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David Koenig
David's Ear-Mailbag Week of July 30, 2002
Thanks to the more than 50 readers who provided their own Wish Lists for Disneyland's 50th anniversary.

Somewhat surprisingly, ALL 10 of your most-dearly-missed attractions were from Tomorrowland (perhaps a perfect excuse for making the Land the center of a retrospective anniversary celebration?):

1. PeopleMover

2. SkyWay

3. Submarine Voyage

4. Adventure thru Inner Space

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
These nostalgic attraction posters are available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

5. Flying Saucers

6. Carousel of Progress

7. America Sings

8. Mission to Mars / Rocket to the Moon

9. CircleVision featuring America The Beautiful

10. Old Monorails (Mark I thru IV)

Runners Up:

Mine Train through Nature's Wonderland

Motor Boat Cruise

Honorable Mention (each received at least two votes): Golden Horseshoe Revue, House of the Future, Tahitian Terrace, Swiss Family Treehouse, Rocket Rods, Rocket Jets, Captain E-O and Country Bear Jamboree.

Readers write about Disneyland's 50th:

Steve Simmons comments:

Would bringing back these attractions bring guests back? Well, I am sure that if something like this was to occur, I'd arrange a trip from Atlanta for that.

Dylpaul writes:

Since they failed at recreating Tomorrowland in 1998, bring back the one that we loved!

1. Motor Boats (without the "Care Bears" theme, removed in cheap cut backs, currently a waste of space)

2. People Mover (now a waste of space, AGAIN, after the Rocket Rod failure. Bring back the PeopleMover we loved, with Tron)

3. Skyway (removed for no good reason)

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

4. Adventure thru Inner Space

5. House of the Future

6. Carousel of Progress

7. America Sings

8. Rocket to the Moon or Mission to Mars

9. CircleVision (current waste of space as the Carrousel storage area)

10. Bring back the two-story Tomorrowland Starcade (wasted space right now, and is the only true arcade in the Disneyland Resort)

For PeopleMover what I'd love to see that would appeal to kids as well as nostalgia fans AND promote a new film, would be to work some type of transport vehicle into the upcoming movie Tron 2.0 and make that vehicle the new PeopleMover, with Tron Tunnel(s) based on the new movie. The Disney Studio is happy -- and we get a PeopleMover back!

Carrie shares:

I just read your "Golden Dreams" column and wanted to tell you what a fantastic idea you have about the 50th Anniversary celebrations. I've been going to Disneyland since my '70s childhood, but have only recently become interested in the park's history. I can't tell you how many times I've read about a Yesterland attraction and sighed with disappointment that I'll never be able to experience it.

I sure hope Marty Sklar reads your column...

Clint Cole encourages:

It would be sooo cool if Disneyland actually does what you suggested for its 50th anniversary. I think the "Flashback Fridays" could be done so easily, and it's genius! I would have a blast at one of those.

I hope they get a clue and listen to you, because for once I read something on MousePlanet that didn't leave me feeling bitter, but hopeful. So you definitely have the right angle. Let's keep our fingers crossed.

Mark Fullerton suggests:

I think putting portions of vintage attractions throughout the entire Innoventions would be a great and easily executed idea. Innoventions could be reborn as a time machine type attraction (perfect for Tomorrowland.). In fact, they could rename it The Retro-Link.

Reid writes:

I like your suggestions for Disneyland's 50th anniversary. The only thing that doesn't work is that most people don't remember Yesterland attractions. Your suggestions seem to be geared only towards extreme Disneyland fanatics (like me). But for a general audience: a large celebration, speeches from some execs, a fireworks show so big you can see it from Walt Disney World, Main Street Electrical Parade, and some rededications.

Scott Elliott notes:

Seeing the Golden Horseshoe Revue circa 1970 with Betty Taylor, Fulton Burly and Wally Boag -- enjoying a Pepsi and a bag of Fritos during the show -- that is my golden dream!

Colleen Gilchrist says:

I got a little wistful reading your column today. My vote is definitely for the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea exhibit. Thanks for a trip down the memory lane of my childhood.

