Suddenly the flume levels rise, the lines thin out, the Abominable Snowman cries “Maria!” and Walt’s frozed-up head raises an insouciant eyebrow! Al Lutz has filed an update!
The longtime Disney gadfly used to post his Disneyland insider reports weekly, even daily (I admit it: I was in Usenet) — but like me, he’s dropped down to a monthly publishing schedule. Even as the hardcore, straight-edge Disney geeks hit the popcorn-strewn front lines to issue their reports of freshly-painted railings and perceived executive malfeasance, Al Lutz hangs to the rear of the company, wringing his hands and wondering What Hath Eisner Wrought.
Mr. Lutz has, ah, been doing a hell of a lot of wringing lately. He’s steadily becoming more difficult and less enjoyable to read. It used to be that you could count on him to make you want to be at Disneyland — either to enjoy yourself, or drive out the feckless middle-managers that took over the Park in the early 1990s. He even managed to position his one-sided feud with Paul Pressler — quite possibly the most clueless man ever to don the mouse ears — in a positive light, with his “Promote Paul Pressler” campaign. Judging from this week’s update, he’s no longer of a mind to promote much of anything.
He starts out eagerly enough; he calls Toy Story Midway Mania “a nice addition to (Disney’s California Adventure)” with a “surprisingly reliable” ride system. “This was never meant to be an E Ticket,” says Mr. Lutz, adding that this second-tier attraction is merely “living up to the goals set out for it by its designers and budget.”
Kickass! I can’t wait to see it; he makes it sound so adequate. From there, however, he drills down:
“There is … some evidence that perhaps (Walt Disney Imagineering) over-thinks some things they put into the parks… Imagineers love to say that the magic is in the details, but sometimes they can be far too obscure to matter much.” That’s his reaction to a themed fast-food stand, and that’s a man who’s been writing about Disney for too long.
Every piece Mr. Lutz written about DCA has related to the park’s lack of creative detail. I never thought I’d read the words “Imagineering over-thinks” in one of his DCA pieces, or at least not so close together.
There’s more to the update, but honestly, I don’t have the heart to slog through it again. It’s as depressing a document as I’ve ever read about the Happiest Place on Earth. Hell, I’d rather go to Kafkaland, giant freaking cockroaches and all, than go to the park Al Lutz has been describing in his recent posts. “Gregor Samsa awoke to find that he’d been turned into a surprisingly reliable ride system.”
In any case, here are a few people who rode “Toy Story Midway Mania” and didn’t feel the need to damn it with faint praise.
After a slow start, Laughing Place’s Doobie Moseley comes around: “(If) I had to pick one ride to go on 5 times tonight, Toy Story Mania would probably be in the top 3.”
And the OC Weekly’s Gabriel Ryan hates Disneyland, yet loves the new ride.
I wonder what I’ll think of it. Three more months, Mr. Lutz. Try not to harsh my mellow so much until I’m able to check out the Midway Mania myself.
I AM LEGION … ER, LINCOLN. Peter Hartlaub of the San Francisco Chronicle rates “The Worst Disneyland Ride(s) of all time.” He names “The Hall of Presidents,” “Country Bear Jamboree” and “it’s a small world,” which tells me two things about him: 1) he thinks that one lone president equals a “hall,” and 2) he hasn’t queued up for “Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.” (For the record, Hartlaub counts “Captain EO” as the second-best Disneyland attraction of all time, which is just perverse enough to make me like him.)
SOME LIMPNESS CAN’T BE CURED WITH LEVITRA. Comedy writer Ken Levine has posted a sweet-smelling fart of a Disneyland humor piece over at the Zsa Zsa Gabor Post. He starts off strong — “Since becoming an adult, this was the first time I was ever there without kids or a joint” — but soon descends into a series of one-liners that fall flat without rimshots. Best in show: “Gas prices are so high that for the Autopia, the cars are now just being pushed by Disney employees.” G’night, ladies and germs! Tip your server!
COME HOME, GEORGE LUCAS; ALL IS FORGIVEN.The Orlando Sentinel reports that a Florida man is suing Disney for discrimination: He refused to shave his beard, which he keeps for religious reasons, to fit the theme parks’ grooming code.It amazes me that Disney would refuse to hire anyone willing to work for Mickey Minimum, but to paraphrase George Carlin, only terrorists have beards. Disney executives have whiskers.