Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who should foot the bill?

First off, sorry about the time off between posts.  Family things, and stuff....

After reading a recent article on a Disney board, I was thinking about the general operating procedure in Epcot.  Apparently, the Norwegians are a bit miffed that their movie in the World Showcase still shows them working on Commodore 64 computers and stuck in the 80's.  TDO wants the Norwegian government to foot some of the bill, while the Norwegain government really doesn't want to make an investment in the estimated $20 million dollar project.  I do have to give a nod to our friends at the disney blog for bringing the issue up.

Is the time for sponsorship over?

It seems harder and harder to get companies and governments to  contribute to or finance attractions in Epcot, yet Disney chooses to stick to this original model rather than make the investment.
Wonders of Life Pavilion shortly after its final closure

The Wonders of Life pavilion is still closed due to lack of a corporate sponsor that was willing to foot the bill and is now forgotten among the overgrowth by many resort guests.  The movie at Norway is hopelessly outdated.  Spaceship Earth had little or no maintenance until Siemens agreed to step into the project. (Opinions on the result of this not withstanding!)  On the one side, it seems like Disney should have more pride in their offerings and provide periodic updates without having to seek out corporate partners.

The movies in the countries seem to fall into a different category than even the sponsored attractions.  Disney seems to consider them advertisements for travel to their respective countries, and therefore does not want to update them on their own.  Although this is very true, Disney may need to come to the realization that the economy simply prevents this kind of constant investment in a theme park attraction.  Not to mention that flights are so overpriced that even a Norway movie may not be enticing guests to fly across the pond at this point.

Does Disney have a responsibility to keep these attractions current (or even open) as they raise their prices?  Or are they right to continue to seek out sponsors and involve the governments of the pavilions they maintain?  Thoughts?

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