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  1. #1

    • Former Churro Jockey
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    So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    I've never really thought about this before, but how many years should a ride at Disneyland (I'm sorry, of course I meant "attraction and / or adventure") last before it's replaced? I kind of take for granted a ride like Pirates or Mansion is pretty much going to be there for the rest of my life, but will it? I have noticed lately that Pirates is starting to look a little bit hokey. The animatronics look 1960's to me and the fire effects have never, ever been even remotely convincing. So does it really have another 30 or 40 years in it? And what about a ride like Space Mountain, that just a roller coaster in the dark? Yes, it's a lot of fun and still one of my favorites, but it has no story to it and no memorable music. So is it's shelf life longer then Pirates because it does not have animatronics and effects that can eventually look cheesey and outdated, or is it shorter because there is no story or music that park guests can get attached to? I'm going to guess longer, because Space Mountain can be redone and rethemed as much as they want. They've talked for years about upgrading DL's ride to Mission 2 from DLP. If that happened they can probably extend the shelf life by a couple of decades. Pirates gets a boost from the success of the movies, but that won't last forever. I'd love to see them close the ride down and basically rebuild the whole thing from the ground up with the most modern and advanced animtronics and sound system available, but I don't see Disney doing that anytime soon.

    Obviously every ride is different. Some rides might only be around for 20 years and some might be around for over 50. But what should the expected shelf life be for an average ride at a Disney theme park? I think if I were an imagineer designing a ride, I think I'd probably think about the average lifetime of a person. For someone who grows up going to Disneyland their whole lives, how should the park look when they're 70 years old as opposed to when they were 7 years old? I would expect that more than half of the rides would have been replaced, but I would want there to be a handful of rides (and not just "kiddie rides") that they can go on when they are 70 that they remember from when they were 7. So I'm going to say that the high end of a ride's shelf life would be 70 years, and the low end would probably be 20. Any less then 20 and I think the ride would be considered a failure. So you could split the difference and say that the average should be 45 years. However, since I do think that more than half of the rides should be upgraded by the time someone is 70, I'm going to take off a few years. So I'm going to say that the average shelf life for a ride at a Disney theme park should be 40 years. Some (like Pirates and Mansion) will be longer, and some good ones will be shorter (Journey Thru Inner Space), but I think that's the number I'd probably shoot for.
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  2. #2

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    If Disneyland was still being wielded by its' namesake rides such as Space Mountain and Pirates would have probably already been replaced.......by attractions far, far superior.

    Problem is, the folks running Disney now have very little of his vision and none of his courage
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  3. #3

    • Mrs. J. Depp
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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Space Mountain has no memorable music?? How dare you sir! Now I have to post it here. I know you've heard it. And you know it well. I yearn for this music. I can't stand the current Mission Impossible sounding music.

    Space Mountain 1996 On Ride Music Disneyland - YouTube

    Back on topic. I think every ride is different in terms of longevity but it's all about how it relates to the current public and how relevant it is. Now the more original rides or rides not based off a movie have more potential because you haven't seen them before. They haven't been thrown all over the media and even when they were, they tanked (ie: The Haunted Mansion Movie). Now I think Pirates would have done just fine on its own, had it no tie to the movies at all. It could use a revamp sure, but it's nostalgic. And I think it's nostalgia that carries some of these attractions so well. People remember it fondly from their youth and bring their family for generations and the cycle continues.


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  4. #4

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by IzzyInWonderland View Post
    Space Mountain has no memorable music?? How dare you sir! Now I have to post it here. I know you've heard it. And you know it well. I yearn for this music. I can't stand the current Mission Impossible sounding music.
    Sorry, but I never liked either. Any music on roller coasters to me should be super hard core, not Disney meets the Beach Boys. I actually posted another thread on here about bringing my own music on these rides.
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  5. #5

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    To the OP - did you ever experience Disneyland as a small child? Some attractions aren't as magical if you have experienced it only as an adult. When I was a kid the fire on POTC looked as real as anything else. And there was no music on SM at all - there didn't need to be and there didn't need to be a story because the attraction itself allowed guests to use their own imaginations. When I rode Storybookland I was afraid that I really was going to be swallowed by Monstro, and the characters really did live in those tiny villages. And on ATIS, looking at those shrunken automobiles in the Mighty Microscope were for sure guests who had already boarded and showed what was about to happen to me.

