Back In My Day… Reflecting on Disney Changes by Heather Holley

“Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.”
– Walt Disney

This quote from Walt Disney is inspiring and occasionally bittersweet to me. Walt may no longer be with us, but the Disney company continues to live up to this standard through attractions, events and movies. I’m frequently asked, “Don’t you ever get tired of going to the parks?” I can always say no because of this promise from Walt. Now, I also said this quote can be bittersweet. That’s because sometimes growth means changing other things, and that’s what I want to talk about this week, how Disney has changed as I have grown up.

Walt Disney World has announced the closure of several attractions in, what I consider, a short span of time. So far this year the doors have already closed on The American Idol Experience. Now, Malestorm and The Back Lot Tour aren’t far behind. I’m going to miss these attractions, but look forward to seeing what kind of magic Disney is whipping up as replacements. Another attraction gone but not forgotten is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. It was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1999. Sometimes attractions just go through changes… and sometimes these changes don’t inspire happiness in me. My two examples of that are The Enchanted Tiki Room. It was under “new management” with Iago (which I enjoyed) and now it isn’t. Another change I was sad to see is the elimination of the poacher chase in Kilimanjaro Safaris. I enjoyed the exciting ending paired with the educational ride. However, these losses are small when looking at the whole magical picture that is Walt Disney World.

Technology improves by the day. This is especially evident in the movies. Computer animation and special effects are outstanding today, but sometimes I miss the hand drawn cartoons. “Beauty and the Beast” was my first Disney movie in a theatre. I love it just as much now as I did then. The same goes for “The Lion King”, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “Hercules”, etc. However, a lot of children today aren’t that impressed with these classics. These cartoons are outdated and not as entertaining as newer movies like oh shall we say… “Frozen”? It took a while for me to understand the “Frozen” hype. It’s a good movie, but I didn’t see anything special. It was a Disney princess movie with quotable lines, songs you can’t get out of your head, and lovable characters. Then, I realized this is the first princess movie with the old school formula AND done in the latest technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love “The Princess and the Frog” and “Tangled” (more than “Frozen” if we’re being completely honest), but their soundtracks just weren’t as memorable as the movies I grew up with. This realization made me a little sad. The current generation of Disney kids won’t appreciate the classics like I do. Then again, maybe this generation will feel the same thing as technology continues to grown.

If I’m going to talk about movies I may as well touch on the Disney Channel. As a small child, I had the pleasure of watching shows like “Goof Troop”, “Darkwing Duck”, and “DuckTales”. Then the shows turned into things like “Kim Possible”, “Phil of the Future”, and “Hannah Montana”. Now a dog has a blog? I’m just going to leave it at that…

Disney will continue to change and grow in the people’s interest, because that’s what Walt would have wanted. Sometimes I’mS not always a fan of the changes (I’m looking at you Malestorm), but I appreciate that I have been able to experience some things that no longer exist. I will always remember the Aladdin restaurant in MGM studios as a childhood favorite, and being in awe of the “Tapestry of Nations” parade in Epcot. These memories are precious, and I can’t wait to make more with whatever Disney creates next.
Do you have an old attraction or show you miss? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @hoodie_life.

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