Sunday, February 11, 2007

EPCOT's 25 ... and No One Seems to Care


That’s the attitude that the Walt Disney Company and EPCOT’s own Brad Rex seem to be taking when it comes to commemorating the 25th anniversary of this remarkable place.

In a recent interview on Allears.net, Brad said there’s no public celebration planned for EPCOT come Oct. 1, 2007.

It’s alternately astonishing and par for the course these days.

Let’s recall that 25 years ago, Walt Disney Productions had one simple goal when it came to opening EPCOT Center: Make sure every man, woman and child in the United States knew the name “EPCOT.” That incredibly far-reaching goal signified the importance that Disney placed on EPCOT, not just as the first addition to Walt Disney World, but as a harbinger of what was in store for Disney in the future. EPCOT was the most important project that Disney had ever taken on.

It was also, of course, the most important project to the company’s founder. Though he clearly never intended it as a theme park, Walt Disney felt EPCOT would be his lasting mark upon the world, his attempt to make his life meaningful beyond the world of entertainment. It was a monumentally important task for him, one that fate would not allow him to achieve.

That Disney’s management felt strongly enough about Walt Disney to at least try to bring his final project to life in some way that at least captured the spirit and intent of Walt’s ambitions spoke volumes about their determination to make the company grow, prosper and thrive while also upholding the ideals and vision of its founder.

Today’s Disney, of course, bears almost no resemblance to the company Walt Disney founded. That’s fine, in its way, but with each passing year, with each new egocentric, “industry-styled” executive that comes on board – each person who insists that The Walt Disney Company will bear his or her mark, founder be damned – there’s less and less “Walt” in the “Disney.”

Given the direct ties between Epcot (née EPCOT Center) to Walt Disney, given that the welcome announcement that played every day for years at EPCOT Center directly referred to Walt Disney, given that every paycheck these executives cash has their founder’s name on it … wouldn’t it be possible at least to acknowledge the important role that EPCOT played in the company’s history?

Or is it just too embarrassing to admit that today’s thrill-driven, hyperactive, cartoon-filled Epcot bears less and less resemblance with each passing day to anything even close to what Walt had dreamed?

Is the lack of a 25th-anniversary celebration for EPCOT a tacit acknowledgement that the theme park that sits in Walt Disney World today is a pale reminder of its proud history?

Disney celebrates anniversaries like nobody’s business. Walt Disney World (that is, The Magic Kingdom) got a fifth, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th and 30th anniversary celebration. Disneyland has had an anniversary party as long as I can remember (with each fifth year that passes). Tokyo Disneyland? The same. Disneyland Paris? You bet.

So, how come Disney can’t celebrate the silver anniversary of its most unique, most daring, most astonishing theme-park invention? Could it be that Disney is so embarrassed by what EPCOT has become (or, sadly, by what it used to be) that they just want everyone to forget?

EPCOT Center was a revolutionary, radical, meaningful project – to the world and, importantly, to the history of The Walt Disney Company. Not only did it try to bring to reality the last great vision of Walt Disney, the man, but it proved that it was possible to expand Walt Disney World, paving the way for every “expansion” theme park that followed in its footsteps.

EPCOT Center means a great deal to a great many people. Unfortunately, those people don’t seem to be in charge of the park or of Disney.

Please, Brad and Bob and Jay and whomever … EPCOT Center means more than you may realize. Seeing how its 25th anniversary comes during the "Year of a Million Dreams," surely there's room for one of those to be the final dream of some guy called Walt.

40 comments:

Joel said...

I agree on everything, but there was no 30th anniversary at WDW. That arguably was the beginning of the "global marketing" with the 100 Years of Magic celebration, although -- to the best of my knowledge -- it was only really celebrated in Florida with some other 100th celebration that seems to have been separate in Tokyo.

kcnole said...

I thought you might be interested to find out that there is a group of online fans who are working to create their own 25th party on October 1. They've setup a temporary website for the event at this location:

http://www.freewebs.com/zmanatr/codenamecelebration25.htm

I'm hoping to be able to make it but with my new job and a new baby on the way I don't see how its going to work out, but I thought you might be interested in working with them to get the word out.