David Vaughnn gushes:

If *they* did *that*, I would fly all the way out from Minnesota and bring my four kids plus wife. Let me tell you what they need to do:

1. Make a fake Inner Space show. Collect 200 atomobiles, aim them toward a screen, project a best effort movie of the ride, and pipe the entire Paul Frees audio track into each atomobile's speaker.

While you're in line, you get to look at the Mighty Microscope so as to get the living daylights scared out of you before the attraction. You never know... It COULD be real.

Oh yeah, one more thing. When you exit, you get to see this two-story high hourglass "thing" made out of fiber optics with water dripping down changing colors. (Hey! How come no one else ever remembers that?)

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

2. Restore the original Tiki Room. We need a representative from Dole selling little pineapple spears. We need ALL the preshow gods to work properly.

And, most important, put those songs you took out BACK IN! I'm talking about restoring all seven verses of the theme song (not the measly four) and the Offenbach number. Hey, if they want me to stay offa their back, they're gonna need to stay offa my back!

3. Take an empty submarine, stick it on the ground, put TVs in front of the port holes, pipe a best effort video to each TV, play the original audio, and let people aboard.

4. Hire Werner Weiss.

5. If they still got an old Mark II, run a bubble monorail around overhead. I mean really, it still FITS the track.

6. Build a temporary circular theater to show the old Mission to Mars, or better yet, Mission to the Moon show.

7. DEFINITELY bring back America the Beautiful. It will be really packed, so they'll have to hire a nice lady with a pointer stick to walk around and point to each state's flag overhead as she asks everyone waiting where they are from.

If that bores you, go up front and play tic-tac-toe against a real COMPUTER! After the show, set up six glass-enclosed booths which can seat up to eight people. Inside, place (get this....) a SPEAKER PHONE!

8. Forget your idea with wasted space inside Innovations. Instead, set up a mini theater and show the video for America Sings. You know, some songs are happy, some songs are sad. But, each is from the heart!

9. Your idea about the vintage costumes is great.

Craig applauds:

Bravo on the Disneyland 50th article! I started visiting Disneyland with my parents in '77 when I was 2 years old, and reading your books, I realize how much has changed since then. I can't help but think how wonderful a promotion this could be, knowing I would gladly pay $100 for the chance to relive such things and experience others for the first time.

Pressler, Harris, and all the others would be wise to listen to you. They would be very wise to put you on the payroll as a consultant who speaks for the people who truly love what Disney was and what it could still be. Now, if I could just convince them to put Roy and Leonard Maltin in charge of entertainment, that would be something!

My vote: Adventure thru Inner Space! I don't remember much about it, except for the fact that the giant blinking eye scared the CRUD out of me as a child. The Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn, Big Thunder, Space Mountain? Nothing compared to the giant blinking eye!

Disney doesn't have to put me on the payroll. I'd just love to visit Disneyland 1955 or '66 or '77 or '88 once again. Disney's fortunes have been down of late, and all the time I hear people say that Disney has become overexposed and has oversaturated the market. Hooey.

I say there are thousands and thousands of people out there dying to give Disney MORE of our money, we just haven't been too interested in paying for what we've been offered of late. A trip back in a Disneyland time machine, though, would be a sure sale for most of us.

Oleg Chaikovsky says:

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

Thanks for the 50th article today. I remember the pack mules, mine train, and the Indian Village. Most of my friends don't. Then again, most don't share my love and fascination with Disneyland.

Theresa writes:

Oh my gosh, David, you really hit the nail on the head with your ideas for the yesterland 50th anniversary party. I truly hope that those head Disney ears are listening! Your ideas are in my opinion just what all of us 40-years-plus people would go crazy for, they are also within the realm of possibility and would I believe not be cost prohibitive! By the time I read your ideas, I was ready to pay my $50 to experience this adventure.

What was really great was your list of one more time events, is almost exactly what mine would be in the exact same order!! If both of us are thinking like this, we can't be the only two, right?

Brian suggests:

How 'bout before your exclusive Old Disneyland event, they have a recreation of the opening day ceremony with Roy Disney doing Walt's beloved opening speech, and a man dressed like young Art Linkletter walking the grounds with a microphone, interviewing guests for a television special to air on the Disney Channel?

