Abandoned Disney (8) Adventure Thru Inner Space (2) Adventureland (12) America Sings (1) Animal Kingdom (2) Animation (19) Animatronics (20) Area Music (7) Backyard Imagineering (6) Behind-the-Scenes (39) Big Thunder Mountain (3) California Adventure (6) Captain E.O. (1) Carousel of Progress (12) Castle (7) Characters (6) Club 33 (1) Concept (13) Construction (15) Country Bear Jamboree (2) Death (2) Disney Channel (1) Disneyland (50) Disney-MGM Studios (1) Donald Duck (3) Entertainment (5) Epcot (28) Fantasyland (16) Fess Parker (1) Film (25) Frito Kid (4) Frontierland (14) Germany (1) Hall of Presidents (4) Haunted Mansion (10) Hidden Mickeys (2) Holidays (1) Hollywood Studios (1) Horizons (3) House of the Future (1) Illustration (3) Imagineering (1) John Lasseter (4) Journey Into Imagination (2) Jungle Cruise (15) Lake Buena Vista (1) Liberty Square (3) Lillian Disney (2) Ludwig Von Drake (1) Magic Kingdom (23) Main Street U.S.A (12) Maintenance (1) Management (5) Maps (13) Marc Davis (8) Marty Sklar (3) Matterhorn (6) Monorail (4) Mr. Lincoln (3) Muppets (2) Music (3) Mystery (9) Nature's Wonderland (7) New Orleans Square (6) Orange Bird (2) Paul Frees (1) PeopleMover (10) Peter Pan (2) Photos (1) Pirates of the Caribbean (9) Pixar (5) Pleasure Island (1) Podcast (1) Progress City (1) Props (2) Railroad (2) Resorts (2) River Country (4) Rivers of America (2) Roy Disney (1) Scale Models (21) Skyway (3) Song of the South (2) Sound Effects (2) Souvenirs (3) Space (3) Space Mountain (6) Splash Mountain (1) sSpace Mountain (1) Tangled (2) The Living Seas (1) Then and Now (17) Tiki Birds (2) Tilt Shift (2) Tomorrowland (39) Tomorrowland 67 (8) Treehouse (1) Vintage Disneyland (3) Walt Disney (15) Walt Disney Family (7) Walt Disney Family Museum (1) Walt Disney World (6) Ward Kimball (1) Wonders of Life (1) World of Motion (2) World's Fair (2) Yeti (1)

Orange Bird Photo Hunt


« That's What Walt Said | Main | Disney + 90s Star Power!! »

My 10-Point Plan for Better Character Attraction Placement

I have a plan. I have organized my plan into ten points. Ten rules. Ten basic guidelines. If implemented, I believe the Disney parks will offer better experiences and better environments. The plan focuses on better placement of character-based attractions yet all types of attractions and their surrounding lands will benefit from this plan. All types of guests will also benefit. 

Let's intelligently approach what might be considered a silly topic. It's a topic I believe to be crucial in maintaining the high standards and integrity of the Disney theme parks. It's a topic that is endlessly debated. I believe there are excellent solutions that require very little compromise from either side of the debate.

The Debate of Character Placement

One of the biggest arguments amongst serious fans is the argument of character placement. I’m not referring to walk-around meet-and-greet costumed characters making temporary autograph-signing appearances (although I will address that later on). I’m talking about permanent character-based attractions.

One side of the argument says, “Characters are fun no matter where you put them” and “People come to the parks because they want to see Disney characters” and “It’s all just for fun anyway”.

The other side says, “Characters are great, but like everything, they should be put in the appropriate locations” and “Character additions to non-character locations change the way those locations feel” and “A certain level of integrity and cohesion need to be maintained”. 

When discussing this issue a while back I was told, “Thank you but I like my attractions Disney-themed”. My immediate thought was, “Aren’t they all sort of ‘Disney-themed’?” Then I said, “So you don’t like almost anything outside of Fantasyland?” This person for whatever reason associated all of Disneyland with the Disney characters and failed to recognize the many non-character offerings with which, ironically, she was also obsessed.

