So, when I was asked by WDW Radio Blog Editor, Kendall Foreman, to give a “Walt Disney World holiday list” a go, I was more than happy to oblige. I will take any chance to list, catalogue, or otherwise disseminate a collection of Disney desires since my brain is perpetually in a state of Disney brainstorm anyway.
But in reality, the task is hard. Where does one start? So, I asked Kendall for direction. WDW food? Gear? Attractions? We settled on an Imagineering Christmas List: a way to kind of have it all – proposed rides, restaurants, etc. – in one overarching umbrella of fancy. (While this didn’t resolve the volume of possibilities from which I could choose, it did provide a lens with which to look through: if I were an Imagineer, what would I want to create?) So, here is my list. Forgive me in advance for my mental meanderings. I’m an old soul, so my list is a hodgepodge of mostly classic Disney, but I do have some ideas related to newer Disney content, and even a tech idea. That said, if you have any better ideas than me, I’d love it if you added YOUR Walt Disney World wishes in the comments section below!
Up balloon ride over “Paradise Falls” / South America Pavilion.
I’ll start in Epcot. One area of World Showcase which seems underutilized is the Outpost. Disney historians know it once was slated to be an Africa pavilion, yet now serves as a nebulous snack and multi-use area. (The continent of Africa has its own well-developed “pavilion” in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.) I say, transform this area into the first “regional” pavilion: South America. Now, I know the cultures of South America are as vast and varied as Africa’s, but the vehicle for my dream – an Up ride which takes guests high above “Paradise Falls” in a replica of Carl Fredrickson’s house and set to Michael Giacchino’s beautiful music score– would most likely have to be created in Angel Falls, Venezuela, the location of much of Pixar’s environmental research for the film. Politically speaking, then, a Venezuela pavilion ain’t happening. So let’s celebrate the whole continent so my wish can come true … and so I can have a caipirinha in Brazil, too.
United Kingdom dark ride: Bedknobs and Brooksticks or The Great Mouse Detective.
World Showcase went through a bit of an identity crisis when the much-publicized Frozen takeover of Maelstrom occurred in Epcot’s Norway, but the Pandora’s box of marrying pavilions and Disney features seems to be wide open; and I must say, if this trend continues, one of the most interesting pavilions to consider is the United Kingdom. So many Disney classics have been set there, the possibilities for all manner of beautiful dark rides are limitless; obvious choices include Alice in Wonderland, Mary Poppins, and 101 Dalmatians. (Can you imagine the effects possible for all of these?) But I am going to propose some personal favorites of mine which often get overlooked. Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the 1971 musical starring Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson in which three orphan children are temporarily adopted during the tumult of London Blitz, could be a beautiful ride in so many ways – the magic, the flying broomsticks and beds, the settings: Portabello Road, Naboombu, and Medieval castles with “fighting” armor. So many possibilities! And then there’s The Great Mouse Detective…one of my favorites. This animated murine Holmes tale from 1986 follows the exploits of the famous Basil of Baker Street as he works to take down the vile and insidious Professor Ratigan. In the climactic scene, Basil and Ratigan engage in a chase scene within the cogs and inner workings of London’s Big Ben. Can you imagine a bit of a thrill ride centered around that?
Mr. Boogedy and Blackbeard’s Ghost for Halloween.
Moving over to the Magic Kingdom Park, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Halloween in general have proven to be incredible experiences for guests. Disney pulls out many villains and ghosts for the affair, but I’d like to see two of my favorite, and unsung, “apparitions” used in some way: first, Mr. Boogedy from the 1986 made-for-TV film Mr. Boogedy and its sequel Bride of Boogedy; and second the ghost of Blackbeard the pirate from 1968’s Blackbeard’s Ghost. The former is a tad more “evil” than the latter, but both can be spooky, and I love them.
Bambi New England woods dark ride.
One of my favorite Disney films of all time is the 1942 animated classic, Bambi. No matter how hard I’ve tried though, I cannot think of a single reference to this film in any of the Disney parks. (I get it, this film contains one of the most tragic plot turns in all of cinema, but try to omit that part for a second.) Enter: Disney’s Animal Kingdom! A great opportunity to have a North American wilderness dark ride told through the eyes of our favorite deer and his friends. It would most assuredly entertain, and there could be learning experiences toward conservation, too, through the film’s portrayal of man’s effect on the environment. Don’t laugh at this idea…I love the possibilities here!
Star Wars drone battle.
Moving over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I’ve heard a lot about how Disney is starting to really refine and master its use of performing drones in the Parks. I also know that the popularity in Star Wars-themed drones for home use is really taking off. To this, I state the following: I want the Battle of Yavin from Episode IV to take place over the Fantasmic! performance arena or over Echo Lake. I’m talking floating Death Star, X-Wings, and TIE fighters, and a full orchestra and sound effects to accompany it! Make it happen, guys!
Doctor Strange Light Show.
One of my absolute favorite movies of 2016 was the recent Marvel release of Doctor Strange. Set in several attractive locales like Kathmandu, London, New York, and Hong Kong, it is the film’s scenes in the Astral Plane and alternate dimensions like the Dark Dimension engulfing Earth from outer space which could lend themselves to one heck of a light and effects night show.
The Incredibles attraction.
The first Incredibles film is one of my favorite animated features. There’s another one coming out soon? I guarantee it will be awesome, and I demand some sort of attraction dedicated to this storyline!
Mos Eisley Cantina and Jabba’s Palace.
In my deepest, craziest desires – going back to when I was a child – I would do just about anything to visit the Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars Episode IV and Jabba’s Palace from Episode VI. And now that the Star Wars/Disney merger has happened, I now think it is a real possibility to visit, eat, and be entertained in these two places. Let’s do this!
Richie McNanna is an 8th grade teacher from Westfield, NJ. He has been a self-proclaimed Disney nut since the age of seven when his parents convinced him that real ghosts lived in the Haunted Mansion, and his goal in life is to retire one day and become one of the Dapper Dans. Richie’s wife, Helene, is the most understanding woman on the planet for putting up with his Disney obsession and owed a great deal of emotional payback. His son is one year old and already owns several sets of Mickey ears.