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May 24, 2005



And the simulacra come full circle.


Seems like we weren't the only ones who followed E3 with Disneyland. I was actually quite struck with the genuine response I saw around me- primarily the children, so often clearly in a state of wonder, but also how the adults even seemed to consistently be kinder, happier... Disneyland creates a protected space and in part I think it succeeds- indeed becomes more "real" in a sense, more genuine, than the fabrications outside of it, where the fantasies created are just as driven by economics, but often less pleasant. And as we are also in the business of creating fantasy entertainment- or virtual alternative experience or whatever: especially coming from the contrasting images and themes of E3- I wound up just about completely flipping my view of the value of Disneyland. There is a clear, effective "good" there, in contrast to much other entertainment experience. Yes, I prefer actors in Mickey Mouse costumes to booth babes.
I think one of the keys also is the sense of safety- it's a clearly safe environment. I also think WoW takes many of its dominant aspects from Disneyland- or at least, there are strong parallels in the "cartoony" feel and the rock-solid feel of safety in the world, of being in a protected space. It may not be the most creative, but there will not be nasty suprizes or threats. And I think we really want that... perhaps that's another one of those consistent social values.
And yes, it's a deconstruction paradise as well. Great fun for all!


My husband and I followed up E3 with a couple of days at Disneyland as well. We're long-time fans of the Disney atmosphere: we got engaged at Disney World and have been back there at least once a year since. We followed up our day at E3 on Wednesday with an evening at Disneyland; we rode Pirates of the Caribbean, rode/played the new Buzz Lightyear ride, and people watched a bit. We love being relaxed and unhurried at Disney, at just watching everyone else scurry by on their vacations.

Being that we are both MMOG designers, I find it very interesting the type of entertainment beyond MMOGs that my husband and I enjoy. We play good RPGs, watch both campy and outstanding movies, and go to Disney. We're both in the business of creating "faux worlds" and know some of the tricks of the trade, and yet there is something more to both Disney World and Disneyland that transcends the lighting and the animatronics and the Cast Members. I can only call it the "Disney Atmosphere". And after 50 years, that atmosphere is still there.

I saw a quote from Walt Disney on one of the windows of a store in Downtown Disney when we were there last week: "Fantasy, if it's really convincing, can't become dated, for the simple reason that it represents a flight into a dimension that lies beyond the reach of time."

I know there are many who dislike Disney, who feel that their faux world is the worst sort of simulation. For myself, I'll continue to be inspired to be a better faux world designer every time I visit Disney.


Woot! I've been waiting for this one. Good first impressions: user-friendly interface, easy sign-up process, beautiful visuals, very "Disney" look and feel, tons of rooms to explore. The real party starts when the kids get in and start taking over :-)


As far as the Virtual Magic Kingdom, my only question is if they'll play orchestral arrangements of Disney songs in the game like they do in the parks. Very soon I'll be in a position to visit Disneyland much more often than I currently do, but I could see myself spending some time in VMK if they play the same sort of music that the parks do...


Ugh, this blog-spam is getting worse and worse. Talk about someone peeing in the punchbowl... X-p


The thing that really weirds me out personally, though is how they are going to have kiosks and encourage people to play in the parks themselves. If they then put similar kiosks in the game you could have infinite recursion...


When we were there last week, I saw a few things that might have been kiosks in the parks. Buzz Lightyear had a sign saying something about being an online-connected ride soon, and in Innovations (also in Tomorrowland) at least half of the activities could easily be part of VMK. I think we may eventually see more kiosks at the end of rides, just before or after the display of pictures that were taken on the ride. Disney will (and I think, have already begun to) find out-of-the-way places to put in kiosks.


I would suggest that the obvious thing to do within the VMK is to provide kiosks offering webcam views of the RMK.


Is it allowed in Disneyland to stand in line for a big attraction then sell your place to a late-comer?

Just wondering about the RMT issues.



Well if you buy the tickets online, the http://attractiontickets.tickets.com/buy/TicketTrans>Terms and Conditions that you are presented with does not preclude trade between individuals on Disney’s property, so I can’t see why not, mb there are stealth conditions somewhere.


Yes Richard, I suppose you could trade or potentially sell your place in line to someone else.