A gift shop coworker of mine once explained that no rhyme or reason need be applied to anything in the Magic Kingdom because “it’s Mickey’s park and he can make anything happen with Pixie Dust.” I’m sorry but that’s a poor way to manage a classy theme park. And that’s not how Pixie Dust works.

A Brief History of Characters in the Parks

Starting in 1955, characters from animated feature films were not permanently placed in any land outside of Fantasyland. Original characters like Tiki Birds and Country Bears were introduced outside of Fantasyland but these were created for these types of environments specifically. Live-action franchises like Davy Crockett, Swiss Family Robinson, and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea were permitted outside of Fantasyland. Characters from corporate sponsors like the Frito Kid, Aunt Jemima, and the Kaiser Aluminum Pig were also permitted. Pecos Bill, from the 1948 short film, was a part of the Golden Horseshoe and Wally Boag’s brilliant show. Gift shops sold character-based items. Character parades regularly wove through the park. But at the end of the day, Fantasyland was the only home for permanent characters. And it worked.

It wasn’t until 33 years after Disneyland opened that the temporary Mickey’s Birthday Land opened at Magic Kingdom in 1988. In 1989 the very permanent Splash Mountain opened in Disneyland’s Critter Country and in Magic Kingdom’s Frontierland in 1992. In 1993 Mickey’s Toon Town opened at Disneyland. And so began the placement of permanent character attractions outside of Fantasyland.

By the end of the decade both Aladdin and Tarzan films inspired permanent changes to significant parts of Disneyland’s Adventureland. Toy Story’s Buzz Lightyear had his own ride in Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. In the new millennium in all sorts of similar changes occurred. Monsters Inc. monsters and Finding Nemo fish moved into lands celebrating the future. A colorful Aladdin spinner ride was plopped in the middle of the jungle. A smart-talking bird from Aladdin teamed up with a bird fromThe Lion King and together they “managed” to repeatedly verbally abuse the former classic attraction they occupied. (They have since been evicted). And the list goes on.

Interestingly only about 50% of these “reimagined” locations remained popular for any real amount of time.

I worked at Disneyland in the late 90s. Disneyland President Paul Pressler (and many others) at the time talked about how everything should be tied to the Disney films. Everything? I would consider any classic attractions to be just as iconic as any film threatening to tie itself to it. Wouldn’t you say? 

Today, CEO Bob Iger speaks of major film franchises being the best way to expand the Disney theme parks. This idea is the foundation on which the Avatarland plans stand. This is no doubt largely inspired by the huge success of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal's Island of Adventure. Harry Potter fits nicely into the pretty open theme of “Adventure”. Does Avatar fit the more specific Animal Kingdom theme of “Animals”? Hold on... Now I’m speaking of a third-party live-action film. This will also be included in the plan.

A Terrible Approach

It is often asked, “Hmm, which land would be best for this film?” Then the land with the least-clashing theme wins. “Monsters don’t really fit in the Old West or in exotic jungles or in Colonial America or in a medieval castle courtyard... Ok, Tomorrowland it is.”

Maybe we should be asking, “What would benefit this land most?” “What sort of attraction, dining, or merchandise would best enhance the experiences this land should offer?” “Would this greatly disrupt the aesthetics and overall design of its surroundings?” “Will this compromise the long-term integrity of this land?”

You may be asking, “but what about the latest successful animated film? It doesn’t fit perfectly but it deserves a place in the parks.” My plan addresses this as well.

Some Things We Can All Agree On:

•  There is potential for big money and lots of fun when it comes to movie tie-ins.

•  Move tie-ins are not immune to failure. 

•  Character rides are an important part of the parks and always have been. 

•  Something does not have to be linked to a movie or a known character to be hugely successful.

Most of Disney’s keystone attractions need no tie-in to be successful: Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Matterhorn, Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Tiki Room, Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world”, Soarin’, Kilimanjaro Safari, Expedition: Everest, and so on.

The Solution

The solution comes down to one thing: ORGANIZATION

How do we best organize everything so that everything fits nicely, integrity is preserved, and everyone still gets to have loads of fun?

A Few Questions to Ponder: 

•  Should every land and every park strive to fill the needs of every type of fan? Is that even possible?

•  Can there be rules that say that something is never permitted in one place but is absolutely permitted in another? 

•  Can certain lands or even entire parks have significantly more relaxed rules than other lands or parks?

