"Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you're scared to death." - Harold Wilson
Question #91290 posted on 05/22/2018 11:06 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board Alumni Week,

I love when y'all talk about the Disney parks, so here are some prompts:

-What do you like about the Disney parks?
-You have a favorite memory about the parks you can share?
-Any interesting facts or historical stories about the parks you want to share?
-You have a favorite souviner or item of clothing you bought at the parks?
-Which of you has been the most? (I'm guessing Ace?)
-Any ideas for interesting re-themeing or updates for specific rides?
-Expextations for Star Wars Land?

-Elias

A:

Dear Ellie,

I'm not super into Disney, but I do enjoy going to the parks. Let me tell you about the time I went to Disneyland Paris.

I was with a group of friends from my study abroad. We were on a weekend trip to Paris and we were all emotionally exhausted. Stress was through the roof because we were trying to fit everything in and figure out a city none of us had been to before. My friend found discounted Disneyland tickets and on a whim we decided to go. 

It was exactly what we needed. It was like home on another continent. Everyone spoke English! Everything was clean! We all knew the food and rides and parts of the park. It cured us and we had a much better weekend.

-Adelaide

A:

Dear Fred,

I like, worked there. So I feel qualified to answer your question. 

-What do you like about the Disney parks?

Disney is pro at creating an atmosphere that makes it easy to take a vacation from your problems. 

-You have a favorite memory about the parks you can share?

I have been to Disneyland countless times. When I worked there I got to tour Walt Disney‘s apartment on my birthday. Another favorite memory is meeting my besties and having our friendship develop. Memories from my childhood include watching the Electric Light Parade and riding the teacups with my grandma (I actually hate that ride, but the memory of her acting like a child is precious to me). In Hong Kong Pluto and I shared a Moment. I love that I got to share my (so far only) international Disney moment with my dad. I have been fortunate enough to share DisneyWorld with all of my living grandparents. Finally, my mom and I took a special trip a couple months before I got married and we got to stay in the presidential suite at our hotel, and that was AWESOME! That really was the most perfect trip because everything worked out perfectly for us. 

-Any interesting facts or historical stories about the parks you want to share?

Walt Disney’s children used to hide in the bushes around Jungle Cruise and play there. 


-You have a favorite souviner or item of clothing you bought at the parks?

My cast member exclusive Small World jacket. 


-Which of you has been the most? (I'm guessing Ace?)

Like I said. Worked there. Went practically every day for 6 months. Also went on my days off. Also I have been an annual pass holder. I have no idea how many times I went as a child. I have been a lot. 


-Any ideas for interesting re-themeing or updates for specific rides?

No. I am too nostalgic and I hate change. 


-Expextations for Star Wars Land?

I do not love Star Wars (sorry), so actually I don’t care and I have low expectations. 

-Az

A:

Dear you,

-What do you like about the Disney parks?

I like how good they are at channeling nostalgia and creating a relatively immersive experience. When you're at Disney, you're at Disney. Also, the rides are fun.

-You have a favorite memory about the parks you can share?

On one trip, we arrived early to Magic Kingdom (because only filthy casuals don't arrive before the gates open (just kidding)) and it was rainy so there was like nobody there and they opened the park early and it was just empty. Like "ride Space Mountain and then decide you want to do it again so go back to the front of the line and get pretty much immediately back on" empty. That was awesome

Also, one time my husband came with us before we were married. My dad kind of considered it as the "evaluation" of whether he was crazy enough to fit in with us... We drove to Florida from Texas shortly after Christmas and spent several consecutive days getting up at like 6 am to do the parks and then drove home. It was a pretty intense experience, but obviously turned out since we got married.

-Any interesting facts or historical stories about the parks you want to share?

No.

-Any ideas for interesting re-themeing or updates for specific rides?

Replace Avatar Land with an area based on pretty much any other Disney movie ever because why did they even put that in. When's the last time you watched that movie? When's the last time you even thought about watching that movie? WHO EVEN CARES GUYS.

~Anne, Certainly

A:

Dear Elias,

-What do you like about the Disney parks?
They're so much cleaner than most other theme parks. Also, the dedication to an immersive experience is just not done half as well at any other theme parks.

-You have a favorite memory about the parks you can share?
When I was working at Disney Publishing there was a trivia event, and my team won, so we won a VIP Disneyland experience. We had a tour guide all day, got to skip lines, and were given front-row seats at fireworks and the parade. And all while on the clock!

-Any interesting facts or historical stories about the parks you want to share?
None really worth sharing, but I do know where every camera on Haunted Mansion is located, thanks to an overzealous friend who—when I told them I was taking my then-boyfriend to the parks—got worried I may have too much fun on the ride. Now they're all I can think about while on it.

-You have a favorite souvenir or item of clothing you bought at the parks?
This Jungle Cruise Christmas-sweater-inspired shirt.

-Which of you has been the most? (I'm guessing Ace?)
Thank you; I'm honored, but probably not me. I grew up with passes to Disneyland and went a lot for the few years I worked for Disney, so I definitely have been a ton. But I've only ever been to the LA parks. I was so close to going to Orlando a few years ago, but it hasn't worked out yet.

-Any ideas for interesting re-themeing or updates for specific rides?
SPLASH MOUNTAIN SHOULD BE MOANA

-Ace

A:

Dear Elias,

I'm not an alumna just yet, but as the resident Cast Member, I feel obligated to answer anyway.

What do you like about the Disney parks?

I like that Disney puts so much time and effort into making people happy. It's a very involved process, summoning nostalgia from across all peoples and generations, but Disney does their very best to make sure there's something everyone can enjoy.

