Recently we were discussing the likelihood of a Villains-themed area that might eventually come to Disney theme parks. Thanks to Chris Beatty, a renewal of the topic is now swirling around the Disney forums with speculation and armchair Imagineering aplenty. However, it wasn’t until this morning, when I considered which characters I would like to see more of in the parks, that I realized I might just have the answer Disney is looking for.
A Villain theme would be a massive jump for Disney, air space to “evil” within storytelling rhetoric where good (almost) always triumphs. That’s a significant departure for the company allowing villains to exist in and of themselves as more than just a catalyst for the hero to prevail. To me, it sounds epic; however, I can see why the notion would be scary for The Walt Disney Company. What if they are too risky? What if they are watered down and not frightening enough? Some fans are pushing for an entire 5th gate dedicated to these dark minds, and others, though admittedly not many, don’t want to see them at all. Well, Disney, I think I might have the answer.
Let’s ease into the villain concept with a new restaurant. A dining experience like no other before it. Where villains swirl around, meeting and greeting with attitude and mystery. We would need a decent space, so naturally, I have chosen my least favorite dining location, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, to play out my imaginary plan. Let’s do away with the awkward drive-in style cars and bring in boulders, caves, and hidden booths that limit your view of the space around you, allowing these evil characters to skulk and creep around the scene. Food and drink will be themed accordingly; think of it as a perpetual Halloween celebration sans pumpkins.
And here is the best part, as the evening wears on, the environment and the characters get darker in appearance and attitude. Bring the little ones for lunch to enjoy a light-hearted joke around with their favorite bad guys, maybe even with a few heroes in the mix to scare them off when needed, but as the sun goes down, there is no one there to save you from Cruella or Captain Hook; whoever might turn the corner next. Perhaps even taking a thunderstorm or two, Rainforest Cafe-style, as the night wears on as well. Oh, side note, what if you could choose your intensity on the way in, allowing your individual cave (booth) to have accurate music and lighting for your choice? A marker on the table could indicate to characters how intensely they approach your family. With a few settings changes on a control panel, your whole environment could be toned down or turned up according to your booking preference.
What do you think? Could this be Disney’s first step toward a Villains-themed area? Would you book a lunch or dinner at my evil establishment, at your preferred intensity of evil?
Zoë Wood is a travel writer from Sydney, Australia. Since her first visit to Disneyland at the age of 6, she has spent her years frequently visiting Disney Parks and traveling around the world.
Join Zoë as she lets you in on all the tips, tricks, anecdotes, and embarrassments that arise from her family adventures.