Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Surreal!

Recently I was reading a thread on the WDWMagic boards about the possibility of Captain EO returning to EPCOT in light of its success at Disneyland. Predictably, someone said “why not just bring Magic Journeys back?” and the folks who replied all expressed the belief that Magic Journeys was too surreal and unorthodox a show for today’s Disney. And they were probably right.

It was not always that way, though. And I’m not just referring to the 1980s and early 1990s, when the Disney theme parks were at their creative peak. Much earlier, during Walt’s lifetime, Disney was not afraid to do things that were surrealistic and downright weird. Fantasia is by far the most prominent example, but my favorite instance of surrealistic strangeness by the Walt Disney Company occurs during 1968’s Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day (Walt was involved with “Blustery Day’s” production, even though it wasn’t released until after his death). It starts out as a perfectly normal A.A. Milne-flavored little story, with Pooh and Piglet and Eeyore and long winded speeches from Owl, and then without warning it drops some acid:

The “Heffalumps and Woozles” number is so completely unlike the rest of the Pooh shorts, and such a huge departure from the source material, that it must have been a pretty big risk to take. One certainly can’t imagine today’s Disney, the international multimedia conglomerate, putting a psychedelic acid trip into a kid’s movie about English stuffed animals. And that’s kind of a shame, because
“Heffalumps and Woozles” is awesome.

And that brings us back to the Magic Eye theater. According to Martin Smith (who is never wrong) one of the proposals to revitalize Journey Into Imagination involves extending the ride-thru attraction into the space the theater now occupies. If that does not happen, however, and Disney decides instead to restore the original ride track (half of it is still there, after all, as part of the current ride) then the theater would still be there, and still stuck in the 20th century.

  Seriously, fix this

So, if there’s a future for Disney World’s first 3D theater, what kind of production should it house once Honey, I Shrunk The Audience is put out of its misery? Well, let me say that I’m not in favor of simply resurrecting an old show. And I really don’t want to see a rehash of the “A routine performance/scientific demonstration goes comically awry” plot that every single 3D film at Disney World currently employs. What I would like to see is a film that uses the power of 3D coupled with modern filmmaking techniques to take us on an exhilarating, dreamlike trip into our imaginations. If the presence of licensed characters is deemed to be absolutely necessary (and these days it seems that Disney doesn’t go to the john without the presence of licensed characters) then why not use the pavilion’s mascots, Dreamfinder and Figment? And if it’s a little strange, a little psychedelic, a little surreal, then that much the better.

Finally, speaking of things that are surreal, I can’t believe that futureprobe has 20-count ‘em-20 followers! According to my spinning globey-thing on the right side of the page, I’ve had visitors from five continents, including Sao Paulo, Brazil; Oslo, Norway; Dharan, Saudi Arabia; Hornsby, Australia, and many places in the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, and elsewhere in Europe and Asia. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! And if you surfed here accidentally looking for pornography, then I’m truly sorry. How you could fail at finding porn on the Internet is beyond me.

The weather is warming up here in Florida after our record-breaking Antarctic winter, and I’ll try to get down to EPCOT one more time before it gets too hot for outdoor activity. Hopefully, I can bring you a report on my experience on The Sum of All Thrills at Innoventions, and I will try to put aside my thrill-ride chickenhood long enough to finally ride Test Track.

Mrs. Future Guy and I will be celebrating our wedding anniversary during this year’s Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT, and hopefully I’ll be able to get down there around that time to experience the World Showcase’s new Mexican and Italian restaurants, assuming they open on time, and get some pictures and reviews for you.

Until next time!


  1. Classic Disney was very much surreal and trippy! I mean look at all the Silly Symphony shorts for starters. Lots of weird stuff going on in those.

    Then you've got Alice In Wonderland and my personal fave, the pink elephants on parade from Dumbo. Dumbo was practically on LSD for that sequence!


  2. Magic Journeys was indeed surreal. It was also terminally DULL. That it was a hit is attributable to only one thing... no one had ever seen such clear & effective 3D, ever.


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