Joe Rohde gets asked about fixing the yeti from a most unlikely source

Oct 24, 2017 in "Expedition Everest"

Posted: Tuesday October 24, 2017 10:02am EDT by WDWMAGIC Staff

Joe Rohde revealed on Twitter yesterday that he was asked about the status of Expedition Everest's yeti from a most unlikely source -U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In later replies, he tweeted, "My answer was long" and " IS in the best interests of our country :)"

Joe Rohde is a Portfolio Creative Executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, and was the creative lead on Expedition Everest and Disney's Animal Kingdom.

The Yeti, Guardian of the Mountain, is a mammoth-sized Audio-Animatronics figure with a potential thrust, in all of its hydraulic cylinders combined, of slightly over 259,000 pounds force -- potentially more instantaneous power than a 747-400 airliner.

The animatronic's motion was switched off less than a year after the ride opened in 2006 due to various unspecified structural issues around the figure.

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HauntedPirateJul 05, 2023

I'd love to see a list of all the issues, major and minor. I don't ride often enough to recognize the problems, but as this is my favorite (remaining) attraction in the entire resort, I care a ton about it. I also wonder what TJ thinks of the state of his beloved Tower.

HauntedPirateJul 05, 2023

Someone years ago tried to sound the alarm on the slow decline - "Declining by degrees". He was largely ignored, except by some of us who also noticed the slow loss of the details and small things that made the overall experience better. Disney parks are just not the rides/attractions. When the rides and characters and restaurants are combined with those little details and small things (that are continually being removed), they become greater than the sum of their parts. Getting rid of the details and minor things, combined with a decades-long reduction in ride maintenance and TLC, results in a lesser experience. The yeti is a good example, to bring this into the current thread topic. Why bother doing anything with it because the guests will still ride? The details are the glue that hold the larger experience together. Without them, the flaws and cracks become much more visible. The Disney Marketing Machine© has cranked things up to the point that people don't believe their eyes anymore, and they don't believe or simply talk down to those who experienced the parks in past years. They just believe the hype and marketing and the view coming from their own rose-colored glasses. "Oh that's ok", "it's good enough", "no one will notice that" are excuses given by those who are ready, willing, and able to lower their own standards to support "the magic" because "it still has value to me". If that's what you're willing to do, then simply accept that you are part of the larger problem that Bob is exploiting - People can be fooled into thinking they are having the time of their lives while being fleeced for every dollar possible. It started under late-term Eisner and has only accelerated under the Bob's. I will not ever apologize for having standards built on what Disney used to stand for and deliver on continually. I will never stop fighting against corporate stooges who view the parks as ATMs while never spending a single day working in them, or even simply visiting on their own, with no badges and no handlers, as regular people. Disney can do better. Disney has done better. Keep that in mind before blindly accepting the latest movie IP shoved somewhere it doesn't belong in the parks, or into the parks at all.

JMcMahonEsqJul 05, 2023

Well not really close at all. A logical business decision involves making financial decisions for an ongoing for profit business operation. That's generally NOT how people decide how to go on vacation. I don't know anyone that is looking at P&L sheets, ROI, costs analysis to determine where they want to go on vacation. No one is looking at vacation spending as a way to make money. Vacations are by definition discretionary spending for a family's personal subjective tastes. You have what your family likes, and then you decide how much you can afford to spend on it. My neighbors are obsessed with Harry Potter. They are going to Universal because they offer that experience. It doesn't matter if WDW prices would be "better value" or if it would be cheaper to the beach at the Jersey Shore or Cape Cod, as they don't have what that family wants to do. Business decisions are based on objective standards and metrics what gets you your best ROI. Vacation/discretionary spending is based subjectively on what you personally want.

DisneyDebRobJul 05, 2023

Some here will say well no one notices that this is missing so it’s ok. Some will say that there is still hour long waits to get on so it’s still a fun ride. Some will even say there goes the Disney haters hating again on something that doesn’t matter. In my opinion they are all wrong. There was a Disney difference back in the day that no longer exists. They basically do cosmetic clean up and changes without ever putting the money needed to get it back to the “Disney” difference. They have their built in audience that will come back year after year and I guess they think they can get away with it. They are correct and have been. It’s really sad anymore.

BocabearJul 05, 2023

Well....then it would be a "logical Business Decision" to suspend annual trips to overpriced Walt Disney World and instead opt for different destinations. The Disney Difference was always in the details...Remove that one by one around the parks and you start having a decline...and a creative decline in a theme park once lauded for it's spectacular design and a real problem. When Universal starts putting out similar and better theming... then it is time to step up and be the leader again... When I start feeling like attending the parks is a vote for mediocrity...then I have to abstain...not applaud their loss of direction and mission...

