The problem with “Avengers: Infinity War” is the way it
ended and what we knew about the next Marvel movies. Basically, Thanos’ snap
eliminated the newest half of the Marvel Universe, including most of Ant-Man’s
allies, leaving the old heroes to find a way to avenge the snap, which would
fit in perfectly with what Tony Stark told Loki in the first Avengers film and
serve as a way to tie the franchise together.
However, the upcoming movie slate after Infinity War includes “Spider-Man: Far from Home” (eliminating the emotional impact of his demise in Infinity War), “Black Panther” (which could possibly give rise to a female Black Panther because T’challa was dusted), “Guardians of the Galaxy 3” (though James Gunn departure after a controversy left this in doubt, Kevin Feige says it’s still on; it could team Rocket with the Reavers and/or Nebula) and “Doctor Strange 2” (which at this point I don’t have an observations on, except its Benedict Cumberbatch, and Mysterio looks like he uses magic).
With all of these movies, and the stars whose contracts are
expiring – Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Mark Ruffalo
(Hulk), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow) and
Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye) – as well as the apparent good byes and statements that
some won’t be returning to the roles, there is no way for the Marvel Universe
to continue without a complete reversal of an entire movie. This seems like it
has all kinds of potential to go lame though that type of action has happened
before – most notably in the last episode of “Twin Peaks” season 3.
One twist for Endgame could turn the Marvel Universe on its head. What if all the characters that died were the ones to survive, and the audience saw the dusting from the characters’ who actually died point of view? This would mean Rocket died, which would make sense because it has already been stated that he doesn’t have a long lifespan as a raccoon. It would also mean that Bruce Banner is dead, but the hulk isn’t necessarily dead. This type of reveal would make it easier to accept the Nick Fury/Spider-Man alliance. It could be interesting to see how the old characters deal with the reality of their demise while the mirror splits back to the new characters who did actually survive.
At this point though, “Avengers: Endgame,” which releases on April 26, 2019, lacks the stakes that Infinity War had during its run. The new characters are going to come back, and no one will be surprised when the old characters die. Marvel has more creative people than me working for it, and just because the general outcome of the movie is known doesn’t mean it won’t be good. But because we already know so much about it beyond the movie itself, it may not be engaging, especially if Peter Parker comes back and is threatened with death again. He’s already got a movie coming out, and it has a trailer. (Check out other movie related posts.)
Do you miss the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Bug’s Land at Disney California Adventure? If so, stop by the Penguinate table (A1) at Lilac City Comicon and see what photos we have to take you back to the great memories you formed while visiting the Disneyland Resort. Our photos focus on details of the park, are very limited and cost only $3.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror was based on Rod Serling’s
classic TV show. With its 1930’s design, it was the right fit for DCA’s
Hollywoodland theme. When the Guardians of the Galaxy moved in, fans of the
original were upset. While the new attraction doesn’t fit the Hollywoodland
theme, it is arguably better than the TZ version.
To fix the theming problem, DCA is retheming Bug’s Land to
feature Marvel characters. While few details on the new land have been
released, it makes more sense for the Walt Disney Company to focus on their
Marvel division. Marvel movies will continue to provide advertising for the
land, and DCA will not be providing advertising for CBS Twilight Zone reboot.
With every theming change, details are removed or rethemed.
Our small collection of photos has captured some of those items. Stop by our
table (A1) and ask to see our Disneyland Resort photos. We look forward to
seeing you at Lilac City Comicon!
The official merger of Disney and Fox has sounded the death
knell for creativity. While scooping up Fox’s assets is the right business
decision for Disney, it is one that writers, movie makers, ad executives and
other creatives should fear.
With Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar, Fox, and its own studio, Disney will own an estimated 40% of the box office. The merger allows Disney to exercise economies of scale and negotiating power not seen this side of Wal-Mart.
Writers already face enormous competition to get their
stories read. Every indie writer out there who wants to see their stories on
the big screen has just had their chances reduced by one major player. Making a
living as a writer is difficult enough without having Fox’s ability to seek out
new storylines withdrawn from the market.
