Thursday, March 02, 2006

Restoring Walt Disney’s Disneyland: The Golden Horseshoe Revue


There are many differences in today’s Disneyland experience from that of Walt’s classic Magic Kingdom. And it’s not just a matter of old rides that are missing or replaced, but of a different tone and texture.

There was a time when the environments of Disneyland were more like a time-machine: the frontier, the turn-of-the-century, the future - - all these lavish sets were meant to transport the guest to that idealized time and place, to sort-of a living movie-lot - - not just a modern day “themed” experience, like Las Vegas or Solvang or Outback Steakhouse.

Part of that immersive show was the live entertainment that evoked the times portrayed, whether it was the Dapper Dans singing barbershop on Main Street or a wild saloon show in the old west.

Slue Foot Sue’s Golden Horseshoe Revue was the showplace of Frontierland from opening day clean through to the Eisner era, when it closed as the longest-running stage show of the day.

A passionate vaudevillian at heart, Walt Disney proudly presented a full-bodied, over-the-top, corn-fed interactive burlesque show right out of the history books, and audiences ate it up with a silver spoon.

With a saloon madam, her dancing girls, an Irish tenor and a cowboy comedian (and their band), The Golden Horseshoe Revue didn’t try to be relevant to the times in any way, but transported guests back into another era of entertainment; to the days before movies and television when seltzer and pantaloons reigned supreme.

Wally Boag, Betty Taylor and company made the show fresh for close to thirty years. During times of amazing political and social change and upheaval in the real world, the show continued to shoot from the hip. Despite the onset of several wars, civil rights, feminism, hippies, disco and rap, the girls of the Golden Horseshoe kept kicking their heels to the delight of the most diverse audiences…

Into the 80’s, Pecos Bill was still spitting teeth, the girls were still posing for the Police Gazette and Sue was still looking for her Big City Beau. Audiences never seemed to tire of the show.

Even though history had marched on, the old west remained the same – and so did the burlesque. It was, after all, supposed to represent another era. As spectators and participants, we learned about what that era may have been like. We didn’t look for our own social reflections and moog synthesizers in their frontier antics.

But the coming of political correctness and entertainment expense cutbacks (as well as the retirement of the original cast) finally called a halt to the old time fun.

Sadly, Frontierland has gone from boomtown to ghost town in the process. The Golden Horseshoe was the gold-digging, gunslinging heart of Walt’s old west. Now Frontierland more evokes Boot Hill.

The Revue’s replacements have been less ambitious and uniformly less-successful: from children’s shows (Woody’s Round-Up) to hillbilly bands (Billy Hill) to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers-style cabaret shows (Golden Horseshoe Jubilee), some had charm, but none captured the wild & wooly west of Hollywood and Disney lore like Slue Foot Sue and her spirited Can-Can girls.


So why have those saloon girls stayed away so long? Even a stripped down cast of just the madam and her girls would fill the bill if costs of a large cast were an issue (and surely a well-heeled backer could again be found - - the Revue was historically sponsored by Pepsico).

But one suspects that PC is the real issue – and perhaps marketers who want Disneyland to reflect the “relevant and compelling” world of the modern consumer. They think this sort of entertainment is “quaint.” After all, what kids today would relate to that stuff? Who would line-up to see it?

Well, guess what? That sort of entertainment was way out of date in the 1960’s too – - As kids, we didn’t relate to it either, or get the timely gags - - we just thought it was cool! We loved being able to go to another time and place. And those girls were great dancers with a contagious joie-de-vivre!

The spicy, sexy (but totally wholesome) doings at The Golden Horseshoe helped to make Disneyland an experience for the entire family, not just the parents and tots of today’s targeting. After all, Disneyland’s charms can naturally lean a bit too heavily toward Mom, Princess, Kitten and Uncle Arthur, rather than to Dad and Bud.

But The Golden Horseshoe’s shapely Can-Can girls, along with the hula dancers at Tahitian Terrace and the go-go girls of Tomorrowland… and those crop spanking Disneyland ambassadors… provided some eye candy and entertainment that men’s men of all ages could appreciate with a wink and a smile to their wives and girlfriends (and significant others).

What’s so wrong with that? Sex appeal is a whole level of the Disneyland dream that has vanished over time - - and perhaps not coincidentally, those demos have grown weaker.

Again, old Walt knew what he was doing.

