Tuesday, September 18, 2012

If I Ran Disneyland...

This is an unedited opinionated post, with some society observation sprinkled in, so you have been warned!

If I ran Disneyland, it would still be a place of entertainment AND education.  When I first became enamored with Disneyland history, one of the hugest shocks to me was the existence of many attractions that made learning fun and information come alive.  The attraction I instantly fell in love with and still have an avid obsession for is 1967 Tomorrowland’s Adventure Thru Inner Space.  I also know now that many others in the Disney community have a similar affection for this ride that took you on a visually stimulating trip into molecules and atoms.  It just stuck with people somehow, and for some reason with me even though I’d never actually experienced it before its transfer into Star Tours in 1986.

Groovy science         (See Link A)

But this is just one of the many “edu-cational” experiences that Disneyland has since lost.  Kids can no longer imagine what their future home may look like with tomorrow’s technology as the children in the past could with Monsanto’s House of the Future.  They don’t feel the magic of progress and learn how far technology has come like they did in the Carousel of Progress.  They can’t immerse themselves in Native American culture like they could in Frontierland’s Indian Village.   They can’t even see first-hand what kind of whimsical stores a turn-of-the-century Main Street would house because there is no themed Flower Mart, Candle Shop, or Pharmacy anymore. 

Look how intrigued that guest is! Learning!   (See Link B)

Walt Disney’s opening day speech mentions that one of the things Disneyland is dedicated to is “the hard facts that shaped America.”  Does the Disneyland of today reflect that? Not to me.  History and science can be fun if presented in the right way, and right now it’s not being presented in much of a way at all.

If I ran Disneyland, my first project would be a total overhaul on Innoventions.  The concept is great, the execution not so much.  Lets rip out all the outdated and boring crap and stuff that awesome rotating building with cutting edge technology presentations, a new tricked out House of the Future, and lots of hands-on, sneak peak, awe-inspiring gadgets that help kids (or adults) learn without knowing they’re learning.  Also, it’s imperative that it be updated as new technology is released.  Partner up with some companies to help hype their products and everyone wins.  From there, restore some historic storytelling to Frontierland and Adventureland.  Disney can even introduce a re-vamped Davy Crockett or a new iconic figure to have their own historical fiction show, to have something to promote. 

I sure don’t claim to know “what Walt would do,” with the Park today, and I know these are my own meager opinions.  Society is so used to what Disneyland is now, that to reintroduce such things may seem bland to today’s young audience.   But from what I’ve seen of such recent glowing projects as Buena Vista Street in Disney’s California Adventure, I believe WDI currently has the power to make learning fun once more. 

Both link to Yesterland.com, a fabulous site dedicated to extinct attractions.


  1. So many old attractions tried to educate and entertain; I can't think of ANY recent rides that do that. I love your idea of a new House of the Future!

  2. Thanks! The whole Epcot 30 anniversary to-do got me thinking a lot about that lately. It really is a shame that Disneyland is so lacking in that department when it was once so rich with quality edu-tainment.

  3. This is an excellent providence. It really makes a good point out of it.

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