Saturday, September 3, 2011

Disneyland Urban Renewal

When Disney announced at the D23 Expo last month that its major upcoming project was the moving of the Princess Fantasy Faire to the front of the Castle plus building a new nearby bakery, it was met by the masses with "Huh?  That's it?  What gives?".  Meet & greets and bakeries do not exactly get the excitement juices flowing.  Disneyland fans want something more, something bigger because lord knows, the park could use another jolt of anticipated excitement (even given the recent massive success of the revamped Star Tours). Disneyland Park fans always point to 3 major areas of improvement.

Tomorrowland has degraded to a mess of mish-mash attractions and themes.  I have to admit, it never really bothered me but most park fans start right at the Tomorrowland entrance and say that the Astro Orbitor has got to go.  In the place it is currently located, it is an unsightly intrusion on Main St., is a traffic blocker for people entering Tomorrowland, and just looked cooler when it sat up on that elevated platform in front of Space Mountain. Points well taken.  The dated Captain EO has got to go and have the Magic Eye Theater put to better use.  Something also needs to be done with the old People Mover track - either rebuild it or remove it. And finally, do something, anything with Innoventions.  Real critical park thinkers even take shots at the popular Autopia, Finding Nemo Subs, and Buzz Lightyear - what do any of these attractions have to do with "tomorrow"?

While Tomorrowland is a prime target for those who want some Disneyland urban renewal, others point to Frontierland.  Largely stagnant for years, and in need of a new attraction or two of some kind.  There is room for building in Frontierland with the largely unused Festival Arena area and the adjacent Big Thunder BBQ, a place Mrs. DisneylandTraveler both enjoy but hasn't seemed to quite caught on with the masses.

And the other target is something we'll address in another blog entry at some point - the question of whether or not to demolish ToonTown and replace it with something else.

So Disneyland has room for change and improvement just like Walt said it would many years ago.  With all the attention going to Disney California Adventure, let's not lose sight of the original.

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