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Complicated fun: Are theme parks going geeky?


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"Storytelling has to be relevant to the culture," he said.

Imagineers at Disney create a backstory when they first develop a themed area, complete with a hierarchical narrative. No detail is too small to explore or discuss: lighting, architecture, sound, landscaping, costumes — all in hopes of creating an emotional connection with the guest. Often, that backstory stays backstage, and guests never see or hear about the creative process.

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When Disney theme parks first opened in California in 1955, Western themed-stories were popular, and so was the resulting Frontierland attraction.

These days, Skees said, people are well-traveled and knowledgeable about worldwide trends — American kids are into Japanese anime, for instance — and the parks reflect this.

"We’re dealing with a more sophisticated audience who are more globally aware of storytelling and genres," he said.




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