John Slater contributes:

Your "50th Wish List for Disneyland" -- there's no way of putting this without being insulting here -- has to be one of the most idiotic and unrealistic suggestions I have yet witnessed on this wonderful website. I'll keep it short and just say we're talking about Michael Eisner and Paul Pressler here (Satan's original son and distant cousin), the "Great Pennypinchers," as I call them.

I am only writing to inform you that the way to enact change on this unfortunately disintegrating company is to provide realistic and promising ideas and suggestions, not the garbage you have presented your readers with here.

Asked to provide reasons why he found my suggestions "idiotic," "unrealistic" and "garbage" and how he thought he'd enact change by calling people names, John did not respond...

Roy notes:

First let me say Happy 2nd birthday to the wonderful MousePlanet, my #1 fave website! Today is also my birthday. I am a whopping 28 years of age!

Your proposal for the 50th anniversary is WONDERFUL! I miss America Sings with a passion and would love to see its return. I think the 50th anniversary should be treated with the huge respect it deserves. I will be 31 when Disneyland turns 50 and plan to be there. They better sell it, baby!

Kathy Pursell writes:

Like Disneyland, I too am celebrating my 47th birthday this year and have always held a special place in my heart and imagination for the Magic Kingdom. Your article brought back so many great childhood memories and a tear to my eye! The best part was your list of 10 Yesterdayland attractions -- I remember enjoying everyone of them!

Jeremy Muse muses:

Two of the things that I would love to do again are Inner Space and walking around in the Disney Store at the Disneyland Hotel, the one right by the Monorail and the Country Line Dancing Bar. I'm 24 years old, and those were the things that I loved doing when I was younger.

For the 50th anniversary, I would love for them to have another prize giveaway. The anticipation of the ticket taker taking the admission ticket and running through the computer to see if you won anything brought joy into a young boys heart every time he walked through those gates. The three days we were there, my grandfather won a huge Mickey Mouse doll and I won a free admission ticket. The weird thing? That's all I remember from that anniversary celebration.

Another thing I really enjoyed was the Disneyland Specials, where Hollywood big wigs and music stars would sing at Disneyland, ride the rides, and have a great time, having a crush on Tiffany from The Party was a great feeling too!! I'm not talking about the kind of show they gave for the California Adventure, a whole 30 minutes of guys running around the park.

Seeing pictures, or even a small museum, of old Disneyland stuff would be cool, but not memorable. Painting the castle a birthday cake would be stupid. Adding rides would be cool, like Buzz, Tower of Terror, Alien Encounter, and some NEW stuff. Seeing the old costumes would be cool. But don't touch that castle, or we might have to hurt someone.

Matt Shannon pines:

I loved your idea's for the 50th Birthday celebration. Perhaps before Eisner, it would have happened. Not a chance now, I'm afraid. I'm guessing something like "Celebrate 50 years by paying 50 bucks to get into a once-great, now beginning-to-look-run-down-and-haggard park."

The Disneyland I loved died years ago.

Allen Huffman writes:

An idea that was tossed around years ago for Walt Disney World was them to take their big "photo center" on Main Street (formerly the Walt Disney Story place until after the 25th) and create virtual attractions from the past. A 3-D "audience view" movie of the Carousel of Progress in a small theater. The same could be done with 20,000 Leagues and other attractions, using simulator or -- at the least -- 3-D movie theater effects.

Do you recall hearing this? I'm not sure if it was a rumor we "heard" about Disney or just babble us net geeks came up with.

Norm suggests:

There are many more things I feel should be done for Disney's 50th. I suppose we are all armchair Imagineers to some degree, though.

Redo Tomorrowland (again) to reflect the timeless design of the version in Paris. This idea has much more longevity, and could shoehorn nostalgic and modern predictions of the future. This includes getting rid of that terrible Innoventions (a.k.a., Infomercial: The Ride).

Sprucing up the big five rides including a gutting of Space Mountain and new launch track. With very creative design, they could create another exclusive dining experience a la Blue Bayou, where diners can look out at the starfield and zooming spaceships. (This means more money, Pressler, just think!!!).

And the big crowning jewel for Disneyland's big anniversary should be a new land with a new E-ticket. I see some dead space out behind Frontierland. Ideas anyone?

