1.Expedition Everest Yeti
This audio-animatronic was touted as the most advanced and largest ever built at the time of its creation, and yet it hardly sees action anymore. Audio-animatronics have made many advances since the Yeti’s arrival, and still the beast lies dormant. The attraction is incredible, from the qeue to the ride itself, but it is a real shame that Imagineering hasn’t found the time or money to restore this legendary creature to its fully functioning glory so that he can reclaim his rightful place as the centerpiece of this beautiful attraction.
2.De-homogenize Merchandise Locations
This might be the easiest change to make, but the one that the bean-counters would be the least likely to approve. Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise does not belong in the shop for Pirates. Truly, it doesn’t really belong in Adventureland. Jack Sparrow hats and swords do not belong on Main Street. This is one of the only nostalgically tainted points on this list. The parks’ themes were so much more consistent when a guest couldn’t buy everything in every shop or specific items were not located out of their area. On one trip, a pirate Mickey shirt was found in a shop at Animal Kingdom, but not at the Pirates exit shop. Bring back park specific and land specific merchandise and make it available ONLY in that park or land.
Sure, some guests might complain that they can only get something one place, but at least they will know where they have to go to get it, and so will the cast members. When there is no rhyme or reason to merchandise dispersal or placement, how would a cast member know where to find a specific item? If however, the merchandise in the shops made sense, or fit the theme, cast members and guests would have an easier time locating what they want. Reserve the Emporium and Mouse Gear for the generic Disney merchandise or collectibles like pins and Vinylmation. Stop making shopping a scavenger hunt.
3.Move Pizza Planet to Pixar Place
Although I’m sure some would rather see this place removed altogether, I rather like the idea of Pizza Planet and would like to see it remain, but with two changes. First, it should be moved. Pixar Place is the home of most Pixar references at DHS, so why shouldn’t Pizza Planet be there as well. It would provide a great quick service location while you are waiting for your FastPass time at TSM or the rest of your party to come out of the Woody & Buzz meet & greet. Second, really commit to the theme. Rather than just have some arcade games set up around and some posters from the franchise, really theme the interior to look like the Pizza Planet from the movie. Families would love this dining option while the Pixar haters continue to hate.
Yes, this attraction, probably better than most has stood the test of time. The jokes are still bad, in typical Muppet fashion, and the film quality is possibly the best 3D anywhere outside of Star Tours, but I think there is room for growth and change. Honestly, Waldo, the computer-animated character in the film has never been a favorite of mine, nor has he become the beloved character I think he was intended to be. The first step is to remove him. Bring in Brett McKenzie and Jason Segel who handled the franchise so well in the feature film, and allow them to work their magic on this attraction. Bring in some music and see what could be a great update to an already outstanding show.
Additionally, with the removal of Pizza Planet, it is time for a Muppet-themed restaurant in that courtyard. Whether it is Gonzo’s Pizza Palace or something else entirely, I get amped at the thought of looking into a kitchen and seeing the Swedish Chef hard at work, or an animatronic Fozzie Bear doing standup while I eat.
5.Add additional destinations to Soarin’
This seems to be an extremely easy fix. Isn’t this the beauty of using movie technology in an attraction? Change the film. Let’s see a Soarin’ Over the Amazon or a Soarin’ Over Australia. Rotate the movie monthly or have different destinations in different bays. While this experience is always breathtaking, and never really gets old, I can just imagine coming over the top of Niagra Falls or the Great Pyramids, or swooping through the Grand Canyon. A helicopter and a camera, that’s all it takes, right? Stop making Air Bud and Beverly Hills Chiuahua movies and spend some of that money on a film that people actually want to see.
6.Enhance the Animation Experience at DHS
This used to be one of my favorite experiences at DHS. Of course, I really wanted to be an animator at the time, but nevertheless, I enjoyed all the aspects of this tour, and I wish it was still at that level. It is ok now, but seeing actual animators at work was a thrill and there are many more forms of animation that are in the public eye now, that the tour could really be a celebration of animation rather than a simple meet and greet for the newest DVD and/or theatrical release. What if you could make your own stop motion short, or see your drawing come to life. Interactivity is king now, so use it. Check out the Animator’s Palette on the cruise line and add that level of detail to the experience.
7.Update Carousel of Progress
Blasphemy, I know, but it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. The final scene is in that awkward area between being nostalgic, and being cheesy, leaning more toward the cheese right now. Is it possible that the narrator passes the torch to his soon, and in the final scene we have a new narrator? Could we see updated technology? I can’t claim to know the exact path to take on this one, but I know something needs to be done.
8.Get rid of the American Idol Experience
I never liked the idea, but then again, I don’t watch the show with the rest of the masses. The concept is interesting, I suppose, and interactivity is good, but it is really only interactive for a few guests each day. Idol might still be popular, but the fire is dying out and this attraction will too. Essentially, it will die when the show dies. Why not replace it and Sounds Dangerously with a special effects show, much like Monster Sound Show before it. Foley effects, green screening, and digital wizardry have come a long way, let Jerry Bruckheimer shepherd an attraction celebrating explosions and effects for the next generation.
9.Re-introduce Roger Rabbit to DHS
I am sure there are rights issues, but aside from Figment, there is no character he needs to be back in the parks more than this lovable goofball. Sure, there are nods to him throughout the park, but I want to see his presence in a more tangible way. ACME or Maroon Studios facades would be a great start. What about a walkaround of Roger and Judge Doom? The movie takes place in Hollywood after all. Toontown is gone from MK, why not bring it alive at DHS? The theme is perfect for this beloved film. I imagine that the price would be too high for a character who has been gone from the public eye for so long, but reintroducing him through cartoon shorts on the Disney Chanel or in theaters would appease the old fans and create new ones who would love to meet this character in the park.
10.Bring back Main Street Cinema
Growing up in central Florida I got used to rain, every afternoon. The Main Street Cinema was a refuge from a hot afternoon shower, or an out of the way hideout when crowds were high. Vintage Mickey cartons running all day long with a cool place to sit and watch…what’s not to like about that? Sure, it doesn’t make any money, but it introduces new generations to Mickey and keeps him alive for the older ones who haven’t watched his classic antics in a while.