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SAMLAND

If I Were King Of Disneyland

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
by , 01-25-2012 at 08:56 PM


In Michael Broggie’s Walt’s Words of Wisdom, he noted that as a 12-year old boy he asked Walt Disney directly the question as to why he could accomplish so much. Walt replied by saying:

“Somehow I can’t believe there are many heights that can’t be scaled by anyone who knows the secret of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four Cs. They are Curiosity, Confidence, Courage, and Constancy, and the greatest of these is Confidence. When you believe a thing, believe it all over, implicitly and unquestioningly.”

Think about that one a bit. Great stuff.

Curiosity. Often, when working on a project I am called upon to conduct interviews with the key stakeholder. The interviews are meant to be candid and confidential and are summarized in such a way as to help inform the project team and produce the best results. I like to call this the Curiosity phase.

One line of questioning that I like to use during the Curiosity phase is a simple challenge. For a brief moment, they will become the queen or king of the empire that we are planning for and they possess enormous powers and prestige to make things happen. What do you want to happen? It usually gets a chuckle but it also liberates the participant and can release a very constructive dialogue. Then they are back to normal. Poof!

Walt Disney was a guy who had the power and prestige to make things happen. As I noted in Walt and the Promise of Progress City:

“In 1960, Bradbury suggested to Walt that he should run for mayor of Los Angeles because he was the only man who knew how things work. Bradbury really believed that Walt understood the issues, especially when it came to public transit. Bradbury said, “I’m all for making Walt Disney our next mayor…the only man in the city who can get a working rapid transit system built without any more surveys, and turn it into a real attraction so that people will want to ride it.” Walt’s reply was, “Why should I run for mayor when I am already king?”

With this column, just for the fun of it I have decided to challenge myself and to ask the question, “If I were king of the North American Disney theme parks and I could do just about anything I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about politics or budgets. I just have to do the right thing as I see it. What would I do?”

This column is my response. I challenge to you with the same question. What would you do?

Let’s start with the Mothership – Disneyland.



As we enter Walt’s original creation, the only Disney park that he actually walked through, I think everybody would agree that there is a special charm that has never been duplicated. Main Street USA seems timeless. Although the buildings are painted different colors, the signs advertise different merchants, and what goes on inside of the buildings has changed considerably, the overall feel, the combination of good urban design patterns, and the rhythm of the facades remain.

I will be the first to admit that I really like Main Street USA. You will often find me sitting on the Wizard of Bra porch watching the passing parade. If I owned a time machine, I would travel back to the days when the stores reflected the activities of a small town, thereby reinforcing the illusion. I will have my minions keep working on that invention.

With that said, there are three changes I would like to see my minions implement immediately. The suggestions may be subtle but I feel they are important. First, I would fill in the gap between The Mad Hatter and the seasonal store on the other side of the street. There is the gate where the parade enters and exits as well as a “temporary” wall that has been there since the park opened.


Back in 1956 this gap was originally planned to be the entrance for International Street. Walt Disney wanted to build a winding path of Old World facades with little shops and experiences. There was a colorful sign placed right where the entrance was to be. The idea of an internationally themed experience would later be considered for many projects such as one in Kansas City as well as the World Showcase in Epcot.

For little while, you used to be able to buy a cup of coffee, grab a seat, and watch the other guests entering the park. During the 50th Anniversary the space was used for a huge collage of guest faces that morphed into a giant Mickey Mouse. Today, the space stands empty. It is time to fill in the gap. Space Mountain has taken up a bit of the real estate back there but I think this could be the portal to an intimate, magical experience along the lines of Ollivanders in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure in Florida. Disney has spent a billion dollars on this technology and this would be a good place to use it.

Another priority is something that I think is long overdue. It is time to dedicate a window on Main Street to Harrison “Buzz” Price. I have gone into great deal about the importance of Buzz Price’s advice to Walt and Roy Disney here and here. Main Street would not be there if it were not for Buzz.

According to Disney there are three tests that must be met to achieve this honor. First, you must be retired. Second, you must have achieved the “highest level of service, respect, and achievement.” Finally, there must be “agreement between top individual park management and Walt Disney Imagineering, which creates the design and copy contents.” Buzz has met all of these tests. It is about time.

While we are at it, isn’t it time for a window for Alice Davis? The dolls in it’s a small world and the figures in Pirates of the Caribbean would look less magical if it weren’t for her costumes.

The third change may be subtle to many, but it has always bugged me and I want to return to Walt’s original vision. Walt and Imagineer John Hench understood the art of placemaking and the importance of the sidewalk café. The café provides a unique setting that is special to cities and, according to architect Christopher Alexander, creates “a place where people can sit lazily, legitimately, be on view, and watch the world go by.” A proper café must be near a busy path.



