Saturday, January 21, 2012

Disneyland's it's a small world

One might consider me to be a Disney purist. I am the person who would be happy if they opened a park that featured the retired rides so that I can share them with my kids. This park would include Dreamflight and If You Had Wings and yes even Mission to Mars. I would have this Tomorrowland section hosted by Mr. Tom Morrow.
This fear of change might be one reason that the renovation to it’s a small world at the Disneyland Park in California made me anxious. I have always been wowed by the outside of this ride. The train goes right in front of the ride. There are incredible topiaries of animals and the clock is amazing. There is even the obligatory gift shop to the left of the ride featuring items associated with the ride.
In California, the guests board the ride outside of the building. Upon making the turn inside there is a sensory overload. The music is playing and there are moving figures on either side of the ride and even on the ceiling.
About three years ago, the Disney Imagineers recreated this ride to feature characters from animated classics. In the scene that features Great Britain you can find Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Pinocchio is in Italy. Aladdin and Jasmine soar above the section with the Middle Eastern characters. Hawaii features Lilo and Stich surfing and the section focused on the United States features Woody atop Bullseye. There are a total of 29 Disney characters integrated into the ride.
I was worried that the connection between the tradition of the ride and the addition of the animated characters would be flawed. The characters appear as if they have always been there. It was as if the ride was designed with the forethought that this change would be made at some point in the future. There are some characters that are more obvious than others and it can take a couple of times through the ride to fully view all of the additions.
There have been other attempts to integrate existing Disney rides and movies. Some have been more successful than others. The Disneyland version of the ride now serves as a link between the Disney tradition and the future.

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