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Jungle Cruise Update

el_super

Well-Known Member
Some of those stories are non-fiction, like how Walt developed (or didn't) certain rides

ehhhhhhhhhh I'm sure a lot of that is fiction too.

I'm not a big fan of SEA, but a lot of that came from the implications of what a "society" of "explorers" traditionally meant. I think I can recognize that for the most part, the people that were putting in these references were doing so without any real malice or concern about how it would be perceived (although that too can be a problem).

But I am not against having backstories, a shared universe, or whatever other fan fictions you can think of. They've been around forever and some of them, like the volumes of backstory written about the Haunted Mansion and sea captains, have become an integral part of the fandom for some.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
ehhhhhhhhhh I'm sure a lot of that is fiction too.
I mean, I know a lot of people here know a lot more than me, but I've read some books and watched the Disney+ shows like a lot of people. I know Walt and Roy did amazing things, but I also think they're sometimes used almost as mythology at this point.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
That's a valid criticism. It is a contrived story that links a multitude of, in most cases, already existing elements of multiple parks.

To each their own. I like rich backstories and expansive universes in my media. Disney is a storytelling company, and they (or pieces of Disney at least) are among the best at it. The stories are what keeps me interested in the company and the parks. Some of those stories are non-fiction, like how Walt developed (or didn't) certain rides, and some are fiction. Most parkgoers don't know or care about whether S.E.A. is a thing, but they also don't know or care about which rides Walt worked on. They know what interests them, what entertains them, and what bores them. Jungle Cruise has been on the boring side (save for the good skippers) for a while now.

And yeah, I do like Joe Rohde, so if that makes me "not Disney" enough for some of the people here, I'm cool with that. I also like Marc Davis. 🤷‍♀️
My big issue is that I don’t think it’s that rich.
Like you said, they just keep tossing things into it and there is no real plan. What does Barnabus really add to either Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or SEA? I really think the Skipper’s Canteen and now the expansion of the prominence of the Falls family shows how they’re trying to hard to make it a “detail” thing. Albert Falls was a punchline but this whole backstory negates the joke it’s based on, turning it into a sincere, but nonsensical, statement.

It was this thing developed for Tokyo DisneySEA and then largely forgotten for a few years. It seems like most of the online fan community only became aware of it when Honor Hunter mad a blog post about it and it was suddenly a thing.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
My big issue is that I don’t think it’s that rich.
Like you said, they just keep tossing things into it and there is no real plan. What does Barnabus really add to either Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or SEA? I really think the Skipper’s Canteen and now the expansion of the prominence of the Falls family shows how they’re trying to hard to make it a “detail” thing. Albert Falls was a punchline but this whole backstory negates the joke it’s based on, turning it into a sincere, but nonsensical, statement.

It was this thing developed for Tokyo DisneySEA and then largely forgotten for a few years. It seems like most of the online fan community only became aware of it when Honor Hunter mad a blog post about it and it was suddenly a thing.
I think the idea is to retroactively create "immersive" environments (like WWHP, Pandora, or SW:GE). Instead of starting with the IP and then building the "land," they've started with the rides/lands and are building out a story from there. It's exactly what they did when they took Pirates and made a film out of it. Now, tons of gusts come to Disneyland to go on the ride that immerses them in Jack Sparrow's world. (I know, lots of you hate the film references in the ride).

Lots of strong opinions about S.E.A. (even among folks who don't know what it is), but Disney is fostering fandoms with these stories. It may catch on with some, it may not. If it doesn't resonate with you, that's ok––you're probably not the intended audience.
 

FerretAfros

Well-Known Member
Not quite sure why this S.E.A. stuff bothers me. I guess it has something to do with the fact that it feels so forced to create this corny, unnecessary overarching meta-ish back story connecting all of the Disney parks with cartoonified looking Jumanji meets Colonel Mustard characters. It comes across as trying to create some sort of interest or following in these characters in a very inorganic way. Anyway, as long as the stuff isn’t mentioned or referenced on the rides I can live with it. I don’t like the direction it’s trending though.
SEA is an interesting conundrum. It seems like the more they do with it, the worse it gets. What started as a mysterious Illuminati-like secret society spanning the centuries around the globe has slowly devolved into a cartoonish band of Phileas Fogg knock-offs.

In its earliest form, it was only at Tokyo DisneySEA, sort of hidden in plain sight (including right there in the park name). There were some insignias and vague allusions to the organization in the Fortress Explorations, but that was really it. It was implied that there may have been a member representing each Port in the park, possibly including the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Captain Nemo, Sinbad, and Indiana Jones, but there was no definitive list. The open-ended way it was presented allowed people to fill in the gaps on their own, and the breadth of characters involved (seemingly based in a wide variety of history, legend, literature, and film) made it feel a lot bigger than the sum of its parts.

