Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Disney Animated Movie Representation at the Disney Parks: Part 4

31. Pocahontas

Pocahontas, while still a reasonably popular film, it wasn't anything compared to The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or The Little Mermaid. I'm not sure why Pocahontas never really caught on in general. Perhaps the historical background grounded somewhat in reality (forget about Grandmother Willow) threw some kids off. That being said, Pocahontas still makes a quite a few appearances at the Disney Parks. She is present, along with Meeko and Flit, in Hong Kong Disneyland's It's a Small World, which marks the movie's only appearance on a ride. I think a Pocahontas ride would actually be kind of cool! Maybe a log flume kind of ride? I know you have Splash Mountain, but you could not have it be a thrill ride. More like Gran Feista with the Three Caballeros. Pocahontas characters have made appearances in many shows throughout the years, most notably Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios, World of Color at California Adventure, and the now defunct Pocahontas and her Forest Friends, which ran from 1998 to 2008 at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Pocahontas is a popular meet and greet character, along with Meeko, at each of the Disney Parks.

32. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Now, if Pocahontas paled in comparison to the earlier 90's films, then Hunchback was almost eclipsed. It is by far one of the best Disney has ever made, but a Victor Hugo adaption for children? Not a great sell, and there's not a Princess in sight, so Hunchback hasn't seen as much love at the Disney Parks as some of its contemporaries. Characters from Hunchback, namely Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmerelda, Pheobus, and Clopin are very rare meet and greet characters around the parks, though Frollo is seen the most. The characters are notably more present in Disneyland Paris, seeing as that's where the movie takes place. Hunchback was another movie that had its own Broadway-type show, this time at Hollywood Studios, from 1996 to 2002. Quasimodo can be seen in the Disney Dreams show at Disneyland Paris singing Out There, and Clopin has his own restaurant, Clopin's Festival of Foods, at Hong Kong Disneyland. That's about it for Hunchback, which admittedly has more representation than Bambi or Fox and the Hound, but still not too much compared to other films.

33. Hercules

Hercules is admittedly my favorite Disney film, and if I had my way, they'd have a whole area dedicated to the movie. That's never going to happen, because Hercules is somehow unpopular. I had no idea until a few years ago, but Hercules has a lot of detractors. Some people really hate this movie, and that really puzzles me. That lack of appreciation for a classic Disney film has led to yet another under-representation at the Disney Parks. Hercules had its own parade at Hollywood Studios in 1997 when the movie came out, but unfortunately that sort of exposure wasn't going to last. Today, Hercules, Hades, Pain, Panic, and Megara are meet and greet characters, though only rarely. Hades perhaps has the most exposure, like Frollo and the other villains just because they have shows and events planned around them. It's good to be a villain! Besides a little representation at Fantasmic!, Hercules is sadly vacant from the parks. From what I've read online, people really want to see this movie at the parks. It's not super popular still, but there is a sizable group of people who would love to see an attraction dedicated to our favorite Greek mythological character.

34. Mulan

Mulan, while not being a terribly popular film, still contains a movie about woman protagonist that isn't a Princess, but is still part of the Princess line-up. Not sure what the requirements are for this club, but they are sort of weird. Mulan is a popular meet-and-greet character at each Disney Park, though she is seen more at Disney World than anywhere else. Interestingly, she almost always in her bridal outfit from the beginning of the film, and only appears as Ping rarely. I can understand this from a Princess point of view, but almost all the film has her dressed as Ping. At least they have Ping at the park, mostly with Shang or Mushu. Mulan and Mushu also make an appearance (on a kite) in It's a Small World in Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland. Mulan also had its own parade in 1998 to help commemorate the film. Characters from Mulan help throw a party for the Lunar New Year Celebration for all of Disney's Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean visitors. Mulan herself is present at anything having to do with Princesses, so you won't have to look far in the park to find her.

35. Tarzan

Tarzan appears to be a film that would benefit greatly from there being a whole park dedicated to the jungle and animals, but these days you can only meet Tarzan, Jane, and maybe Terk at Animal Kingdom. The park used to have a show called Tarzan Rocks!, which ran from 1999 to 2006, but it was replaced by Finding Nemo: The Musical. Wait a minute...Finding Nemo wasn't a musical! What's going on here? The biggest representation Tarzan has at the Parks is Tarzan's Treehouse, which exists at Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland. While the Hong Kong version was new in 2005, Tarzan's Treehouse replaced The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse in Disneyland. People were none too happy about this replacement, but today people appear to have gotten over it. Many of the older live-action movie representations have gone the way of the dodo at the parks, including Swiss Family Robinson, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Luckily for guests, The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse can still be visited at Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. The attraction is basically the same; you walk through the treehouse and glance at various scenes from the movie.

36. Fantasia 2000

Not counting any Sorcerer's Apprentice appearances at the Parks, Fantasia 2000 has a few representations at the Parks. The Spring Sprite from The Firebird Suite appears in two different places, the first at World of Color at California Adventure, and in the Jubilation parade at Tokyo Disneyland. Yo Yo Flamingo and the other Flamingos appeared at Disneyland's Parade of the Stars, which ran from 2000 to 2004. The whales from the Pines of Rome segment even made an appearance as a float in Disneyland's 45 Years of Magic Parade. Perhaps the biggest representation the movie has is at the All-Star Movies Resort at Disney World, where one whole section is dedicated to Fantasia and Fantasia 2000. You can see characters from The Steadfast Tin Soldier, Pines of Rome, and Donald and Daisy from Pomp and Circumstance.

