Monday, May 23, 2011

A Take...

A long time ago in a galaxy finally updated...


So, I rode both new attractions early last week before I left for a business trip back East...

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, but real life has been pretty hectic lately and I've had to attend to it rather than the musings of the blogosphere. But as I said, I've ridden The Little Mermaid and Star Tours. I've noticed some people, particularly the cast members being somewhat disappointed with the experience. I think this comes from expecting it to be something it's not (ala: Pirates/Indy), combined with a lack of knowledge as to what it is.

It's a dark ride. Many cast members today don't know the terminology and aren't as familiar with what defines this type of attraction. Many went in expecting something with the bells and whistles associated with a fast paced attraction, which is what this ride is not. Let me tell you what it is. If you go in expecting to see something along the lines of Pinocchio, Snow White or Peter Pan, but with animatronics instead of statues then that is exactly what you get. That is what a dark ride is. And it's very lovely and extremely detailed. It's the story you all know, so anyone going in expecting something else? This is a Fantasyland attraction that's not in Fantasyland. And it's going to bring in the crowds in droves.

Star Tours on the other hand is exactly what you would expect, and more. While I knew it was an update to an older attraction, one which I've ridden very few times of late, particularly because it's long in the tooth and Tomorrowland isn't my bag (I'm a New Orleans Square, Adventureland, Frontierland kinda guy). While the area is a mix of dated attractions and a chaotic collection of uneven themes, this revamp is just what is needed to turn this area into the land of tomorrow. Now if TDA and WDI can just get together and iron out all the differences they have and have Burbank pick one of two or three projects as well as a cohesive retheme for the area. We can now expect some true excitement for this area when Disneyland becomes the focus after next summer.

I think Imagineers hit a home run with this one. While the overall budget is less than Mermaid (approx $50 million for DL, and the same for WDW), the impact on the area is going to provide a major improvement in the long lines headed to see this classic Disneyland attraction. It's really an amazing site to see and the multiple experience you get will keep guest getting right back in line after exiting.

Now, if they'll just move forward with those plans for Innoventions and the building to formerly be occupied by Captain EO...

18 comments:

SBK said...

"Now, if they'll just move forward with those plans for Innoventions and the building to formerly be occupied by Captain EO... "

...do tell! :)

Connie Moreno said...

EXCELLENT post! While I have not yet seen the attractions (I get to preview Star Tours on Wednesday.) I agree with you COMPLETELY. Somewhere along the way, people have lost sight of what a dark ride is and I think I may know one reason why. When I was a castmember, I was shocked, SHOCKED at the number of castmembers that had never been to the Park as a GUEST!!! Isn't there something seriously wrong in that? They had no clue what Disneyland was all about. Sad, isn't it?

Cory Gross said...

Oddly, for me, Tomorrowland keeps getting worse and worse as it gets better and better. Instead of interesting and innovative original attractions, it's just becoming an unthemed land of franchises I don't care about... Pixar, the horrible Star Wars prequels, the creepy profiteering on Michael Jackson's death, a Microsoft trade show... I know I'm an outlier and won't be missed in the big line-ups, but it's a study in the problems of reliance on a franchise instead of just a good quality ride with its own strong presentation.

Anonymous said...

lucky to ride both attractions with friends (some disney cast members, some not)... said they were disappointed in mermaid because it felt like something walt would've built 50 years ago. !?!?

i explained how DCA needs to have more family attractions that parents with children and grandparents can enjoy. i think my guests were expecting an E-ticket, which maybe by the looks of the building it does seem like it would be a HUGE experience. but this is a D-ticket... there aren't that many traditional dark rides out there with full-blown Audio-Animatronics... (Mr. Toad anyone?). They really downplayed Ursula's death, but I can almost understand why. The adult in me wanted to see a crazy, fantastic showdown between Prince Eric and Ursula, but the little kid in me didn't seem to mind they went with a different direction. Love the immersiveness of the attraction and a few surprises that were never revealed in concept art, models, or blueprints. the only thing that i had high expectations was with the Under The Sea segment. It is a fun moment, but I thought they could've went a little BIGGER with that part. Love the attraction and it is a major plus to DCA.

And all I can say about Star Tours is that it is amazing. After riding it 7 times now, it still amazes me and I love how I have yet to experience the same ride twice. What they did with the queue is also on the money.

Mermaid and Star Tours are perfect additions that families can enjoy... Which was Walt's vision for Disneyland anyway.

whexchi said...

exciting exciting exciting

James said...

I’ve said from the beginning, The Little Mermaid was a C – D Ticket attraction, BUT was told I was a complainer or someone who would never be happy with anything Disney did. The reality, I’d seen the presentation dog and pony show, and it was clear from this the attraction was in no way an E-Ticket the way people were saying. I think the biggest reason for the E-Ticket assumption is the Omnimover ride system which most associate with The Haunted Mansion, leading to some jumping to conclusions that this ride system meant a more grand scale than reality. It is a fun little ride, but it is just that, a fun little ride that would have been right at home next to the darkrides of Fantasyland.

