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Blair family protests small world changes

 
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Blair family protests small world changes Reply with quote

A quick recap for those who haven't followed the story - Disney's rumored intent is to install the Disney characters in the "small world" ride at Disneyland as well as a scene that is a tribute to America which would replace the rainforest scene.

There's been all sorts of internet debate about it, but apparently, now the Blair family (that is, the family of Mary Blair) is speaking out.

From http://imagineerebirth.blogspot.com/

---

Dear Disney Executives,

It has recently been brought to my attention that the Walt Disney Company including WDI has proposed changes to the “It’s a Small World Ride” at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim. As I understand the changes include the addition of the Disney Characters (Mickey, Minnie, Lilo & Stitch, etc.) to the ride in select areas, and the replacement of the “Rainforest” section with Mickey Mouse in a tribute entitled “Up with America”. I also understand that the boats and trough they ride in will be expanded for the safety and comfort of the parks modern day guests.

While I fully understand and support the upgrade to the boats as a necessary safety upgrade, the addition of the Disney Characters and the “Up with America” section I do NOT support as it represents a gross desecration of the ride's original theme and my Mother’s stylized artwork.

The Disney characters of themselves are positive company icons, but they do NOT fit in with the original theme of the ride. They will do nothing except to marginalize the rightful stars of the ride “The Children of the World”. This marginalization will do nothing but infuriate the ride’s international guests and devoted Disney fans.

My Mother and I have always had a strong sense of patriotism for America and I DO support a tribute to America. Disneyland has several venues, which are perfect places for this tribute including “Main Street USA” or “New Orleans Square”; unfortunately the “It’s a Small World” ride is NOT one of them. Once again this will marginalize the children of the world theme and bastardize my Mother’s original art. Furthermore ripping out a rainforest (Imaginary or otherwise) and replacing it with misplaced patriotism is a public relations blunder so big you could run a Monorail through it.

As a former WED employee I am saddened to realize the degradation of the company’s talent and focus and the subsequent decline at the Disneyland Park itself. I cannot believe someone from WDI was paid to come up with such an idiotic plan as this.

As the head of the Blair family I cannot urge you strongly enough to abandon this idiotic plan and instead upgrade the boats and return the ride to it’s original classic form, design and colors. The desecration of Mary’s art is an insult to Mary Blair, her art, and her memory, and to the entire Blair Family itself.

Sincerely,

Kevin L. Blair
Representing;
Kevin Blair, Donovan Blair, Jeanne Chamberlain,
Maggie Richardson, Kevin Allison

---

Very strongly worded, but if i was fighting for someone is my family's work to be preserved I think i'd be just as vehement. What do you folks think?
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admin
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Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 381

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is exactly why I think Universal Studios is where it's at right now. I simply don't understand why the execs at Disney think that it's an enhancement to add Disney characters to the inside of an attraction. Is this really what they consider an enhancement? Does it add any value whatsoever? As if you can't see Minnie and Mickey everywhere else! What's the point, other than dumbing down the ride and diluting the brand?

I agree with the Blairs. Bad idea.

Nate
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icandrawem2



Joined: 16 Aug 2007
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As do I, Nate. Sounds like they are changing it just for the sake of saying that they changed it. That "because we can" mentality is most definitely not appropriate in this instance. Now ive only experienced "its a small world" one or two times, but come on folks, you are supposed to be the best at what you do...

What did you mean by the Universal comment...were you implying that they often do this sort of thing, so thats why they are they way they are?
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admin
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 1:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, what I meant by the Universal comment is an opinion I've held for quite some time: The problem with Disney is that any time they design something new, it's always got to have Mickey Mouse stamped on it. A perfect example of this is the Fantasmic show at WDW versus Disneyland. At Disneyland a wonderful tie-in between scenes is a Pinnochio scene with light ropes for strings. But at WDW they cut the scene out entirely and instead showed us a montage of Disney characters on the screen. How terrible is that? As if we cannot see them anywhere else in the park? Why there? There is no good reason, other than to fill space. This sort of substitution for creativity seems to be all too prevalent.