You can find where they are discussing the idea at this thread:

http://forums.wdwmagic.com/showthread.php?t=143151

Anonymous said...

The "why" is pretty simple. Disney probably concluded that they could not turn an Epcot 25th into an all-Parks event the way it did Disneyland's 50th and thought that "Year of a Million" dreams would do a better job of rising all boats. Given that, they probably don't want any messages competing with Year of a Million Dreams, so they don't want to push Epcot so as not to mix their messages.

But that's pretty sad and in a way short-sighted. They should see the 25th as a way to re-launch Epcot and trumpet to the world all the investments they have been making in it.

The public needs to be reminded what Epcot is about and the 25th was a perfect and missed opportunity to do that.

What scares me more is that it shows how individual parks will be marketed in the future. Under Jay's strategy, the company will push the generic "Disney Parks". In the old days (ie two years ago), WDW would have had its own marketing budget and message and probably would have pushed Epcot's 25th as a way to bring people to the whole resort. But now its about "Parks" in general. Without the ability to tell people what's unique and different about the parks, all the non-Magic Kingdom parks will suffer. This approach works really well for things like Disneyland's 50th, and maybe YoMD will work financially too. But in the long run, I feat that this will turn into one big gimmicky sweepstakes after another where the focus is all on the giveaways and not on the parks themselves.

Epcot82 said...

I genuinely (naively?) believe that the "Disney Parks" concept will not work over time. It is like Yum Brands deciding to "brand" all of their restaurants as "Yum" first and, say, KFC second. Clearly, Rasulo and Mendenhall know how to get their way within Disney (otherwise, how could they have lasted this long?), but it is astonishing to me that no one saw the wrong-headedness of this idea.

Today, every park is branded with the Walt Disney World castle. The decades of hard work put into developing a unique identity for each park has been swept aside. Nowhere is that more apparent than at EPCOT, which is so clearly different than the others, so vastly unlike the "Disney dreams"-style park, that apparently the decision is, just forget about it.

If only someone on Disney's board could see that an upswing in tourism in general does not mean that Disney Parks are succeeding because of the latest marketing gimmick. My guess: You could reduce the marketing budget by 40% and still see the same attendance results, particularly if you increased the budget for capital expenditures by the same amount.

Besides, when your national commercials are themed to reminding people how "affordable" the Disney vacation concept is, you have to believe that their survey results are starting to come in a little less glowing than they'd like.

But back to the point, EPCOT isn't just a "Disney Park," it is (and always was) a different kind of Disney experience. You can't spend 20 years insisting that something is unique and different, then suddenly decide to make it the same as everything else. Well, you can -- but the result isn't going to be pretty.

Anonymous said...

Kudos to kcnole. It would be great to show up on October 1, 2007 for EPCOT's 25 Birthday.
I can't imagine Disney isn't having some sort of celebration. The money they're going to lose in t-shirt sales alone is going to be outrageous.

Jason Gallagher said...

I have been lurking on this site for some time now but just had to post today. The thing that I want to point out is that while EPCOT, a masterpiece, is not getting a 25th birthday celebration there are rumors, from Jim Hill and mouseplanet for what that's worth that DCA will be celebrating its 10th with its new look. That sickens me. I think it's b/c Lassater could care less about Florida, case in point Submarine Voyage reported to be better then the Seas.

Charles said...

Perhaps the same 4,000 people who showed up on DCA's opening day will show up for the 10th anniversary?

At DCA, Disney designed and executed a flawed concept that, while receiving a modicum of critical kudos, failed to spark the interest of the public from Day One. The only way Disney has been able to push people into the park is by offering steep discounts and urging them to visit when Disneyland is full. Six years into the DCA experience, there's no indication that it has a fan base or has developed an identity unique enough to warrant any sort of additional investment. What Disney is doing there is the corporate equivalent of throwing good money after bad, and I'm shocked that more shareholders aren't incensed at this mismanagement.

At EPCOT, Disney designed and executed a radical, expansive concept that sparked the imagination of visitors and the media. However, they positioned it as an "ever-changing" World's Fair, but once the Eisner regime came in, it failed to receive the perpetual investment of ideas and construction that its concept required to succeed over time. Essentially, Disney has faulted EPCOT for having an interesting, different (and, admittedly, difficult-to-maintain) concept, while "rewarding" its other theme parks for simplicity of execution.

