Merely a slight counter-point...everyone has things about the Park they prefer, or dislike more than other elements...that's human nature, we all prefer things. But I merely thought I'd share things we likely we can all agree on....a by no means complete list of awesome theming in the park, and things done right.
MAIN STREET USA:
- The many themed vehicles, the fire engine, the horse carts, the omnibus, making it feel like a busy, turn of the century small town
- The area specific actors, including the mayor and the Dapper Dans, providing very well themed and specific entertainment.
- The many window displays and signs all over the land, from the hotels, the dentist, the apothecary window, the chess boards inside the market store.
- The different storefronts and styles of buildings with intricate detail, and the detailing even inside stores like the Emporium, or the toy shop, with their above head displays and intricate items that contribute nothing except atmosphere.
- The sounds of the area, animal and bird calls, the drums of the Tiki Room as you enter, and the lit torches and masks along the entryway.
- The many different textures used, woods, aged metals, clay and tile work, and the colors and contrasts present throughout the land.
- Just the foliage and plants present and the vast landscaping throughout, really giving it an exotic feel and look.
- Again, the number of props and odd corners even in stores, there purely for theming purposes, such as masks and carvings scattered throughout, old photographs, maps...these things are literally everywhere.
- Like it or not, the base play area of Tarzan's treehouse is very well supplied with odd props, test tubes, beakers, skeletons, medical journals, books.....if you like the theme or not, very close attention to detail is paid in this area.
NEW ORLEANS SQUARE:
- The audio from the upper floor apartments and sound design is superbly well done, I have heard tracks I have never heard before on trips, each time hearing different little snippets throughout the backstreets.
- The outdoor and shop windows and walls are again a delight, filled with aging, props, sculptural elements, old posters, musical instruments...and that's not even counting all the themed and dressed upper balconies and small courtyards.
- The clever transition from daylight to night inside the two attractions, Pirates and Haunted Mansion, as you gradually leave the normal world behind and the theming and props and design take over, as you leave the sunlight behind. Simply masterful design work.
- The small park at the side of the Mansion, in front of the train station..simply a lovely spot, when not crowded...you can hear the burbling of the fountain's waters, the clicking from the train station, and the soft, eerie music box tune from the Mansion fastpass area, as well as the smell of the nearby popcorn machine.
- The music and the structures really combine for me here, with the rustic feeling being very prevalent..you feel very isolated, and it's soothing, for such a small area. It feels quaint and laid back, very relaxing.
- Once again, the buildings are covered in signs, textures, and small details that give off a strong sense of place, whether or not you enjoy or partake of all the current attractions offered.
- The small walkway from main area of the land back to the entrance of Rancho Del Zocalo, intensely themed and very strong sense of place with the fountain, colorful tiles and cactuses, benches, quirky and oddly shaped lamps...wonderfully designed and very evocative.
- Just the rockwork of Big Thunder Mountain, even, is beautiful to look at, let alone the authentic mining equipment and antiques scattered throughout.
- The small pond, with lone jumping fish, flickering lanterns, and wilderness sounds cannot be beat for atmosphere.
- The old, winding tracks of the Mine Train ride along the riverbanks add even more theming and atmosphere, even when the attraction they hosted is long gone.
- The Mark Twain puffing along the river is of course immensely thematic and fun to watch, adds real sense of motion to the area.
This is just scraping the surface, three whole lands I have not even mentioned yet full of small details and surprises. And of course, this is nowhere near comprehensive of what the park does right, and all the magical, brilliantly themed touches. Everyone has their favorites, and most can agree, I believe, that Disney does a lot right with the park, and can appreciate and enjoy the samples I have named here, along with countless others. What are your favorites, your thoughts?