Monday, December 22, 2008

On rehabs and refurbishments, Part 1

So, first off, let me apologize for taking so damn long to post, but there's been much going on recently. Maybe this will make it better?


There hasn't been a lot going on in Orlando. Things are quiet, really, as Disney prepares to begin it's new blatant attempt to get your ass in the park "Celebration Vacation" event. But something's put me off a tad bit: the lack of refurbishments and rehabs in the park currently.

I know, I know. The economy is on hard times right now. This country is hemorrhaging money, and the last thing some companies can afford is to shove money into a new paint job for "it's a small world". But I was reading an article on ScreamScape today about the recent refurb for "Primeval Whirl", located in Chester and Hester's Din-O-Rama, AKA the most pointless fucking thing in the history of time.
According to the news bit, the coaster (which just came out of a lengthy rehab) got a shitload LESS than what was expected. Apparently, where people were hoping for better security fences and on-board photos, all they got was some minor tweaking with the brakes - tweaking that has actually made the efficiency of the loading system (however much of that there was previously) plummet: the number of cars has decreased, and the loadout time has increased. This is easily the most popular ride in the sub-land, and Disney has effectively fucked it up with a rehab that a) was uncalled for in the first place, and b) made things worse for not only the riders, but the cast members as well.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not necessarily mortified at this piece of news. See, I HATE HATE HATE this ride with a passion. I hate the entire "Din-O-Rama" land itself. Why? Because Animal Kingdom used to have a fairly balanced and consistent experience in its "Dinoland, USA". But then, for no reason but to increase traffic through the area, Disney Parks put one of the tackiest, cheapest fucking themed lands in the middle of the area. I've always hated how it's essentially as if they stripped a piece of the Boardwalk (which, don't get me wrong, is my favorite resort in WDW), and plopped it right outside of the doors to "Dinosaur".
Also, fuck every ride in there.
There are really only two: Triceratops Spin (another lameass Dumbo knockoff - why is Disney now copying the people that copy Disney?), and the aforementioned Whirl, which is the most painful ride Disney has to offer (and yes, I called it a "ride" as opposed to an "attraction", because that's what the fuck it is, unlike almost everything else offered in the parks). I mean that literally. Not since "Dreamchasers" (that horrid advertisement for GE in the postshow area for "Test Track") have I been in pain in Disney World like this. My neck gets snapped around every 5 fucking seconds.


Sorry to complain. The point is: Why is Disney pissing away money like this? It's near frivolous. Yes, the country is in a bad way, money-wise, and YES, we all know Disney has the money to fix up some old girls. I mean, for God's sake, this is Disney World! Plus, they're ridiculously keen on throwing away cash, since (again) they're squandering it on half-assed rehabs for shitty rides!

Seriously, where the FUCK is the rehab for the Norway pavilion? I know EPCOT Central did an article on this a few months ago, but it's been heavily on my mind since I last went to the pavilion in August. That place is falling the fuck apart.
I remember riding the Maelstrom, and being utterly appalled at the condition this place was in. Despite the fact that the line was a 20 or so minute wait to board, the interior of the attraction was just...heartbreaking. The paint was chipped away on alot of the walls, and the animatronics were slow to move, creaking and groaning, as if they weren't up to the challenge. The sound quality was pathetic; distorted noise and static were abound. I mean, I felt like I was in the goddamn "Country Bear Jamboree" (more on that in a second). And then there were the Cast Members. This is a sad lot. Whereas in France or Mexico, you have friendly, cheerful (occasionally) folks explaining where specifically they're from, the Norweigan guides are as slovenly and sad at the pavilion they're in. They don't give a shit whether you stay or go. As a matter of fact, they encourage you to leave.
What's that? You haven't seen the film?
Well, you're among the thousands a year who skip it too. I'd never watched it before this summer, but I decided to humor myself and see what it could be like.

Jesus fucking Christ, guys.

This movie simply is terrible. They could have put on a 5-minute clip from "Innerspace", and it'd be more current than this thing. The hair, the outfits, the all perfectly reflects the care Disney is putting into the maintenance of the place. It's disrespectful. And I'd be a liar if I said my heart didn't sink to the point of near tears when I eyed the dedication plaque near the exit. All that hope and promise, slowly sinking away.

Then, there are the Country Bears.

Please, PLEASE GOD someone do something to this show. I'm not even going to say much; I feel it'd be unneccesary. This show absolutely NEEDS a rehab, a long stint in which literally every piece of robo-ursus gets thrown into scrap and started anew. Remaster the tracks and dialogue, and gussy up that shitty old theatre. I don't think it's as urgent as Norway, or the several other shows that need pick-me-ups, though. At least this one is goofy enough to the point that the broken condition it's in actually works with the theme of the show, overall. It's almost like the show is laughing at itself, with us. But that's the problem: We're laughing AT, not with.

Coming soon, Part 2! In which I (for once) point out some plusses in the "rehab" category, and what Disney can learn from them. Then, in part 3, I'll delve into some upcoming major rehabs, and how I feel about them (sneak peek: BOOO!). Until next time...