That this celebrated aspect of Disneyland's history did not return for the 50th anniversary is a travesty of executive planning. I hope one day we Can-Can go back again to kick up our heels at Slue Foot Sue’s.

The stage awaits their return – and ours.

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, why blame Disney for political correctness? It's Disney's customers that insist on it, and the customer is always right, right? It's not Disney's fault that people have gotten too picky, too sensitive, and too "correct." Walt, were he alive today, could NEVER build and operate the Disneyland of the 1950s - he'd be sued eight ways from Tuesday. Why are Disney executives at fault for bowing to the realities (stupid as they may be) of our modern era?

Merlin Jones said...

Who said the audience demanded it?

Anonymous said...

We used to look forward to the Golden Horseshoe every time we went to the parks. Now it's one less place to visit, and a fond memory.

It's not blaming Disney for political correctness; it's blaming the management for going from having a vision and a plan to becoming just another theme park. The biggest draw of the Disney parks is that they are THEME parks, not AMUSEMENT parks. Our frontier heritage is not necessarily PC but it is ours.

Imagineer-in-Waiting said...

A lot of looking at the past is seen as very idealized. I recall NOT seeing the Golden Horseshoe many, many times because of one fatal flaw. The show had a very small venue. Queuing outside in the open in Southern California was draining.

Personally, I really liked Woody's Roundup. The way the stage and the character costumes switched from color to black and white was a brilliant tribute to a by-gone era. The anachronistic Buzz sneaking in as a disembodied arm handing Woody an equally anachronistic jackhammer was tightly comedic and clever.

Anonymous said...

The Golden Horseshoe Revue still lives on in spirit in Orlando; the venerable Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue carries on the vaudeville corniness and rowdy fun. It's been packing houses for years; why not bring it to Disneyland?

Anonymous said...

I for one am not in the least bit offended by Can-Can girls and crop whip wearing bab,… er, I mean young ladies. Bring 'em on!

The crazy part of this is nobody on this board realizes how many Disney execs frequent The Gentleman's Club on San Fernando Blvd. in Glendale. I should know! I worked there for eight years!!! I have stories you people wouldn't believe.

Anonymous said...

Well, don't just leave us hanging, make with the stories!! If you need an untraceable black computer with the serial numbers filed off, I know a guy.

Perhaps the issue of waiting for the Revue outside could be addressed with the same kind of ticketing system used elsewhere in the park - what's it called, Fast Pass?

And why not have both the old and newer shows play on the stage throughout the day?

Anonymous said...

Have you seen Billy Hill and the Hillbillies? They're insanely great. Not everything new is bad.

Merlin Jones said...

But they aren't Can-Can girls!

perkypickle said...

merlin...

incredibly well put!

Disneyland has DEFINITELY become more outback steakhouse than continue Walt's THEME PARK theories.

the vaudeville is something that i believe is more prevolent than ever. since were are even more removed from that era, the 'time machine' nature of the park would have an even greater imapact on kids of today.

think about it...we're exactly as far now, in years, from the opening of Disneyland as the era Walt was portraying with Main St. when Disneyland opened.

not only should the horseshoe return (especially while Wally Boag is still around to help guide its resurgence) but small things like the "White Wings" and "Keystone Cop" appearances on Main St. these were removed in the 1970s when, according to Marty Skylar, no one knew what a White Wing was any more. (for those of you who don't know, White Wings were guys dressed in white with pith helmets and wheeled garbage cans that swept up the horse crap on the turn of the century main street throughfares).

Disneyland was meant to be a fully immersive film experience. THANK GOD, film-makers are regaining control of Walt's great experiment again. even if it dosen't return to its original glory, at least people who actually care about it will have some say in its destiny!

wowzie-wowzie-woo-woo!

OperationsGal said...

As a woman (last time I checked) and former hourly Disneyland hostess I wouldn't mind one bit if they brought back the can-can girls and the hint of sexy doin's in Frontierland. (Or the go-go girls of Tomorrowland or the hula girls of Adventureland). It would certainly be better than what's in the Golden Horseshow now, because I can tell you that Billy Hill and his Hillbillies in those overalls are nothing for us gals to look at. The point of Disneyland skewing just a bit on the feminine and gay side is also well taken, and quite honestly true. The guys should have a few bones thrown their way since they pay the same ticket prices the ladies and the gay guys do.