The hedges along the Plaza Inn need to be trimmed. They are too tall. Walt and Imagineer John Hench knew that you had to place the seating on a slightly elevated platform so that you create another people watching opportunity. Those are some of the reasons why John Hench designed this facility the way that he did. It was so important to Walt he even highlighted the site plan during one of his television broadcasts. Right now the hedges are too tall and obscure the view. Bring out the shears. Off with their heads!

I know I said I wanted three things but there is one more thing I must add. I shall miss the Carnation Plaza. For those who remember, the Carnation Plaza was the center of activity back in the day. I remember one year in the mid-1980s where they brought out the world’s greatest surviving big bands. I bought a season pass just to take advantage of this opportunity. One after another; Artie Shaw, Myron Floren, Glenn Miller’s band, etc. playing while the audience danced and ate ice cream. Can one of the old timers remind the young bean counters how much ice cream was sold before they tore out that facility?



Let’s head over the bridge into Adventureland. The obvious opportunity is to reopen the Tahitian Terrace. For over 30 years you could dine on some “authentic” Polynesian food and watch a show featuring hula dancers (one for the dads!) and a fire dancer. Good times. It is a beautiful, intimate space and it added a bit of exotica to the land. With a new Hawaiian resort, Disney finally has the cross-promotion necessary to justify any expense these days.

There is an opportunity to dream big over in Frontierland. For those that have visited The Walt Disney Family Museum and viewed the model of the Disneyland of Walt’s dream, you will notice that there is a hill that crosses over the railroad track and expands Frontierland over on the other side of the berm. This may be an opportunity.


There also seems to be a lot of land if you combine the Big Thunder Ranch and Festival arena and then plow down the soon to be obsolete Fantasyland (aka Wonder Bra) theater. Disneyland is just screaming for another E-Ticket attraction now that the Disney California Adventure expansion is winding down. I don’t have a preference other then a family friendly, highly themed attraction with a super high capacity. Could they pull something off that was not tied into another property like many of the Disneyland classics? Does WDI still have it in them?

Next door, in Fantasyland, I struggle to figure something that I would change. Lately, the park has continually “plussed” the classic dark rides such as Snow White’s Scary Adventures. Keep that up.



I could be convinced to bring back an old favorite. Fantasyland was one of the destinations of the Skyway. The building is a shell of its former self, but it stills stands. Walt was onto something with the original attraction. He knew that people have a fundamental instinct to climb up to some high place and to look down and survey the world. This attraction met that challenge perfectly. As king, the thought of bringing it back must certainly cross my mind. I may be powerful but those folks over at OSHA will still meddle. Not sure if I want to pull the trigger just yet. What do my minions desire?

When I look at the entrance to Tomorrowland from the Plaza Hub, all I can do is shake my head and try not to tear up. What is the Astro Orbitor doing in a hole in front of an abandoned PeopleMover beamway? Why isn’t the spinner up on top of the tower soaring through the clouds where it belongs?



Why did somebody move pieces of Superman's fortress and paint it an awful color to block the entrance? What does this mean? And is there a theme to Tomorrowland anymore? It used to be the world in 1986. Then it became the “World on the Move.” Now it is….


To the right is Star Tours. Okay it is a bus terminal for space travel. Got it. Fits the theme of Tomorrowland. Buzz Lightyear. Oh he is a spaceman(?). Got it. Space Mountain. Perfect. Belongs here. The (un)Official House of Energy Usage and other random displays in Innoventions? I guess Walt did have a display for the Crane Bathroom of Tomorrow display and retro is hip so there is an opportunity to make lemonade out of this lemon. The Innoventions exhibit can go and this prime piece of real estate can become something wonderful. And while we are at it, I think the time for Captain EO has come to fly his last mission. What looked campy and nostalgic is starting to just look old now that the new version of Star Tours has arrived.

We all know we want the PeopleMover back. Is there one among you who disagrees? The PeopleMover in Florida is great but the grade changes and the interaction with the Monorail makes the track layout in Disneyland superior. Bring it back. It added a kinetic energy and the opportunity for a preview of the wonderful things in store.

If this cannot be done, then I would recommend the following. For many, our collective image of an urban future would look something more like the spaceship in Wall-e or the world of Blade Runner. Large electronic signs, a gentle push toward conformity, bright, safe colors, and all of the sharp edges have been removed. Imagine the underside of the PeopleMover beam coated with a digital sign display. Something similar the Freemont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas but on a smaller scale.

