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Headscratchers: Disney Theme Parks
  • To fully embrace the magic of the Disney Theme Parks (especially the ones in style of the Magic Kingdom), you should believe that everything is real. Big Thunder Mountain is a real gold mine, you really save the universe with Buzz Lightyear, The Haunted Mansion is really cursed and so on... But even if you get pass by all the Time Travel involved, you still have to suspend your disbelief and ignore the crowds and all the safety spiels. And even then the illusion crumbles as soon as you ride a second time.
    • Well...what do you suggest they do about it? Turn the parks into one continuous ride?
      • No, it would make the line astronomically ginormous. Presumably there is a limit to how many people can fit in at once, and considering how many people there are...
    • That would be nice...It would save you a lot of time usually spent on waiting in lines, and it would be like one huge, insane, disjointed adventure.
    • Well, even if you decide to think of it as though it's real (which I assume is what you meant above unless you can really delude yourself into thinking it's real) you still know it's not real, right? MST3K Mantra
    • Acceptable Breaks from Reality. Think of it as "Reliving" your adventure.
    • Rides like Haunted Mansion and Splash Mountain actually take place in large show buildings hidden behind their structures. Not many people pay attention to the fact that they are not in the facade that you see from the park, due to trickery and forced perspective.
  • Okay, what's with all the hate on California Adventure? I can understand if people were annoyed about it in the beginning with rides like Superstar Limo and crap like that, but it's gotten a hell of a lot better since then. Not to mention they're spending $1,000,000,000 to give the park a 1920's Buena Vista/boardwalk theme. With World of Color opening and everyone saying how awesome it is, California Adventure has officially redeemed itself.
    • I just think that California Adventure should be at the Orlando Disney World, and that Disneyland should have gotten Florida Adventure. All the awesomeness of Florida without having to travel across the country!
      • Unless you live in Florida....
      • Or just the South Eastern entirely. South Carolina's not that far from Florida.
      • What awesomeness of Florida?
    • It's because it was a severe case of being designed by the executives with more dining and shopping locations then actual attractions.
    • Long answer short in response: It's not that we dislike California Adventure, it's that the money used to build what is essentially an outdoor mall could have been used to expand and detail existing parts of the Magic Kingdom. West Coast Americans think of Disneyland as part of our cultural heritage, and even if you're 25 years old, you still remember it as something it isn't now. California Adventure is just an excuse to squeeze the Park Hopper fee out of the ticket buying public, and nothing more.
    • DCA was built "on the cheap," as they say - lots of off-the-shelf carnival rides, skimpy theming, heavy focus on shops and shops alone, poorly thought-out original attractions, and ideas simply borrowed from other parks without concern for how they would fit into the new park as a whole. In other words, DCA began life as a real-world sort of Souvenir Land. It needs to be said right now that this is NOT normal for Disney, nor has it ever been. Those responsible for the decision to go the miserly route with DCA's design and construction are no longer part of the company, and from what I understand, the leader of the initial project was very out-of-touch with the guests and genuinely believed that they only came to the parks to shop. He lasted less than 10 years in his position. In the grand Disney tradition of simply moving forward and making the best of everything, the current $1.1 billion overhaul seeks to raise DCA in quality from an above-average amusement park to a genuine Disney theme park. (And it's working!) As for why haters still exist? They really have nothing to go off of, but like most hate groups in the world, they do it solely to feel superior to someone, so they keep on hating despite lacking a valid foundation for their actions.
      • Just to clarify: Paul Pressler didn't actually believe that people go to Disney parks for the shopping. That can be part of the draw for some, since they offer some lines of merchandise not found anywhere else. But Pressler came to the theme park division directly from a stint as President of the Disney Store retail chain and only knew how to relate to guests as shoppers. It was more convenient for him to treat the park like a giant mall. Ironically, under his "leadership," the merchandise at Disneyland was genericized to the point where people were less likely to come for the shopping.
    • Speaking as a guy living in Rancho Palos Verdes (One of the 'Rich' suburbs of L.A., right up there with Beverly Hills and Bel Aire [If Will Smith is to be believed]), it has done more good than harm. I know people who, because they have a year-round pass to D-Land, go out and spend a day in DCA. Yes, its kind of a glorified shopping mall, but consider this. The Boardwalk area seems lifted from the early 20th century, a piece of living semi-history. Grizzly River Run and Soarin' both give adventures into the wild unknowns of California (My mom INSISTS we go on Soarin', even though she's been a Cali resident for over 30 years, because she loves to see the sights of our state). Finally, there's the Hollywood area. What can I say, its Hollywood for kids. So, we get all the wonders of things such as Pixar and Disney Animated Canon (the Voice Actors) without all the R-rated movies that Hollywood is apt to toss out nowadays. It is, simply put, California for those with kids, or those who can't afford to travel.
