A challenge to all that don't like Star Wars or Marvel in the parks
I was thinking today about the several podcasts I listen to and the threads I have read bemoaning the fact that the Disney company, which owns Marvel Comics and Stars Wars properties are increasingly growing those property's presence in DLR and DL in particular.
I have a serious challenge, not to start an unproductive argument but a debate to question this reaction to 'non-traditional' Disney properties.
Here is my argument in the affirmative...feel free to respond, politely, remembering we are all friends here.
Disneyland and Disney in general is about fantasy and escapism for children and adults who like to act like children. The many movies and properties that originally started in the Disney catalog have presented a great collection of children's stories and heroes.
Many of these movies are about female characters, now referred to as Disney Princesses, and they tend to slant female. Now I hear you saying, 'What about Jungle Book, Fox and the Hound, Aladdin,...etc, etc'. Yes there are male protagonists, but they aren't the ones me and my friends pretended to be when we were 10. When I was 10-13 years old me and my friends (this means me and a bunch of smelly, loud boys) pretended to be powerful superheros. I remember being the Hulk, Captain America, and even more obscurely, Black Panther and Union Jack.
We wanted superpowers, we wanted to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. Beat the bad guys.
We never played for the goal of 'getting the girl to fall in love with us', it was to defeat the bad guy and make wrongs right, to save the city.
My point is that Marvel Superheroes provided that escape for me and made me, a geeky boy in a tough neighborhood (Well, as tough as Utah gets in the 70's), they made me feel powerful, in control and even safe.
As a parent I want to share that with my kids, in particularly my sons, although my daughters are force fed geek culture as well.
Disneyland is all about escaping to a world where 'your dreams come true'...but we seem to over-define what dreams are allowed to come true to only mean 'authentic Disney property'...my dream isn't Alice in Wonderland, or even Pirates of the Caribbean...my dreams were of power and might for right, Marvel gave that to me.
Then we add in Star Wars, I breathed that property in my youth. I recreated the compactor scene in my room, I dreamed of having the 'force'. I watched the Jedi Training Academy on my last trip to DLR and wished, so very much, that they had a robe for a 6'6" guy. (they didn't...sigh). I wanted a light saber, a speeder, a droid for goodness sake, or a blaster, where is my blaster!!!!
These two properties fit the mold of what Walt made. For him he wanted to escape to the Main Street of his youth, a Jungle Cruise, Pirates, Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, and the future, the precious vision of the future started for him by Jules Verne, HG Wells and Isaac Asimov and continued by events like the World's Fair. He was a futurist, in the best way.
Add the great fables he brought to life, he painted pictures for the viewing crowds of fantasy, of escape.
These new properties are just as much about that and they are more for a young restless boy, like the princesses are for the girls. Feel free to argue with me about it, but my 11 year old sons favorite ride in Disneyland was Star Tours, with no prompting from me (mine is still, and might always be, Pirates of the Caribbean).
Last thought, to all the purists out there....begging, 'we need the park Walt envisioned, the one he would be proud of. We must cherish his legacy!'
I am not against this, not in the least, but I think we can't let it mean that we can only have things he touched. Don't get me wrong, we need the Enchanted Tiki Room kept pure. But we need to make room for things that have the Disney Spirit of Fantasy, Good, and Heroes.
My favorite Walt Disney quotes are
"Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world."
"What we did yesterday will never be good enough again" (paraphrased I think, from what he told the imagineers)
It is that spirit that grows and changes the parks, and we still should.
Indiana Jones didn't ruin the park, neither did Roger Rabbit or Captain EO, Honey I Shrunk the Audience...I don't think bringing in two properties that...
1. Appeal to boys
2. Have the flavor of fantasy and imagination
3. Further inspire the imagineers and executives who handle the parks
I don't think bringing in those properties can do anything but good.
Of course we could stick with gas-powered, carbon spewing, putt-putt cars and pass it off as Tomorrowland! But I would prefer they use that space for something more exciting. Something Super
I don't care about Marvel or Star Wars being presented in Disneyland, but this talk of turning the majority of Tomorrowland into Star Wars Land sickens me. Turning an original land into Star Wars? Shame, shame, shame. No. They need to stop being lazy and come up with some good concepts for Tomorrowland. If they tried, Autopia could be futuristic. Take out the Pixar rides and replace them with innovative, original attractions. Get rid of the PeopleMover tracks, the arcade games (even though I kind of like them) and Innoventions for God's sake. Innoventions is the worst attraction at Disneyland, IMO. There's your space. Star Wars taking over is the wrong answer, IMO, and I will be devastated if Disney decides to get rid of Autopia for Star Wars.
What he/she said! Well up to a certain point.
Every attraction in Fantasyland except for IAWS is based on some property that Disney acquired or licensed and incorporated into their brand. The only Disney princess not at least based on previously published material that I can think of is Merida. I mean, come on, Disney didn't invent Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel. We all knew those stories before they joined the family. Expanding your brand is what companies do, and right now, Disney's doing it in a high profile way.
I am all in favor of Star Wars being used in the parks.
Marvel? For some reason it smacks of Universal Studios and Six Flags to me. It does not seem to mix with Disney in my mind. I think Disney would be better off building a more Marvel themed park separately. And fans of Marvel could go there.
As for what is in Disney parks for boys, I think there is a lot and do not agree it is more oriented at girls.