Time to check out some ideas for the new additions – New Orleans Square, Critter Country, and Toontown.

What I would like to see for New Orleans Square is a return to small unique shops. After experiencing the clever shops and the mix of exclusive merchandise at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, I was impressed. You wanted to spend time in the shops and you knew that if you found something you better buy it because you will not know when you will be back again. New Orleans Square used to have the One-of-a-Kind Shop featuring beautiful antiques. Disney never expected the store to be a big moneymaker. However, it sure added to the atmosphere and gave Lillian an outlet to sell some of the stuff she didn’t want anymore. Unless somebody at Disney allows me to spend the night at the Disney Suite when I was a mere mortal, I would prefer to have the Disney Gallery back and to share that splendid view with other guests.




As we wander back toward Critter Country, the change I would make should be pretty obvious. The MBA experiment known as Winnie the Pooh must be retired. We understand why the attraction was built - a chance to sell Pooh plush. The changeover may have even sold a few more of those disgusting Tigger Tails but, compared to the version in Florida and the one in Tokyo, it seems Anaheim got the short stick. Even on the busiest days there is no line. No wonder.



Those who read Samland frequently know that I have a soft spot for Toontown. I feel it was a great addition to the park and exceeds in design compared to its function as a reliable place to see the characters. The queue for Roger Rabbit may be one of the best in any Disney park. There is little I would change. Maybe it is time to turn the effects on the Miss Daisy back on. Poor Chip n Dales Treehouse could also use a remodel.

I debated long and hard on whether or not to comment on Disney California Adventure. I have decided that it is still too early. I am pleased with what is proposed and have enjoyed watching the project progress. I will soon pack my dirigible and take a flight over Walt Disney World. In the meantime, what would you do if YOU were king or queen of Disneyland?




Sam is the author of Walt and the Promise of Progress City, an amazing book that explores how Walt Disney—the master of fiction—was determined to bring new life to the non-fiction world of city design and development and, in doing so, fundamentally improve the Great American way of life. Walt and the Promise of Progress City is available today on Amazon.

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Updated 01-26-2012 at 07:57 AM by SAMLAND

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  1. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    QuiGonJ - Good idea. I like yours better then my take on Donald's boat.
    spajadigit - Welcome to my world. Bold suggestions.
    MrTour - Seems a growing desire to bring back Cascade Peak. Thanks for starting it.
    vnormth - I bow in your general direction. Haven't given this much thought, eh?
    danyoung - Thanks.
    TheHopper - Walt was always a form follows function sort of guy. Good suggestions.
    DisWedWay - You know I am always bowing in your general direction.
    DisneyResort - Then buy a popcorn and enjoy the passing parade!

    Sam
    SamLand's Disney Adventures
  2. JiminyCricketFan's Avatar
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    I loved reading your ideas! You have some great ones. Some were obvious, like the improvements to Tomorrowland. Others like the "Temporary wall" were things that I had not thought about but were obvious problems. What I liked the best is that you covered all the lands. I believe there is always room for improvement. From what I have read about Walt is he felt the same way.
  3. gumby's Avatar
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    I like most of the ideas presented, but I want to know one thing, if you do something with the gap/International Street entrance, what are you going to do with all the backstage operations that function just beyond the gates there? Deliveries pass all day long there, the staging for the parade, how will merchandise get in on that side of the street. If the OP has worked there, then this would be a HUGE change on so many levels. Not just because it's a new area, it's also affecting backstage as opposed to most of the other changes which are on an on stage level. The one thing people cry for are more things in Disneyland, and that's great because for all that they are charging you, you should get more bang for your buck. But never forget, this isn't WDW and DL doesn't have the space like that.

    Bye.
  4. TheHopper's Avatar
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    Adventureland - This is another congestion area that needs some imagineering. Definitely bring in a restaurant with the jungle theme and with the beauty of the Jungle Cruise I'm thinking a blue bayou type of feel with incorporating some of the ride within the restaurant. This would also allow the skippers some new jokes. I loved the Swiss Family Robinson Tree and for some reason do not like the Tarzan version...I think the whole thing needs to have more of a freelance type of feel i.e. the UP area in DCA that was Brother Bear. A 2nd level to the shops as said by a previous person is a great out of the box idea to add a lot of cool shops to this land and Frontierland.

    New Orleans Square - Club 33 has to be the worst kept secret in all of Disneyland, I really don't like the exclusivity of it. It probably makes a lot of money but it would be amazing to open up all the rooms above New Orleans area with unique shops and special look out points with an around the year mardi gras feel to it. This could be Tiana's area with all of that movie coming to life up there with all of the shops and restaurants from that movie.