Looking at Disney’s upcoming movie slate, Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King are remakes of animated films. Dumbo will have to lose the crows. Will Smith will have to do his own genie thing because it would be ridiculous to copy Robin Williams. Other than that, these three films look to be Xerox photo copies of their animated counterparts. We’ve already seen them and we’re going to see them again.
The sequels list is longer. With Avengers: Endgame, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Far from Home (though not as far as you might think), Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Frozen II and Star Wars Episode IX on the slate, there is hardly any room for an original idea. While sequels can bring something new to franchise, they don’t require as much risk taking or creativity to make.
Which leaves Disney with Artemis Fowl and with DisneyNature’s Penguins as its only non-sequel, non-remake movies coming out in 2019. With 11 films left on the slate, Disney has one new story that will probably flop and a documentary to offer. Take a moment to ponder that.
Even if Disney remains true to form and let’s Fox operate
the way Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm have, Fox was depending on its Avatar
sequels and X-Men films to keep it in the black. Films Disney was already on
Creativity will have to come from film makers with smaller
budgets who, despite lacking marketing savvy and budgets for said marketing,
have a film hit big. Like writers, these smaller film makers will have to find
a way to cut through the noise of modern media and its giants to harness the
power of going viral, and they’re going to need you to help. It’s going to be
an uphill battle for creative people to get out there, but it always has been.
(Full disclosure: I own Disney Stock ad will go see all the Disney/Marvel/Pixar
branded movies they make.)
At the Weta Workshop tour, there are a lot of places you can’t take photos. The ‘Thunderbirds Are Go’ set makes up for it. “Lord of the Rings” fans shouldn’t hesitate for signing up for this tour. Weta is also doing work for Marvel and the new Avatar films.
The second gate at the Disneyland Resort continues to
perform poorly and disappoint guests. With three-day, single park passes
costing around $100 per day, it makes sense for most guests to skip Disney California
Adventure (DCA) altogether – especially if they are on a budget.
While there are several problems with DCA, the most glaring is the problem of theming, and the problem is easily illustrated with one photo. Taking the photo from Grizzly Peak Airfield toward the Carthay Circle Theater, the Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout towers in the background and creates a dissonant sight line that doesn’t make sense in the theme park context.
Walt Disney thought that controlling sightlines was
important enough that he built a berm and planted trees on top of it to keep
people from seeing what was outside the park. The Walt Disney Company has repeatedly
lobbied the Anaheim City Council to keep other hotels from rising above certain
heights, so that they can’t see in and they can’t be seen from the park. The
Jolly Holiday Café was built with two styles of roofs – one to fit the
aesthetic of Main Street, U.S.A. and one to fit the theming of Adventureland.
Disneyland and its progeny have all been about theming when
they work. The current regime seems to have forgotten its company history and
the innovations that it brought to amusement parks. Theming is Disney’s strongest
characteristic. They use it to keep stories cohesive, and they should be using
it to keep the stories of their parks understandable.
With Pixar all over DCA and not just on the pier and the
Little Mermaid’s huge fin- or footprint (depending on the part of the story you’d
like to reference) on the opposite side of the pier, Disney California Adventure
has a theme problem. Its name no longer matches its content, and it’s been caught
in a no man’s land of California references that don’t fit in the Cars landscape,
the impending arrival of Tony Stark’s Marvel land, which will likely
incorporate the now poorly placed Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at least
in name and zone, or many of its other attractions.
It’s time for the Disney Company to let it go and speed up
the retheming of the park, which will necessarily include getting rid of Buena
Vista Street and Hollywoodland, which is currently the default play place for Marvel
superheroes, Monsters, Inc, and Mickey’s Philharmagic – none of which actually
represent the heyday of Hollywood and together they present a dissonance that
does the park more harm than good.
