Do you believe in Ghosts? Disney sure does. Do you believe in spirits? Curses? Things that go bump in the night? They believe in them so much they must have hired an Exorcist at WDI; and he or she is workin' overtime expunging from DL these perilous threats to our delicate sensibilities and fragile natures.
Ghosts, Spirits, and Curses are being forced out, to be replaced by the mundane, the homogenous, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek silliness.
Big Thunder Mountain's original storyline had vengeful Indian spirits, awakened by the deep, greedy delvings of the gold-hungry prospectors, unleash their power over the elements and the mountain itself to extinguish the threat to their peaceful slumber. The thriving town of Tumbleweed was destroyed by flood and earthquake, and the miners were never seen again; their mine train returning to the station empty.
In a later, softer, incarnation of the story, we see a young Inventor, Jason Chandler, builder of a fantastic new drilling machine try his new creation on Big Thunder Mountain. However, a cave-in traps 26 miners, and Chandler uses his machine to dig the miners out. He is successful, but loses his own life in the resulting massive cave-in caused by the new machine. This cave-in is so massive, it seals up Big Thunder for good--trapping himself and every trace of gold deep in the mountain forever. The town without any income, dried up.
The newest, and most pathetic, backstory to the previously 'haunted' mine revolves around an indigent drunk. Old miner 'Sam' stumbed and fell into one of the abandoned ore cars while liquored up and went for a wild ride down the deserted shafts of the Big Thunder Mine. After emerging from the mountain, he told an Imagineer about his experience, and BTMRR was born. Consider BTMRR EXORCISED.
Pirates of the Caribbean's cursed treasure that doomed all who dared lust after its corrupt wealth has been removed. Ironic in the sense that it was just this original 'cursed treasure' concept that inspired the storyline of the movie; the same movie that did away with the curse when additions to the ride were made to better reflect the movie's storyline (??). We now see Johnny Depp enjoying the formerly cursed treasure, free from consequences. Consider POTC's curse EXORCISED.
The Haunted Mansion's is a haven for the spirits--surely one can find a little room for a scare here? Maybe not so much anymore. The attic has undergone many changes in its long History--but the most recent changes have taken the 'scare' out of the attic.
Don't get me wrong, the new Constance storyline and accompanying effects are creative improvements to the Mansion. But are they 'scary'? No. The ominous beating heart, the pop-ups and blast-ups, the piercing eyes of a faceless bride--that's frightening. Now the few pop-ups there say 'I do!', the beating heart is gone, and the magnificent Constance AA (she really is remarkable, IMO) is campy, and tongue-in-cheek. Consider the Attic EXORCISED.
Even the overlay that is supposed to exemplify Halloween, the night when Ghosts and Goblins have free reign over this world, is a cartoonish mockery of the spirit world. There are no scares in the NBC HM. It's cute, and silly and very entertaining; not scary. Consider the Haunted Mansion Holiday EXORCISED.
These are just a few examples of what we see in the homogenization of DL. Watering down experiences so they can be more easily digested by a broader audience. The fallacious idea that DL Guests need to be spoonfed their attractions, and have such fragile psyches that 'hard facts', 'moral' commentary, and the supernatural dread of 'the Unknown' would clearly be too much for us to handle.
It seems one of the few places one can get a good scare comes from unlikely sources: 'Snow White' still retains a scare factor for the kiddies, and the Dead Man's Caverns on PLOTSI where the 'scare' factor in some effects are well done--and yet again, an attraction specifically designed for children.
Is this a conscious effort on Disney's part to eliminate the thrill of the good 'scare'? Is all this homogenization merely a coincidence? Is the 'dumbing down' of DL fact or fiction? Are we too sophisticated a society nowadays to enjoy a little taste of the supernatural? Does Disney think so? Do you think so?