Everyone likes progress; no one likes change. No one exemplifies this axiom better than hardcore Disney fans. When Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride got replaced with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, fans held sit-ins and started petitions. Many of us still miss old favorites like Horizons, If You Had Wings, Alien Encounter, and Cranium Command. And does anyone think that the original Journey into Imagination was improved upon by either of its successors? (The answer here is no.)
Why is this? After all, we knew from the beginning that the parks were never meant to be museums. Walt himself said, "It's something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing...and adding to." So why do we harbor such resentment? Is it because we have such strong feelings of nostalgia for the Walt Disney World of our youth? Perhaps. But I think our real issue isn’t change; it’s change for the worse. Not too many people got upset when Take Flight took flight to make room for Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, or when Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable replaced Symbiosis (I mean seriously, does anyone even remember Symbiosis?). Why? Because these were changes for the better. And of course, I think replacing the old ticket system with a one-cost option was one of the best changes Disney ever made. I hated the tickets! My parents would never buy me a new ticket book until I had used up all of my tickets. “But Mom, I’ve ridden Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel three times already. I’m trying to use my ‘A’ tickets!” Or, “Nooo; I don’t want to see The Hall of Presidents. That’s a waste of an ‘E’ ticket!” I’m so glad that is behind me!
Does Disney get this? Do they realize that we can tell the difference between a legitimate improvement and a crappy overlay? (I’m talking to you, The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management) and Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.) I’m hoping so. After all, they didn’t screw up Pirates of the Caribbean, the
, or Haunted Mansion when those got updated. Woe betide them if they had. And naturally, there are some attractions that I would love to see changed. Would anyone really miss Sounds Dangerous or Primeval Whirl if either of those got the ax? Space Mountain
Of course, the worst case scenario may be when an attraction closes with no replacement. I get downright angry when I think of the entire Wonders of Life pavilion. What a waste of space! Or when an attraction goes into “seasonal” status; I think “seasonal” is code for “whenever Teri isn’t here”. And can someone please inform Disney that when I’m shelling out $75 a day to visit their parks, I really don’t give a flying fig if an attraction has a sponsor or not? Open up the freaking attraction!
And since I’m on the topic, will Disney please note that this same concept applies to shops and restaurants, as well? Many of the changes in those departments have not been for the better. The items available for purchase in Tomorrowland should not be the same as those available in Liberty Square. Or in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, for that matter. The same goes for menu options. Stop the homogenization!
Okay, I’m done ranting for now. What do you think? When Disney announces a change, are you excited or worried? Please let me know at http://www.facebook.com/disneygene!