Even with a 90-minute wait at Radiator Springs Racers and
not using any FASTPASSes, my wife and finished the park between the hours of 9
am and 6 pm. We didn’t ride the Incredicoaster (She doesn’t like loops) or
Goofy’s Sky School. We also skipped all of the rides, we could find almost
everywhere else – Ferris wheel, giant swings, the Zephyr…
Our 6 pm departure was facilitated by the lack of good,
moderately priced food choices in the park. Corn dogs, hot dogs, and hamburgers
get old. The Pacific Wharf Café and the nearby Mexican and Chinese restaurants
weren’t appealing, and the pasta at the end of the pier just hasn’t ever been
You can still find spectacular shows like “Frozen” and “the
World of Color.” When you’re not on a budget and you’ve made reservations, the
Carthay Circle and Wine Country Trattoria are still two of the best restaurants
in the parks. For those of us that are on a budget, Disney California Adventure
isn’t worth the price of admission. I keep hoping, but it looks like it’ll be
another two decades before the park finds its footing – if it ever does.
As a Penguinator, does it make sense to be critical of
Disney California Adventure (DCA)? No one at the Disney Company is likely to
read this post and think, “Oh, yeah, we did forget that,” or “Schnikey! We need
to fix that ASAP,” especially if I were to leave this post private and for
Penguinators only instead of giving you an advanced viewing opportunity. I
don’t have any Disney employees on my Patreon list that I’m aware of, and I’m
decently certain there aren’t any that visit my blog. Even if there were, the
company is notorious for not accepting unsolicited ideas from outside.
Besides, anything I say has already been said by someone else and probably thought of by the imagineers. Still, as a mental exercise to improve creativity, looking at DCA provides the opportunity to unleash the judge, find what’s wrong with the current park, and figure out how to make it better. Imagineers can talk about the idea of Blue Sky thinking where everything goes and there are no rules, but in the end, they are constrained by the park’s current footprint and the bean counter’s budget, which would include the opportunity cost of any major renovation that would significantly change the park. We have no similar constraints if we choose to offer up possible solutions to the DCA problem. We can truly engage in Blue Sky thinking without reference to financial consequences, thinking only about what’s wrong with DCA and what would make the park better.
Where’s the Theme, Park?
Disneyland changed the amusement park industry by, among
other things, theming itself and its lands. Walt Disney established early on
that spacemen and cars don’t go into Frontierland, and the cowboys stay out of
Tomorrowland. The sightlines were created so that people viewing a building on
Main Street, U.S.A. would see a different roof than they would see when viewing
the same building from Adventureland.
The berm with its train and trees was devised to keep the
rest of the world from interfering with the guests’ ability to suspend
disbelief. When coupled with the negotiated rules that Anaheim passed for
buildings outside the park, guest don’t see anything that Disney doesn’t want
them to see (beyond the occasional plane or helicopter flying overhead). Even
with Tomorrowland’s current shortcomings (there are plenty of them) and the
addition of Star Wars: Galaxy Edge, Disneyland is all about theming – right
down to the dolls making the popcorn in the popcorn carts.
As ill-conceived as it may have been to put a theme park
about California in California when a majority of Disneyland visitors are from
California, DCA was themed appropriately when it opened. The Sunshine Plaza was
upbeat and California themed through and through. Hollywood Backlot Studios had
the glamour of the 1930s. Golden State celebrated the architecture of the Bay
Area, and Paradise Pier took its cue from the Beach and Boardwalk parks. Condor
Flats took on California’s aviation history, and Grizzly River Peak with the
neighboring Redwood Trail were a tribute to California’s north. The park may
not have been good when it opened, but it was themed.
Unfortunately, the theme wasn’t the right one, and the
Disney Company had to come up with ways to get people to spend their money to
go over to their second gate. Bug’s Land was added to appeal to youngsters. Not
really California themed, but it didn’t intrude on the rest of the park, and
there were bug’s in California. “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” was built in
the backlot; the perfect place for it. As a hotel from Hollywood’s glamor days
of the late 1930’s, the Tower of Terror fit in with the rest of the theme.
