit).
There is plenty that could be done but everyone should take note
that the lead shareholder, Roy Disney, has decided to sell shares
rather than confront the problem. Can we guess what the problem
Email also continued to stream in about Land
Locked (about some changes in where Disneyland cast
members can work, published August 12):
It is with some amusement I read cast members' complaints about
the new Land Locked policy within Disneyland. The
theme park is a gigantic company, much less Attractions itself,
and each individual land has more employees than most small businesses.
Having worked at Legoland, which uses a Land Locked
system, I've seen firsthand the need for some sort of structure
and hierarchy. Legoland Attractions is divided into four different
areas (six if you count the two Grounds areas, which
unlike Disneyland, fall under the Attractions umbrella). Each
has its own Area Lead and is basically has its own
identity. During the summer, the department has contests and incentive
programs to have the areas compete against eachother regarding
ride capacity, cleanliness, attendance, and so on.
The point? Having structured areas that run both semi-independently
(underneath the same supervisors and managers, obviously) offers
far more positives to management than dozens of Small Business
Units and employees working dozens of attractions in different
areas. Supervisors and managers can more accurately see a Lead's
individual working style and efficiency. They can compare areas
against one another, showing which Leads are excelling while others
Plenty of MCs (Model Citizens, as Legoland names its employees)
have the ability to cross train in other areas or even transfer
areas every six months or so.
The system is a good one. Cast members will figure this out in
At least one ride operator wasn't buying. He wrote:
There are more than just a couple of hundred cast members that
land locking is affecting. This is affecting all the cast members
in Attractions, and here is why: Cast members from other lands
with more seniority are coming over to areas where more hours
are available, therefore placing the cast members that were already
there in jeopardy for more hours. Cast members who spent years
being able to be at two or more attractions in other lands are
now being forced to drop one or more attractions just because
someone in a higher position wants to make things easier on themselves.
Again, the excuse they are giving us is absurd (so we can
get to know the managers better). I have seen at least three
manager rotations in Tomorrowland alone; if they were so concerned
about us getting to know the managers better, they would keep
the managers posted where they are for longer periods of time.
I for one could care less about knowing a manager better anywaysthey
care little about the cast members (for the most part, with few
This landlock system is depriving cast members of the fun of
the job by taking away the variety they used to enjoy and placing
many cast members at risk of having as many hours because higher
seniority cast members are naturally going to go where the most
hours are available. This has caused quite a stir, believe me!
I understand your concerns and, believe me, can imagine how this
will make the job less varied and less fun. And you're right. More
than a couple hundred cast members will be affected, although indirectly.
I should have said that a couple hundred CMs will be directly
affected through the loss of attractions.
But in the end the park runs smoother. This isn't about cast members
and managers getting to know each other better on a social level;
it's about them getting to know each other professionallyso
cast members know whom they report to, whom they're accountable
to, where they belong; and so managers know who they're responsible
for, and can keep track of and more accurately appraise performance,
positively and negatively. Cast members doing a superior or an inferior
job at many attractions across the park are less likely to be recognized
for their accomplishments or failures.
Disneyland isn't a playground. It's a business that should do everything
it can to operate as efficiently as possible. Certainly helping
cast members to enjoy their jobs is a primary way to achieve this.
But sometimes freedom must be tempered. Such as, a lot of cast members
would probably enjoy rolling into work at whatever time they wanted,
and working a different position each day while wearing their street
clothes, having a two-hour lunch, and going home when they got tired.
And, remember, land locking is the way Disneyland operated, efficiently,
for 40 years. This is one change you can thank Walt
He shot back:
I know Disneyland is not a playground, but does it have to be
a prison? It's not just not being as fun, but this
involves a loss of hours to many cast members there. And something
that Disney gave them is being taken away from them.
As far as the managers are concerned, they keep rotating them
anyways whether or not we are land locked! Imagine being stuck
somewhere and never having the chance to go anywhere else! As
for it being originally like that, keep in mind that to some extent
it was, but there was west side and east side, which meant much
more variety as there is now!
But why can't someone have the chance (after gaining enough seniority)
to work on another attraction even if it was on the other side?
This isn't too hard for them! And what if someone doesn't get
along with a manager, they always have to work under them as long
as the manager is land locked in that land. But, as the managers
are rotated to keep them fresh, why can't we be to keep us fresh?
You demean the cast members and it trickles down to our behavior,
therefore losing the product!