Think about these for a minute.

My Thoughts on Animation and Animated Characters

Before I go any further, allow me be clear on one thing. I absolutely love animated feature films, animated short films, and television animation. I studied animation in school. I treasure the memories of my visits to Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and to other animation studios. I regularly watch animation of all kinds. I worked as a Disney Character Artist for a time and absolutely loved it. My wife was a Face Character Performer at Walt Disney World and at Hong Kong Disneyland. I love Disney animation. It is my love for these things that strongly enhances my desire for better organization within the theme parks.

What About Meet-and-greets, the Non-permanent Characters?

It would be irresponsible to not address this topic as well. 

Costumed characters have always appeared in the parks (EPCOT Center being a slight exception for a time) and I think they always should appear in the parks. Their appearances should be fitting though. Timon doesn’t need to be in turn-of-century American Main Street, U.S.A. I don’t think Tinkerbell needs to hang out in Future World. 

The semi-permanent meet-and-greet backdrops, like everything else, should not visually disrupt their surroundings. Their designs and craftsmanship, like everything else, should be on par with the world class environments that surround them. Meet-and-greet sets should blend in so well that when no character is present, the set doesn’t look like a set. If no designated set is available, characters can stand in front of appropriate existing structures or landscaping. Very simple yet very effective.

Addressing “Needs”

At some point while reading this blog post you may have thought of certain guest needs. Perhaps you thought of the need for plenty of character-based attractions for kids. Maybe you thought of the need to not take the parks so seriously. 

The topic of “needs” can quickly ruffle feathers on both sides of any theme park argument. On one side someone will use a need as justification for something that the other side considers to be sub-par. It seems that the ultimate excuse for poor design is that “it fills a need”. The clash between the design-focussed fans and the operations-focussed fans seems to be never-ending.

Might I suggest That Good Design and Efficient Operations Can Nicely Co-exist?

Example 1: Space Mountain. After Matterhorn’s huge success as Disneyland’s first thrill attraction, there was a need for another thrill ride. Space Mountain was built at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Its design, layout, locations, and theme were beautifully and seamlessly brought together to not only fill an operational need but to also fill the design needs of both Tomorrowlands. 

Example 2: Disneyland’s Casey Jr. Circus Train. It meets the needs of small children yet looks great, is well-designed, well-built, fits beautifully, and can be enjoyed by all ages. The all-too-common (and unacceptable) excuse of “it looks terrible but that’s ok because the kids like it” isn’t needed here.

A young and ambitious self-proclaimed “future Disney executive” once told me, “Disney HAD to build the Value Resorts”. Their tacky designs were of no concern to this young man because the Value Resorts fill a need. They do fill a need. But could they have filled a need and showcased better design?

In Other Words...

Everything should be well-designed. Everything should be put in the right place. After all, good and appealing design just might be the most important factor in Disney’s 85+ year success. Too expensive to design and build somthing well? Then don't built it. Build it when it can be done well.


And Finally...



1- EXPAND FANTASYLANDS. Expand Disneyland’s Fantasyland to the northwest as needed. This will accommodate new attractions based on animated feature films and animated short films (The short films need some love too!). Continue current expansion of Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, as planned, with the future option of expanding to the northeast if needed.

2- EXPAND CRITTER COUNTRY AT DISNEYLAND. There is little room for expansion but one more family-friendly offering here would lighten the load over in Fantasyland a bit. My suggestion: An attraction I designed called Country Critter Jamboree. Imagine Country Bear Jamboree but with all sorts of critters putting on a show (maybe in a carousel theater??).

3- CREATE A CRITTER COUNTRY AT MAGIC KINGDOM. Include Splash Mountain and the real estate to the west and northwest. This fun-for-all-ages expansion would allow youngins who can’t yet see the critters inside Splash Mountain to see some critters elsewhere. My suggestion: Two attractions I designed called Critter Canyon Railroad and Critter River Expedition. One is a Casey Jr. Circus Train-style train that repeatedly intersects with a slow Storybook Land-style boat ride. Both are set in a land full of critters and critter habitats. Picture little houses, caves, other critter dwellings. The train would look like it was built by animals with natural forest materials in addition to some old abandoned railroad parts they’ve come across. The boats would look like wide canoes carved by beavers. The boat ride would pay subtle homage to the never-built Western River Expedition that was once intended for that side of the park.