Eric writes:

I'm 48. I spent nine years in the Army, I have two degrees. I was a wildland firefighter. AND, I have so much emotional energy invested in the hope that Disneyland will be fixed up for the 50th, it's almost pathetic.

I was there about 12 times between 1954 and 1975. I want to go back, but not unless it's as at least as nice as it was in 1975.

To your question: I would like to see the Fight Circle one more time. It made a big impression on me as a boy.

Greg Ottinger opines:

You have some great ideas, especially about bringing back long-gone attractions. But one idea you left out (and probably the simplest) would be to bring back a Mark I or Mark II Monorail.

Nothing says Tomorrowland (or Disneyland) to me more than a monorail with a bubble top and fins.

Oklahoma Mark writes:

Interesting ideas for the 50th, but would Disneyland really want to remind everyone how many great attractions they removed to save money? I don't think so. Build one more "Tony Baxter" spectacular "E" attraction for the 50th, and the guests would arrive in record numbers.

The guests will be lucky to get a special 50th parade. They should be thankful the park doesn't close on Monday and Tuesday as in the "good old days!" Current Disneyland management is more interested in maximizing return without wasting money on the guests that will come no matter what is offered.

Ken Hughes sounds off:

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

I love your 50th anniversary ideas, but what are you smokin'? Most of the things you propose "resurrecting" are ancient history and would have to be built anew. I doubt, for example the ride system and boats for the Motor Boat Cruise could just be pulled out of mothballs and redeployed. They won't put up the Skyway again or rebuild the People Mover. Vintage costuming would have to be recreated from scratch. Any overlays to attractions would have to be made new as well, and deploying them in a tight turnaround would mean extra personnel. I can't see them doing these things.

A Dixieland cruise would be great -- watch them turn it into a premium event within a premium event, making it exclusive by limiting attendance to 100 paying customers at $35 additional a head and serving desserts and coffee a la the Fantasmic balcony thing.

The parade of decades idea might actually be do-able, as would limited recreations of old attractions at Innoventions, but would a recreated Mighty Microscope be cool or just cheesy?

I'm usually right behind you, David, but I think you might be a little off the mark this time. Shuttering parts of the park that were not around pre-19XX would undoubtedly backfire. I too would love to visit the Disneyland of my childhood and the one that existed before I was born, but as they say, "You can't go home again."

What they will probably do is repurpose a lot of what was created for WDW's 100 Years of Magic, and frankly some of that is appropriate. Maybe we could ride through it this time in some sort of dark ride. How about a multimedia thing where people tell their most poignant memories of Disneyland intercut with their home movies or videos. That'd be a genuine, unstrained source of heartstring-tugging.

Use the Fantasmic show effects to tell the story of Disneyland's 50 years with sweeping music, pyro, and songs, culminating in the biggest fireworks show over the castle ever. Tap Gavin Greenaway to write music as stirring as the Illuminations music. Play off the sentimentality of the occasion -- use the memories and recollections of 50 years worth of guests to avoid all the self-back-patting.

Make a meaningful rededication to Walt's original vision and rededicate the company to his core values (which did include making money). Give us something that has heart, isn't syrupy or self-serious (or frivolous), and is exciting.

Wait a minute! Now what am I smoking???

As wonderful as a multimedia Disneyland history lesson could be, I don't think something like that would generate a serious bump at the turnstiles.

And THAT is half of my argument: a. How do we convince Disneyland to do something spectacular for the 50th? By showing up in droves and spending lots of money, even though Disney doesn't spend a gazillion dollars on new E-ticket attractions.

b. How do you convince people to show up in droves and spend lots of money, even though there are no new E-ticket attractions? Like when they killed the Electrical Parade, give the people who grew up with Disneyland a chance to "go home again" -- for a limited time only! Act today! To me, that's the only sure fire way to get people to travel to Anaheim from across the country for the first time in years, and to get locals who haven't been in decades to give it another peek, and to get annual passholders to come back again and again -- and pay at the gate each time.

As for the eight or nine rides I suggested resurrecting, maybe there are better choices, or better ways to revive them. I have no idea how many Motor Boats or PeopleMover cars are lying around, but I wouldn't be surprised if Disney has kept quite a few of them. No, Skyway is never coming back, I realize that.