Now, Disney doesn't care about us but they do care about the
bottom line and that is money. But, if we are ticked that is going
to worsen our service and if we are always stuck in the same place,
then we feel we are being held against our will in one area and
even the most gung-ho cast members will lose their enthusiasm
after a while if they can't be anywhere else.
Again, I do understand your situation and absolutely agree there's
a steep price to pay. Still, I have to believe, if implemented properly,
this just makes too much sense not to do. It should have never been
changed in the first place.
And, no, originally cast members were not assigned to west side
or east side and given the freedom to work any ride on their half
of the park. While the park did have a west and an east
side, you were assigned a specific ride (say Jungle Cruise) or rotation
of rides (Tiki-Treehouse) and that was your permanent homeuntil
you transferred somewhere else.
What really galled several readers was last week's letter from
reader Warren. Jim wrote:
I'm glad I don't work for Warren (a manager for a major
retailer). While I agree with much of what he says, his
statement that excellent customer service comes from attitude,
not job variety is indicative of how clueless he is about
what motivates people.
Does he not get that job variety improves attitude? Employees
appreciate new challenges, new experiences, new learning situations.
It keeps them engaged and fresh, and helps promote workplace longevity.
At what point in Warren's career did he decide that the
ultimate goal in a customer service business is making money?
I say, b---s---! The ultimate goal should be customer satisfaction,
because if the customer is happy, the money will come. Warren's
kind of thinking by the current suits at Disney is what has gotten
the company in trouble.
As a theater actor, I know that having a goal of selling as many
tickets as possible is not what is going to make a great production.
Focusing on the best script, acting, singing, dancing, lighting,
and scenery is what will bring the folks to see the show.
Disney used to understand this, as evidenced by the theater lingocast
member, on stage, show, etc.used
in the parks. If people like Warren are running the show,
it's no wonder the company is having problems, because the employees
that make the magic happen for the guests who are there to make
memories have been relegated to being less important than the
A Disneyland ride operator added:
Hey, David! Don't look now but I think that T Irby called himself
Warren and slipped you a response to promote his dumb
ideas about land locking! (T masked the fact it was him really
well by not speaking of the military!)
Let me be the first to say that Warren embodies what I think
is wrong with the upper management of Disneyland Attractions.
(I draw that conclusion because his comments are exactly
the thoughts of our upper management.) These days someone has
to speak up and say something!
Our Guest Service Managers (middle management trapped in the
middle these days) know these changes are bad ideas, but
have to paint their smiles on because their jobs are on thin ice
as it is. Anybody that can ask with a straight face why
is variety necessary? obviously has no idea what
it's like to work in a theme park. They haven't been stuck merging
the lines at Splash Mountain with three-hour standby waits, stuck
keeping parents from pushing their children in front of moving
Toad cars, or stuck taking verbal and physical assaults from guests
at Fantasmic! Now I realize that every job has its perils,
but attraction operations has a very, very high burnout
factor. And there is no way the cast believes that cross-training
in the area is going to be a reality, especially with yet more
budget-crunching looming on the horizon.
My other serious concern with Warren is the notion of not treating
your cast like family. (Forgive the soapbox, it's coming.) Friendships
and family are extra and not the reason for the workplace existing.
No one takes an attractions job at Disneyland to make the company
money. No one. They come for the work environment and the culture.
True, while some may float from attraction to attraction, the
Disneyland attractions crew is a family. That family
attitude is the difference between the Disneyland cast and the
sometimes soulless corporate world, even reflected in our own
I myself will never stop treating my fellow cast members with
the respect they deserve. A happy cast makes happy guests. Period.
And the minute we stop treating each other like family, we abandon
Uncle Walt's vision of the place to work, and become one
of Warren's associates with the rest of the world.
But with that, despite the negatives, Disneyland is still the
best job I've ever had. And I love it with all my heart.
Feedback for the Mailbag
We ran a mailbag with a single
piece last month: an open letter by Joshua Murcray to Disneyland
management on how to improve the park for its upcoming 50th anniversary.
We did hear from those who thought we erred in running Joshua's
open fan letter, because such long and detailed lists on how to
improve the park are so common. We believe we touched a nerve with
our readers, however, because Joshua's letter opened the floodgates
on responses that were just as impassioned as Joshua's. Ordinary
as Joshua's letter might be, perhaps it represented the unseen masses
who got really fired up after reading his letter.
