August 31, 2011

D23- Much Ado About Nothing?

What a difference a couple of weeks makes!

While I was in the real world and away from the on line one, the Walt Disney Company held its 2011 D23 convention in Anaheim, California. Seems like it was full of surprises- especially in the Parks division- and maybe not in a good way.

For west coast parks, it was a showcase of what's to come soon for California Adventure with even a bit of surprising news for Disneyland thrown in. Special presentations on both Cars Land (who cannot get excited now?) and Buena Vista Street (ditto) delighted attenders of the sessions with detailed looks at the park's long desired frostings on the cake. But those were a given, weren't they?

So when I returned from an extended service project putting shoe leather to my deeply held conviction of Jesus Christ being the only perfect sacrifice given for the sins of mine and all men, I expected some news that would thrill and delight me. It wasn't to be.

My first reaction after browsing the internet sites brought a collective question best summed up as "...but what about...?" Fill in the blanks here: Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and particularly Shanghai Disneyland.

The model of Shanghai Disneyland was certainly unimpressive from what I could tell, revealing nothing but the deep commitment to secrecy to prevent competitors from delivering cheap knock offs of the attractions. We fans should not be surprised by this, as the Chinese have been producing knock offs of famous brands for ages be it clothing, coffee shops, or even theme parks.

Aside from a fan pleasing virtual ride through of the classic unbuilt Western River Expedition, there was little to please those most looking forward to something, anything, on the east coast.

Animal Kingdom and Epcot need the most refreshing of the Orlando properties, so I did hope there would be something for these two given all the low (high?) profile visits to the Vacation Kingdom of the World by folks rumored to either be buying the place or investing deeply in it. The same could be said for Disneyland Paris and the Studios that creativity has forgotten about. The Ratatouille attraction seemed a given, but then again, I was astounded by no announcement.

In my slight disappointment, a more balanced thought pattern emerged. The Imagineering division of the Walt Disney Company had recently created some wonderful plans for many of the parks- and the budgeteers finally released the cash to bring some to life. The new Fantasyland will be a beauty and is quite the investment into the future of the Magic Kingdom. Again, Shanghai and the plethora of new attractions for Hong Kong Disneyland will do the same in securing the market in China.

Looking deeper, the remodel of theme for Disneyland's Carnation Gardens does create a large lot of available property back in Frontierland; while of course, any announcement for Tomorrowland and especially the Peoplemover tracks would be the icing to anything announced to us rabid fans at a future D23 convention. Instant crowd pleaser. In Florida, leaving room for later surprises almost guarantees another convention in the future as well.

Conclusion? It helped me put my expectations in check. The Company we love to love and sometimes hate has given us much recently. And there is more to come. Be patient with me because I believe another couple of years will produce another Carousel of Projects, a list of announcements that will be much to talk about for years.

(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)

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