If you ever hear an Imagineer say "Well, America Sings closed the year before, and we figured we could use the figures after the fact that a lot of us were reminded of Song of the South characters by them! So, we put them in Splash!" (keep in mind it wasn't plain condindence that America Sings characters looked so darn like SOTS material, it WAS the same cartoonish critter look that Disney always uses in their animated films, it just happened that these were barnyard animals) Wow...that quote is so often misused. You see, America Sings did indeed close down for Splash, and not for any other reason.
In mid-1987, Imagineers were way over-budget on Splash, and barely had enough money, but still needed to built a full stock of animatronics. Seeing how well America Sings characters fits in with SOTS (and seeing how it is banned, nobody will tell that these critters never inhabited the background of that animated flick), Imagineers did the whole evil process that they do with attractions and honestly made an effort to convince Disney to shut down America Sings. Not finding anything, and since attendance was at a good, steady rate, they confessed their problem, and Disney immediately approved the closure of America Sings due in about a year.
Thinking quick, they steal two geese from it (knowing it's closing anyways) and strip them down for Star Tours. Soon, the entire attraction closes and the creatures are imported to Splash Mountain. Budget problem solved!
So, would you rather have Splash or America Sings? One, in just 16 years has gained pop culture status, beloved by most, and renewed "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" back to national fame and became Disneyland's unofficial theme song for quite a while, the other was a cute show remembered by most Disney fans as being fun, and it was the last carousel theatre show in the building. Your pick...
>>You see, America Sings did indeed close down for Splash, and not for any other reason.<<
But here's the full scoop .. that has yet to be mentioned.
The demise of America Sings dates back as early as January 1, 1977 ... when the Bicentennial was over.
Carousel of Progress did not have a very long run at DL.
Only 6 years.
I can remember in the late 70s ... and into the 80s ...
"Carousel of Progress would make a return" as rumors began swirling.
But it seems the inter-office politics between imagineers up in Glendale kept the idea in limbo.
It was scheduled for a return for Tomorrowland's big 1984 remodel (that does not get discussed much ... only the TL:2055 plan gets "air time").
With new leaders .. and all the "hoopla" happening with the company in Burbank .. most major projects for the company were put on hold .. and so America Sings kept singing along in through the 80s.
But as soon as the Tomorrowland:1984 plans fell through ... SPLASH MOUNTAIN was brainstormed.
And from the very beginning .... America Sings would eventually be removed, for it had very little to do with the future. (After all .. the Bicentenial was long over .. and that was the soul and primary reason America Sings was built in the first place) ..... Marc Davis' beloved America Sings characters would find a new home ... and a more appropriate one actually. Those may realize .... Marc Davis was instrumental in the creation of the animated characters for the SONG OF THE SOUTH motion picture in 1946. There's a *connection* between the Song of the South characters .. and the ones he created for DL's Tomorrowland in the early 1970s.
So ... moving forward here .......
As SPLASH MOUNTAIN's design was plugging along throughout 1984 .. into 1985 .. into 1986 ...etc .. it was a forgone conclusion (naturally) America Sings would close. As construction of Splash Mountain was about to commence.
Tomorrowland's renovation plans went back into high gear .. after a hiatis of a few years.
This is when Plectu's Fantastic Galactic Revue was born.
Similar in concept to America Sings .. a grand circle tour inside a giant flying saucer .. as aliens put on a song and dance extravaganza.
As that idea continued to form ... construction of Splash Mountain progressed ... and it was getting close to the time imagineering needed those AAs out of America Sings .. and back into imagineering for re-conditioning, and redressing .. and put into their new home ready for Splash Mountain's 1989 grand opening.
When I first got wind America Sings was scheduled for closure ... that is what prompted me to get my first AP. 1987 .. I began to get in as many rides on as possible .. before they pulled the plug.
It was originally planned to close in 1987 ... but Splash Mountain was having problems with their new logs ... the ride was originally scheduled for a 1988 opening .. so America Sings continued on for another year.
Finally .. by April 1988 .... imagineering couldn't wait one more day .. and they needed those AAs pronto!
And thus .... America Sings had it's last run at 11:59pm on Sunday night, April 10,1988.
I was one of the lucky few who got front row ... with those infamous "Disney Suits" standing on each side .... waiting to haul any one of us off .. if we did any monkey business ;-).
Now .. the timing in all this (Splash Mountain, America Sings, Plectu's Fantastic Galactic Revue) was all off.
Usually .. when Disneyland closed a ride .. that generally meant that something would replace it right away.
However .... Even with Splash Mountain's opening in 1989 ... Tomorrowland's new carousel theater tenant would not be scheduled to open till 1995.
7 years later.
With construction beginning in 1993.
(5 years later!)
Tomorrowland's renovation timeline was this:
WDI planning 1987-1991
But here's the other glitch to throw the carousel theater into a longer "limbo".....
That sign they put up with Mickey standing on a stool in his Sorcerer's Apprentice outfit would give new meaning: We Are Closed to Imagineer a New Attraction.