  6. #6

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyIPresume View Post
    To the OP - did you ever experience Disneyland as a small child? Some attractions aren't as magical if you have experienced it only as an adult. When I was a kid the fire on POTC looked as real as anything else. And there was no music on SM at all - there didn't need to be and there didn't need to be a story because the attraction itself allowed guests to use their own imaginations. When I rode Storybookland I was afraid that I really was going to be swallowed by Monstro, and the characters really did live in those tiny villages. And on ATIS, looking at those shrunken automobiles in the Mighty Microscope were for sure guests who had already boarded and showed what was about to happen to me.
    Yes I did, I've been going there my whole life. I was either 2 or 3 years old the first time my parents took me. But I guess even as a kid I never really allowed myself to fully suspend my disbelief. There was never a ride where I believed something was actually real.
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  7. #7

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by Big D View Post
    Yes I did, I've been going there my whole life. I was either 2 or 3 years old the first time my parents took me. But I guess even as a kid I never really allowed myself to fully suspend my disbelief. There was never a ride where I believed something was actually real.
    I never fully believed the pirates were real or that I was actually shrinking......but I was so impressed by the "magic" that I did actually believe that the very real horses and ducks were Disney-made/fake
    Waiting for Godot Micechat.com

  8. #8

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Spectacles like America Sings and Country Bear Jamboree with a full line-up of animatronics lasted just over a decade (the former) and just under three decades (the latter) while rides with plywood cutouts and/or minimally moving mannequins like the Fantasyland dark rides are still with us over a half century later. It's really hard to say why or what keeps an attraction fresh or repeatable.

  9. #9

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    If you look at this 'coldly', even Walt was not precious about rides overall and their removal to be replaced with something he deemed better use of the space. Often enough, he was right of course. Modern Disney isn't much sentimental over what stays and goes, so I think more or less it's a crapshoot what the shelf life is - Pirates and Mansion have proved they aren't 'invulnerable' to the whims of getting supposedly 'hip'/modern additions with the movie stuff or Nightmare Before Christmas overlays, so even with being 'golden era of Imagineering' classics Walt wanted, they may well go away if managers decide that's what they want - it's happened with Mr. Toad (the most beloved Florida MK dark ride from the core group of Walt appointed Imagineers), Horizons (the core and 'heart' of EPCOT's original intent), and many others. It can happen at any time, basically, sadly - despite beautiful design and charm and enduring fanbase, anything can go away. A bit depressing, but there's no sure bet in how long something will last.

  10. #10

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    I don't equate "shelf life" with Disneyland.


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  11. #11

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Quote Originally Posted by RegionsBeyond View Post
    If you look at this 'coldly', even Walt was not precious about rides overall and their removal to be replaced with something he deemed better use of the space.
    To be fair, other than some core elements, Main Street, the hub, the Castle, JC, Disneyland was very much unfinished when it opened. Replacing simple attractions and building up desert-like areas (ROA, Tomorrowland) was most definitely in Walt's 15 year plan.

    Today, Disneyland is very full and intertwined. Removing something like POTC would be a massive undertaking.

    Additionally, just because I've been on POTC 100 times in my life, doesn't mean that generations to come shouldn't get to experience it. Assuming the building stays intact (earthquakes, failure of the structure), I think POTC is a forever attraction. It will be there as long as Disneyland itself is. Other icons like the Castle, Matterhorn and Main Street are also forever attractions.

  12. #12

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    I certainly assume and hope Mansion and Pirates and the Fantasyland dark rides and Jungle Cruise and the Mark Twain and etc are permanent, and tend to think so - don't get me wrong. But it's been shown before anything more or less can happen (the Florida Tiki Room fire, the entire original Journey Into Imagination being scrapped rather than fixed, and what have you.)

  13. #13

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    I just wanted to randomly say that Horizons had to be taken out due to the condition of the area it was in and the building. Of course, nonetheless it still could have been done with considering most of the other original rides are gone at EPCOT, but just wanted to say that it wasn't just to make room for other (or better) rides.

  14. #14

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Peter Pan, POTC, HM, and all the mountain rides are ones I cannot imagine them ever getting rid of in the foreseeable future.

    I see what you're saying about a person's lifetime but if it's a poorly thought out ride, the sooner replace it the better, it does seem to take about an average of 20-30 years for them to make significant changes based on changes in taste though.

  15. #15

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    Re: So what should be the shelf life of a Disney ride?

    Disneyland has built it's reputation largely on its rich history of golden age attractions that have just as big a fan base now as they had when they opened. Some of these attractions have gone on to establish their place in popular culture. Even if you've never been to a Disney park, you've probably heard of them. While it is true that Disney can remove some of these classics should they decide to do so, it is unlikely that they will for several reasons. Not only would the backlash against some ride removals be incredible, but they would also gamble huge risk should they replace a golden age attraction with something that may prove to be inferior and less popular. For things that are already successful and wildly popular, the goal is to either maintain that popularity or increase it. Removing something such as Indy, POTC, or HM in place of something else would be a very difficult task. More than likely, the goal would be to change up elements of these rides as we have seen them do over the course of their history. Yes, it's a bummer that we have to endure things such as Jack in POTC or the revamped attick in HM, but the important thing is that all things considered, those rides are still with us and maintain most of what made them special to begin with.

    So while Space Mountain or HM are probably OK for the forseeable future, it's the lower-budget, less popular attractions that are more at risk for removal and replacement. For example, it wouldn't be as hard to believe that Pooh, Astro Blasters, or Roger Rabbit may not be with us in another twenty years.

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