Of course, vintage costuming would have to be recreated. So what? That can't be THAT expensive, and remember I'm talking about a few hundred operating the park in old costumes, not thousands.

Only rides that could be quickly and inexpensively sent back in time would get any overlays, and those would be modest. Could be done with altered lighting on Jungle Cruise, for instance.

And I see no problem with "shuttering" Critter Country, Pirates, Mansion, Small World, etc., for one night. Disneyland does it all the time, just not all at once. Remember, I'm talking just for a special event; past merchandise/AP events offered anywhere from just one to a dozen rides open.

And, yes, I agree Disney most probably will give us a generic yet slick "50 Years of Magic" promotion. Doesn't mean I have to like it.

Coheteboy proposes:

My 50th Disneyland anniversary wish list is basically getting Tomorrowland back to its awesome state that it was BEFORE the changes:

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

1. Bring back the PeopleMover! Sure this will cost them money but seriously that was a great ride for lazy guests and it was just awesome for the overall feel of Tomorrowland. It was fun looking around and seeing both Monorails and PeopleMover cars looming overhead. There's just something about that I always loved. Now it's really dead up there. And, of course, with bringing the People Mover back, brand new trains with it that reflect the *new* theme.

2. CircleVision. Either bring it back or put in a new attraction in there. Whether it be Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin or something completely new for Treasure Planet, a dark ride in Tomorrowland is definitely needed.

3. Atlantis ride. I know this would be costly, but a brand new ride would be nice in the Submarine Lagoon, something with an Atlantis theme (it matches the rest of Tomorrowland, too). I know the film did poorly at the box office, but I still think it's a great animated film that has ride possibilities all over it. Perhaps an underwater sub adventure similar to a motion simulator. I think the Tokyo DisneySeas motion simulator that makes you believe you're underwater would be a perfect match for Atlantis. Of course, this would require a lot of touch up in the submarine show building, but they can leave the lagoon for show and put something cool in there.

4. Astro Orbitor. Put it back over that silly spinning thing. The funnest part of the original Rocket Jets was that you were that high up off the ground. Sometimes I question the people who make the decisions.

5. The Parade. Every anniversary celebration needs an awesome parade. Personally, it would be great to see a HUGE production with all new floats. Since it's 50 years of Disneyland, make the floats celebrate the milestones of Disneyland. And throw in the Disney characters as well. Wouldn't it be fun to see a a float of a stylized Matterhorn with some characters sitting in a bobsled? Maybe give us the first snowman character walking about. Or just make the float a giant snowman. Whatever. I would love to see some Pirates going down the street, too. And ghosts from Haunted Mansion? It would be fun. And let's not forget to have Captain EO in the parade.

6. Aladdin dark ride. I know it might be impossible to fit this into Adventureland, but it would be great to see a new dark ride, and Aladdin would be my choice. This would probably fit in WDW better (since they have so much space), but I can always dream.

Braddoc DeCaires intones:

[You have to envision a announcer with a loud, nasal voice from one of those black and white newsreels]

Dateline July 17, 2005:

Things are definitely shaking at 1313 Harbor Boulevard as Disneyland celebrates its 50th Birthday, guests young and old welcome the new additions Mouse head honchos have added to this illustrious park:

If it's adventure you're looking for, grab your fedora, there's just one stop for you: Adventureland.

- The Jungle Cruise takes you on a whirlwind trip through the jungle on a river of thrills. Using technology on the wildly successful Jurassic Park ride at that other park, animals growl, run and jump to life here on The Jungle Cruise. The addition of quickly moving inhabitants, makes the adventure real. It includes a short stop off at a newly unearthed cavern section of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye.

- Speaking of that infamous temple, Indiana Jones encounters additional thrills here at the renovated ride that features a new room and a villain or two popping out at you behind every corner. Keep that whip handy, you'll really swing for this one!

- Don't forget to stop off for a bite at the newly restored Tahitian Terrace... Yum!

Next stop, New Orleans Square.

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

- Next to the newly restored Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, we get our pirate booties to Pirates of the Caribbean! The newly updated ride welcomes another ship to the sea battle scene and an all new section boats can visit of the ill-fated town. More pirates, more effects, more fun. Don't miss this one, you'll walk the plank if you do.

