Disney’s Tower of Woke (Part One)

Disney’s Tower of Woke (Part One)

REPOST 12/26/23 I’m probably down for the week. Blogging will be light

Tianna’s Rain Forrest Cafe


There is an old adage in business; talent goes where the money is.

There will shortly be a new adage; talent avoids where the Woke is.

Google and Amazon became the powerhouses they are today because a generation ago (ouch) they were willing to spend big to get talent. And they got it. It says something about the level of people they were getting that one of the questions on Google’s employment application was, how many books have you written?  This was before internet publishing was a thing.

Unlike the Dickensian workhouse conditions for the Microserfs up north at Redmond, the googlers were treated like princes.  One of the big winners when the company finally went public was the company chef, not Food Service’s Director you understand, but chef as in actual chef.  

Google was also very tolerant of their employee’s eccentricities, believing (not without reason) that a happy employee was a creative employee.  However, this opened the door to a certain kind of eccentricity; political activism.  Since Silicon Valley has its roots in Berkley’s Home Brew Computer Club, Leftism was built into their culture from the start. * Consequently, Google and Amazon were both happy to indulge these little hobbies of their junior employees.  

But then these corporate activists started making hiring decisions.  I remember a story one veteran told, when he applied, the interviewer sneeringly asked him, (citing the company’s Don’t be Evil mantra) how many innocent people had he killed?

The Woke will always find a reason to hire other Wokelings.  Diversity is usually a good excuse but there is always a way to justify hiring someone who is utterly unqualified for her job.  And those that are actually good at their jobs have to take up the slack for the useless dead weight. It used to be a “blonde with a great rack.” Now it’s a “three-hundred-pound, hippo with a purple mental-illness haircut.”  

The thing is the blonde was always cheerful, nice to everyone, and pleasant to look at.  She at least made the work environment more enjoyable.  On the other hand, the whale with the purple hair is constantly shrieking and demanding submission to the SJW narrative from everyone that she comes in contact with. During working hours instead of doing her job, she is organizing witch hunts to get people fired. She and her comrades make life miserable at that company.

Here’s my big point:  Every top-tier worker in that field will know about this and avoid that company like the plague in the future.  

The people who built Google and Amazon have by in large, left the company.  And the vast majority of people who are of their caliber have no desire to work for a company that has gone Woke.

No one does.

And it isn’t hard to see that both companies are slipping in the quality of their products.

Disney Parks now has that same problem with the Imagineers. Honestly, it has the same problem freaking everywhere but I’m concentrating on the parks at the moment.

There was a reason Disneyland was such a cut above county carnivals and that reason was…Barcelona?!?!

It’s true.  European amusement parks go back a long time, some of them are older than the United States.  Walt was impressed by the pristine look and feel of European amusement parks.  The reason they were cleaner and more highbrow was because they were parks first and foremost.  Europeans for centuries would travel to a certain locale to “partake of the waters,” or they would go somewhere with beautifully manicured gardens or magnificent concertos.  

The hawkers, vendors, and amusements would follow.   However, the men running the parks would demand high standards from these camp followers.  Since these people became permanent residents, it was easy for them to settle in and take snobbish pride in their professions and workplace.  

The result was a higher quality experience for European parkgoers.

American amusements were unfortunately dominated by carnival culture.  Dusty, grungy, chipped paint, gaudy lights, and fleece the rubes, then get out of town.   American carnivals consisted of ripoff games, creaking rides, and strippers who had young bodies with aging faces.   Kids always wanted to go but parents could see what was beneath the garish surface.  It was tolerable as a once-a-year thing, but so far as respectable middle-class families were concerned it was just as well that the carnies left town after two or three weeks.

After a trip to Barcelona’s Tibidabo, Walt Disney decided he was going to change all that.

Disney repeatedly said, “Disneyland could only have been built by a movie company.” And he was right. Nobody else would have approached problems in quite the same way as a film company.  Walt’s people understood perspective in a way that most architects and engineers simply have never been trained to do. His parkgoers were viewed as an audience, they weren’t just there to go on rides they were there for a holistic experience. The park employees were called cast members for a reason.

Each of Disneyland’s three amusement parks had stories to tell.  And they were very American stories. Main Street USA was a step backward in time to an innocent America that knew nothing of the horrors of the Great War or World War Two, the desperation of the Depression, and the fear of atomic weapons. Frontierland told parkgoers tales of myth heroes of the American people. The tall stories of frontier heroes like Daniel Boone, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett.  While Frontierland looked back with pride on the achievements of the past, Tomorrowland looked forward to an optimistic American future.  

