Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A Great Big Ugly Tomorrow

"I'm not sure I'm ready to celebrate the re-birth of the golden age of Imagineering just yet.

Things have just been too dismal with WDI's recent efforts for me to just jump on the bandwagon and start pushing again.

I just returned from a week in Disney World and I can tell you that Tomorrowland without Space Mountain and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority is a wasteland. We stopped by for a couple spins on Buzz Lightyear and took in a nostalgia-driven showing of the Carousel of Progress, but outside of that we passed right on by. Stitch and Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor are nearly unwatchable.

Epcot's Future World is a shadow of what it once was. Yes, Soarin' is terrific (although the film is in bad shape already), but the new Spaceship Earth is a DISASTER, the Wonders of Life pavilion remains vacant, Mission Space has run its course, the Imagination ride is the WORST Disney attraction in history, and Test Track is still a breakdown waiting to happen.

The Studios has been stagnant for YEARS now. How many times can you watch the Indiana Jones Stunt Show or see the same tired little Mermaid stage show? Toy Story Mania is a gem for sure, but that's about it.

Animal Kingdom ... Everest is nice, but nothing really spectacular. The rest? Mostly off-the-shelf stuff I can see at my local theme park or zoo.

Where are the Pirates of the Caribbeans, Haunted Mansions, and American Adventures for the next generation? Disney has abandoned what made them successful for decades and really given us a lot of recycled slop in the last decade.

I think the last truly great ride that Disney built was Splash Mountain ... and that was what? 20 years ago??"


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bobby! Cindy!

Four months in, and still no entries? Why?

Well, the reason is simple and two-fold.
Firstly this blog has lost momentum. When Re-Imagineering started, WDI couldn't have been in worse shape; badly managed, demoralized and bereft of creative and financial capital. Contributors had an easy time of rallying together and belting out a collective battle cry. We had stood in the shadows and witnessed the deterioration of our stateside parks for far too long.

But even though its petty politics as usual at 1401 Flower, there is an undeniable seachange underway there. How can you not celebrate the resuscitation of the Magic Kingdom's Fantasyland, of Disneyland's Lincoln and Disney World's Hall Presidents, the demise, imminent and otherwise, of giant Mickey wands in Future World and Hats in Hollywood? And the list continues: Worlds of Color, America's River teeming with life, Cars Lands, Ariel E-tickets, Red Cars and the Roaring Twenties. WDI has never been busier.

And so, perhaps, Re-Imagineering has become a little less 'relevant', an ironic admission in that WDI has been championing and misusing the term for decades.

As for the other reason Re-Imagineering has been so dead of late, quite simply we've just been busy with other things. It's a challenge keeping up a blog when life gets in the way. We'll try to do better in the near future.

Finally, I'd like to open up this blog to other contributors. More than a few reader comments have been excellently written, incredibly entertaining and completely in tune with the tone of this blog, so if any of you have an entry in mind send it on and we'll pretty it up and put it front page.

For the rest of the readers, don't worry, we're not finished here. Several more articles are in gestation and will go up eventually. (Tomorrowland is still a catastrophe!) In the meantime, I hope that the articles already posted are still of value.

Stay tuned.