Thursday, August 26, 2010
There are many different strategies to acquire a following on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, including contests, discounts, blogs, and links to exclusive photos and video (Disney's official Twitter pages do all of these). But lately several tweets coming from Disney's official profiles are, quite frankly, pathetic. Namely, they tweet questions so lame or trivial a person would have to be a complete moron to ask them in public.
These tweets have no link attached to them; it doesn't have news, photos, facts, useful info, or anything else of value to accompany it. Of course, the tweets are meant to start a discussion about Disney Parks, which on its surface isn't a bad thing. However, it's also a blatant tactic to get followers to @reply and retweet to increase Disney's own following, and it's done in such a cheesy way that the questions beg for sarcastic answers.
And, as you may have already guessed, that's exactly what this DisneyFAIL is set out to do.
The Mickey & Friends Tram. We waited so long for it that we lost track of how long we waited to park in the structure.
The one that best helped boost your profit earnings for the fiscal quarter..?
I'm always surprised that guests still like Mulholland Madness. I mean, look at that thing. It looks like it belongs in Six Flags. And pasting Goofy on that pile of metal is supposed to make it better?.. Wait, did I read the question wrong?
"I'm looking forward to the dinner reservation I made for World of Color! Like, OMG, it comes with exclusive tickets to watch the show! What a great entertainment value!.. Uh oh, our showing of World of Color is canceled. I want a refund! What, we can't get our money back because the cost was for the meal, not the tickets? ****!"
Enough to know that Innoventions is a waste of time and real estate.
"Ah-ha! So THAT's the best kept Disney secret!!!"
Regarding what? How on earth is this going to fit within 140 characters?
The only thing I remember is that Celebrate! A Street Party was not interrupting my dream.
Why bother when the "award" is just a button or a pin?
Um... What? Are you serious??
Monday, August 31, 2009
One problem: Murphy never showed up. In fact, the press event was canceled altogether.
OC Register was among the invited guests:
Disneyland canceled the scheduled debut tonight of the massive dragon that was supposed to be the centerpiece of the revamped water-and-light show.
The dragon has been broken all summer, but it was supposed to be ready for tonight’s performance. However, Disney officials are continuing to fine-tune the dragon.
A preview for a select group of media members was canceled this morning. A sneak peek was scheduled for 4:30 a.m., but Disneyland officials called it off just about an hour earlier.
Instead, they sent us a video of the dragon during one of its rehearsals.
With no dragon in sight, that left the invited press guests with nothing to talk about except how hard the dragon continues to fail:
Disneyland unveiled official photos and video of the new Fantasmic dragon but still has yet to set a date for the 40-foot-tall animatronic’s much-anticipated debut.
Despite top billing, the oft-delayed dragon failed to appear during the Disneyland’s Summer Nightastic promotion — a big black eye for the Anaheim theme park.
So the same question remains: When will Murphy debut? Who knows, and who cares.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
If only that nefarious criminal, the sworn enemy of the Galactic Alliance, were responsible for this DisneyFAIL.
Nope, it appears that the Disneyland Resort has Anaheim Public Utilities to blame for not one, but two power surges that occurred during park hours: 11 am Monday morning and 1 pm Tuesday afternoon. Both of these power surges caused Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters along with nearly every other Disneyland attraction that is powered by electricity in some way to temporarily close (or "101" in Disney lingo), go through guest evacuation procedures, and remain closed until the power could be fully restarted again.
Orange County Register's Around Disney blog was onto the story when the first power surge occurred Monday morning:
Disney spokesman John Nicoletti couldn’t say exactly how long the rides were down for, but he said that in the event of a power surge, it’s routine to cut the power for each ride and then power it back up for safety reasons.
Anaheim Public Utilities spokeswoman Margie Otto said: “One of our auto-transfer switches failed, causing a momentary dip in voltage. Disneyland was not on that circuit, but they experienced a momentary dip in voltage.”
Hmm, maybe the title of this post should have been "Auto-Transfer Switch Fail," how does that sound to you, Margie?
Disneyland guests are reporting on Twitter that a power outage closed down Disneyland rides for the second day in a row.
Disney spokesman John Nicoletti was checking on the outage. At about 2:30 p.m., he confirmed that at least some of the park have been affected.