      • Well, even though there are some things that were done poorly in California Adventure (Some of the generic rides before they decided "Hey, let's make it like those Boardwalk Theme Parks that don't really exist anymore.) I think the park feels more unique, basically. But it definitely seems to have been Rescued from the Scrappy Heap - When I went in 2010, almost nobody was in there cause half the park was under construction. The next year, it was packed by people who all really wanted to be there, and they weren't just there for the World of Colour...that more seemed to motivate them to stay there later aside from trying to catch a late ride on Grizzly River Run or Soarin' over California. In 2012, seriously that park's rides were even more crowded than Disneyland. (In 2011, I'd get a fast pass for Space Mountain that's four hours later and the standby time is 50+ minutes by noon...in 2012, I go over there, get a fast pass for Space Mountain, and it's the next hour, while the standby time never exceeds 40 minutes. Although I'm sure Star Tours may have had something to do with that)
    • You know a lot of criticisms I've seen of California Adventure were also more from the recent stuff - ie, "It's not thrillish enough", "It's not Disney enough", "It's too Disney", "It's too Pixar", "It's like Disneyland overspill", "It violates my Nostalgia Filter", etc. Some rather weird criticisms, too. (You're expecting Thrill Rides at Disneyland?! A park meant to be friendly for families with small children?!) Not to mention some were more "Half the park is closed", "The park seems like an Obvious Beta because all the rides wind up closed/refurbished", "half the park's walled off so we have to go to the complete parts of the park", etc. Personally I actually like it but I didn't see it in 2001; I first went in 2005.
    • Also, in 1991, Disney announced that the now-DCA area would be turned into a second Epcot, West COT. It would have brought back an improved "Adventures Thru Inner Space" as well as classics like "Journey into Imagination," "Horizons," and a World Showcase grouped by region. Given that the majority of Disneyland guests were California natives, a clone of a cool park that was 3,000 miles away sounded much nicer than a postcard for a state they already lived in.
      • Maybe it's just me, but I thought the California Adventure park sounded a lot more cool than West COT, and I really really love EPCOT. The reason why was that the California Adventure park seemed more unique, like something you can only see in the California park.
  • Regarding the actors dressed as Disney characters, specifically, human characters: why do some of them, like Captain Hook, wear giant mascot heads, while others like the Mad Hatter, simply wear makeup? Seeing one next to the other is a bit incongruous, not to mention how creepy those giant grinning masks look.
    • Likely because of the exaggerated proportions. Hook has a signature look of a long face with a big nose, while the Mad Hatter has a more normal looking face (you can see the Cast Member is wearing a fake nose there anyway). It probably just comes down to what makes the actor look more like the character.
      • The Mad Hatter is actually a special case. He wasn't always a "face character," as they say—this was the original costume. Compare to the contemporary version. (For reference, this is the animated character.) They opted to make the park version of the Mad Hatter look less like the film version because he doesn't work as a character unless he can talk. The rapid-fire absurd comic dialogue is more essential to the character than his straight-up appearance.
  • Everytime I see Mulan in the parks, she's always in her kimono. The one she didn't even spend half of the movie wearing. Why not a different outfit? Is she just not recognizable without it?
    • Probably just branding. The primary draw of the princesses (don't know how Mulan counts as a princess) is marketed toward girls, and Mulan spends most of her film wearing distinctly non-feminine clothing. The kimono was just about the only thing she ever wore that was feminine, so that's what she's marketed as. It's annoying for me, because seeing an armored Mulan in the China pavilion would be awesome. Especially if they got an actress who could do a martial arts demonstration when she was there.
    • A martial arts demonstration would be cool. Minor nitpick: Mulan doesn't wear a kimono. She wears a woman's shenyi known as a quju.
    • What parks are these you're going to where you've been seeing Mulan? In all my trips to Disneyland, the only time I ever saw them acknowledge Mulan's existence was when the movie was newly-released into theatres and they put a float of the ancestors into one of the parades and a small barbie-synopsis of the movie on main-street, (Which is now advertising Disney Princesses. While it does have Mulan, it also puts more emphasis on the "Classic" princesses so the Mulan characters are shoved into the corner) but since 1998, Mulan seems to have been treated as Canon Discontinuity.