You have a favorite memory about the parks you can share?

One of the lingering problems that Disney has yet to fully solve is the demand for fireworks spectaculars--Main Street is always incredibly crowded because (especially for Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom) in front of the castle is the best place to see the show. But the overwhelming demand upsets the experience, because you have to get a spot hours early and even then you'll be crowded together, which makes it hard to see.

However, I went to Disneyland for the 60th anniversary, and my friends and I elected to watch the fireworks from further back on Main Street, to avoid the worst of the crowds. I was totally surprised to see projections along the shops on Main Street, as well as inflatables and lasers and a lot of amazing things that I had never seen Disney do before. I genuinely teared up because Disney puts so much effort into the guest experience, and is always looking for ways to improve, and I love that about the company.

Any interesting facts or historical stories about the parks you want to share?

My favorite anecdote is that while Imagineers were designing Animal Kingdom, they had a vision for the concept of Kilimanjaro Safari, and they believed that the true excitement of the attraction lay in the proximity to the animals. Michael Eisner was the CEO at the time, and he had doubts, and there was a running back-and-forth with the Imagineers that the attraction wouldn't be exciting enough, as he thought they should add some extra gimmicks. But the Imagineers had a running mantra that Proximity is Excitement, and they were trying their very hardest to convince Eisner of that fact.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. A Board meeting was scheduled to discuss the progress on Animal Kingdom, with Imagineers and executives all together. So the Imagineers coordinated and as the meeting was beginning, arranged to have a tiger leashed only with a rope brought into the corner of the meeting. Naturally, the executives were terrified, moving as far away as possible and clearly filled with tension throughout the meeting. And that's how Eisner was convinced that mere proximity to animals was an exciting enough concept for the attraction.


You have a favorite souviner or item of clothing you bought at the parks?

Not particularly, but I will say that Disneyland routinely has better merchandise than Walt Disney World.


Which of you has been the most? (I'm guessing Ace?)

I think I'm probably in the running, considering I've worked there for 2 years in total, in addition to countless trips with my family as a child. Maybe Azriel could give me a run for my money, but I'm willing to bet I'm #2 at the very least.


Any ideas for interesting re-themeing or updates for specific rides?

BRING BACK CAPTAIN EO.


Expectations for Star Wars Land?

I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, but considering what Disney did with Pandora, I'm sure it'll be immersive and amazing.

Love,

Luciana

A:

Dear Elias,

What do you like about the Disney parks?

Right when you walk up, your inner child just starts to seep out. It can be 100 degrees out, you can have $0 in your bank account because you bought an overpriced ticket, and you might be going deaf because of the screaming children you had to shove out of the way to be the first in line on the tram but it doesn't matter because you're going to see Mickey Mouse, ride Splash Mountain, and eat a pricy churro.  

Favorite Memory

Last summer I was in Shanghai Disney. The temperature was comparable to the surface temperature of the sun and our group had been there for 9 hours and walked over 16,000 steps. Normally, this wouldn't have been too terrible except we had gone on ONE RIDE and walked through THREE ATTRACTIONS. This in conjunction with just an insane amount of people and jet lag just lead to a really rough day. However, we were watching a parade and Mulan showed up and waved right at me! I repeat people: SHE WAVED RIGHT AT ME.  Mulan, riding through on her metal horse of glory, WAVED.RIGHT.AT.ME.

Which of you has been the most?

I know I haven't been the most out of all of us, but I think I'm the writer who has been to the most parks. I only have Disney Paris left on my list!

-Ms.O'Malley

A:

Dear Human,

I don't like Disneyland. Go to Harry Potter World instead.

Sincerely,
The Soulful Ginger

A:

Dear Elias,

WHAT DO I LIKE?:

In general, Disney does a good job of decorating and theming their parks, and editing their decor so it isn't so much gaudy as it is whimsical, and maintaining their parks so they don't look worn out. It's generally cleaner than most theme parks. Children are welcome and planned for, instead of an afterthought. 

FAVORITE MEMORY?:

Brutus and I went to Disney World a year and a half ago, just the two of us. We'd always kind of joked that if we were single in our 30's we would go see the parks together - we did! It was a blast.

SOUVENIR?:

I always buy a new baseball cap when I visit Disney World, which features heavily in my hat rotation for the next few years.


RE-THEME IDEAS?

Boy, do I ever: 

  • Magic Kingdom: Massive modernization of Tomorrowland theme, park-wide replacement of audio-animatronics.
  • Epcot: replace Innoventions with permanent Consumer Electronics Showcase and TEDx Events. New pavilions in Epcot (Brazil, Egypt, India, etc), Imagination pavilion re-deux with the return of Figment/Dreamfinder, and new area devoted to teaching programming through interactive games, revamp Mission:Space to increase the ride time and make the storyline more adaptive (like Star Tours). Reopen the Health pavilion: Inside Out show about emotions and self-care (could replace the old Cranium Command show).
  • Animal Kingdom: South America, Australia, and Beastly Kingdom (imaginary beasts) added to the "lands". 
  • Hollywood Studios: Honestly Star Wars and Toy Story expansions will do this park a world of good. Lots of Marvel potential, too. I would maybe replace the Indiana Jones Stunt Show with a Star Wars Stunt Show, hosted by C3PO, R2D2, with special appearances by BB8.

STAR WARS LAND EXPECTATIONS?

If I can't fly the Millenium Falcon I don't want to go. But I will anyway.

Have fun storming Cinderella's Castle,

-Il Guanaco