    Critter Country - I like Winnie the Pooh I just think it is way out of the way, which is why there isn't a line. Snow White dark ride has no line and it is in the middle of the park. I think it just needs more to draw people to that area. How about an entire 100 acre woods? Carsland is a new model of building an entire part of a movie. Add a Tigger ride with some kind of bouncing car, a tiny piglett ride, the most depressing Eeyore ride ever (lol)...etc. I'm not sure about space but this area can probably push into the forest area behind Pooh.

    Frontierland/Fantasyland - So much potential with Thunder Ranch and the theater to expand either Frontierland or Fantasyland. I think it would be more fun to do a big e ticket Frontierland ride but it makes more sense to expand Fantasyland with more kid friendly rides that make Disneyland special and has early entry possibilities. With what they are doing in WDW you really can just pick and choose the best ideas. With Ariel in DCA I would lean towards an amazing version of the 7 dwarfs mine ride and possibly some new additions from the imagine team. There is a lot of dead space between teacups and It's a Small World on both the left and right that needs a complete overhaul. On the left you push through the theater and into Thunder Ranch with the mine ride and other dark rides. To the right you take back the autopia area and put something on water that can be connected with Tangled.

    Tomorrowland - This land has been changed so many times and it is still not right...when it should be the coolest area of the whole park. Why is Autopia in Tomorrowland? I get the concept of kids driving in the future and that it is hard to do anything over the submarine tunnels...but why is that the worst line experience, it smells of gasoline, and it seems like cars break down a lot. With the addition of Carsland can we finally do something new with all that space? Innoventions is a ridiculous use of space. Buzz Lightyear I suppose is in space and I like the ride but it doesn't really fit in what I think Tomorrland is. The rockets were so much better on top of the whole area. I'm not sure why the people mover comes and goes every ten years...it seems so cool and a very relaxing way to see the park...although if it could speed up that would be even better. Captain EO seems like it should be cool but it's not...how about something like Terminator at Universal...that show is very old and yet I still love it every time (I'm not saying do Terminator...I mean something like that with a Disney character). There needs to be a rethinking of the traffic jam caused by strollers that is Tomorrowland...both by the rockets and by Nemo.

    Agree with others that Monorail needs to stop at DCV and Grand...I couldn't believe it wasn't just a given when those areas were built.

    How awesome if you could take the train from Toontown to Toy Story...that is probably a logistical nightmare with both how to get it there and how to deal with tickets...but when you are tired and want to change parks how incredible would that be???

    I would also figure out a way to get a Hotel into Disneyland...I would pay a lot to be able to look out my window and see some of the iconic features of the park. Location would obviously be the issue but something that goes around toontown and the river and is camouflaged into the scenery as it moves across the back of the park seems like a real possibility with enough imagination.

    FUN!!!
    -Hop
  5. Disneylandfan85's Avatar
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    Hmm... where to begin?

    Well, one thing I would do is mainly a purist thing, but I would fix up Pirates of the Caribbean again, this time to try and strike a balance between ride characters and movie characters, but not cutting the characters themselves. I would try and make it more about the pirates looking for the treasure, as in the past, rather than Jack Sparrow and the treasure. Barbossa's dialog would be edited accordingly (if we do things just right, we won't need to have Geoffrey Rush do another whole dialog track) and at the well scene next, the dialog of the scene will be reverted back to its former state (PIRATE CAPTAIN: "Speak up, ya bilge rat! Where be the treasure?"). Earlier in the ride, the old dialog in the tunnel leading out of the grotto will be restored, but also relocated (i.e., Paul Frees' "No fear have ye of evil curses, says you" line) to in the grotto itself, ironically resembling how it was depicted when the ride was first presented on the Wonderful World of Color show. Take a look at the link to see what I mean (from 1:29 to 2:14): Pirates of the Caribbean / Disneyland - YouTube. Also, the waterfall at the end of the tunnel will remove Blackbeard and re-replace him with Davy Jones.

