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Lance’s Armchair Imagineer #8 ‘Adventureland’

#8 Bound For Adventure 09/01/13

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Hello Bold Explorer! Welcome to this Adventureland Installment of Lance’s Armchair Imagineer.

The Adventureland area of the Park has some great attractions and a lot of atmosphere, so let’s not waste any more time, our safari awaits.

Overall, this land is meant to give the parkgoers a taste of foreign and ‘exotic’ lands…all spoken in English and without the dysentery.

Your Humble Blogger is a complete wimp when it comes to visiting….um, less-developed nations. So, the Disney versions are fine by me…EPCOT especially.

When the park starts getting crowded, Adventureland has a serious log jam between The Hub and New Orleans Square. especially around the Treehouse, Indy, and Pirates. I tend to avoid that route when it’s packed.

Working our way from the Hub side, over the wooden bridge, (take a look, the decor is pretty cool), the first Attraction on your left is…

THE ENCHANTED TIKI ROOM: This venerable and remarkably intact attraction is Walt’s very first in-Park use of Audio-animatronics. It’s a Classic and I’m so glad they haven’t messed with it.

It’s always easy to get into and a good place to relax for a few minutes (Like Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln in that regard). What I like most is that it feels very much in voice, music, design and tone like the Disney entertainment I know and love from my childhood. I hope they never change it.

That being said…. temporary Holiday Overlays might be fun! There have been some other versions of this show at other parks. One with Stitch and another starring Zabu and Iago ‘Under New Management’. I saw the latter. It was fun. I wouldn’t object to a rotating schedule of variations as long as the Classic version dominated the year.

I also really enjoy the courtyard pre-show and those yummy Dole whips!  Some tips: The Dole Whip line is shorter from within the courtyard. Also, did you know that there’s a ‘secret’ public 1-person bathroom?  It’s up the stairs to the left of the main entrance.  Built when they were planning the show as a restaurant experience. That idea was abandoned early on, but the bathroom remains.

Speaking of bathrooms, there’s a very convenient one just a little past The Tiki Room. We make a left here and you’ll see Aladdin’s Oasis on your left. I confess that I’ve never been here. I think it’s a children’s storytelling Attraction. Have to check it out at least once, I suppose. For Completion’s sake, if nothing else.

Make a right and the body of Adventureland stretches before you. When they added the Indy ride, this whole area got a serious makeover and it looks great. The stores are interesting with a lot of great details (which really goes for every retail place in the Park). On your left is a Classic Opening Day Attraction:

THE JUNGLE CRUISE:  I love this attraction. It’s a difference experience by day or night, and especially fun if you have a great skipper with a batch of fresh jokes. I went on a rainy night once and the skipper was exceptional. Best Cruise ever. This is an Attraction they have tweaked over the decades, but the experience remains basically the same, thankfully. I always live in dread of the day they decide to PC it up.

The Florida incarnation has a great beat where you cruise briefly within some temple ruins. That would be cool here.

An amazing thing is how isolated this Attraction feels. At the end, you’re just one wall away from Main Street U.S.A. but you’d never know it. The Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise sum up Walt’s Adventureland and I’ll always love them for that.

Grab a skewer at the Bengal Barbeque (a great treat) and we’ll look at the last pair of Adventureland Features…

THE TARZAN TREEHOUSE:  Formerly the Swiss Family Treehouse. Yes, I get that Tarzan is a more recent, familiar, and relevant film for your average parkgoer.  Doesn’t mean I don’t prefer the original. I definitely miss the kinetic waterwheel, settings, and Polka music (which must have driven the area Castmembers crazy after a while). That bamboo plumbing system was an amazing feature of the tree and Tarzan or not, I don’t get why it had to go.

(Original Attraction Poster)

Those hard, fiberglass figures are a bit off-putting too. Bring on the Audio-Animatronics. You’d have to encase the figures to isolate them from the elements, but that would be an innovative move. ‘Outdoor, up in a tree, Animatronic figures modeled after animation-styled characters.’ That would be a gutsy thing to attempt. True, the Jungle Cruise figures are outside, but you don’t get too close to them. The Treehouse would demand  a higher level of detail and realism.

Once in a while, I’ll take a stroll through the tree, but it’s hardly a Must-do since the reworking. Lastly, we finish with the headliner of Adventureland:

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF THE FORBIDDEN EYE: This is a detailed and sophisticated attraction with a great deal of craft and Imagineering in the excecution. I like it a lot, but I also have some serious Notes.

