Have you heard? It’s only been a few months and the Disneyland Resort is already back to their old tricks when it comes to California Adventure. The elaborately decorated windows of the shops of Buena Vista Street have been stuffed to the gills with generic DisneyParks merchandise in an attempt to increase sales. MiceAge has all the gory details of the abandonment of the intricate design work being tossed aside. So much for the turn around in mindset with the relaunch of the park…
Remember the press release that said things like this:
At the newly expanded Disney California Adventure Park, it now begins on Buena Vista Street, a nostalgic look at Los Angeles as it may have appeared to Walt Disney in the 1920s and ’30s when he first arrived in California.
Buena Vista Street welcomes guests to a very specific “Disney California Adventure,” the adventure of a young Walt Disney stepping off the train from Kansas City and into 1920s Los Angeles, the beginning of a wonderful, inspirational period of his life. The dynamic themed environment transports guests to another era, along this boulevard of dreams.
“One of the main things we’re trying to do with Buena Vista Street is create an emotional connection for guests when they walk in,” explained Lisa Girolami, senior show producer and director, Walt Disney Imagineering. “We want people to take in the architecture and the color and the ornamentation, to know where they are and what time it is. The whole street comes alive to put you right there in the steps of Walt when he first stepped off the train in California, with all the optimism and opportunity he felt was there for him at the time.”
Now why did this resound so soundly in the first place with the Disney fan community when they said it? And why did it seem like a good idea anyways? The merchandise department doesn’t seem to think it’s a tried and true tested method to sell merchandise – that’s for sure. Perhaps because it’s a return to core values. I present Exhibit A – the Merchandise Cast Member Training Guide from EPCOT Center circa 1982.
It essentially highlights all of the same core values that Disney tried to bring back with Buena Vista Street. All those little details that makes the parks special, that have been discarded over the years in the unrelenting pursuit of the almighty dollar. No, it’s not enough to make some money, they want to make the most money in the shortest period of time and that means stuffing windows with obvious that same merchandise that can be found all over the park. It’s why shop names are no longer related to the merchandise they sell – they actually used to be related – and heaven forbid they change the name if they change what the store sells. That would require spending money on new signs and decor. Read the guide – you’ll see just how far from the ideals they have strayed. Remember, we don’t hold Disney to any lofty high standards but their own.