It looks like 1955-1969 and 1984-1996 in my book.
I agree with the OP, but Pirates is my all time favorite. The Paris version of course.
Pirates to me is still the high achievement they never surpassed....you may like other rides more...but Pirates is just an amazing ride from the caves...to the treasure rooms, to the Ship blasting at the main land...to what feels like a real city.....the ride is just something Disney may never top
Though I do want to say that the Mountain Range in Carsland is VERY impressive in it's own way too but the attraction it houses while fun and impressive too....still does not surpass the Pirates attraction
That's the thing Imagineering is always outdoing themselves though certain periods more big projects opened in closer succession than now. I guess a golden age can be described as a period where big projects opened in close time frame. However Imagineering is no where near the limit with the technology of today. Think of how many projects they got in their hat and how secretive they are of Shanghai. ;)
See ya walkin' right down the middle of o'l Main Street USA
I was born in the 80's and the attractions I admire most are 1955-1969 with a few stand-outs after that like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain. I do agree that it seems that the engineers of today are having trouble topping the level of detail and thoughtfulness of most of the vintage stuff.
Throwing huge amounts of money on a project doesn't guarantee that it will be an Imagineering triumph. The original DCA cost $600 million which is no small piece of change, yet where was the Imagineering? Instead they put dumb road signs on a state fair roller coaster and called it Mulholland Madness.
No amount of money spent on rock work, complex ride systems, pretty lights, special effects and high-tech doodads can ever replace the intangibles of originality, imagination, creativity, interactivity, storyline, atmosphere, characters, humor, drama, surprise, thrills, music, design, details and theme.
Those intangibles are the qualities that Imagineers put into it. They require humans to be imaginative and creative - which doesn't take a billion dollars, just find the right people and pay them well. Otherwise the attraction, land or park could be designed by soulless computer.
Yes, it takes money to bring the intangibles into a physical form, which the guests experience, but it's not the money or even what is physically built - it's the ideas behind it, that are expressed by the physical realization of it, that are the real experience.
The machinery of an attraction may be forgotten, but the intangible human qualities that people can relate to are what are remembered from the attraction. Pirates is low-tech by today's standards, but it still has the intangibles such as atmosphere, humor and an unusual non-Disneylike story (the bad guys win). The intangibles can be described and understood by everyone and those are what people remember from the experience.
Those are the soul of an attraction and none of those intangibles cost a billion dollars, they are products of human imagination. And a billion-dollar attraction without those qualities is worth nothing.
While OLC totally supported their Imagineers, much of it financially, Disney, in their lack of financial support, failed to support those Imagineers relegated to DCA. Of course, the Imagineers on that project were either tied to creative constraints that prevented any actual outstanding concepts from being developed, or they just did not have the necessary creative capabilities to actually come up with such concepts in the first place.
Either way, the same WDI of that time period had created both the BEST and WORST parks the company had ever done at the same time.
What were the creative constraints that prevented outstanding concepts being developed for the original DCA? Just a lack of money, or were there other constraints that resulted in it being unimaginative and unsuccessful? How could budgeting more money for Mulholland Madness have made it any better? Was lack of money the problem there? Or was lack of vision, creativity and imagination the problem?