Things have been a little backward-looking around here lately, as most of my research recently has been of a historical nature. It also doesn’t help that there’s not a lot interesting going on with the parks currently, and the future plans we do know about do not inspire much confidence. Many Disney fans, myself included, had hoped that with the Pixar merger a new wave of creativity would sweep through the company as John Lasseter and friends fought for a return to Imagineering’s roots. This has, of yet, not come to pass, as all new projects seem to center around ways to either inexpensively insert “franchise” properties into the parks or to expand the company’s DVC properties. The creative problem goes all the way up the management chain, and while the average Imagineer might be as creative and skilled as ever, WDI is not being given the proper direction and funding to create compelling attractions.
This is all to explain why I’ve yet to talk about Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration, the much-ballyhooed new show that debuted at the Magic Kingdom in early May. By all accounts, the show was a travesty. But as much as I’m sure everyone would love to see me spewing vitriol on a daily basis, I don’t really have the energy to deal with it all and, overall, I’d rather see Dick Nunis going down a waterslide.
Sometimes, though, the public comes to the rescue and puts the smack down on my behalf. Reminiscent of the quick closure forced by universal condemnation of 1999’s “Journey Into YOUR Imagination”, Disney has announced the impending closure of Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration.
What’s amazing is that this closure comes after a run of barely six weeks, while the show’s theater itself took about five months to build. Disney will not comment on what will replace the show in the still-brand-new theater, but I can’t believe that they’d give up on the venue as it must have been a multi-million dollar investment.
The whole episode is confusing, and shows how generally discombobulated the management at Walt Disney World has become. First they tore down Tomorrowland’s existing Galaxy Theater to provide parking spaces for management. Then they spent a great deal of money building the new stage in Rockettower Plaza, where it is both out-of-scale and oddly placed. The new stage also lacks seating and shade, leaving viewers standing in a vast, sweltering expanse of asphalt on sunny days. Regardless of the show’s quality, the whole setup is confusing when you consider that the former Galaxy Theater had both seating and shade. Using the Galaxy Theater also wouldn’t have necessitated the addition of the monolithic stage and control booth in Tomorrowland itself like the new show does.
The show itself illustrates just how derivative Disney’s offerings have become; it’s all simply an excuse to incorporate the Living Character Initiative interactive Stitch, which is also in use at California Adventure, Hong Kong Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios in Paris. It’s also pretty much the exact same gag as Turtle Talk, which is already in place at Walt Disney World’s EPCOT, and Monster’s Inc. Laugh Floor, which sits right across Tomorrowland from the Stitch show. Same gag, same idea, just more burping. Hilarious. Let’s just hope that guests weren’t already burped out by Stitch’s Great Escape, which uses the exact same character as the stage show and is also right there in Tomorrowland. Variety – the spice of life.
Anyway, the show is gone now so we’ll hope that there’s a miraculous turnaround, the stage is moved to a less obtrusive location, completely rethemed, Stitch’s Great Escape is also rethemed, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is also rethemed, the Carousel of Progress is refurbished and updated, the empty Skyway station is demolished and replaced with a new attraction, the demolished Galaxy Theater is replaced, the Grand Prix cars are converted to electric and rethemed, and the WEDway expanded. Hey, it could happen.
For those of you who will now never have the pleasure of having seen Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration, I give you…