Published: November 19, 2013 at 8:21 PM

Thank you Robert and Tony for creating an incredible read into Disney theme parks and the industry of creating rides and parks. Tony is very open and shows some new perspectives on Walt and the way good themed entertainment is produced. It was also fun to read he's got a lot of love for my home land theme park Efteling.

Sometimes he contradicts himself and I was hoping Robert would have asked about that but I'm sure you didn't notice at the time and Tony is so talkative you just don't want to stop him. He explains why known ip is so important and always is needed but Efteling and amazing Disney rides like the original Journey into Imagination didn't need them and created actually new ip's (and merchandising). Anyway I wish you picked his brain on that one a bit.

It also got me thinking. From day 1 Disney was always about cross promotion, but unlike today, it didn't feel like it back then. Now ABC, the movies and parks all seem to promote the next best thing but doesn't step back to celebrate what it's got resulting in the feeling you are walking in a big commercial. I see banners and characters of Frozen before the movie arrives in the parks. The artwork in the studio is a great fit but all the other stuff is to early and takes away from the other offerings.
I was also wondering what Tony meant by: "I think that people have learned from Disney that in the end you don't win by going cheap..." Does he means the poor performing second parks the Disney company constructed of offerings like the Jack Sperrow Experience or that other parks try to copy Disney on the cheap?

Thanks again for an amazing interview and I hope a lot will follow in the future, thanks.

Jeffrey Britton

Published: November 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Loved the series. I think you should do more interviews with castmembers.

Published: November 20, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Wonderful series. I really enjoyed it.
Amanda Jenkins

Published: November 20, 2013 at 9:42 AM

I think I could sit with Mr. Baxter everyday and never be bored nor run out of questions. This series has been increedibly interesting. And I commend you Robert for not grabbing that notebook on Harry Potter plans. I don't know many who would have that amount of self-control.
Ti Marco

Published: November 20, 2013 at 10:44 AM

I really enjoyed this article. But, Robert...not even one...tiny...peek?
James Rao

Published: November 20, 2013 at 11:47 AM

Wonderful interview, Mr. Niles. I very much appreciate you sharing it with us.

Tony Baxter is just a brilliant man. He, more than anyone else I have ever heard interviewed regarding theme parks, just "gets it". I especially loved his comment, "I think there's a big difference between amusement parks, theme parks, and then storytelling, Disney-style parks." I have never really thought of there being three distinct types of parks, but he is spot on with that statement.

I am now sadder than ever that Mr. Baxter is not the one guiding the ship when it comes to Disney Imagineering. Sure, Mr. Lasseter is vibrant and exciting, and has produced some great stuff, and would probably be a fine Bob Iger replacement, but as Mr. Baxter explained with Luigi's Flying Tires, Mr. Lasseter sometimes becomes too wrapped up in the now, rather than thinking about the impact an attraction will have over the long haul.

Wow... Tony Baxter is the man. If I ever had the wherewithal to open up my own theme park, he would be my first hire.

Ted Heumann

Published: November 20, 2013 at 1:07 PM

In John Lasseter's defense, I think we all thought that the flying tires would be AWESOME.
I would rather that Disney swing for the fences and miss than to bunt and still fail (e.g. DCA 1.0).
Plus, the Flying Tires aren't a horrible attraction. I think that people's expectations were too high. Plus, any B or C ticket attraction with an E ticket length line, is disappointing. Most people that HATED it, waited 60-90 minutes. The people that liked it, waited 10-15 minutes.
James Rao

Published: November 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM

^Tony Baxter didn't think it would be awesome. ;)

And as a side note, Luigi's Flying Tires was mostly a walk on during my September visit and I still thought it "blew".

Anon Mouse

Published: November 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

The IP discussion is interesting. He argues that IPs are not thrown around carelessly in Disney attractions. This is a good point to make when other people complain about such things. Disney is likely to add more IP in attractions than create new original attractions in the future.

Published: November 20, 2013 at 6:43 PM

^true but I think he was and is wrong about Lord of the Rings and Avatar. I know more people who can recall names from the LOTR ip (Gandalf, Bilbo,etc) then Avatar.

Published: November 20, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Disney parks look very stale to my Harry Potter generation.

Who is Captain EO and why do they still have that dated attraction open?

I wish that Tony Baxter could had trained an apprentice to help move Disney into the future. Universal gets it.

Published: November 20, 2013 at 11:56 PM

Man, what a shame that Disney missed out on Potter but bought the stupid Muppets. That theater is empty most of the time at WDW, and at DCA too, from what I hear. When is something GOOD going to be put in those areas? How about Monstropolis and the Door Coasters?

Published: November 21, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Perhaps Disney did miss an opportunity with Harry Potter, but having been to all of the Florida parks recently, Disney still does it the best. The nicest grounds, the best employees, and great places to eat.

That doesn't mean I don't have my criticisms, I do, especially in regards to the mess that EPCOT's Future World has become.