While EPCOT continues to pay a high price for the daring of its designers, it has indeed developed a major fan base (just read or watch any review of 1980s pop culture and you'll be hard-pressed not to find people gushing about EPCOT Center) and has set itself apart as something different and unusual in the Disney portfolio.

Why Disney can't acknowledge and appreciate that difference is what I really never will understand. As it stands, EPCOT is being treated an awful lot like an ugly stepchild ... it doesn't even get a birthday party!

Tony said...

You would think even from a stand point of making a dollar - that Disney would hold a celebration. Think of all the merchandising it could create for a 25th birthday.

St. Chris said...

I've been planning an Epcot 25 trip since before my most recent WDW trip. Disney is hugely missing the mark here.

kcnole, thanks very, very much for the fan-gathering links. I don't know how I feel about that -- I fear a riot, or at least some acutely embarrassing display, and some people are talking about walking around with signs and banners -- the last thing I want is for Epcot fans' collective love for the place to backfire horribly. But maybe I'm worrying for nothing -- maybe I've been scarred by one too many Star Trek conventions. (Total: one. That's all it took. And I love Star Trek, too.)

On the other hand, it's a visit to Epcot! I can hardly think of a better day at Epcot than one spent with other people who love it as much as I do.

I guess I have to work through my feelings about the fan-gathering idea, but this announcement of no official celebration (thanks for pointing it out, Epcot82) unequivocally makes my heart sink.

Jon said...

As a former manager at Epcot for 4 years and someone who was at working at WDW for during the 25th Anniversary celebration as well as being a member of the opening management team for Disneyland Paris in 1992 I think this is a disgrace.

Epcot will always hold a special place in my heart and if Disney does not want to recognize it, it is their right, but their are many of us who toiled day after day year after year to make it one of the best places to go and to make sure we lived up to Walt's dream and vision every day!

Epcot82 said...

It takes me about 10 minutes to think of something that could be done for this, at a cost of less than $100,000:

* Create a press kit for the media that shows off the ways EPCOT has changed and what it's becoming (you know, as much as I think it's been harmed, Disney can always put a good spin on stuff like this); explain in this press kit that Oct. 1, 2007, celebrates Walt Disney's final dream ... so what better celebration to have during this "year of a million dreams"?

* Send an e-mail blast to all Disney.com/DisneyParks.com opt-ins that EPCOT will be the hub of a one-day-only celebration on Oct. 1, marking its silver anniversary.

* Invite local broadcast media to EPCOT on Oct. 1; provide them with videotape clips of "EPCOT then and now." Make sure that the local affiliates are invited so that they can send the tape to their networks.

* Record a brand-new version of the original EPCOT opening announcement; play that on opening day, just prior to a public ceremony with key Disney execs to mark the occasion.

* If the wand has been removed (I hope!), then comment that Spaceship Earth has "never looked better." If not ... well, I dunno.

* Give a fun button to all park guests that uses the old EPCOT Center "interlocking" logo and the number 25, along with the date.

* Create a compelling quote for Bob Iger about the important role that EPCOT Center played in the development of The Walt Disney Company and its position as a park where "we see what happen when the dreams people have actually come true and affect our world" -- tie it in to the "million dreams" idea, if you insist, but make it meaningful.

* Shine the number "25" on Spaceship Earth at the end of Illuminations both the night before and the night of the anniversary.

These "little things" won't cost much, but will show that at least someone CARES about EPCOT and will focus media attention on it, just for this special anniversary.

Epcot82 said...

BTW, thank you for weighing in Jon -- it is always great to hear from former EPCOT cast members. Believe me, your hard work did NOT go unnoticed by the many millions of people who became passionate about EPCOT, in part due to the enormous enthusiasm you and your fellow cast members showed for it. Your enthusiasm was always infectious! (Unlike the unenthusiastic Ballzac guys ... but that's a different story. Heheh.)

I hope you can share this post and blog with your fellow past EPCOT CMs (or current ones!).

captain schnemo said...