When “Monsters, Inc.: Mike and Sulley to the Rescue” opened
in 2006, it signaled the beginning of the end for DCA’s theming. Placed in
Hollywood in the same area as the defunct Superstar Limo ride that lasted less
than a year; Mike and Sulley weren’t (and still aren’t) Hollywood themed. Still
the monsters occupy a prominent place in Hollywoodland as one of the two rides
in the area – the other one being the Tower of Terror.
In 2008, Paradise Pier saw the opening of the beloved Toy
Story Midway Mania. Set within the games of the pier, Midway Mania could be
forgiven its intrusion; even if its story, guests being shrunk down to the size
of toys so they could play the game, didn’t fit with the theme, the game
element of the attraction worked. With Mr. Potato Head playing the Midway Mania
Barker, the Toy Story characters didn’t do much to detract from the theme
though no self-respecting boardwalk would have such a sophisticated game during
the time that Paradise Pier was supposed to reflect. (And let’s face it, Midway
Mania is one of the best attractions in either park.)
Other rides on Paradise Pier were rethemed over the next
three years to include Disney characters. Mickey’s Fun Wheel received a new
paint job and a giant Mickey Head. The Orange Stinger became the Silly
Symphonies Swings and Mullholland Madness became Goofy’s Sky School. Within the
singular concept of the ride, the retheming of the last two was brilliant. The
Silly Symphony Swingers opens up to reveal a painting of Mickey Mouse
conducting the band from “the Band Concert,” which isn’t from the Silly
Symphony series (highlighting the theming problem again). Still, the use of the
whirlwind cartoon on the swings support pole is a great idea. Goofy’s Sky
School is just “plane” fun. The problem is that none of the changes align with
the area’s theming at the time, and these rides are exactly that – rides – not
attractions. These are off-the-shelf, experience-them-at-your-local-carnival
While hyped tremendously as a new attraction for the park, Ariel’s Undersea Adventure quickly became DCA’s version of Snow White’s Scary Adventure. At seemingly twice the size and half the fun, this show-stopping, audio-animatronic disappointingly doesn’t carry the story far enough or strongly enough. Still, it’s routinely 5-minute wait time makes it a nice place to take a break from the heat, and it features some interesting advances – the descent into the sea and the Ursula figure. It’s still in the wrong place. The Little Mermaid has nothing to do with California or Paradise Pier.
In 2012, DCA attempted to keep with the California theming
and connect to its mythical beginnings. Missing a golden opportunity to
capitalize on its largest changes, the park turned the Sunshine Plaza into
Buena Vista Street of 1923, the time when Walt Disney arrived in California
with a suitcase and a dream. The Carthay Circle Theater was opened and fit in with
the Tower of Terror in the background, but Cars Land with its decidedly Arizona
feel debuted at the same time. Arizona isn’t California. How is Cars Land a
part of the California Adventure? It’s not, thematically speaking.
In 2016, the popular Soarin’ Over California was replace
with Soarin’ Around the World. California is not the world, and the world is
not California. In 2017, the Guardians of the Galaxy took over the Twilight
Zone Tower of Terror and, in one fell swoop destroyed the themes of Hollywoodland,
Grizzly Peak Airfield and Buena Vista Street. These are both popular and fun
attractions, but popular and fun aren’t a theme, and the original versions were
just as popular and fun.
In 2018, Paradise Pier became Pixar Pier. Pixar isn’t a
theme. It’s a collection of (if the Internet is to believed) vaguely related
films with different settings. Even if Pixar properties were relegated to Pixar
Pier, the them wouldn’t work. Mixing the superheroes of “The Incredibles,” the
shrinking you down to toy size of Midway Mania and Jessie’s Critter Carousel,
and the Inside/Out characters of the mind isn’t a theme; it’s a cacophony. Add
to it that Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Flik’s Flyers just received paint jobs, with
no significant changes otherwise, to go along with the Pixar theme and it looks
like Disney has just decided to throw in the towel. They probably could’ve left
Flik’s Flyers alone since it was a Pixar film and the theming would’ve worked
with Midway Mania, but “A Bug’s Life” has other problems when it comes to theme
Leftovers from Paradise Pier, the Golden Zephyr and Jumpin’
Jellyfish make no sense in terms of theming. They aren’t related to Pixar or
Disney characters and only represent the former California Beachside aesthetic.
