Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Worst Attractions Recap Part 2: Epcot

And now we return again to my attempt to ride as many of the worst attractions at Walt Disney World.  Episode 2: Epcot.

Let's get the failures out of the way first shall we?
  • I just completely forgot about the Circle of Life movie at the Land Pavilion.  This was a gross oversight on my part.  I was so distracted riding Soarin for the 3rd time that I completely forgot it even existed.  From the description at the official Walt Disney World website, it seems dull and preachy and not at all nuanced.  I'm sure I would have hated it.  Plus, and I know this will outrage anyone who happens to accidentally read this blog, I'm not a HUGE Lion King fan.  I understand it's appeal, but I have my reasons which I will share in a subsequent post.

  • Journey Into Imagination 3.0.  I just. Couldn't. Do it.  For all the reasons I'd stated earlier.  I thought about it.  But no, my convictions were too strong.  I can only hope that that atrocity someday gets the Tiki Room treatment if the Imagineers won't reinstall the original flavor audioanimatronic for audioanimatronic.
Okay, now for my successes (so to speak)!

  • The Spirit of Norway: I started off with the movie that comes at the very end of Maelstrom (one of my favorite rides in Epcot).  Usually we walk straight through without stopping.  I have strong memories of my parents not wanting to ride this for fear of getting stuck in the movie or being embarrassed but sneaking through to the exit nonetheless (this was back when they didn't keep the doors open for people who wanted to skip it so it was awkward to try to sneak through).  Once in a while, you get this joyful sight:
          This time, however, I sat and watched.  I caught it a little less than midway through but I wasn't about to wait for another showing.  It wasn't horrible.  Pretty to look at, but not too exciting.  There are worse things.
    • Rating: 3.8 out of 10 Figments

  • Reflections on China: I tried the Circlevision 360 movie in the China pavilion next.  I have some issues with Circlevision because you can't sit down and you're always missing part of the movie (unless you are lucky enough to have eyes in the back of your head).  I noticed this time that hardly anyone takes advantage of the Circle part of Circlevision - almost everyone watched the "front" couple screens without ever turning around to see what was on the sides and behind them.  That basically defeats the purpose for me.  I definitely turned around slowly to take full advantage of all of the screens and views.  The actual movie wasn't so bad.  The host has some personality (not as much as Martin Short, but then, who does?) which makes the film more enjoyable.  I don't think this is something I would do again on my next couple visits, but I didn't feel like I was wasting my time watching it either. 
    • Rating: 5.5 Figments

  • Impressions de France: I cannot, however, say the same about Impressions de France.  The scenes were beautiful, but man was it boring.  There was no story at all - nothing personal about the host.  We don't even learn his name.  It was basically just, here are some beautiful scenes from France.  And it doesn't even have the novelty of being Circlevision.  It's just an extra wide screen.  I will say it was nice to have seats so I could rest my feet, but that would not be enough to get me to go back there again even if I was REALLY bored.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. 
    • Rating: 1 Figment

  • The American Adventure:  This is a one and done for me.  To be fair, I'm not a hugely patriotic person.  America is a great country; definitely one of the best.  But I wouldn't go so far as to say it IS the best.  I went off on a tangent here, but then I deleted it because it's not really relevant.  The bottom line is: I like my country, but I don't love it.  I don't understand having deep feelings about it.  So no, I don't well up when I hear Golden Dreams.  My view is more balanced.  So, the American Adventure experience was very take it or leave it to me.  I did enjoy the little tour the cast members provide as you walk up to the theater.  That was a nice, unusual little plus.  I do like the audioanimatronics.  It's better than a boring Circlevision and it's definitely better than Impressions de France.  But I don't plan on doing it again for many years.
    • Rating: 3.4 Figments

  • O Canada!:  If you absolutely have to watch a Circlevision show, THIS is the one.  Martin Short is actually funny in it (not too too cheesy which the movie could have been given that it was a. Disney and b. Martin Short) and it is comparatively entertaining.  Do I love this attraction more than Maelstrom or Spaceship Earth? No, but it may approach my level of enjoyment on Ellen's Energy Adventure.  I might skip it on the next trip, but the trip after that? I'd definitely do it again.  My only nitpicky issue is that I miss the old song.  In general, I prefer Disney parks to stay the same as when I experienced it as a kid (late 80s, early 90s - I was still young enough to believe but old enough to remember).  The new version of the song is fine - it's a great song in general - but I did prefer the old version a little bit more.  Nevertheless, this was a surprisingly enjoyable Circlevision show, and it's also neat that you get to go waaaaaaay back into the pavilion to see it.  It's a bit of Canadian adventure!  Plus, it doesn't hurt that after the movie, you might be able to try a bit of this:
    • ....and this:
    • Rating: 6 Figments
Okay, so those are my "successes" and failures at trying all of the worst (as herein defined) attractions of Epcot.  Still have Studios and Animal Kingdom and the rest of Magic Kingdom to go.  Hope you enjoyed!

UPDATED 6/1/11: The Disney Blog is reporting that the Government of Norway (which abandoned its sponsorship of the attraction years ago) has just noticed that "The Spirit of Norway" film is dated.   They are demanding that Disney update the film and foot the bill for it.  I won't go too long into this but in my opinion there is a freedom of speech issue here.  If Disney - a private company - wants to portray the country in this way, it should be allowed to do so.  If the Norwegian government wants to pay for a new film (and Disney accepts), then Norway can control the message.  It's ridiculous to expect to be able to control what a private entity does without paying for that control. 

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