There is no denying that the Disney Parks of today is vastly different than the Disney Parks of several decades ago. Disney has had to adapt and evolve, changing its design philosophy as well as creative leadership. The Walt Disney Company recently acquired a new CEO as well, which has shaken things up quite a bit both in the Disney Parks and Disney fandom.
No one can be surprised that Disney has changed, and it’s important that Disney keeps things fresh and innovative for Guests of all ages. In the past few years, Disney has really amped things up by adding huge expansions like Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser and Toy Story Land to Hollywood Studios as well as several new Hotels and Resorts and not to mention a complete transformation of EPCOT. And speaking of EPCOT, lots of Disney Guests and fans have some words to say about a recently-refurbished attraction at the Park
A recent Reddit post highlighted a discussion about the newly rethemed Club Cool, a place Guests can go to experience all sorts of Coca-Cola merchandise and flavors from around the world. See the full post from u/ukcats12 below:
I think Club Cool is a prime example of the current problems with Disney parks and also illustrates why recent park visitors don’t see some of the same issues that long timers do.
The new Club Cool just opened at Epcot. A new park goer might go in and think it’s pretty cool. Modern and sleek design, free Coke products from all over the world. What a cool little store. But taking a look back at this history of Club Cool tells a different story.
When Club Cool first opened in 1998 it was called Ice Station Cool. The exterior was themed like an Arctic expedition. To get in you had to walk through an igloo that was very cold and actually had real snow. As you walked through you were greeted with a frozen caveman holding a Coke bottle. Kind of a cool little touch. The entryway wasn’t just the entry way to a store, it was a mini attraction in itself. See the snow and caveman and cool down a bit from the hot Florida weather.
In 2005 Disney renovated it and dropped the Arctic theme. It reopened as Club Cool. No more unique and cool entrance, but it still maintained some whimsical design on the inside. There were little tables where you could take a break and enjoy your international Coke samples.
Last fall it reopened as a modern Club Cool. No more unique theming, just a bright, open space. Those that experienced the older versions probably think this looks sterile, lifeless, and corporate. It would fit in at any mall in America and nothing about it screens Disney Theme Parks. Just take a look at the change in signs over the years. It went from the unique Arctic entryway, to a Club Cool sign that still had some character, to bland red lettering that is literally the exact same font as the sign for Creations Shop.
In recent years we’ve gone from this and this, to this and this. No more uniqueness, no more flair, no more creativity. Just nondescript modern looking lettering that’s all the same.
Thank you for listening to my TED talk (or should I say WED talk?)
In the post, many criticized the rethemed attraction, calling it boring and saying it lacked the charm of the original versions. User u/victory4lsu commented:
Is this better or worse than if they had re-themed it using IP like Frozone from Incredibles, Hoth from Star Wars, or one of the Frozen characters?
Oh or how about using some Coca-Cola IP and theme it with the polar bears??
User u/Hot_Weewee_Jefferson said:
I’ll take any of those over the corporate spritzer design.
User u/ItstrueDany made an observation about Disney’s potential current design philosophy:
“A new park goer might go in and think it’s pretty cool” That’s Disney’s problem and solution in one line.
User u/pre-fermented stated:
Good write-up. “Sterile” and “corporate” have unfortunately been descriptors for many of the room and park upgrades in the past several years.
I do like the font used throughout EPCOT though and they seem to be consistent with it.
User u/ShoeMeUrNoobs talked about how they were tired of Disney going for a “clean” and “modern” aesthetic:
I’m really getting tired of Disney going with the clean modern look for everything. I want my Disney stores to look like Shenanigans, with all the Goofy **** on the walls. It’s all part of the magic, making you feel like you are in a cartoon or a different world. The Roger Rabbit ride queue in Disneyland is a perfect example of what things should feel like. Transport me to a different place, not an H&M store.
User u/the_scientist52 talked about this lack of creativity in the Walt Disney World Resort, saying:
First of all, I had no idea about the pre-2005 version and it looks amazing.
Second, this exactly summarizes how I feel about the recent changes. I haven’t been to Epcot to see the renovations presented here, but I’ve had the same issue with the new World of Disney store at DS. I get that renovations are a thing but they could have at least replaced/upgraded with something equally creative and whimsical!
The Walt Disney World Resort and Walt Disney Company certainly haven’t lost all creativity as the upcoming TRON and Guardians of the Galaxy–themed attractions coming to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT respectively look super fun and impressive and will sure to be fan-favorites for years to come. Many fans simply think the way Disney is handling the Parks pales in comparison to how they were run in the past. Many would blame the new CEO Bob Chapek for these problems, and while he isn’t directly responsible for everything many fans still look up to him as the utmost authority over the creativity in the Parks.
Just recently, Guests created a petition to remove Chapek became and became one of the most signed on the entire website. One Guest even carried a sign in the runDisney marathon event that was not exactly supportive of the new leadership—more on Club Cool at Disney’s EPCOT.
Do you agree with the post and comments? Let us know in the comments below!
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