With all of the incohesive changes, Disney California Adventure doesn’t really
celebrate Disney or California. Instead, it focuses on providing Pixar a place
to put its movie franchises. Things won’t be much better when Marvel joins the
scene with its own land. Marvel Land will be able to adopt Guardians of the
Galaxy, but this will leave the Red Car Trolley out in the cold and gut the
main attractions of Hollywoodland – the Marvel Meet and Greets.
This mishmash of rides and attractions keeps DCA from
achieving greatness through theming. Instead it’s a great example of what
Disneyland never wanted to be – an amusement park (except DCA is clean and the
cast members are friendly).
Why Bug’s Land Had to Change
While the new Marvel Land may not fix DCA’s theming, it does
address another relatively small problem: the relevancy of A Bug’s Land. Based
on the 1998 Pixar film “a bug’s life,” the land opened in 2002. The land itself
was made to be attractive to the younger set, except the 4D film experience “It’s
Tough to Be a Bug,’ which was terrifying for some adults. It’s environmental
and educational feel was a welcome respite from some of the larger areas of the
park, but there was no way these bugs could survive.
The film itself was not one of Pixar’s best. It earned $363
million at the box office, but without a sequel, TV shows, or a cuddly, iconic
character, the film has no relevance to today’s children. How many people even
remember the film without confusing it for “Antz”? Disney’s classic animation
fare has been able to remain relevant through marketing (specifically, the creation
of the Princess line, which keeps all of the princesses in the public light as long
as new princesses are added every couple of years or so) rereleases and remakes.
These movies hold up even through the changing times, and the theming of the
lands act as a crutch.
Attractions at Disneyland also remain relevant through the
sheer size and scope. The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash
Mountain, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad are iconic, beloved attractions
that create their own atmosphere and fans. Flik’s Flyers? Tuck and Roll’s Drive
‘Em Buggies (which were not bumper cars)? Francis Ladybug Boogie… Does anyone
even remember this ride? These were all rides with no real creation to them and
without a Dumbo to keep them aloft. Only Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train seemed to
make an effort to provide something akin to a new place to visit.
With nothing new on the bug front, DCA needed to come up with something new. Marvel provided the answer. As long as they stay away from the now deceased Iron Man, the land will remain relevant for the next few decades.
World of Color’s and Incredicoaster’s Footprints
The World of Color, which debuted in 2013, is arguably the
best show in DCA. The fountains are spectacular, the water screens are amazing,
the pyrotechnics are amazing, and the show is flexible enough to be changed
almost on the fly to advertise new movies subtly and include new animated
sequences. One Christmas show featured the magic of snowflakes a foot in
diameter that floated up into the sky. Even the dining options and the viewing
areas that go with them are incredible.
The investment in the equipment that Disney made and the
popularity of the show make changing the venue area around the show basically
impossible. Imagineers are constrained by the World of Color’s space needs.
Just as constraining is the space required for a lesser
attraction, the now-called Incredicoaster. Wait times for this attraction hover
around 25 minutes, but it is still large enough and technically advanced to
warrant protection by the bean counters. It’s change over from California
Screamin’ is also an advance in storytelling, especially when it comes to
By Any Other Name
When it first opened, the park was called Disney’s California Adventure. Ironically, it didn’t include Buena Vista street, but was more the company’s interpretation of what California was. Wine country, the Bay Area, the Redwoods, these were all represented. Yes, critics wondered why people would want to see the Disney version of the Golden Gate Bridge when it was just a seven-hour drive up north or a 2-hour flight. Still, that’s what Michael Eisner and his team came up with.