Disney fans are pretty polite bunch, and Disney will hardly be upset with any "protestor" who pays over 50 bucks to get in the door and will buy food, drinks, and souvenirs all day.

As for the celebration itself, I'm ambivalent. Frankly, almost every time Disney has paid attention to Epcot in recent years, they've done nothing but damage. Every time I hear a change is in the works, I worry about what cool thing will be removed and what awful thing will be put in its place.

I see the lack of a celebration as more of a symptom (similar to the much-hated wand) than anything else. A celebration itself won't improve Epcot, and I don't know that it would in any way facilitate positive changes.

Obviously I think it's depressing that they don't think enough of Epcot to do the right thing, but I don't think that doing so would change anything, in the big picture.

I certainly would have no interest in such a celebration, as it would only depress me.

Anonymous said...

Maybe they should just tear it down and build the REAL EPCOT...THE CITY OF THE FUTURE!

Anonymous said...

The wand can be taken down and put at the parking entrance to the Magic Kingdom. That's called recycling. And Al Gore would be proud!

kcnole said...

The people I have talked to who are planning the get together on Oct 1 are set in making sure its not a trek-a-thon and making sure its for die hard fans and casual fans as well. I doubt we'll see any banners or major protests. They just want to get a large gathering of fans to celebrate the park if Disney refuses to do it themselves.

Anonymous said...

I think it's obvious why they don't plan to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Epcot. They would be inviting too many comparisons to the "glory days" of EPCOT Center, and would point out most vividly how the park has deteriorated since.

Basically, they don't celebrate the anniversary because there is nothing to celebrate.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...
If the Walt Disney Company was smart they'd open a park on leap year day Feb 29. That way they could only celebrate every 4 years!

Anonymous said...

I am very torn on the fan-based celebration. There is a part of me that loves that, but there is another part that doesn't want to fuel Disney's decision. If a large group comes anyway, that sends one message: "We didn't need to waste the money celebrating it." I, for one, will be cancelling the 25th anniversary trip I was planning and may send Disney a letter saying so. It is very sad that the first non-kingdom park will not have anything stated for it, and I guess I will flex the only muscle I have with the company... my $. It is very sad to see this happen, but I feel very strongly about not supporting what I view as a mistake.

St. Chris said...

If a large group comes anyway, that sends one message: "We didn't need to waste the money celebrating it."

If a large group comes anyway, that sends one message: "We should have been ready with commemorative merchandise and a coordinated marketing event."

If word gets around that people gathered at Epcot because it was the 25th anniversary -- and word will get around; the cast members will talk about it in their backstage meetings at the end of the day -- someone will recognize the missed opportunity. Let Disney's merchandising people hear about the guests walking around with home-grown "Epcot 25" t-shirts and think, "Damn, we could have sold them those." You want to dish out an object lesson? Show them the market they wrongly ignored, not the apathy they take for granted.

Or, you know, just go because you want to. I'm going to Epcot because I love Epcot and it's the 25th anniversary. Do we need Disney to tell us when we can or should celebrate anything?

I invite anyone here with a better feel for the Disney corporate mentality to weigh in on this. (And I mean an actual feel, not an armchair opinion.)

Epcot82 said...

St. Chris & Anonymous, I can only offer my own opinion based on nearly a decade working at Disney corporate: There are only two things that Disney responds to, a decrease in revenue and a public embarrassment.

While a single person's decision to cancel a trip won't cause a noticeable decrease in revenue, I do hold to my belief that one of the only ways Disney will take its hardcore fan base seriously is if those people stop going to the parks. It is impossible, as any parent knows, to simultaneously support and discourage behavior; that is, you can't tell your kid to stop acting up and then give him a candy bar. That's essentially what happens when hardcore, non-kid fans like you and me get all huffy about the creative decisions Disney has been making ... and then continue to patronize the parks. I feel strongly that if those who are discouraged by Disney were to cut one or two visits/trips to the parks out of their plan, Disney would see a significant hit and start wondering what's going on. (Better, if fans could get themselves organized enough, it could be pretty significant to plan "a month without Disney.") But Disney's management cares only about money and financial performance, so money is all that they respond to.