David S. wrote:
While many of Josh's suggestions are indeed very advisable, there
would be one problem with one of them. While the Rancho Del Zocalo
restaurant does have several allusions to Zorro, the Zorro character
is not owned by Disney. The licensed character Zorro,
spanish for the fox, was created in 1919 by the writer
Johnston McCulley for his serialized novel The Curse of Capistrano.
More information can be found at Zorro.com.
Currently the movie license is with Sony (the makers of The
Mask of Zorro with Antonio Banderas and its sequel currently
I would like to see it licensed for park use to Disney as well.
Paula from New Zealand writes:
What a fabulous list of ideas that the writer has put together
to improve Disneyland for the 50th birthday. For each item, I
thought yeah. I sincerely hope that someone takes
note of these fabulous ideas. Many won't cost a huge amount and
could provide an huge benefit to both guests and the Disney corporation.
I've not been to Disneyland in years but am considering making
the trip for the 50th anniversary. I really hope that I won't
be disappointed in how much it has changed over the years.
Rick N. writes:
We all have ideas on how to improve Disneyland. Some of Joshua's
ideas have been brought up before and some are new. Some I agree
with and some I don't. I decided to respond to his letter with
one of my own commenting on his ideas and providing a few ideas
of my own.
1. Using the People Mover track as part of the Space Mountain
attraction is a superb idea. I believe it's been brought up before
but I understood the track could not structurally take the stress
involved with the high-speed rockets. I could be wrong but I seem
to recall that the track was not modified for the Rocket Rods
due to budget constraints. As a result the Rocket Rods couldn't
take the stress of speeding up and slowing down constantly and
so never ran correctly, were never dependable and although there
was always a crowd waiting to ride them they failed miserably.
2. Inoventions has also failed miserably. The only reasons people
seem to go in there is to get out of the heat, get out of the
rain or just don't know what they are getting into. My suggestion
for this building is to move the Starcade and the Star Trader
to the lower level freeing up there previous locations for another
attraction. The upper level of the Inoventions building could
be turned into a glass-walled (or open air) revolving restaurant.
This would eliminate Redd Rockett's Pizza Port, (nothing wrong
with it but two side-by-side restaurants are not needed), and
free up this space for some other attraction.
3. I wholeheartedly agree with opening up the Submarines at any
cost. As corny as this attraction always was it was always packed
and I enjoyed it. I like the nostalgia idea but why not place
this in the CircleVision Theater. The huge waiting room could
be full of nostalgia and the old movie, (or perhaps a new nostalgic
movie), could be shown in the theater.
4. I'm not to sure about the parade of old style characters evolving
into newer incarnations as the parade progresses. Kids might ask,
What's wrong with Mickey? Why does he look like that?
5. I like the laser tag idea in the Starcade. Since we are moving
the Star Trader to the Inoventions building this area could be
included here. Or perhaps the NASA exhibit could be placed in
the Star Trader location and more nostalgia in the existing NASA
location as part of the Circle Vision nostalgia experience.
6. I have no suggestions for the Golden Horseshoe. Joshua has
a great idea.
7. However, I disagree with his ideas and views regarding Tom
Sawyers Island. I've been to the island since it reopened and
it is great! My boys love it. The only sad thing is the loss of
the fort. I simply like to see the fort repaired and if necessary
torn down and rebuilt. (And put the guns back in the towers minus
trigger guards so children's fingers don't
well, you know.)
No Indian village please. Although we can only see it by traveling
the Rivers of America one Indian Village is enough and it probably
would be criticized as not being politically correct anyway.
8. Rumor says Sleeping Beauty Castle may open up again. I hope
this is true. I heard it was closed for security reasons. Well,
Disneyland is a big place and if someone wanted to cause trouble
and the castle is closed I think they would have no problem finding
another secluded place.
9. As far as merchandise goesmuch of it is garbage. Just
trinkets to be bought for the kids who will toss it aside and
forget about it three days later. There are many nice items available
for purchase but if you want a decent souvenir then you have to
shell out for it. I really have no problem with this. Once a year
I let my boys pick a decent souvenir and any other visits that
year they can pick a trinket. Hey, it's part of the experience.
10. I haven't been in the bank for years but think the opportunity
to open an account at Disneyland would be cool. I believe originally
you could do this and have Disneyland checks.
11. A real barbershop with singing barbers at Disneyland? I love
12. Some additional revenue ideas might be to sell actual soundtracks
of the attractions and videos and DVDs of the shows. I've seen
bootleg videos of Fantasmic and Captain Eo for sale
on eBay and they get a pretty penny for them.
