One of the things I love most about Disney Parks is the amount of creativity and ingenuity that goes into creating their attractions. The Disney Imagineers, designers of the rides and shows at the parks, are known for pushing the envelope on what can and cannot be done to improve guests’ experiences in terms of theming, technology, and overall enjoyment. However, lately I’ve noticed that more and more of the same attractions are being used on both the East and West Coasts. This has me wondering – Should Walt Disney World and Disneyland have “copycat” attractions in their parks? Or, should each park remain unique in what is offered?
Image: Should each Disney theme park have its own unique attractions?
I grew up with Walt Disney World. My parents took me there annually and even sometimes twice per year. As a youngster, I read every updated copy of Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World guidebook that hit the shelves. I watched those free vacation planning videos – on VHS back then, I might add – relentlessly and always ordered a new one when it became available. I even spent hours poring over park maps to find the ultimate touring route whether or not I had a vacation coming up. Let’s face it; I was hooked!
Image: Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World
My love of Disney’s East Coast park continued well into adulthood. It wasn’t until several years ago that I had the opportunity to travel to Disneyland. I was amazed at how different the two parks were, but still found some of my favorite attractions to enjoy. While I didn’t have much issue with this back then, copycat Disney attractions have become a bit of a pet peeve for me. Why can’t the Disney Imagineers create new experiences in each park instead of using the same ideas? They surely are talented enough. After all, these are the same people that brought the Yeti to life in Expedition Everest (okay, I know that he’s having some “issues,” but you get what I mean), flew us to the moon in Mission: Space, helped us “soar” across California in Soarin’, and allowed us to journey under the sea with Ariel and friends in the beautiful new Enchanted Forest of Fantasyland. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Now, before readers comment that Walt Disney World was actually the park that “copied” some of Disneyland’s attractions, let me say that I totally understand the history of the parks and who came first; sure, there might be a mild tweak or two in each park, but they’re the same ride. Still, this mass-production of the same experience causes me to raise an eyebrow. Just take a look at this list, completely off of the top of my head, of attractions that exist in both parks:
- The Little Mermaid
- Haunted Mansion
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Toy Story Mania
- Tower of Terror
- Space Mountain
- Winnie the Pooh
- Jungle Cruise
- River Boats
- Tiki Room
- Buzz Lightyear
- It’s a Small World
- It’s Tough to be a Bug
- Muppet Vision 3D
Image: It’s a Small World in Disneyland is similar to that in Walt Disney World. However, the line and part of the attraction are outside and famous Disney characters are scattered throughout the rooms filled with dolls from around the world.
Plus, there’s more either already in existence or on their way. Take the well-credited Cars Land rumor. This newly-created area of Disney California Adventure (DCA) has been said to have revitalized and saved the park from failure. Over the past six months or so, it’s been rumored that Disney’s Hollywood Studios will receive its own version of Cars Land. Some have even stated that it will have DCA’s flagship attraction, Radiator Springs Racers, in its center. While many people are excited about this potentially happening, I just find it to be another case of copycat attractions. Disney Imagineers’ creative juices can come up with something new and, if they want to jump off of the Pixar theme, there are plenty of characters and movies to be touched upon.
All in all, I hope that Disney does not continue the pattern of producing the same attractions in its theme parks. A part of the reason Disney fans enjoy visiting the different parks is to experience what they have to offer and, if everything is the same, why bother visiting places like Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Sea, Disneyland Paris, etc? If the Imagineers can create such amazing guest experiences, I’d love to see more of them that are unique to their location. What do you think about copycat Disney attractions? Should the same rides that exist in one park also appear elsewhere? Chime in here by posting your comments below.