Over at Walt Disney's original kingdom, Disneyland, the beautiful and thrilling Matterhorn Bobsleds are rushing towards its June reopening. No word on whether or not the icy caverns will be enhanced or if the ascent to the top will return the blizzard effects, but one thing is certain- people will soon be queuing up to experience the thrill of the mountain once again. It's a fan favorite, and the hard work of the Imagineering's Tony Baxter will perhaps bring this old masterpiece up to par with Walt Disney World's Expedition Everest over at the long neglected Animal Kingdom.
Other proposed changes are coming, and we are all waiting for the announcement of that new "E Ticket" attraction to ward off Harry Potter and his Forbidden Journey when it hits Universal Studios. The sentimental me says it is really for Disneyland's 60th birthday, but the realist businessman knows we would only be in for another parade and fireworks show if it weren't for the beloved wizard coming into town.
Of course, next door at Disney California Adventure, it is now in vogue to keep "plussing" the park as it prepares for its grand second coming on June 15th. Once the ugly stepsister or red headed step child, (I can say that, as my youngest son is a ginger!), California Adventure will soon be the place to be with Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land and the brand new Buena Vista Street. Finally, be it going back to old standards or something as mercenary as needing to make a buck- or both- John Lasseter and even Robert Iger are spearheading the effort to make the park shine from top to bottom. Matt Ouimet was loved for this reason. Can Iger change his reputation from one that is only concerned with making the parks tech savvy?
Along with the recent repainting of some of its buildings and changing out some of the pun filled windows, Hollywood Land's ugly elephants have disappeared. At last. Oh, the excess glamour thing is just not befitting a Disney theme park! It was a misstep from the beginning. As bad as Superstar Limo! Speaking of that disaster, Monsters Inc. is most likely just getting an exterior painting, and I am ok with that for now. Let's just hope all this is the beginning of redoing one of the ugliest parts of California Adventure 1.0. A new facade for the theater and finishing off the backsides of the backlot would do so much to wipe away bad memories of the past.
Condor Flats is getting a re-sparkling as well. Here's to hoping for a new paint scheme and a more forest like appearance now that Carsland brings the desert to the park. Trees are always a good thing. Perhaps new signage for Soarin' Over California, Taste Pilots, and the entry marque? It'd be a beautiful start! Now, about that mine train we've all seen in the concept art and that panning for gold attraction...
Paradise Pier is still a mixed bag, but I must give props to the team that transformed the Orange County Fair reject into something that finally has a bit of charm. Leave it to a Little Mermaid to set things into motion. Ariel's Undersea Adventure is a family friendly hit, and for what it is, its pretty good. No, not Haunted Mansion scale, scope, or quality, but it is far more charming than that mess of an attraction once housed on the same spot.
Suddenly, caring for the parks and enhancing the theme is the new hot thing to do, and fans will be the benefactor of the result. Could a smashing success of a relaunch spark a Phase Two or even the active planning of the Third Theme Park? Those would be the biggest plusses of all!
(Art copyright The Walt Disney Company.)