Re-Imagineering: The BLAIR Family Speaks
In early 2008, the family of IASW creater Mary Blair pleaded with top decision makers at Disney to not perminently alter the rides original scenes, and not to add out-of-place popular animated characters. Now, I'm not in any way a Disney purist. For years, my voice has remained a strong proponent of change the vast majority of the time.
The addition of new characters and scenes will not ruin the ride experience for me in any way. Still, as Al has affirmed in his recent update, the ride is pretty much as popular today as it has always been. The recrafting of the boats to retrofit today's heavier guests does make sense. The Blair family has no qualms about that.
Overall, my primary concern here is the executive Disney decisions/and mistakes that have led to the new monorails not be expected to being operational until at some precarious time next year. Where is the sense of priorities? The company should be concentrating on the design, mechanical, and legal problems associated with getting the new monorails up and going as soon as possible. Instead, they seem far more preoccupied with fixing what doesn't need to be fixed -plussing what already pleases guests with an exclamation point!
The scene changes for Hong Kong Disneyland's Small World are fresh and new ..the idea excites me. The ride is obviously inspired by imagineer extraordinaire Mary Blair to the extent that most of the attraction is a duplicate of the original World's Fair attraction. To clone the new additions at DL is completely rediculous. I believe that few desire to see complete clones of the attractions at different parks.
Unfortunately, the changes to the ride seem to be set in stone. Too bad that these plans cannot be removed like a sword from the stone in an act of chivalry. For those who wish to view the letter, here is a copy of the letter of protest from the Blair's as it appeared in March 18, 2008 printing of the imagineerbirth.blogspot -
The BLAIR Family Speaks
Dear Disney Executives,
It has recently been brought to my attention that the Walt Disney Company including WDI has proposed changes to the “It’s a Small World Ride” at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim. As I understand the changes include the addition of the Disney Characters (Mickey, Minnie, Lilo & Stitch, etc.) to the ride in select areas, and the replacement of the “Rainforest” section with Mickey Mouse in a tribute entitled “Up with America”. I also understand that the boats and trough they ride in will be expanded for the safety and comfort of the parks modern day guests.
While I fully understand and support the upgrade to the boats as a necessary safety upgrade, the addition of the Disney Characters and the “Up with America” section I do NOT support as it represents a gross desecration of the ride's original theme and my Mother’s stylized artwork.
The Disney characters of themselves are positive company icons, but they do NOT fit in with the original theme of the ride. They will do nothing except to marginalize the rightful stars of the ride “The Children of the World”. This marginalization will do nothing but infuriate the ride’s international guests and devoted Disney fans.
My Mother and I have always had a strong sense of patriotism for America and I DO support a tribute to America. Disneyland has several venues, which are perfect places for this tribute including “Main Street USA” or “New Orleans Square”; unfortunately the “It’s a Small World” ride is NOT one of them. Once again this will marginalize the children of the world theme and bastardize my Mother’s original art. Furthermore ripping out a rainforest (Imaginary or otherwise) and replacing it with misplaced patriotism is a public relations blunder so big you could run a Monorail through it.
As a former WED employee I am saddened to realize the degradation of the company’s talent and focus and the subsequent decline at the Disneyland Park itself. I cannot believe someone from WDI was paid to come up with such an idiotic plan as this.
As the head of the Blair family I cannot urge you strongly enough to abandon this idiotic plan and instead upgrade the boats and return the ride to it’s original classic form, design and colors. The desecration of Mary’s art is an insult to Mary Blair, her art, and her memory, and to the entire Blair Family itself.
Kevin L. Blair
Kevin Blair, Donovan Blair, Jeanne Chamberlain,
Maggie Richardson, Kevin Allison