First, the good stuff… The Queue for this line is nothing short of breathtaking. Vast, greatly detailed, filled with all sorts of interesting touches and story. It sets the Standard for this sort of thing (along with Roger Rabbit). I love the dual ideas of an ancient temple overlayed with an arceological dig from the 30’s. The ancient temple has many traps, some of which have been triggered, some have been neutralized. Of course, I LOVE the hallway with the lowering spikes…especially if no one’s triggered it and I get to give the guests a thrill by doing so! I can’t praise this queue enough. It is a masterpiece.

The ride vehicle itself is an engineering marvel. A moving platform zipping along a track. Brilliant. It really simulates a wild vehicle journey….especially with the added sound and music blasting from the vehicle. This vehicle was also adapted with great sucess in Florida’s Dinosaur ride in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

There are also a few incredible slight-of-hand tricks with the track itself. The multiple-choice opening and the boulder scene use some very tricky methods to fool you. Clever Imagineering.

Overall, the attraction is detailed, designed well and provides a thrilling experience. I’m really glad my mom had the chance to ride it a few times because she loved it. Some have criticized the Attraction for intruding a non-Disney film property into the Disney park. I understand this, but the details and time period of this property fit pretty seamlessly into Adventureland. Let’s say much, Much better than Star Wars does in Tomorrowland. This ride is a Must-Do.

This Attraction Poster is painted by legendary Movie Poster artist Drew Struzan, the artist responsible for most of the Indy movie 1-sheets. Smart of Disney to get him to do it. This one, I have on my wall.

Okay, here’s what I don’t like as much. There is a lot of cheesyness to elements of this ride, particularly the big foam snake (make it look real or don’t bother) and the painted blow gun corridor. Why aren’t these audio-animatronic figures (ala Jungle Cruise) or sculpted stone relief detail like every other wall in the entire attraction? The Day-Glow Blacklight painting is incredibly cheap and tacky compared to everything else in the ride (even that snake). No excuse for it in a modern Disney Park. And why is the maintenence door (?) always open at the end of the blowgun corridor? It can’t be part of the design, but it can’t be accidental every time I’ve gone on that ride since it opened. If the painted corridor doesn’t ruin the illusion, that certainly does!

The main room is very well crafted for the most part (sorry, fake snake), but I feel you keep figure-eighting through the same space. I think some of the sub-areas, (the snake room, behind the giant Mara Face, etc.) should be visually isolated and expanded from the main room. Also, is there a way to simulate being on a failing, swaying bridge? That’s a missing thrill. Challenging to engineer, but if anyone can do it, it’s those guys.

Below is a Blue Sky Imagineering concept illustration from Brian Jowers. See how it portrays that main room as a huge open space working on several levels. The Train and Jungle Cruise routes pass into and through this room (The Cruise looks like it could go near the edge of a waterfall!). There’s also an Indy Mine Car ride and mining ‘Skyway-type attraction integrated into the whole thing. This would have been glorious. Once you see this painting, you’ll never be entirely satisfied with what they did.

Overall, I think the attraction is under-manned with characters. There are three very nice Indy Audio-Animatronic figures, but I think the place could be populated with all sorts of interesting, colorful characters and creatures. Compared to Pirates or Mansion, this  A-List Headliner is woefully unambitious in this area. The ride isn’t equal to the perfection of the queue.

I do appreciate that this Attraction has its own unique story and isn’t dependent on any of the films and it is still a Must-Do….but if they ever get the urge to pump it up, I think that’s a great idea. As would be a thorough Halloween Overlay.

Well, I think that wraps up Adventureland for now. It’s definitely an integral area of Disneyland and we can all be grateful so much of Walt and opening day still thrives here.

Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this Land of Adventure.

Thanks for Reading and Imagining!

Lance

(Click the READ MORE button to see Reader Comments and, better still, to add your own!)

27 Responses to “Lance’s Armchair Imagineer #8 ‘Adventureland’”

  • Well thought out as usual – I resist the idea of overlays in my beloved Tiki Room… heck, I resist the idea of other PEOPLE in there! I want to see it all alone!

    I liked the ideas some of the folks came up with in the Vintage Disney forum of doing a Jungle Book Dark ride in Adventure Land – maybe where the Tahitian Terrace used to be (not that there’s really room there…) but it’d be nice to have one more ride in Adventure Land.