13. Let's not get too nostalgic. Some of us old-timers have fond
memories of things we once did and saw that no longer exist. Sometimes
trying to relive a memory spoils that memory. I feel the best
use of the Big Thunder Ranch area is to add an attraction. How
about building a walkthrough cave system with large chambers,
waterfalls and pathways? Make it necessary to pass through these
caves to transition between Frontierland and Fantasyland.
14. My only comment on the tram spiel is, Let's do it.
15. I agree that it would be nice to see the Keel Boats plying
the Rivers of America again. Although the rider capacity was low
it added a great ambiance to the rivers.
16. No photographers please! This drives me nuts. Every
tourist trap does this. For good reason I'm sure. It's a moneymaker.
Go to Medieval Times, take a cruise or almost anything else touristy
and somebody is taking your picture. They are always costly. I
find this a bother and can do without it.
17. Maybe Joshua has a point with the Carousel but there are
more important things that need to be addressed. Most people would
never notice this.
18. Have you ever listened to Radio Disney? It's great!
If you're 12 years old or under. Didn't this used to be a frozen
drink or ice cream stand? Change it back.
19. I haven't eaten there but I've looked at the menu at Rancho
del Zocalo Restaurante. Ouch! And I doubt many people care much
about a 1950s Zorro series with Guy Williams. Today we
think of Zorro as Antonio Banderas.
20. Sorry, I intentionally do not buy souvenir cups and
such. I don't want to carry this stuff around.
21. I could go for more ice cream.
A couple of peeves of my own.
1. There used to be a great free service at many store and souvenir
locations in the park. At your request they would send your purchase
up to the newsstand in front of the park and when you leave you
could pick it up there. This was a great service. To repeat myself:
I don't want to carry this stuff around. Unfortunately, on a recent
trip I found this service to be discontinued. What you can do
is take your purchase to the newsstand yourself and check it there
and they will keep it for you until you leave. I nice service
but kind of a hassle. Bring back the old method.
2. The Jungle Cruise skippers are no longer allowed to shoot
the hippos. I miss it but can accept it. However, no longer are
toy guns of any kind available for purchase in Adventureland or
Frontierland. These guns were no more realistic than the multitude
of space gun toys available for purchase in Tomorrowland. I'd
love to see the return of the old style flintlock gun replicas
for purchase. My boys hope to get one every time we go to Disneyland.
So these are my thoughts. I'm sure thousands of other people
have there own ideas and hopeful wishes. I'm sure the execs at
Disney listen to us (yeah right) so we will just have to wait
and see what happens.
Rich L. writes:
Dear Misters Eisner and Rasulo,
Please hire Joshua W. Murcray! Hire him now and listen very
carefully to his ideas. Then, simply spend a bit of your money
to make his ideas reality and you may just find that he will make
you lots more money.
People will notice. Lots of people. People that work on Wall
Street will notice that you are re-investing in your parks. That
should help your stock price. People like me will notice that
you are once again trying to please your guests with actions (like
renovated rides that are actually open, fresh paint, and the ability
to buy things that I can't buy anywhere else on the planet). Please
stop telling us through marketing or PR 'spin' that my experience
was anything other than 'my' experience. Not what you want me
to think I just experienced. I may be addicted to Disney, but
I like to think that I have a good head on my shoulders as well.
Please hire Joshua. I don't know him, but what he wants for Disneyland
is what I want for Disneyland.
Good day to you all, where ever you may be. I am writing in response
to Mr. Murcray's open letter to Team Disney Anaheim. I am very
pleased to see more and more people concerned about Disneyland's
50th birthday. There are so many ideas and most that I hear are
Though most of Mr. Murcray's ideas were well thought out and
exciting some have some minor flaws.
(I hope I do not offend Mr. Murcray, I make different suggestions
in hope that he may be able to think on a larger plain. Also I
am just a Disneyland fan, I hold no other specialized position,
I attend Disneyland Resort about fifteen times a year.)