Except ... Disney's management can't stand being embarrassed in the media. You'll never see a faster response than Disney management trying to rectify a wrong that is called out in the Los Angeles Times or the Orlando Sentinel. The most recent case in point: Disney was running at least two weeks behind on the promise Iger made to have the new Disney.com up and running by the end of January. Then, the Los Angeles Times ran a news story about this delay. Disney responded angrily within the piece (claiming that they were still within the time period that Iger had envisioned, even though they were nearly 10 days behind the deadline he publicly gave), and it was clear from the tone of their spokesperson in the article that they had been caught with their pants down. Within 24 hours ... you guessed it: Disney.com's new site was up and running.

That's just one of many instances I could give you that show how media pressure is pretty much the only other thing Disney responds to. If the Orlando Sentinel and/or Los Angeles Times were to pick up on Disney's precedent-setting lack of a 25th anniversary for EPCOT, that could help, er, motivate management.

St. Chris said...

Many thanks for the perspective, as always, Epcot82.

They launched that web site in 24 hours? (I hadn't looked at Disney's site in weeks, so thanks for the heads-up.) Holy Toledo. They were building it for a long time beforehand, no doubt, but I would not want to have been on that web development team when the word came down to push it into production.

The results are pretty impressive when the management actually decides to do something.

Greencapt said...

As a recently new lurker here and a fellow disappointed EPCOT Center dreamer I wanted to thank you for all that you are doing here and hope that somewhere, sometime that someone at Disney will listen.

That said I wanted you to know I called and left a voicemail for one of the Lifestyles section editors at the Orlando Sentinel pointing out the lack of 25th anniversary celebration and some of the problems that Epcot (sic) has been suffering from as of late.

Thanks again and we'll see how it goes.

Eric Peterson aka GreenCapt

Epcot82 said...

Brilliant, Greencap ... way to go! Please feel free to direct them to this blog if they'd like to read some comments from disappointed folks. ;-)

Greencapt said...

Will do, '82!

It was so depressing going to EPCOT last year as I hadn't really kept up with the changes they had made. I knew of the additions of Test Track and Mission Space but honestly didn't realize that they were built on the corpses of two of my favorite attractions. I walked around the park in a daze. I had been there the month EPCOT opened and had been back several times since. I really can't see myself recommending the park to anyone right now as I used to do frequently.

Anyway, I'll let you know if I hear anything- I left my contact info for the editor I called. I also stressed in my message (which maxed out his voicemail... heh) how much the development of Orlando was tied to Disney expanding out and opening EPCOT and why it is such a shame that Disney can't seem to respect that.

Ain't I a stinker?

Epcot82 said...

The best kind. ;-)

SirNim said...

At the very least, I can't see how the decision was made NOT to publicly celebrate the 1st of October as a one day, one park event. It's ludicrous, considering that it fits in perfectly with the theme of "Year of a Million Dreams" as the greatest manifestation of Walt's last dream.

Great ideas for marking the anniversary for less than $100,000. A new welcome announcement would be, well, quite welcome... And with the new projection technology that Disney has been experimenting with off-and-on the past few years, it certainly wouldn't take much financial effort to project a large golden "25" on what may hopefully be a Wand-free Spaceship Earth.

The idea of handing out buttons with the old Center logo reminds me of the designs I came up with for homemade 25th Anniversary t-shirts ( http://www.cafepress.com/epcots25 ), one of which I will certainly be wearing should I be able to work 10/1/07 into my schedule. Honestly, if Disney issued 10 different t-shirts or other pieces of merchandise with a well-designed "Epcot's 25th" logo on them, they would all be in my collection. As so many have pointed out, if only from a merchandising perspective, a refusal to acknowledge the anniversary is just so frankly rude to the millions of guests who have been inspired by Epcot over the course of its 24 1/2 years...

Epcot82 said...

Nice shirts, SirNim. It always astonishes me what good designs are at CafePress and other online sites -- designs NOT created by Disney (no doubt soon to be shut down, sadly, so do patronize SirNim's "store" soon!), which doesn't understand the value of or appreciate the audience for these nostalgic, "classic" designs.

To your first point, needless to say, I can't see why that decision was made, either.

