Saturday, September 19, 2009
Living in Fantasyland
Last weekend, Disney conducted its first "D23 Expo," a fan convention intended to function as a kind of ComicCon for Disney nerds. Basically, it's a big PR dog-and-pony show where the Mouse can push it's latest and greatest products to its most devoted customers. And living up to it's promise, the D23 Expo presented an avalanche of information related to both the studio and the theme parks. Today, I'll start by providing my thoughts on some of the news related to the theme parks, and then follow up in a future post about the studio news.
The irony about the company's theme park presentation is that most all of the information presented had already been circulating around the Internet on various Disney blogs and other fansites. The surprise then was in finding out which rumors would be confirmed and how many details would be revealed.
My Bottom Line: This is a bad idea. Leave EO in the past and come up with something NEW to put in place of "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience."
Without question, though, the biggest theme park news from the Expo was the reveal of the new expansion of Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Remarkably, this news had also leaked onto the Internet in the weeks before the Expo, much to the chagrin of Disney. But the official reveal still made an impact because of the scale of the new expansion, the level of detail released, and because fans of the Florida parks have been starved for the kind of new development and attention that more often seems to be lavished on the California parks.
The two elements of the expansion that have captured the most attention are the new Little Mermaid attraction and the overhaul of the Flying Dumbos. A grand, elaborate new "dark ride" themed to "The Little Mermaid" is already scheduled to open at Disney's California Adventure in 2011. It will now be replicated at the Magic Kingdom. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, imagine a ride like Snow White's Scary Adventure or Peter Pan's Flight, but made more on the scale of rides like The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Carribean. The concept art makes it look amazing.