Monday, May 3, 2010
Blue Sky Buzz: Bearly Noticable..
Even with the Extreme Makeover going on in DCA, there are small, incremental steps that are slowly making this Second Gate a better place to spend time in/at...
If you've read the Blue Sky Buzz updates before then you know that a lot of what was supposed to be expanded has fallen by the way side. One of the things that has been planned but never implemented is a "plusing" of the Golden State area/land. The Grizzly River Run attraction to be exact. In its original incarnation of an extreme sports rafting company that had taken over an old, fallen into disrepair national park, there were supposed to be animatronic bears, condors and other animals. But these critters fell victim to Disney Bean Counters, the most vile and soulless of Suits, in my, most humble opinion. And so when it premiered in 2001, it was a very nicely themed water ride in the prettiest area of the new park... but it was missing the truly layered details of people seeing mother nature's creatures as well as her water. It was missing the Disney difference.
When the Extreme Makeover was proposed for DCA, this was one of the proposals put back in. Except this time there was an added bonus, with each area themed to a different period of Californian history, the extreme sports motif would be discarded and the audio-animatronic creatures would be back, all set to the theme of a mid-50's Yosemite style national park. As always, budgets get cut as pieces of the puzzle begin to be realized and cost rise more than expected. So again, the animatronics got cut. And the mid 2oth century theming was pushed off to a later date as well.
But have you ridden GRR lately? If you haven't then perhaps you should. Because if you were to take a look around the areas, near the drops and around the queue areas, you'd notice some subtle differences. The modern kayak that you used to see as you made your way down the queue toward where you get on disappeared a few months ago. In its place was a nice wood crafted boat that... might belong to a bye gone era in, say, the Fifties? And if you've noticed certain areas around the Grizzly area have started to have the extreme sport elements disappear. Replaced with something you would find in an earlier age back in the mid part of the last century.
And if you had showed up in the last couple of weeks, you'd have noticed that as you go down the first drop that the metal boat that was there... isn't. A more traditional one is. And an old fashioned cap is there with an artist easel. Somebody has been painting nature it seems. The same would be seen in the second drop. There's an old boat thrown over the side and the River Guides wooden hut has been redecorated with things as well. Little things.
But they're not the end. Expect more and more of the extreme sports theme to disappear over the next few months. More and more of the queue line, the wooded areas around the attraction and the costumes will be gradually changing. The costumes? Yeah, there will be new ones to reflect the different time period. If you want to see what they look like then you should Google something like, oh, 1950's national park ranger or something along that lines. It's not going to happen right away, but it is planned. Slowly this attraction will be molded into something closer to what was originally proposed for the Makeover.
But what about the animatronic animals? Well, we will have to see if the Imagineers can justify all that R&D they're doing for the Grizzly Trail expansion land for Hong Kong Disneyland. See, they're working on animatronic bears for that land and they look remarkably like the ones that were proposed to go into GRR. Remarkably. What would it take to reproduce a few more? Maybe throw in a skunk or some other animal? Hmmm... Let's hope WDI has some smooth talkers and John is there when they ask for it.
Going for a rafting ride at DCA in 2011 could be surprisingly different...