Fans Call for Disney To Freshen Up the Parks

in Disney Parks

EPCOT's Spaceship Earth at Walt Disney World Resort

Credit: Unsplash - Robert Horvick

There’s been a lot of debate about the Disney parks in recent years as older attractions are rethemed to include more recent characters and franchises. While Walt Disney promised that the parks would never be finished as long as there was imagination, it’s clear that each Disney park has to continuously update itself in order to keep bringing back guests and making them enjoyable and entertaining for younger generations.

Perhaps the most controversial change in recent years was the decision to close down Splash Mountain in Disneyland and Walt Disney World in order to be themed after The Princess and the Frog (2009). The Paradise Pier Hotel at Disneyland has just been updated to the Pixar Place Hotel, featuring design elements inspired by various Pixar movies. And the iconic Country Bear Jamboree at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will be updated next year to include an all-new take on beloved Disney songs.

Country Bear Jamboree at the Magic Kingdom
Credit: Brittany DiCologero

However, while some things are updated to be fresh and new, other things are left to become a product of their time. In a recent Reddit post, user u/nowhereman136 expressed their desire to add more randomized experiences to the parks.

“If I were in charge of the Disney parks, one of my policies would be that the park is in constant creative change. Those “fasten your seatbelt” videos before rides would change every year with a new actor. New songs added to cosmic Rewind. Dolls at its a small world would be moved around and redressed. Mickeys philharmagic gets a new sequence. Canada and China would get a new movie every year. I actually think Epcot should get a 12th pavilion that changes every year. Simple things like that so the park is always a little different each time you visit.”

Flight attendant Patrick from Soarin', EPCOT
Credit: ITM

They continue in a later comment, saying,

“I used to work on the Soarin Ride. The video playing with Patrick Warburton is great but I think it’s been there since day one. Literally 20 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I love Warburton and the video is enjoyable the first time you watch it. But why has it been playing for 20 years? How hard would it be film a new version with whoever is the hot Disney Channel star this year. Casual fans would care more about the new celebrity than Warburton, and regular fans would show up just to see the new intro video. “

They bring up an interesting point. Although Patrick Warburton is iconic in his own way, even 20 years after recording the EPCOT Soarin’ safety video (and perhaps because of it), changing up the safety videos at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort would keep guests engaged, especially returning guests.

It can be difficult to get guests to pay attention and remain engaged, and Disney’s themed and immersive safety videos are a great attempt to relay important information before guests board a ride. Utilizing a Star Tours type of randomization could add even more to the attraction, giving guests a unique experience each time they ride even if the ride itself is the same.

david danipour flight of passage header, Walt Disney World Animal Kingdom
Credit: ITM

Even if they were to use the same group of actors for multiple rides and record several different versions of safety videos, it would be a great way to give guests something new without too much effort. It would also be one of the least controversial changes the parks could make while still being enough to freshen up the attractions and overall Disney theme park experience.

While several people agreed with the idea, one comment pointed out the draw of nostalgia for many people, explaining that knowing that a ride may be the exact same as the one they rode as a kid is as much of a draw, perhaps more, than the promise of something new and different each time.

As Disney continues to compete with the Universal parks, the Mouse House is falling behind as Universal works on opening its third Florida park, a Texas park, and a Las Vegas experience. Compared to the expansion Universal is building on, Disney has stagnated, trying to build within the space they already have over existing attractions. While randomized or completely new versions of smaller things like safety videos or in-park shows might not be the answer, it’s clear that Disney will have to do something soon if they want to keep up with Universal.

What would you change in order to keep the Disney parks fresh? Share your ideas with us in the comments below!

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