The Tronorail at Walt Disney World. World of Cars-themed monorails at Disneyland. And now Frozen is poised to take over Maelstrom? These are just a few of the many incursions Disney has made into our favorite Icons.
Now that’s how I like to see my Icons!
Messing with Icons is never a safe bet. Puritans will hate it no matter what you do. Armchair Imagineers will think that they could have come up with a better idea. And those that don’t mind will probably stay quiet during the whole controversy.
And so Disney takes a hit. But kudos for trying! If Disney doesn’t take a shot at upping the Magic in the Parks, then we complain about the lack of creativity and innovation. And the odds are that in trying, Disney will fail from time to time.
Case in point: Spaceship Earth’s Millennium makeover.
The addition of the number 2000 and the wand didn’t thrill anyone! And here, Disney didn’t make the mistake in trying something new, but in sticking with it too long. Once the Millennium was over, so should the addition have been. But it didn’t go away. It changed to EPCOT and a wand. And it stayed for years!
Disney fans will tolerate an adjustment to an Icon short-term, but not long-term.
Another case in point: Birthday Cake Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Now, again, I thought this was an interesting idea. I can’t imagine how much work it must have been to transform Cinderella Castle into a cake! But Disney fans hated it and it still draws criticism today.
But Disney knew when to quit back then, and the Birthday Cake Castle only lasted a year. I wish I could have seen it in person.
In the world of Rides and Attractions, Disney has tried new things with iconic favorites. Like adding Disney characters to It’s a Small World. Putting the Tiki Room under New Management. And adding a funny queue alternative to The Haunted Mansion.
Many Disney fans freaked, or are freaking, about these changes.
But I think Disney is learning. And maybe listening to the fans. For the Tiki Room has finally returned to the classic variation. And you can bypass the new queue area at the Haunted Mansion.
But in fear I must ask: What Icon will be affected next?
Will Koda join The Country Bear Jamboree? Will we see The Rock in animatronic form along the shores of the Jungle Cruise? Only time, and the Disney Marketing Department, will tell.