    That's just for starters! I will put up more later...
  6. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Back in 1997/98 when they were redoing Tomorrowland, they tried but there was not enough budget from management to place the heavier Orbitron back on and above the People Mover platform, which would need added reinforcement for the additional weight of the revolving planets. It's great if they are now willing to do this. Maybe they will bring back a more futuristic House of the Future, as it sat where the Orbitron is now in the old Alpine Gardens? Interesting that today we have most of the 1957 House's concept interiors and appliances in our homes. If they do a new one, I hope Steve Jobs is watching down on it.
  7. SAMLAND's Avatar
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    JiminyCricketFan - Don't get me started on the Walt and the Jungle Cruise story. That is for another day.
    gumby - Good constraint. Let's see. The facility can be relativly small and be upstairs. The lower level can be used for backstage purposes. It would help to reinforce the mixed used urban design pattern of a central business district. After all, there are offices with windows painted on the second level, right? Go with the fantasy dude.
    TheHopper - Very bold. I like it.
    Disneylandfan85 - Looking forward to the rest of the series. I miss the old dark tunnel with the pirate warning. Don't get me wrong, the waterfall effect is really good. But there was something mildly creepy about the old ways.
    DisWedWay - Okay, I will at least be happy if it spun around and played music every now and again. Last time I was there the BGM was lower and it sat there. A couple minutes later the BGM came back on. Nothing. Now a house of the future on the tower...I like that. Disneyland is lacking a high place. Walt knew how important it was to give people a chance for an overview (movie preview) to help guests orient themselves.

    Keep 'em coming.

    Sam
    SamLand's Disney Adventures


  8. Disneylandfan85's Avatar
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    Well, let's see, another thing I would do is to give Big Thunder Mountain a slight update. If possible, I would try to fix up the track and trains so that they will be less likely to crash (the tragedy in September of 2003 is still fresh in my mind). The ride itself would be less drastically overhauled. First, I would switch the positions of the English and Spanish safety spiels (in most cases, an average ride's spiel shows English, then Spanish, but at Big Thunder, it's been switched). I would also take out the second half of the safety spiel, the part beginning with "hats and glasses" and restore the old part of that: "Hang onto them hats and glasses, 'cause this here's the wildest ride in the wilderness!" Meanwhile, the trains themselves will be replaced completely. The new trains will now have more of a resemblance to the concept art for the ride by Clem Hall, with a black and red color scheme, like so (sorry the quality isn't better, but I got the idea after seeing it in the Disney Mountains book): http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_OO7WbmARD0...under+rend.jpg. Finally, in a nod to Space Mountain, Big Thunder will become the second mountain (hopefully) to feature an on-board ride soundtrack, another reason to replace the trains. It will have an "epic western" feel to it, a la "The Big Country" or "The Magnificent Seven". The music will sound something like the second half of the Frontierland portion of Remember Dreams Come True (it starts at 0:47): Remember Dreams Come True Part 3 Frontierland - YouTube.

    These are all just little ideas to "plus the show", in Walt's terms. What do you think?
  9. cthulhu's Avatar
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    When you think about the use of space, Disneyland has gone through several waves -- sometimes overlapping.

    There was the 1955 "mapping out" wave, that left large areas of the park undeveloped and "reserved for future expansion". There was a wave of "filling in" in 1959 -- e.g. the Matterhorn and Submarines. There was "layering on" (like the Peoplemover in '67) where additional attractions were added into the space of existing ones. New Orleans Square is (1966) an example of "stacking", closely related to "layering on", where blocks of things were densely packed together to gain maximum use of an area.

    Attractions going outside the berm was popular from 1967 (Pirates) to 1995 (Indy) -- with an entire land popping outside in 1993 (Toontown).....although I well recall tantalizing glimpses of a never-attempted "Discovery Bay" well before that.

    So when we're contemplating the reconstruction of various parts of the park, it is oftentimes useful to think of it in terms of Disney's land-use schemes.

    As an example, the current "Jolly Holiday/tiki/Aladdin's" area is one of the most prime areas of the park.....and is horribly underused. Imagine if it were STACKED -- Disney could put five floors of useful space in the area (two underground): B2 -- kitchens/logistics; B1 -- a revived Polynesian Terrace, perhaps modeled on WDW's 'Ohana; G -- Jolly Holiday, changing throughout day; 2 -- Sit-down nicer dining; 3 -- Foldaway parade/fireworks viewing.

    Mind you, these tools do nothing with regard to obvious problems -- e.g. the Astro-Orbitor was meant to draw people in instead of block people off (it really belongs on the peoplemover platform) -- but if there is surgery to be done, 'tis better to understand the varieties that have previously been successful.
  10. BestBeatingHeart's Avatar
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    1. maximum capacity of trains on the Monorail, sound horn consistently at the esplanade, Autopia and Matterhorn, Monorail stop in DCA and Grand Californian

    You know this contradicts yourself, right? That would mean that you'd have four stops (from a standpoint of leaving DL station) within 30 seconds of each other, which would absolutely KILL capacity.
  11. SoCA6ft5's Avatar
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    Thinking back to what made Disneyland the strong experience it was when I was young, here's what I would ensure changes or new development would include:

    Inovation - Look at all the "firsts", many now common place, that were experienced first (in America, at least) at Disneyland: Alweg monorails, detachable gondola lifts (Skyway), Audio-Animatronics, the flying saucers, all those things that made people ask: "How did they do that?"