    Love Indy – your ideas would improve it, though! One time as a single rider, I got behind the steering wheel of a whole carload of visiting Aussies. They immediately welcomed me into their group and then spent most of the ride “complaining” about my driving! It was my favorite trip through there, the people made it much more fun! that and the time my Dad and I “argued” about who was going to “drive” (he won!)

  • 'Drew says:

    Great review Lance, and some superior observations and suggestions!

    Who are the ladies on your arm in the last pic..?

  • Lindsey Jackson says:

    There is much mythic buried in Adventureland. It is a place based on places that never were.
    Burrough’s Africa. Kipling’s India. Tales told to a people a world away by some who had never been or had chosen a distant view whilst standing amid the reality. Yet, the place is as real and firmly fitted in the imagination as the river of pulp could make it.

    In present culture, the teeth have been pulled from Sher Khan and the roar of Bolgani is the merest whisper. The erasures are bigger than the additions as the stories have lost the general support of the broadening worldview.

    Paradisneyland Lost:
    The Tahitian Terrace was a place my parents would take us to watch the fire dancers. It was only much later, in Hawaii, that I would see that spectacle again.
    http://davelandweb.com/tikiroom/tahitianterrace.html

    I have a leaf from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse on my wall. The times we climbed those rickety (not) looking spiral stairs are more than I could count.
    I even learned enough of the Swisskapolka (on my concertina) to make it near recognizable.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XEK_ojo6mgY

    Indyland:
    Indy’s queue was marvelous – when it opened – and people slowed everything down to a dead crawl as they fumbled and argued and guessed their way through the decoder cards. It was a personal investment in the adventure. I’m guessing that Paramount/Lucasfilm/Mr. Ford’s agents couldn’t come to a deal to get a sculpt of his face. That ain’t Indy. Did they ever get the blowguns working? I miss those cool jets of air.

    There was once Skipper of The Jungle Cruise
    Whose patter on the boat would make a Parson lose
    Composure at the tone of the Skipper, who
    Had a patter on the trip that was completely blue.

    She was censured and transferred. Or fed to the crocodile.

    I can feel the intent of the place, still, under the brush of non-successful Aladdin and the creeping incursions of cross-land promotional items. There is reassurance in turning to look over my shoulder, while in line for a cruise down that perilous river, at a window dedicated to Harper Goff. He tells me of oriental tattoos and banjo lessons to be learned in a place that existed only on the page and in the heart.

    See you in the Tiki Room.

  • lance says:

    Those are my dear long-time friends, beloved sisters and Angels: Cindy and Roberta. Always wonderful Disneylanding with them whenever I can manage it.

  • lance says:

    Karen. Great Post! Love your Aussie story. The ex and I were once the last Indy riders of the day and took a few group pics with the costumed castmembers.

    A Jungle Book presence of any sort is a Must Do for Adventureland….in fact, I’m surprised I missed such an obvious note! Of course, I love DFA-Based Dark Rides and Jungle Book (the last animated film with Walt’s personal hands on it) would be a great basis. My current solution to everything is if there ain’t room, dig a big hole and create a basement level for it!

    Thanks for writing, K!

  • lance says:

    Lindsey. That was sheer poetry. Thank you. I don’t have much to add….let it stand.

    I know the ride did not have permission to use Harrison’s face. (for whatever reason). Drew’s one-sheet/attraction Poster obviously does. As I understand it, Drew called Harrison and asked personally to use his face because he didn’t want to go generic with a character he had painted as Ford so many times. Harrison appreciated Drew’s courtesy and gave personal permission because Drew was a friend and has painted him more than anyone. Permission was given as a personal favor to Drew (Not Disney)…..or so I heard.

    As a definite tweak, I say get Ford’s permission and alter those figures.

    Rereading your post, I encourage you to look over previous blogs and add your well-phrased thoughts.

    Come back soon,

    L.

  • Robert Rose says:

    Good commentary. The queue for Indy blew us all away when the ride first opened. It’s one of the few rides in the park where I kind of regret it when there’s no line, at least for first-time riders. You miss a good deal of the experience that way. (It was particularly refreshing after the INCREDIBLY dull Splash Mountain queue, which I think was the last big ride added beforehand.)