4- “ANYTHING GOES” AT HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS AND CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE. Relax the rules of both parks. These parks have many similarities. Both can accommodate a wide variety of themes. California Adventure has a pretty open theme of “California” and Hollywood Studios has a pretty open theme of  “Hollywood”. Both seem to welcome the current trend of PIXAR PIXAR PIXAR! and the Pixar films seem fit better in these parks than in any of the other parks. I’ve been known to call DHS and DCA “perfect dumping grounds” for anything new-fangled or trendy. “Dumping grounds” is not the right term for two parks that have potential to be pretty great places, but you get my point. So DHS and DCA, go nuts! Let the movie-based offerings fill your borders. Let’s just make sure everything is designed and crafted well. And organized pretty well. Avatarland at DHS? Sure! 

5- HIGHER STANDARDS AT DISNEYLAND AND MAGIC KINGDOM. Designate Fantasylands, Critter Countries (Rules 3 and 4), and Mickey’s Toontown (Disneyland) as the ONLY places in these two parks to house any permanent character-based offerings. This would require the removal of character rides in the Tomorrowlands, Adventurelands, Frontierlands, etc. Remember, this does not include characters like Country Bears, Tiki Birds, Haunted Mansion ghosts, etc. who were designed specifically for these types of environments.  

6- MAKE EPCOT SOPHISTICATED AGAIN. Return the Figment and Dreamfinder duo to Journey Into Imagination and improve the attraction to its original level of entertainment and quality. Figment needs to not only host a great ride again, he needs to represent Future World in a more important way. Remember his role back in the day? As for a “fixed” Journey Into Imagination, I’ve heard some promising rumors very recently from some very legitimate sources. Sorry, I don’t have more to give you than that.

7- NEW LAND AT ANIMAL KINGDOM. Build an animal-focussed Fantasyland-type “kiddie” land. Quality dark rides, spinners, and other family-friendly attractions can be based on the many untapped animal-focussed animated films in Disney’s library. Jungle Book, Tarzan, Robin Hood, Lion King, even The Sword in the Stone, etc. could all exist in a similar way that Peter Pan, Snow White, and Pinocchio exist in Fantasyland. This land would be nicely tucked away and not visible from other lands. Additionally, build only animal/nature-related attractions in the rest of the park.

8- PIXAR-BASED ATTRACTIONS PLACED ONLY IN DHS AND DCA. So far Pixar has a stellar 12-film lineup that should not be ignored. As stated in #4, Pixar films fit quite nicely inside DHS and DCA. For some reason they don’t fit as nicely in say, Tomorrowland or in Epcot. Now, there is definitely some wiggle room in this rule. I write this rule without knowledge of future Pixar films. The day may come when Pixar makes a film a about critters, for example, that would fit nicely into a Critter Country. Perhaps a Finding Nemo attraction would fit in the Fantasyland-style land I proposed for Animal Kingdom in #7. (Maybe the attraction pieces can be moved over from Epcot! Win-win).

9- FUTURE ATTRACTIONS BASED ON THIRD PARTY FILMS TO BE BUILT ONLY AT DHS AND DCA. We shouldn't be foolish enough to think that more third-party films won't make their way into the parks. We've seen much success with attractions based on Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Muppets, etc. Inevitably some of the Marvel lineup will be introduced to the parks. This rule and rule #4 go hand-in-hand. Want an Iron Man ride? Sure. That can be exciting. Let's put it in the park that celebrates all-things-movies. Or in the park that embraces pretty much anything. The Tomorrowlands and Future World don't need to be hodgepodge lands when we have two hodgepodge parks. Just design and build these things well or don't build them at all.

10- E-TICKET TREATMENT TO A, B, C, AND D-TICKET ATTRACTIONS. Lastly, a rule about overall quality. Attractions large and small are important. The enormous scale of Splash Mountain does not need not be applied to a small ride like Dumbo but the level of quality should be the same. The title of this rule is inspired by FoxxFur's Passport to Dreams article entitled "Lighting in a Bottle? Storybook Circus". FoxxFur discusses the charm of "C-ticket rides with E-ticket trimmings". I also refer you to Adam Roth's photo report of the recent New Fantasyland soft opening. This level of craftsmanship has been seen very few times in the past deacade and a half.