Remember, too, that attendance at Disneyland is through the roof this week, as unblocked SoCal annual passholders join the last bout of summer tourism before school begins:
The summer blockouts for the majority of the 800,000+ Annual Passholders end on Sunday and Monday, and Disneyland is battening down the hatches for a huge jump in daily attendance. If you have to go to the park this week expect off-property parking, extremely long lines, and potentially closed turnstiles for a few hours each afternoon. - Al Lutz
The last thing any of the 60,000+ guests who are visiting Disneyland each day this busy week want to hear is that every attraction in the park except the horse-drawn street car and the petting zoo have broken down because the power went out. And I'm sure that's not what cast members who have to evacuate and restart those attractions want to hear either.
But of course, it's the guests who are able to complain the loudest, and what better place to vent than in a Tweet?
@meggggan Disneyland just had an epic fail. Every single ride just shut down. If you're planning to come, don't.There are some very good letitimate reasons to cause attractions at Disneyland to shut down temporarily during the day. Some are related to weather or natural disasters; some are simply because of a safety cut-out. But all because of a power surge caused an auto-transfer switch mishap by the city? Simply inexcusable. Ride closures due to a negligent Anaheim Public Utilities is not what guests paid $72 a day (or as little as $6 a month) for.
@araxi In line for our first ride and Disneyland has just experienced a full blackout! No power in the park FML
@CassieBrianne ANOTHER power surge at Disneyland? Goddamn people use your fans!
@nyakatan No power @ Disneyland; brown out or evil plot to up gift shop traffic?
@JungleCruiseFan Another power outage at Disneyland? Dayum.
@mckayslife power failure 2 days in a row at disneyland? i'm thinking fowl play is afoot...or at least i'm starting the rumor.
@boy33 Disney, please pay your electricity bills. Blackout two days in a row?!?
@iam_andge i've never seen disneyland so crowded. apparently there was a power outage yesterday AND today. fail on disney's part.
It may not be entirely Disney's fault this time, but it's still a blow to the guest experience that could have been avoided, which is why we're still labeling this a Disney FAIL.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Yes, it seems that this ill-fated 17-year-old show just won't get itself out of the line of fire of Disney fails lately; not even the recent fail of the fire-breathing dragon with a bad habit of setting rivers on fire could douse the smoldering embers on Summer Nightastic!'s marquee offering.
OC Register's 'Around Disney' blog covered the story this morning:
The Mark Twain, a replica steamboat that cruises the River of America at Disneyland, reportedly caught on fire during yesterday’s showing of Fantasmic!, a nighttime show that uses the Mark Twain as a show element.
The small fire aboard the Mark Twain was apparently caused by faulty pyrotechnic effects, which failed to deploy at the proper time and ignited the exhaust emanating from the engine, according to a statement released by Disneyland’s Public Relations Department.
DAPsMagic.com managed to get a picture of the small fire:
According to eyewitnesses, during the 9 pm showing of Fantasmic! the mist screens were on longer than they were supposed to during the scene when Maleficent (who currently cannot transform into a dragon, of course) sets the Rivers of America on fire. This prevented the gas lines that create the flames from igniting on cue. Then, later in the finale of the show when the Mark Twain was making the usual bend around the mill, the river flames kicked into full force, causing the rightmost corner of the stern of the riverboat to catch flame.
The Disneyland Fire Department later released a statement saying it was exhaust from the Mark Twain that caught on fire from the river flames effect.
Luckily no one was hurt, and Disneyland's own fire department quickly controlled the small blaze and no significant damage was reported. However, what hasn't been explained to my satisfaction is how on earth did the gas lines that control the flames on the river misfire so spectacularly out of sync? Is this malfunction putting the show's entertainers - or thousands of spectators - at risk? Clearly, some major timing/piping/eletrical fixes are in order when the Rivers of America is drained in late 2009 - early 2010.
But for now, the show must go on, and rumor has it that the Mark Twain will not appear in Fantasmic! tonight and possibly a few subsequent nights while the vessel gets checked out to prevent the same DisneyFAIL from happening again. That means the lackluster alternate ending with Disney characters dancing on the island instead of the riverboat is in store for guests, which just adds to a growing list of handicaps during Fantasmic!'s big summer season.
Much like the Imagineering process, all raging DisneyFAILs begin with a small spark.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Are you 23? Are you angry?
You should be, unless you were one of the lucky few that managed to land tickets for the member-exclusive "D23 Days at the Walt Disney Studios and Archives" event.
The tour is one of the "free" perks available to those who paid the $74.99 fee to become a D23 member. As described on the events page of the official D23 website:
D23 Members will have the rare opportunity to enjoy a 2-hour tour of The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Archives, hosted by D23 and Archives staff. Only two dates are available for the Summer 2009 Calendar, and space is limited.