    I still ride the Jungle Cruise, and enjoy the old jokes and the possibility of hearing new ones. I’m quite sure I could take the mike and do the narration myself, possibly blindfolded, with considerable variations. And that’s not even getting into the more unique rides I’ve had. Probably my all-time favorite was in the wee hours of Sunday morning of the “Captain Eo” opening weekend. The park, you may recall, opened Friday morning and didn’t close till Sunday night. By that time Sunday morning the cast members were slightly punch-drunk and our guide worked himself up to a rarely-matched energy, with repeated use of the exclamation (soon chorused by the whole boatload of us) “Oh wow, oh wow – what an adventure!” Well, you kinda had to be there….

    Then there are those unexpected moments, such as the time the guide swung the spotlight to catch one of the dock-workers hurriedly zipping up and scurrying back to the dock after apparently taking a quick leak in the rivers…or forward to see the captain of the empty boat in front of us slumped forward over the wheel, apparently having been speared by the headhunters….when your own captain starts to lose it, those are the really grand moments. :)

    I also rather miss the Tahitian Terrace, though I only ate there once or twice. The Tiki Room is a bit outmoded, but a classic, so yes, I’d rather they left it more or less as-is, though temporary special shows would be a welcome variant.

    I’m not sure how you could possibly squeeze another attraction into the area without taking one out – even if you could put it entirely underground, I’m not sure there’s even room for another queue area! But the Jungle Book does seem a curious omission.

  • Robert Rose says:

    Oh, and can I just add…that “Magnification” t-shirt in the opening photo is brilliant!

  • lance says:

    Thanks, Robert. Just showing the ATIS Love I will always carry with me. It was in my top 3 rides until they tore it out (yes, the other two are Pirates and Mansion)

  • lance says:

    Hi Robert. Thanks for adding some fun stories to the conversation. My best Jungle Cruise was very late on a rainy night. The Cruiser was definitely punchy. He had us in stitches. The cruise started seriously, but added humor over time. A good instinct. Walt himself enjoyed he jokey skippers.

    Come back soon and remember all, The previous Blogs are open and always available for new comments!

  • lance says:

    Those are my dear long-time friends, beloved sisters and Angels: Cindy and Roberta. Always wonderful Disneylanding with them whenever I can manage it.

  • Thomas says:

    I loved Adventureland as a kid and still do. The Jungle Cruise was my ride because (I thought at the time) it reminded me of The Jungle Book – although missing some key characters…
    While there have been some changes made to that ride, it has not been ‘cuted-up’ like some of the others and I am thankful for that. I miss the Jungle Drums queue music – but not that much. It got tiresome if the line was long and the current jazz music is wonderful.

    The Tiki Room is also still a favorite and while I certainly am glad they did not bring the “under new management’ skin to this attraction in CA, I would not mind seeing a seasonal change, either for Christmas or some other holiday.

    The loss of Tahitian Terrace is lamentable. The space is now one of the rare picnic spots in the park and while that is useful, if they plan to leave it that way, I wish there were more shade.

    Indiana Jones is certainly one of the best rides added to the CA parks in the last 25 years. I appreciate your criticisms of it, though and have always felt that there were opportunities missed when they built it. You should mention that the writing on the walls is readable and there are translation cards available on E-bay, if you look for them.

    The stores have always had some of the most interesting stuff in them (though currently, they seem to be much more surf-oriented than in years past_. The one closest to the hub used to have this wonderful mix of things that clearly changed from Adventureland themed items to Frontierland themed items as you moved across the floor from one side to the other. I think it was the only shop in the park that had doors on two different lands.

    There was a shooting gallery in Adventureland a very long time ago. I am not sure anymore exactly where it was, but I remember it having the same air-powered BB-guns that the Frontierland gallery had back in the day.

    Finally, like you, I miss the Swiss Family Treehouse. I am glad that it remains in FL, but I think that the Tarzan skin – and the presence of the characters – detracts from what the attraction used to be. I liked the fact that you saw the place devoid of people, but with signs of recent habitation. I will say, though, that I like the amount of interactivity that the Tarzan tree has for kids.

    Good, thoughtful comments, Lance!

  • Thomas says:

    Oops, I forgot to comment on food. Bengal Barbeque is, for my thinking, the best value for the dollar spent on food in either park (and not available anywhere in FL). As long you are not vegetarian, this is a treat you won’t find anywhere else and makes a very reasonably priced lunch. The skewers are easy to eat while walking from place to place – something not true of all window-service food options at the park) and while very tasty, nothing is spiced so heavily that it becomes hard to eat for young palates.

