What do you think Disneyland (or the other Magic Kingdoms derived from it) would like like if someone like Walt were alive today and building the park from scratch now in 2007?
For example, Disneyland's original five lands very much reflected the times of the 1950s: Cowboys and Indians were hugely popular, so Frontierland was a good choice. Adventureland visited exotic lands (primarily Africa when it opened), which was also very much in the public's mind then. Tomorrowland reflected the tremendous interest in space and The Future!. Fantasyland is perhaps the most timeless land, focusing as it does on bringing Disney animated adventures to life. Main Street USA is not only the "opening" of the show, but also a patently nostalgic look at a time that many people of the Fifties were nostalgic for - a simpler time uncomplicated by the issues of the day.
Regardless of the continued popularity of these lands today, what do you think Disneyland would contain if it were just being planned today? Frontierland is obviously out (I think), since "the West" has lost most of its popularity and nostalgia value for today's audiences. Tomorrowland suffers from the fact that, today, there is no "tomorrow;" the future arrives daily, faster and in larger doses that anyone can even keep up with. We're not as invigorated by the future. Adventureland? I'd argue that deepest, darkest Africa is no longer an "exotic" draw in our shrinking world, but perhaps there are other "adventures" to experience? And what would open the show in 2007? Main Street USA seems a dated and naive concept to much of the audience today, and it's out of touch with what they are nostalgic for. Would we stroll down "Suburbia, USA" to get to Fantasyland's iconic castle?
Also, Disney itself has a richer library to draw upon after 51 years, including more characters, more locales features in films and television shows, and so forth - surely these would affect a "from scratch" design in some way, no?
The one time the Imagineers have really had an opportunity to do this was Tomorrowland at Disneyland Paris, which became Discoveryland - a nostalgic look at a future that never was. It's interesting to see what they did, there, and recognizes that some (well, one) of the original five lands was difficult to keep relavent over time.
So what do you think? If you were building Disneyland today, what five lands would you include, and what are some of the attractions you'd design? Keeping in mind that Disneyland's "mission," as outlined in Walt's dedication, was to relive fond memories of the past, experience new adventures, and promote hope for tomorrow.
Obviously, this is entirely a fantasy exercise - we're not talking about "fixing" the current Disneyland; this is just for fun. I'm curious to see what everyone thinks!