Impact on the Mouse

Mickey Mouse has a big impact on American history, an impact that goes far beyond American boundaries. Just look at the theme parks around the world, the movies playing in thousand theaters and the millions of toys in the shops. Even if you don’t have a Disney holiday, most likely you will still encounter some sort of Disney on your trip (or near your home). You can also ask what cartoon character is the most known in the world; I am pretty confident that Mickey Mouse will make it on the top spot as most well known cartoon character. Mickey (and his friends) are everywhere, even making an impact on our daily lives.

But what about the impact on Mickey Mouse and Disney from the outside? It’s a question that popped up in my head, more specifically the impact of today and in the (near) future! Let’s have a look at some possible theories (I think) that has have impact on the mouse and that might form the future look of Disney. Let’s do so starting with the biggest influence at the moment; PIXAR!

Once Toy Story came to the cinema, one of the biggest impacts on the future look of Disney started to take form. Toy Story was an instant success, something PIXAR could do for all its movies. Taking PIXAR under Disney wings was one of the best things that happen for the company. It brought them first class animation and big profits, and it will keep doing so in the future. The impact on Disney is big. Look at what is happening in the parks. PIXAR rides are popping up everywhere; From Toy Story to Cars, they all found their spot in one ore multiple parks around the world. Cars toys still enjoys a high profile in many toy shops and with Toy Story 3 (and the release of the 2 previous once in 3D) their will be another big collection of these characters hitting the shelves (again). PIXAR is a big impact on the future of the mouse, and although I am happy we will get to see some Disney animated classic in the future, one could not think “Disney without PIXAR” at this time.

Star Wars
Star Tours is still a favorite of my son, and he is not alone. The force is strong with this one (I know, the same lame jokes used everywhere) and will be an influence on Disney for a long time. It will not be PIXAR impact, but Star Wars has been a part of the Disney experience for a while. With the success of the Star Wars weekends and all the gadgets and toys on offer, Disney would not want to loose out on it by leaving Star Wars behind them. Even more, with the new Star Wars animation and the TV series Disney can only be happy to have them involved in their business. Let’s hope this influence will stay growing and that a future Star Tours II will (finally, after all the many rumors) become reality.

Indiana Jones
With George Lucas having already a foot in the Disney door (Star Wars), Indiana isn’t far away. One must admit that Indiana Jones isn’t as prominent as Star Wars is but with a new movie out Disney might put some spotlight on it. And isn’t it fun that somehow the Tokyo ride Indiana Jones Adventure; Temple of the Crystal Skull” sounds so familiar with the new movie’s title Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Maybe the influence and impact goes both ways.

Thrill Rides (and new technology)
The most interesting impact is the growth of technology today. Let’s be honest and look at the history of Disney, the newest technical enhanced ride where always good for a lot of media and public attention. Mission Space, Expedition Everest, Soarin are all proof of success using new or improved technology. Even further in the past the impact from technology was felt. Audio Animatronics created by Walt Disney Imagineering and Circle Vision 360° refined by Imagineers are only two example. The nice impact regarding the new technology is that when Imagineers get their hands on it and can work with it they do wonders.

Harry Potter (at IoA)
Harry Potter? Impact on Disney? Isn’t it found over at Islands of Adventure? And what an impact it will have being over there. Personally I am not a big fan of Harry Potter and I hate the fact that Islands of Adventure, a park that I (used to) love, will change so drastically. But,… I do understand that there are many Harry fans and I do understand that once the new section of the park will open a success is guaranteed. So how will this be an impact? How about Disney will have to look for an amazing answer to Harry! What will Disney do to make sure Harry isn’t going to take away all those Disney guests? My guess, thanks to good competition, Disney will come with an answer us Disney fans will love.

The Children of tomorrow
What would any company be without their buyers, or in Disney’s case, guests. And what do they want? More thrills as ever before. Look at what is successful today; big thrill rides, big machines, big attractions. While Disney is more than thrill alone it will not be able to get away from what people want to see in the parks. Look at Everest (again); you build a big new thrill ride and the people come to the park. I think that the children of tomorrow will want even more thrill and adventure, something that will influence all parks across the world and something Disney will have to take in account to.

Money, Shareholders and Imagineers
What’s the biggest impact on anything? Yes, money! And Disney is a company in the first place, a company with shareholders, shareholders that need to be kept happy. How to do this? Make lot’s of money for the company. While I think the Disney Shareholders can’t complain the impact on Disney will always involve the shareholders. At the end of the day all they want is more $$$ on their bank accounts. Saving here and saving there to give shareholders what they want will be an influence, but I hope most shareholders will understand that spending some serious cash will bring in more guests and with them… even more $$$.
Brings us to the Imagineers that would (and should) get the cash for their innovative minds. We could fill many blog entries about famous Imagineers who brought big impact to the Disney parks. Just imagine if Tony Baxter would not have been a Disney Imagineer… Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones Adventure, Disneyland Resort Paris might all look completely different.
Imagineers have showed that not all rides need to come from the last (PIXAR) movie to be successful. Take a look at Expedition Everest, Soarin, Mission Space, to name only a few.
Their impact is massive and extremely important to give the Disney parks the look of the past, today and tomorrow. Without them Disney would not be the Disney we love today.

There is (so much) more…
… and there is so much more of course. Only the future can tell us what the next big thing will be, influencing the Disney magic. I can only hope that the positive rise of visitors will open the eyes on managers level and that they will see that building new innovating rides and attractions people will return again and again. And most importantly I hope that the influence of the Imagineers will be the biggest impact for years to come (without always trying to make rides based on a movie).

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3 Responses to “Impact on the Mouse”

  1. Matt Says:

    I don’t disagree that Disney has had a big impact on the world, but to say “Mickey Mouse has a big impact on American history” is perhaps not the correct way to phrase your argument. You don’t support this in your article. Disney has had little to no impact on American History. America would still be where it is today if Disney had never been born. I’d suggest updating to saying that Disney has had a big impact on “Pop Culture” instead.

  2. Andy De Maertelaere Says:

    Matt, you have a very good point there. Obviously American history would still be there, it would look a little different. Disney’s impact is related to pop culture, but still, looking at America you think Mickey Mouse too. Disney is a part of America’s heritage, a (little) part of its history. Maybe my love for the mouse got me carried away a little. Still, I won’t change it in the original text (I don’t like doing that, try to avoid it and only done so 2 or 3 times since starting writing on the blog), but I do agree that after reading your comments calling it Influence on American Pop Culture is a better description.

    On the other hand would Anaheim be what it is today without Disney, or would Florida be the city it is today without the coming of the Mouse? And I might never have been to Orlando if it wasn’t for Disney, like many holiday visitors. On the other hand, I might already have been in Vegas, something I still didn’t do because Orlando is my favorite place to visit.

    The article itself did start with the impact on American History quot, but this was to open the article related to everything that has impact on the Mouse. Maybe a future article I could have a look at the Disney (Pop Culture) Impact on the US…

    Matt, keep your comments coming. They are highly appreciated. And to all other Disney fans, US fans, holiday fans, etc… we want to hear from you too.

  3. power Says:

    it looks nice.

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