Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Today I feel I need to jump on top of my soapbox, clear my throat and begin a rant that has been stewing within me for probably about three years. Spaceship Earth, the icon of Epcot (Center), which has seen many changes, refurbishments, and renovations since it first greeted guests in 1982 needs a new storyline once and for all. Though it is three years too late I fear I cannot stay quiet about this anymore. The attraction, once a thrill to visit upon entering the park has become a barren wasteland within its geodesic sphere. I cannot believe that almost four years have past since Siemens completely ruined this attraction. It is not just the terrible script read by dame Judi Dench (who I do not blame or have ill will toward over this disgrace), but rather the "minusung" that took place in the design. It had always been Walt Disney's quest to "plus" his attractions, never letting his parks and resorts become museums, and many guests have embraced that aspect of Walt Disney World, Disneyland, as well as the parks outside of the US. It is here that Disney allowed this attraction, the face of a park, to be steered in the completely wrong direction. But who is to blame. Well lets see.
One could take the easy way out and simply blame Bruce Broughton, the composer, or even Judi Dench for "dumbing down" the entire script. But to understand what happened here is to look deeper. After the AT&T sponsorship ended, Disney found a new sponsor in Siemens. There idea was to completely revamp the attraction, complete with a new score, narration, and new "interactive" elements. To my knowledge Disney was kept pretty much out of the loop, and because they were not paying for the renovation it seemed as though they were ok with this. It seems that the blame falls onto the sponsorship because they seem to be completely to blame for the lack of a finale, which many people thought was a joke, or an unfinished part of the attraction. After four years it is official, Spaceship Earth is completed in its current state. There is absolutely no chance of this changing anytime soon, especially with Siemens having a 12 year sponsorship agreement with Disney that was signed in 2005. By my estimation, we may see changes in 2017.
So past the obvious sadness many had when the Mickey wand overstayed its welcome
we have now been subjected to four years of an attraction that has already overstayed its welcome. Though the attraction has its positive elements, (i.e. the early animatronics in the stone-age scene, the Romans, etc) the attraction to me seems to be a lost cause right now, and as long as the sponsorship holds up we are in for more of the same. So long Walter Cronkite. Good-Bye Jeremy Irons. See you later Larry Dobkin. We shall see you again.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Much has been happening in Walt Disney World over the past few weeks. Many of the rumors from the past few months are beginning to take shape, while others are still under wraps. What we can say is that the World is going through some major changes.
First, with the closing of Toontown Fair came the news that Mickey and Minnie would be moving to Main Street, USA. While I was one of the first people worried about the possible logjam that would in sue having Mickey in Exposition Hall, it seems that meeting the soon to be Magician Mickey at Town Square Theater has gone off without a hitch. The new meet and greet, complete with fastpass (which is linked to the other attractions, so be careful) new themed backstage areas and a what seems to be two new shops has since opened without much of an issue. I am wondering how it will hold up during the major busy times, especially with the Princesses sharing the space until next year when Snow White's Scary Adventures goes down for good.
Secondly, the Haunted Mansion interactive queue seems to be up and running. It seems to be a hit with most guests, although I hear a few Disney enthusiasts claim it is ruining the integrity of the opening day attraction. Personally, it is in everyone's own opinion, but it seems that this has become a welcome addition to a proud attraction. Remember, interactive queues seem to be the wave of the future. Only time will tell how the reception turns out but early returns seem promising.
Lastly, coming out of MGM (Hollywood Studios, though you will rarely hear it mentioned this way here) Star Tours 2 is proving to be a major draw; considering it has yet to even drop the curtain. With walls going up around the entrance, and Tattoine Traders going down for a quick refurbishment, it seems as though new information regarding the much anticipated attraction is coming out by the day. With new costumes announced, Disney has also announced a list of planets and characters that guests will be in contact with. The list is as follows:
- Ace (AC-38) (New character, the pilot)
- Spokesbot Aly San San (New character, voiced by Allison Janney)
- Darth Vader
- Skytroopers (New characters)
- Boba Fett
- Admiral Ackbar
- Princess Leia
Also DisneyParksBlog.com has offered up this as a hint as to the possible locations for the attraction:
With the destinations set and also a character list it seems we are starting the countdown to the attractions opening. The idea that there maybe 50 different combinations of rides for guests to experience is enough to make many Disney and Star Wars fans drool. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.