    There is a nice food stall next to the Jungle Cruise that sells fresh fruit, water and sodas. While I miss the piles of rubber snakes and spiders that used to be in this stall, I applaud the effort of Disney to offer healthy snack options. This is a recent change and a welcome one.

    The Dole Whip stand is often one of the longest lines in the park and for good reason. Imagine pineapple soft ice cream on a hot Anaheim afternoon. It used to be open only a few hours per day – thankfully, the park recognizes how popular it is and keeps it open longer now.

    Finally, there is the River Belle Terrace – yes, I know it is a Frontierland restaurant, but it has a door on the Adventureland side and while that is a bit jarring from a theming point of view, the food is good and it is worth a stop for a meal from time to time.

  • lance says:

    Ah, food. I don’t talk about that much and those are all good comments.

    The Dole Whip line is shorter on the other side with the folks waiting for the Tiki Room, so I always use that. Those things are so good and so popular, they really should have them also available over by the treehouse.

    Yes on the Skewers….I’m about as far from vegetarian as you can get!

    The Terrace is my DLR Breakfast of choice…well, that and the buffet at Storyteller’s Cafe in the Grand Californian.

    Of course, the new growth of healthy options is a fantastic idea. I LOVE those whole pickles on a hot day.

    My recollection is that the Disneyland food was pretty crummy in the 80′s….even the Blue Bayou. Am I misremembering that? Anyway, it’s much better now with more variety. I hear the Stuffed Baked Potatoes moved from The Troubadour in Fantasyland over to New Orleans Square….I’ll have to find out where on my next trip. Definitely a full lunch.

    Thanks again Thomas…welcome aboard and feel free to peruse and comment on past blogs…all are active.

    I’d say to you and ALL…please spread the word to othe serious Dineyland-goers. If I get enough readers and comments on a regular basis, I’ll keep doing this.

  • Sam Uzi says:

    man, I’ve only been to Disneyland twice – once when I was 13 years old and once when I was around 40… loved it even more the second time and your discussion of Adventureland makes me want to go again!!

  • Daria says:

    Thanks again, Lance, for another enjoyable trip to the Magic Kingdom in your mind. I won’t be as verbose on this topic. As a well-known tomboy, I’m afraid that Adventureland is one of the rare places that immediately turns me into a sulky ‘girly-girl.’ I have never had that much interest in that area of the park and normally avoid it. When I was a kid, the crowded aisle passing the trader’s hut reminded me of scenes from “Casablanca” more than anything Disney. In fact, maybe that’s a reason that I didn’t connect with the place–the very fact that there were very few true Disney-related elements there, at least the type to which children would relate (AKA ‘cartoons’)!

    Adventureland, on the surface, existed to port park visitors to all the fabled lands labeled in ‘darkness’ on the map—places so remote that your average American could only dream of visiting. These were the realms of the pulp fiction of the early 1900s, tales of fictional locales filled with jungles, wild animals, remote grass hut villages, scary ‘savages’ with big javelins and muscular lost Europeans in loincloths, the sort on which boys like the young Walt Disney thrived. Like his other boyhood dreams, Disney chose to recreate them in attraction form for Disneyland just as he had done through his “True Life Adventures” (pseudo) documentary series. Since most girls were never encouraged to share in any interest in Kipling, Burroughs or other such pulp fiction adventure tales, Adventureland always seemed to be more thrilling and entertaining for boys. No wonder my dad always seemed to love that area of the park while we were bored stiff. Hmmmm….I guess all daddies were little boys, once upon a time. (Hard to tell sometimes)!

    I remain split on the change from the Swiss Family Robinson’s lovely arbor home to Tarzan’s literal ‘hangout.’ True, most kids these days have never had the chance to enjoy the adventures of the Robinson family (on film or in print) and are somewhat more familiar with at least the Disney version of Edgar Rice Burrough’s tale of the Lord Of The Apes and his jungle compatriots, so the necessity to freshen up the attraction was obvious. However, I very much miss the charm of the Schwyzerörgeli accordion tunes, the wooden plumbing fixtures and the giant seashell wash basin. Any kid could scramble around that tree house and imagine themselves to be Ernst, Fritz or Francis Robinson defending their new home from invaders. Meanwhile, there’s really nothing up there now that evokes Tarzan’s adventures, save a few new hanging vines and his famous yodeling. It definitely needs an audio-animatronic Tarzan and (probably) Jane, and maybe a few swinging apes raised high enough to be true to life for the kiddies. In short, this venerable attraction is now severely lacking in anything that makes anyone but the very young and robust want to traverse that bloody rope ladder and stairs!