- The Haunted Mansion Ghost Host and his 999 pals welcome you to their humble abode. A recently discovered passageway in this house of mystery unveiled by Disney Imagineers takes us to a never seen before set of rooms with happy haunts of all shapes and sizes. Room for one more? This announcer's staying put but I'm sure there'll be volunteers abound!

Giving you tomorrow today: Tomorrowland welcomes new additions and returns of classic crowd pleasers.

- The CircleVision Theater has returned in all its glory with a newly developed film showcasing the land of the free: America- Then, Now and Beyond. Splicing old footage from Disneyland classics as America the Beautiful and others, Disney has shot new footage to show us side by side then and now comparisons of the land we love. Glad to see you back, CircleVision.

- Space Mountain launches you into space as Jules Verne envisioned it through a cannon. The new launching system propels you through the newly renovated Mountain that has extra tracks that makes the music-enhanced experience all the better. Any volunteers? Sign up now!

- Star Tours offers you now a choice of two different flight adventures. The classic Endor romp and now a new journey through Coruscant as your StarSpeeder is commissioned to help the Rebels defeat the growing Empire. Hang on to your little ones, this one's a lulu!

- The now defunct home of Innoventions welcomes you to America Rocks. An updated version of the classic America Sings, takes you through our music history and where its going from here. Leave grandpa on the bench, Junior, this one's for the kids.

- Adventure 20,000 Leagues below. The Submarine Voyage returns...

- The newly enclosed Rocket Rods track welcomes kids young and old to Buzz Lightyear's Cosmic Adventure! You travel in your rocket through time and space as you follow Buzz on an interactive adventure where you're armed with your Buzz blaster earn points competing with your rocket mate. Who's the winner here, folks? Why you, the lucky Tomorrowland guest.

Disneyland welcomes you all to their celebration. Join us for the new 50th Birthday parade down Main Street USA and the new "Complete History of Disneyland Show" at the Fantasyland Theatre that showcases ALL of Disneyland's 50 years of attractions and events in a 30 minute spectacular.

Don't miss this one, folks! Fifty years of magic and adventures celebrated at Walt Disney's Disneyland. So much fun, the party will last for two years.

Zach Schlagel daydreams:

I have been wondering since Disneyland's 45th birthday what the Imagineers would dream up for the 50th celebration. Time is running out to do something spectacular, so hopefully they get things finalized soon. I agree with you that it has to be BIG. You seem to want a nostalgic trip back, where I'm hoping that it is a mixture of both past, present, and future.

Speaking of the future, Tomorrowland needs work! What happened? The idea to change Space Mountain to be more like the Paris Resort's is a great idea. Imagine Space Mountain with inversions! I was just wondering the other day why you don't take off or blast into outer space, and if they added the cannon like in Paris it would be more realistic in a sense.

How about a new Star Tours? How about having six different films with multiple endings? What if they made it more like Stormrider at Tokyo, where there are explosions on the inside?

Next, Disney should think about simply resuscitating the PeopleMover. It's basically worthless as an empty track. Then there are the empty buildings where the Rocket Rod queue was; how about finally building the Buzz Lightyear ride? Or Alien Encounter? How about a space chase ride modeled after the opening sequences of Lilo and Stitch?

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

My most progressive idea lies with the Autopia/Submarine Lagoon area. Raze it! What is Autopia doing in Tomorrowland? Ever since they retooled, it is worse than ever before. It is slow and dull. I say we take the whole area and make Mysterious Island like at DisneySeas, complete with a rehabbed 20,000 Leagues attraction and a new Journey to the Center of the Earth.

Or maybe they could do a large scale flying saucers ride or something completely new? I also wonder why the old Motor Boat area has remained vacant for so long... how about an Aquatopia ride or an indoor Little Mermaid ride reminiscent of the opening to Pirates?

Enough of Tomorrowland, how about a villain's land behind Toontown? There are millions of rides you could dream up there. The best idea I have is Bald Mountain, which would be modeled on the same sequence in Fantasia. You would be fly through it a la Peter Pan's Flight, but it would be a fast and harrowing journey culminating in a visit with Chernabog. The whole ride would go along with the music from the movie. You would twist and speed through the town while the creatures of the night came alive. This ride also could ideally be located on Tom Sawyer's Island if the lawyers decide to close it down. Imagine seeing a large mountain amidst the trees of the island, the rafts could change and the raftsmen could all be in on the ambiance.

