Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Star Wars vs. Indiana Jones - My Opinion on the Rumors

Earlier this week, rumors began spreading that Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular would be closing sometime around the end of this year.  The rumors extended to say that this is likely to make way for a much sought-after Star Wars land.

I can expect that other Disney fans, like me, might have pretty mixed feelings about this.  I'm a Star Wars nerd, that's for sure, but there is a lot of nostalgia along with Indiana Jones.  And though I know nostalgia isn't enough to keep an attraction around, I can't let go without a little apprehension.

Let's get the negative out of the way first...
1. There is a lot of nostalgia associated with Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.
In it's 25 year run, Indiana Jones has been a favorite of many of those who pass through Hollywood Studios (or MGM, depending on when you went).  No matter how many times you see it, the special effects and audience involvement never seem to get old.  I'll never forget my first experience with the show, the episode of Full House where DJ dreams Steve is Indiana Jones.  I'll never forget my first time being chosen to be in the show, and how excited I was.  I'll never stop regretting not attending the show on my last trip to Disney, and the last time I'll have been there when the show was still running.
I wish I could pull the rope one last time, or stand in the queue line that puts you in the middle of the jungle, just like the movies.  I feel like Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular is a Hollywood Studios staple.  The nostalgia is the hardest thing to let go.
I'm the one in pink.

2. Star Wars fans will have huge expectations for a Star Wars land.
Disney, as a company, has really stepped up it's game recently in the parks.  Cars Land in California Adventure, Toy Story Playland in Hong Kong Disneyland, and the upcoming Avatarland in Animal Kingdom.  That being said, Star Wars is a huge fandom. Huge. Massive.  People obsess over these movies (I mean, look at how hated Jar Jar Binks is!).  Expectations for Star Wars land will be just as huge.  With so many different worlds in the saga to choose from (Tatooine, Naboo, Hoth, the Death Star, Cloud City, Endor, and so on), how are the creators of this new land going to completely satisfy Star Wars fans?  I feel like they would need to build an entire park around the stories, not just a "land."

3. Star Wars land might go against the "story" of Hollywood Studios as a whole.
This might be the thing that I am most concerned about, although likely unecessarily and not what others might be bothered by, is the possibility that Star Wars land will go against the story of Hollywood Studios as a whole.  When it was opened in 1989, Michael Eisner called the studios "The Hollywood that never was - and will always be."  The park was meant to look like a real, functioning studio in Hollywood, and was to make guests feel like they were part of the "behind the scenes" of filming in Hollywood.  Indiana Jones successfully achieves that by showing the audience how stunts are set up and performed, at least somewhat like on a real set in film making.  However, adding an immersive land to the park has the potential to deviate from that story line.  To make the Star Wars land that fans will anticipate, a feeling like they actually stepped into the saga, it is likely that the "behind the scenes of film making" will need to be left out.
...Then again, Disney imagineers are the best of the best, so you never know.
Indiana Jones "behind the scenes" feel.
Photo credit

1. Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular has been running for a long time, and could use an update if it were to stick around.
Like I mentioned, Indiana Jones has been running for 25 years, basically since the park opened, with no major changes.  The show you see now is basically the show you saw when you visited as a 5 year old, and if it stayed, would likely be the same show you would take your kids to see.  It's a bit old and tired, and Indiana Jones is out of date.  To stick around, the show would need to see some major changes, maybe including stunts from some of the Indiana Jones movies.  With no new Indiana Jones movies on the horizon, this would not be the practical and money-making option for Disney, and leaving it as is would not be the most desired for fans.

2. Star Wars fans are dire hards who will rush to this new part of the park.
Though there are many young adults and adults out there, like me, who would do anything to live in Florida and go to Disney every day, there is a large demographic in this age group, with or without kids, who have no interest, and are in fact resistant, to go to Disney World.  However, with an announcement of a Star Wars land, potentially set to open around the time the new films will debut, an entirely new demographic will flock to Hollywood Studios to feel immersed in environments from movies that they love.  Disney sees this with the crowds that flock to the Studios for Star Wars weekends.  It is a story that spans generations, with no end of it's popularity in sight, and will help draw crowds that may have previously not considered Walt Disney World for their vacation spot.
Star Wars fans take Star Wars seriously.
Photo Credit

3. Walt Disney World doesn't currently have any other 100% immersive worlds.
Though the opening of Avatarland is on the horizon, and concept art of this new addition seems amazing, Avatar doesn't have near the following that Star Wars does.  And other than the currently-in-progress Avatarland, Walt Disney World does not have any completely immersive worlds that other Disney parks boast.  In addition to this, Disney World is now in more competition with Universal Studios as they open Diagon Alley, an addition to the Harry Potter universe.  I know that this could drive more traffic to Universal and away from fiancĂ© has already told me that we have to make some time for a trip to Universal during our next visit to Orlando (though I plead against it).  That being said, Star Wars land would provide some heavy competition right back at them, and continue to enhance Walt Disney World as those who set the standard for theme park entertainment.

So, what are your thoughts on the rumors?  Would you be happy to see Indiana Jones go in favor of a Star Wars land?  Or are you sad to see an old favorite go by the wayside?  Or would you prefer to see a completely different immersive "land" take its place?  Let me know in the comments!

Personally, I'm just sad/disappointed/kicking-myself-in-the-ass that I didn't go to see Indiana Jones during my last visit.

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1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the Indiana Jones stunt show! Always have, always will, my problem is nobody in my group every wants to go to it because its the same ole thing. I honestly don't remember the last time I convinced someone to go with me, probably a couple of years ago! All the nostalgia aside I think it's time for Hollywood Studios to have a California Adventure massive make over! I think it has been stuck in an identity crisis for a few years. You have a "backlot tour" thats nothing like the original vision, the flagship Great Movie Ride whose newest movie is Alien? and your trying to compete with what Universal is doing? Surely Disney bought the Star Wars franchise to eventually go big in the parks. I expect the rumors to be true and Indiana Jones to be a casualty to Star Wars land. Hopefully this catapults Hollywood Studios into something relevant again, because for me this park is being neglected.