    The Indiana Jones attraction is, of course, the main draw of Adventureland. (By the way, the Aladdin Theater used to act as an exotic restaurant that served something similar to a Moroccan menu, as I recall, and didn’t last long, which is when it changed to a story-telling venture). The multiple adventure mode was wonderful–I stopped counting how many times we went on the ride to ensure that we had seen all three options. (If I recall correctly, it was the third room with the blue lighting and the crazy goddess that I liked the best). Like the later ‘Rocket Rods,’ the hydraulic and electrical issues wrecked this highly-inventive ride and often caused major back-ups until the second and third doors of the rotation were closed, making it a bit less interesting. Unfortunately, the ‘ride’ on this ride is so incredibly rough that it defeats the purpose of Disney’s vision of having attractions that visitors of all ages can enjoy. Rather than the lovely River Belle restaurant and my long-missed Aunt Jemima pancake lunches across the way, Disney would do better to open a bandage and liniment stand for the walking wounded refugees of Indy’s crazy jeep ride. I’d be their first customer.

  • Lance says:

    Sam…my closest school friend…

    I would LOVE you (and yours) to come down for a few days at Disneyland. You’d have one hell of a tour guide and I could catch up with ‘The Great Dane”.

    Of course, if my humble efforts inspire a trip (or enhance one), this is all worthwhile.

    Daria…it wouldn’t be a legitimate blog feedback unless you chimed in…but I think you know that.

    I’m sorry Adventureland is a little ‘boy-boy’ for you, but that’s understandable. For a smallish footprint, there are three pretty good attractions…and two of those are strongly Walt Legacy experiences. Tiki Room and Jungle Cruise are like taking a time machine back to my youth. Indy’s pretty good for a headliner.

    The unfortunate fact of Adventureland is that it is pretty land-locked. Penned in on all sides, there’s just no way to expand it without encroaching on another land. NewOrleans has the same issue. A friend of mine had a killer attraction idea for NOS but darned if I know where they’d fit it! Tomorrowland, Frontierland, Critter Country and Fantasyland are expandable with effort if you’re willing to rearrange some of the backstage. There’s simply no real estate available for Adventureland to land grab. The building of Indy necessitated a rerouting of a section of monorail track. The got that thing in with a shoehorn.

    My insane scheme of digging down, probably not a great idea since the Jungle Cruise is on one side, Rivers of America is on another and the Pirates is on a third side. That’s a lot of water to keep out! Seems like a dicey proposition to me.

    Daria, your last line had me laugh out loud. When it comes to Indy, the closer you are the the center of the vehicle (not impossible to arrange) the less you get tossed around.

    Great comments as always folks. Keep ‘em coming!

  • Lance says:

    Oh…in case you haven’t seen this Weird Al video….it is a Must for Jungle Cruise fans. Give it a few beats to get there….worth it!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0cCRRFi1aA

  • Daria says:

    You are absolutely right that Adventureland is in a pickle, land-wise, Lance. Still, since that area where the Aladdin what’s-it is rarely used, it can go now. It could easily be replaced with something from “The Jungle Book”–maybe a platform for the jungle band and a performance by Baloo…? Mind you, over the years Kipling’s view of the native world has lost its luster and, while Aladdin is cute, it doesn’t really work in a ‘real world’ setting of 2013. Given that Adventureland butts up against Frontierland on its back side, that Aladdin nook constitutes prime real estate for expansion and some serious thought should be paid to doing something engaging with it.

    By the way, when I was a little girl (back when knighthood was in flower!), there used to be a large Native American encampment where my dad took lots of photos of tribal dancers. There was also a sizable picnic area (sans Humphrey the bear)—but for the life of me I can’t figure out where it was. Wasn’t that part of Adventureland too? This was all gone by the time of my 1968 guidebook, so the map doesn’t reflect it. Any idea, my Disney guru?

  • Lance says:

    Easy. They built a Mansion on the Indian Burial Grounds ; ) That always leads to a Haunted-Type Mansion.

