Disney invites fans to take a look ‘behind the attraction’

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July 17, 2021, 8:00 a.m. Go see a magic show, and you can find two types of people in the audience: those who are content to be entertained by the illusions of the magician and those who want to learn the secrets of the magician.

For theme park fans of Camp Two, Disney Plus offers another behind-the-scenes look at how Disney parks were created. “Behind the Attraction” debuts July 21 on the streaming service, but don’t expect The Imagineering Story, Part Two here.

Director Brian Volk-Weiss brings a different tone to this series, creating a crisp and lively style to explore the creation and social impact of a Disney attraction (or family of attractions) by episode. The first five episodes which debut Wednesday will feature Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Star Tours, and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

“We’re really trying to have fun,” Volk-Weiss said at an online press conference earlier this month. “We strayed a bit from the history and building protocols of these attractions and really went for these fun nuggets that helped build the pop culture we live in now.”

“I have always had a problem with documents that deal with fun, joyful, and light subjects, but treat them as if they were the rise and fall of the Roman Empire. I never have understood that, ”he said. “We’re doing a show on theme park attractions. So why wouldn’t that be fun?”

Narrated by Paget Brewster, “Behind the Attraction” features quick cuts and crisp lines that make each episode unfold quickly. It can give parts of the show an irreverent feel that you don’t usually get from Disney.

“I find that people, shows or things that take themselves too seriously don’t get the respect they would have if they were just being honest and saying, look, we’re not gods,” Volk said. Weiss. “We didn’t make a perfect amusement park. What we did changed amusement parks forever. If you look at what amusement parks were before Walt Disney did. he did in Anaheim, it’s night and day. But it’s a show about something done by human beings being watched by human beings. How can you not denigrate yourself? “

All of this is intended to help viewers participate in what can be a complex process.

“The attractions are like icebergs,” Volk-Weiss said. “And what I mean by that, for the public, you might only see two percent of the attraction. If people knew the infrastructure that they don’t see, that makes these attractions work, I mean, they would be blown away. “

“For once, we don’t have to bite our tongues,” said imaginary Dave Durham. “We can share with the viewer some of these interesting inner stories, part of the story, some of the challenges and a lot of fun.”

For longtime Theme Park Insider readers, there actually won’t be much – if anything – new to discover in “Behind the Attraction.” Many of the Imagineers featured in the series will have told their stories in articles here about Disney media events, my interviews with them, or coverage of industry panels such as Bob Rogers’ annual IAAPA Legends event.

But just because I know how Pirates of the Caribbean ends doesn’t stop me wanting to ride it over and over again. And so are the interior stories of Disney theme park attractions. Directing and editing “Behind the Attraction” gives the series a unique rhythm that Disney hopes viewers will find as entertaining as it is informative. This is part of a new opening at Walt Disney Imagineering, which is trying to make its voice heard in the fan community.

“We wanted to create magic for our guests that they experienced, perhaps without really understanding the story behind it,” imaginary Jeanette Lomboy said of Disney’s past attitude. “We wanted our guests to come to our parks and enjoy a ride for the magic we wanted to create. But now, with the release of social media, we realize that half the story is the story that makes it up. ‘story we deliver “in the parks, she said.

Disney allowed me to watch seven of the series’ 10 episodes, including the five from the first drop. Future episodes of the first season will feature Disneyland Hotel, Hall of Presidents, It’s a Small World, castles and Disney transportation systems.

Of the seven I previewed, I enjoyed the Haunted Mansion episode the most, in large part because the development of this attraction was by far the most chaotic of all of the blockbuster Disney attractions. The episode captured the hustle and bustle of Haunted Mansion’s nearly decade-long development, while appropriately respecting the many different talented voices that contributed to the unique and extremely successful Haunted Mansion tone.

On the flip side, the Jungle Cruise episode missed not to mention recent updates, although it did find plenty of time to hook up for the upcoming Jungle Cruise movie. (Dwayne Johnson is a producer of “Behind the Attraction.”) The episode even included several (not critical) shots from the now-deleted Trader Sam animatronic that the company redesigned to eliminate the attraction.

Still, the Jungle Cruise episode aptly tells the story of the attraction’s development as a nature documentary “True Life Adventure” recreated in three-dimensional form for park visitors. And it connects the dots to the ultimate expression of that goal – Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

“The truth is, [Disney’s] Animal Kingdom is a realization of Walt’s vision for Jungle Cruise, ”Lomboy said. “He wanted to deliver guests to Africa with animals, and that’s what we did years and decades later. This connective tissue is strong and we don’t talk about it enough. We are just showing our guests what the final product looks like. So it was a lot of fun talking about it. “

Despite all the many ideas, anecdotes and archival footage that went into the series, Lomboy said there were many more stories the Imagineers wanted to tell in “Behind the Attraction”.

“It was a very, very difficult process to shortlist him because there were only 10 episodes. So hopefully there will be a season two, maybe a season three, maybe beyond, because there could be an episode for every attraction. if we really wanted to go that route – big and small – because there are a lot of things that go into every thing we do. “

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