"Rude" is a very good way to put it. They are indeed being very dismissive of the very people (guests, passionate ones) who have helped make their parks successful. By continuing to make the parks more and more geared to kids and teens, they also lose out on those of us who probably won't bother making a big deal out of "indoctrinating" our kids, nieces, nephews, etc., to a Disney that increasingly sends one basic and ever-more-aggressive message to its guests: Give us more of your money.

It's becoming so blatant as to be offensive. But I digress. Sort of. Because EPCOT, as with most other Disney theme parks, wasn't developed to be a commercial/retail venue ... it and they were created to realize an idea, a concept; to bring a vision to life. Yes, they turned out to be great retail locations, too, but that was beside the point.

If you've seen the latest ideas put forth by Disney to develop small "niche" entertainment locations around the U.S., you just know that these are calculated to get the most money out of your wallet while providing the least actual expenditure from Disney. They smack of overt money-grubbing. (Not to mention the fact that Disney tried and failed at this concept 10 years ago.)

I think those of us who engage in discussions on this site are driven to do so because we found in EPCOT Center a place that spoke to us, reminded us that the world is a remarkable place, spurred us to think and discover things on our own, and seemed to have been created not out of a desire to increase revenue but to inspire and excite. Its theme and CONCEPT came first, not its bottom line. We're so opposed to what EPCOT has become not because we dislike the individual elements, but because they smack of blatant commercialism. We know Nemo's not there because he legitimately gets kids interested in oceanography, but because they'll pester their parents to buy more Nemo toys. We know the Three Caballeros aren't invading the Mexico pavilion because they thematically fit, but because Disney wants to sell more Donald Ducks.

The more I write about EPCOT, the more I read the comments people send me, the brilliant observations they write here, the more I am saddened by what EPCOT Center -- and, by extension, The Walt Disney Company -- has become.

It can't really all be about making more money than ever before.

Can it?

J Gall. said...

Charles,

I think that the Disney brass is just more interested in the Cali parks b/c the Cali parks need to reinvented to keep the people from the transRockie west to keep coming back. I've been reading alot about the WDW and how when it was purposed 95% of all Disneyland guests were from Colorado and West. There was a very small world coming to DL. Saint Louis and then Lake Buena Vista was the answer. With a boundless number of people to continue to visit WDW from the rest of America and the whole world Florida can coast, man I'm punny, while Cali gets "special" treatment b/c it's a special park. This of course is my opinion.

dean said...

Considering Disneyland, It wasn't a matter of reinventing the park.... it was a matter of restoring those things that made it truly special. Matt Ouimet did an excellent job taking a lackluster 50th celebration and making it a huge event -- mostly by adding fresh paint and some TLC to the attractions. I think visitors were happy just to enjoy a renewed Disneyland. Certainly there are places like Tomorrowland, that were tragically disfigured, but improvements are still being made to this day.

If anything can be learned from this, it is that visitors respond to such an approach. Word gets out that they are doing fantastic stuff to the parks and people decide once again to start taking that annual trip. Epcot is a perfect candidate to take advantage of such an approach. Certainly there are some cosmetic changes that I feel need to be made to the park... but since the "clutter" is mostly superficial it should be easy to correct. They should focus on Innoventions and the Entry sequence to have the greatest impact.

What we are mostly concerned about is a re-commitment to the original inspiring theme of the park. That can be reinforced by changing signage, restoring the concept of logos for the attractions, creating printed marketing materials that support the theme -- basically restoring the "ideas" that originally tied the park together and made it special. Combine all this with a return to the name "EPCOT Center", and one has a very powerful marketing approach.

Anonymous said...

J. Gall, I agree.

WDW guests are absolutely different than at Disneyland and it's smart if the brass sees it. On the Haunted Mansion elevator ride in WDW, people are silent, listening. Many are from Europe and South America, and it's only their first or second time on the ride.

In Disneyland's elevator, you rarely find yourself able to hear the end of the spiel because (and I lustily take part) nearly everybody is saying the words along with the narrator -- "To find ... a way OUT!" followed by at least one piercing scream.

That's Disneyland magic that no other park can touch.

I have always believed Alien Encounter went into the wrong park. At WDW, it's iffy, even if that may be from management show decisions more than public regard. But in Disneyland, the original Alien Encounter would have had a cult following.

