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Entries in Then and Now (17)

Friday
Feb252011

THEN AND NOW: MK Adventureland [Part 1]

Thursday
Jan202011

THEN AND NOW: Epcot World Showcase [Part 1]

World Showcase, Epcot

France

Morocco

Italy

Germany

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. 

Sooooo.... 

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.

 

Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]


 

Wednesday
Nov242010

THEN AND NOW: MK Fantasyland [Part 1]

Fantasyland, Magic Kingdom

 

 

Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland facades has seen relatively little change over the years.  You'll notice a lot of color changes though.

As for attractions, Mickey Mouse Review has sadly been gone for almost 3 decades... and now it no longer exists ANYWHERE as it was recently removed from Tokyo Disneyland.  

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, you know, "that one thing with water and submarines and stuff that nobody liked because it used to cost a lot to maintain", well it's still gone.  Golly, I do miss it regardless of how much they tried to tell me it was "bad business" to keep around.

The Skyway tower still looks sharp.  Can we just keep it there forever?  It does no one any harm.

Thank you for no more Lion King in the area.  Oh wait, there's that one scene in Mickey's PhilharMagic.  That's ok, I suppose.

Thank goodness Cinderella Carrousel is no longer just for little girls.  And it's no longer Cinderella's.  And now it's regal.  It's the Prince Charming Regal Carrousel!

Winnie the Pooh is still the new Mr. Toad.  Speaking of "Pooh", shouldn't he be called "Winnie" or "Winnie the Pooh" and not just "Pooh".  Pooh is his species, right?  It's like calling Yogi Bear just "Bear".  

And another question: With the facade/queue of the "Pooh" ride being changes so radically from the (sort of) medieval courtyard look to a themed-out 100 Acre Woods look, will we see more of this sort of thing with the other existing Fantasyland attractions??  I would think they would limit this to anything outside what might be the castle courtyard area.  This makes sense for The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and it's close proximity to what may become Fantasyland Forest (or whatever they decide on).  But I can only imagine a successful more immersive queue like this one might inspire a Neverland-themed interactive queue at Peter Pan's Flight that jets out into the walkway with a bunch of non-medieval courtyard-themed props placed every-which-way...?  And similar treatments to all other Fantasyland rides??  Don't get me wrong, I've always considered the medieval tent entrances to be a little less than exciting compared to say, Disneyland's 1983 Fantasyland make-over with it's super charming architecture adapted to the storyline of each attraction.  But the medieval courtyard look offers a pretty nice, consistent look throughout the area.  

So will this Pooh queue inspire a new movement that will change the existing Fantasyland to become yet another incohesive, hodgepodged, mix-matched land? I'm not referring to the expansion but the land as we know it today.  My fear is they'll treat each little piece of the land independently without much thought of the other pieces.  Think: Future World in the last 12 years.  

Now let's say the facade/queue of each attraction gets new treatment. Let's say there is a great master plan. Let's say there is great attention to each attraction AND to the look of the land as a whole.  This might be a good thing.  Not too many digital screens please.

Thoughts?

 

Related posts:

THEN AND NOW: MK Tomorrowland [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Liberty Square [Part 1]
THEN AND NOW: Epcot Future World [Part 1]
ABANDONED DISNEY: River Country [Part 1]
Fantasyland Expansion Model
Matterhorn for Magic Kingdom Fantasyland

 

BONUS: Today marked the theatrical release of Disney's 50th animated feature "Tangled". Check out Rapunzel's tower at Disneyland's Fantasyland:  

Photos taken 11-16-10