It changed its name to Disney California Adventure in 2010. Linguistically,
this could mean that this park is an adventure in California Disney-style. Something
along the lines of “have yourself a Disney California Adventure.” It doesn’t
have to have the California theming in order to work, except it’s already
associated with its first incarnation, and the California parts haven’t been
drummed out of it. Choosing another name might work better as far as managing expectations,
but it doesn’t change the fact that the park has no cohesive theming.
People come to Disneyland and its related theme parks for the cleanliness, the wonderful cast members and the theming. In its effort to cash in on its acquired IP, the Disney Company has forgotten about the theming at least as far as Disney California Adventure is concerned. Maybe they’ll get it fixed sometime in the future, but for now DCA will suffer from its continued lack of relevance and inability to inspire people to come for more than a day.
It’s our turn for Blue Sky thinking! What could Disney do to
make California Adventure better?
There are few things more annoying than a prequel. Even if
it’s a character that I care about, prequels lack the necessary tension and
drama. Instead of being worried whether or not a character will be able to
survive his or her trial, the outcome is already certain. There’s no reason to
be worried that the character will die or face other drastic consequences.
Black Widow and Scarlett Johansson deserve better than that. Unfortunately, all
signs point to the Black Widow movie as being a prequel. After all, Black Widow
is dead. She traded her soul for the soul stone and that trade was “an
Why and how would a stone require a soul? In order for the
information on the deal to be transferred to the Red Skull and enforced by the
stone, the stone itself must have a consciousness. It must be a living entity. Unless
Vormir, the stone’s home, is the living entity that guards the stone.
If the stone is a living entity, it is clearly evil. It
desires a living sacrifice in order for others to access its power. That soul
for a soul exchange and the disposition of the stone could be the subject of
the Black Widow movie.
The stone could just require the soul to power it up.
However, other versions of the soul stone have included a soul stone universe
where all the souls that were sacrificed reside. Black Widow could realize she’s
trapped in an alternate universe and work to find and fight her way out,
possibly with the help of Gamora.
It would be an interesting story line to explore and with obstacles that Black Widow would be more than capable of overcoming. Imagine Marvel’s next villain being the Soul Stone Irregularity. Of course, the Black Widow movie doesn’t have to take place in the current MCU at all; the multi-verse and alternate timelines open up so many story telling possibilities.
On a visceral level, the new “Lion King” trailer strikes all the right notes. The sunrise, the building crescendo, James Earl Jones, the beginning of the stampede scene as James Earl Jones talks about his demise, and the African Call that is the original movie’s signature. It inspires goosebumps and causes the heart to speed up. Remember! Let’s face it. People are going to see this remake, and they are going to love it. That doesn’t mean there aren’t problems with the idea of it.
Same Old Stories
Disney has gone into their film vault, dragging their beloved animated classics into the light and exposing them to live-action remake status. Some may point to 1996’s “101 Dalmatians” with Glenn Close as the first successful live action remake. It was successful enough, and possibly sold enough toys, to inspire a sequel. However, 2014’s “Maleficent,” with Angelina Jolie who was born for the role, started the current era of live action adaptations. It was followed by “Cinderella,” “The Jungle Book,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and Christopher Robin.” With one movie released every year. “Dumbo,” “Aladdin,” “The Lion King” and “Lady and the Tramp” are on the docket for 2019.
That’s four live action adaptations in a single year. Those aren’t new stories; they are recycled stories that required less creativity to make and provided more stability for the financial side of the ledger. People may say they want new stories; they don’t. They want properties they know they are going to enjoy, especially when they are spending $15 a ticket. If people wanted new stories, “Kubo and the Two Strings” would’ve been a box office hit. And from the looks of it, “The Lion King” is going to give the audience what it wants. The trailer shots are ripped straight from the animated film. This isn’t a remake or remodeling; it’s a straight up rerelease.
