Why can't some Disney fans accept change?

August 20, 2016, 9:48 AM

Are you a Disney purist? If not, chances are you know one. A Disney purist visits the parks with a mindset of "would Walt approve of this?" even though he's been dead for quite some time. It's hard for these fans to accept change and I don't really understand why? What is it about changes at the parks that make fans feel entitled to say they don't want change or like it? Take a look at the most recent Guardians rumor at Epcot for example: while lots of people like the idea of a much-needed e-ticket in the park, some Epcot purists (the worst kind) can't stand the idea of a sci-fi movie in an educational park. Let me be clear that Epcot is my favorite park of all time ever since I was a little kid. Even after hearing any rumor regarding Guardians at Epcot, I'm super excited because it's another ride this park deserves. Does it fit with Epcot? Not really, but neither does Test Track 2.0 or Frozen Ever After, but people still love these rides. So why do Disney purists always complain about change?

Replies (12)

August 20, 2016, 2:07 PM

When the entire concept of Epcot was pulled from under itself, stopping reality is nonsense. Epcot wasn't a prototype community. Thus the name is already wrong. It's not a worlds fair. The sponsorship model died two decades ago. There's nothing left of Epcot, or right of it. The fans want something that just doesn't exist.

Edited: August 20, 2016, 3:27 PM

And really, Anon, they want something that never existed - except in Walt's imagination.

Anyway, I think what hacks off most fans of any theme or amusement park is when perfectly good attractions are changed even though there is plenty of room to add something brand new. At least, that's what gets under my skin.

August 20, 2016, 8:45 PM

The only original attraction that I mourn over is Imagination. That ride was a classic. Horizons should have been saved after seeing how Space turned out. Body Wars needs a new film, not closure. They completely mismanaged the park. Nemo makeover wasn't bad, but it needs animatronics instead of a video screen ride.

August 20, 2016, 8:49 PM

When you fear the result of change will be something worse that what's being replaced, yeah, you fear change. I think that's the issue with many Epcot fans at the moment.

August 21, 2016, 8:04 AM

As probably a Disney Pursist, I will respond to the Universe of Energy example.

I have no problem with them getting rid of Universe of Energy or changing it. The negative of having a non fiction park is that the information can become dated very quickly, especially in the realm of energy. That is why Test Track ended up going through a revamp. Cars are all standard with the test features that Test Track tries to portray. Design works better.

What is actually more in danger with "Energy" is that the Dinosaur portion is actually a copy of the classic Primevil World portion of the Disneyland Railroad. Yes, at Disneyland you can see roughly the same dinosaurs during the train ride.

Honestly, I think they should just Redo the Universe of Energy. Ellen and Bill Nye are still pretty popular. Perhaps throw in a Neil Degrasse Tyson?

Finally, Robert wrote one of my favorite articles of the entire site about "Why the World Needs Epcot". Too often education is thrown to the side for "junk entertainment". Epcot brings out individual's intellectual curiosity. Not everybody can travel to Europe, Asia, or Africa, but World Showcase is a good way to get people introduced to these places. Is it an exact alternate, no, but because of EPCOT, I have wanted to go to Japan, Germany, and China.

Now, if we talk about what Walt wanted, he would be sad to what Epcot has become. Sticking in attractions that attract the least common denominator (Soarin has to do with the Land how?). He saw the need for mindless entertainment, but he also saw an avenue for education and just plain curiosity.

Could EPCOT be better? Yes. Is Disney IP in EPCOT bad? No. However, Epcot should still be a place to showcase real world magic and better understanding of the world around us.

August 21, 2016, 9:03 AM

Anthony makes a good point, but that's only if you don't get out much and your own locality offers little and you rely on Disney to get your non-fiction. The world has already come to your city and state. Diversity has ensured you're likely to meet someone from a foreign country. Technology has changed so quickly at Internet time. Thus, if Disney wishes to cover these topics, it has to be on a philosophical level and not at a theme park attractions level. By the time an attraction is designed and constructed, it will already be outdated.

Robert makes an excellent point about fear of change. The Disney Purist is more concerned about the park concept whereas as a theme park enthusiastic, I'm more concerned about a quality attraction. Disney hasn't demonstrated that 10 years previously in Epcot, but in the last 5 years, good things has appeared in the states like Carsland, excluding the New Fantasyland, which fell short.

