Thursday, 18 July 2013

6 Things I Can Believe Still Exist at Disney World

I know, I know these days my blog posting doesn't happen anywhere near as much as it used to or should but today I bring you a new post to read while you enjoy the summer sunshine or unbearable heat depending on your outlook.

Recently, (and by recently I mean 5 mins ago) I read a blog post entitled 6 Things I Can't Believe Still Exist at Walt Disney World that was posted over at and it made me kinda mad so here's my version...

Disney park fans are regularly up in arms about changes that happen across Disney Properties around the world. Most of the anger seems to be directed at WDW more than the others. Sometimes it's justified, sometimes it isn't and its certainly true that an entire generation of fans has now missed out on some of the classic attractions such as 20k, the skyway, and Mr Toad (although I don't think anyone's missing out on smelling oranges seeing as they use the effect in Soarin').

Yes, Disney closed a classic attraction last summer. Snow White's dark ride had one of my favourite hidden mickey's and I will miss spotting the dwarf with the mouse ears but you know what, if I REALLY want to ride it I can spend my money going to Disneyland Paris instead (yeah...I still prefer visiting WDW).

To be clear I LOVED Horizons and 20,000 leagues under the sea. I love technology so both really appealed to me as a kid. I could choose my future and see the craziest of sea creatures that no one else on this planet would get to see. Have you ever looked back at photos of those attractions? Because let me tell you, as awesome as they were back in the early 90s they would look pretty terrible now, just like the video calling sequences in spaceship earth would look terrible and dated if they were still there. I actually think the bigger crime with both attractions was how long it took to close them. 20k had this long drawn out shut down where it was constantly in refurb and horizons was shut down long before mission space replaced it. That always felt like a bigger crime to me.

Sure they could close American Idol but space there is relatively limited and personally I'd prefer avoiding another sorcerer's hat eyesore in the middle of the park. Carousel of Progress...touch that at your peril! In my opinion there are 4 attractions that should always exist in some form at Disney Parks because they are important to history and nostalgia: Small World, President Lincoln's Speech, TTA ride vehicles and yes, Carousel of Progress. The 4 attractions created or developed from attractions created for the 1964 World's Fair. As for the Universe of Energy, in this world energy is the one thing that we will always use and its important that kids and adults learn its value, sure the thing needs updating but the pavilion itself needs to stay. Plus getting to see Dinosaurs where they're not trying to eat you or are in skeletal form....still cool!

Lets move on to those 6 things shall we...

Film and Camera Stores

Have you ever been in these? They sell camera accessories, batteries,cases,etc, DVDs and offer recharging services. You know what else lives in them? Disney's Photopass and there always seems to be a queue whenever I go in them. So am I surprised that they still exist? Not really, no.


Yes, most of the world does carry around a cellphone but suppose your party splits up and the battery dies because you've been busy taking photos or playing Angry Birds in the queue or whatever. When you've got a quarter in your pocket you might be quite grateful for those payphones. Phone books, as ridiculous as they might seem with the amount of paper they require do still exist and while we might not use paper encyclopaedias as much I should think there are very few people that have been online that have not used Wikipedia at some point which, last time I checked, is an encyclopaedia even if it does only exist online.

The Electrical Water Pageant

I always consider this one of WDW's hidden gems for so many reasons, not least of which is that you can see it nearly 24 hours a day. But it only runs at nighttime. True, but its also one of the few backstage things that Disney don't hide away. Next time you're on the monorail between the Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom look away from the Polynesian and down a little canal you'll see the floats. I used to love seeing them as a kid because it was backstage stuff that didn't ruin the magic. During the day you can't see Poseidon or the turtle or the sea serpent so the illusion isn't ruined but you still get to see a little glimpse of how the magic is made. Everyone I've ever taken to see the water pageant has loved it so yes, it may be from the 1970s but Disney's longest running parade has still got it.

Half the Games at Disney Quest

Now I've never actually done the sums but I'm pretty sure that if you added up all the games in the indoor theme park that only a handful of them are the virtual jungle cruises and mighty ducks pinball slams of this world but that's beside the point. This was actually the one section where I was in agreement with the author. This place is dated. It became dated about 3 years after it opened. I find the VR games extremely uncomfortable due to a combination of 3D and the heavy headwear and a lot of the other stuff feels unresponsive. The arcade stuff is pretty awesome though ummm hello GIANT TETRIS! I actually laughed when I was there a few months ago because half the arcade games were based on phone apps, temple run, angry birds, fruit ninja and so on and I think we discussed at the time that we could just play that stuff on our phones. The problem is that I don't really know what can be done with Disney Quest. The whole place really needs gutting and being redone but that won't change the fact that technology is continuously evolving and in a few years it will become outdated again. Have you ever been in there at the weekend or when it's raining? That place is packed, so it's hard to imagine it disappearing anytime soon.

That Pop Art Store in Downtown Disney

Remember when it was a guitar store? Now that always seemed odd to me. I can imagine tourists buying art and having it shipped home but, as much as I love guitars, I could never really imagine people doing the same with them. The fact is that no business is going to stay open unless they're taking more money than they're spending in rent/bills/etc so people must be buying stuff. The place isn't causing anyone any offence or having a negative influence. It's a nice looking store. I think it's quite a rude jump to start suggesting it must have mafia connections because why would anyone buy art while they're in WDW. I think many vacationers have access to a lot more money than people realise. Case in point - the infamous South American tour groups. Along with the regular complaints about other tourists finding them annoying and loud they are also known for carrying around large quantities of cash. Now when I was 15 I considered myself lucky to be carrying around 20 bucks let alone hundreds of dollars while on vacation. I'm not saying they're the ones buying the art from that store but it just wouldn't surprise me if there are plenty of adults doing the same that would happily buy art from there. As for the other stores I've always enjoyed looking in them because they're something different and are really there to add to the atmosphere of the place.


Funnily enough, before the age of the smartphone I never really saw the point of postcards. As a kid you don't tend to know your friends addresses and they always felt a bit "look where I am and you're not". Plus when home is abroad they'd usually arrive well after you'd got back home and if they didn't it was because you written them 5 mins after arriving and didn't have anything interesting to say. Now I'm older and wiser and we live in a world where post has become this magical entity (mostly due to some owls and JK Rowling). Let me tell you if you write a postcard from Disney and get it stamped at City Hall it goes from being a novelty piece of cardboard to something magical. Over the last 2 years I've sent dozens of postcards to my friends from wherever I happen to be in the world. It's not about where I am or what I'm doing, it's about sharing the moment and making someone smile. Long live Postcards!

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