There You Have It.

A plan that can be fully-implemented by say... Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary in 2021? I believe this offers solutions for all types of fans and requires very little compromise from either side of the debate. Want more characters? You get them. Want no more mindless cartoony overlays on top of classic, sophisticated themed environments? You've got it. Want only movie-specific offerings? Great. And less walking is required.

Why Ludwig in the header image? He's both intelligent and fun. 


Related posts:

The Era of Big and Tacky
Disney Management Apathy / Hockey Analogy
Buena Vista Street Model
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]



References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (21)

Great Post! I agree with all of this. It drives me crazy to see Monsters Inc in Tomorrowland and all of the other examples you cited.

I wish they would turn DHS into a "studio" park. Turn the different studios into lands. They have room for a huge Pixar Studio area when they tear down the backlot. Plus a Lucas Studio with Star Tours and Indy, Muppet Studios. The problem is the Tower of Terror area and worst placed attarction ever Rock n roller coaster. Why does a Park about film need a roller coaster starring a 70's rock band?

I also agree with your view on character placement. I had a friend who was a character, one day he was playing Foulfellow on Main Street. When it was time for he and the other characters to leave he grabbed Tiggers hand and they scurried away. He was scolded later with "Those 2 characters are from different films, they should not interact." Which, yes, that is trues, but what are they doing together on a turn of the century Main Street in the first place?

Again, well done!

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDonnie

Bravo, Sir. When I first read "Critter Country" above I almost balked as I believe each coast should have some uniqueness between them. But, when you qualified the inclusion of "Critter Country" at WDW-MK by saying there should be unique attractions there I softened my reaction. Thank you for not wanting to be a "complete cookie-cutter, every park gets the same things in the same lands" person.

YAY for mention of Dreamfinder and Figment. I am a long-time fan of the original version of their attraction. I would love to be able to see a return to that level of creativity and whimsy for that space. During EPCOT30 I had the chance to meet the castmember that had the honor to be the face character of Dreamfinder. Sharing our thoughts and memories of days gone by with him was the capping highlight of my day in EPCOT (we had happened to be on the last parking lot tram of the evening).

Keep fighting the good fight, Sir!!

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

Totally agree with everything. If they just put character attractions in the rest of the park, we would've never got Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion. They are environmental attractions that "live" in that land. It creates a feeling of a real place that character attractions detract from.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJer

I agree with this plan. There have been far too many attempts to dumb down the parks in recent years. And even though the animated films aren't inherently "dumb", the way they are added to certain locations is often dumb. And it redefines locations without really redefining the locations.

I appreciate your efforts to increase the character offerings and doing so in an organized way. Great read.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJumpingElephant

rule #8 - only Pixar films at DHS and CAA... I think something with Wall-E would work at Epcot. It's the future, the message of conservation. It would work, in my opinion. :)

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

I recently read a book entitled "Mouse Under Glass", and in the book they mentioned the period after Walt's passing, and everyone was second-guessing themselves, asking "What would Walt say about this?" The situation they're in now sounds exactly like it, seeing as you need a good visionary for all this, and they haven't had one since the late '60s.

However, I modeled how I run my own business after Walt's guidelines, because I believe he had a superior mentality in offering the highest quality product at all times, and knew that the customers would always come back for more if given exactly that.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuss

Excellent article! I agree with you 100% on the points you make about the characters. And as a kid, I perhaps enjoyed the non-Fantasyland parts of Disneyland even more. They were "real" Lands and had adventures I could relate to better. The intrusion of permanent characters diminishes that.