Frontierland needs something. Why doesn't Big Thunder cross over to the island where the old Mine Train used to go?. The tracks are all ready there. You could zoom over there and frighten an audio-animatronic prospector. Also, bring back some of the old Mine Train elements like the bears scratching their backs on the trees when you cross back over to the regular Big Thunder climax. All you really need is to build some faux rickety bridges. I always thought that the ending to Big Thunder was rather underwhelming. And, how about a Woody's Roundup ride similar to the Buzz one?

Adventureland doesn't need much, it is the strongest in the park. Rework the Jungle Cruise like the rumors say and you've got an E-ticket as opposed to the Zzz ticket it's become. Then update the Tiki Room and make an Aladdin ride next door in the vacant Aladdin's Oasis. Why did they get rid of that restaurant in the first place? You could replicate the flying carpet ride at the Magic Kingdom or do something else entirely. How about something with the Lion King? Jungle Book?

Wow! That's a lot of dreaming. I hope they have a huge new parade with all the characters. Or maybe a parade recreating the best rides. How about a history of Disney ride with an audio-animatronic Walt? Or is that sacrilege?

I've sorry to have taken up so much of your time, but I've obviously been thinking about this for a while. As an AP I have ample time to ponder these things, and it's nice to share my ideas in an open forum because my girlfriend has heard it one too many times. I only wish that the Imagineers could see all the good stuff your readers will undoubtedly dream up.

And last of all, Merlin Jones rhapsodizes:

Nice article. I agree completely that nostalgia is what will pack in the crowds for Disneyland's 50th anniversary. No matter who I talk to about the park, fan or casual visitor, there is some childhood favorite that they dearly miss. What better service can Disney provide than to bring people's childhood memories back to them?

Do this in a significant way (no one is interested in displays of memorabilia or propogandistic sloganeering and jingles -- we want the meat!), and those adult admissions will mount to historic levels! Parents would love to share their childhood favorites with children or loved ones. Why not give them the chance?

Similarly, I don't think people want to see major changes to the historic (and still popular) E-tickets, especially with the questionable budgets and subjective design tastes that are sure to come into the picture. This would more likely stir more controversy than the instant bliss the return of a Skyway or PeopleMover would bring.

Disney is blessed with existing infrastructure for many abandoned classic attractions, many not so complex to restore. A parkwide layover of Disneyland favorites returning -- not for a last gasp, but for good -- would be the most promotable and footage-friendly thing Disneyland could ever do to get people in the gate. What I would do:


Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock -- This powerful park image (always highly photogenic and promotable) was never intended to leave for Yesterland, but was the victim of a construction mishap, old age and budget cutbacks during the creation of New Fantasyland back in the early '80s. It could be rebuilt where Baxter intended it to relocate it... next to the Storybook Land queue.

This was a powerful image -- I used to watch fireworks from the deck when I was a kid, and Hook once chased me around Skull Rock. I really miss it. Wouldn't Chicken of the Sea love to get the plug in again during all the hoopla?

Skyway to Tomorrowland -- The gorgeous Skyway Chalet sits, deserted on the hill, just waiting to send people off on a beautiful flight high above Disneyland. The sensation of flying over the park (especially over Fantasyland and through the Matterhorn) is one of my most-missed experiences at the park. I never missed an opportunity to fly like Peter Pan in Disneyland. I want that back and I'll wager others do too.


The Tahitian Terrace -- My favorite restaurant at Disneyland was always the dinner show at the beautiful Tahitian Terrace (now Aladdin's Storytime Theater) complete with hula and fire dancers! Especially with the success of Lilo & Stitch, there is no reason this favorite shouldn't return to the park (along with a rehab of the historic Tiki Room).

Swiss Family Treehouse -- Likewise, the Walt-devised water wheels and bamboo gizmos of the Swiss Family Treehouse -- and the pumping strains of Swisskapolka throughout Adventureland -- are dearly missed. A restoration layover would be great, since Tarzan has run its promotional course anyway.

New Orleans Square:

Mike Fink Keel Boats -- Sitting in the backlot waiting to float again.