Spokker said...

The Little Mermaid is a truly modern dark ride in the purest sense of the word.

Star Tours is shameless fan service. Fun, but it basically amounts to finding excuses to put classic Star Wars characters in front of the Starspeeder. Star Tours 1.0 was such a more realistic depiction of the fantastical idea of consumer space flight in the Star Wars universe.

Spokker said...

Any effort to create a cohesive theme in Tomorrowland is dead on arrival. It reminds me of DCA 2.0 in that it is a Frankenstein of experiences of varying quality. Does it want to be a Sci-Fi Fantasyland or does it want to be about outer space adventures?

What it can't be is what it says on the plaque at the entrance to Tomorrowland. That ship sailed a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

If the Mermaid is not an E ticket, what are Midway Mania, Buzz Lightyear and the darkrides in Fantasyland, B's and C's?
I heard/read it's goint to be an E ticket like "...Small World" is an E ticket. It's price tag surely puts it in that category.

duanesm said...

Nearly 60 years later, people stand in line for over an hour to spend 2 minutes flying over Neverland. They'll stand in line that long to ride with Mr. Toad all the way to hell and back.

Dark rides, when well done, will continue to draw crowds. Which is what DCA needs, and what The Little Mermaid delivers.

And the Omnimover wasn't always used for just "E-ticket" attractions. "If You Had Wings" at WDW used the same system to basically sell airline tickets for Eastern. (But I loved it as a kid...)

And the fact that it's a throwback to something Walt might have done? Well, that, in my opinion, is a good thing...

disney Momma said...

but it is just that, a fun little ride that would have been right at home next to the darkrides of Fantasyland.

And that James, was the idea. :)

Mike Luzzi said...

James is totally right. Mermaid was billed as an E-Ticket which is clearly far off base. A dark ride is not an E Ticket. I just wish there was less hype and more honesty from the beginning because I think a lot of people were set up for disappointment on this one.

That said, it will be nice to see a ride in the US get some GREAT animatronics (Like Sinbad in TDS)

Anonymous said...

Well I guess The Haunted Mansion is not an E ticket. It's just a slow moving ride in a dark environment with show scenes.

Anonymous said...

where was it billed as an e-ticket? i never heard anything officially stating it was the next e-ticket ride.

Anonymous said...

Was it Disney that called it an E-ticket or was it Micechat? MC would do something like that so as to create controversy and add to hits to its website.

MC wont even allow posters to even mention the name of other sites now (since they're 'competition' pffft).

Spokker said...

Considering A through E-Ticket designations aren't even in use anymore, they are simply an unofficial way to speculate about the complexity or size of an attraction.

They say nothing about an attraction's value or artistic merit. Theme parks need A-Tickets as much as they need E-Tickets. It's simply that the E-Tickets get more attention.

The Haunted Mansion is an E-Ticket due to the size of its show scenes and all-around immersive experience. The experience starts the moment you enter the foyer.

The Little Mermaid is a C or D in the tradition of the Fantasyland dark rides. They are shorter dark rides with smaller show scenes and the queue is less elaborate.

Both types of attractions are welcome.

James said...

Thank you Spokker, you said it far more eloquently than I

No one, myself included, is debating the quality or what will be the popularity of The Little Mermaid, my prior post refers to the high expectations for Mermaid to lead thoughts of the attraction being an E-Ticket and it was not designed as an E-Ticket. Simply saying an attraction is A-Ticket through E-Ticket is not a quality scale; it references to the scope and scale of an attraction. As Spokker said prior, The Haunted Mansion is a clear E-Ticket and comparing the scope of Mermaid and Mansion is not a statement of either attractions quality, it refers to the scope of the two attractions and when this is done Mermaid is a clear C to D-Ticket. Many defending Mermaid are mixing the two and many have not even had the opportunity to ride The Little Mermaid before posting their view that these comments are a defacing of the new attraction.

I am aware many Disney ride systems have been used in all level of attractions from A to E-Tickets and ride systems are not a rating system. My statement refers to the current example of the Omnimover ride system is The Haunted Mansion and many do not remember prior Disney attractions which also used this system. Given Mansion is the current example, it helped influence expectation for Mermaid to an E-Ticket level, just a flume ride system in a show building, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, would lead people to think the attraction to be an E-ticket or a simple bus-bar system similar to the darkrides of Fantasyland to be a C to D Ticket. There are many great examples of all levels of attractions, which are simply great, but not every quality attraction can be categorized as an E-Ticket for this reason or because of expectations for a new attraction being high. Mermaid is a fun ride. It is beautifully done with lots of detail and people will be reminded of the classic darkrides of Fantasyland we all love. People will enjoy it, People will love it, and long lines will be the norm, but for many, expectations are high and those who’ve ridden the attraction (like myself), know beauty of Mermaid, but the attraction remains a C to D-Ticket attraction.

Anonymous said...

Mermaid is a little disappointing if you saw the original design and virtual ride through on the DVD. Looks like budget probably forced the cuts but the original vision was pretty cool...