      • Mulan shows up in the China pavilion of Epcot, and the only reason for that is probably because there are a lot of complaints that World Showcase is boring for kids and doesn't have enough Disney in it.
      • Mulan appears VERY regularly in Hong Kong Disneyland. Then again...that's probably because it makes total sense to feature the Chinese character in a Chinese city. She's a face character, a doll in Small World, and there's even a statue of Khan in Fantasyland. As for the martial arts complaint, if you ever come over to HK Disney, be sure to catch "The Golden Mickeys" show where Shang sings "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" while she kicks major butt onstage!!
    • Mulan appears in Disney's California Adventure in her more "princess-y" attire (and maybe at Disneyland park? It's been a while since this troper met the Princesses...) but in Parc Disney and on some Disney cruise lines, Mulan does, in fact, appear as Ping. Sometimes you can also find Shang, or even Shan Yu.
      • On second thought...this Hong Kong Disneyland Annual Pass holder realizes she has yet to see Princess Jasmine in the Park. Our princesses are usually Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Mulan, and even Rapunzel the last time she was there (early July 2011).
    • It's not a kimono, it's a hanfu.
    • Mulan doesn't appear as often at Disneyland except on "Long Lost Friends Week" (when they bring out characters from less advertised movies) and during then she's in her war armor.
  • How come there isn't a Ghibli themed part of one of the parks?
    • Several reasons I would imagine. 1) Studio Ghibli is completely independent from Disney - they'd have to get permission from it. 2) Studio Ghibli could probably sponsor it; however they probably aren't in the financial state to do so. 3) Space. Probably in Florida, since they have a lot of breathing room but in California? There's really not a lot of room. 4) The omnipresent Unpleasable Fanbase.
  • Does anyone else wonder if the people managing the Theme parks have something against a couple Disney films? I notice that Disneyland isn't very nice to Mulan, since she's barely acknowledged at all. They clearly have something against many of their live-action films that aren't Mary Poppins. Maybe they think the kids wouldn't recognize them, and the Periphery Demographic of the costumed characters (eg, people who don't like to meet them but like to see how the costumes were designed) isn't large enough to have people from less-popular Disney movies walking around? It would explain some absences, in addition to the fact that nobody probably wants to walk around dressed like The Reluctant Dragon or Louis. But why the Mulan hate? I've been there in 2010 and 2011, and it seems almost like it's been put into Canon Discontinuity. Heck, they even put Rapunzel's hair in the park and added Tiana to the Fantasmic show.
    • This Troper is convinced that the characters have become nothing more than walking advertisements for their popular/newer movies. If they can't make money off of it, why bother trying, right? *facepalm* For the record, This Troper is a huge fan of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and has been terribly embittered by the lack of characters from that movie.
    • Agreed. This troper has yet to find or see anything Hunchback related in any of the stores at Disneyworld in the past few years, and it's probably been much longer. I heard the beginning of a cover of Topsy Turvy playing on the loudspeakers while walking to watch Fantasmic. It was cut off ten seconds after it began and replaced by Under the Sea. Do they even have an Esmerelda face character?
    • I'm not sure if he still is, but I remember that Clopin was a face character at one point.
    • Not a long time ago I saw Esmerelda and Clopin as face characters in Paris. However, they are very rare, and they only appeared on the transition between one event and the other.
    • You're aware that everything they do costs money? Money for the costumes, money for the actors, things for the actors to do, scheduling, training...If there isn't a profit being turned so an obscure character can be met, why should they be there? When a character like The Mad Hatter is more popular than a character like Eilonwy, why should The Hatter be cut so Eilonwy should be there? For the one child a year that will notice them? Nice, yes, but it's also depriving many more children of a much more popular and useful character.
    • If you should know, there was at least a Hunchback of Notre Dame stage show at DisneyLand's Hollywood Studios that lasted for a few years starting 1996. It does appear to have been a well-loved attraction as the video indicates.
