Remember a few years back when Space Mountain was closed for its major refurbishment? Even though I’m an adult, I felt like Disneyland was somehow incomplete because I couldn’t experience the ride for what felt like an eternity of years. Just recently, Magic Kingdom refurbished their Fantasyland, and my heart broke in a small way for the little’s (and the big’s) whose Disney experience felt incomplete because they couldn’t go on their favorite Fantasyland ride. Every generation of Disney fans has that disappointing moment when their favorite attraction is closed and their Disney trip feels incomplete. Many a parent has looked in horror at the events calendar for their scheduled trip and seen that their kids’ favorite attraction is closed down, and had to sit down with them and have that uncomfortable conversation–you know, like explaining the ending of Old Yeller–about how it’s not the end of the world and that we can still have a fun trip, in spite of not being able to do the ONE THING we’ve been looking forward to all year. Having to explain to my 6 and 8 year olds that Big Thunder Mountain was not available on our last family trip was an exercise in the ultimate of “mom seeking silver linings.” I know, I know what you’re thinking, suck it up kid, you’re still at Disney…OH look, let’s have a Dole Whip, kids!
While we’re being all nostalgic, which is really kind of what a seasoned park goer’s Disney experience is about, new experiences that we often contrast to old, I remember when I was 16, in 1996, and I went on Indiana Jones for the first time. My almost boyfriend at the time (cough, Doug Barnes, cough cough–we finalized dating terms a week later) was so excited to finally get me on the ride–it was truly beyond his scope of understanding that I hadn’t been to Disneyland since I was 8 years old. A week before we went on the band trip to Disneyland, (Magic Music Days, anyone?) our friend, Trevor, totally blew the surprise at the end, SPOILER ALERT, of the giant rock ball rolling towards us, and the crestfallen look on Doug’s face was priceless, similar to the same face and groan he had when someone ruined the ending of Fight Club for me (no spoilers here for that one). In the end, since I can suspend my reality expertly, it didn’t matter that I knew about the finale of Indiana Jones (but I didn’t know the technology of how they did it…I do now thanks to this talk with the legendary Tony Baxter), the ride experience was absolutely incredible, and one that Doug and I were so excited to be able to pass on to our now tall enough son last year.
I invite you to listen as Doug shares the memory of his 3 year old self (apparently he DOES remember, as it was quite scarring) in a therapeutic session with Tony Baxter, when Mr. Baxter and fellow Imagineers recreated Fantasyland into the village that many of our childhood memories are today, and had to “close” Disneyland in the process–at least to a 3 year old boy, it felt closed. They also discuss the design process, including queue and safety videos, for Indiana Jones Adventure: Temple of the Forbidden Eye, and other great nostalgia that this living Disney Legend is happy to share in his third interview with the hosts of Season Pass Podcast, Robert Coker, Brent Young, Ryan Harmon, and Doug Barnes.