The carousel theater was originally supposed to get a temporary show till construction would begin on "PLECTU" 5 years later.
They did not intend to leave it abandoned initially.
A variety of ideas come onboard (DL 35th History Show, Mickey's Birthday history show, Animation history show) ....... all canned ideas!
As time marched on .... Disneyland Corporate was searching for more office space. What do you think they did .. while imagineering was battling it out .. over what would go in as a temporary tenant till Plectu would go into construction? OFFICE SPACE! Cubicals were built right on the rotating platform. While a one or two auditoriums kept their "seating" diagram for CM training courses.
I sat in one in the early 90s. It was freaky looking at act 6 of America Sings .. with the drapes closed .. knowing Eagle Sam was not there!!
Anyway ... to make matters worse ....
As temporary show ideas were being killed off left and right ...
Michael Eisner sent the permanent idea into DL Ride Idea Heaven.
"Plectu" along with the rest of the Tomorrowland:2055 plan was shelved .... INDEFINITELY!!!!
This all came down in the summer of 1991 .. as TL:2055 was scheduled for construction January 1992.
Needless to say ... that didn't stop management from beginning to close Tomorrowland attractions ANYWAY ... as Mission To Mars, and Skyway closed in the next couple of years. And finally .... Peoplemover broke down in the middle of the busy summer 1995 season .. but they never bothered to fix it ... since it was scheduled for complete closure January 1996 ... for Tomorrowland's THIRD ATTEMPT to get the land FINALLY renovated.
Of course ... it's another discussion to get into the merrits of what has to be Tomorrowland's worst renovation in it's 50 year history!
The land has been nothing but an entire joke .. since the day America Sings closed 17 years ago.
It really is pathetic how bad Tomorrowland has been off for this long.
Even the stinker Innovention ...... GEEZ. YAWN!
We wait a whole decade for a new attraction ..... AFTER ALL THAT HISTORY I JUST WENT THROUGH ...... and STILL the carousel theater might as well be in a state of "closure" ..with that lousy "Innoventions".
So .. I hope Innoventions will be on the hit list ... as Buzz, Nemo, a new paint job for the land (for now), new Space Mountain, and new Peoplemover, and new Rocket Jets are all an indicater we will someday see something that will be just as wonderful as America Sings/CoP was.
To be office space from 1988 to 1996 .. and Innoventions (which was born out of the idea to keep costs down) from 1998 to the present ...... the carousel theater went from a celebrated run (1967 to 1988) ... to a dreary run between (1988 to 2008?)
I hope they have something cool on the drawing board.
So there's the reason why America Sings closed.
To "marry" Marc Davis' "Song of the South" characters together.
And as for the sad series of events (no temporary show, office space in the center of TL, Plectu cancelled, Innoventions an insult to every loyal Disney patron who knows Disney CAN do better) .......... lets hope the carousel theater has gone through enough of events like that ... and WDI and TDA can come up with a solution that will not be a repeat of the last 17 years!
wow! that was an eye-opener! america sings was always my favorite. i miss it & remember how lame it was that the building sat empty for so long after it was gone. don't get me started on innoventions, either! i'm bummed that they didn't put up a banner to remember it by like they have for some of the other extinct attractions. i did see an america sings pin coming out, though! yay!
Wow! Great detail and insight, Escape. Plectu's Fantastic Galactic Revue, from what I have heard and seen, would have been a wonderful family attraction.
Does anyone remember the Disney Decade? The 1990s were supposed to be a new era of growth for the resort with many new attractions on the horizon. Among them were: Dick Tracy's Crime Stoppers, Baby Herman's Runaway Buggie Ride, a Young Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, and Mickey's Starland.
I'm not sure if it was the Death of Frank Wells, Eisner's bottom line mentality, the Pressler/Harris 'reign of terror,' or a combination of them all, but by as early as 1993 I remember Imagineers telling me it had become the Disney Decayed.
And to think that Pressler didn't even want the Indiana Jones attraction put in.
as a So Cal native and growing up with Disneyland.... America Sings was a favorite of mine as well...as kind of a grusome sidenote...does anyone here remember hearing about the strory of the CM who supposedly died working on the attraction....getting crushed between the walls as it was turning from one section to another?? Has that been proven true??...or just a Disneyland urban legend??
Last edited by Tigger68; 06-03-2005 at 09:14 AM.
The Debbie Stone accident is probably the saddest and most tragic one because she was like a SUPER good kid. She won lots of awards in school, gave to her community, was very religious, etc. She was all around an angel.
It's a shame they had to rush and open America Sings, because a simple light could've saved her.
Having been an annual pass holder throughout the 80's, I was very sad to see America Sings close as it marked the slow downfall of Tomorrowland. It wasn't very well themed however, and I always loved the COP. My favorite part was when the curtains opened on the final stage and you were invited to walk into the future! Up onto the stage, up an escalator, and past a fabulous view of the city of tomorrow! The classic Disney attractions just kept going and kept surprising you. The modern rides seem to have better queues than rides and no post shows.