For those unfamiliar, “Who Moved My Cheese” is a short hardcover book aimed at adults who have a problem coping with change. In the fairly short read, four characters find themselves lost in a maze where they have to venture out to find their cheese every day in order to eat. One day, the cheese they normally eat is gone from its normal location in the maze. Turns out, not only is the cheese in a new location, but the type of cheese has changed entirely and continues to do so. Two characters, Hem and Haw, are having a particularly difficult time adjusting to the changes and stand around moping about what once was and wait for their cheese to come back. Sadly, that never happens and they have to resort to other methods to find happiness and… well… eat. What does this have to do with theme parks, you ask?
For as long as I have loved the theme park business, there have been those who have moaned and complained endlessly (thanks to the internet) about what once was. Often times, these complaints come at a cost of “this isn’t what Walt wanted” and “current management has no respect for Disney’s history.” Maybe they are right, but regardless of that, you have to make a business decision and move on. Nearly 15 years ago, Walt Disney World announced the closure of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and its ultimate replacement with The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Disney purists freaked out and started letter writing campaigns, designed t-shirts and even organized “toad-ins.”
That’s right. During the last few weeks of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride‘s existence at Walt Disney World, avid purists would literally sit on the street in front of the attraction to represent solidarity. Like generations before them who would “sit in” to protest a war or something of political significance, these fans did the same to protest a decision about a theme park. As expected, their cheese moved, and life moved on as it always does. In September 2009, Walt Disney World closed Pleasure Island and one of the most unique night clubs on the planet, the Adventurer’s Club. While the spot was a fan favorite, it was like most of Pleasure Island and lost money on a nightly basis. Soon after, a letter writing campaign began to try and save the Adventurer’s Club, but was to no avail. Even now, you can still find active message board threads and Facebook groups who still kick around the idea on how to bring it back. A few days ago, Club 33 reopened in Disneyland after a lengthy refurbishment. Disney wanted to not only expand the club, but freshen it up. They needed a more modern kitchen that could accommodate more tables and thus, the entire club has been renovated. As one can guess, Disney fans have mixed emotions.
After all, this was one of the last parts of Disneyland to have Walt’s personal touch in it. No matter what Imagineering would have done, there would have been people moaning about the changes. It’s inevitable. It seems the biggest issue is, of all things, a window.
This window, when seem from New Orleans Square, is off centered to the building above the French Market. However, when seen from inside the club, it’s centered to the room. Not only is it a great view of the Rivers of America from within Club 33, it gives the room natural sunlight. However, many feel that the club should feel like it used to, which was shrouded from the eyes of regular park guests.
Personally, I think the new Club 33 looks incredible. Sure, I will miss Walt’s elevator that he put in the club and the old trophy room. However, what they did to bring it into 2014 looks absolutely breath taking.
No doubt, change will happen again and when it does, people will bitch and moan. Personally, I think one of the greatest things about the theme park business is how much they are willing to change despite the fact that they will be inevitably be ripped apart by online ranters who hate it when their cheese is moved. However, I always try to take it with a grain of salt. Your thoughts? Make sure to follow Theme Park University on Twitter and take a moment to like our Facebook page!