There’s a lot of talk about a major upgrade coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom is getting a whole land based on James Cameron’s Avatar. Both big projects that will help Disney stay relevant for another generation. But there are some smaller projects Disney could implement on a shorter timescale that would also have a big Impact.
1. Night time parade at the Magic Kingdom – With “Festival of Fantasy,” the Magic Kingdom finally has a modern day parade, now it’s time to re-light the night. It’s time to ditch the 70s era tech of the Electrical Parade and paint the street and sky with a parade as-yet unseen in the states. There are a couple candidates out there in Asian parks, but I’d also be happy to see something original.
2. Rivers of America – First, Disney needs to bring back more boats to the river, something like a steamboat from “The Princess and the Frog” would do nicely. Then they need to upgrade existing show scenes and add more to make a cohesive story. Ideally, the River would transform at night into a dinner or dessert cruise with a Jazz Band aboard the new ship.
3. Conservation station/ Rafiki’s Planet Watch – Update the animal care message, include more success stories (Disney has a ton of them), remove train and add more up close animal encounters with new-to-the-park animals. I suggest animals from Polynesia / Australia to capitalize on upcoming movies and Finding Nemo.
4. Chester & Hester’s Dinorama – With that area of the park about to receive a night show in River’s of Light, it’s time to get ride of the road side eyesore that is Chester & Hester’s Dinorama once and for all. Instead it should be the very nature theme oriented area with elements from Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.” This will add more kid friendly rides, much needed shade, and help make the park an all-day experience for all sorts of families.
5. At EPCOT it’s almost easier to name the attractions that don’t need an update. But we’ll try to pick just two. American Adventure is perfect as it is, if you’re stuck in 1993 when it was last modified. (Yes, they added 45 seconds to the montage in 2007, but that hardly counts.) It deserves new scenes and a new ending montage, but keep the song. Maybe bring in that 3rd narrator, someone who can take America well into the future – may I suggest – Oprah or John Stewart.
6. France pavilion – This one is easy. Ditch the outdated movie, bring on the Rat. Add Remy and palls with the Ratatouille ride. The whole pavilion doesn’t need a makeover (keep the restaurants as they are, in other words), but add a new attraction to the World Showcase, please.
7. ESPN WWOS – For millions of pro & amateur athletes who visit each year, this already is Disney’s 5th gate. But there needs to be more reasons for the day guests to visit. Finally, build that bowling alley, add an ESPN production studio that films a live show with regular sports celebrities as guests and a live audience, and add a pro-team caliber workout facility (weights, lap pool, treadmills, etc ) for APs and resort guests.
I left some major projects off the list (for instance a fix to the transportation problems) but I think the above would be a great start. What other upgrades would you like to see at Walt Disney World?