With theme parks around the country going through their post-quarantine reopening, I’ve been thinking about what I would to do plus Disneyland during quarantine. These are things that need a little bit of sprucing, but wouldn’t be drastic changes. Maybe Disney will surprise us by making a few of these changes as they get ready for the parks to reopen.
Astro Blasters. If you look for a guide on how to do well at this shooter ride, you’ll find people claiming that the guns’ lasers aren’t aligned properly. I start the ride each time by shooting at the wall near me to see how off my gun is. And the targets themselves aren’t always responsive. It’s not uncommon to see the exact center of a target lighting up with red lasers, but the large Z doesn’t light up, and no one gets points. This may just be bad wiring or bad sensors that need replacing. But a tune up to these shooting systems would make the game more reliable and fun.
Peter Pan. This ride needs shade, and not just to keep it cool. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the first on this ride in the morning, it’s a quick walk through the mostly outdoor queue before you enter the ride, and you’re soaring through Neverland. But, with the walk going so quickly, your eyes don’t have time to adjust to the lower light levels in time. It’s harder to see the vibrant colors as you fly over London. It weakens the effect, since the rooms just look darker. Other rides give you a transition that helps solve the problem. Snow, Pinocchio, and Mr. Toad have queues that end indoors. Alice in Wonderland has the trip down the rabbit hole that dims gradually. But a quick walk through the Peter Pan queue makes it harder to see. Since there will be social distancing in the queues when Disneyland opens, that means less of your wait will be in the part of the line that is shaded. Extending the shade will make happy guests who are cool, and happy guests who can see the ride.
Thunder Mountain. I really like the effects update that came to the railroad a few years ago. In the original iteration of the ride, the train had to escape a tunnel before a cave-in blocked the entrance. In the current version, the train ends up in a mine shaft with dynamite about to explode. The front of the train narrowly escapes the explosion. But if you’re sitting in the back of the train, there’s time to watch the entire explosion, and see the dynamite in place before exiting the tunnel. The explosion is simulated by a puff of mist. The problem is that the mist clears up before the back has time to leave the room. That puff needs to be bigger. If it lasted just a few seconds longer, it would strengthen the illusion for the back of the train.
Observatron. The Observatron used to be part of Astro Orbiter. When Tomorrowland was redecorated to it’s golden future style in the late ’90s, the Astro Orbiter was built from scratch. This left the old ride system to be redecorated. It functioned as a clock for the land. It would run a short show every quarter hour to signal the passage of time. But for years, it has sat dormant. With all the changes to stroller parking and FastPass distribution, there is now more walkway available in Tomorrowland which could be used for viewing. Just like the clock parade at “it’s a small world,” the Observatron would be a signal that there is something interesting happening in the heart of Tomorrowland. It may be a small tweak to a land that needs huge changes, but having the Observatron resume operation would add movement to the land.
French Market. I understand there’s some history with the French Market and the Mint Julep Bar. But with the way Disney has been adding characters to almost everything, I don’t understand why Tiana hasn’t taken over. If being in Tomorrowland and selling pizza was enough to change Pizza Port into Pizza Planet from Toy Story, what’s keeping Disney from adding Tiana’s Place to New Orleans Square? In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana’s Place is a cajun creole restaurant with a jazz theme in the heart of New Orleans. Tiana’s specialty is beignets. This is exactly what the French Market is. This is such a straightforward opportunity for a Disney Princess restaurant – maybe even with a character breakfast. Disney needs to make this change sooner than later.
What other ideas do you have for simple but beneficial changes to the existing rides at Disneyland?