The Holiday Post

So I am on vacation and will probably not be posting much for the next week but I do plan on working on my thesis (I have never brought so many books with on vacation before).

Anyway I have two important statements to make before leaving.

First: I am in Disney World. So the following statement has to do with that fact. Disney World is a work of art, but it is not an interactive collaborative work of art like a blog is, it is the extreme of a performance work. But IT IS ART. (period)

Second: Happy Holidays!

And if the National Treasure team make a third film, I want the treasure to be the search for Walt Disney’s frozen body (and the Disney Vault Treasure). I think that’d be a good mystery I mean all the clues will be in the Disney parks.

Anyway happy holidays all and I promise to return full throttle by the end of next week.

And lets all remember

It all started with a mouse.



8 Responses to The Holiday Post

  1. David says:

    Ha –
    Huysmans, did you ever see Steamboat Willie? (it’s David, by the by) If you think about it too hard, it suddenly becomes an exercise in which Mickey does a series of unspeakable things to animals.

  2. huysmans says:

    That seems to be a bit too hard of a thinking job if you ask me. But an intersting idea.

  3. R. Sherman says:

    Greetings. Thanks for stopping by my site. I need some more time to poke around here, but I will be back. Alas, end of year obligations prevent a lot of time at the moment.


  4. BT says:

    I agree with you that WDW is art. However, I do think it is interactive. The very nature of the “cast member” speaking, directing, lecturing a guest affects not only the guest but the “cast member” as well, therby creating a fluid state. The “cast member” has to adjust even if only slightly because of his/her interaction with the guest.

    I would agree that the art is not immediately collaborative. Once the “cast member” strays too far off course, the WDW forces will bring that person back to the script. However, over many years, those guest interactions have to affect the script over all. So it is a collaborative art form over decades.

  5. huysmans says:

    You are absolutely right, there is collaboration between the guests and the cast members, and over time that collaboration can come to affect change within the operations of the parks but at the same time we as guesses do not play a role in the rides as the rides present sometimes. For example most rides simply tell a narrative despite how much time they spend addressing us (The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean comes to mind as two examples of this strict narrative while still addressing the audience at times). And then when there is a back story to the shops, restaurants and most of the attractions, we as guess never help to expand that story. I think it would be truly interactive, and extremely valuable in regards to convincing guests to return, to have guests help expand the stories. How cool would it be if because a guest helped Donald finally get the two chipmunks out of the character dining that they actually didn’t return the next day and Disney set up a new character to be introduced, but even that wouldn’t be truly interactive if it was scripted to be that way. However it is a start.

    But then again I do agree with you in regards to the staff members, that’s why it is so terrible when they break character, that’s when the art is lost.

  6. izzy says:

    No need for National Treasure 3 – he’s under the castle. I just know it.

    My perception of Disney is that it isn’t very interactive at all, if interaction means being able to change the course of the place or people in that place. Disney World is, in computer terms, a read-only file. You can live in it, you can view it, you can love it and appreciate it, but you can’t change it. I don’t know if I fully believe this. I need time to think about this though. It seems that everything in Disney World is uniform and very thought-out. They dislike letting people change anything in their parks because everything is put in its place for a reason. Then there are the cast members. Yes, you interact with them, but everything they say is relatively scripted. For example, every time you end a conversation with a cast member, he or she will always say “Have a magical day!” Granted, there are always the cast members that leave the script and improvise, but often times they get in trouble for what they did. My family and I went to a breakfast buffet in which characters would roam around and stop at every table for pictures and autographs. This is scripted, obviously, and not interactive. But once we witnessed an argument between Pluto and Chip (or Dale, I can’t remember whether its teeth were separated or not, or the color of its nose). The chipmunk accused the dog of having a large nose while the dog accused the chipmunk of stealing nuts. This exchange was all written down on paper. It became a full on argument between the two. This was possibly the best experience with a character that I’ve had, but it didn’t last. The character handler then took both characters away, thus ending their argument. My assumption (although we all know what happens when you assume) is that the two actors got a little talking to behind the scenes. But I thought that was interaction, just clearly not endorsed by the company. A more subtle interaction is when I wanted Minnie Mouse’s autograph. My pen ran out of ink and she went to a stand and got me a new pen. No, it didn’t change the course of the park or the people, but it was interaction between me and Minnie. And it was a free pen.
    It would be very hard for Disney to make it all interactive. They work so hard on making their park what they want it to be, I’m sure they don’t want to change that much. And who knows, maybe too much interaction can hurt the running of the park. I like the Donald Duck idea though. I never liked those pesky chipmunks.

    Moral of the story is this: Walt is frozen underneath the castle. The real question is this: which castle is he under? Ah, the mystery. I’ll find out the answer.

  7. BT says:

    Ah…Izzy, by your own writing you prove that there is indeed interactivity in the WDW Universe. Perhaps Chip/Dale and Pluto were disciplined for their off script behavior, but maybe they were rewarded. I will let my thoughts wonder in that direction. Wouldn’t that be cool.

    However, you are right in general…WDW is one big script. Perhaps the rigid structure is needed. The guests are so diverse that without the script, anarchy would result. Does that mean that WDW is not art? I hope not.

    Perhaps the changes that come from interactivity happen too slowly for guests to see, but over the decades they show themselves.

  8. huysmans says:

    Okay so I am going to do some redefining, I guess as far as traditional interactive art goes, funny that I am about to call a video game traditional but hell at this point it is. Anyway it is like a video game, the outcome is predetermined but it needs you to get there. That is true for parts of the Disney experience but not all of it. For “choose your own ending” rides it requires the audience member to push the buttons in order to create an ending, but at the same time you also don’t have to and it still will get there, that is not true about a video game. In a video game one cannot passively interact with the narrative for the narrative to finish, you need to actively engage it and help it come to its conclusion.
    So by this definition Disney is not interactive in that it does not require the assistance of the audience in order to come to conclusion. On the other hand what I believe I really meant and what I think Izzy here means as well is that no part of Disney is constructive, we as guests are never aiding in the construction of these narratives as the narrative would like us to think. It is in the end all an illusion and an almost passively interactive one.

    Thank you both for the discussion I enjoy this topic. And I still want National Treasure Three: The Search for Walt Disney.

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