I can also add to this discussion as a current member of Disneyland Operations management who spent some time in Guest Relations and had plenty of nutcase guests pounding their fists on the counter of City Hall on a busy Saturday upset at some perceived slight or politically incorrect tradition that Disneyland still practiced. (Remind me to tell you about the snotty European couple who marched in to City Hall incensed that they were "subjected to" the pro-American horrors of the Flag Retreat Ceremony in the Town Square).

That said, it seems to me that Disneyland in the last 10 years or so bends to the wishes of a vocal and very small minority of our guests, and/or the haughty dictates of the Los Angeles Times editorial board. Meanwhile, 99.98% of our paying guests actually enjoy the type of entertainment we offer, before the LA Times and some weirdo leftist insist that we are horrible, hateful people for showcasing a pretty girl or shooting at an attacking hippo.

I would love it if Disneyland's senior executive team realized that we are not trying to be at the forefront of social progressiveness here. Heck, we've still got boy robots auctioning off girl robots in one of the Park's most popular rides. Loosen up a bit, refuse to cower at the whims of the left-leaning Los Angeles media, and bring back some unabashed old fashioned entertainment.

If the execs did that, my counterparts on the front lines in Operations will handle the occasional nutcase upset at the treatment of the robotic animals in the Jungle Cruise or the degrading sexism of the can-can girls in Frontierland. You can't please 'em all, and Disneyland should stop trying.

By the way, the Golden Horseshoe is currently scheduled to be closed for about 6 weeks later this spring. It's being remodeled and turned into a facility serving ice cream sundaes of all things. I don't know what the Entertainment Department has in mind for the stage itself though.

perkypickle said...

operationsgal....

should i place a note in the suggestion box at city hall to use the horseshoe stage to auction off can-can girls? that would be pretty cool!

yeah, i've always thought managemement went WAY too far to accomidate the very few, minority guests that complain about some mindless offence they perceived. it's Disney for cryin out loud! how offensive could it be?...sheesh!

sex, or at least a hint of it, has always been a part of disney entertainment. surely, something as innocent as the 50s Mickey Mouse Club was well aware of pre- and teenage hormones and consciously acknowledged them.

Danny and Jackie said...

As a customer I would Insist on more lovely ladies dancing

Ron Schneider said...

WAS the GHS actually closed because of audience demand for political correctness?

Or was it that the highly skilled, highly experienced and (for Disney) highly paid cast (10 union perfs onstge, 2 full time support backstage) cost 'too much'?

Or the old saw that the new DL Management didn't appreciate the value of the GHS show?

I was there, onstage, understudying the great Mr. Boag for 2 1/2 years... And I can tell you, that show was timeless, sure-fire and more powerfully entertaining than ANYTHING that came after it.

And we're out here.... waiting for the invitation to come back!

Anonymous said...

As a gay man I would LOVE to see these shows return. These types of entertainment add to the overall atmosphere of the park. I agree with operationsgal. Give the straight boys and lesbo girls something to look at. Fair is fair.

Anonymous said...

What does it matter if you are gay or not. Quality is quality and a good show is a good show.

Matthew said...

When you mentioned Pecos Bill spitting out teeth, I had a vivid memory of watching that show when I was eight or nine years old, on my first visit to Disneyland. I haven't thought of that for years. At the time, I was terrified that the poor guy was losing all his teeth.

Thanks for bringing back the memory, and here's to the show's return.

Anonymous said...

Here's a radical thought. How about pulling the plug on Frontierland altogether. When was the Wild West last popular? 1955? Fifty years ago. It's time for a change and I think that this land is prime example of what Uncle Walt had in mind when speaking of changes.

Before the nostalia buffs start hating, consider the possibilities. This may be one of the most boring under-developed lands. Get the emotions out now and try not to wax nostalgic for a moment and aproach this with a moment of clarity.

Maybe Frontierland should be replaced with another land or theme.

Merlin Jones said...

Replace Frontierland at Walt Disney World if you like - but not Disneyland, please.

Walt's original themes are timeless... and so are Can-Can girls!

Adam Villani said...

Would this be a good place to suggest that the girls manning the Storybook Land Canal Boats go back to those knee-high socks?

Anonymous said...

The western is timeless, and most foreign visitors to Disneyland enjoy the theme of Frontierland. It is the only "land" that is uniquely american. I say keep the land and the theme, however that does not mean it could not do with a little addition here or there. Something as basic as adding a few AA figures to the RR or something like that.

Matt said...

