Revival Tent Imagineering

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Every once and a while someone comes along who just speaks truth to the matter. In the past they might have roamed around setting up tents, preaching the word, or like Mark Twain they came at the truth sideway- like, luring you into its grasp, but always ending up driving the truth home. The upcoming acquisition of Pixar by Disney has stirred up a whole hornet’s nest of truth-sayers, perhaps wanting to speak their peace before being brought under the mouse house’s tight contractual grip.

Re-Imagineering imagines the rebirth of Imagineering, and through WDI the parks (and the whole Walt Disney Company), by honoring some of the old ways. Not returning to them for old times sake, but by looking at them and applying the lessons learned to our present day problems.

Today’s post on restoring the glory of Walt Disney’s Disneyland focuses on entertainment, and specifically The Golden Horseshoe.

There was a time when the environments of Disneyland were more like a
time-machine: the frontier, the turn-of-the-century, the future – – all
these lavish sets were meant to transport the guest to that idealized
time and place, to sort-of a living movie-lot.

The Imagineering of the 90s and 00s has left that behind probably because money-counters think it costs more* to maintain the illusion of a different era. Now we’re lucky if we get ‘placemaking’. The Golden Horseshoe was exactly like stepping into a movie. The theatre was a direct life of a movie set (Calamity Jane), the dancing was straight out of the movies (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and Slue Foot Sue was right from Disney’s movies too.

Interestingly enough, America is poised for a full fledged burlesque revival. It’s making its way through the punk scene right now and I predict it will soon hit the popular circuits, just as swing dancing did 15 years ago. So perhaps the time is right for Disneyland to show them how it can be done in a classy Disney way.

Although the site is young, there are already a good many important articles for all Disney fans, managers, and executives to read. In many ways the site reads like a sermon from the pulpit. If Disneyism is a religion, then Lasseter is its Luther. Only this time the church has welcome Luther back into the fold and is ready to learn his lessons. If so, Re-Imagineering is a great place to start.

(* btw, they’re right. It does cost more, but the return in show, brand, loyalty, and therefore money, is greater too)

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