"Original attractions" is typically shorthand for "non-movie-based attractions" (maybe we should make a new acronym - NMB attractions? ).
Yes, with pretty much any idea, probably somebody, in some way, has done it before. That doesn't mean it can't still feel original. Even the movie-based attractions shouldn't feel like they're just rehashes of the movies - which the recent ones do - they should have some element of originality.
"GEORGE: I've nothing to say
DOT: You have many things to say...
GEORGE: Well nothing that's not been said
DOT: Said by you though, George...
Anything you do
Let it come from you
Then it will be new
Give us more to see..."
- Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George
As for Song of the South, I think it's a shame that there is now a complete generation that is totally unaware of its existence. I remember The Disney Channel (as in, the REAL Disney Channel) used to put clips of it all the time in the mid-80's. After 1986 it was banned from the United States forever so it is now possible to be an adult age and never have even seen a clip of it! It's a brilliant movie with a good lesson for kids growing up. Basically, the gist of it is that you can't run away from your problems.
It's somewhat dated today, Br'er Bear is impressed with Br'er Rabbit making an alleged "Dol-la a minute!" by hanging in Br'er Fox's trap, which is $60 an hour and just about the average salary need to live in Anaheim nowadays. I never have found the so-called "racist" aspect of the film... if anything, I'd say that it promotes inter-racial tolerance. Everyone gets along in that film.
It was banned by Michael Eisner and everyone felt that by him leaving the film might have a chance to be released around 2006/2007, but nowadays it's just simply Disney Tradition to keep it from reaching DVD.
My mother went to see the film on its last theatrical re-release when she was pregnant with me, and I'm convinced that's one of the reasons why I'm such a big Disney fan today .
Not long ago, I finally got to see it. While I could understand why some people would be offended, to me it was no more racist than other films from the period that are still regularly seen, such as Gone with the Wind. Uncle Remus is the wisest and most sympathetic character in the live-action part of the movie. I think maybe Disney just gets picked on for it because of their squeaky-clean, family-friendly image, while other studios get away with it.
If you ever really want to see something offensive, check out Babes on Broadway, with America's sweethearts Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland putting on, and I quote, "a good old-fashioned minstrel show" in blackface. It was one of those things that I just couldn't believe I was seeing. I saw that one in a history of musical theatre class in college. The same professor who showed it later told me that he was unable to get ahold of a copy of Song of the South!
BTW, I don't think the "dollar an minute" thing makes it dated, because it was a period film to begin with . (Then again, $60 an hour would still be a lot of money to me! )
Anyhow, Splash Mountain is a testement that attractions don't always have to be based on the latest characters people are already familiar with. Whenever I see Brer Fox walking around Critter Country, he seems to be pretty popular, and the only way the kids probably know him is from Splash Mountain.