I agree. Frontierland is barely developed at WDW, but it's a classic at Disneyland. They could even develop Frontierland in California more by replacing Big Thunder Ranch (or whatever it's called these days) with an attraction or something attractive. I'm sure that has been a point of debate for quite some time around here.

DucktaleDave said...

Get rid of Frontierland? I don't see how eliminating Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, the Mark Twain, the Columbia, and Tom Sawyer's Island would be an improvement.

However, I like the idea someone once suggested turning the Big Thunder Ranch Area into a Woody-themed attraction, to blend between Fantasyland and Frontierland.

I do miss the old mine train and the pack mules. For my tastes, it would be nice to have a slower-paced ride in which you could experience sights and sounds of the old west. You kinda get that from the ships going around the Rivers of America, but something more lively like Jungle Cruise or Pirates would be fun.

Anonymous said...

Western River Expanse anyone?

Anonymous said...

Just becuase the Horseshoe Revue is gone doesn't mean that theater isn't living up to its potential.

Have you ever seen Billy Hill and the Hillbillies? It may not be a full-on variety show but it's well-themed to the area and entertains both kids and adults equally well.

Today's audiences aren't likely to sit still long enough to put up with can-can girls.

If everything stayed the same at Disneyland all the time it'd get pretty boring pretty quick.

It'd be nice if the Revue was still there, of course. But Billy Hill was a worthy replacement, dudes.

Blackwood Buzz said...

As a Disney fan, I'd love to see the real Golden Horshoe shows come back. However, as a 21st century consumer -- pretty much along the lines of the rest of the visitors to DL and especially WDW -- the Golden Horseshoe is not just old-fashioned, but TOO old-fashioned. If this is revived, why not bring back the silent movies on Main Street?

One other point: this generation just doesn't care about Westerns or the motif. It's a genre whose time has past; and those "westerns" produced today, like Lonesome Dove and even Brokeback, are, obviously, tailored for contemporary audiences. As such, an "authentic" experience would probably never again go over with today's crowds.

Merlin Jones said...

>>If this is revived, why not bring back the silent movies on Main Street?<<

We still have them at Disneyland, thank goodness! I hope they never leave (though a nice seated sceening room would be nice).

Anonymous said...

It would be nice to have Frontierland return to the glory days of the wild west. Returning the Golden Horseshoe show back would be step in the correct direction. The Billy Hill show , although cute does not serve up the bill. They would be better in Critter Country performing . What is happening now is that group has a large amount of groupies that sort of camp out and see all the shows all day long. Leaving little space for day trippers and first time visitors. The show gets old unless they keep updating the numbers . People have to stand in lines during peek holiday times only to have allseats saved for other Billy Fanatics. Frontierland could use another ride tht is if marketing would givr up the Big Thunder ranch area (that is very under used.)

Anonymous said...

Right On anonymous. Another ride of D quality perhaps a Woody & Jesse ride. Billy Hill is certainly no review, the show is stale and needs to be replaced soom, perhaps with the closure and revamping of the Shoe the boys in dungrees will get the boot

Anonymous said...

Bring back the golden Horseshoe Revue, bring back the Tahitian Terrace, bring back the ability to live for a few brief moments in another time or another world.

Billy Hill and Co are great, but take them outside as streetmousephere.

At least DL has a semi decent show. WDW is full of rubberheads and DLP does not have a show at all, but a character buffet restaurant. Bad show.

The Disney theme park experience was about just that, experience. GHR, TT and all the shows, streetmousephere bring as much to the experience as any attraction, if not more.

Add cleanliness to the list of things to be restored.

Ben said...

I can say that Disney's entertainment employers might imply that some executives do not want to hire more performers for the Golden Horseshoe. The Billy Hill show actors are recycled in the outdoor show in front of the Horseshoe (usually involving comedians from DCA's D.U.H.). It probably boils down to efficiency for the company - more "bang" for Disney's buck. I can't say I care too much about what show takes place inside the theater, but I am hesitant to support the return of can-can girls. They should only return if solely for achronistic reasons, but from looking at the other comments on this post, some people probably don't understand the excessiveness of misogyny and objectification in this country.

Roger Colton said...

I have to agree that the two reasons why the Golden Horseshoe Review went were the cost and the limits of the venue.

You had not only the cast, but the band and the stagehands as well. All very good but all very pricey. And part of the reason why there were no nightime shows. You would have needed a full second cast, band and crew for another 8 hours

And the venue? Nice but never really enough seats. I can't tell you the number of times walking by when the "All Seats Gone For Today" sing was up out front before noon.

