With the success of Carsland at California Adventure, plenty of folks are speculating what the next move is for Disneyland.
Sure, there is plenty of space ready for something new. Or a look about other areas of the Park can lead to screams of “replace” this and “bring back” that. Making the final call on what will come to pass will be one tough decision.
The history of Disneyland is littered with ideas that never became reality. Everything thing from Liberty Square to Westcot and then some. A whole bunch of great ideas that never got to the construction point. Do I hear a reference to Discovery Bay or the Western Rivers Expedition?
Right now, the next generation of kick butt theme park experiences in Southern California will probably have a wizard flavor to them. Meaning Harry Potter and company with their expanded presence at Universal Hollywood. All from the books, er… the movies, with plenty of ready made fans waiting to experience it all for themselves.
Knowing Disney and the folks at Imagineering, I have to doubt if they will surrender this battle and simply roll over, giving Universal it’s moment of glory. It is very unlike them to do so. No, there has to be something that keeps the guests coming back. Keeps them renewing Annual Passes at the high dollar rates.
But what will be the inspiration for this? Likely, it will have ties to something else. Something the public will have to part with their disposable income for. Probably a movie tie in. Safe to say, something that Disney owns. But right now? What could that be? Other than the Avengers and the Marvel world, there is not a whole lot that really sets that pace. And don’t forget, Disney can’t step into that world quite as fast as it wants to. Because who owns the rights to use those characters in a theme park setting? Universal.
Some of Disneyland’s best and most love attractions did not begin as movies. Take for example, Pirates of the Caribbean. It dates back while Walt was still alive and keeping his park going. Sure, it has since spawned 4 films and given Johnny Depp millions – with a 5th film lurking out there. Or the Haunted Mansion? Again, goes back to when Walt was alive. Generated one mildly forgettable comedy with another film in the works. Jungle Cruise? Same story.
And the image today? Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room. No movie behind the story presented here. No talking bird film inspired this attraction. Yet, still a guest favorite.
Movie tie-in’s are not a bad thing, as the Indiana Jones and Star Tours attractions prove. Same goes for all the Pixar spin-offs now in the Park, and around the world at other Disney parks.
One could write a dissertation on the in’s and out’s of what works and what does not work when it comes to attractions. Why some find favor with guests and other don’t. For my money (spent on AP’s over the years), Disney succeeds most when the guest becomes part of the experience. When your perspective becomes that of a character, you are invested in the experience.
Be it flying over London with Peter Pan or racing through the hills of Radiator Springs, being the focus of the events going on around you makes a connection on a level that works. Sure, it is easier if you have somewhere to start that connection from. Tying into a movie world is a great start. But it does not have to always begin there.
Somewhere, someone waits to share that next great idea that will become the next “must do” guest experience. A part of me wants to be blown away. Taken someplace new and exciting, off on an adventure that I haven’t seen or done before and in a way that I can’t experience any where but Disneyland.
One can only hope that it comes to pass.