As for Universal, I love it because they can just do something cool for "coolness' sake". If it kicks butt, do it! And more and more often, they do! Consider the Bill and Ted's show at Halloween Horror Nights. It's a tremendously hilarious show written by my friend Michael Roddy. It's got adult humor and language, and is definitely PG-13 theme. It's raunchy but it's great entertainment and the audience loves it. Even as a conservative and a Christian with traditional values, I appreciate the honesty in their desire for pure entertainment, and not sensoring it for fear of offending somebody. The folks at Universal Creative just want to make a great show, and that's what they strive for.

As for the Disney style right now, it's got to be family oriented. As a former cast member I appreciate that. After all, that's the way Walt would have wanted it. But I truly doubt that he would have branded every last attraction with cartoon characters inside and out! Does the Tiki Room need Goofy and Donald or does its content stand on its own with Jose the McCaw? My contention is that it's best to create new, entertaining properties without having to dumb down the content with branding that is incongruous with the rest of the show. I know that there are people at WDI who "get it". There are a lot of great designers and great people there. I'm sure with a huge company of 50,000+ employees there is no way to keep a vision consistent across the board. And hence, the easy way out is taken by enhancing attractions with Disney characters.

I'll end this post with a touching quote from the project manager at Universal Creative, Jeff Smith. It was the final days before Disaster opened and we were wrapping up a creative meeting. He said, "We don't do this for the fame because nobody is going to get famous. And we don't do it for the money. We do it because we love to see the smiling faces on the people who have just ridden our attraction." Well said, Jeff Smith. You're my hero.

Nate
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DancinBelle



Joined: 30 Jul 2007
Posts: 165
Location: Virginia

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2008 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a small world is as American as anything can be!! And they think they can mess with that?? If they feel the need to play with it, would someone PLEASE let them know that the one in Paris is desperate?!? Seriously, and it has an America section, which shows kids in sports uniforms eating... what a reflection on us. Mickey Mouse does not fit in with the wonderful style of Mary Blair... I will be infinitely saddened if they go through with this.
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just an update, Marty Sklar has issued a retort..

http://www.laughingplace.com/News-ID10029590.asp

This is getting ugly...
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Loric



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 143

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And it's getting more complicated..

From: http://imagineerebirth.blogspot.com/

The World of Animation Speaks

“Mary Blair is one of the most remarkable artists of our time, and her work on "It's a Small World" one of her crowning achievements. The attraction is the result of many talented artists working at the peak of their creative powers. Restoration aside, I can't imagine improving on the original ride.”

Pete Doctor
Director / Monster’s Inc.

“With all the uncertainty in the world today, one of the few places a person could always escape both reality AND hype, no matter how brief, was It's A Small World at Disneyland. I consider myself lucky to have been able to experience it as it was truly meant to be seen--many times. Its plea to make the world a better place through the multinational voices of our future is something we need today more than ever. Lets hope better taste prevails and any hint of commercialism is avoided in the restoration of this truly great ride.”

Ralph Eggleston
Production Designer / Finding Nemo

“Most people who have sailed through the “It’s A Small World” attraction at Disneyland and The New York Worlds Fair over the past 44 years may not be aware that standing at a high vantage point proudly overlooking her creation, is one small, unobtrusive Animatronic figure representing none other than Mary Blair, herself. I can only imagine a small tear rolling down her tiny cheek at even the thought of changes to her original vision for this now beloved attraction. It is my thought that altering this classic ride, in any way, for any reason, would be akin to defacing any well known work of art hanging in any museum around the world. I would urge those proposing this change to the original Small World attraction to please pause and reconsider. Mary gave so much to Disney and it’s artists in so many ways, please leave this attraction as a monument to her work and her spirit. Thank you.”

Dave Pruiksma
Long time Supervising Animator - Disney Feature Animation

“Mary Blair's striking color, innovative design and strong sense of whimsy have marked her as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. It's a Small World is a monument to both her talent and the vision of Walt Disney. How bold to create an experience not dedicated to advertising a product, but to encouraging acceptance and appreciation of our different cultures.”
Mark Walsh
Supervising Animator - Ratatouille

“Mary Blair's work on Small World is an artistic achievement of her unique sensibilities, a symphony of color, glitter, cellophane, and hope for the world's children. It should be maintained for future generations to enjoy, and not compromised by additions vainly trying to blend in.”

