Saturday, September 17, 2011

Animal Kingdom needs a dark ride.

For years, Animal Kingdom’s advertisements insisted that it was “not a zoo.”

Nahtazu, n., A theme park infested with zoo animals.

The advertisers were so proud of what the park wasn’t, they forgot to tell us what it was. Not that their summary would matter. They were wrong.

It is a zoo. And it’s a magnificent zoo. The animals are glorious, and the theming is some of Disney’s most tasteful work. Animal Kingdom has nothing to be ashamed of.

...except its attractions. If I were advertising a park whose E-tickets are a raft ride about deforestation and a movie where a stinkbug farts on us, I’d insist that it is only a zoo.

We need more attractions.

Expedition Everest was a helpful addition, but it’s a thrill ride. If we meet the height requirement, a yeti tries to eat us. If we don’t meet the height requirement, a yeti tries to orphan us.

"Hi, kids! I'm adopting you! My stool smells like your birth parents!"

We need attractions for all ages. If possible, they should be dark rides, partly because dark rides are a Disney speciality, but mostly because they’re air conditioned.

Let’s work backwards. If we scrutinize Animal Kingdom's lands, maybe we can find a subject they haven't explored yet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to adapt a movie into a ride.

A lot of movies would make great rides, but we have to be careful.

If we faithfully translate a movie into a ride, it’ll be redundant. We’ll spend the whole ride remembering the movie, instead of being immersed in the movie.

It would be like if we went to a concert, hoping to hear this...

...but instead of hearing this...

...we heard this.

A ride that’s based on a movie must provide new insight into a familiar story.

It should use our foreknowledge as a shortcut. Since we already know the story, the ride doesn’t have to waste time explaining it. Instead, it should make us experience the movie from a different perspective.

That’s not an easy thing to do. There are two common mistakes, and there are two effective approaches.