Dates: Saturday, June 27, 2009 and Saturday, August 15, 2009
Location: The Walt Disney Studios, Burbank, California
Rare indeed! The chance to tour the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California and delve into the Disney Archives is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and would make the mouth of any avid Disney fan drool. A WIN for the Disney community, right?
The Burbank studios is notorious for never, ever hosting guided tours. In December 2008, the Walt Disney Studio Store, Disney Employee Center, and Studio Commissary on the studio property were open to the public, but the intent was mostly to sell merchandise, not to tour the property itself, and most of the studio grounds and buildings were off-limits to guests.
That's why, when this D23 event was announced late May, it was the closest real-life example I could think of to getting a golden ticket into Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Finally, D23 offers a truly unique event that makes the membership price worthwhile.
Little did I know that the process to get your tickets would be just as hectic, confusing, and plain unfair as the worldwide pandemonium for Wonka bars in Roald Dahl's novel.
D23 members were told that their tour reservations could be made online starting promptly at 11am PDT this morning. However, according to several determined members who were frantically refreshing their screens, the link was active at 10:57am. In a window that amounted to just seconds, all the reservations had been filled, and by 11am everyone who clicked the 'Submit' button was told that the tours were full but that they could be put on a waiting list for the desired date. By around 11:05am, the waiting list was full too. Fail.
Some members who could not be put on the waiting list at the time of submission later received an email saying that space on the waiting list had opened up, but when they clicked on the link and signed up again, they received the 'event full' message a second time! Fail again!
In the minutes following 11am, livid members who followed the rules but didn't get in made their frustration heard across the Twitterverse:
@SnorkletsMom If you're a D23 member, the studio tour ticket method was an absolute joke. Anyone as mad as I am?Meanwhile, a message appeared on the official "DisneyD23" Twitter page, meant to appease those who didn't make it in:
@myrnal D23 Days at The Walt Disney Studios and Archives event full both days in 4 min...did not get in...rats!
@lurkyloo So much for D23 members' access to exclusive events - both studio tour dates filled up 90 secs before the 11am release time.
@steveberg D23 FAIL: Studio tour sells out in under 1 minute for both days. Way to go again Disney.
@BriarRose461 D23 Studio tour tickets available at 11am. NOT! Sold out and wait list FULL at 11:01. How is that possible? Frustrated D23 member!
@DisneyD23 Thanks 4 ur enthusiasm 4 the Studio/Archives tours. We're exploring ways 2 offer more tours later this year! Stay tuned 4 details.To which many Twitter'ers responded:
CottageWayOfLif @DisneyD23 Fantastic news D23. While you're at it could you please look into a better way to distribute tix? Today's method was a failure.
cstephens2 @DisneyD23 Really frustrating to get continuing emails from waitlist saying there's room now, only to submit request and be told it's full.
djaffe @DisneyD23 At 10:57 California time you guys were sold out. Totally lame- I won't be renewing.
michaelshearin @DisneyD23 WOW, extremely frustrated that the Studio Tour is sold at 11 AM on the dot! Guess that is what we get for having free events!
chriscorry @DisneyD23 who do we contact to voice some serious complaints with this mornings reservations???
Skorp28 @DisneyD23 You've managed to upset a lot of your most valuable fans. Good job!
Just to be clear, I am not a D23 member, but now I know I do not want to become one. How can you blame me? Be tantalized with an opportunity to tour the Walt Disney Studios with extremely limited space, then put up with a severely flawed online reservation system that deceives people by going live before it's supposed to and is more of a contest of whose browser window refreshes the fastest? Is that what I want to pay $74.99 to do? Yeah, thanks but no thanks, D23.
Smell familiar? This D23 DisneyFAIL reeks with the same stench that plagued past exclusive event fails, like the Enchanted Tiki Room 45th Anniversary merchandise fail (remember how incredibly tough it was to get your hands on that fountain?) and the annual Candlelight Processional online registration fail (the server crashed multiple times last year). What always happens is that Disney severely underestimates the demand for these events, and chaos ensues when everyone tries to get their hands on the same thing at once and Disney is not organized or prepared enough to make things go smoothly.
Why couldn't more than two dates have been available for the D23 studio tour from the start? Clearly they should have known that two dates was not enough to reasonably meet demand. Disney says they are adding more dates in the future in reaction to what happened today, but that will do little to undo the hurt done to the members who got burned this morning.