RodjJul 04, 2023

There are much more major show issues... The audio levels have been completely messed up since mid-2021, where some speakers are heavily distorted/very quiet/playing the wrong audio track/not working at all. The audio in general has been never right since 2008 when they changed the audio system, where the audio for the hallway scene and drop sequences are completely out of sync. The drop sequences themselves have all been modified/lessened in 2018 to "shorten" the drop lengths because it was taxing on the older motors, which now that they are replaced, they never tried to see if the new motors can handle the original drop sequences again. Also in mid-2021, they replaced the projectors in the hallway scene, and these new projectors were incorrectly set-up to display in grayscale instead of color, leading to the window projection to completely stand out since its background is now gray instead of the color of the walls: In mid-2022, TDO made the brilliant decision to modify the lights for the Memory Maker video/photo to be at full brightness, which not only is completely blinding, but also stays on long enough in one drop sequence where it lights up everything in the drop shaft: Just last month, the 5th dimension scene on one side is completely messed up, hardly any of the props light up(except for the eye but it is extra bright now), and the starfield doors are completely messed up. This is literally just the major issues. There are a ton of more minor issues I haven't even spoke about yet, but to not inflate this post more, you can check out the dedicated thread about it. This video should tell you everything about the state of the attraction currently:

erasure fan1Jul 04, 2023

The problem with a concept like Epcot, is its need to stay current. Disney was never going to keep things in the future. That takes a dedicated update and refresh schedule. Something Disney isn't known for. *I think sea base alpha was much better than nemo. Sure it just led to an aquarium, but isn't that just what nemo does? *WoM is a push in my opinion. I think the original test track was a good replacement but 2.0 is not great. *Energy needed an update for sure. But I don't know if guardians was the right choice. Is it a better ride? I'm sure, but I'll find out in a few weeks. *Mission space is far and away a lesser ride than horizons. But that's not to say Horizons didn't need some updates. So as a cohesive unit and as a snapshot in time, then vs now, 80s Epcot was better. There's no doubt in my mind that todays Epcot could have been a lot better than the 80s. But they decided on the hodgepodge route.

JMcMahonEsqJul 04, 2023

Well as an initial reaction to that question I would argue that simply fixing a single animatronic, which does nothing to extend the ride, add a new twist or ride feature, or expand rider capacity isn’t “plusing” an attraction, but that gets alot into subjectively. But are there reasons to “plus” a ride? Sure, flagging interest in the ride that you’re looking to build back. New features in IP such as new characters that you want to exploit. You want to try and expand ride throughout, ect., all could be good reasons for “plusing” a ride. However I don’t see where any objective reason to spend money on fixing the yeti is being made other than some people “like” the ride more with the yeti.

lazyboy97oJul 04, 2023

So there’s no reason to ever plus attractions?

hismattjestyJul 04, 2023

I'm just going to chime in briefly here, as I'm someone that rode Expedition Everest somewhere between 45-50 times with the yeti working properly in A-mode in my mid-30's. This attraction was promoted HEAVILY on the old vacation planning DVD's, in-room resort television, and Stacy's Top 10, and was truly something amazing! The culmination of the attraction in the dark of that cave, with the brief encounter with that figure, was terrifying. I remember to this day getting off that attraction with my wife, looking her dead in the eyes, and saying "What the hell did I just experience"? I was immediately right back in line. THAT is what I expect from Imagineering. Since 2008 or so, it's a one and done just to see what's changed, for better or worse. While I have my own opinions, I agree that 95% of people that never saw it work properly, wouldn't know what they were missing. Those people should then be forced to watch Disney's own promotional videos, so they stop accepting mediocrity. I can guarantee that not a single person would prefer the strobe light to A-mode.

JMcMahonEsqJul 04, 2023

I think you’re confusing the term “excuse” with “logical business decision.” If the vast vast majority of customers are in the category of we love riding the ride as it is, either because they saw the Yeti and don’t miss it, or they never saw the Yeti and like the ride just as it is, there is absolutely no reason to change it.

rreadingJul 04, 2023

I honestly didn’t notice a problem when we were there in June. Maybe the eyeball didn’t blink? Does it? I do miss the steam in the queue below the grates, but that’s been gone for quite some time

rreadingJul 04, 2023

Fine. It was inspiring. How would you have it now? They’re trying to keep the SSE post-ride things current (I suppose)…we never engage with them Living Seas promised something amazing but just led to an aquarium. The follow through didn’t live up to the setup. Living with the Land has always been a favorite- it’s probably why it’s still there WoM was getting a little tired while I was young. I wish they would have kept it, but I expect it would be a little interest ride Would Horizons have held up? I truly don’t know Energy wasn’t great though the dinosaurs were fun to look at I really only mourn the original Imagination

rreadingJul 04, 2023

HarmonioUS would like a word