One interesting thing I noted about the way characters were originally used at Disneyland is that they seemed to take the role as "ambassadors of Walt". They were after all his creations so what better way to represent him. So if you were wandering New Orleans Square back in the day it's was okay if you didn't get to meet Walt Disney since you could run into the Three Pigs dancing along to the ragtime band. For some reason it seemed to "work", it was fun, and it was spontaneous. It was okay for them to mingle a bit with the other Lands as long as they weren't permanent. Additionally, the characters were used a lot in Disneyland empherma in much the same way.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOmnispace

Wonderful post. There are so many great ideas in here. The two that really stand out to me are #6 and #10. I've grown to accept characters in EPCOT, but I agree that it needs to more sophisticated. Future World really needs help and deserves a lot better than what it's become. I still love Disney World, but the thing that bugs me is the way some attractions have floundered for so long. They finally did a great job rehabbing the Tiki Room after the fire, and there are so many other examples that need the same care. Even if they didn't build new attractions, just bringing the worn-down ones back to speed would make a huge difference. Great job!

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Heaton

Dan, I must respectfully disagree.

People complained that the "revamped" Tiki Room got dated really fast, and was sorta "topical". Technically so was the it came out shortly upon Hawaii becoming the 50th State. Every time I watch the footage of it I get bored. It was wonderful as one of the first animatronic shows, but several decades later, I think the show really needs to be renovated and updated.

Admittedly shoving Zazu and Iago in there wasn't the best way to do it, but it's gotta get done. It just doesn't have the pull it once did, except to those who love it for its classic/nostalgic feel.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRuss

Russ, not being thrilled about the old-school Tiki Room is understandable. I'm a big fan of it, through I know a lot is nostalgia. My point was that they fixed the sound and the effects so they actually worked like they were intended. There are a lot of examples throughout the parks where attractions need some serious upkeep. At least in this case, they've found a way to make it top-notch once again, regardless of how much interest everyone has in it. It's a start at least.

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan Heaton

Russ, I don't know what show you were watching, but it sure wasn't the same "Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room" that I saw. I haven't heard of anyone I know getting bored from watching that show and I most certainly never have. And it's not because of nostalgia, either, because I saw that show for the first time well past its prime and enjoyed it all the same. But these are just my observations, however, and it's very likely that your viewpoint is drastically different.
I'm under the impression that some attractions are cornerstones of the theme parks they reside in, as iconic as any of Disney's animated films, and as such should not be severely tampered with. We wouldn't go back and change Pinocchio if the film failed to have as strong of a draw with audiences now as it did upon its original release. So aside from the occasional small "plusses" which have been a hallmark of Disneyland's legacy of quality since its inception as well as proper maintenance and restoration work, I believe that cornerstone attractions should remain relatively similar to their original incarnations.
I suppose the bottom line is that, even if you dislike the show, and even if the show isn't as popular as it once was, that's no reason to let it go to rubbish. It still deserves to function as it was intended to function and with a little dignity, even if attendance is not as high as it once was. It is still entitled to proper maintenance, if for no other reason, because it exists in a Disney theme park and there are still crowds of people (even if they're smaller crowds) who, regardless of what reasons, enjoy the show and deserve to see a quality performance of it whenever they return to the park.

October 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter1967WEDway

Brilliant article (very balanced) and great plan (although I might differ on a few points)... Now, is it possible that someone will ascend to head WDP&R or TWDC that really 'gets it', as Mitch does.

October 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSWW

Now I have not had a chance to read all the posts or the whole 10 point plan given the the hour, but from what I have read I couldn't agree more. You guys have the best grasp on the parks and just about all situations concerning them. The only thing that I didn't see was a plan for overall maintenance of the parks. I went to Disneyland last month with my family and was heart broken to see how much of the park and the lands were in disarray. Toon Town was dirty, needed repair in many places such as paint and discoloration from rain and sun exposure. The list can go on forever when looking at the Submarine ride that was falling apart with rotten screens or missing star fish, Pirates with the poor repairs and so on. It drives me crazy! The whole experience becomes disillusioning and don't get me started on Autopia. The more I tried not to look at the things not working or just badly repaired the more I seem to notice. It's like people are more concerned with shopping or just getting on the rides. Its as if they overlook all the problems so long as they got to do what they want when there. I personally can't take it. Maybe I am just looking to hard into the situation.

October 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJon Rockwell

I completely agree with this article. Too bad Disney won't follow it. That said, I think you left out a big example of Epcot. Remove the ducks from the Mexico ride.

