The various fan communities on the Internet are ravenous beasts. We have an insatiable hunger for as much information as possible on the subjects of our geekish devotion. If a movie about our favorite superhero is greenlit, we want to know which actors will be cast and who the villain will be and what the costume will look like and what the story will be, and we want this information RIGHT NOW. And as soon as that stuff starts to leak out and our curiosity is satisfied, we start wondering about the sequel.
The Disney fan community is no different. For weeks, even months, we speculated about the rumors that Disney would announce a Fantasyland expansion project at Walt Disney World. And even though the project is now under way and won’t be totally complete until sometime around 2014, it’s old news to us. We know what’s going on behind those construction walls. What we want to know is: what’s next? What’s the next big project? The beast digested all the Fantasyland stuff long ago, and while the news about Star Tours and the Tiki Room were nice snacks, there’s not a lot of mystery there. The beast is hungry, and it wants to know where the next meal is coming from.
But is that really fair? In the old pre-Internet days, we wouldn’t have even known about most of these projects unless our local newspaper happened to carry a story about them. More likely, we’d hear about it from a friend, or find out because we happened to visit the parks while construction was going on. We were curious, sure, but the curiosity didn’t consume us. Why the change? Some say it’s because the Internet has turned us into impossible-to-please information junkies, desperate for our next fix. Others seem to feel that, because Disney has stumbled so badly with attractions like Stitch’s Great Escape and Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama, we can’t feel comfortable sitting back and trusting them to do a good job. We have to scrutinize each scrap of leaked information and pounce on anything we don’t like in the hopes that our outcries will be heard back at Disney corporate headquarters, or at the very least we’ll know ahead of time that a new attraction is going to be bad and steel ourselves for the disappointment.
Don’t get me wrong. There are things I’m desperate for Disney to do: restore the Imagination pavilion, do something with the vacant Wonders of Life, and replace Stitch’s Great Escape with something that’s actually good. But right now, they’re in the process of expanding Fantasyland into an area that’s been vacant since 20,000 Leagues shut down. In the process, we’re increasing Fantasyland’s attraction count by one, and the long-rumored Seven Dwarves Mine Train is finally going to be built.
So, even though we’re all eager for fresh scraps of Disney World news, why not sit back and enjoy contemplating the biggest expansion to the Magic Kingdom since the Tomorrowland expansion of 1975? For a little while, at least? Would it be so bad if the beast went on a little diet?