Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!
Day 7: Your favorite parade, show or attraction that is no longer in the park.
Oh, Tomorrowland. How you torture me so. Your empty Peoplemover track is a reminder of Yesterland – so much gone from a different time, removed for the sake of progress, yet leaving us reminders of former glory. I miss the “iconic” look of Tomorrowland: The Rocket Jets spinning high in the air, the brightly colored Peoplemover Vehichles passing through, guests lining up to be shrunk by something or someone other than Rick Moranis, Skyway Buckets overhead…
Yes, the Skyway takes the cake as the ride I miss most and want back. What a grand way to travel! I remember going on this ride with my sister when I was younger – the first ride we ever took without parental supervision – and just marveling at the sights below. Of course, at a younger age, the height I remember looking down from was greatly exaggerated, I’m sure, but at that point, I felt on top of the world. In high school, I saw the Main Street Electrical Parade from the best point of view ever: A Skyway bucket. I remember how I thought to myself, “I’m going to have to remember this one. Others need to see this view!” Alas, ’twas not to be. The Skyway closed in 1994. The tunnels in the Matterhorn were sealed up, and the Fantasyland station was left standing as a reminder that makes me nostalgic to this day.
I’ve included another video for viewing in today’s entry; this one taken by Kevin Yee on the Skyway’s final day of operation. The quality isn’t the greatest, but with the accompanying music, it definitely captures the feel of what it was like to ride it; especially when passing through the Matterhorn to the Tomorrowland side, looking out on a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.
Walt said Disneyland would never be complete as long as there was imagination left in the world. But in my imagination, if this ride is ever able to make a comeback, it may feel just a touch more complete.
Well, that’s it for today’s selection for the challenge! What is your favorite ride from a bygone time? I’m sure there are a plethora of answers out there, and I can’t wait to hear!
I don’t have an answer to this! There are only a handful of rides that have closed that I experienced, and even fewer I remember. From what little I’ve seen, I’d have to say the Pocahontas show, and all of the other shows on the Fantasyland stage. All I remember of the Pocahontas show is that John Smith appeared out of the fire… but it left an impression on me. As much as I’ll miss Carnation Plaza Gardens, I’m so happy the Fantasyland stage will be able to have shows again, assuming that’s the direction Disney is going.
Hopefully we will see some good quality shows again – that would be awesome!
America Sings with Country Bear Jamboree close behind.
I too, miss both – Perhaps America Sings just a bit more!
People always bring up that “Disneyland will never be completed” quote but rarely mention the predicating clause “It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.” That lays out a pretty high bar which many changes for the sake of merchandising and outright reductions of service don’t aspire to.
I could mention attractions I wish I could have seen, like the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland or Adventures Thru Inner Space or WDW’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or DLP’s Space Mountain: From the Earth to the Moon. But if we’re talking about ones that I’ve experienced myself, then I would have to go with Pirates of the Caribbean.
The original attraction, even with its tweakings and nudgings, was a genuine piece of artistic magic. Just about everything that could be right with a theme park attraction was. You were the focal point of an adventurous morality tale about pirates on the Spanish Main: you descended into that grotto to see the fruits of piracy, warned of the crused treasure. What was it? As you contemplated that, you were put in the thick of danger as pirates sacked the town. Yet it was swashbuckling, musical and fun danger. You could sing along, laugh, chill. And at the end of it, the poetry was reinforced as you saw those last pirates blowing themselves up and stabbing eachother in the back as they tried to remove the cursed treasure. That’s when it dawns on you that the treasure wasn’t cursed: treasure itself is a curse. It allowed guests to indulge the romantic myth of piracy with the moral framework that made it socially redeeming, and it was aesthetically perfect. I adored the spooky grotto of skeleton pirates, the hollow voices echoing through dark caverns, and that epic first glimpse of a pirate ship attacking the bastion.
Now, you are no longer the focal point of this adventure. It’s not about you. You are merely a passive spectator watching the adventures of Jack Sparrow, and not even seeing the good parts. You descend into a grotto of skeleton pirates who are there for no reason now, because they have no message. Then Cthulhu or Blackbeard pop up to noisily contradict the original message that the wages of sin is death and dead men tell no tales. Apparently they do, says a projection of a squid monster in a ride with no other projections or squid monsters. Then its into seeing the adventure of Jack Sparrow… A creepily realistic animatronic that it lightyears more conspicuous than its neighbours, complimented by audio tracks that are of recognizably different quality than the original dialogue. As if it weren’t enough to spit on the original attraction, it even contradicts the source material by constantly referring to him as Captain Jack Sparrow, ignoring the whole running gag of the first film (and PLOT POINT of the second) that Jack was the only person to call himself captain. And in the end, instead of the poetic message about treasure itself being cursed, I guess Jack Sparrow got away with it. Good for him, I guess.
