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Let’s Laugh At The Naïveté Of The Past

Someone posted this chestnut from 1990 on a message board today, and I thought it was good for a chuckle or two. Or, you know, tears. Lots of tears.

Counting generously, I have them at zero-for-seven on those announcements. That’s a hitting percentage of… .000. Nice. Although I guess you could be super generous, and say that Harry actually meant that the park would be getting an entirely different The Little Mermaid ride, but just in 2011 and in the parking lot.

I have no explanation for the music cue from Back to the Future.

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13 comments to Let’s Laugh At The Naïveté Of The Past

  • Mark W

    Wow. He comes across as so *genuine* and *believable*. No wonder we all bought it in the ’90s… I wonder if he really did mean it then?

    At least Alien Encounter wound up somewhere. Until it was replaced by that which must not be named.

    Also, I had never even heard of the live Muppet show or Young Indy stunt spectacular. Anyone know anything about those?

  • Jeremiah

    Didn’t Disney-MGM have a live-action “Meet the Muppets” show until it was replaced by the Little Mermaid show that still plays today?

  • Another Voice

    Wasn’t the Disney Decade the most magical time of all? So much progress, so much ambition, so much excitement.

    So much nothing?

    The Young Indiana Jones show would have gone into Disneyland at the site of the now abandoned Festival area near the Big Thunder Ranch. It was meant to duplicate the success of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show from WDW, but be tied-in to the can’t-miss success of Lucas’ ‘Young Indiana Jones’ television series. Ooopppss. Anyway, the show would have been based off the opening of ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ with a Young Indy “rescuing” some Aztec treasure.

    Most rumors say the “live” Muppet show would have replaced Mr. Lincoln on Main Street, also at Disneyland. It was a quick way that Eisner wanted to capitalize on the “hip and happen’ Muppets because the Princesses were old, stale and not relevant to today’s children.

    Eisner thought of the Disney/MGM Studios as “his” theme park, so a lot of his own ego was involved here. He also believed the only through hip-n-edgy attractions (what could be more happen’ than ‘Dick Tracy’!) would interest the guests. Those same guests so bored with mundane boring attractions like ‘Pirates’ and ‘Haunted Mansion’.

  • Tim

    The Back to the Future music was used in the special due to the “time-traveling” train that took Harry and the audience through the history of Disneyland. While it is odd that music from a Universal picture would be used, I’d imagine in 1990 (right in the heart of the BTTF Part II and Part III double-whammy) it made a lot of sense to use music from major movies that featured time-travel.

    As a life-long fan of Disney and BTTF I always loved this little coming together of two favorites. It’s great to see that special again too. I remember being wowed by all of the possibilities (and saddened as none of it came true).

  • Mark W

    “…because the Princesses were old, stale and not relevant to today’s children.”

    Oh, the irony.

  • Ah, good info all around. I think Young Indy was one of the first parts of the Disney Decade to be abandoned, when the show was not a roaring success. I’ve found news articles from pretty early on that mention that the attraction will probably not happen.

    The Muppet show did indeed appear at D-MGM in Florida, to capitalize on their pending acquisition until they got Muppetvision filmed. Later in the decade there was a plan to bring Muppetvision in to replace Mr. Lincoln, but after a fan meltdown Disney relented.

    Mark: I thought the exact same thing about how Eisner came across in this, and wondered too how much he believed it at the time. He certainly comes across as sincere, and at the time all the ambitious projects that were planned back up his commitment. Sad that everything had to end so badly.

  • Robert McSwain

    Please clarify that I’m not going insane but in that opening shot, with Mike riding Splash Mountain, isn’t that Jim Varney, of the “Hey Vern, it’s Earnest” series riding in the log with him? Or at least it is a Jim Varney dummy.

  • Oh MAN good eye! That is totally Jim Varney. Imagine that! Michael Eisner, his family, Jim Varney, and Mickey. Awesome. All it’s missing is Bette Midler! How incredibly strange…

    Good catch…

  • Another Voice

    Oh…..there’s a great story about Eisner’s filming of the Splash Mountain bits. It was set for a lot of PR reasons, including a “corporate appology” to McDonalds for the attraction’s delay (this after western McDonalds blew a huge amount of money on a tie-in). The rest will have to wait…

    It was also around this time that several high ranking suits were asking that all references to “old” movies be removed from the parks, the dark rides rethemed to Disney’s newer animation. Hip ‘n edgy!

  • RO93461

    At least they wanted to to do something.

  • Oh, I totally agree! I can remember how wonderfully exciting it was at the time. Anything seemed possible. DLP was on the way and looked glorious, and the idea of a new EPCOT in Anaheim blew my mind. And so many great new things for DL and WDW… talk about a great big beautiful tomorrow. I’d love to see that kind of moxie today!

  • Another Voice

    Eisner’s attitude in his little speech feels exactly the same as you get from those “electronic press kit” DVD extras where the actress explains that she normally would never consider this role, but she just fell in love with the script and the other cast members and crew are the most giving and professional bunch she’s ever worked with and, while it’s been a difficult journey, the director showed such compassion, yadadadada….

    There’s a difference between doing something because you believe in it, and doing something for a paycheck. Eisner never understood that people can tell the difference.

  • Ron Schneider

    My experience of the Eisner years was that he was sincere but horribly misguided. That he put the bottom line first, but totally believed that what he was doing was in the creative best interests of the Company. And for the first ten years, at least, he was quite often right.

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