Sequels and Remakes
The Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars film factories are releasing, or distributing, 12 films next year, including “Glass,” a sequel to “Unbreakable,” and “Split.” Of those 12, only “Artemis Fowl,” the DisneyNature release “Penguins” and, possibly, the Marvel production “Captain Marvel” are not sequels or remakes. Giving “Captain Marvel” the benefit of the doubt, the same universe doesn’t necessarily make a sequel or prequel in this case, only 25 percent of Disney’s 2019 releases are new stories. That’s bad for writers and people who are creating new ideas. And let’s face it, “Penguins” is more like a public service, which I’m totally going to go see because, uh, PENGUINS! (Shameless plug: Come on, my website is “penguinate”and my wife makes stuffed penguins, which you should buy!)
Not Live Action
“The Lion King” is being lumped in with Disney’s live action remakes of animated films, but it isn’t live action. No matter how beautifully rendered, the characters are computer animated. At least in “The Jungle Book,” Mowgli was a real actor on screen. (Props to Neel Sethi who had to act against the green screen.) “The Lion King” is computer generated images that, at least as far as the trailer is concerned, will match the animated classic in every way. Fire up the computer and redo every Disney Classic that way; maybe, it will allow Disney to extend the copyright, again, of “Steamboat Willie” before it expires in 2024.
Disneyland and Mary
There’s a story that at the end of the premier of the original “Mary Poppins,” P.L. Travers had some suggestions for making the film better. Walt looked at her and said something to the effect of “Pamela, that ship has sailed.”
One of the many reasons that Disneyland exists is because Walt wanted something he could change. Once the movie was done, there wasn’t any going back and redoing it to make it better. That ship has sailed, except now, The Walt Disney Company is remaking the films. They just aren’t making them necessarily better.
Where’s the Creativity?
The original “Lion King” made just under $1 billion dollars worldwide in 1997. It was the highest grossing animated film of all time (not adjusted for inflation) and remained at the top of the list until “Toy Story 3.” The new “Lion King” might not live up to the original, even if Disney gets it right – whatever that may mean. Maybe only die-hard fans will see it a second time, but judging by the Twitterverse… God, Disney’s going to make some cash, and that’s bad for creativity. (See Pixar.) Why take a risk when you can take a known commodity, change its medium slightly, and make a boatload of money?
Want More Creativity?
If you want more creativity in the world, I urge you to find several independent authors and artists and support them. Give up one movie this year and use that money to pledge $1 a month to someone on Patreon. Go to a comic convention and find an artist in Artist Alley; buy something from them. I’d love for it to be me. Mostly, I’d love for us to get more original stories out there. We all have a story to tell, but they need to be supported financially in order to get heard.
For a variety of reasons, my family and I couldn’t make it to the D23 Expo 2019 this year. But since it is a Disney event, I feel confident that it’s okay to dream about being there. So, here are the panels and events I would most like to do if I were able to go.
Friday, August 23, 2019
While most people would hit the Disney Legends ceremony, and
it is always spectacular, I tend to opt for an easier seat at another panel.
This year would be different though. I would head to the Disney Legends
ceremony and bask in all its glory. If for some reason, I couldn’t get into the
Legends ceremony, I would head to “Great Moments with Walt Disney” and “At Work
with Walt.” Both would be interesting, and they’re back-to-back at the Archives
Stage where I spent most of my time in 2017.
I would then head over to the Disney+ Showcase because we
all know I’m going to sign up for that as soon as I can. People at D23 who sign
up for the streaming app will get a discount and become Founders, so that would
be something I wouldn’t want to miss. I have my D23 Charter Membership, I would
want to make sure I get the same thing with Disney+. This presentation may not
allow me to sign up for it, but it would give me a better idea of what’s in
Then I would hustle back to the Archives Stage to see if there was space for the “In Search of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse” panel. That would give me about an hour on the floor to see what books are available to make sure to stop by the Sweep Spot booth to pick up their new book with autographs!
