The Myth of Story: Lost and Found at Walt Disney World

1 May

Re-Imagineering had a funny piece yesterday about the number of Disney attractions based on similar “stories.”

From the late 80’s on Imagineers indeed affixed ‘story’ after ‘story’ after ‘story’ to their rides, shows and attractions. Unfortunately, however, the concept of originality eluded most of them.

While certainly WDI saw some unbridled successes under Eisner’s ‘What’s the story?’ ordinance, it seems Imagineers had little more than one ‘story’ up their sleeve. And they shamelessly told it again and again and again.

It goes something like this: a character or prop has gone missing and the guests and/or other characters are tasked with finding it/them.

At times I think they’ve overreached their point. Can you really boil down the Pirates of the Caribbean ride story to this?

Pirate Jack Sparrow, treasure in hand, has gone missing among the villagers on the Isla Tesoro and Captain Barbossa is out to find him.

But even when they over-reach, it’s an interesting read. And consider this too: How many Disney Parks attractions are based on the premise of transportation gone wrong or stretched to its limits? On my recent trips to Disney World I rode:

  • Two trains-gone-wild (Big Thunder Mountain and Expedition Everest)
  • One broken elevator (Tower of Terror)
  • One problematic mission to mars (Mission: Space)
  • One difficult trip into someone’s immune system (Body Wars)
  • One complete mishap of a space shuttle trip, with a hopeless pilot (Star Tours)

And that’s not even counting last summer at Disneyland, what with the crazy trouble with snakes and spiders when I was touring with Indiana Jones, or that wacky ride down Mullholland Drive. I don’t even want to talk about what happened when I got into the car with that Toad.

Is the message here that Imagineers are falling down on the job with creating stories for rides? Or is it that some stories are so flexible, you can make a zillion successful rides based on them?

3 Responses to “The Myth of Story: Lost and Found at Walt Disney World”

  1. Brittney February 13, 2008 at 11:50 pm #

    So true, yes so true. I didn’t even think of that!

  2. lucia elisa October 26, 2008 at 2:16 am #

    I’m brasilian. My daughter, 13 years old, it lost her cape of her camera with 2 ships of memory with all the photographies taken away during the travel from Disney. It lost in the Epicot. The mark of the cape is alhva and color Black. The memories 1 sony (2 G) and another sandisk (263 Mb). She is very sad, but it will not have time to locate before returning to Brazil. Since I do to get in touch with it found and lost for email. Can anybody help me? Please, is very important to my daughter and for me. I thank for now. Please, if can you help me email

  3. Jennifer October 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm #

    Lucia, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles. I found a page at The Disney Traveler with some tips on contacting WDW Lost and Found.

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