Critter Country:

Country Bear Jamboree at Hungry Bear Restaurant -- If they don't find a new home at Disneyland any sooner, I'd opt to reconfigure the Hungry Bear Restaurant to accommodate the key Bear band figures for show dining. These beloved Marc Davis creations really deserve a permanent home at the park in some capacity. People may be too restless for repeated sit down show, but for short shows while eating, the Bears are a perfect match.


The Golden Horseshoe Revue -- A no-brainer is the return of Wally Boag's Golden Horseshoe Revue, the Can-Can girls, the corny jokes. This is still a crowd-pleaser waiting to happen, and an important Disneyland memory for many adults. A fitting tribute to Walt in this historic locale.


Let's face it. This is the big problem for Disneyland's anniversary, and ground zero for nostalgic pangs (and complaints) at the park. The new look and rides have been a disaster, ignoring it won't help. Fortunately, the infrastructure still exists for many favorites to (relatively easily) return.

Rocket Jets -- The mechanism is still there, disguised as the useless and ugly Observatron. There was nothing better than a third story flight high over Tomorrowland. And it looked great as Tomorrowland's moving centerpiece, where Walt himself placed it on a napkin sketch. Bring it back and send the traffic flow-blocking new version to Hong Kong Disneyland.

PeopleMover -- The track sits, empty, waiting for new trams. Grandmas and the weary everywhere would be most grateful to have it back.

Magic Journeys -- Honey, I Gave Back the Theater!

Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork  Disney
Available at MouseShoppe - Artwork Disney

CircleVision 360 -- America the Beautiful, American Journeys, jetset stewardesses of the future... empty theater just waiting for it to happen.

Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress -- Still functional carousel theater sits with nothing interesting inside, while Walt's original show is waiting for a new home after a long run at WDW. It's all still extant. Just put it back together!

Monsanto's House of the Future -- Still nothing in the garden to replace it. My sister never goes to Disneyland without wishing for it back. She's not alone.

Adventure thru Inner Space -- Everyone wants this back (with some snazzy new effects). Sorry, George, but this Disneyland original should return in all its melodramatic glory. This was Tomorrowland's signature attraction and everyone I know of a certain age misses it passionately.

Flying Saucers -- No doubt new technology can make it work. Another photogenic blast from the past that would make TV time everywhere.

Skyway to Fantasyland -- Said it before, I'll say it again.

Submarine Voyage -- This is another of the most lamented and obviously missed experiences in Disneyland -- and one of Walt's most proud achievements. Restore the attraction and retheme the existing subs to Nautilus/20,000 Leagues and you have another priceless piece of PR footage that will bring home the bacon. Add live mermaids and pack 'em in.

Mod Tomorrowland -- Goodbye brown and bronze, hello white and silver! The facades are still there to restore to the groovy modern look that Californians want to see in Tomorrowland and on the tips of Space Mountain. Keep the neon, but bring back the spires... and Disney legend Mary Blair's murals.

Sound too expensive? Not when you consider the flood of capacity guests that would come back to the park for a line up like this.

As everyone ages, there is one place they can be renewed to childhood: Disneyland. By bringing back these beloved favorites (and plugging the obvious holes in the current lineup), Disney is providing a service no one else can. That of time machine and fountain of youth... better than a Botox injection anytime (and more affordable for the masses).

Get wise, guys: Don't change the remaining favorites, bring back the ones we miss!

Send your comments to David here.


David Koenig is the senior editor of the 80-year-old business journal, The Merchant Magazine.

After receiving his degree in journalism from California State University, Fullerton (aka Cal State Disneyland), he began years of research for his first book, Mouse Tales: A Behind-the-Ears Look at Disneyland (1994), which he followed with Mouse Under Glass: Secrets of Disney Animation & Theme Parks (1997, revised 2001) and More Mouse Tales: A Closer Peek Backstage at Disneyland (1999); all titles published by Bonaventure Press.

He lives in Aliso Viejo, California, with his lovely wife, Laura, their wonderful son, Zachary, and their adorable daughter, Rebecca.

You can contact David here.


Click here to go to David's main page for a list of archived articles.

Visit MouseShoppe to purchase copies of David's books. (Clicking on the link opens a new window.)


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