Edited: August 21, 2016, 12:01 PM

@Anthony, to be fair, I don't think Walt would have been very happy with the 1982 version of Epcot either. He wanted an experimental, living city of the future, not another theme park.

But Walt's not here to speak for himself, so Disney has to move forward as dictated by the majority of their paying customers. And those customers, at least the niche crowd who frequent this site, want bigger, better, and more thrilling ride based attractions. I mean, who doesn't want a 500 foot tall, 17 inversion, giga coaster wrapping in and around Spaceship Earth? ;)

August 21, 2016, 3:47 PM

I think its possible to have a "would walt approve" yardstick, whilst not being opposed to change.

I say this as a disney fan by distance, rather than one who has experienced the park. However it is my understanding that the park that defined to an early me what a theme park is - Dreamworld Australia - had heavy influence from ex Imagineers.

The soul of the Magic Kingdom park is at the end of the day Walt's dream, its walt's dream that has made it what it is. I think it is something that has been well replicated and generally kept, although I do have to wonder if he'd be too happy about Star Wars land, he seemed to like more generic ideas that various IPs could be slotted in to.

I don't think its even worth considering "what would walt think" when considering any Epcot attraction because the entire park is so far removed from his vision for epcot that I don't think he'd entertain the park's existence at all.

As much as I'd like to visit the parallel world where the real EPCOT exists and is successful, I think Roy made the right choice to can it as it didn't fit what the disney corporation was or is, and I don't think it could have been successful (given that EPCOT did away with so many concepts that people expect, like individual property ownership, control over your own living space (coming home to a whole new suite of appliances I find more than a little creepy), and the "ick" factor of living on display, I think it would have ended up a ghost city).

I think though to get a sense of would walt approve, you need to visit a park that demonstrates the state of "amusement parks" pre Disney. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and the remaining Luna Parks come to mind. A disney park is about an experience first, with theming, stories, etc - recognising that if you get the customer experience right, the customer will look after the bottom line. An Amusement park packs it all in, and is all about the money. (For a similar experience on a smaller budget, visit your local big box electronics retailer, then visit an apple store - the former is about business, the later about an experience).

August 22, 2016, 11:56 AM

I totally agree with Chad. I also would love to see the real EPCOT, but chances are it would of been a failure and be long gone by now. The weird thing about Walt's vision for EPCOT was had many similarities to communism, which Walt was strongly against. Disney still took a big risk with Epcot the theme park, but not as big as Walt had in mind. Considering how Disney struggled financially in the 70s, building the real EPCOT could of resulted in the end of the company altogether.

August 22, 2016, 4:27 PM

What is the point of having another MK (IP based) park in WDW?
4 IP based parks are too much!!! That is putting all the eggs in the same basket!

Yes, people are childish now a day, and IP allows escapism from reality that people want (not to mention the cross selling potential). These childish people are the biggest demography, but they are not the only one!

Keep EPCOT IP free! There are lots of people who still want to “experience the future”!

August 23, 2016, 3:51 AM

For me, a Disney fan, it's not about what Walt would want. It's about whether the proposed attraction doesn't match the overall theme of the park. In Theme Park Apprentice, that's a really big deal, and a big penalty (at least when I'm judging). So, when real parks do it, I find it unacceptable. I don't think Epcot should be IP free. That's not what people want and it's not what will make money. But, the IP should be introduced in a way that is coherent with the park. Nemo and the Three Caballeros are good examples of how IP can be used without diminishing the theme. They're bringing you into their world, set in a non-fiction place, so that you can learn about it. In Animal Kingdom, another non-fiction park, Disney uses their Animal IP, which makes sense as it gets people to come to the park, and learn something about real animals while they're there to visit fictional ones. So, IP can and should be used in non-fiction parks, but in a way that still fits the original theme of the park.

August 23, 2016, 4:16 PM

I also do not think Epcot should be IP free. I think Nemo is a perfect overlay of the Living Seas. Even the Three Caballeros were able to resurrect the pretty dull Mexico ride.

As far as I can see, Frozen Ever After has absolutely no educational value whatsoever. They could have shown real sights of Norway and still kept it in the Frozen Theme. Norway has trolls, so does Frozen! Norway has beautiful nature, so does Frozen!

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