    Immersion - The way you truly feel transported. When we young, at least, we really were transported to "nature's wonderland" and rainbow caverns.

    I'm not saying these are totally lacking now, but it is disheartening when Disneyland (and DCA) gets a dumbed-downed version of Tower of Terror (compared to the original) and Winnie the Pooh (compared to TDL).
  12. Dizzey's Avatar
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    1. Skyway, Absolutely. It was transportation, relaxing, restful, family-interactive, and voyeuristic

    2. People Mover. Also a nice, quiet break from over-stimulation

    3. More themed live music. Return of the steel drum band in Adventureland, Bluegrass in Frontierland, Jazz in (you-know-where), etc.

    4. Frontierland E-ticket. An indoor/outdoor people conveyor like Haunted Mansion with a Lewis and Clark theme. Elements could include raging rivers, friendly and unfriendly animal encounters, suspension bridge over a deep chasm, lightening storm that progresses into a tornado, badlands scene, peaceful canoe scene, arrival at the West Coast/ Ocean.
  13. TheDistantReach's Avatar
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    First and foremost, all of your ideas seem sound and possible. I'll just offer some quick thoughts. If I were king for a day....... I would change all of the Main Street signage. Over the years, it has become too large, bold and harsh. I remember the signs on Main Steet USA being quaint and part of the fun was discovering the different and interesting shops and areas. I would also return all of the vehicles to Main Street. I know that on a typical busy day the crowds may present a problem, but it's just not the same vibe without them. I agree that the shops should reflect those of an idealized small town main street. It seems that most of the shops just offer all the same merchandise. For me, it's always been about the small details that make Disneyland a truly, immersive experience. When I had my first experience at Disneyland, it seemed as if I spent an entire afternoon on Tom Sawyer Island. It also seemed as if I was a million miles removed from the rest of the park. I would like to see Fort Wilderness retored to its original glory and reopened. Also, there are so many opportunities to plus the experience and add new effects to the island. Add those small details that made the experience of discovery so much fun. Tom Sawyer Island contains so much more promise. It didn't need pirates to be reminded of that. Also, bring back the keel boats. The Rivers of America are better with that vibrant traffic all of the watercraft....just like the Main Street USA vehicles..... which leads me to Tomorrowland. Yes, the Peoplemover must return. The flow and constant motion must return to that area. I always thought that Disney missed opportunities to mine it's own cataloge when it came to Tomorrowland. "Tron" offers so many possibilities for a premiere "e-ticket" experience. If done right, that ride alone would guarantee a revitalization and bring back instant credibility to Tomorrowland. I also always thought that the old movie, "The Black Hole" could be incorporated into a great ride. That movie was really just 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea set in space. I could never get the image of that flaming asteroid coming at them on the bridge/steel structure out of my mind. What a climax that could be in a new "e-ticket" ride. I know that the Disney Imagineers could reproduce that stunning effect, and it would be similar to that of the climax of the Indy ride with the giant boulder. I could go on, but my final suggestion -- to pound home my earlier point is this: details. Disney has been in a slow decline because they have(sometimes), forgotten what got them where they are. Those little extra pluses....that extra, special attention to detail....meeting and maintaining those high standards that started with Walt. My advice to Disney and my proclamation as King: Take some chances, don't play it so safe. Let the Imagineers run wild. No ideas get left behind. Get to work! I want everything on my desk in the castle in the morning! If Disney sticks to its "bread and butter," they would never have to worry about declining revenues, falling attendence, criticism, etc. Complete immersion and the highest standards wins out in the end......
  14. dizneydomenic's Avatar
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    I just got back from Disneyland this evening... and after having read this article i thought id share some of my thoughts. Living up in Northern calif..its a drive...but well worth it. I'm almost 50 years old and have seen the park evolve.. some good..some not so good...some......well what were they thinking! Lets start with the problem known as Tomorrowland...yes i say problem. I 100% agree that the rockets need to be moved where the were. There is way too much congestion at that spot. The people mover is a definite yes in need of being back....BUT..id make one change. With the congestion caused by star tours and buzz light year and a speedramp for ONLY the re-positioned rockets back up on top...i think it might be a mistake to make that the entry for the peoplemover. When the people mover was there, america the beautiful had a huge indoor que. It was genius to relocate space mountains line entry farther back. I found the underground entry via rocket rods absolutely silly. Id leave its turntable there below the rockets as part of the roundtrip view... .. what about a station in the area of the abandoned motor boat cruise. Even with it on the"fantasyland" side it could be made suitable for a station. Now back to Tomorrowland. GET INNOVENTIONS OUT OF THAT BUILDING!. This has got to be one of the biggest wastes i have ever seen. Here you have this unique building that was built for a specific purpose.... as a show building. Id re-purpose either the pizza place or the starcade for innoventions... it can be a static building. Just bring back the carousel of progress. Its was at Disneyland only about 8 years its been at WDW for what...35years? You have entire generations who have never experienced the feeling of the revolving theater...let alone as a great show. Captain EO theater... make it an attraction of some sort. The only other MAJOR issue i have is the congestion in Adventurland... that walkway NEEDS to be opened up... id say relocate bengal barbecue or some push back on the retail side. its a NIGHTMARE at times... you dont have that on the Frontierland side. As far as pooh... yeah huge mistake...HUGE. The Country bear show ALWAYS had an audience. Here was a definite merchandising move. Id boot out pooh...or move a new expanded attraction into the fantasyland theater area. Bring th ercountry bears back as a one theater buildingthat could let out into the hungry bear side ala WDW.. i thought that was a cool idea.... the singing busts asking you to "come on in" to the restaurant. Just a few ideas to ponder
  15. epcotplanner's Avatar
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    "The (un)Official House of Energy Usage"...that's a good one. The sprawling ranch home of consumption is like showing an Escalade as the car of the future...not exactly the sustainable green urban future that we need.

