Don’t you hate when you spend some time writing something, don’t finish with plans to get to it later, and then something comes out that changes what you were going to write? A while back, in an earlier version of my Manifesto, in a WDW fan forum, I’d given my idea for what I thought should be done with the Imagination pavilion. Included in this was of course what to do with the Magic Eye Theater. Well, either Disney read my manifesto and got everything almost right (missing the mark in one small yet significant way), or great minds think almost alike. I’ll quote verbatim from this post here, come back for some quick discussion, and then at the end leave the post that I’d been writing on Friday that dealt with things up to the point on Friday morning. Anyway, here’s what I had written May 29th 2015:
Ok. I was always torn, because the original Imagination attraction was so near perfection, it felt like the easy way to go to just bring it back. I wanted something new and completely off the wall different, with the creative minds of Disney's various film and animation divisions kicking in to help.
But I think this would likely go over like a lead balloon if Dreamfinder and Figment were not involved.
Well, I guess here is my current idea.
For the main ride, let's just go ahead and bring back the original. Update the technology of course, but it really should have been a timeless attraction as it was, let's just bring it to modern day tech and bring it back.
Now, the compromise portion.
Since I gave up my creative minds idea, I'm using them here. I think Captain EO goes. I think the 3D/4D thing is kind of played out these days, so what's coming could use them, but don't need to.
I think that the theater becomes a showcase for short films from animators and film makers from all of the Disney studios. The short films can include the ones that precede movies, but I would prefer it if these short films were not widely released. They should be opportunities for the animators to develop their ideas without needing it tied to a major release.
They should come from animators from Pixar, Disney Animation Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Makerstudios, etc...
The requirement should be that it fits the loose theme that it is imaginative.
It can be CGI, hand drawn, stop motion, live action. It can be 3D or 2D, can use the 4D features too. Just be a creative outlet for the creative people in the company.
Image Works should be reopened, maybe as Imagination Works. I think a simplified version of Renderman could be used to help people make very simple objects or animations. If the film studios have other tools that could become simplified interfaces, use them too.
Part of me wants the outdoors to be updated back to the 80s working state it was, but I think we could incorporate more green into the area as well. When I speak of The Land, I'll put out an idea of something that could go between Land and Imagination that could really bridge the gap and make an interesting transition.
So there we go. Dreamfinder is back, the blimp is back, One Little Spark is back to its original state. We have a theater that changes often, showcases the creativity of in house talent. We have a 2nd floor back open for more fun stuff to do.
I want stuff like this coming out all the time
Back to Friday's announcement. Now that Captain EO is closing, we're getting the "Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival" in it’s place. Man, right on the money! Wait. Maybe not. What we are getting, at least as far as what is announced, is a series of previously created and aired shorts. We’ll get to see Presto, Paperman, and Day & Night, in 3D, on the big screen. That’s ok. The problem here is that we can see these films on Blu Ray at home right now. Maybe not in 3D, but it’s like Disney is just saying “Let’s pop in the 3D Blu Ray and call it a day”.
What’s missing from what I had initially brainstormed about is the “new” factor. I thought that it would be a great chance for those in Disney, across all Disney brands and parts of the company, to flex their creative muscles in creating NEW films. Using all different forms of media, all different topics available, 4D effects if they wanted, 3D if they wanted, 2D if they wanted, heck, make a new Sounds Dangerous and go 1D and we’re still open (though man, that would be a challenge to make it interesting, wouldn’t it?). Give the creative people around the vast media company another outlet to get their creative visions made.
What if there are great animators with great ideas in the company, but ones that do not fit in a wide-release big budget game, and they get fed up with the system and leave the company? Well, one example would be Hullabaloo, a film I am greatly looking forward to seeing, but one that had to go the IndieGoGo route to get created. How many more of these passion projects are there that could be wonderful to let have an outlet?
The preshow could stay standard, a short film about the process of creating some of the well loved existing short films, the spark that ignited the imagination (see what I did there) that leads to the making of some of the shorts that we know and love. Then you go into the theater and are treated to new things, things that change constantly so that there is a reason to return to the theater. For a park that thrives on return customers (coming back to eat and drink over and over), giving them one more reason to return seems like a no brainer.
Almost a good idea there with the short film festival Disney. Remember, I’m just an email away and I can help you take a good idea and make it better ;)
And now back to the post I was writing on Friday:
The history of the Magic Eye Theater is quite a mixed bag. With the original sponsor for Imagination being Kodak, the 3D movie idea made sense in some respects. 3D had been a technology that had been toyed with commercially off and on for years. Way back before the movie studios realized that if they released their films in 3D, they could ask higher ticket prices and cut down on piracy, 3D was just a gimmick with glimpses of something special. So with Kodak on board, a film company, including a theater in the Imagination pavilion complex that showcased that technology seemed to make sense.
I only have vague memories of Magic Journeys. The film did what it needed to do, it slightly entertained, it stayed semi-on-theme, and it had a catchy little theme song. The Magic Eye Theater was not the most important thing in the Imagination pavilion. Heck, it wasn’t even the 2nd most important thing there. But it was a good fit, it added to the pavilion without subtracting anything. It brought more than it took away.
The big change to bring on Michael Jackson, George Lucas, Francis Coppola to create a space adventure seemed like an amazing idea. These three were huge, pillars of the entertainment industry. What amazing experience was in store?
Captain EO. It was… something. I’ll be honest, I have not revisited the film since they decided to dust it off to cash in on the Michael Jackson is Dead train. Oh, I mean, to pay respects to his memory. Still, I remember the film. I have memories of thinking it was fun, but fairly insane. Heck, I even bought some EO merch.
A ragtag group of space somethings (marines?) sent to a planet to engage the evil queen and to bring the message of love and dance and hip thrusts, or something. I remember a 3D rainbow t-shirt being involved, and for some reason trash cans (am I right? I’m too unimpressed to go out to YouTube to watch it to be sure).
Anyway, it wasn’t the next Star Wars, that’s for sure. Entertaining enough for the time period. Not so long of a shelf life.
Next was Honey I Shrunk the Audience, just in time to capitalize on all that sweet, sweet Honey I Shrunk franchise action. It was a well done show, the 4D effects were great, it was light, fun, and with it’s inventor based story, almost on theme with an Imagination pavilion. I salute HISTA for being a solid replacement for an odd replacement of a pretty ok original attraction. It wasn’t THE reason you visited the Imagination pavilion, but while you were over there, it was an enjoyable time.
Which brings us to now. Upon Michael’s death, the decision was made to bring Captain EO back to get some of the high demand for MJ related nostalgia. It was a fun little idea, though one that really showed how dated that attraction really was. It’s been limping along ever since. Now it will be put out of it’s misery, just like so many other Future World attractions. Maybe Dawn Dish Soap can take a cue from Glidden’s involvement in Innoventions and come up with a bubbletastic film. Sorry, I’m still bitter that paint and colors are involved in an exhibit in Epcot Future World. It should be a small part of a new Imageworks, not a full Innoventions exhibit!
Anyway, now that I’ve already gone ahead and chatted about my idea up top, I’ve kind of got nothing else to add here. We have a theater, it was once one small part of a larger pavilion, but one that deserved a visit. Now it will show some great short films, but ones that are available to us all at home On Demand every day.
You were so close Disney. So, so close…