Would I like to see it come back? Sure, but realistically it would have to be an extra cost show just to break even.

Merlin Jones said...

>>They should only return if solely for achronistic reasons, but from looking at the other comments on this post, some people probably don't understand the excessiveness of misogyny and objectification in this country.<<

Have you seen what the guests are wearing to the parks or what's on reality shows and MTV today?

...How are fully clothed can-can girls worse?

At least they are dancing and demonstrating a lost artform! - - And not singing about having "junk in their trunk" like on plain old commercial TV!

Your argument is from the 1970's!

Pragmatic Idealist said...

It's interesting to note that the Golden Horseshoe was Walt Disney's favorite attraction, and I would like to see the revue return in some form, as well. A saloon just isn't a saloon without Can-Can dancers.

I would want a new revue to be more creative and unique, though. There is the potential to include Pecos Bill and his tall-tale friends (Slue Foot Sue; Paul Bunyan; Johnny Appleseed; etc.) in a show that is larger and more whimsical in scope. For example, the revue may not be a revue at all, but rather the starting point for a narrative-based stage play that is set in a saloon and that may involve the audience.

Disney could also make the Golden Horseshoe into more of a dinner show, if capacity is an issue.

Ghostbuster626 said...

The audience didnt demand it. The Suits who took over Disney made all the PC changes because they think Disney is only appealing to kids ages 3-11.

Justin J. Clark said...

Ultimately, whether this particular show is revived or not, the more relevant point is that the Disney parks are at their best when they are creating a fully-immersive experience, whether that experience is the American West of the 1800's, a small-town's Main Street from the 1900's, or a 1930's hotel with a wonky elevator. All the subtle and not-so-subtle details within that experience either draw you deeper into the experience or take you out of it.

Whether or not Woody's Roundup was a good show, it is out of step with the American West. By its own lore, "Woody's Roundup" was something you'd find on a 1950's television set, not west of the Mississippi at least a full century earlier. What you would find and what we would expect to find are things like saloons, madams, and can-can girls. All the "political correctness" in the world won't change that.

I would like to add that, beyond just this post, I am encouraged that so many other posts on this blog all speak to that same theme: Disney should be an immersive experience. Standing in line should be just as much a part of the experience as the ride itself. Technology should be used to create these experiences and to tell stories, so creating technology and creating stories are not and should not be seperate processes. Properly maintaining an exprience is just as vital to its lasting impact as creating it in the first place. Synergy might be great when it works, but permanently tossing a cartoon character into a theme that almost fits does not.

There's so much more, but it all comes back to the main point that the changes that are most needed are to more clearly define the experiences being created and then to once-again create those experiences using old lessons, new technology, better maintenance, and an increased attention to detail.

Matthew L said...

>>If this is revived, why not bring back the silent movies on Main Street?<<

We still have them at Disneyland, thank goodness! I hope they never leave (though a nice seated sceening room would be nice).


Are we talking about the theatre that shows the old B&W Mickey cartoons? Because, if so, that was one of my big frustrations when I was at Disneyland back in 2002. I just couldn't understand what they were thinking when they set that room up. Six screens running simulaneously means you can't have the sound, so these talking cartoons are played as silent films. Plus, since they all have different lengths, once one finished you would have to wait for a minute before another one started - unless you don't mind coming into a half-completed cartoon.

They should either gut the room and turn it into a proper cinema showing the six cartoons (with sound) one after the other, or (if they don't want to go to too much expense) at least have each screen showing all six cartoons one after the other (staggering the start times), so you can just select one screen and sit there watching all the cartoons.

dan said...

In my opinion, it would be insane to bring back the Golden Horseshoe Revue in it's original form. Why? The cost of it for the amount of guests it can serve simple isn't worth an investment.

But what about closing the GHR building for a certain time every day to do dinner show performances? Perhaps two performances per day, and they would be an hour long shows. As someone mentioned, the Hoop De Doo Revue in Disney World is much like this -- and you have to go out of the parks and pay to see it. Yet many, many people do and it is always sold out. Keep the building open throughout the day as a regular building (Ice Cream Parlor with the Billy Hill show or whatever) and then close it at 5:30 to get ready for a 6:00 and 7:00 show. Maybe even an 8:00 and 9:00 show. Charge for the tickets. If people in Flordia are willing to go through the trouble of leaving the park they are in to travel and pay for the Hoop De Doo Revue, they should be happy to pay for it at Disneyland in the park.

