I need a story idea. I have no idea what I’m typing right now; I just need to make it look like I’m working. My thoughts are all jumbled and I can’t concentrate, I just keep thinking about Disneyland Resort. This weekend was the final weekend of some special deal where Southern Californians get two parks for the price of one and everybody had gone to Disneyland first and now they needed to use up the rest of their tickets so they bum rushed DCA in an attempt to take up time. I walked in and it was like an episode from the Twilight Zone, lines were everywhere, people crowded the streets. It pissed me off.
And it’s not that DCA is a bad park, it just lacks that unifying magic. All it needs is a better theme. Eisner tried to make it so that nobody would want to visit the rest of California by coming to the resort and he failed miserably. The innovations the attractions presented are phenomenal; it’s just the wrapping. There have been online discussions (just web articles by Al Lutz, not actual news events) of how Disney’s America would make a better theme. They wouldn’t even have to tear down any attractions, just do some slight re-theming. ‘Course it doesn’t help matters that the economy is in the toilet and Disney doesn’t have the money to pull that off.
They’re struggling with the 50th Anniversary as it is. See, in two years (approximately) Disneyland will have been open for 50 years (ever since July 17, 1955) and Disney has been planning renovations for the “Golden Anniversary” for some time now. When plans first started appearing, they were rumors of updating the five “classic” attractions that really define the park: Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s A Small World, Space Mountain, and Haunted Mansion. Unfortunately, Paul Pressler (head of Disney Parks and Resorts at the time) was more interested in turning the resort into a shopping center. When Pressler first came to Disney, his only experience had been with shopping malls, but he felt he could handle the challenge of running the theme park division of a multi-national corporation. He couldn’t. Now that he’s gone (he left last year to be CEO of GAP) there’s good news and bad news. The good news is his replacement is Jay Rasulo, formerly of Disneyland Paris, who is interested in saving the park, not shooting himself in the foot. The bad news is Pressler left behind all his mall flunkies and they’re slowing Rasulo down. But the “Golden Anniversary” is still coming and it needs to be planned out. Pressler’s chief flunky, Cynthia Hariss (President of the Disneyland Resort) had just planned on slapping together a new parade and fireworks show while focusing on producing fantastic merchandise. Now, not only is Space Mountain getting re-themed, but a new attraction has been green-lighted and a bi-park fireworks show is in the works.
Then there’s the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie that comes out July 9 and is guaranteed to make beaucoup bucks. Not only that, but Disney has got this insane movie premiere planned that is going to play havoc with tourists. They are going to shut the park down at 6:00 P.M., lay out a red carpet down Main Street, through Adventureland and up to the shores of the Rivers of America, where a giant movie screen will display the movie for premium (as in high-priced) guests and the best of Hollywood sitting in hastily erected bleachers. It’s going to be awesome.