Monday, September 3, 2012

The Radiator Springs Backlash Brouhaha

On October 17, 2007, the construction of a Cars Land for Disney California Adventure in Anaheim was formally announced. About ten minutes later the Great Internet Speculatron generated the rumor that Cars Land would be cloned for Walt Disney World in Florida, and would likely replace the Lights, Motors, Action stunt show and maybe part of the Backlot Tour at the Hollywood Studios park. For its part, Disney was pretty much silent about the idea, but that didn’t stop people on message boards from exhaustively debating the merits and the drawbacks of an East Coast Cars Land, all before ground had even been broken on the original West Coast version.

Just as the Internet had begun to tire of this debate, Cars Land opened in California to instant popularity, which was not really a surprise inasmuch as California Adventure had pretty much been the Phantom Menace of Disney theme parks before this. And predictably, the Great East Coast Cars Land Debate was resurrected-this time with a twist: a message board personage whose claim to be a Disney insider was believed by other people on the message board said that Disney was definitely, for sure, bringing Cars Land to Florida. And the Internet totally took this guy’s word for it. My Twitter feed blew up with some people expressing joy that Cars Land was coming to Florida and others complaining that cloning a uniquely-California Adventure experience for Hollywood Studios would diminish both parks.

What’s my opinion? Honestly, I’m not sure I even have an opinion on a recently-resurrected five-year-old rumor about a hypothetical thing that may possibly happen at some point in the future, unless it doesn’t. However, I think we can all agree that Cars Land is a nice thing. And if, in the future, all the various competing interests within the Disney Corporation find it in themselves to replace the mostly sad and pathetic back half of Hollywood Studios with a nice thing like Cars Land, then I would certainly be in favor of it. I have a similar opinion about Animal Kingdom’s Avatar Land, which I understand is slated to open at some point in the 21st century.

What of the notion that this would somehow ruin the artistic uniqueness and sanctity of Hollywood Studios and California Adventure? Honestly, the artistic uniqueness and sanctity of Hollywood Studios and California Adventure is not really something I care about. I appreciate the Studios because it’s home to some genuinely cool things that wouldn’t fit into the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. But I’m not emotionally invested in the purity of its theme.

My dearest wish is for Disney to give top priority and a huge budget to the goal of making EPCOT’s Future World awesome again. Until that happens, it’s really hard for me to get all worked up about anything that comes out of the Great Internet Speculatron.

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