Oct 23, 2011

Rumors, now in 3D!

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Another day, another rumor. This time about a potential World of Color Halloween show. It is beginning to make some rounds that it was going to happen this year but did not because management wanted the show to be in 3D and charge an upsell price for use of 3D glasses.

There are some issues with this rumor, right off the bat. 3D relies on aligning a pair of images pretty precisely so that when they are seen by the viewer, at a certain distance, they combine to give the depth. Projecting on water, which is itself a three dimensional surface, any 3D effect would be plagued by "wobbles" as the "chunkiness" of the water screen affected the depth. Not to mention that as amazingly crisp as these water projections are, they are no where near crisp enough for 3D to look any sort of good at all.

Technically, there are 2 ways to do 3D. Side by side projectors, each projecting the same image, shifted a little for your left vs. right eyes. This would mean doubling the already large number of very expensive projectors for World of Color. The lighthouses that hold the projectors don't have any more room, and it would mean doubling up on the waterproof housings on the platform itself where there are additional projectors.

The other method is to have a really high refresh rate and alternate between the images with a single projector. In movie theaters, this is done at about 480 times per second. I don't know the exact specs of the projects used in World of Color, but this is technically a possibility. However, because of the quality issues listed above, I don't actually foresee this as ever happening.

What is far more troubling about the rumor is the upsell notion. This does seem to be something that Disney likes to do. Several years ago Disney premiered the wildly popular Halloween Screams fireworks. People packed into Main Street and surrounding areas to watch. Someone got the bright idea to make the fireworks only available to those people paying for admission to the special Halloween event. I can absolutely see management trying to find a way to charge extra for a special version of the show tied to a holiday. This is a troubling trend and a slippery slope. It leads to being charged for day use of the park, then having to pay extra to see the nighttime shows that have always been an included attraction in the ticket price. Where does it stop? Does Christmas become an additional pay event? The 4th of July?

If they want to do special stuff for Halloween, that's fine by me. The trick-or-treating, character meets, etc make sense as a special additional pay event. But Halloweentime is for everyone, even the regular park guests. Fireworks on nights when they are not doing the Halloween parties should be the Halloween Screams show. This aspect of the rumor worry me because they seem to suggest that management is trying to find more ways to package and sell special versions of things. It kind of goes against the grain of what Disneyland was about.

Time will tell if this rumor has any truth to it at all.

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