    I naively wrote a letter to Disney much like this when I first visited the park as a tourist from Germany at the ripe old age of 12.

    I've heard of Riverboat Square in St Louis, but you've gotta share on the international themed Kansas City project you mentioned!

    Sorry to miss you on the LA/Disney Studio tour yesterday...your insight would have been amazing. It was great to need Al and the gang though.

    Mel
  16. Disneylandfan85's Avatar
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    Here's just a quick one: the Autopia would be updated to be more energy efficient (indeed, all of Disneyland would be improved to be more green). The Autopia would no longer run on gasoline and instead run on something more eco-friendly, maybe electricity or solar power, I haven't decided. Any ideas would be fine. The puttering sound of the cars would become prerecorded and heard in the cars to try and maintain the illusion.
  17. waltopia's Avatar
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    Lots of excellent ideas there Sam. I particularly appreciate you mentioning the hedge surrounding the Plaza Inn. This had long been such a perfect spot, until some accountant decided to wall it off from the hub to sell private birthday parties there and ruined the restaurant. Those braided ficus trees were added a few years ago for the pupose of being too tall, and were always an eyesore for me. I can fix that in a few hours, for free! Thanx again for bringing it up.
  18. Fizvo's Avatar
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    Something I’ve been thinking about since the Jolly Holiday bakery opened is how that venue could be plussed. I think a Mary Poppins theme restaurant is great, but the idea has a lot more potential than what has been done so far. First off I would place Cherry Blossom trees in front; they would have to be artificial so that they can be in bloom all year of course. I would add a dining area outside behind the building. This area would be heavily themed to resemble where Mary and Burt stopped off for tea in the movie. There would be a pond and weeping willow trees. This would give the guests a feel that they are actually experiencing what Mary and Burt did. There would be a gazebo / stage where there would be Mary Poppins themed entertainment such as the Pearly Band or Mary and Burt themselves. Since this property is adjacent to the Jungle Cruise, extending water to this area would be doable. For extra space I would absorb the Tahitian Terrace into the complex, which is really part of the building anyway and it already has a stage. Inside I would up the Poppins theming with merry-go-round horses and other Jolly Holiday imagery. This can be achieved through sculptures and large paintings. I would also add to the menu more theme appropriate items like tea, crumpets and raspberry ice (among other flavors) maybe even a kid friendly version of Rum Punch. Also part of the complex would be a shop that would sell Poppins and Jolly Holiday exclusive merchandise. This revamped version could also be used as a venue for a charterer tea with Mary similar to the one that was offered at the Paradise Peir Hotel.
    Updated 01-28-2012 at 11:57 AM by Fizvo
  19. Freddie Freelance's Avatar
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    Not just "move the Astro Orbiter back; rebuild the PeopleMover," but extend the PeopleMover to a second station.

    Take the PM track from where it rises higher than the Monorail tracks over the old Motor Boat Cruise lagoon and extend it over the Monorail tracks, over the Parade Route, between Casey Jr/Storybookland Canal Boats and the current Princess Fantasy Fair, and down to the old Skyway station.

