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  1. #1

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    Animation Renaissance- Theme Park Dark Ages

    Either this is something I completely fabricated in my head, or there is some truth to it. When the Disney Animation studio was churning out their big hits during what is now called the Disney Renaissance (Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King, etc. For some reason, Rescuers Down Under always gets left off this list) were the parks at their worst condition? I mean, as big and popular as those films were, they got very little recognition in the parks, save for some thrown-together stage shows. In Disneyland, I can see this as either the dreaded Pressler/Harris era, or they were focusing on the Indiana Jones ride, and later the planning stages for the parking lot expansion.

    It seems we are only just now utilizing these gems of cinema with the Little Mermaid rides here and in WDW, and the Beauty and the Beast areas in the new Fantasyland expansion over there. Lion King used to have its own show at the Magic Kingdom, but that doesn't exist anymore, and Animal Kingdom has its leftover parade floats dressed up as a Lion King show. What are your thoughts on this?

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  2. #2

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    Re: Animation Renaissance- Theme Park Dark Ages

    While the Animation Department strung together hits, theme parks were also making great gains.

    WDW has massive expansions, and a park was built in france. Disneyland recieved Splash, Indy and Toontown during that era.

    While DLR didn't get an attractions built for every movie, they found places in the growing theme park space in WDW. MGM has a multiyear Hunchback of Noter Dam MGM, now DHS has a Beauty and the Beast stage show that opened quickly after the movie premiered, and still operates, unlike DL's version which opened later and left shortly after. MGM also hosted and still has a Little Mermaid show. In Animal Kingdom the Lion King is featured in a huge stage show. There was also a mulityear Pocahontas stage show in the Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom also has a Nemo show.

    These shows served more guests than most attractions do in a day. It can be said Dumbo is unrepresented and Hunchback is over represented, when consider the guest exposure to each.

  3. #3

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    Re: Animation Renaissance- Theme Park Dark Ages

    The Lion King got a huge parade at DL and probably is one of the BEST parades ever. It was so good they recycled the floats for a show at Animal Kingdom

  4. #4

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    Re: Animation Renaissance- Theme Park Dark Ages

    This time was actually considered by many to be one of the best times, especially for park entertainment. Beauty and the Beast had a stage show that ran 4 years, as well as Pocahontas following that. Hunchback was in the festival arena, Lion King, as was said above, had a hugely successful parade, they've yet to beat. So popular in fact, that it was available for video purchase. If anything, now is when they've neglected those films. Lion King is somewhat understandable, as there's little room in Adventureland, but Beauty and the Beast not being anywhere is a crime.

  5. #5

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    Re: Animation Renaissance- Theme Park Dark Ages

    No, I'd say the Animation Renaissance coincides pretty well with the Theme Park Renaissance. Besides the rides already mentioned, in 1992, we got Fantasmic!, which is somewhat contraversial here on MC, but which I think is pretty epic .

    The only way in which it was a "dark age" is that it was the beginning of everything being based on movies. But I consider the real dark age to begin post-Indy, when Disneyland got Tarzan's Treehouse, Tomorrowland 98 including Rocket Rods and Innoventions, Winnie-the-Pooh and Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. (When DCA 1.0 starts to look like the "good stuff," that's pretty scary.)

    I guess this depends on your definition of "Disney Renaissance." Some people include all the films between 1989 and 1999. Others would say it ended with The Lion King in '94. That's where Don Hahn chose to end his documentary, "Waking Sleeping Beauty". He said that by The Lion King "the wheels had already started to come off the car." I'd say Pocahontas was the start of the decline, although of course they still came out with some good movies after that. But you know that when the park had to come up with "Animazement" because the new movies couldn't support a show of their own, that's a bad sign.

    I do think it's ironic that back in the early 90's, they passed over the likes of The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast for attractions, but gave one to Roger Rabbit (which I think is a classic, but is definitely less well known today than the others) and one to Gadget from Rescue Rangers (although the ride is hardly based on Rescue Rangers).
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