In fact, Disney essentially lets you do this already, albeit without charging directly for it, with their FASTPASS system. Under this system you're given a time to return and get to go to the head of the line. Is this cheating those who have "earned" their place by spending time so valiantly in line? Is it ruining others' experience, the same as a MMOG operator allowing people to trade time for money (or in this case, time for organization)? So far as I know people attending the Disney parks don't seem to think so. (FWIW, I think you could also theoretically buy others' FASTPASS times, though you'd have to exchange tickets with them. So far as I know there is no real market for this exchange.)

Of course even with the FASTPASS system in place there might be someone in line decrying the practice, hearkening back to the good old days of the E-ticket when waiting in a long line actually meant something, or even further back to the days of the old-style amusement parks, and noting that all these big new rides with their fancy hydraulics aren't any better than the old wooden Tilt-a-Whirl.

Some might even say that allowing people to jump ahead in line is another sign of doom, a nail in the coffin of what the amusement park experience could have been. In the meantime, others are enjoying themselves.


Mike said FWIW, I think you could also theoretically buy others' FASTPASS times, though you'd have to exchange tickets with them. So far as I know there is no real market for this exchange.

From my experience in the parks, there is nothing preventing anyone from giving someone else their FastPass. My husband and I have both been given FastPass tickets by strangers, and given our FastPasses away to strangers, often when we've decided we've had enough for the day and yet have a FastPass Return time coming up soon. The FastPass tickets themselves aren't linked to you or your park ticket after they are printed, so there's nothing to prevent guests from trading -- or even buying -- FastPasses between themselves.

As far as I can tell, the only thing that keeps the FastPass market from exploding is that Disney restricts FastPasses to one per activated park ticket (that is to say, one per person) until the time on the FastPass Return has passed. Because of this, people can't run from ride to ride collecting FastPasses and then sell them to people waiting in line. Each person can only get one FastPass at a time, and while you might be able to make $5 per FastPass, especially during the crowded summer months, it hardly seems worth the effort for one FastPass at a time.

In the end, similar to RMT, you can't tell if the person standing beside you in the FastPass line got his FastPass by sticking his own park ticket into the machine himself, or if he got it from someone else who stuck their park ticket into the machine. Either way, it really doesn't matter to me. I've had my day made by a complete stranger offering me a FastPass, and I think I've brought a little joy to someone else's day by doing the same.


Well, I have been playing for a few hours over the last few days, and it seems pretty cool especially for young kids. In fact, if you want to see lawyers earning thier keep try signing up as a child under 13 years of age, I did this for my son, and was very impressed by the legalese there.

Richard> "Is it allowed in Disneyland to stand in line for a big attraction then sell your place to a late-comer?"

LOL. < grin>Forget selling your place in line, give me a red popcorn and soda wagon in front of Cinderella's castle and I'll show you where the real money is. I bet if I set the prices to $1 each I'd get kids running across the park just to buy my stuff.< /grin> I'm pretty sure almost all commerce is banned in the park. The only exception that I have seen is the re-selling of Disney Collector pins.

That said, I've never had a problem twinking a friend with a sweet spot in line at Disneyland. However, on the other coast, I heard that at Disney World, line-cutting became an issue a few years back when a very large group came in and basically took over the lines. From what I understand they had several thousands in the group. This resulted in them having (on average) over 100 people in almost all of the top lines for rides. This allowed almost anyone in the group to go to any ride they wanted and hop to the front of the line. Multiplied over a few thousand people and repeated for a day or two and everyone else in the park got pretty frustrated. Since then I believe they changed their policies, not exactly sure to what.

I've also read that they *had* to change their policy with regards to people in wheelchairs. They used to allow them to hop ahead and apparently they can't do so now.

"We were told some law was being passed that those not in wheelchairs were wanting equal rights with those that needed wheelchairs. In other words there would be no more "cutting in line" I cannot tell you how many times I have experienced "wheelchair rage" from people cutting us off (especially people with those darn double-wide strollers who run everyone over). Its frustrating!".
(see http://www.wdisneyw.co.uk/disabcom.html)

Line cutting has been an issue for parks for some time though. In some cases, the courts have been involved at a very serious level. (See http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200~20949~2854201,00.html)

Who knows, maybe someday the anti-(insert a soapbox here) players will demand equal rights in MMOG and get some laws passed to such an effect. That said, I'm not sure it'll ever be as fun as wheelchair raged old ladies cussing out doublewide strollers getting in line at Small World, but, it's virtual reality, who knows.


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