November 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSubsonic

Great article, really. I get tired of people going character crazy and using the excuse "But it's DISNEYland, there HAS to be Disney characters" and needing to remind them that many of the best attractions lack any sort of character tie-in. I personally adore the dark rides in Fantasyland, but my love for movie-based attractions ends there. I'd love to see more oringality in the rest of Disneyland. More attractions like Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain... less like the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and Winnie the Pooh. ;) More attractions where creativity and imaginations can shine. More attractions that enhance the theme of the land and embrace the Guest in a new world, allowing them to experience a new story and explore new ideas. Character tie-ins can only bring so much depth.

The one thing that I disagree with is being loose with characters in DCA. I think that park has fantastic potential to be an elegant, classy park celebrating the history, the stories, the art, the geography, and the spirit of California. I'd like to see character tie-ins need to pass a rigorous test before becoming a permanent part of any area of the park. They would need to enhance the theme of whatever land they were in first, highlighting a unique aspect of the state, before being considered as an addition to the park. The characters could only exist not only if the ride was well-crafted, but if they added purpose and definition to the land and the park. For example, Cars Land. I'll admit that Cars Land works relatively well in the park. The beautiful desert conveys the same natural beauty and wonder that the Californian desert does. The recreated portion of Route 66 is similar to the slices of the highway that you can find in California. It brought a previously unrepresented piece of Californian history to the park. So, it works well in the theme of California (although, I still would have loved to see a similar land without a franchise tie-in. A land that celebrated California's car culture, Route 66, and beautiful desert could have easily been accomplished without bringing in cartoon Pixar cars and would have allowed the opportunity to create an exciting, new, original story. If done well, I think I would have preferred that. But I digress...) Part of the park has this beautiful, elegant feel that celebrates the history of the state and the other is this random collection of characters and franchises dumped into lands without any real rhyme, reason, or purpose. Things Monsters Inc. or "a bug's land" do nothing to enhance the story of the park, they only occupy valuable realstate that could be used to create new attractions that would actually compliment the story of the land and the park. A park that celebrates the natural beauty, impressive stories, and rich history of the Golden State is a wonderful idea, and certain parts of the park reflect that. I'd like to see rigorous standards set for the park so that all its potential can be unleashed.

November 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLyndsey

There's nothing wrong with having character-centric attractions in Adventureland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Epcot, etc.

Anyone who thinks that is stupid and close-minded! All the more reason to hate this blog and lump it in with all the other overly-negative ones that have nothing better to do than complain!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Re: Lyndsey, Donnie, Subsonic, Jon Rockwell, Omnispace, Joe, Jer and JumpingElephant... You're all just as idiotic as the people who write this stupid blog for agreeing with them! Shame on all of you bashers!

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Ok, Anonymous. Did you even read this post? It's not at all your typical "bashing" or "complaining". It's well thought out and quite fair. Overall it's just saying that the parks should maintain a bit of order.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJumperJH

Fantastic, well thought out post! Too bad others aren't able to engage in an intelligent, polite discussion about it.

January 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. EPCOT

I finally got around to reading the whole post and feel a little foolish ranting about mantinence, but I had just visited the park and was a little upset about the seamless quality of apperence being over looked. With that said, I have always noticed but never paid attention to rides like Aladdin in Aventureland, or Stich in Tomorrowland where Pixar characters like Wall-E would seem more appropriate. Anyway, this could take way from the subtle transition the parks is know for and can make it off putting for those that notice it. Again I agree with the ideas posted in the plans, but to the average person this is easily overlooked with the hussle of the day at the park. I would love to see Tomorrowland return to the future, characters or not, but less characters given that is what I grew up with. Heck, The Princess And The Frog would be perfect for New Orleans Squre I would welcome something like that if character rides are what is wanted.

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJon Rockwell

Epcot attractions for the most part should not be movie related. Epcot's entire focus is on discovery and learning about new exciting technology. They should not be trying to tie it back to what guests experience everyday (isn't that why innoventions failed). Take the new Frozen ride for example. The night before a family goes to WDW they watch the movie. Then the daughter sleeps under a Frozen themed blanket. Then they pack their Frozen t shirts in their Frozen suitcase, which they load into their car along with a Frozen sing along CD for the trip. By the time they get on the ride, the kid might enjoy it, but the parents are ready to head to Germany for a few liters of beer.

December 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRich

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>