It can be hard to face reality. And how much harder is it when you have reached the pinnacle of your career, only to be thrown into the dustbin of history. Such is the fate of Disney’s extinct attractions.
We join the meeting of the Extinct Attractions Support Group as they recite the group’s daily affirmation.
“I deserve good things. I’m entitled to provide my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive attraction. I am a fun experience. Because, I’m good enough, I’m entertaining enough, and, doggone it, Disney fans like me.”
Therapist: Welcome, everyone. I know most of you have attended many of our meetings. But, as always, I want to start by reminding everyone that we are here to support each other. This is an environment where all can feel safe to share. So, no one is allowed to judge anyone else. No attraction is better than any other. We are all in the same boat.
Phantom Boats: Is that a shot at me?!
Therapist: I’m sorry, Phantom. That was a poor choice of words. As the very first extinct attraction, you are a valuable asset – someone we can lean on to better understand what it really means to be an extinct attraction.
Phantom Boats: That’s okay. It’s just that it’s been such a long, long time. It wears on me and… No. Wait. There’s something I’ve been wanting to get off my chest. You always say we should feel safe to share, right?
Therapist: Go ahead, Phantom. What is it?
Phantom Boats: It’s just that…well… I’ve never understood why you let them in here!
Country Bear Jamboree, PeopleMover, and Carousel of Progress all glare back at Phantom Boats’ pointing finger.
Country Bear Jamboree: Now hold on there. I don’t have to sit here and listen to this chit chat, yick yack, and flim flam. Just because our cousins in Florida are still around doesn’t mean we are any less extinct. Why, if I had a ladder….
Therapist: Everyone calm down. Every park has its own extinct attractions. The Anaheim Chapter of the Extinct Attractions Support Group is not alone. There are chapters in Orlando, Paris, and Japan. In fact, chapters are already being formed in Hong Kong and Shanghai. This isn’t about judging the extinctness of any attraction. This is about helping each other. So, let’s not fight now. We’ve got work to do.
If everyone has calmed down, I want to welcome a returning member. Captain EO, would you like to say something?
Captain EO: Yes, please. I want to say thank you for letting me back in and say I am so sorry about what I said when I left. I was ignorant and said a lot of mean things when I swore I would never come back.
America Sings: What you said was that you’d never have to hang with this bleeping rag-tag band of losers again.
Captain EO: Yes, I have to admit to my…stupidity. That wasn’t me. EO has always been about a positive message. That the planets are lining up, we’re bringing brighter days. Wu! They’re all in line waiting for you. Can’t you see? Wu!
Rocket to the Moon whispers to Mission to Mars: He’s not gonna start singing again, is he?
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience: EO, we know that wasn’t the real you. Of course I didn’t appreciate it when you called me an anti-HISTA-meme. But, I want everyone to know that EO and I had a real long talk. In fact, I’m the one who convinced him it was safe to come back.
Therapist: Thank you Honey. And I’d like everyone to remember to share that message. To any extinct attractions who want to come to this healing place: welcome.
Now, I’d like to take a moment and address an issue that seems to be coming up a lot recently. That is the false hope that comes from fans’ petitions. You may have noticed that Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular is not here tonight. I spoke with him yesterday and he informed me he no longer needs to attend these meetings. He is convinced a recent petition is evidence that he will soon be back in the park. That is the plague of petitions; they will keep you from moving beyond denial. I’ve asked Mad T Party to say a little something about this.
Mad T Party: Thank you. Sadly, just like some of you, I fell down that rabbit hole. I was cancelled. Then, just like EO, I was revived. Then cancelled again.
ElecTRONica: At least you got a second chance.
Mad T Party: Yes, I got a second chance, and that was almost worse. When I first heard about the petitions, I was sure I’d be back one more time. And then I got more and more angry. I was popular. I was on YouTube. People liked me. How could they do this to me? I started bargaining for another chance. “Talk Tim into letting us actually use his characters,” I said, “we’ll be a smash.” And then depression set in. I just sat backstage drinking Mad Long Island Ice T’s, watching kids dance around in clothes they picked up at Target. But I finally accepted the reality – I’m an extinct attraction. And I realized that, at some point, everyone becomes an extinct attraction.
Therapist: Well said, T. Most of us thought it would be years before Tower of Terror joined our group. And now we expect him to join us next week.
Flying Saucers: Yes, As a long-time member of this group…
Viewliner: Hah! You’re no long-time member. You got your second chance, too. We all know that was you pretending to be Luigi’s Flying Tires. And what did you do? You blew it. If I had a second chance…
Flying Saucers: What would you do with a second chance. People don’t even remember you. Show ‘em your picture and they say “Sure, I’ve ridden the Monorail.”
Therapist: Now, everyone calm…
Astro-Jets: I had someone walk up to me the other day and say, “I remember you from Disneyland. You used to be big.” I turned and said, “I am big. It’s Disneyland that got small.”
Country Bear Jamboree: You got that right, Astro. I mean, how does The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh stay open. It should be the “Mini” Adventures.
The Wizard of Bras: You think you have it hard? How would you like to be a punchline? How many jokes have been made about the fact that there was an underwear shop in Disneyland? Well, I’m here to tell you they are still coming up with them, and they still hurt.
Tobacco Shop: Is that why you’re in a support group?
The Wizard of Bras: See! See! That’s exactly what I’m talking about!
Superstar Limo: Punchline?! Punchline?! You think you’re a punchline?! How would you like to be remembered as the single worst attraction in a land that was full of lousy attractions?
Several DCA rides chime in: Hey. No. It wasn’t that bad. Come on.
Superstar Limo: Yes, it was. Golden Dreams, you stunk, and Bountiful Family Farms, you stunk, and Burger Invasion, you stunk, and, Maliboomer, you stunk and…and…and…and…I stunk. That whole park was a failure.
There is the sound of chairs falling and the beginning of a scuffle.
Therapist: Everyone, please calm down. We have to be E-ticket attractions about this. We have all felt pain. And we all have to accept what has happened.
Canal Boats of the Word: Can I speak up for just a moment? I think you are all missing an important point. Look, no one remembers me. I was an opening day attraction, and yet all anyone knows is the Storybook Land Canal Boats. But, for a very brief moment, I was a part of something big, something important. I was a Disneyland attraction. And, even if I am not one any more, even if I accept that I won’t be one in the future, no one can take that that time away from me.
Therapist: Thank you so much, Canal. We have to accept what has happened. And we have to appreciate the chance we were all given.
Phantom Boats: You know what? This is the part that’s really starting to bug me. You keep saying “we”. You’re just the therapist. What would you know about it?
Everyone joins in: Yeah. Who are you to say what it’s like. You’ve never had your dreams shattered like we have.
The therapist holds up her hand and the group eventually grows silent.
Therapist: I say “we” because, I am more than just a therapist. You see, I was…the Kaiser Aluminum Pig.”
There is a long silence. Then a single voice is heard: “I deserve good things. I’m entitled to provide my share of happiness.”
The entire group joins: “I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive attraction. I am a fun experience. Because, I’m good enough, I’m entertaining enough, and, dog gone it, Disney fans like me.”