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Graveyard of the Epcot Wand

10 Sep

(Sorry Dave, sorry Lisa . . . I know you loved that thing.)

Kudos to DisneyProjectTracker for capturing this footage and sharing it on YouTube.

A Child’s-eye View of Disney.com: Too Much Clutter!

8 Sep

The Wachamacallit has published a brief review of Disney’s multimedia, features-enhanced web site:

They want you to watch this video, listen to this song, chat on their single board, play this game, and rate all of them at the same time. Now I know why they bought Club Penguin. Seriously, If you can figure out how to do things one at a time, than great for you. for every one who isn’t at that level of 1337-ness, just avoid it.

(A translation for those who do not speak leet: “1337-ness” translates into “technical expertise and excellence.”)

At the risk of falling prey to nepotism, I must say I think he’s onto something here, and it’s not just Disney.com that’s affected. There’s a lot of feature-heavy web sites out there. Does anybody out there still read Jakob Nielsen’s useit.com?

Putting the “Center” Back in Epcot?

5 Sep

Spaceship Earth has returned to its unadorned, deliciously geeky and retro-futuristic self. A sight for sore eyes. And now, The Disney Blog reports that Disney may be changing Epcot’s name back to “EPCOT Center.” Woo hoo! Let’s hope it’s true!

Advice to Disney on Club Penguin

10 Aug

If Disney’s looking for advice on how not to handle Club Penguin, they could do worse than to read The Wachamacallit’s rant on the new Neopets NC Mall, the first site I’m aware of to offer virtual items to kids in exchange for real money:

What I’m trying to say is that viacom has turned the actually free neopets, into America. Slowly and subtly though. it started with several tool bars, but that wasn’t working. They sent out television adds on nick , but they were to subtle. so they brought out full out adds. They pointed out things like the new game ‘Shenkuu river rush’ and for some reason, lowered the amount of neopoints you start with by 1000. The NC Mall was the final blow though. Needing to use real money, to buy virtual items on a kids site?

The Wachamacallit may have some flaws in his research (insert standard disclaimer here regarding hat tips to members of one’s own immediate family), but his message is clear nonetheless: be cautious in marketing to children.

Epcot Wand Demolition Continues

29 Jul

Yes indeed, the wand keeps coming down! I took this picture yesterday, July 28, from near Test Track.

(Sorry Dave . . . )

It’s Official! Epcot Wand Coming Down by October 1, 2007

5 Jul

From the Sun-Sentinel:

Epcot Vice President Jim MacPhee announced this morning that the time has come to remove the structure, which has served both as a colorful, lighted Epcot sign since 2000, and as a lightning rod for criticism from Epcot purists who contended the image was out of character for Epcot’s architecture.

The structure leans on Epcot’s previous and future iconic figure, the Spaceship Earth Pavilion, a180-foot geodesic sphere that can be seen for miles.

The arm and glove went up for Walt Disney World’s 2000 millennium celebration.

Now, however, with but with Epcot’s 25th anniversary this fall, and the temporary closing of Spaceship Earth ride, MacPhee said, “We think the timing of the removal is right.”

Deconstruction of the 50-ton structure begins Monday, and will be completed shortly before the park’s 25th anniversary, October 1. Also coming down are the 36-foot-high “Epcot” letters and colored stars splashing across the sphere.

Epcot purists will no doubt notice that this is one of precious few times that Disney has made any public statements about the upcoming 25th anniversary. Could there be more to come?

Is the Epcot Wand Coming Down?

26 Jun

Once again, rumor has it that the infamous wand atop Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World’s Epcot may be nearing its end. Kevin Yee of MiceAge.com reports:

The demolition of the wand atop Spaceship Earth has apparently cleared its last hurdle: the fiscal 2008 budget decision, and it’s a certainty now. The wondrous effects this will have on the futurism of Epcot, not the cartoonization of it, cannot be repeated often enough. Someone pointed out to me in emails, following my article about Tomorrowland losing its hope and optimism in favor of cartoons and irony, that Epcot really took up the mantle of futurism and hope when it opened in 1982. That’s quite true.

The wand is not, however, without its fans. Dave from MouseExtra defends the wand, arguing that in fact it supports Epcot’s current vibe and themes:

The general consensus is the Wand flies in the face of Epcot’s original plan of futurism, and in some ways it does. But that plan has been largely abandoned, as more attractions get updated to something less reminiscent of a World’s Fair, and now the removal of the wand seems somewhat counter to the changing winds at Epcot. If we did not have Nemo, Crush, the Three Caballeros, and who knows who else in the future, then removing the Wand would make perfect sense. But Epcot is not the corporate-driven sounding board for a hopeful future it once was, and is now a more family friendly Disney park. Seven years ago, the Wand didn’t fit the theme of the park outside of its tie-in to the millennium. But now, in a not-so-subtle way, it does.

I gotta admit, setting aside any consideration of what’s right for Disney corporate, I’ll be happy if the wand comes down. It’s purely for aesthetic reasons. The unadorned Spaceship Earth is just wonderfully retro in its space-age futurism. A return to the tomorrow we dreamed about yesterday. I can almost taste the freeze-dried ice cream now.

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