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Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club at Magic Kingdom

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:44 pm    Post subject: Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club at Magic Kingdom Reply with quote

I was treated recently to the soft opening of Monster's Inc show at the Magic Kingdom. This attraction is mostly for kids, but fun nonetheless. The attraction is an improv-style comedy show in the old Timekeeper/CircleVision theater.

This is a huge innovation in that for the first time, kids can actually interact with cartoon characters on the screen, in real time! The actual perfomance turned out to be a bit slow, and judging by the slew of 20 plus imagineers in the back row, there was quite a lot of work to be done still. Nonetheless, the wrinkles are being worked out and the attraction will certainly be a hit with the kids. And of course, because the show is improv, the repeatability factor for this ride is very high.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:21 pm    Post subject: Laugh Floor Reply with quote

[color=violet]I've heard this attraction had a slightly rocky start earlier this year but what we saw in June looked really good. The whole audience seemed to enjoy it. One of the benefits is that it never has to get stale -- they can just tweak the format a bit. Fun for everyone, I think (or at least those willing to be a little silly).
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My gut feeling is this: It's cute when you get there, and it's a fun show. But my thoughts are that in the end it will be a 'let's not sacrifice Space Mountain today by waiting for this show.'
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 12:44 am    Post subject: hmm... Reply with quote

It [i]is[/i] a cute show... and it is an interesting way to try to follow-up Turtle Talk with Crush, and try something new. I was amazed by how nice the projection looked -- very realistic on the center screen... With some characters, it really looks like they are standing there...

However, the imagineers really made a bid towards interactivity, and I don't know that they've hit the mark on that yet. I saw very few cell phones out in the queue and very few people discussing jokes (I go to the parks myself sometimes, so I have lots of time to people-watch)... maybe waiting in a queue just isn't a viable time for that expecting people to engage in interactivity because people are enjoying interpersonal conversation and waiting for the attraction to start... I felt a bit uneasy about the camera-on-the-audience jokes at the beginning and I think quite a few of the people on camera felt uneasy as well about the jokes at their expense... I always feel on-guard if I think I might be singled out of an audience, and I wonder if other people feel that way too... For me, it creates a slight overtone of anxiety that carries into the show...

Crush was a very successful experiment, but I think that is partially due to the emotional timbre of the attraction. I think Laugh Floor fails to achieve the intimacy of Crush because of the size of the theater, but even moreso because of the genre... Crush is friendly and curious and very indulgent of his audience... It's a conversation... an exchange... Whereas stand-up comedy tends to be at the audience's expense. That expectation of what happens in Comedy Clubs creates a whole different emotional climate... And even calling it stand-up comedy raises the bar for improv and scripting... we are very pleasantly surprised if Crush makes us laugh... and love him more for it... On the other hand, we are rather disappointed if the monsters [i]don't[/i] make us laugh... and if they don't make us laugh or audience interaction gets awkward, the audience might consider the attraction a failure. That's a really tough bar to set for an attraction.

Personally, I love going to Turtle Talk because of how the kids react to Crush and also because of the improv actor's / character's "generous" reactions (really paying close attention to the audience, being complimentary and providing emotional pay-off for engaging with the character). I've been to Monster's Inc. twice, and really, it didn't have much emotional resonance for me... I wish Sulley was there because he provided "heart" in the movie... I don't think the stand-up comedy draws as much out of the audience as more genuine-seeming interactions with Crush do... Although I applaud the imagineers for their courage to try something new and experiment with what is possible to do within a theme park environment, I don't think the attraction will be around in 10 years... However, that being said, the things we could learn from these types of experiments will quite possibly launch decades of successful new kinds of attractions...

I really look forward to what sort of interactivity they plan to add to Spaceship Earth Smile
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