Well, we mitch and boan every time they try anything new or different, too. They can’t freakin change a dessert or drop a park from three places serving burgers to JUST TWO without us having a hissy fit. Nostalgia has become an albatross around WDW’s neck. Anytime they suggest changing ANYTHING, we flip. Remember when they went from chicken fingers to chicken nuggets?Although I disagree about the nasty brown mountain, you’re right about the “self-referential and ludicrously expensive designs.”
This IS on topic, and I realize it might not be a popular opinion. Please bear with me.
I love the theme parks and much of the company’s creative output, but the Internet has fed an unhealthy obsession with Disney lifestyling; and it feels too slick now that the company has picked it up too.
When fans held their own Dapper Days and created their own DisneyBound outfits, those felt like genuine, nostalgic nods to the parks and their history.
Fast forward a few years, and the company itself produces countless special edition ears and dresses; WDI designs Insta-ready photo opps (including the stupid Purple Wall); and merch puts out an entire line of purple clothing and purple cupcakes to capitalize on the Purple Wall obsession. They’ve taken cute fan initiatives and turned them into cash grabs.
Now to tie this together: Tomorrowland is being renovated to look like the 1960s. I like the aesthetic, but why not do something new? Why are our two choices retro or steampunk? Why couldn’t the MK’s 1994 sci-fi vision get updated, especially since in the late ‘90s, it was second only to Paris? Is it a weird form of self-worship, a return to a past that represents the established Brand instead of continuing to innovate? It reminds me of the topiaries Disney plans to permanently install at the Epcot entrance. Don’t they realize SSE and Epcot itself are already just as “Disney” as a Donald Duck topiary?
When we long-time fans decry the lower standards at the parks, or when we talk about how great Horizons, Journey into Imagination, and Alien Encounter were, we’re asking for a return to high creative standards and storytelling. We’re not asking to seal WDW in a time capsule.
And the TL updates feel like a fan-service time capsule rather than a vision of the future. It’s a weird, self-feeding cycle of nostalgia instead of Tomorrow.
That said, if they ever get rid of that peanut butter pie at Contempo, I’ll lose my schnitzel. And they damn well better keep my Tower of Terror a permanent time capsule.