Between Pirates and Star Wars my four boys (now in college and high school) have always felt appeal. They would save money in advance of trips to spend at Pieces of Eight (the store at the DL POTC exit) and Star Trader at DL (where they bought many a light saber).
The Pixar characters also had appeal. Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Cars and Lightning McQueen, Mr. Incredible, and Nemo off the top of my head. And there are rides and parades that build on these characters (except for Mr. I).
Other rides that appeal to boys - Big Thunder Mtn Railroad, Space Mtn and Indy.
At WDW you have have DINOSAUR - a boy ride if there ever was one, Expedition Everest, Test Track and Mission Space (yes, these can have appeal to girls too but hits the sweet spot for boys), Lights, Motor Action stunt show, and Indiana Jones stunt show.
My boys never had trouble connecting with Disney themes, rides, shows, etc. They never had any interest in Marvel until the Superhero movies came out. They have always had interest in Star Wars.
I personally think it would be a mistake to force Marvel characters into current Disney parks. But Star Wars? There has been a long connection there with the ride at and the Star Wars Days at DHS. That fits and should be expanded as much as possible.
I have no problem with either, and DH is really looking forward to the possibility of either or both being there in the future.
This world is about change, and while it may be tough for purists, I see this all being very lucrative to Disney and not something they would scrap.
I have to agree. While I dont think all Disney is aimed at girls, I think a good majority of it. I mean I see princess stuff EVERYWHERE, yet dont see nearly half as much disney stuff for boys. Sure there are the favorites that are for everyone. Mickey, Donald, Goofy.... then things like Toy story and Cars. Although my son loves all of them and the movies, he doesn't want to play cowboys and space ranger or pretend to be a race car. He wants to be Hulk and Iron Man. Although I'm not a fan of Star Wars, or even superheros all that much and dont think they scream Disney like some other stuff does, its nice to see more things that are aimed towards boys. I know my son is so excited that Captain America and Thor might be there when we go.
Maybe it's another consequence of being a "locals" park, but I think DLR has a better balance of boy/girl stuff than WDW does. WDW seems to be stigmatized as the place to vacation for families with little girls, but DLR does not really have that reputation among the SoCal locals. On weekends you see thousands of teens and young adults of both genders partying it up at Mad T Party, something which would seem totally out of place at WDW. For that reason I think a theme park largely devoted to Marvel could do fine in Anaheim.
Just so I am clear, I am not saying there is nothing for boys, I am saying these properties fulfill imagination needs that Indy and maybe even Pirates don't.
I am also not saying that all of Tomorrowland be replaced with StarWarsLand.
I just think we should be willing to let this 'be' in the parks without snearing our purist noses in the air.
As far as a separate park, that would be my dream.
How cool would a 3rd DLR park be, how about this...
Lights, Camera, Disney ACTION park (Movie Themed Park) - featuring StarWarsLand, Marvel Land, Muppets Lot (Backstage and onstage with the Muppets), Sports Park (ESPN themed) and Disney Studios (All things Disney Channel)...so many options...I would go there, and love it.
Tomorrowland might never be great again, the future Walt saw, has come and gone and now things move so quickly, by the time they put touch screens everywhere, we might be using google glasses, it just all moves so fast. A place that needs an attraction to exist for 3-5 years to make back the investment just can't keep making attractions. That's why science fiction seems to make so much sense. It is story based and can live past technology changes.
Just my opinion.
I'm with Hydroguy. Star Wars has more elements of fantasy in it than Marvel, making SW a better fit for DL. It has more childish characters, more creatures, more masked characters, etc. Marvel is more SciFi because its stories usually feature characters interacting with current society. While it still has plenty of fantasy in it, it feels too "real" to fit in with DL.
I don't like it because I hate both Star Wars and all the Marvel stuff. My husband isn't into it either and thus our son is not exposed to it nor does he show any interest for any super hero anything anyway.
I applaud your effort OP. I too am pro Star Wars and Marvel. I would love to see a Star Wars themed land... not to take over Tomorrowland, but in some way be created somewhere. I'm actually hoping for it in DHS in WDW, that park needs more attractions. As far as Marvel goes, I'm not sure how much they can do. Isn't there a contract already in place in USO where Marvel characters need to stay there? Maybe it's just in the state of FL, but I have heard that before.
Anyway, Marvel land in Universal is great. I'm sure you've been there being a fan of Marvel? For a long time, the Spiderman ride was my favorite ride of all time. The Incredible Hulk coaster is pretty friggen sweet too! You need to go if you haven't been there already.
And to get back on the main discussion of how Disney should branch out, I totally agree. Maybe Disneyland and Magic Kingdom should stay as the Disney purist parks, but the others should be fair game.
I can't wait for Star Wars Land! :woohoo:
Just reviewing Disney's bigger movies over the years (chronologically). I put them where I thought they were aimed. Obviously some can be argued either way, but interesting none-the-less, eh?
Ichabod & Mr. Toad
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Swiss Family Robinson
Sword in the Stone
Fox & the Hound
James and the Giant Peach
Emperorís New Groove
Wreck it Ralph
Alice in Wonderland
Lady & the Tramp
Beauty and the Beast
Lilo & Stitch
Princess & the Frog
Fantasia (boy lead)
Peter Pan (boy lead)
Witch Mountain Movies
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Hunchback of Notre Dame
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