To make the park more interactive and on a budget, what about tossing more street performers in the streets at regular although unannounced intervals. At Six Flags Great America, there is a "rainmaker" show where a performer in period costume as a con man comes out and tries to sell to the audience that he can make it rain. After a spirited amount of time, the show climaxes with making it "rain" through a sort of sprinkler system. It is a fun show to watch, requires only one or two people to control and really enhances that area of the park. Putting multiple attractions like this in at the various lands would be cheap and could really immerse people. Besides that, it is like seeing a whole different attraction without realizing it is there.

Finally, while I don't believe that Six Flags capitalizes on it, this would be another great way to get some goods sold. If a similiar show was done, perhaps after the con man successfully makes it rain, he can open his cart with his assistant to sell "elixirs, beverages and more." This could then become a specialized stand for a short period of time while people jumped in line for a special drink or something from the cart. Not just is it cheap, but the sales afterwards could easily pay for the performers.

Obviously, this wouldn't work in all cases, but short themed shows like this in each land would be very interesting and fun. How about an alien landing in Tomorrowland, walking around looking for "the leader" and then making a speech to Mickey Mouse, who he has incorrectly identified as the leader of the world? Maybe someone who claims to be able to speak to the spirits near the Haunted Mansion? A pirate duel near Pirates of the Carribean? An Uncle Remus-like character telling stories near Splash Mountain (maybe not politically correct, but done properly could be very nice)? There are tons of things that could be thought of to interact with the attractions nearby and would take minimal (1-3) cast members to pull off. At an extra couple thousand dollars a day cost to the parks, imagine the greatly increased Guest experiences that this would bring.

Finally, don't advertise these mini-shows. Let the magic in them be that they are just 'part of the park,' not things that were created for Guests to add to their check-off lists. Make them a surprise, so Guests have the feeling whether they have visited the park once or a million times that they don't know exactly what will be around the corner. And for gosh's sake, unless it is references, please don't put the Disney characters in them.

I wouldn't spent much time worrying about the Horseshoe Revue. Yes, it was wonderful, but will be nearly impossible to recreate exactly how it was, and changing shoes like it on a regular basis will only open more of the magic, in my opinion.

S.T. Lewis said...

I love Billy Hill and the Hillbillies when it's the right cast, but I do see your point. The old Golden Horseshoe Revue was a classic. It would be nice to get to see it again... or I guess this many years later, at least something like it.

flmbuff77 said...

All,
I love the idea of this blog.
Having read through all the posts here, and witnessing suggestions such as a more emersive experience in the queuing areas a la Orlando's ToT (Great idea btw) and suggestions on a larger scale such as replacing rides (of which there seems no lack of suggestions) I think this post begins to finally drive home what used to, and sometimes still does, make Disney Magical; The people.

Granted it's a simple answer. Perhaps too simple, also maybe just too costly as some have pointed out. But Disney has always had great Cast members. Incredibly gracious and helpful and friendly to guests. And when given the proper venues...they have the ability to sell guests on the Disney experience. The problem I have seen as of late is fewer and fewer chances to interact with some of the people that work the parks, the people that LOVE their jobs, and more importantly LOVE the parks.

Bear with me here I'm getting somewhere I promise.

In the comments above we've talked about getting back to an immersive experience. Getting back to the essence that Walt originally strove for, a "living movie studio". Having Cast Members that interact with those "sets" only further validates the theme.

Who hasn't enjoyed the Haunted Mansion that much more when the cast member working the door asks you to step to the "dead center" of the room? It helps sell the experience.

Okay so you're asking yourselves where does Imagineering come in?

In my humble opinion, Orlando's PI hosts one of the best examples of immersing guests in a total experience thanks to both the perfect venue and the people working there. The Adventurers Club epitomizes this concept, yet on an adult scale.

Granted the first time I attended the Clubs "Open House and Induction Ceremony" I had very little idea what I was in store for and just wanted a drink. But it has since become a must see destination.

The shows...reminiscent in some ways of The Golden Horseshoe Revue and the Hoop Dee Doo have a charm to them, and to be honest some of the best entertainment I've had is sitting in the rotunda having full blown conversations with cast members (in character) before and after they do their part of the show in the Library.

There are fantastical elements that are executed flawlessly throughout each of the shows. And it's this type of experience that I think is in many ways a welcome break from all the e-tickets, and stll drives home the difference that is a Disney Park.