As for Fantasyland, those stories were about as Americanized as you can get. All of my readers are probably well aware of little details that got filed off, like stepsisters cutting off their own toes or why Hansel and Gretel were really in the Woods all by themselves and what Prince Charming actually did with Sleeping Beauty. But fantasyland didn’t have any of those little details. It was a place of beauty, heroism, and of course magic. 

At Disney Parks the backstory has always came first.  And all of the park rides have them

Big Thunder Mountain: There is a legend about Big Thunder Mountain. The story begins in the little town of Rainbow Ridge in the 1800s, the time of the gold rush. When gold was discovered, miners constructed a rail system to transport the gold. Unbeknownst to the settlers, the mountain was cursed by the spirit of Big Thunder. The spirits caused earthquakes and floods, destroying the mines and causing residents to flee. The town became deserted, until years later, when explorers found trains speeding through the mines, with no passengers inside. Now the railroad is opened for thrill seekers who are willing to ride these possessed carts….At their own risk.

Prince Charming Regal Carousel: After the wedding, Cinderella and Prince Charming moved into Cinderella Castle. The Prince decided that he wanted to enter jousting tournaments, but needed a little practice. So, in some spare land near the castle, he built a contraption that would help him train. It was a circular platform that held carved horses, big enough to ride on. A trainee would sit on a wooden horse while the platform spun, allowing him to practice ring-spearing, one of the popular tournament events. In this event, a knight rides his horse as fast as he can and attempts to use his lance to spear a small ring hanging from a tree branch. The ring-spearing event was known as “carrousel.”

Tokyo’s Tower of Terror: On the afternoon of December 31, 1899, Harrison Hightower threw a press conference and a New Year’s Eve party in his hotel to boast of his “latest find,” showing a pompous attitude and allowing no real question. When reporter Manfred Strang from the New York Globe-Telegraph asked if Shiriki Utundu wasn’t really cursed, an annoyed Hightower had him thrown out. That night while his celebration was a success, Harrison retired early (at the stroke of midnight) to find a spot for the idol in his penthouse apartments. He was stopped at the elevator by Mr. Smelding, his personal valet, with a warning to show proper respect for the statue. A sneering Hightower refused, and defiantly extinguished his cigar on Utundu’s head. On January 1, 1900 12:00 AM midnight inside the elevator, Shiriki Utundu came to life with an evil green glow in its eyes, horrifying Mr. Hightower. The cursed idol gave out a terrible laugh as it summoned green lightning to blast Harrison into oblivion, plunging the elevator down the shaft and causing the chaos that led to the hotel’s closure and its reputation as a haunted place.

(Hightower was a member of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers, put a pin in that one, we are circling back to it.)

These stories wouldn’t have been possible without the Imagineers.

When Walt Disney was at the Tibidabo he saw the Automata Museum, he tried repeatedly to buy it over the years.  They were the kind of thing he would become obsessed with. The man who built a ¼ scale ridable railroad in his backyard had to have some of his own.

Taking the initials of his name; Walter Elias Disney founded WED Enterprises and began building his own automatons which he called, animatronics. The men who designed them were christened Imagineers. 

The Imagineers were the men who made the dreams happen, they were the illusionists who created the magic. Make you an audience think they were taking a trip to the moon?  No problem.  Take a cable car ride to the top of the Matterhorn? Easy. Convince people they were in a mansion surrounded by 999 ghosts “with room for one more”? Give me a real challenge. 

Okay, that last one was a real challenge as it turned out.  Disneyland has nowhere near the room that Disney World would have in years to come.  The Imagineers needed to figure out how to get the Haunted Mansion’s passengers from the assembly station to the start of the ride when there were railroad tracks between these two points and keep the audience engaged in the story at the same time.  The solution was to build the world’s largest open elevator and make it part of the story.  Which is how the Stretching Room came to be.

The Imagineers have had their fails as well.  The Yeti on Expedition Everest was the largest animatronic Disney ever built.  And it was only briefly in operation because as it turned out the rest of the ride was under-engineered.  The robot-monster was so big it was damaging the roller coaster during its act.

Well, anyone can have a bad day.  My point is that, traditionally, the Imagineers’ successes are so big their failures really stand out.

Note my use of the word “traditionally.”

The old guard of Imagineers as represented by the likes of Joe Rohde, found themselves out of a job when Iger promoted Carmen Smith to be the Vice President of Imagineering.   The Young Turks of the Stories Matter group replaced the old guard at WED. 

Far from viewing the audience as their public to be entertained, the Stories Matter Imagineers clearly and obviously view it as a class in need of education.  Although, the Stories Matter crowd is often desperate to show how clever they are.  Remember how the old-school guys wanted to keep the crowd in the moment at the Haunted Mansion?  The new generations of Imagineers could care less about that.

Tianna’s Bayou Adventure is taking shape. And that artist’s concept up top? It looks just like it.

End of Part One

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