This began to change with the addition of Tower of Terror in 2006, with its elaborate backstory tied to Harrison Hightower, whose unambiguous name and cartoonish image have set the tone for nearly all of SEA's new members since then. Around this time, a crate with Harrison Hightower's name on it appeared in the Lost River Delta section of the park, furthering the idea that everything in the park was connected through the organization and some sort of meta-narrative.

With the addition of the Leonardo Challenge interactive game to the Fortress Explorations in 2008, SEA became an officially acknowledged part of the park, and with each addition to the story since then, the organization has become less enigmatic, more cartoony, and more homogeneous. Lord Henry Mystic, Barnabas T Bullion, Mary Oceaneer; each one is more ham-fisted than the one before it.

It's been especially unfortunate when retconned on to existing attractions, like Big Thunder and the Jungle Cruise, clumsily adding information that does little to further the guest experience, while focusing on superfluous details that don't match the style of what's already there. It's unclear whether the upcoming Disney+ series will actually include SEA specifically, but it's almost certain that it will retain the sloppy fan-fiction feel that has become associated with the group.

I can understand why fans connected with SEA early on: it had a lot of intrigue and mystery, and seemed to create a compelling secret undercurrent for one of the best themed parks. And I can understand why management liked it, walking the middle line between relying on outside IP and creating original content for the parks. But the overall execution of SEA, especially in the last 5-7 years, has left a lot to be desired. It feels like the more that the Imagineers try to connect to it, the less compelling it becomes.

I really think the Skipper’s Canteen and now the expansion of the prominence of the Falls family shows how they’re trying to hard to make it a “detail” thing. Albert Falls was a punchline but this whole backstory negates the joke it’s based on, turning it into a sincere, but nonsensical, statement.
I ate at Skipper's Canteen within its first few weeks of operation, and a friend who was on the pre-opening team stopped by and pointed out some of more interesting artefacts and certain elements that weren't finished yet. He also pointed out some of the SEA regalia, but said that WDI just sort of put them there on a whim, without consideration for how the facility (and by extension, the Jungle Cruise) connected to the larger story. It was only several months after the knickknacks had been hung on the walls and names printed in the menus that they tried to backpedal their way into justifying their existence with "official" stories.

To me, that experience highlighted that WDI really doesn't have a "grand plan" for what they're doing with SEA. Even after elements are already in place and operating for paying customers, they still haven't figured out what they're for or what they're trying to express. But publicly, they try to sell it as a master-planned vision for an interconnected theme park universe.
 

Mac Tonight

Well-Known Member
I mean, I know a lot of people here know a lot more than me, but I've read some books and watched the Disney+ shows like a lot of people. I know Walt and Roy did amazing things, but I also think they're sometimes used almost as mythology at this point.
I used to have a (joke) theory that once Iger took the helm, the WDC operated under the assumption that Walt (aka, "The Partners Statue Guy") was just some IP they acquired a long time ago, instead of the actual real person who the company is named after.
 
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aliceismad

Well-Known Member
My big issue is that I don’t think it’s that rich.
Like you said, they just keep tossing things into it and there is no real plan. What does Barnabus really add to either Big Thunder Mountain Railroad or SEA? I really think the Skipper’s Canteen and now the expansion of the prominence of the Falls family shows how they’re trying to hard to make it a “detail” thing. Albert Falls was a punchline but this whole backstory negates the joke it’s based on, turning it into a sincere, but nonsensical, statement.

It was this thing developed for Tokyo DisneySEA and then largely forgotten for a few years. It seems like most of the online fan community only became aware of it when Honor Hunter mad a blog post about it and it was suddenly a thing.
I can see that. Maybe I'm too optimistic. I believe there are imagineers who love their jobs, who want to put out new ideas and new experiences and new creations for the audience. I believe Disney, at its heart, is still more than just a money-making machine.
SEA is an interesting conundrum. It seems like the more they do with it, the worse it gets. What started as a mysterious Illuminati-like secret society spanning the centuries around the globe has slowly devolved into a cartoonish band of Phileas Fogg knock-offs.

In its earliest form, it was only at Tokyo DisneySEA, sort of hidden in plain sight (including right there in the park name). There were some insignias and vague allusions to the organization in the Fortress Explorations, but that was really it. It was implied that there may have been a member representing each Port in the park, possibly including the likes of Leonardo Da Vinci, Captain Nemo, Sinbad, and Indiana Jones, but there was no definitive list. The open-ended way it was presented allowed people to fill in the gaps on their own, and the breadth of characters involved (seemingly based in a wide variety of history, legend, literature, and film) made it feel a lot bigger than the sum of its parts.
Maybe this is the SEA that I'm intrigued by. Certainly it wouldn't be the first time Disney has fallen short on execution. I think there is potential for something cool, though. Maybe ways to link Disney history and future.
 
