I thought about this the last time I visited the park. Part of what put Disneyland "on the map" was the innovative use of AA's. Walt went well above and beyond the standard and used the latest technology to bring a variety of characters to life. The original movements were simplistic, but over time more and more movement was added to characters. things like the auctioneer in POC, or Lincoln. Soon the park was full of life as each opening attraction featured AA's.
Recently the focus at Disneyland has been on LCD screens. The majority of the newer attractions either employed recycled AA's, ones with limited movement, or none at all. In several cases cutouts were used in place of actual characters, or static figures commonly found in store windows. The question becomes why?
People point to Nemo, or BLAB, or Monsters, or TSMM... all great examples of something new lacking the AA's of old. If I had to place a definitive "finger" on this change I would say StarTours... which incorporated limited movement of AA's into a primarily movie based attraction. Even Indy has very basic moment when compared to the auctioneer!
Another thoguht is that when Disney does add an AA it almost appears "forced". They proved that they can do amazing things with new AA's, look at Jack in Pirates (regardless of personal opinion about his placement they are amazing AA's from a movement standpoint).
So I post the question. Have AA's, once a pillar of Disney magic, become outdated antiques and quaint reminders of the past? Or has Disney Co. simply neglected to build upon the legacy of it's founder?