What a cheeseburger can tell us about Disney attractions

The other
day I had the chance to try out a newly opened restaurant here in Terre Haute. The
restaurant was called “Cheeseburger in Paradise”
and it is part of a larger chain owned, not so surprisingly, by Jimmy Buffet.
While there, I ordered the mini-cheeseburgers. Now, I have had
mini-cheeseburgers before at a myriad of places, but these mini-cheeseburgers
were absolutely amazing. They were wonderful. They were delicious. They were
simply the best mini-cheeseburgers I had ever had.

There is
nothing necessarily innovative about Cheeseburger in Paradise’s
mini-cheeseburgers. They are a chunk of meat with a slice of pickle and bit of
diced onion sandwiched between two buns. You could probably find them pretty
much anywhere. What made these mini-cheeseburgers different was that they were delicious,
high-quality mini-cheeseburgers. They took something that had been done before
and simply did it better, but not necessarily completely different.

This is
perhaps the hardest thing for fans of the Disney theme parks to do – accept a
high-quality, yet not exactly completely new, attraction. Many people argue
that in recent years, Disney has not done anything innovative. They contend
that all Disney has done is take rides and attractions that have been done
somewhere else and add theme to it. They then contend that Disney is not
creative or somehow does not deserve credit for the work they did.

It is not
necessary to be completely innovative. Take the teacups for example. There was
nothing new about the teacups when they debuted with the opening of Disneyland, but Walt Disney did apply a theme to them and
the result was a high-quality Disney attraction. The same can be said for many
of the relatively minor attractions at Disneyland.

So yes,
many people crave the latest and greatest ride technology, but when all is said
and done, they enjoy the high-quality – maybe not so innovative attractions –
just as much. Yet fans will continue to criticize any new attraction that
doesn’t seem to push the limits of ride technology.

Case in
point: many fans instantly criticized “Toy Story Mania” (when the concept art
was shown in the annual report) by saying that it isn’t anything new. But the
point I am trying to make is that it doesn’t have to be. If “Toy Story Mania”
is fun (which I assume it will be), it will prove very popular with the general
populace and fans. So while it might not end up being a modern marvel of theme
park design, but if it is a high-quality, enjoyable attraction then it will end
up being a success. If Disney can take a simple boat ride, some dolls, and a
catchy tune and end up with one of the greatest theme park attractions of all
time, I think that they don’t need high-technology in order to pull off a fun

So just
like the mini-cheeseburgers at “Cheeseburger in Paradise,”
Disney can take preexisting technology and do wonders with it and end up with a
beloved attraction. However, a word of caution to this: While the
mini-cheeseburgers were great, I like some innovation now and then. Which is
why next time I plan on getting the “Not Too Particular Not Too Pressed Burger”.
That sounds tasty.

needs to keep innovating, but at the same time, fans need to recognize that not
everything needs to be a high tech modern marvel of theme park attraction design.

3 thoughts on “What a cheeseburger can tell us about Disney attractions”

  1. While I see your point, I don’t completely agree. I think it would be better to point out that people shouldn’t whine and complain until they have some idea of what they are talking about. You also have to sometimes interpret the complaint. Kind of like when a guest asks what time is the 3 oclock parade. They know the parade started at 3, what they really want to know is when will it get to where they are. Likewise, if someone complains about the tech of a ride after riding it, the real complaint may be that they simply didnt enjoy the ride as much as they wanted too perhaps because the story wasn’t as engaging as it should have been or the theming wasn’t as emersive as it could have been. People who complain before experiencing an attraction should simply be ignored. People who think the tech of a ride should be new should remember that Small World, Pirates and Splash Mountain all use the same tech. Haunted Mansion and Spaceship Earth are the same ride with different scenery.

    The only complaints about Disney rides that I have ever had is when Disney doesn’t do things as well as could have been done.
    The Aladdin ride in the Magic Kingdom probably best illustrates my points. Taken by itself, the ride is well themed and whoever designed it did a good job with what little they were given to work with. Taken as a whole, the Magic Kingdom didn’t need another spinning ride, it’s placement is bad, and I don’t know if you still can but you used to be able to see it while walking in frontierland which totally ruined the themeing effect for me of the whole land. Plus Aladdin was such an amazing film, it really deserved something more elaborate. However the common complaint is “It’s just a carnival ride with a little themeing added”. Sounds like a complaint about the tech but that really isn’t the issue. The tech and ride type should be chosen based on the story being told.

    Speaking of complaints, can they please stop turning all of the Magic Kingdom into an extension of Fantasyland and Toontown. The Aladdin characters do not belong in Adventureland, Toy Story characters do not belong in Frontierland, Stitch and Buzz should not be in Tomorrwwland but they are at least space characters. What’s Monsters Inc excuse?

  2. You’re very right about complaining for the sake of complaining — not a nice trait. On the other hand, when the complaints have merit, it’s a different story. I don’t know if mine do, but I know most of the “complaining” I read online is justified and has a common, if unspoken, theme:

    For anyone else, these attractions, the downsizing, the “declining by degrees” would be acceptable.

    Not for Disney.

    We used to hold it to a higher standard. Disney management seems to want us to lower those standards, reasoning that making lots of money is justification enough.

    In my book, it’s not. If it reminds anyone that Disney should be trying harder and doing more, the complaining is justified in my book!

  3. Rob Jones and Epcot82, you guys are complaining for the sake of it. And it’s very obvious.

    Most of your points are downright wrong. I’m especially irritated with what Rob said about turning all of the Magic Kingdom into Fantasyland/Toontown extensions–that is so not true. And the fits that they do make ARE natural!

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