Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 165: Carsland? Star Wars Land? What?

So this morning I've heard a lot of rumors about a possible soon to be official announcement about Disney's Hollywood Studios. There's two portions, but first let's review a few things.

A year ago now (tomorrow), Carsland opened at Disney California Adventure at Disneyland, and it was a huge expansion to the park. I was lucky enough to see it under construction, but haven't been able to get back there to see it. I went to D23 back in 2011, and I attended some of the discussions about it and I got to see a lot that was going into it, and honestly I think it is an amazing addition to California.

Then, not even a year ago, Fantasyland received one of it's expansions. Back in December the Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid sections of the area opened, with Storybook Circus opening previously. All that's left now is the 2014 opening of the Snow White area. With a little more luck than California, I was able to see everything under construction multiple times, and then visited during the preview time period before the official opening (which I missed by only a few days). The addition of New Fantasyland is probably one of my favorites of all time, and I can't wait to go back and see the Rapunzel/Tangled bathroom area (or rest area? I'm not sure what to call it) in July. Everything is themed very well, and I'm sure that when it is all completed, it will be a very worthy edition to the park.

And a couple years ago, it was announced that over at Animal Kingdom there would be the addition of an Avatar area. Now, I am not in any way a fan of that movie, I mean it's a nice movie, but I honestly feel that it isn't going to fit in at Animal Kingdom. There's multiple ways they can do it, but I have always loved Animal Kingdom, with and without Everest and certainly without this new expansion, currently scheduled for an opening in several years.

Also, very recently Downtown Disney was confirmed to be expanding, so in other words, there's a lot going on, especially at Disney World.

But like I said, there was some news this morning about how it's possible that a Carsland and Star Wars Land announcement could be coming, with the new additions making their home in Disney's Hollywood Studios. As excited as I would be for something like this to happen, I have a lot of doubts.

First, I would not like to see Carsland at Disney World. I think it fits perfectly at California Adventure, and I just can't see something like that working at the Studios. Does DHS need an update? I'd say yes, but is that where it should come from? No. If anything, a Monsters Inc. themed ride would be better, similar to the one at California Adventure, but different at the same time, if they want to go the Pixar Route. Beauty and the Beast could go, as could the Little Mermaid, because both are now very represented at Magic Kingdom. Having Princesses everywhere only encourages the mindset that it is a place for little children, specifically little girls. Now, this possible expansion could fix that, but there are still other things that need to be taken into account.

As for a Star Wars Land, I'm skeptical here as well. Star Tours is in the middle of the park, surrounded by Indiana Jones and the Muppets, and I certainly don't want to see either of those go. The original point of the park was to make it like Hollywood. They wanted guests to be emeresed in the making of movies. But what, really, is left of that original mindset? The Backlot Tour is there, but it's vastly different from the original, and honestly I feel like it hasn't been great ever since they took out the actual backlot area, like with Residential Street and so on and so forth. The addition of Lights, Motors, Action was a fair one...for like a year, and now it's vastly unpopular. Other than that, I supposed you might be able to count American Idol, but hardly, and there's Art of Animation, but that too has fallen to be less. The last thing that I could even remotely see as an original point of the park would be Indy, and while there have been rumors that it would leave, I, for one, can't see Star Wars land going there, that close to the front of the park. I also can't see Indy leaving because it does such a great job of showing the stunts that are in most movies. And which better movie to do it than Indy? It's entertaining, and generally has been popular. Maybe they could update this too, but with the new addition of both Indy and Star Wars to the family, I can't see it necessarily leaving. Finally, you have the Muppets, which could easily be updated, but I'd hate to see go. I feel a little like it's a tribute to Jim Hensen, and the Muppets were such an important part of TV history, or at least I feel like they are.

So where would either of these expansions go, if they came to Disney World. I think a Star Wars land is a great idea, but, it will require a lot of thought as how to place it. And Carsland would have to be different from California, but at the same time would, I think, just be a repeat. That's not what we're going for here, right? Disney needs to bring new and exciting experiences to the guests, not repeat from the other side of the country. Isn't that what Universal is doing with Harry Potter, after all? I mean, and if they want to win the Orlando Theme Park War, Disney is going to need to bring something that has never been done before to the table. Star Wars would easily do that. It's just a question of if it will actually work.

Here's today's Disney History: 1595: Three major attractions are christened at Disneyland on this day: The first urban monorail system in the U.S., the Disneyland-Alweg Monorail system, begins operation in California's Disneyland. The two Mark 1 trains run on a .8 mile track around Tomorrowland. The Matterhorn Mountain with its Matterhorn Bobsleds opens. Modeled after the Matterhorn, a real mount in the Swiss Alps, it is the first roller coaster to use cylindrical rails and urethane wheels (which will become standard in the roller coaster industry). The Submarine Voyage ride is official dedicated on this day as well in Tomorrowland. The Nautilus and 7 sister submarines - The Triton, Sea Wolf, Skate, Skipjack, George Washington, Patrick Henry and Ethan Allen, allowed 38 Disneyland guests at a time to take their own voyage to the North Pole. Also taking place at Disneyland is a special dedication parade specifically designed for this day's festivities. The parade, and all of the day's events, are filmed for a television special to be titled Kodak Presents Disneyland 59.

Have a magical day!