    Rebuild the Skyway station to look he same as it did in its prime; the building may need to be enlarged to fit the PM loading turntable, but any structural changes to the building could possibly be made to the back out of the public's view. Handicapped elevator can be around the left side of the Fantasyland station. Try to leave at least some of the now mature trees in the area to keep the area looking as people have become accustomed to, but take enough out so the station is visible.

    Since the sides of the cars need to be closed in to prevent "PeopleRemover"-type car swapping, retheme the PM cars to more closely resemble the Mark VII Monorail in streamlining & color palate. Triple redundant power supply (public electric power, DL-based generator power, and battery backup), reversible Linear Induction drives, and a self powered "Tow Truck" to remove broken down cars will mitigate some of OSHA's other problems with the ride without having to add exit stairs to the tracks.

    Cover the support pillars, track underside & sides with RGB LEDs to allow moving light shows to follow the PM cars around the track and add visual interest to the track structure.

    You should have a leisurely 9 minutes ride from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland, and the same back.

    Extend the Monorail to the yet to be built Pumba Parking Structure, and add a Disney California Adventure station.


    In Toontown I'd like to remove Donald Duck's Boat, Goofy's Bounce House, and the little "park" & temporary trailer-based food cart to their left, and replace them with Donald Duck's Motor Boat Cruise, Goofy's ToonTown Tours.

    Donald Duck's Motor Boat Cruise would be an Aquatopia-based trackless water ride, with Miss Daisy-themed cartoon-y boat ride vehicles, spitting fountains, and surrounded by plantings & benches.

    My idea for Goofy's ToonTown Tours is a Grey Line-style "Tour of the Stars Homes" via miniature PeopleMover, with the cars being SkyWay bucket-shaped spinning cars that seat 4. The track would travel at a height of 18-20 feet along the southern edge of ToonTown from the current location of the Chip & Dale Treehouse, traveling in front of the Go Coaster, between the Go Coaster & Donald's Boats, between the boat lagoon and the berm, over the entrance to ToonTown, around Roger Rabbit's fountain, and into a tunnel entrance reminiscent of the one Eddie Valiant travelled through to enter ToonTown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? , traveling through a combination of flat scenery, small animatronics & video projection screens of an ever changing crew of toons from the movie and Disney cartoons from the past 90 years, then out from behind the scenes, over Minnie & Mickey's houses, and back to the station. As you travel around ToonTown Goofy acts as your tourguide, pointing out highlights of the town, where the stars live, and often getting his facts wrong. And I did mention the cars spin, right? Small, cylindrical cars that fit 4 or 5, with a wheel in the center to spin the car; and the more & faster you spin, the dizzier your tourguide Goofy gets, getting more flustered and confused until he baerly knows up from down, left from right.

    Restart the Jolly Trolly, with a trolly stop at the far end of either fountain , and remove the confusing trolly stop in the center of ToonTown and the northern most arm of the trolly track.

    In the place of the trolly track & central (unused) station expand the "Downtown" ToonTown area toward the ToonTown "Square", with expanded gags & more buildings.

    Cover ToonTown Square and City Hall with a Crystal Palace-style glass roof and move the Food Court serving stations out from their little holes in the wall and a few feet toward the Gazebo since they no longer need to be protected from the weather, while you can still see the hills behind City Hall.

    Retheme Gadget's Go Coaster to a better known character, possibly Professor Von Drake? Or the one character of the Big Five who doesn't have a ToonTown ride or exhibit, Pluto?



    Remove Princess Fantasy Fair and the Festival Arena and expand Fantasyland with a British street section with rides based on Mary Poppins, 101 Dalmatians, and move Peter Pan there.

    Replace Peter Pan with a Beauty & the Beast dark ride.

    Start up the Sword in the Stone ceremony again.


    Expand Fronteirland into the space currently taken up by the "Festival Arena" and the space over the berm for a Discovery Bay-type area. Add a Bambi ride.


    Replace the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh with a reworked Pooh's Hunny Hunt.
    Updated 01-28-2012 at 11:50 PM by Freddie Freelance
  20. DisWedWay's Avatar
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    Sam, Disney Legend Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen finally got a Legends Window in Disneyland's Fronteirland. If I were King I would also give one to Disney Legend Rex Allen, known for his "Voice of the West", as well as over 80 Disney projects including Father in the GE "Carousel of Progress", where I think someone has changed his original "It's A great Big Beautiful Tomorrow" song to someone else with another song, and I would put Rex's back as King, as well as bringing the updated Carousel back to Disneyland. I got my other wish a few years back when I asked Disney VP Tony Baxter to give Lincoln back his Royal Dano voice that Walt had hand picked. PD
    Updated 01-30-2012 at 12:02 PM by DisWedWay
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