Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In Which We Kick Off The New Year by Playing Kill/Refurb/Marry!

A new Year has dawned and with it is the desire to blog more.  And to that end, I've decided to -why not- join the Kill/Refurb/Marry Blog Hop created by Mouse on the Mind and This Happy Place.  This party has been going on for a few months but this month's topic was so oddly specific that I could not resist joining in.

The idea is that the K/F/M founders pick a topic and participants decide which relevant things at Walt Disney World they would get rid of, give an overhaul, or live inside if they could.  And the topic of discussion this time out is that most wondrous and unique of Walt Disney World Experiences, the Aerial Spinner Ride.  Or, "You know, Dumbo and the various less popular Dumbo substitutes".  Nothing says "I am having fun in a theme park" then riding around in a circle inside a thing that is shaped like another thing.  Let's get right into this shall we?  The first choice, at least, is wikkid easy.

Kill: TriceraTop Spin

Right.  So, I will admit that my vote to demolish Dumbo-But-They-Are-Triceratops-For-Reasons-That-Are-Unclear-Until-You-Notice-The-Pun-And-Thereafter-Wish-To-Punch-The-Person-Who-Came-Up-With-That-Because-Honestly is due to my larger issues with Dinoland USA as a whole in general and with Chester and Hester's Dinorama specifically.  (But also because of the pun thing, because, I reiterate, honestly?!?)

New readers, I have to level with you.  'Round here at the Obligatory Art Blog, we love dinosaurs.  A lot.  (About as much as Disney, theme parks, and animation.)  And I think they deserve a much, much better themed land in the Disney parks than... whatever the hell this is.

And, yeah, I "get" it.  I "get" the theme of Dinoland/Dinorama.  I "get" it, and I really, really hate it.  I maintain that there is something very wrong with your theme/concept when it is decades later and most visitors still need to have it explained to them.  Doubly so if the explanation boils down to, "But it's SUPPOSED to look just like your town's cheesy local county fair except it's in Disney World and taking up space that could be better occupied by something totally amazing and unique!  Listen..."  You know what the only non-terrible thing in Dinoland is to me?  That walk-through exhibit of modern species of Mesozoic plants.  The best part of this Dinosaur themed land in a Disney theme park built by Disney Imagineers is a *garden*.  I'm not even angry (I like gardens), I'm just very disappointed.

So yeah, plow over Dinoland USA and start the whole dang thing over.  (Hint: There's already an awesome attraction elsewhere in Animal Kingdom that just so happens to involve dinosaurs of the modern flight-capable persuasion, so let's start by bringing Flights of Wonder over from Asia and take it from there.)  This will, naturally, take TriceraTop Spin down with it.  Oh well.

Refurbish: The Magic Carpets of Aladdin... I guess?

I have to be honest, I have little to no emotional investment in the non-Dumbo Dumbo-type spinning rides in Disney World.  I'm giving this one a refurb because it's kind of awkwardly placed, probably the least interesting idea for an "Aladdin" themed ride (Where the heck is our Cave of Wonders thrill ride?), and Astro-Orbiter is much prettier and has a better view.

Marry: Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Because it's freakin' Dumbo, duh.

Okay, seriously.  One crazy trip around Thanksgiving, my whole grown adult family rode Dumbo, the Mad Tea Party, and Cinderella's Golden Carousel Super-Manly Testosterone-Fueled Spinning Horse Ride For Boys Prince Charming's Regal Carousel and we were about a million times giddier than we were before, for reasons that had nothing to do with Dole Whips.  From Dumbo, we got a few decent seconds-at-a-time tantalizing looks at the New Fantasyland, which was under construction at the time.  That and the new "Dueling Dumbos" version is gorgeous.


And for extra credit, why not catch up on the other Kill/Refurb/Marry topics?

Resort Hotels

Kill... well, no.  Kill is a little strong.  But Seriously Reconsider: The All-Star Resorts.  The theming over there was decided by a crazy person.  For example, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I learned that the Mighty Ducks building, covered in hockey stuff and with a hockey rink shaped pool, was part of All Star Movies rather then Sports.  (And yes, I know the answer, as it so often is for weird Disney things of that era, is "Because Michael Eisner..."  Look, he doesn't work there anymore.  Move the Ducks/Hockey to Sports and retheme their Movie building to something more timeless, like "Mary Poppins" or "Victory Through Air Power".)

Refurb: The Pop Century Resorts.  Again, the theming is crazy and they look really sad next to their sisters over at Art of Animation.

Marry: Can I be a Polyandrist here?  Because between childhood favorite Beach Club, gorgeous Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian, and our DVC home resort Contemporary/Bay Lake Towers, I just can't choose

Crescent Lake Restaurants

Kill: ESPN Club.  I get the need for a sports bar in Disney World, it's the fact that this dad oasis wants so desperately to be a restaurant as well that... just, no.

Refurb: Toss-up between Big River Brewery, which either needs to commit fully to being a brewpub where you go in for beer tastings and to drink beer and eat pretzels, or have more room inside to be a full-on restaurant, and Kouzzina which I desperately want to retcon back into Spoodles.

Marry: Il Mulino.  New York.  Trattoria.  Oh goodness, yes.  Most underrated restaurant in the whole World and my family's little secret.  I can't wait for that Risotto Con Funghi and homemade Limoncello.

Thrill Rides

Kill: Dinosaur.  We're plowing over Dinoland anyway, but really the most entertainment I get out of this obnoxiously loud, dark, and buggy mess is hearing Bill Nye trying to tell us with a strait face that Carnotaurus -adorable little gonk-faced Carnotaurus- was "the fiercest and most terrifying predatory dinosaur of all time".  Um...

Refurb:  Splash Mountain.  This is one of my favorite rides ever and by Walt's mustache it needs an awful lot of love.  And I don't mean the seemingly yearly upkeep, I mean updating the animatronics, soundtrack, and the landscaping.  I'm sure they can take a full year or two off from adding new stuff to Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean to give poor Splash Mountain an overhaul.

Marry:  Star Tours.  All versions.  I'll be riding this awesomeness until my thirty-something year old back can't take it anymore.

For more opinions on this blog hop, head on over to the list at Mouse on the Mind.  The next topic is Live In-Park Musicals!  It's the dream we all dream of: Nemo vs. Ariel in the World Series of Blacklight Sensitive Puppetry!


Sketch of the Day!

Seriously, Carnotaurus was adorable and a sweetie. WTF, Disney?

Carnotaurus for Draw a Dinosaur Day 2011

Bonus much more recent art of a weird-looking prehistoric hoofed mammal! This handsome, hopeful holiday Unitatherium was the result of some Twitter shenanigans and the very last drawing I made in 2013.  I... am okay with this.

12.26.13 - The Hopeful Holiday Uintatherium


Becky Ginther said...

We had a lot of similar choices on this one! I completely agree with you about Dinoland.

downundersugarglider said...

cool! bonus points for dinosaur drawings!

Tricia from Return to Disney said...

Love your sketches! And you're totally right about plowing under Dinoland. If I wanted to go to a cheap town fair, I'd stay home. Disney, you're better than this....

melissa sue said...

Welcome aboard the hop! Hope you'll join us for some of the non-oddly specific topics in the future. And I love your idea for a Cave of Wonders thrill ride ... in fact, if you're interested in writing about it at length, it would make a GREAT addition to my Imagineering Awesome series. E-mail me at, and we can talk more?