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Inside Out!

Lo the many years ago, the Disney Channel featured quite a bit of programming about all things Disney. Part and parcel of this was a stream of specials, interstitials, and regulars series focusing on the Disney theme parks. Fondly remembered by a certain generation of viewers was Walt Disney World Inside Out, a monthly program which ran from 1994-1997 and focused on the latest news from Disney’s largest resort.

The first episode aired in June 1994, with host Scott Herriott and his legendary couch taking a zany look at a number of Walt Disney World attractions, shows, and events with the loose theme of “getting wet”. Some of it is forgettable, but some of it features Splashtacular and Hulk Hogan eating at the Restaurant Marrakesh. So, there’s that. It’s hard to believe watching this that it’s nearly 20 years old; in fact, it’s impossible to believe. At such a distance it’s interesting to see how the resort was different back then, and how differently Disney presented itself than it does today.

Of course while we long-time visitors might focus most on beloved things from that era that we miss, it’s always good to see that there were some things better left far in the past. “Epcot ’94″…. oy!

What’s funny about this video is that while this program is fondly remembered by my generation, by this point snobby teenaged me was already irritated by the production techniques of the era. And it’d be hard to find something more aggressively 90s than this show, from pastel dancing “wacky” fonts, to pastel dancing squiggly lines, to awful pastel Video Toaster animations, to dancing pastel squiggly arrows pointing at things, to omnipresent zydeco music – always with the zydeco music. We see how video producers were so quick to abuse the new tools they were given, with the advent of truly hyperactive editing and silly tics like the “canted-angle black and white insert shots” gimmick (Ironically, when I uploaded this video to YouTube, it helpfully informed me that my video might not be “stable” and offered to fix it for me!). Not to mention the trademark wiseacre host with an endless stream of self-aware zings. I was probably sitting at home yelling “Just show the park!” at the television.

When the show does get around to showing the parks it’s amazing. There is, of course, Epcot ’94, and perhaps no better embodiment of it than the truly insane Splashtacular show. As they mention, that show was the reason they reconfigured Innoventions Plaza, adding the stage which lingers there until this day. It’s good to see the original Living Seas, and of course the splendor of Hulk Hogan and Chris Lemmon (!) filming in the Morocco Pavilion.

See you next month for the Duke Ellington festival!

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