Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Something to be aware of: Disneyland is becoming one big Toon Town. The original themed lands were representations of different times and places and the attractions in them were geared more toward the land themes than anything else. Disney characters, aside from an occasional appearance, resided in Fantasyland – and then in Toon Town.
Lately most new attractions across the park are based on whatever latest movie is out. The result is that you have cartoon Tarzan taking over the Swiss Family Treehouse, Buzz Lightyear in Tomorrowland, soon to be Finding Nemo replacing the sub rides and Pooh over in the far corner of Frontierland.
To further clarify the point; for instance, a Frontierland with permanent features like the Golden Horseshoe, the Mark Twain and western buildings can really take you back in time, as if you were magically transported to that time and place. An occasional appearance by a Disney character that fits in with the theme comes as a pleasant surprise and reminds you of where you really are.
But it is quite a different thing to be in a Frontierland with permanent features maybe more like Woody and Jesse’s Shoot’em Up Saloon, Pluto’s Western Bounce House and Nemo’s Explorer Canoes. You aren’t really being transported back to that place and time anymore – you know you’re in an amusement park, and actually more of a kiddy park.
I don’t think this has come about as the result of conscious overall creative design, but rather the result of a company structure with business managers at the top and creative people under them, scrambling to give the managers what they want – synergy. Synergy is a good thing in small doses, but this strategy will never give us another Pirate ride or Haunted Mansion. The system needs to be reversed, with the creative leaders deciding what attractions would really enhance an area in an amazing way, with the business managers there to support them and turn the projects into reality. Duh.