Alright, I've held my tongue here on the blog. I wasn't sure I wanted to address it because I knew it was going to be a rant.
Let's get a few things out of the way...
- I'm not a Marvel fan. I just don't get it... Just not for me.
- Yes, I've experienced the Tower of Terror at Walt Disney World.....and immediately texted my mother to confirm it was better than ours. I have no illusions about DCA's being the "cheap" fix on the struggling park.
That having been said, Disney announced recently that the Tower of Terror is going to shut down in January to make way for...The Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!
For starters, what's that?
Yeah, I didn't see Guardians. As a matter of fact, I saw the trailer and said...well, let's just say my reaction was a verbally un-Disney like muttering of surprise. It just looked awful. Like a low level Saturday morning cartoon. And, yes, before writing this, I understand there is a sequel imminent and I checked out how much money the movie made.
But money and 15 minutes of popularity alone do not predict the popularity of an attraction. Look at Universal. It's struggled for decades trying to get the "new hip thing" into their park, only to have it fade on them. And yet, they chose to close Back to the Future, but that's another issue. Point being, do we really want the Disney parks turning into a Universal park? A hodgepodge of conflicting properties that don't make sense together?
And don't get me on Star Wars, it's really not the same issue. Star Wars has, always been, and now under Disney's ownership, always been a hole that Disney couldn't fill itself. A perfect puzzle piece from another box, if you will. Marvel just isn't that, with the exception of Big Hero 6.
And I've taken the time to read reactions from Marvel fans. Well, Marvel/Disney fans. And it's similarly negative.
Also, I knew a Marvel land was on its way to that section of the park, which is fine. I want the Marvel fans appeased but banished to a corner "children's table" where they won't continue to ruin our nice things. But it seems the powers that be handed the Marvel child our prized Rod Serling vase on their way to sit....
My goddaughter, Naomi, is about to turn 13. She is my benchmark for the 'young people'. Frankly, I've been old since I was 6. Last week, while waiting for the tram, we talked about the change. Yes, the movie was successful, but the most she'd heard of it was from a kid in her class who called it disappointing. And her father, my uncle, agreed. And Guardians was just the kind of movie he would enjoy.
The Tower, as it stands now, has always entranced younger children, whether they are ready for it or not. It's something to aspire to ride once you're "big enough". And I think the mysterious/creepy theme of Twilight Zone adds an element of healthy fear to the attraction. Guardians continues on the path of destroying attention spans.
And, yes, I love the Twilight Zone show, and understand that this storyline is different from the show's more ironic intentions than merely mystery. But the time in line always allowed me time to think and wonder about the characters in the elevator. What did they do that this happened to them?
It puts one in mind of the Twilight Zone episode "Five Characters in Search of an Exit".
I often hear from Disney apologists, not to judge an attraction before it's even built. I feel the need to do so, here, because I don't think even Disney is all that gung-ho about this change. Having Imagineer Joe Rodhe make the announcement was a blatant attempt to hedge their bets against the already growing negative tide based on the rumors alone. I truly feel sorry for Mr. Rodhe. Between Avatar in Animal Kingdom and this, it appears he is the choice of the suits to make us, the stakeholders, take our medicine. It's insulting, to him and to us. To think that because you pulled the bureaucracy card on Joe, means we'll just accept what we're told as a good thing. NO. I refuse. And Mr Rodhe will not be the scapegoat.
Disney, please come to your senses on this one. I agree to the upgrades. This attraction deserves to be equal to its east coast sibling, not destroyed for 15 minutes of popularity that won't actually impact theme parks to the degree you hope it will.
In the last fiscal quarter, Disney reported attendance was down at theme parks across the board-- without a real impact on spending, however. One might attribute this occurrence to the price changes, but Disney didn't seem very alarmed at this change. Perhaps, again, because it's technically doing what Disney wanted, bringing down the crowd levels. If you've been to the parks on a busy summer day, or during the Christmas holidays, you can agree this is certainly a blessing.
Point being, this isn't going to be the boom for the parks you think it is. Are Marvel fans going in droves to Islands of Adventure? Did they ever? Then what makes you think last year's popcorn flick hit is going to have the staying power The Twilight Zone does?
Love Disney though I do, there is a reason the Black Hole attraction never got built. Or the Black Cauldron attraction. If you're going to put that kind of money into the ground, it better have staying power.
Disney, please stop taking the power AWAY from the Imagineers. Don't force a property and a miniature budget on them. WE know you have the resources, just let the Creatives do what they do best.