Q&A with Tony Baxter, plus a rant
Written by Robert Niles
I submitted this Friday, then got hypnotized by the rain the LA area or something, because I then forgot to approve it until I saw it in the queue this morning. [slaps forehead]Tweet
Anyway, Arthur Levine over at About.com this week posted an interview that he did last year with Tony Baxter of Walt Disney Imagineering. No scoops in it, but Baxter does talk a (very) little smack about Spider-Man, and promises that WDI's got something better in the works. (Midway Mania?)
Which reminded me... it's been nine years now since Spider-Man opened at Universal's Islands of Adventure. Isn't about time that someone in this industry debuted something better? Nine years is too long for one ride to reign supreme. I get enough more frustrated when I think that Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean probably remains the best all-ages dark ride in the business. And that ride is older than I am! (And, for the record, I ain't young....)
I know that theme park rides can be hideously expensive, but so are motion pictures, and studios have produced plenty of industry-altering ones over the past four decades. Theme parks make great jack, too, so lack of income can't be an excuse.
Where is our next-gen musical, interactive, animatronic family ride? Where is the combo Robocoaster/track ride with alternate narrative elements? Why don't more coasters have custom music soundtracks? All of this is technologically possible, right now. The only thing keeping us out of these queues are theme park managers who won't green-light the concepts into designs.
Okay, so maybe Six Flags and Cedar Fair are undercapitalized right now. But they've never been the creative leaders in this business. And I know that Disney's had its management turmoil, and Universal its uncertainty over ownership. But those are past. Pardon my rant, but I want to see Disney, Universal and Busch taking it strong at each other for theme park industry creative supremacy.
Please, don't skimp on Harry Potter. Or California Adventure. Or whatever else the Big Three might envision to compete with those new developments. Let's see more cutting edge ride tech, and fresh stories, that together will get more people excited about theme parks.
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