I almost feel like I should state a disclaimer before writing this—one that states that “this article is in no way a knock to Disney World in any way.” It feels almost sacrilegious to talk about things that need to be bettered at Disney World, but the truth is that the most magical place on earth is nearly 50 years old. Imagineers are continually at work “re-imagining” the magic around the park, which means that they are hard at work always making sure that rides, attractions, shows, exhibits and even the parks themselves continue to grow with Guests—all while keeping that special Disney feel to them. That’s quite a tall order! And it’s true that makeovers for attractions (that “re-imagining” business) keep Disney World on the cusp of cutting-edge technology and ensure the most magical experience for every Guest every time he visits. With that said, here are 8 attractions that could use a brushing-up on their magic.
8. Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress – Magic Kingdom
Let’s be careful with this one—too many changes and you will erase Walt’s fingerprints from this fascinating attraction. However, it’s time that the last scene of the stage show had a revamping. You’ll recall that the last act in the show has the family—Dad, Mom, two grown children, Grandpa and Grandma—sitting around enjoying each other’s company while Christmas dinner is in the oven. And a few tell-tale signs let us know that the act is taking place in the late 1980s or early 1990s, such as the almost archaic gaming technology used in the act, the scrunch socks that the grown daughter is wearing with her jeans, and even the dining room dinette and the décor throughout the house. It would be nice for that last act to be brought into the 21st century. I can see YouTube and Instagram playing a role in the scene, and the old dinette should be replaced with a more modern set of table and chairs. Perhaps the women in the scene could get updated hairstyles, and the appliances in the kitchen could get a facelift as well—I’m thinking stainless steel. And as long as we’re doing a makeover, let’s be sure to include a Samsung smart fridge that works with the smartphone app.
7. Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom
Maybe we should start a Twitter campaign—or reignite a former one—something like #fixtheyetiforreal or #fixtheyetiweareseriousthistime. Perhaps we would make more headway if we used #nomorediscoyetithisisthe21stcentury. Anyway you play it, the abominable snow monster of the Himalayas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is in serious need of a visit to the Yeti-trician—someone who can cure what ails him. When the attraction opened in April of 2006, the Yeti worked as he was intended to. But after he failed, no one ran to his aid. Some Disney fans propose that he won’t be fixed because of his precarious position inside the attraction. But we know that Imagineers are some form of genius, and fixing the terrifying creature shouldn’t be the impossible feat. After all, so much of the marketing for the attraction is based on the Yeti—it makes sense that he should work as he was designed to.
6. Tomorrowland Speedway – Magic Kingdom
Seven miles an hour is hardly speeding. Let’s up that speed—even a little. That is all.
5. Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – Hollywood Studios
I’ll be honest—I’m genuinely surprised that an attraction based on a movie franchise from the 1980s (that was unrelated to the Star Wars saga) still packs the house every time the show runs. So let’s not rush out and give Indy the axe. But it’s definitely time for a new stunt sequence. Most of us know the show by heart now, and while that’s not a terrible thing, there are huge opportunities to better the show, showcase more stunts and make the experience fresh again.
4. Journey Into Imagination – Epcot
Let’s start another campaign in the Twittersphere about this one too! If you’re new to the Disney World scene, it might not make sense to you, but those of us who experienced Epcot pre-1998 remember a simpler time, a better time—a time at Epcot that included Dreamfinder, who was Figment’s first friend. The attraction was wholly different than the one today, and Dreamfinder, the red-headed, top hat-wearing conductor of a fantastical dream machine, played a starring role. In short, I’m prepared to pen a letter to the good Dr. Nigel Channing, relaying gratitude for his service on the part of Disney World fans all the world over, while simultaneously informing him that we miss our Dreamfinder dearly, and it’s time for him to return.
3. Chester and Hester’s Roadside Midway – Animal Kingdom
We love Dinoland U.S.A. The DINOSAUR attraction is great, and we love Primeval Whirl. And TriceraTop Spin is perfect for the little ones who venture back to prehistoric times with their families. Let’s leave all those things as they are. But there is probably a better use of the prime real estate sitting under the carnival game area. Midway games are fun, but there’s no Disney feel to it. If they want to keep the carnival games, then let’s at least tie some Disney magic into the games or into the prizes Guests can win. Just a thought.
2. Stitch’s Great Escape – Magic Kingdom
I was one who never cared much for this attraction. It was one of those experiences that didn’t make sense or carry value to many of us, so when talk began about shelving the experience, not too many tears were shed. (Some, but not lots.) But now it’s just slightly bothersome that we can’t get a straight answer about the current and future plans for the attraction and the space. One week we hear that it’s closed forever, and the next week, we are taunted with the possibility of a resurrected Stitch. ‘Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind. So we don’t want to kick Stitch to the curb, but we would like to hear about some more definite plans for the space.
1. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse – Magic Kingdom
We love the 1960 film as much as anyone, but that’s because many of us watched it on VHS when we were kids or we saw it on Saturdays on the UHF channels on TV. And the treehouse attraction in Adventureland was done very well by Imagineers. However, the experience is clearly dated, and it isn’t uber-popular with Guests. That doesn’t mean no one enjoys it, but again, there is prime real estate lying underneath the multi-level treehouse, and it makes sense to “re-imagine” the space for something that will be more appealing to more Guests—and more up-to-date as well. Perhaps it’s time for a PIXAR presence at Adventureland. After all, “Adventure is out there!” How about an attraction in that space that features Carl Fredrickson’s house from Up?