I think it's this type of experience, and even more subtley on the White Wings and Keystone Cop references in posts above that make Disney Parks seem like a living place that transports you rather than any old amusement park. This type of immersive interaction with cast members brings some of the magic back to each of the themed lands, which I think is the goal here yes?

Again, just a suggestion.

p.s...Also, you really can't go wrong with Can-Can Girls. :-)

jer2eydevil88 said...

All amusement parks are losing their appeal... kids can visit them virtually with nothing more than a copy of Roller Coaster tycoon and a few hacks..

Jake said...

I'd always heard from cast member friends that the Revue was closed and changed due to Coca-Cola changing to the only soft drink sponsor on the park and asking all attractions sponsored by competing soft drink companies be altered or removed.

OperationsGal said...

Yes and no Jake. Certainly Pepsi-Cola was the long time sponsor of the Golden Horseshoe. So much so that recently when I had family in the Park my 60 year old aunt asked while walking through Frontierland "Can we go see the Pepsi-Cola show?" And she meant the Golden Horseshoe, 25 years after Pepsi left the building! That little Pepsi-Cola logo hanging under the Golden Horseshoe sign for a few decades obviously burned itself into her conciousness.

Pepsi left Disneyland in 1982, as Epcot opened and Coke became the sole soft drink supplier to Disney theme parks. Previous to that, both Pepsi and Coke were served at Disneyland. Some restaurants served Coke; Refreshment Corner, Tomorrowland Terrace, etc. And some served Pepsi; Golden Horseshoe, Hungry Bear Restaurant, etc.

The thing is that the Golden Horseshoe Revue continued on past the Pepsi embargo until 1986. So it wasn't an issue tied only to the sponsor.

Anonymous said...

Yeah and don't forget about the mermaids at the submarine voyage!!!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you merlin.

the original story should be put back.

political correctness does not belong in disneyland. if there are rides and or attractions that offend anyone,

TOUGH!!!!!!! those who are or would be offended by such entertainment I say this:

GROW A BACKBONE!!!! QUIT YOUR WHINING.

besides, political correctness is a violation of civil rights anyway. pc basically is the government (or other groups/persons) telling others what they can say cant say can do cant do.

IF I RECALL I THOUGHT WE LIVE IN A FREE COUNTRY.

FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS CANNOT, I REPEAT THAT LAST WORD BECAUSE IT SOUNDS VERRRRRRRY IMPORTANT, CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM US.

AND THE PURSUIT TO LIFE LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS IS ONE OF THOSE RIGHTS.



SOOOOOOOOO, DONT YOU THINK ITS JUUUUUUUUST ABOUT TIME TO PUT AN END TO POLITICAL CORRECTNESS?????????????

Anonymous said...

I loved the Golden Horseshoe Revue when I was a kid, and really wanted to be one of the can-can girls. I know that my kids would love to see it, so I disagree with the people that say it wouldn't be interesting to today's kids.

I also hated it when they changed the "wenches" in Pirates and all the other little details that were "offensive". If you don't like it, don't go! I've been going to Disneyland all my life (at least once a year for the first 18 years of it) and have loved every minute, no visit is ever the same...

Anonymous said...

I hope that the Disney theme parks don't go much further, if at all, with the 'comic book' theme. To illustrate, having 'Lilo and Stitch' as a Tomorrowland attraction at Disney World is not appealing to me. Why can't they revamp one of the space rides? I really hope they don't change the 'space look' of Tomorrowland and take away the feel that it's a SPACE CENTER. I would like to see it return to more of an 'edu-tainment' theme as well as bring back a space ride simulation and possibly the airline simulation. The space ride could be a simulation of the space shuttle. There is so much they could do at Tomorrowland like this. And the other 'edu-tainment' I would love to see continue is the 360 Circle Vision theater.

KC said...

I hope the Disney theme parks don't do too much more, if at all, with any new cartoon characters, the ones that aren't the originals: Mickey, Cinderella and their friends. I don't like the one-eyed green monsters and their ilk! Having 'Lilo and Stitch' as a Tomorrowland attraction at Disney World is not appealing to me. Why can't they revamp one of the space rides? I really hope they don't change the 'space look' of Tomorrowland and take away the feel that it's a SPACE CENTER. I would like to see it return to more of an 'edu-tainment' theme as well as bring back a space ride simulation and possibly the airline simulation. The space ride could be a simulation of the space shuttle. There is so much they could do at Tomorrowland like this. And the other 'edu-tainment' I would love to see continue is the 360 Circle Vision Theater.