Charles said...

Well, I'm not sure I'd necessarily call it Disney magic when they do that at Disneyland, since it IS kinda disrespectful to the kids (mostly) who have never experienced the attraction, and to those who would like to really get the whole feel without "commentary." I can't say I haven't done it myself, but it borders dangerously on behavior akin to talking in a movie theater! Sometimes, you just like to enjoy the experience without others interfering, and, seriously, think about kids who have finally worked up the "nerve" to go inside, only to find a bunch of rowdy adults! That said, Disneyland IS for having fun, so it's a double-edged sword.

Greencapt said...

Actually most every time I've been on Haunted Mansion (one of my faves) at WDW the crowd, foreign or domestic, tends to just chit-chat during the whole pre-show. At first I always get annoyed but then I just tune them out and recite the Ghost Host's spiel to myself.

J Gall. said...

http://miceage.com/guest/gu021507c.htm

I still think that this has to deal with who comes to the Park. If they are taking better care of DLP which has just started making money...for its 15th birthday, why isn't this type of TLC coming to EPCOT?

Kevin said...

Have any of you guys seen the new post over at the re-imagineering blog yet? I'm not letting it get my hopes up too high yet, but these guys haven't been known for going out on a limb for rumors before.

I'd be curious in reading all of your interpretations of their post.

Greencapt said...

Yeah I read that. I hope its true- but I'm not holding my breath yet.

kcnole said...

Just thought I'd post another update to this. Kevin Yee over at Miceage just confirmed that he's heard this as well. I do believe he heard it secondhand from someone at laughingplace who said they heard it from a good source, so it could all just be another he said she said thing, but there's confirmation on this coming from different sources. Of course that doesn't mean anything but it does lend some weight to it.

Tiff said...

Epcot does need to celebrate it's 25th b-day! Us fans should celebrate it's b-day online!!!

Anonymous said...

Lots of good ideas here. I guess the biggest thing that saddens me about not celebration this birthday is what its says about society. Its pretty sad when what is suppose to be an idealistic park about society, can’t even escape the money crunching and short term thinking of today’s world. Honestly, if you want to get disney to listen I would go ahead with planning an event for the 1st of October, get email confirmation on whose coming (it looks like the event site already has this) and then bring it to the media.

Send out a press release; if you don’t know how to, do some research as just leaving a voice message will not get as much attention. Put a contact number down for whoever can do a good job of speaking and conveying the message, and they’ll probably phone up the person to at least see what its about. If they like the story they'll run it and maybe even get a photographer to come down to the park and take a picture of the group (they might have to do it somewhere else for legal reasons though, I am not sure).

Seriously, its not as difficult to get media exposure as most people think, I’ve done it on multiple occasions and as long as you present yourself properly, have a good story that isn’t trying to sell something, the media will typically respond. If disney responds as well as epcot82 says to public embarrassment then I think this could actually do something, exactly what I don’t know. But it would add another dimension to the event and would at least make an impact.

Disney is different then most companies as what they do means something to people and can have a large impact on society. They don’t just have to answer to their shareholders, but also to the paying public who are the ones that ultimately keep them going, and if anything I hope this strengthens the obvious fact that screwing over the public does not, and will not work. Just stand your ground during and when planning the event, get the media involved, and you could actually make a difference.

Anonymous said...

As a working cast member at WDW im going to have to disagree with alot of things that has been said about EPCOT's 25th. Disney is celebrating the milestone. I was at the park today, and we gave out special buttons to every guest..Marty Skyler was at the park all day today and they did have a special ceremoney in the morning, on top of all that Illuminations will have a 4min tag on the end of it and they will attempt to break the guenis record for the most fireworks shot off in the shortest time. WDW my not have done alot of plublisity for the 25th..but the Food and Wine festaval is already going on and brings in alot of people anyways...and im not sure that wdw wanted to spend alot of money on the 25th because spaceship earth is getting compleatly refurbished and is eating up alot of the budget. WDW also did alot for their cast members in celebration for the 25th that alot of people didnt get to see or even know about....so yes Disney did celebrate Epcots 25th but maybe with out as much glamar as the other parks get.