37. Dinosaur

I've looked all over and can only find one solitary representation for this movie, but by having its own ride, its head and shoulders more in your face than other Disney films. Dinosaur has its own dark ride, named...wait for it...Dinosaur. Yup, they got rid of the original name of the ride, Countdown to Extinction, which was a way cooler name, to just Dinosaur. Bleh. I barely remember riding this, and to this day I can't remember which version it was. I'm pretty sure it was Countdown to Extinction, but I could be wrong. The dark ride is a lot more interactive than the traditional dark rides of Disney, more like the Indiana Jones dark rides at Disneyland and DisneySea in Tokyo. The ride used to be more intense and scary, if you couldn't tell by the name, but Disney decided to tone it down for the kiddies who wanted something like the movie. Changes included getting rid of the Styracosaurus statue in front of the ride and replacing it with a statue of Aladar, toning down the scary soundtrack, and making the ride itself less intense. The change has led to many adult riders considering it a kids ride now. This isn't that unusual for Disney, since they've toned down such rides like Snow White's Scary Adventure, or even gotten rid of one altogether like ExtraTERRORestrail: Alien Encounter (more on this one later). Dinosaur, from what I can remember, wasn't a very good movie, and I get that this movie fits with the ride that was there before, but it really doesn't deserve its own ride, when so many other worthy movies don't have one.

38. Emperor's New Groove

Emperor's New Groove is the funniest Disney film ever made, and that isn't up for discussion. It's definitely one of my favorites, and the best of the 2000's in my opinion. I think there is a lot of opportunity for this movie in the parks, but I don't think its popular enough. The closest thing this movie has to a ride is Raging Spirits, a roller coaster at DisneySea Tokyo. While not themed on the movie, the architecture is based off of Kuzco's Incan kingdom. Kuzco, Kronk, and Yzma were all meet and greet characters for a little while after the movie premiered, but have since either been retired or are extremely rare. Kuzco's human form made its debut at Disneyland Paris in 2013 as part of the Disney Dreamers Everywhere! events. His Llama form, along with Yzma and Kronk were even brought back out for the event. The only other representation I could find was Kronk hosting the interactive paint station section in the post-show area of The Magic of Disney Animation at Hollywood Studios. I remember going to The Magic of Disney Animation in 2000 and seeing a whole section of the tour dedicated to the production of this movie. We even got to see a small clip of the film. I'm sure they do this with every new film, but for some reason that memory sticks with me.

39. Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis didn't do well at the box office, and that didn't translate into a ride or much representation at the Parks. Disney was planning to have a submarine ride, named Atlantis Expedition, that would be a lot like the Submarine Voyage ride. Once the movie bombed, Disney scrapped the idea and instead made the wise decision of making into a Finding Nemo ride. Milo and Kida both appeared at the various parks in the early days of its release, but were quickly retired. They came back inexplicably to Disneyland Paris's Discoveryland section. Milo and Kida also could be seen on a float in the Disney Stars and Motor Cars parade that only lasted less than a year at Hollywood Studios.

40. Lilo and Stitch

Lilo and Stitch is probably the most represented at the Disney Parks of all the 2000's films. Stitch is a very bankable character and is seen all over the various Parks. The rest of the characters aren't seen as much, so hope you like Stitch! Lilo does make a few appearances, namely in Disneyland Paris' Stars 'n' Cars parade, and in the shows Fantasmic! and World of Color. Both Lilo and Stitch are in Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland's It's a Small World. Stitch has his own ride, though it has almost unanimously been voted the worst ride in all of Disney: Stitch's Great Escape! in Walt Disney World. The ride replaced ExtraTERRORestrial: Alien Encounter, which was considered by many to be the scariest ride at any of the Disney Parks. You were strapped in while the ride made it seem like the alien was roaming around the room scaring everyone. People loved the ride, but some complained it was far too scary for kids, and for some, Disney equals kid-friendly. When Lilo and Stitch came out in 2002, Disney decided this was a perfect opportunity to give one of their recent movies a ride. In 2004, the ride opened, and people hated it! Same kind of ride, but its just Stitch burping chili dog in your face. I'll admit that I've never ridden any incarnation of this ride. I was far too scared to ride the Alien ride, even though I was probably too old to be at the time. Tower of Terror was another ride I was just terrified far too late in life. To my credit, I have always hated drop rides, so it wasn't really the theming as much as the drop. If people hate this ride so much, why doesn't Disney get rid of it? Probably the biggest reason is merchandising. The ride empties right into a gift shop and that shop sells tons of Stitch merch. As long as kids want a plush of a lovable blue alien, that ride will still be around. Stitch has another ride, this time in Tokyo Disneyland, called The Enchanted Tiki Room: Stitch Presents Aloha e Komo Mai! I had actually never heard of this version of The Enchanted Tiki Room, but I'll have to watch a video of it. Stitch Encounter at Hong Kong Disneyland and Stitch Live! at Disneyland Paris is a show a lot like Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor. You sit in a theater, and though it's a video on the screen, it interacts with audience participation. I've experienced Laugh Floor, and it's really cool, so I can only assume these are about the same. Stitch is all over the place, so if you like the character, then you'll be happy no matter which Disney Park you decide to go to. The only other one I can think of is the huge statue on top of World of Disney at the Disney Boardwalk at Disney World. The reason I remember this one so fondly is because it spits water at you, just like the camel at the Magic Carpets.

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