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mickEblu

Well-Known Member
S.E.A is all garnish and no meat at least in the States. If they built an original Attraction with S.E.A characters and it was executed properly I’m sure most people would love it. But they cook up all the original S.E.A over seas and then want us to get excited about the leftover S.E.A juice in the frying pan? On top of that they decide to sprinkle the SEAsoning over a Disneyland classic?
 
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George Lucas on a Bench

Well-Known Member
If anything, we could use more S.E.A. characters. Why wouldn't The Haunted Mansion have S.E.A. agents on a secretive mission to obtain the golden chalice of a powerful New Orleans voodoo priestess? These rides are simply storyless, immersionless and uninclusive the way they were slapped together 50 years ago.
 

1HAPPYGHOSTHOST

Well-Known Member
We don't care about Joe Rohde, his distended earlobe, or any contrived backstories he and his WDI groupies may have made up in the Four Seasons Bali lobby bar drinking on an expense account in 2004.

This is the Disneyland side of the forums. We just don't get into that here. Especially when it's a ride Walt built and refined himself.
RUdPyQP.jpg
 

1HAPPYGHOSTHOST

Well-Known Member
It's not just Walt. The scenes they're replacing were designed by Marc Davis, and many of those figures were sculpted by Blaine Gibson.

Disneyland only has so many places left that are basically exactly as they were in the golden age of Disneyland. The Matterhorn is the same in name only, the experience is so vastly different then it was in Walt's time. Same with the ROA, Pirates, Fantasyland, Main Street, the Castle. The treehouse. The Monorail. The Submarines. It's a Small World. The Railroad. Very little that existed in Walt's time is still there- and what is still there is vastly different then what actually existed in the '60s.

But for the most part, the major show scenes in the Jungle Cruise are exactly the same. If you look at pictures of the Jungle Cruise in the '60s and the Jungle Cruise today- it's practically identical.

Here's the trapped safari in 1964-

View attachment 541853

And here it is in 2006-

View attachment 541859

WDI needs to be very careful when they change stuff that goes back to the earliest days of Disneyland. And this Alberta Falls nonsense makes me feel like they don't quite get the Jungle Cruise.
Main street is still the same its just some of the shops have changed whats in them. Sake buildings. They didn't tear them down amd rebuild them.
 

SuddenStorm

Well-Known Member
S.E.A is all garnish and no meat at least in the States. If they built an original Attraction with S.E.A characters and it was executed properly I’m sure most people would love it. But they cook up all the original S.E.A over seas and then want us to get excited about the leftover S.E.A juice in the frying pan? On top of that they decide to sprinkle the SEAsoning over a Disneyland classic?

Again, it shows how Disney seriously misunderstands Disneyland as a brand.

There are two types of Disneyland history- what actually happened, and the 'Disneyland as a show' history that glosses over facts and ignores accuracy for the sake of a good story.

And Disneyland's history- both real and legend- doesn't need this 'SEA' nonsense to add depth or richness to the attractions since in many cases that depth is there by the very nature of it being Disneyland. Everyone and their mother considers themselves to be experts on Disneyland history- even if in many cases they believe urban legends. But that just adds to the richness of the place.

Disneyland thrives when the grandparents talk about how that little mining town used to be part of their favorite ride before Big Thunder was there, or how there used to be a different bride in the attic. Or when kids discover the secret target on Buzz Lightyear.

Disneyland doesn't need this fake fluff to add depth.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
I think the idea is to retroactively create "immersive" environments (like WWHP, Pandora, or SW:GE). Instead of starting with the IP and then building the "land," they've started with the rides/lands and are building out a story from there. It's exactly what they did when they took Pirates and made a film out of it. Now, tons of gusts come to Disneyland to go on the ride that immerses them in Jack Sparrow's world. (I know, lots of you hate the film references in the ride).
Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a great example of the problem with just trying to force a larger world. Curse of the Black Pearl is a really good movie that establishes a lore, builds on it a d also hints at there being more in the world. It was thought out and planned. Then with the sequels they just kept shoving more and more in but it was not as well developed. It became more and more convoluted eventually contradicting what had already been established.

