D23, Imagineering, and the Future of Splash Mountain
Over the past weekend, D23 members got to see a special video of a virtual event with Imagineers talking about Disneyland in Anaheim.
The session, hosted by Leslie Iwerks, discussed the Disneyland Park as it celebrates 65 years of welcoming guests.
The highlight for me was Tony Baxter letting all of us know that he'll be part of the re-imagine of Splash Mountain, an attraction he built for the parks. Why is this important? Simple. He will help ensure that it's an attraction as good (or better) than the current one.
Without wading into a great political discussion on Song of the South and race relations, the core tenet of Imagineering that leaves something as good or better in the place of a previous attraction is going to be put to the test in the Chapek era.
Personally, I like Splash Mountain, understand it's popularity, and even though I don't ALWAYS ride it on trips to the Magic Kingdom, hope that the Brer critters continue to have a place in the Disney parks. The truth is, much like many other movies, Song of the South reflects the times its was released. Should it be changed out? Well, this is the age-old battles classic parks enthusiasts have with Disney management. What I can say is that taking beloved things out of the parks and replacing them with inferior ones is what many people fear these days and this may be it's first test.
What is comforting in all of this, regardless of the position you take on the political elements or what Chapek's era will bring to Disney, I think we can all agree that bringing Tony Baxter in as a consultant is definitely a step in the right direction. Now all that remains to be seen is when, and more importantly, will Splash Mountain be replaced with something better than it's former resident?