Jason Boye said...

The original Golden Horseshoe Revue was a fantastic show and I remember it well seeing it for the first time in 1961. Today, while the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show is entertaining, I have one big problem with it; it isn't themed for Frontierland. The old frontier was the unsettled territory west of the Missisippi River. "Hillbillies" are mountain folk living in Arkansas, Tennessee, etc. Moreover, I just saw the 'Billies June 13th and the first ten minutes of the show was filled with '50s (and that's 1950s not 1850s!) music complete with Elvis impersonations! Not appropriately themed for the Frontierland era of 1870. The Billy Hill show would be a much better fit in Critter Country. The "Variety Show" with Hal Ratcliff and Dana Daniels was a very funny show and properly themed for Frontierland (Dana actually performed in the original GHR show in the 1980s). However, when the original Billy troupe was split up to form two separate casts there was not enough stage time available in a week for all the 'Billies so the variety show was ended. I was very sad to see Hal and Dana go. Recently, the menu at the Golden Horseshoe has changed too. Offered up for your 'wild west' appetite are deep fried finger foods (chicken tenders) and fish & chips. What on Earth are the Disney minds thinking? You'd think at the very least they'd offer Buffalo Wings! :>) As of late, there has been some gun play returning to Frontierland so at least some of the "wild" has come back into the old west. Jason Boye

Anonymous said...

This was my favorite place to go while in Disneyland - I'm heartbroken to hear of its demise! I practially grew up in Disneyland and I never missed a show once in the park. There was never anything that wasn't wholesome at Disneyland so what is the world is there to be PC about?

Anonymous said...

Did you know that On March 29th 2008. There is a Golden Horseshoe Celebration with many past Disneyland Golden Horseshoe cast.
Wally Boag & Betty Taylor will be there. Those who are scheduled to perform are: Dick Hardwick, Dana Daniels, Jim Adams, Kirk Wally, Teri Robison, The Can Can girls, MC for the night John Eden, and Host Carlene Thie.
Its a Dinner & show, with many Disney VIPS and past Disney Legends attending!

Check it out >>
www.thegoldenhorseshoerevue.com

or
www.apepenpublishing.com

www.the-magic-makers.com

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, I would have LOVED to see the old "Slue Foot Sue" show. It closed right before I visited Disneyland for the first time. I love watching it on DVD, though, and have high hopes that, someday, it will return. As with anything else (movies, songs, TV shows, etc.), if you are that easily offended...don't watch the show. You can't, and shouldn't have to, please everyone all the time. What would images of the "old West" be without Can-Can dancers and gun fights? What a whimsical experience to be right there in the audience...after all, isn't that what Frontierland is supposed to be about? I'm only in my 20s and even I can appreciate the loss of this truly remarkable, fun, and again, whimsical show! My fingers are crossed that I will be able to see a show like that at Disneyland in the future...

Mark said...

It's not blaming Disney for political correctness; it's blaming the management for going from having a vision and a plan to becoming just another theme park. The biggest draw of the Disney parks is that they are THEME parks, not AMUSEMENT parks

Anonymous said...

Great article, for those of you who want to celebrate and share memories, please check out the Facebook page for the Revue!

https://www.facebook.com/TheGoldenHorseshoeRevue

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure how much of Disney's changes are based on PC. I think they're just saving money. The Golden HS cast was highly trained, cost a bunch and the theater didn't hold that many guests. Moreover, it didn't make money on it's shows. Now, they've eliminated the expensive cast and turned the place into a fast food restaurant. Walt was not a worshipper of money. But it was pretty slick thinking from the money-loving Eisner.

As another case to prove my point, take the WDW Main Street penny arcade. No one can say that it was not politically correct. However, it too is gone. And why? Because its elimination enabled Eisner to make a continuous store from the Plaza to town square, which guests could walk through when leaving. Prior to that, they wouldn't enter the store until after the penny arcade. Eisner even closed the street between the right hand shops to create one continuous path. And guess what happens when you lead people through a store. That's right! You're very smart! They buy more stuff!

Walt was NOT all about money. He was about hospitality. His was a labor of love. But Eisner's was a labor of the love of money, and he ought to be ashamed for degrading the lifetime work and achievement of Walter Elias Disney.

I hope that one day, the Disney company will restore some of the damage that occurred during "King Eisner's" reign.