World Showcase, Epcot
I hope these comparisons are a breath of fresh air for you as they are for us. By “fresh” I mean “little change over the years”. It's unusual for a space this large to see such little change throughout a 28+ year period. To us, this is a great thing. Great because the World Showcase was done well in the beginning. As they say, "if it's not broken, don't fix it", right? Fightin' words indeed. (So El Rio del Tiempo and Oh Canada must have been "broken"...?) That said, fanboys everywhere pine for a few additions- rides to be specific. Are we greedy? No. After all, Disney did announce such things AND they showed us concept art all those years ago.
Still no Rhine River Cruise in Germany. Still no Meet the World nor bullet train attraction in Japan. Definitely no Matterhorn-type coaster mountain. Let’s not mention the many once-announced countries that never saw the light of day. But for now we still have half a park with little relatively little change, far far different than the fate of it’s neighbor to the north, Future World.
As a youngster, World Showcase was wonderful for it’s two boat rides, it’s two CircleVision attractions, and it’s American Adventure animatronic marvel. But Future World hosted what seemed to be an endless array of things to do, all phenomenal. The tides have surely turned. Although World Showcase is not the endless wonder that Future World once was, it has so much to offer. My relatives argue that it is “not Disney-like” but on the contrary, it is extremely “Disney-like” in my mind. A couple additional rides wouldn’t hurt but the unprecedented and immersive environments are more “Disney” to me than those environments that go out of their way to scream “I’m Disney” (Toon Town, Tiki Room Under New Management, the introduction of Tarzan to Adventureland, etc.).
On that note, isn’t it ironic that for decades Disneyland was largely free of permanent character references in all of its lands minus Fantasyland? I don’t refer to the occasional character walking through a land but I’m talking about how Adventureland was very “Disney-like” without Tarzan or Indiana Jones. Tomorrowland was very “Disney” without Buzz Lightyear or Nemo. Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland was extremely “Disney” without Stitch, Buzz, or Monsters Inc. I find it ironic. Or short-sighted. Disney is not nor should it be synonymous with ONLY its animated films. Before you burn me at the stake for this statement, here’s my point: I love and have always loved Disney animation. It’s been a huge part of my existence. Animated characters have their place. But Disney is also synonymous with live-action films and the themed environments of it’s parks. Fantasyland is a PERFECT environment to retell those beloved stories. Tomorrowland and Future World, in this blogger’s opinion, are not. Sure, “people come to see their favorite characters”. Yes, and they should be able to. But we can still have clear standards for what each land stands for and what does and does not reside in those lands.
Alright. The point is, World Showcase, though it could offer more, is pretty darn great. It’s great because they haven’t messed with it the same amount they’ve messed with everything else.
Dear Disney decision makers, Please consider this when you decide to add some D-list comedian or The Jonas Brothers or even Lumiere and Cogsworth to a new France film. If you think this will draw the young crowd to this part of property, it won’t. (Remember how Timon, Pumba, fart jokes, etc. can’t draw any more of a crowd to that part of The Land despite what you once thought?) It will, however, offend everyone else who cares about the W.S. And after the two weeks of press coverage and people’s curiosity wares off, your attendance numbers will be no better off than they were for 28+ years.
.....Oh wait. Disney decision makers don’t read this blog.