Wendell Luebbe
Art Director

“How can a company who understands the concept of "theming" so well make the decision to add film characters to a ride originally designed to celebrate "Children of the World"? The simple design aesthetic is a perfect marriage to that theme as well. The additional characters incorporate multiple design aesthetics and would introduce a visual chaos to "It's a Small World". It would be far better to remove a ride than to compromise the design of that ride with poorly conceived additions. The Walt Disney Co. should respect its own business plan and design concepts or hand over the scepter to someone who does.”

Fred Cline
Designer and Storyboard Director

“Let's keep the original integrity of It's a Small World. It's refreshing to have rides that don't always pay homage to the Disney characters. It gives Disneyland greater breadth and richness.”
Tia Kratter
Art Director

“With much of today’s entertainment being driven by a pop-cultural grab bag esthetic, Walt Disney’s Small World has stood for over 40 years as a most refreshing oasis. Designer Mary Blair’s brilliant creative vision is felt in every crevice and corner of the attraction. To alter this vision by adding elements outside of Blair’s unique design sensibility would not only be a gross creative misstep but would also obscure the very spirit and message of the ride itself.”

Mike Giaimo
Art Director - Pocohantas

"Disney needs to take a preservationist approach to historic works of art emblematic of Walt's vision for Disneyland. Mary Blair's design of Small World is one of Disneyland's unique treasures and should be preserved in its' entirety."

Sue Kroyer
Producer

"Although we recognize the practical necessity of updating attractions to keep Disneyland commercially viable, IT'S A SMALL WORLD is a special circumstance for two reasons. First, it has a unique political and historical pedigree having been created for the New York World's Fair as a testament to worldwide harmony through children. Second, it genuinely represents a personal vision of one of the greatest Disney artists, Mary Blair. "

Bill Kroyer
Director

"Walt Disney's works sought to reconnect us with the spirit of youth. Despite differences of culture and geography, we are all bonded by the laughter, clarity and simplicity of a child's point of view. This quality is not influenced by the whims and trends of a changing consumer society. It is a constant. It remains relevant. The unique talents of Mary Blair, Marc Davis, Rolly Crump and others gave form and feeling to Walt's dream of harmony for future generations. Their uncompromised vision should be preserved at Disneyland as a colorful legacy for our collective inner-child, both past and future."

Tim Hauser
Writer
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Thriller



Joined: 11 Oct 2007
Posts: 14
Location: the Netherlands

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys,

Sorry for not being around lately - I just changed from studying to my first job, having moved cross-country (I know, Holland's not that big, but still Very Happy )and having no internet access at home yet.

Strange how the succes of the potc update is used as an argument here. Surely these are entirely different things? I do think the online uproar is a good thing. No idea if it will help, but at least it sends out a message, not only about Small World, but about Disney's attitude in general.
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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the reply by Marty Sklar. I had heard about it, but not seen it yet. I have to agree with him, over all of the other comments. People usually get into an early, over-zealous uproar about upcoming changes, only to see good results in the end. You have to trust them to know what they are doing. They aren't always going to be perfect and sure aren't going to please everyone, but Marty is right about all of the experience they have. The fans (and apparently some inside the company) need to relax a bit, and wait for the finished product, instead of just basing everything on rumors that may have been leaked out during a Blue Sky Session or even worse, from fans making stuff up.
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lemon168



Joined: 29 Mar 2010
Posts: 1
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:46 pm    Post subject: Online Golf Help Reply with quote

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wokcreative



Joined: 24 Aug 2007
Posts: 197
Location: ProgressLand

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(How did the golf thing get through?)
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MartinJ



Joined: 09 Aug 2007
Posts: 93
Location: Flint, MI

PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe it was our daily "Public Service Announcement" that we've been missing? Smile
_________________
-Martin
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Holly
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Joined: 06 Aug 2007
Posts: 229
Location: Orlando, FL

PostPosted: Sat Apr 17, 2010 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, sorry. I tried to delete all of lemon's posts. It looks like one snuck through! For the most part, Nate has done a great job of putting anti-spam filters in place, but somehow this one has foiled our technology! Well, just in case you needed another hobby... lemon brings us the world of golf!
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