The new Pirates of the Caribbean is a perfect demonstration of how flawed marketing decisions can be. Furthermore, Imagineering is not off the hook either. This disjointed, sloppily produced narrative exemplifies the faults of Imagineering’s current obsession with “story” above WED’s practice of crafting experience. Instead of having my own adventure like in the Haunted Mansion or Adventures Thru Inner Space or Peter Pan’s Flight or Star Tours or the original Pirates of the Caribbean, I’m observing vignettes of someone else’s adventure like in The Little Mermaid, Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, Winnie the Pooh or the new Pirates of the Caribbean.
Cory, I want to truly thank you for this post. You make a compelling argument, much more so than “Jack Sparrow is overkill, he’s too new to add to a classic.” I guess I never really noticed when I was younger, but you’re right – the focal point has shifted. And I’ll probably notice it even more on my next trip now that you’ve brought it up.
Funny thing is, I’m not IN PRINCIPLE opposed to adding Jack Sparrow to the ride. They could have added Jack and Barbossa and Will and Elizabeth into it, somewhere in the back, done in the style of Marc Davis, as though they were always there and you just never noticed them before.
Instead they had to add all this really conspicuous stuff. They had to throw in this projection of a squid monster where there are no other projection effects or squid monsters. They had to throw this orchestral rendition of the movie theme in there just cuz’. They had to make the new animatronics super-lifelike and the new audio super-crisp. They had to keep talking about Captain Jack Sparrow. They had to make sure that you knew that it was now all about Jack Sparrow, in your face, artistic integrity be damned.
By comparison, I actually didn’t mind the addition of Disney characters to It’s a Small World but I hated the America section. The characters were done quite well, except for Flounder, and were not overly conspicuous. The America section was just awful though. My girlfriend didn’t even know about the change or the controversy, but did notice that the America section was sloppy and looked like it was from a different (and worse) ride.
Also by comparison, I love the addition of Constance to the Haunted Mansion. First of all, she’s not a story: she’s an elaborate gag. She’s exactly the sort of thing Davis could have cooked up and she doesn’t displace the original protagonist of the ride: me. She’s a projection effect of an actress in a ride with other projection effects of other actresses, and around her are changing portraits in a ride with other changing portraits. She’s an advancement on the technology, but not a radical, conspicuous divergence from it. Her tone is perefctly in keeping with the established theme of the ride and she was added in there because she was a good idea, not because she was in the movie.
I was just having this discussion last night, and you said beautifully everything I wanted to say. Except I don’t like Constance, but I don’t disagree with your reasoning, it’s a personal thing. But Pirates: not only did they do all the things you mentioned, but they took a ride, made it a movie, then made a ride based on the movie. So the entire idea got diluted, like when kids play telephone.
For me, it has to be two different ones. I miss the Skyway as well. I was also little when I rode it most of the time, but it provided such amazing views and an opportunity to people watch. I also miss the Country Bear Jamboree. Again, I didn’t always get the humor, but I always loved the music. It was fun to see how it changed depending on the seasons. It’s one of those rides that I wish my kids had the opportunity to experience now.
For some reason, I always loved the waiting area outside of the Country Bears. Funny when you miss a queue as much as the attraction.
We always did the Country Bear Jamboree after lunch so my dad could nap. And I loved it, though I didn’t remember much of it. So when we went to WDW I was really excited to see it again, not realizing it was the original version and not the vacation version. I tend to like originals better, but in this case I found the humor odd and the music downright disturbing at times. Just one of the reasons my first trip to WDW was a disappointment. I need to get to Tokyo Disney, where they run all 3 versions of the show.
Tough but I have to go with America Sings. I just loved that as a kid and I hate the wasted space of that building with Innoventions. Looking forward to the wrecking balls in the coming years for an E-ticket and then will change my answer to the Country Bears!!
It is definitely a wasted space over there – you’ll see my true feelings in my day 10 post!
I’m going to have to say the Peoplemover, with the skyway very close behind it. I just loved to relax on the Peoplemover and see inside Star Tours and Space Mountain. I think my kids would have loved it too. It would be so nice to go on an attraction that you can relax on and entertain the kids (that’s longer then a minute or two). Tomorrowland isn’t the same without either of them. There’s no excitement, no hustle and bustle. No movement. I hope Tomorrowland gets some well deserved attention in the very near future =)
The Peoplemover track taunts me. I wish they’d take it out if they’re not going to do anything!
Love that old video 🙂
I guess I’m lucky that during my WDW fan years I haven’t really lost many attractions…yet. I couldn’t cope if they took away my beloved TTA Peoplemover from WDW!!
Whenever asked this I must say Peoplemover. Its for sentimental reasons. It’s one of the last rides I rode with my mother and she is on video waving back at me from the tram in front. I really do miss going up the walk and just getting yourself on the ride. To me it always seemed empty up there and yet so many people love this ride. I also miss the TRON sequence…I absolutely loved that!!!