    Of course, the Aladdin area is a waste of space. In an earlier blog I suggested the restoration of the Skyway (with a filmed experience for those who couldn’t get on it (nice way of saying wheelchair-bound) and even a second line more rustically-themed. That would go from Aladdin’s Oasis to the back side of Splash Mountain. I’d have to see in a mock-up if it’s even doable without screwing up the look of all those areas in-between, not to mention the obstacles of the Treehouse and Splash Mountain.

    Things like that need to be worked out with digital and practical miniatures.

    But imagine getting to watch a piece of Fantasmic from a moving Skyway. Super-cool.

    OR…a special ticket would allow a certain number of cars to be stopped in the right spot for the duration of the show. I’d pay for that view!

  • Wendy says:

    Loved going through Adventureland with Skipper Lance. You captured the essence of this land pretty spot on.

    One of the first things I notice when taking a left at the hub is the tropical foliage. There is always something beautiful in bloom. Took some photos of an unusual yellow flower cluster that I hope to identify soon on my last trip.

    As for your suggestion of some sort of holiday overlay in the Tiki Room, I would not be adverse to a visit from Stitch or Zazu for a short period of time, but nothing permanent. I’ve never been to WDW, so nothing to compare it to.

    Back in the mid ’90s, Aladdin’s Oasis was a pretty good place to eat. Our favorites were the rice pilaf and the chocolate genie’s lamp filled with chocolate mousse. Wish I had one right now.

    I think having a Jungle Cruise skipper with the right comedic timing is rare anymore. The past few ones I’ve had were rushing through the jokes and talking too closely into the mike. You know, like in the Peanuts shows – waa waa waa waa waa. But get a good one and let the laughter ensue!

    And yes, it is amazing how many attractions are “isolated”. That’s part of the magic of Disneyland. So many different experiences to be had.

    As for Indy, what I miss is the fire effect in the main room crossing the bridge in front of the giant skull. I seem to recall it having more flames and more heat when it first opened.

    Thank you for your insights and hope they will be continuing!

  • lance says:

    Hey Wendy…no relation, right? That’s a perfect Disney name, after all.

    Love your Comment, so let’s get to it.

    Yes on the foliage. Walt once said, as the plants grow, Disneyland will become more beautiful over time. This is truer than ever for Adventureland, where the dense foliage dominates and helps keep the area seemingly remote and isolated. The park has an amazing team dedicated to the greenery and they’re always trying new things. There’s also an actual ‘Garden Tour” of Disneyland which focuses on, naturally, the plant life. They’ve done this in Florida for a long time and finally started to do it here. I will definitely check it out one of these days if it isn’t crazy expensive.

    Never ate at Aladdin’s Oasis or the Tahitian Terrace….definitely wish I had when they existed…especially the latter. There was a recent special event, recreating the experience and I wish I went.

    The Skippers are surprising, once in a while, you’ll hear a whole batch of jokes. Make sure to watch the Skipper Dan video in this comments section. Wonderful.

    I think you’re right about Indy….they may have toned down the fx a bit.

    Great letter! Please return. We have a lot to talk about,

    Warmly,

    Lance (or Skipper if you prefer)

  • Wendy says:

    Cultivate the Magic is the name of the tour and I hope to be able to do this one in October.

    And I already have the Skipper Dan video on my iPod. Love it.

    I’m in the middle of reading more of your blog, so watch for more comments!

    And yes, I love that I have a Disney name!

  • Daria says:

    Hey–thanks, Lance: Mystery solved! It makes sense (the location of the NA encampment), considering what the Big Thunder area used to look like. I remembered those days of my folks lugging the ol’ wicker picnic basket and blanket around and, thankfully, Daddy was a whiz with that Kodak camera (the one with the salad bowl lighting rig!) so we still have lots of photos from that era. I just couldn’t for the life of me picture where the heck we were compared to the Park as it is currently configured. Cheers for the assist!

  • lance says:

    Hey D. Happy to help. If i get a tough question luckily, i have a handful of very knowledgable experts to consult with….but must remain unidentified. I also avoid posting any confidential information…though, sometime I hear some off-the-record stuff. in your case, I happened to know! Well, you’ve informed me as much as I have you, so it seems fair.

    Cheers yerself,

    L.

  • Mark Lewis says:

    Good reading, as always. If my timetable isn’t off though, you wrote this before the Indy ride’s recent “refreshing.” Do you have any further comments about the ride since that’s happened? It seems like maybe some of your notes may have been addressed.

  • lance says:

    Hi Mark,

    They certainly gave it a nice coat of paint…but otherwise it looks basically the same to me.

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