Harry Potter is another good example. The story of Grindelwald places Voldemort into a larger context. It adds depth to a world and gives it a bigger sense of history. As its own thing its proving to be far less epic and interesting. Is Nagini being a cursed witch really that interesting or just a great example of trying to force a connection? These big worlds can be interesting but they have to be considered and have to avoid the trap of trying to connect everything to everything else. Loose ends and mystery and help build that illusion of a bigger world.
It may catch on with some, it may not. If it doesn't resonate with you, that's ok––you're probably not the intended audience.
This is such a lame response intended to do nothing more than justify garbage and I’m honestly surprised to see you pushing it.
I can see that. Maybe I'm too optimistic. I believe there are imagineers who love their jobs, who want to put out new ideas and new experiences and new creations for the audience. I believe Disney, at its heart, is still more than just a money-making machine.
While there are Imagineers with no interest in theme parks, and I firmly believe executive leadership see the parks as “stupid entertainment for stupid people, I don’t think the issue is a lack of passion. If anything these convoluted backstories are more an example of people who are too lost in their passion that they aren’t taking that step back to make sure it is really necessary and makes sense.
Again, it shows how Disney seriously misunderstands Disneyland as a brand.

There are two types of Disneyland history- what actually happened, and the 'Disneyland as a show' history that glosses over facts and ignores accuracy for the sake of a good story.

And Disneyland's history- both real and legend- doesn't need this 'SEA' nonsense to add depth or richness to the attractions since in many cases that depth is there by the very nature of it being Disneyland. Everyone and their mother considers themselves to be experts on Disneyland history- even if in many cases they believe urban legends. But that just adds to the richness of the place.

Disneyland thrives when the grandparents talk about how that little mining town used to be part of their favorite ride before Big Thunder was there, or how there used to be a different bride in the attic. Or when kids discover the secret target on Buzz Lightyear.

Disneyland doesn't need this fake fluff to add depth.
This is just a different take on the same sort of self-referential nonsense, just wrapped in an inferiority complex. Disneyland is storytelling. It always has been. That there are stories behind the stories does nor should it not negate that core storytelling experience.
 

_caleb

Well-Known Member
This is such a lame response intended to do nothing more than justify garbage and I’m honestly surprised to see you pushing it.
No need to be surprised–I’m full of lame responses!

More than trying to justify garbage, I’m saying that I think there’s an audience for S.E.A. backstories (and Disney+ series) and that the whole thing is geared towards a different (and smaller) audience—a new kind of Disney geek. Whether it will resonate with that audience remains to be seen, but I believe Disney is trying to build a fandom.
 

raven24

Well-Known Member
Disney can build this S.E.A. fandom anywhere except California, though it seems like its already infiltrated. Hopefully it doesn't go any further than this Jungle Cruise addition.
 

BuzzedPotatoHead89

Well-Known Member
I’m honestly neutral on S.E.A. since I just recently learned what it was but if you’re asking me if I’d rather have a shared S.E.A universe connecting the park attractions or further IP infusion it’s easy for me.

I’ll take S.E.A. if it keeps modern WDI busy while allowing Chapek another new IP avenue for Disney+.

S.E.A. is the least worst option. Anything that prevents the “reimagining” of a new Big Tangled Mountain Railroad, Moana’s Enchanted Tiki Meet and Greet, or Anna and Elsa’s Bobsled Run.
 

Mac Tonight

Well-Known Member
S.E.A. is the least worst option. Anything that prevents the “reimagining” of a new Big Tangled Mountain Railroad, Moana’s Enchanted Tiki Meet and Greet, or Anna and Elsa’s Bobsled Run.
You just have to assume there is a Frozen-overlaid design of the Matterhorn sitting in WDI’s archives just waiting to be dusted off when the money is right...
 

Disney Irish

Premium Member
Honestly why is anyone surprised or even against Disney trying to create backstory to connect all the Disney Parks together. A connective narrative across all Disney Parks is something that a lot of Disney Park fans will likely eat up. I can understand how DL purists want DL to remain unique and independent but that isn't who Disney is anymore (and hasn't been for at least 5 decades now).

My honest opinion is this is something the storyteller in Walt would have enjoyed. Others may not agree but that is my opinion. Had he lived to see his empire grow to multiple resorts around the world it would have made sense to connect them via a backstory in someway. Now the backstory might have been better, but its very likely a backstory would have been created.

Also remember this is Disney trying to drive attendance up around the world. It gives incentives for Disney Park goers to watch the D+ shows, book trips to various resorts around the world, and to be part of the story. Its part of Disney's DNA as a company.

Personally I'm interested to see where they go with this. And for DL purists, I wouldn't worry, I highly doubt that its going to be anything more than references in the various queues around the resort. Just look at Tropical Hideaway as an example with its references to S.E.A already in place now for a couple years.
 

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