If some D23 members have to be turned away, why couldn't there have been an orderly lottery system instead of a free-for-all clicking fest? Entering a lottery and being told you have not been selected would have at least made the pill of rejection easier to swallow.
Unfortunately, unless you hold the Golden Ticket, there's no easy way to swallow this epic DisneyFAIL.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Welcome to Summer Failtastic!
All of the pictures in today's DisneyFAIL were taken at the Disneyland Resort on June 12, the official guest premiere of Summer Nightastic!, and they all fail because they promote the dragon, which only draws attention to the fact that the dragon was absent that night, sitting broken in pieces in an understage pit doing nothing except failing, and failing hard.
(Sidenote: whisperings that the new crocodile is broken are, as Disney would say, "patently false.")
Fantasmic's now-infamous dragonfail has gathered more news attention; one is a story found on page 3 of the June 12th issue of the LA Times newspaper. If you can't be bothered to read the whole article, I'll quote the highlights:
When the creative forces at Disney dreamed up a new and improved version of Fantasmic -- a light, water and pyrotechnics spectacle billed as the surefire hit of the summer at the Anaheim theme park -- this probably is not what they had in mind:
A broken-down dragon.
Alas, Maleficent -- an automated, fire-breathing dragon from "Sleeping Beauty" that was to be the star of the summer-long show -- will instead be a no-show when the revamped version of Fantasmic is unveiled tonight.
Disney isn't saying exactly what happened to Maleficent, other than it is mechanical in nature. But it confirmed that the 40-foot-tall, 10,000-pound mechanical dragon -- so massive it had to be helicoptered onto the stage -- won't be joining the show until later in the summer.
It's a predicament for image-conscious Disney, which had peppered television and the Internet with ads featuring the red-eyed dragon shooting flames onto an artificial river.
Below: Park map fail
A predicament for Disney, to be sure. I discussed how Disney reacted to the failing dragon in yesterday's post. But what about the impact on park guests? Did they notice? Were they disappointed?
You bet they did, and you bet they were.
Don't believe me? A simple Twitter search for the word "fantasmic" a few hours after the 9pm and 10:30pm showings provides some insight:
@bibiluu I went to see the brand new opening of the fantasmic show. I was disappointed that the new dragon was not there
@roizebasallo I just went to DLand alone to see the opening night of Fantasmic and the damn Dragon was broken! Grrr....
@zypher8677 Just finished the re-opening night of Fantasmic! And boy was it god awful, too many people showed up only to be disappointed with no dragon.
@Cristina1017 back from a fun day at Disneyland. Saw the new Fantasmic and it's not the same without the dragon. Get on it guys....
Don't worry Cristina, they'll get on it, as soon as the finger-pointing and name-calling over whose fault it was ceases and someone finds a workable solution to fix the problem.
Incredibly, the dragon was not the only glaring no-show on the evening of the Summer Nightastic! kickoff. After all the fanfare Disney made about Dumbo taking flight for the first time in a fireworks show, the puppet pachyderm failed to make his grand appearance in the "Magical" show.
@rebecca_kate No Dumbo OR Fantasmic dragon. Summer Nightastic? Summer LAMEtastic, Disney. Work that into your marketing.
Over at California Adventure, Disney's Electrical Parade was scheduled to step off at 8:45pm but was delayed for 15 minutes due to "unforeseen circumstances." By the time the floats made it to Sunshine Plaza - where the crowds for the parade were largest - pyro from Magical was already going off in the distance.
@steveberg So no dumbo in Magical. Extremely full crowds at Fantasmic. And a delayed Electrical Parade. It's a triple fail by Disneyland tonight.
As a word of warning for future Nightastic'ers: it is almost impossible to see Disney's Electrical Parade, Magical fireworks, and Fantasmic! on the same night. Last year it was reasonably possible, if you hustled a little, to see the 8:45pm Disney's Electrical Parade from Paradise Pier (where it begins), have 15-18 minutes to dash over to Disneyland for the 9:25pm fireworks, and then make your way to the Rivers of America for the 10:30pm Fantasmic. This year, the Golden Dreams/World of Color ampitheater walls make it difficult for park guests on that end of the park to make a swift exit out of DCA with the parade going on. I ended up being forced to view the "Magical" fireworks from behind the Golden Gate Bridge at Sunshine Plaza because I, along with hundreds of other impatient exit-seeking guests, was dead-ended by Electrical Parade floats.