Saturday, August 24, 2019
This is another of those days when I should probably hit the big panel, but I don’t actually want to know about films before they come out. I like being surprised. Saturday morning is still jampacked, so there’s no way to go wrong with the panel choices, and in this case, it’s a toss-up for me. Do I go see “Women of Impact: Meet the Nat Geo Explorers Changing the World” or do I go to “Digging Deeper: Uncovering Disney’s Hidden History?” Nat Geo could be inspirational and provide actionable ideas on how to change the world for the better, but I love Disney history. I would probably have to discuss the panels with my family, but today, I am leaning toward the History panel. It’s at the Archives Stage.
The panel of the day would be “The Haunted Mansion: Celebrating 50 Years.” Considering the book I wrote in celebration of the Haunted Mansion and that it’s my favorite attraction of all time, this would be my “not miss” panel of the day. It’s at 12:30 and at the D23 Expo Arena.
From there, I would head over to the Archives Stage to see “Ken Anderson’s Haunted Mansion ‘57: A Year of Horror, Humor and… Voodoo?” Ken Anderson is one of the heroes of the haunted mansion, and he paved the way for the attraction we all know and love today. It starts at 3pm, so I should have plenty of time to get there. The next panel I would like to see is in the same place. “Collecting the Creepy: 50 years of Haunted Mansion Merchandise” would be right up my alley.
The last panel of the day would be “Travels with Marty: A Conversation
with the Sklars and Imagineers.” It’s on the Archives Stage as well. That
leaves about an hour to look at the floor booths and get my Indie book buy on.
The only other panels on Saturday that give me pause for thought are the “Secret Walt Disney Company Project,” which could be anything! ANYTHING! (and will be announced on August 22), and “Marvel Comics: Marvel 80th Anniversary.” There’s a good chance that people going to the latter will get some sort of comic book out of the deal. No guarantee, just a good chance.
Sunday, August 25, 2019
The morning’s “Sneak Peek! Disney Parks, Experiences and Projects” is sure to be crowded and to be the premiere presentation. If I could get in, it would be my first choice. It would also mean missing out on “Heroines of the Disney Galaxies Presented by Box Lunch” and “Marc Davis in His Own Words – Imagineering the Disney Theme Parks” or “Hidden Gems of the Walt Disney Animation Research Library.” All three of these panels will be amazing. Marc Davis was essential to bringing humor to the Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. Imagine what could be in the research library… Yeah, it’s like that. Still, I would try for the Sneak Peek first.
Between the Sneak Peek and the next panel, I would probably
have a little time to get on the floor and go through one or two of the
presentations. I would want to see the Haunted mansion D23 Design winners up
close and in person.
Then I’d head to the Archives Stage for the 2:30pm “50 Years
of the Walt Disney Archives: A Gold Mine of Fun Finds,” and after that in the
same place would be “Magic Journey: Tale a Fantastical Ride with Imagineer Kevin
Rafferty.” Though I would also think about “The Art of Disney Storytelling”
because it fits with what I would like to do for a living. Because of the time
conflict, I’m leaning toward the first two.
The last panel of the day would be “Disneyland ’59: Matterhorn,
the Monorail, and Submarine Voyage.” If the floor was still open after that, I
would make one more pass to make sure I got what I wanted. If any of these fell
through, the Center Stage has “Marc Davis and the Masters Behind the Haunted
Mansion” from 4:45pm to 5:15pm.
At any convention, there are always tough choices to make. D23 Expo 2019 is no different. The Expo is sold out, but D23 did announce that they will be streaming certain panels. I may be able to settle for that depending on which they choose and what time they are as compared to my time zone. To those that will be there: Have a magical time and think about getting me a souvenir!
If you are in self-isolation or quarantine, now’s the time to catch up on all those YouTube videos (I have a channel; you can subscribe.) you’ve wanted to see, and several you didn’t. Turn off your ad blocker, and find all of the creators who have been lucky enough to monetize their videos, and watch like crazy! (Or find those that have fewer than 1,000 subscribers, subscribe to them, and then watch all of their videos, so that they will be able to monetize their videos at some point in the future.) By starting with those who have monetized their YouTube, you’re doing two things at once: