Monday, June 13, 2011

Disneyland Needs A (Fill in the Blank)

Every Disneyland fan thinks of themselves as an imagineer in waiting. "Man, if I had that job, I would really have that park fixed up and then it would be really something special." Of course the real world of corporations exists in an environment based on profits, losses, and budgets. Disney does better than most when it comes to reinvesting in their park's infrastructure, a tradition started by Walt Disney himself who always thought of Disneyland as a work in progress that would never be completed. The man was a genius.

Other than Star Tours, general refurbishments, and what seems like never ending repaving and painting projects, all the real imagineering at the Disneyland Resort has been taking place across the way in DCA. Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage was the last major attraction installed in Disneyland and even that was a remake of a previous ride. You could also count the re-opening of Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (thank you Tony Baxter). When the DCA makeover completes in 2012 (and supposedly this is just phase one) the attention will once again return with what can be done in Disneyland to add some new sparkle to the park. So with that in mind, it's a great park, but Disneyland needs a -

- Tomorrowland makeover with a new featured attraction, a possible return of the People Mover (most of the track is still in place), the kicking to the curb of the completely silly Captain EO, and a replacement of the completely boring Innoventions (a place most regulars only go to when its raining). The Jules Verne type refurbishment of the 80's didn't cut it. The Rocket Rods were a dismal failure. The current Tomorrowland lacks any cohesive theming as its been tinkered with at patched up the last couple of decades. Tomorrowland needs some attention and work.

- A new featured attraction in Frontierland.  Little can be done with the landlocked space of New Orleans Square and Adventureland but Frontierland does have possibilities. I'm not sure how much money the Big Thunder BBQ is generating. We like it there but its a table service restaurant (an all you can eat type thing) that we never bother to do the call ahead dining reservation. There's always room after what seems like a short wait, sometimes no wait at all. So that space along with the adjacent petting zoo occupies a pretty good hunk of land and that doesn't include the cavernous Festival Arena. That whole area back there is a huge chunk of real estate inside the berm begging for imagineers to go to work. Now granted, anything "western" seems to have fallen out of favor with today's techno-pop culture but if anyone can bring it back, its Disney.

- A ToonTown replacement. This is the most controversial call. ToonTown on a bright sunny day looks incredibly fun and whimsical. But behind the colorful building facades there is little there. Roger Rabbit Cartoon Spin, Mickey's House, and the Gag Factory store are probably the keepers. The Gadget Go-Coaster would be a better fit in A Bug's Land in DCA, the rest of ToonTown can go. If you add the real estate of the adjacent Princess Fantasy Fair Theater (you don't need that much space for a meet and greet), then ToonTown has great potential for new attractions, restaurants and such.

I figure about 800 million bucks or so should be a good start to cover the work.

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