So I was just watching a video of Kingdom of the Dinosaurs on YouTube. (It was a dark ride that was removed from Knott's Berry Farm a few years back, for those who don't know.) I was pretty young the last time I rode it, a long time ago. My siblings and I loved it. Even then, I could sense it wasn't exactly the benchmark of high quality in dark rides...but it was great, you know? I love re-watching the video.
That got me thinking about the profound impact dark rides can have. KotD obviously wasn't the best example of this, but it was a catalyst for thought. Oy, if I'm not careful, this post is gonna get way too long.
Basically, I'm worried that WDI is straying from the area in which, IMO, its greatest achievements have been and surely will continue to be. Perhaps the term "dark ride" isn't quite inclusive enough...let's extend it for now to environments like BTMRR, Splash Mountain, Indy, etc. Elaborately themed indoor environments through which you move on a controlled path.
These profoundly real environments have a certain emotional latch on people. They strike some nice chords inside, I think. There's something about being carried through this storytelling space where a lot is shown and a lot is left to the imagination, where you're not sure exactly what everything means, and so you find a meaning in it that is most meaningful to you, where you see things that feel almost like a dream, where you can be instantly taken back to by just a single sound or smell. Is WDI moving away from that sort of thing? I don't know. It's obviously never been their sole aspiration for theme parks, but I can't help but fear that their interest is waning.
Goodness, this is probably the most useless thread I've ever posted. Not sure what I'm expecting to hear back, if anything.
While I'm at it: thank you, WDI, for not ripping out any of the great Disneyland dark-ride-like environments. Okay, Country Bears kinda counts. But mostly because it was replaced with an inferior attraction that shows how not to do a dark ride. But I digress.