    • More likely, Hunchback and Mulan have... less "common" and "acceptable" themes that Disney is just too scared to acknowledge: Frollo was obsessed with Esmerelda in a very sexual way and the whole film is one of Disney's darkest, while Mulan has homosexual and transgender overtones that are not accepted in today's media. As to Eilonwy... Black Cauldron IS Disney's darkest film and one Disney would like to pretend doesn't exist, much like they do with Song of the South but can't totally ignore because Splash Mountain is such a popular ride. Black Cauldron they can, because how many people have ACTUALLY heard of Eilonwy? Atlantis and Treasure Planet get swept under the rug because A) the films are unpopular and B) Neither has a prominent female character, since Disney panders to girls better than boys. Also people forget the films exist, which is a tragedy because they are ridiculously underrated. Atlantis has Kida, yeah, but she doesn't do much and fits the same mold as Mulan, where she ventures outside the gender box. Emperor's New Groove is ignored probably because it's the Sixth Doctor of the Disney films- weird, out of place, completely mental, and is radically different from every other Disney film. And consider what gets sold for merch outside the parks and official Disney stores.
  • What's with all the attractions that are based off franchises not owned by Disney, like Indiana Jones and Star Wars? They never had anything to do with that company throughout their respective histories. Sure some of the rides at the parks were original creations not derived from the studio's history, but I would never compare Star Wars to something related to Disney.
    • Those are both George Lucas franchises. His partnership with Disney began with Captain EO, and continued from there. Star Tours was supposed to be a ride for Disney's The Black Hole, but the movie wasn't that popular, and the price for creating the attraction was too much. So, they turned to Lucas for help, and he let them use Star Wars. The partnership helps bring in money for both parties involved. In fact, all rides at Disneyland used to be sponsored by some company or another.
    • Now they seem to be working on an Avatar (a James Cameron franchise) land in Animal Kingdom, which seems like they're branching out beyond Lucas.
    • Well, Disney does get a lot of its funding from outside sources; such as private companies who sponsor attractions or even foreign governments who pay to start up a pavilion in EPCOT. (From what I hear; only Morocco actually funds the Moroccan-pavilion; the rest are funded by private corporations or were only kick-started by governments) Some rides actually weren't made because Disney couldn't find enough funding for them. I know, as bizarre as it is that a Mega Corp. such as Disney can find funding problems, but yeah. (At least, nowadays they would...in the early days before the other parks, they had to turn to outside funding because they didn't actually have much money.)
    • And now Disney owns Lucasfilm. Maybe the presence of these rides in the parks was epic foreshadowing.
  • Why is it some characters from the movies don't appear at the parks anymore when they have appeared previously? From old videos that I have seen on YouTube, I have seen that the parks have in fact used costumes of Bongo and Lulubelle, the March Hare, Owl, King Leonidas, Basil and Ratigan, Oliver and Dodger, none of whom have appeared at the parks in recent years. So where are these costumes now?
    • Blame Pop-Cultural Osmosis for that. These characters, and characters from their later 90s films like Hercules and Hunchback of Notre Dame simply don't MATTER to today's kids and aren't remembered by the current generation of parents, which is really confusing since they have characters from stuff nobody will care about in a few years like Little Einsteins still walking about. TL;Dr version: They aren't as easy to milk merchandise out of, because Disney tends to forget some of their own Animated Canon stuff in favor of the more well-known Disney Princess movies and fare, creating a vicious cycle that makes people only remember the Disney movies that are merchandised. Maybe in a few years they'll have more of the forgotten Disney Animated Canon entries like Great Mouse Detective or Hunchback, but I sorta doubt that'll happen. Seems Kingdom Hearts is really the only way to go for lovers of 90's Disney nostalgia.
      • Actually, Frollo still appears, just not every day.
    • (different troper here) But I've seen some fur characters of The Three Caballeros at the parks, and I think more kids would be familiar with Hercules or Hunchback then that movie. Especially considering that it hasn't been out on DVD for a long time. Also, how exactly did they do costumes of Dodger and Oliver, if they're not anthropomorphic animals?
  • On a similar subject, what does Disney do with the outdated versions of the costumes they've since updated, like Mr. Smee, Pooh, and Scrooge McDuck?
    • The same thing that happens with any old item. They probably put in storage or some sort of archive. Or they reuse the parts for anything else Disney may be working on.
    • The costuming department for the parks is HUGE because they keep a lot of the old stuff.
      • Correct. They keep almost everything just in case they need it.
  • Since Kingdom Hearts is really popular, why doesn't Disney put some characters from it at the Japan pavilion. I know their attempt at Sora failed because they made him a mask character, but they could revive them as face characters - they'd probably be able to make convincing wigs for all the guys with Anime Hair, and meeting and greeting, say, Aqua or Riku would be fun for the Periphery Demographic.
