Friday, May 25, 2007

Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island Now Pirate's Lair

Disneyland's Tom Sawyer Island reopens today, renovated to tie in with the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films. (As most PIRATES fans know, AT WORLD'S END opens today as well.)

The Orange County Register has more on the changes to the beloved island.

A Farewell to Tom Sawyer Island posted at MousePlanet.

The jury's out for me on this one. I often enjoy seeing the rides updated -- tying in the submarines with FINDING NEMO is a brilliant way to bring back a beloved attraction -- but I'm not sure yet what I think of PIRATES being linked with Twain. And I sure miss Fort Wilderness.

Saturday Update: More today from the L.A. Times.


Blogger Dana said...

Its funny, Laura, but the deletion of the classic Tom Sawyer's Island is a small kiss of death for those of us with keen memories of running around that island like maniacs when we were kids. The rope bridge, the fort, the knowledge that you really couldn't get lost - it all somehow felt like a gentler part of this massive park.

Also, interesting that Tom Sawyer was a classic piece of literature that was mandatory reading for public schools. The movie was spun off from the book. And then we had the great island in the park. Now we have Pirates of the Carribean, a movie and mega-million dollar marketing tool. There is almost a crass feeling to the change. As a Disney expert, what do you think? Am I just old?

9:39 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I have mixed feelings about this one, Dana, and I'm still kind of sorting out my thoughts. On the one hand, Walt and Roy Disney were real pioneers in cross-marketing and "synergy," between films, TV, the theme parks, licensing toys, etc., and of course much in the park is based on Disney movies. I think Walt might be admiring of the way they keep the park "growing" and changing.

On the other hand, while I like the use of crossing the long-closed submarines with a popular movie in order to revive the ride with a new theme (in part because we get our ride back, grin, and it rejuvenates an entire section of the park), I'm less sanguine with the mixing of Tom Sawyer Island and the Pirates. Like you I have such fond memories of the Island as it used to be -- the pontoon bridge was my favorite part! -- and I liked the "mood" of Frontierland, with the Mark Twain circling around Tom Sawyer Island. The Pirates change feels a little too "trendy" to me; along those lines I also don't like the Tarzan treehouse, which I consider a failure. (Last time I was there it was closed for major rehab -- structural problems! Hmmm.) I adored the Swiss Family Treehouse -- my younger children watched that film last night while the older children were at PIRATES and I longed all over again for the Swiss Family Treehouse to return! (At least they still have one in Florida!!)

I wrote about some of my feelings on the change last October:

Since I wrote that, they don't seem to have renamed the island, as far as I can tell, they're just saying there's a Pirate's Lair *on* Tom Sawyer Island. That's something good...

Thanks for your thoughts!

Laura (still "musing" on this one!)

11:00 PM  
Blogger Dana said...

Perhaps a stretch, perhaps a glaring reality, but I wonder if this change is an evidence of some sort about the place of classic literature in our culture these days?

11:21 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Interesting thought about the classic literature...the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse whose disappearance I lamented was based on classic literature too. (In fact my 12-year-old daughter just finished reading the book for a literature unit, so she was doing a "compare and contrast" assignment watching the Disney movie last Friday, LOL.) However, I can't charge that Disney replaced that one due to lack of interest in literature as the attraction that followed it was also based on classic literature -- Tarzan.

Your idea is worth mulling further, however! TTYS, Laura

2:55 PM  

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