Thursday, October 05, 2006

Big Changes Coming to Disneyland?

Earlier this week Al Lutz of MiceAge posted a particularly interesting update with lots of juicy rumors about Disneyland and California Adventure.

The biggest news, which has now reached the attention of the L.A. Times and the Orange County Register, is the possibility of Tom Sawyer Island being completely overhauled into a Pirates-themed island.

Tom Sawyer Island is badly in need of being rehabbed, but I don't care for this idea for multiple reasons. While the Disney parks have always drawn inspiration from Disney movies, and vice versa, this one is a wee bit too trendy for my taste. (I wonder if anyone at Disney now regrets turning the Swiss Family Treehouse into the not-so-interesting Tarzan Treehouse...) And the island is such a huge geographic part of the park, not simply an "attraction." Hard to imagine trying to give directions in that area of the park without referring to Tom Sawyer Island or the Rivers of America, for that matter. (I don't think Pirates would be in the middle of the Rivers of America, would they?!) As a former Frontierland employee, I think I'm also feeling a wee bit territorial...does this mean the island would in future be considered part of New Orleans?!

On the other hand, to show I'm not a hopeless traditionalist (grin), I think the new Finding Nemo Submarine Ride is an inspired way to bring back an old favorite, mothballed for many years, with a fresh twist. And I enjoyed the "tweaks" to Pirates of the Caribbean earlier this year. I just don't want to lose the entire island to the Pirates...

Al had a lot of other interesting news, including a hint about the possible return of the Rocket Jets -- or perhaps he meant the People Mover? -- in one of the photo captions. Tomorrowland has been too empty for too long -- it used to be such a visually interesting place, especially back in the days when the Sky Buckets passed through the Matterhorn and arrived at Tomorrowland Station -- and the return of one or both rides would be very exciting. Tomorrowland Terrace has just come back into existence, and Al's photos are gorgeous. We'll be sure to head over there on our next visit.

DCA will apparently soon have its own version of Florida's Mickey's PhilharMagic attraction, which is located in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. (I've never really understood why it's not called Donald's PhilharMagic since he's the real star of the show...) DCA may also be receiving transporation systems carrying visitors from the Sunshine Plaza to its various "lands." And as was described in another recent MiceAge update, a TOY STORY inspired ride, Midway Madness, will soon be appearing on Paradise Pier.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the possible Tom Sawyer Island change, on the whole I'm very excited about all the new ideas being considered or underway for the California parks. Under past management Disneyland suffered for years from poor maintenance and no investment in new rides, while simultaneously the park grew more crowded due to reduced "ride capacity," as old favorites such as the Submarines and Country Bear Jamboree were closed. California Adventure, though pleasant, was not all it should have been. The future is looking bright for both parks.


Blogger Irene said...

I too read Al's update and also have mixed feelings about this. I have very fond memories of running all over the island and going in the caves as a little girl. As I got older I stopped going there so I was surprised a few years ago at how much it had deteriorated. I do like POC and I think it would be interesting for awhile but other questions I have besides it being in the middle of River's Of America like you mention, what about the Mark Twain river boat that circles it. The pirate boat, yes ... but the river boat? Also what happens to the Indian encampment. Though that is only seen from the ships anyway.

I am also very excited about the submarines coming back. That was a stupid decision to shut them down in the first place.

I am so glad certain people are no longer in charge of the park :)

5:33 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Excellent point about the riverboat circling the island -- and after all, that boat is the *Mark Twain* which of course ties in with the Tom Sawyer theme!

If you haven't yet seen the Disneyland USA DVD set in the Disney Treasures series, I highly recommend it. Lots of neat memories. There is a '60s documentary called Disneyland After Dark that I especially enjoyed, which included footage of Louis Armstrong playing on the Mark Twain.

We sure had a long bad spell with the park but happily those days seem to be behind us now. :)

Best wishes, Laura

5:36 PM  

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