Speaking from firsthand experience, on the night of June 12 it was a miracle if you got to see two of the three shows. The crowds on Main Street and Frontierland were epic, on par with what I've seen on New Years Eve and the fourth of July. At times it was pure gridlock, leaving no one with space to move.
That so many guests were there that night is not a fail - a WIN for Disney of course - but the extreme crowding was very uncomfortable and claustrophobic for most every guest who was just vying for a chance to see the new tricks Disney had up its sleeve.
Twenty-five minutes before the 10:30 showing of Fantasmic! it was announced that due to overwhelming response all guest viewing areas were full. I was hoping that Disney might decide to include an additional third Fantasmic! performance, as this has been done before, but that never happened, which is a mini-fail in and of itself. Shouldn't they have expected "overwhelming response" in the first place? Had there been a third 11:30pm showing, more guests would have been able to have a chance at seeing the show. The park stayed open until midnight; what was their excuse?
What a Nightastic mess! Not only was the Dragon down, but Dumbo failed to fly and crowd control for Fantasmic was a disaster last night. I suggest holding off on a visit until Disneyland gets its act together. - Al Lutz
Friday, June 12, 2009
It's one thing to witness Maleficent in her colossal dragon transformation get defeated by the powers of Mickey's incredible imagination. It's quite another to find out her neck was broken by mistake.
Despite several confirmations by cast members, MiceAge editor Al Lutz, and secondhand accounts, Disney officials dismissed the Internet gossip that the dragon's neck had snapped as false and chose the empty phrase "technical issues" to describe the cause of the problem.
Now no one should have expected Disney to divulge what actually happened; after all, they have their reputation to worry about. If Disney were to formally announce that the dragon suffered a severed neck, people might start to question the safety of the other mechanical equipment on property. Since Safety is the #1 concern at the Disneyland Resort (and any news to the contrary is picked up by mainstream media faster than you can say "DOSH"), it's best for them to paint as pretty a picture as possible. Here at DisneyFAIL, we believe in the broken neck theory, because let's face it: you know that's what really happened. ;)
The new Fantasmic dragon, the icon of the big Summer Nightastic campaign, sits broken in the pit beneath Tom Sawyer Island and the Disneyland PR machine has shifted into heavy damage control mode. The dragon's repairs are now being estimated in weeks instead of days, and the media party on Thursday is being shifted to focus on the Magical fireworks show instead. Dumbo to the rescue! - Al Lutz
Now the Disney marketing team is trying in vain to downplay the failing dragon (nicknamed Murphy) as much as possible, even as the dragon is featured prominently in TV commercials, Downtown Disney banners, freeway billboards and bus advertisements as the mascot of the Summer Nightastic! promotion (as seen below).
Within the past few days, Disney removed a video that featured a "making of" documentary about the Fantasmic! dragon from their YouTube channel, and soon after someone also removed a video of the TV commercial that features a CG dragon from their Summer Nightastic! website. However, the reaction is too-little, too-late. Park guests who paid $99 for their Summer FunPasses and stake out their spots along the Rivers of America five hours in advance of showtime are expecting dragon, and when they don't get no dragon, cue anger, disappointment, rage, fury. Fail.
Disney's official press release for Fantasmic's return, distributed June 10th, makes it sound like the dragon's delay was planned all along:
Making its debut later this summer will be a fully animated, three-dimensional dragon who breathes fire across the Rivers of America. The 40-foot-tall dragon will dazzle guests like never before as the creature steps out of the shadows that concealed it in past “Fantasmic!” performances.
What the press release fails to say (if you'll pardon the expression) is that those mysterious "shadows" that conceal the dragon were probably cast by an epic Audio-Animatronic outsourcing fail, an Imagineering fail, a rehearsal fail, or some combination of the three. But no one should have expected it to say that, either. In the wonderful fabricated land of Disney press releases, even broken dragons can sound really, really cool.
Meanwhile, for park guests who live in the real world, the wait to see Murphy may take weeks, perhaps as long as a month.
That Murphy the dragon is not making its debut with the rest of the Summer Nightastic! offerings on June 12th is inexcusable. If Disney decides to centralize its entire summer campaign around one image, that's fine, but wouldn't it make sense to plan ahead and be damned sure that that image is in working condition and ready to go for showtime?
Clearly, that wasn't the case. Clearly, Murphy the dragon deserves to be our first DisneyFAIL.
What's that in the sky? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's DragonFail, brought to you by Summer Failtastic!