Often, the misconception is made by the powers that be that we, the masses, want our rides and attractions bigger, stronger, and faster. Some of it has to do with the technological products that take over our day to day lives. Some of it may have to do with fear that the family or guest will not return because there was nothing new to see. That was never really the case for us Dillos. I certainly don’t need my movies in 3-D or in IMAX or in IMAX 3-D, why would I need The Diz to be that way?
To their credit, when looking at the big picture (really look at it), WDW really hasn’t gone that path. Sure, we still lament over the loss of Mr. Toad’s and Horizons and The Dreamfinder, but the New Fantasyland is finally making use of space that has laid dormant for decades. Part of which has to do with the technology that can accompany such a draw as the Be Our Guest restaurant but, overall, this renovation was a long time coming. And while a trip to The Diz certainly can be highlighted with the ‘What’s New’ aspect, it’s the little things, the supporting players, that brings us back.
My favorite attraction during my 1st trip to Walt Disney World in early 1981 was ‘If You Had Wings’. It could be because it was free when you had to pay admission to rides in the Magic Kingdom. That catchy little ditty (‘had wings, had wings, had wings…) didn’t escape my 6 year old brain for months. The four and a half minute ride, presented by the now defunct Eastern airlines, had just enough stimulation to entertain this kid, with a grande finale in the ‘speed room’. I don’t know why I needed wings to ride water skis, but maybe that’s why I never water skied.
That ride faded into the sunset a long time ago (but not before morphing into ‘If You Could Fly’ and ‘Delta’s Dreamflight’), but its spirit lives on in the Mexico Pavilion’s ‘Gran Fiesta Tour’ in EPCOT’s World Showcase. Initially named ‘El Rio Del Tempo’ (‘The River of Time’), the calming boat ride past a Mayan temple, a volcano, an ‘interactive’ street market and a Mexico City fireworks celebration was a great escape from the heat or the rain. A simple yet effective ride.
In 2007, the ride was rebranded as the ‘Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros’, which upgraded the ride in a positive way. One, it paid homage to the seventh (and often forgotten) Walt Disney Animated Feature. Two, it introduced Panchito to a larger audience. I remember several character meet and greets in the World Showcase where guests were just confused, often calling him ‘Sombrero Huey’ or ‘Sombrero Duey’ or ‘Sombrero Louie’. Jose Carioca had his own song (He’s Jose! Car-i-o-ca!) so he didn’t make as many appearances…
Do I need my rides and attractions to be in 3-D or have multiple inversions, or move at warp speed with a queue line of interactive gadgetry? No. Sometimes I just need an omnimover or a slow moving boat ride.