Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 1

Have you ever noticed that some Disney movies are just not represented at the Disney Theme Parks? The Princess movies seem to get all the love when it comes to representation, but while there are some Disney Animated movies that are not present anymore, there are more than you think at the parks. I'm going to go through all the Disney Animated Canon plus Pixar, to see what movies Disney still likes in their parks. There are a ton of instances of characters around the park, so I'm not going to get all of them, so deal with it!

1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

While it may be the oldest full length animated feature, it has one of the newest attractions at Disney World. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train opened in 2014 along with the rest of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. The roller coaster takes the place that was left vacant after Snow White's Scary Adventures was closed to make room for the Princess Fairytale Hall. Snow White's Scary Adventures continues to operate at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris. Scary Adventures is a dark ride that tells the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, though it was a lot scarier than many patrons thought it would be. It was eventually re-done in 1994 to tone it down, including adding Snow White herself to the ride. Walt Disney wanted riders to feel that they were themselves Snow White, which is why she wasn't in the ride to begin with. Though it has been toned down, it continues to be a favorite at the various Disney Parks.

2. Pinocchio

Pinocchio has a dark ride of his own, called Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Another ride that goes through the events of the movie, you can find it at Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. You can spot Monstro at the very beginning of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Boat riders travel right through Monstro's open mouth! Pinocchio has his own dining establishment, named Pinocchio's Village Haus. Probably the most unique and unusual Pinocchio representation was Pleasure Island. Yes, unfortunately this area of Disney World is no longer with us, but it is fondly remembered as a place that parents could go to have a good time away from their children. It had comedy clubs, restaurants, a short-lived roller rink, and my personal favorite: The Adventurer's Club. I had only been in there once when I as a teenager, but I remembered the decor inside to be really cool. We didn't stay long enough to see any of the shows inside. Over the years, people stopped going to Pleasure Island, mostly because Disney had opened many other shops and restaurants close by and people with kids had to walk through Pleasure Island to get to them. Turns out kids are a drag in a place meant only for adults. It has since been shut down and rebranded as Disney Springs. It now has shops and restaurants, with the old clubs still standing vacant.

3. Fantasia

Fantasia is helped out a lot by the fact that the Sorcerer's Apprentice is included in the movie and has become an iconic part of Mickey's character. The most noticeable Fantasia representation was the Sorcerer's Hat at Hollywood Studios at Disney World. The hat was added for the 2000 celebration and stayed there until just recently. The hat has been met with both repulsion and admiration. The hat was set squarely in front of the "Mann's Chinese Theater" facade that housed The Great Movie Ride, which made it almost impossible to get a decent shot of the theater, but also kind of ruined the view in general. Other's didn't mind its placement and were disappointing to hear that Disney was deciding to tear it down. I honestly don't care either way. I went the year it was put up and I remember loving it, so I guess if you're a kid and you grow up with it, then you might miss it. Fantasia's representation has been downgraded to just a miniature golf park at Disney World. Chernabog, besides Mickey from The Sorcerer's Apprentice, is very popular in general at the parks, turning up mostly during Halloween.

4. Dumbo

Dumbo's most famous representation is Dumbo the Flying Elephant. The attraction is a lot like many carnival rides: it has you go around and up and down and that's about it. It's a simple ride, but it's still popular. It was one of the original rides at Disneyland, so you can't really blame Disney for coming up with a pretty generic ride. Dumbo's representation has expanded thanks to New Fantasyland. It now has Storybook Circus, which is a whole area dedicated to the circus, in the vein of Dumbo. The area includes Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Casey Jr, Splash and Soak Station. Kids can ride Casey Jr, at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. At Disneyland it is a slow train ride that takes you around the park. At Disneyland Paris, it is more of a roller coaster.

5. Bambi

It turns out that Bambi is not represented well at the Disney parks. Bambi has no dark ride, no restaurant, no shop, and no area dedicated to it. You can surely see Bambi, Thumper, or Flower in the park somewhere, though there aren't any permanent fixtures featuring the young prince. If you need your Bambi fix, you'll have to look hard in one of the many Disney shops. I can understand why they never made a ride, though. You can't exactly have a very exciting ride based on Bambi, and a dark ride going through the story would inevitably have to deal with Bambi's mother being shot, so that's a no-go. Actually, that might be a very entertaining ride, so get on it, Disney!

6. Saludos Amigos/The Three Caballeros

I'm counting these movies together since they share the same characters. Donald, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles (Panchito is only in The Three Caballeros), show up in three different places at the Disney Parks. Most notable is a newer attraction at EPCOT in the Mexico pavilion, Gran Fiesta Tour starring The Three Caballeros. Gran Feista began in 2007, taking over El Rio Del Tiempo's spot in the back-left area inside of the Mexico pavilion. The ride hasn't changed too much from the original, it's just The Three Caballeros tacked onto the videos. It's not a bad ride, it's just not as peaceful as it used to be, in my opinion. People have been pretty upset about Frozen going into the Norway pavilion, but Mexico is the first area that let the Disney animated movies in. The Three Caballeros can also be seen at the pool at Disney's All Star Music Resort, and even have a cameo appearance in Disneyland's It's a Small World After All.

7. Make Mine Music

The "Package Films" of the 1940's have something going for them in one regard, in that there are so many shorts in each film that there's a good possibility of seeing them in the parks. What's not helping them is the fact that only about three or four shorts from the package films are popular. Peter and the Wolf can be seen at the Disneyland Paris version of the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Casey at the Bat is used for a restaurant, namely Casey's Corner at the Magic Kingdom, specializing in hot dogs and the like. Willie the Whale can also be seen in the queue at Mickey's Philharmagic at the Magic Kingdom, Toyko Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland.

8. Fun and Fancy Free

Fun and Fancy Free is really just Mickey and the Beanstalk and Bongo the Bear. Fun and Fancy Free doesn't have much representation at the parks. Apparently Bongo and Lulubelle were present at both American parks up until the 1990's. The pair can be seen along with some of the bears from Country Bear Jamboree in The Muppets go to Walt Disney World. The pair have been missing in action since. The only current representation is Willie the Giant at Sir Mickey's shop at Disney World. The whole shop is based off of Mickey and the Beanstalk, with the beanstalk twining throughout the store and Willie peaking in while lifting the roof.

9. Melody Time

Melody Time, though it has many segments, only has one representation at the Disney parks, and that's Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Blame it on the Samba has Donald and Jose, but I'm not counting that towards Melody Time, since they are more closely associated with The Three Caballeros and Saludos Amigos.

10. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

This is where things get sad. Yes, I'm speaking of the fact that Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is no longer at Disney World. Sure, it's still at Disneyland, but I don't want to go all the way to California to ride it again! Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is a dark ride that focuses less on the whole featurette, but instead Mr. Toad's motor mania and subsequent punishment. It was an awesome ride, and I'm still disappointed that they decided to do away with it in favor of a Winnie the Pooh dark ride. Toad is still all over the Magic Kingdom, making a cameo in the Winnie the Pooh ride, his statue occupying a space in the Haunted Mansion pet cemetery, and as part of the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom interactive game. Mr. Toad can also be found at Disneyland Paris in the Storybook Land Canal Boats, and the Toad Hall Restaurant. The Headless Horseman, like Chernabog from Fantasia, doesn't have any permanent fixtures in the parks, but shows up most often during Halloween and in the various Disney shops.

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