1. I do not agree with you People Mover and Space Mountain idea.
First I want to keep the People Mover track seperate from Space
Mountain because I wish to have two different attractions than
one huge attraction. Rocket Rods was a wonderful attractions with
some flaws, if they were able to redo the track and maybe the
layout they could rebuild the Rocket Rods attraction. Then after
they finish Space Mountain, Disneyland will have added two updated
attractions thus increasing the number of attractions in the deserted
Next, adding lightbulbs to the side of the roller coaster car
would not be that exciting, safe, or efficient. Putting a lightbulb
on the car means you must add powersource to the car like California
Screamin' (for the music) but a power source to power a foot long
black light bulb would have to be a little larger. Furthermore
maintenance would have to change these lightbulbs constantly and
there is halways a threat that a lightbulb could burnout and/or
cause a spark which could lead to serious problem. (I know sparks
by lightbulbs are rare but they happen frequent enough to scare
away Disney lawyers).
2. Innoventions, your idea is great
3. You can't say, no matter the cost because if Disneyland
loses money two things happen, no new stuff and higher ticket
4. Parade and Fireworks, good ideas. I wish they would bring
the Main Street Electrical Parade, get it out of DCA. Maybe spruce
the parade up with fiber optics instead of light bulbs (whatever).
5. Having kids running around with guns in a dark room, that
doesn't sound like a Disneyland thing.
6. There's nothing you can really do to the Golden Horseshoe.
They got rid of the Revue for a reason. Billy Hill and the Variety
Show still don't make it a must do for the average Disneyland
goer. I say leave as is, (I love the Variety Show though).
7. Keep it simple, just spruce up the Fort and let the island
keep the unwritten title, most expensive playground.
8. I never really cared for the Sleepy Beauty attraction, if
it opens, cool; if it doesn't, whatever.
9. No suggestions.
10. No suggestions.
11. Are you seriously asking people to get their haircut at Disneyland?
12. Pictures on Matterhorn and Big Thunder are good ideas. A
picture on the Haunted Mansion is really hard to do. It's to dark
to take a picture and you can't use a flash because it ruins the
hitchhiking ghost effect and I don't have a clue where you would
put the photo station to buy the photo. Autopia and Mr. Toads
is pretty cool though.
13. Big Thunder Ranch was awesome.
14. No suggestion.
15. No suggestion.
16. I personally dislike it when people stop me on my way into
Disneyland. As far as I know they do make money off of it but
I do not want to walk up to the hub and see a stampede of camera
people around me.
17. You keep encouraging nostalgia in the park but you want to
change the carrousel's cels. It's fine. Is it weird to have Sleeping
Beauty cels on King Arthur's Carrousel? yes! But there isn't
really a problem.
18. No suggestions.
19. There is no reason to change the name to Zorro Cantina. People
eat there because of the food, not because they want to eat at
a place named after the famous Zorro. Save a buck or two and keep
the name the same.
20. Good idea.
21. Another good idea, but the ice cream shop is in a poor location
Mark Z. from Oklahoma City writes:
I regard to Joshua's open letter, the People Mover track could
hardly hold up with the forces generated by the Rocket Rods. He
wants Space Mountain vehicles? Sorry, the tracks were not designed
for such travel.
My suggestion to anyone who wants a great 50th Disneyland
experiencego visit Walt Disney World instead. Bigger, better,
Ted G. from Tokyo writes:
Great ideas in Joshua's letter!
It's really too bad that most of us really care for Disneyland
and want it to succeed and yet the current management just can't
Most of the ideas are very reasonable and can be accomplished
in the time frame but the current management only sees declining
revenues as reasons to cutback rather than spend money to bring
more people back to ultimately make more money and then profits
that could lead to even more spending!
If anyone gets the chance, come see Tokyo Disneyland and Sea
for great examples of the kinds of maintenance, entertainment,
attention to detail and reasonable prices for food, etc. that
really bring people back.
It's no surprise that they are far and beyond the most profitable
of all the Disney parks. Being non-Disney owned (Oriental Land
Co. owns them) has its advantages especially when it's a company
that is more Disney than Disney these days!
Finally, Joshua himself contacted us again after we ran his open
Thank you for posting my letter
I just have already received
numerous responses and a few of them have been quite rude.
In a further note I have to defend myself with the fact that
people need to realize I do not have access to major research
companies or insider information so some of my ideas may have
already been handled or maybe inaccurate due to lack of information.
This is common in most suggestions by individuals outside the
companies' information networks, so please advise your readers
that these are my suggestions and are subject to change based
on what the company is actually able to do or have already done.
If my information is wrong it's only because I don't have the
access to find out either way.
Thank you again for posting my letter and I look forward to visiting
your site again.
Joshua W. Murcray
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