Tuesday, August 5, 2014

World News Editorial Page: A Fear of Frozen

As a companion to the World News section of the Radio Harambe podcast, today we debut a new op-ed column where our contributors will sound off on Disney subjects from outside the confines of the Animal Kingdom.  Anything mouse related is fair game, but expect too much from outside the Disney Parks.  

Anyone who has been listening to the podcast over the past few episodes will know how I feel about Frozen and the current infestation of Frozen related changes either already in the Florida parks or rumored to be added.  For those who don’t listen, I have never seen the film, but that really has no influence on how I am feeling right now.  I hate it, and if the rumors of what may happen to the Norway pavilion actually does happen, my hatred will only grow.

When I first heard the rumor about a possible closure of the Maelstrom attraction to make way for a Frozen themed something-or-other, I actually laughed it off.  Safari Mike, who has seen the film, told me the movie doesn’t even take place in Norway, so you can see why one would think such a rumor ridiculous.  But like a weed, the idea only seemed to grow and become more invasive and annoying.  Strange Norwegian television segments and continued tweets and blog postings have lead up to yesterday’s suspicious news that FastPass Plus bookings are not available for Maelstrom after September 28.  With all of this in mind, the release of a gorgeous limited edition t-shirt, which we would have welcomed and applauded, almost seems to be Disney merchandise executives having a bit of a laugh at our expense.  (The shirt really is nice!)

Now before I get too far, I want to clarify something else.  Maelstrom is by no means my favorite attraction.  It’s a perfectly fine ride and I have always enjoyed it.  Sure, it has it’s drawbacks.  The film at the end, for instance, is in desperate need of updating.  But on the whole I like it.  The trolls are great, so are the boats.  The opening scene is one of my favorites and the harbor town at the end is very well done.  And what’s more, it belongs there.  It tells a simple and entertaining story about the legend and lure of Norway.  However, if it left in favor of something much better, I would applaud such a change.

The problem is, I have absolutely no confidence that a quickly cobbled together attraction based on a film not related to the pavilion it will inhabit, and created simply for cross-marketing purposes, will be any better than what we have now.  In fact, if history is any guide, we can expect a whole lot of mediocrity.  Ask yourself this, since the opening of Epcot how many attractions have been changed for the better?   If you are like me, old enough to remember Epcot Center, seriously ask yourself that question.  Keep a score of good and bad, and you will soon start to see why I am not exactly thrilled for another “plussing” at this particular park.

Maybe it is entirely irrational of me to blame this potential destruction of an Epcot favorite solely on Annie and Whats-her-face . And perhaps in the near future I will either get over it or be proven completely wrong.  But right now I am going to continue my one man crusade against, in what my opinion, is a stupid idea.

by Dave McBride (@RadioHarambe)

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