BRUCE R. MILLER
The attractions of Walt Disney World and Disneyland are like icebergs. “You only see maybe two percent of the attraction,” says Brian Volk-Weiss, a Disney producer.
Take it a step further and there is a lot more to discover – the inspirations, the mechanics, the storytelling.
In a new Disney + series, “Behind the Attraction,” these creators – called “Imagineers” – detail how key elements came to be. They talk about the “Walt” years, continue the decades of expansion and end in the future, explaining how Rise of the Resistance, the new “Star Wars” ride and “TRON”, an upcoming attraction, immerse guests in movies.
Walt Disney’s goal with Disneyland was also to put visitors in the middle of the action and be a part of history. The Jungle Cruise, one of the park’s first attractions, was his way of recreating a “real life” adventure. “He wanted to bring guests to Africa with animals,” says Jeanette Lomboy, vice president / director of the site portfolio at Walt Disney Imagineering. “Animal Kingdom is a fulfillment of Walt’s vision of Jungle Cruise.”
In turn, a merry-go-round like Jungle Cruise has inspired a movie: Dwayne Johnson stars in a big-screen edition that borrows from the attraction’s narrative. It hits screens on July 30.
Better yet: Pirates of the Caribbean has launched a whole franchise. During the construction of Shanghai Disneyland, Imagineers stepped in and revamped the ride to reflect the progress of the theme park industry. Now, “it truly is one of the most beautiful rides in the world,” Lomboy says.