Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Change is Good…Sometimes

By Lindsey Allmon

The Disney parks we stroll through today are vastly different than the ones I teetered through as a toddler, as well as worlds away from parks that Walt Disney carefully constructed with his team. Yet as the times change, so must the parks. Some changes are good, and others leave something to be desired. Continue after the break for a list of some of the best, and worst, changes to the Disney Parks...


ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter
As I mentioned in my introductory article, this was the most terrifying thing I experienced in my childhood. I cried like a baby and I refused to ever take part in it again, opting for the much tamer Carousel of Progress. The premise of this attraction was a demonstration of a teleportation machine that goes horribly wrong, producing a terrifying Alien that wreaks havoc in the lab. The attraction was replaced by Stitch’s Great Escape in 2004, much to my happiness.
The Verdict: Good!
While Stitch’s Great Escape is not the best attraction to ever grace the Tomorrowland landscape, the change is immensely more kid-friendly than its predecessor. While the horror junkies may be bitter about the change I can confidently say it was a smart move on Disney’s part.


Journey into Imagination

One of the most iconic Disney characters that didn’t get its own movie is the adorable Figment. He brought imagination to life with the help of Dreamfinder. The experience was colorful, creative, and endlessly entertaining. However, in 1999 Disney did a revamp and removed both Dreamfinder and Figment from the ride, replacing them with Dr. Nigel Channing, a character borrowed from Honey I Shrunk the Audience, and renaming the attraction Journey into YOUR Imagination. Not to worry though: After an uproarious response from Disney patrons, Figment was reintroduced to the ride in 2002 and has been present ever since.

Verdict: Terrible.

Every time I have set foot on this ride since 1999 I have been extremely bitter. The original was whimsical and interesting, the true embodiment of imagination. The introduction of Nigel Channing turned the ride clinical and almost too scientific. Even after Figment was reintroduced, Nigel doesn’t embrace Figment like Dreamfinder does, instilling the idea that imagination is more of a nascence than something to be embraced. The entire attraction seems contradictory to the purpose it once served. Long story short, I wish I could go back to the nineties.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

Based on Walt Disney’s adaptation of The Wind and the Willows, this ride is one of the original rides from when Disney World opened. The attraction featured two different tracks so you could enjoy two entirely different wild rides. Though the ride was primitive decoratively I fondly remember being jerked around the track squealing as the car nearly ran into a wall before quickly jerking in another direction. The ride was certainly wild for my six year old self. The attraction was replaced in 1999 by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, a similar style attraction that replaced vintage cars with honeypots and a scary devil with Heffalumps and Woozles.

Verdict: Ehhhhhhhhh….

I have mixed feelings about this change. On one hand, I have a love for the original ride, and I have indeed seen the film this ride is based off of. However, I do know that I am one of the very few people born post 1990 that has seen it. As time passed, the lovely Mr. Toad has faded into Disney history. While the original I believed deserved to have a face lift, Mr. Toad doesn’t really resonate with the current generation while Winnie the Pooh certainly does.


Food Rocks

Every once in a while there is something absurd that you just love. Kind of like the obsession with jelly shoes in the 1990’s or cronuts now a days, sometimes something crazy worms its way into your heart. That is certainly the case with Food Rocks. The show was set up as a concert for good nutrition that was crashed by a junk food band. The show featured parodies of Queen, The Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin, and even some artists parodying their own songs like Little Richard. Silly, catchy, and rather hilarious, Food Rocks was the star of The Land Pavilion…well, at least until Soarin showed up. The show had a ten year run from 1994 to 2004 and was briefly replaced by Kitchen Cabaret before being transformed into Soarin.

Verdict: Bad move.

Food Rocks was entertaining and had educational value. While I love the fact that Soarin found a home in Disney World, Food Rocks should have found a new place within the Land Pavilion.
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