As most here know, the term “relvance” is often flung about on these boards in intellectually-weak attempts to make excuses for the various dumbing-down changes that have occurred at the Park over the past few years. Swiss Family Treehouse was dumbed-down with a “Tarzan” makeover because—so we are told—Tarzan is more “relevant” to today’s youth. Seventeenth-century pirates invaded an imagined 19th century Missouri island because—so we are told—Tom Sawyer isn’t “relevant” to today’s youth. Buzz and Nemo and Woody have invaded once-realistic parts of the Park because (you guessed it) they are more relevant to today’s youth…
Last night, the spectre of the season was upon me as I watched a TV show about Halloween, and the “haunted houses” that spring up in communities all over the country. These are not your parents’ haunted houses. They are true fright-fests that generate millions of dollars a year collectively. Attendees of Knott’s Scary Farm know whereof I speak. These wickedly elaborate hell-holes are teeming with horrors from our deepest nightmares—chainsaw wielding ghouls, disemboweled corpses, amputations galore. Pepper’s Ghosts? Forget it. Those simplistic illusions from 150 years ago pale in comparison to the glistening entrails, dripping severed heads and moaning undead that abound in the modern haunted houses, to the absolute delight of audiences young and old.
And yet…the same crowd that feels compelled to use “relevance” as a battering ram to force as much detrimental change on the Park as possible cling to the Haunted Mansion as one of the crowning achievements in the Park, third only, perhaps, behind Indy and Pirates.
So, I guess I have a simple question: How “relevant” is the puppy-dog-tame Haunted Mansion to today’s youth, and why shouldn’t its interior be gutted in favor of upgrades that would mirror more closely what today’s youth find terrifying, horrifying and…well…“relevant?”