Disney’s Decisions

The Disney Corporation is worth 130 billion dollars as of 2018. The company has touched the hearts of millions through their films, both animated and live-action; their amazing theme parks; and their high-quality hospitality. The corporations have theme parks and resorts around the world, including Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and we cannot forget their cruise lines.


In the past years, The Disney Corporation has bought many franchises to increase revenue and popularity. With these additions comes a lack of originality and need for creative Imagineering- a term used by Disney to explain the creation of their attractions. This begs the question- is it worth it to destroy beloved original rides to make new attractions based on movies?


Those who believe that the integration of more IPs (intellectual properties or franchises) should not occur are called “Disney Purists’ ‘. Purists want the engineers to depend on their own creativity for attractions and movies rather than franchises that were bought from other companies. The Pirates of the Carribean attraction was constructed in 1967, and the film starring Johnny Depp first premiered in 2003. Other original ideas included the Tower of Terror, The Great Movie Ride, It’s a Small World, and the Enchanted Tiki Room. These are fan favorite rides that have been around since the 1950s and 1960s. These rides have thrived, and all but the Great Movie Ride remain in the parks. 


“Selling out to companies and franchises is something Six Flags and roadside carnivals do,” Faith Settipani said. Settipani worked at Disney as a part of the Disney College Program (DCP). Many of the DCP members believe in Disney creating their own magic, not capturing the magic of other companies. 


This point is seen in the rides that Walt Disney World had to close due to the lack of positive feedback. The ride ExtraTERRORESTRIAL Alien Encounter is an example of this. This ride, based on the success of the movie franchise Alien, opened in 1995 and was closed in 2003. This ride in which the creators believed would be a success, was a failure. This is due to the lack of originality shown in the ride. It was based on a hit 1970s film, and it did not cater to the demographic that their original concepts do, the children. 


In recent years, the Great Movie ride has closed to make room for new Star Wars attractions. While this appeals to families, the Great Movie Ride was built in 1989. It took riders through their favorite movies such as Alien, Mary Poppins, Singing in the Rain, The Public Enemy, and many more classics. Personally, my best memories of Hollywood Studios were the Great Movie Ride and the Little Mermaid live-action show. These new changes to the park, in order to attract new customers, have pushed those, like me, away from childhood favorites. 


These changes may appeal to the masses and upset the Purists, but either way, Disney will hold a special place in the hearts of all that have been touched by the company. Through movies, theme parks, and cherished characters, Disney impacts the lives of billions, and have created fantastic memories that will never fade.