    • Kingdom Hearts has a relatively small fanbase in terms of the general public for Disney parks, so introducing Kingdom Hearts characters as a major part would end up causing a lot of confusion among anyone who wasn't a gamer. They still have some Kingdom Hearts merchandise.
    • I had wondered why as well, but chances are, there're licensing issues. Even though Kingdom Hearts makes heavy use of Disney, the other characters are Square Enix's.
      • Plus a person carrying around a giant key would look out of place for non-gamers, and the Disney Imagineer in the costume would have to waste part of the character's 10 minutes just to explain who he is to the unaware (as mascots have a 10 minute limit to meet and greets according to the context of a Frollo sighting).
      • Screw that, just make it a street show. You can prank the Christmas Day parade with it.
  • Cause EPCOT pavillions are made to expose culture, not pop culture, however you could probably find stuff like that in the Mitsukoshi store.
  • The Lion King is Disney's highest-grossing animated movie. Why isn't there a ride or anything for it? Rafiki would be a great face/fur character, if they did the costume right. Even just a Pride Rock area would be cool.
    • There's the awesome Festival of the Lion King at Animal Kingdom, and Rafiki shows up around the parks prettty often as a fur character, as does Timon.
    • I thought that the concept(s) of a Lion King-themed attraction had been brought up numerous times, but it's never made it past early production or only existed in concept art.
    • The Art of Animation resort which opened in Disney World in 2012 has a bunch of suites based entirely on Lion King. There are also Finding Nemo, Cars, and Little Mermaid.
  • Okay, last time I went on the Its a Small World ride, they had added cameos from various movie and Kingdom Hearts characters. Okay, makes sense. Ariel was in the Pacific Islands room. Er, isn't Atlantica in, y'know, the Atlantic?
    • Where else would it go?
    • And where did you see Kingdom Hearts characters in that?
  • Am I the only person who thinks they greatly overestimated the popularity of the Monsters, Inc. ride in California Adventure? To get to the ride, you have to go pretty much out of your way (and later on, walk through the Mad T Party or ElecTRONica ) and there's a really really huge queue. Yet every time I've been there... the sign never went above 10 minutes, and I've literally been able to walk right on up. Was it as popular as the Cars Radiator Springs racers ride when it first came out?
    • During DCA 1.0, there was only one dark ride in the entire park, called Superstar Limo. It was in the same place Monsters Inc. resides now. Let's just say, it didn't turn out well. Cheaply made, poorly written, and filled with the worst celebrity cameos in entertainment history, it closed within less than a year. Also, Eisner (CEO at the time) completely overestimated its popularity at the time, which explains the huge queue space. The Monsters Inc. ride replaced it 5 years later, and it managed to be popular for the first few months, but it died down soon after. As for the out-of-the-way feeling, it was a fatal design flaw. There used to be a restaurant and show in that corner too, but they both soon closed for that very reason.
  • There's something I don't get. Why is Slue-Foot Sue(From "Pecos Bill") a blonde in the Golden Horseshoe Saloon, when she was a redhead in the cartoon?
    • Well, Melody Time was released in the 40s, but Disneyland was built in the 50s. Perhaps hair color fashions had changed enough in that time that they decided a blonde lead would go over better?
  • Was Spaceship Earth created as an intentional homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey? They certainly seem similar (at least to me).
    • The concept of "Spaceship Earth" and the geodesic dome design, at least, are both based on the work of Buckminister Fuller.
  • According to Wikipedia, Carnotaurus was published while the Dinosaur ride was in progress, and was added to keep up with the most recent research. How long did it take to build the ride? Carnotaurus was published in 13 years before the ride (and the Animal Kingdom as a whole) opened.
  • Spaceship Earth, why exactly is it a golf ball?
    • It's not. It's a geodesic sphere.
      • But still, why such a weird design choice?
      • Because it merges the two ideas of Epcot together; High Technology, and the planet itself. it is literally the spaceship earth.
  • Why is the Alice In Wonderland ride out of order in terms of it's plot? I mean like is it for any actual reason or is it because They Just Didn't Care?
    • If you're referring to the placement of the mad tea party scene, it's because that scene wasn't originally part of the ride. It was added during the 1980s refurb of Fantasyland in order to give more oomph to what was considered an excessively girly ride. That's also why the caterpillar car leaves the show building only to re-enter it for the finale.
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