What would Walt think? This is a very common question asked around the Disney fan universe. Fans like to think they know, but nobody really does. We can never truly know what Walt would have thought. That being said, I’d like to put forth several attractions that I think Walt would really enjoy.
When Walt Disney was designing the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland in the 1950’s, he wanted an attraction that would represent his True Life Adventures series. The Jungle Cruise was born from that idea. Originally, he wanted the attraction to feature live animals. When this idea proved too difficult, the live animal idea was scrapped and animatronic animals were used in their place.
I think he would be very pleased to have seen his old idea come to life with Kilimanjaro Safaris. This attraction in Animal Kingdom provides guests with an African safari experience, complete with live, seemingly free roaming animals from the comfort of a bumpy safari jeep.
I can already hear the grumbles about this one. Just stick with me.
We need to go all the way back to 1940. When Walt originally conceived the idea for the ground breaking film Fantasia, he wanted the film to include a lot more. He wanted it to be a sensory experience. This included the use of 3D, filming the movie in widescreen, and using olfactory effects. Walt imagined filling the theater with perfume while the wildflowers dancing in the Nutcracker Suite and Stokowski (the films’ conductor) wanted the scent of gunpowder when the Sorcerer cast spells. While Fantasia was still groundbreaking, none of those more fantastic elements were included.
This is why I think he would get a kick out of It’s Tough to be a Bug. I could have said Mickey’s PhilharMagic, because of the use of scents during the “Be Our Guest” sequence or water during Ariel’s “Part of Your World” song, but Tough to be a Bug has just a little bit of extra immersion. I like to think of Walt standing in the back of the theater and watching the audience’s extreme reaction to the bugs moving underneath the guests. It always gets a huge response, and, personally, I think he would have loved it.
Racers is an excellent attraction that combines thrills, story telling and cutting edge animatronics. Unlike the previously mentioned attractions, there is no history behind this choice. It’s just a great attraction that young and old enjoy.
I like to think Walt would be enchanted to see how far animatronics have come. Not only do the cars all have a wide range of movements, their eyes -and even their mouths- move.
Once again, I give Soarin’ a nod because it’s just a great, inventive ride. I’m talking about the original, by the way. I think Walt would love the ride mechanism, so simple yet genius.
It’s such a fantastic ride. The mild thrill of feeling like you’re flying so high. The breezes. The smells. The inspiring landscapes.
I had to include Disneyland’s Fantasmic! This show uses the actual park as a stage. The Columbia Sailing Ship and the Mark Twain riverboats both feature heavily in the show.
I’d love to watch Walt’s face as each new show element surfaces.
This might seem like an odd choice, but I’d like to show him something smaller than just headline attractions and nighttime Fantasmic showings.
Enchanted Tales with Belle is just a simple story that comes to life through audience participation. It’s a great show though, and I feel he’d be flabbergasted by the magic mirror and immediately want to know how it works.
Spaceship Earth is a quintessentially Disney attraction that is a classic omnimover system and features old school animatronics. It’s a great example of the progression of the dark ride that he began with Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Walt would enjoy the history lesson and the message of hope at the pinnacle of the globe.
So, what do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my choices? What attractions or shows would you choose to show Walt Disney?