Pop Quiz time! What do these things have in common….?
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
The Adventurers Club at Pleasure Island
Answer: Fans wrote petitions to Walt Disney World asking for them to not be removed, yet the powers that be chose to close them anyway. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, change is always hardest on theme park fans. I can sympathize. When a televisions show goes off the air, there are usually no shortage of reruns. However with an attraction, no matter how many times you watch those home movies you made, it’s never quite the same.
This year’s petition? To save Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. According to the change.org petition created by Megan McQuillan, a Walt Disney World Cast Member, “The closing of this attraction is taking away our company history.” Which is a bold claim, albeit a false one. The company history will always be there, unfortunately there just won’t be a place for the pubic to experience it soon assuming the rumors are true (the closure hasn’t officially been announced by Walt Disney World as of the writing of this article and the start of the petition for that matter).
Keep in mind, One Man’s Dream was brought in as a temporary attraction designed for the 100 Years of Magic promotion which celebrated Walt’s 100 birthday in 2001. One Man’s Dream ended up having an extended run indefinitely and even featured several temporary exhibits like the model for New Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom during the construction.
Prior to 2001, there was no place on property that guests could learn about Walt except for one small attraction in the Magic Kingdom. From April of 1973 to October of 1992 the Walt Disney Story was a 23-minute film originally sponsored by Gulf Oil where guests learned about how Walt’s vision eventually lead to Walt Disney World.
From 1992 until 2001, there was no attraction that told guests what Walt Disney was all about. They had to visit a (gasp) library and they certainly didn’t get a chance to see all the history One Man’s Dream packs into its pre-show. Considering One Man’s Dream ran for roughly fourteen years, I’d say thats pretty good for an attraction about the company’s history. Assuming the rumors are true, I’ll miss it too. I’m a theme park history junkie and this place is like crack to me.
I’ve spent my entire life studying the theme park business. Literally since I was about 8 years old, I read every book I could get my hands on. Today I get to talk to some of the top designers in the business thanks to Theme Park University. Personally speaking, do you want to know what the best part of being a theme park fan is? Change. Pure and simple. New rides, shows and technologies is what keeps this business from becoming stale. Change is exciting. Sometimes you like what comes next, sometimes you don’t. It’s life.
If you want to try and tell Disney to not close One Man’s Dream? Go right ahead and sign the petition. Or, you can be a Walt.
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Images Copyright, Orlando Sentinel. Walt Disney Company, Theme Park University