Friday, December 12, 2014

Is Frozen Too Present in Walt Disney World?

     If you have been to Walt Disney World in the last year or so, you will have noticed an ever-growing presence of Disney's most successful movie of all time: Frozen. The film blew away all other cartoons ever made, and outsold by far all other Disney movies to date, even unseating The Lion King. With this huge success, Disney has not hesitated to place Frozen into its Theme Parks in Florida, and at a remarkable pace and volume! I want to take a moment to analyze whether or not Frozen in the parks has gone too far.
     The first casualty to the Frozen obsession was our beloved tempestuous sea-faring adventure. An imminent Frozen ride has closed that beloved attraction in Epcot, and will open in 2016. The termination of Maelstrom led to many devoted fans rioting in the streets... well... mostly the internet. I wrote a brief story about that here. A new fireworks show was added to Hollywood Studios several nights of the week, featuring mostly the left-over fireworks from the other shows. It is fun, but pales miserably in comparison to Wishes and Illuminations, and even Fantasmic!. When Elsa and Anna first came to the World, the lines at the Norway Pavilion in Epcot were immediately up to five hours long. When they moved to be included in the Magic Kingdom, the lines didn't go down much. Summers at Walt Disney World included a party at the Magic Kingdom which was Frozen themed. "A Frozen Holiday Wish" replaced the normal Wishes show at the Magic Kingdom. This year's Very Merry Christmas Party includes and focuses on the Frozen characters.
     So, what to make of this? First, I would like to point out that many, many people are extremely excited (to the point of delirium) about Frozen coming to the Parks. This survey on the Disboards shows that nearly half of people are more excited about the new Frozen ride than they are angry about Maelstrom leaving. I tend to agree with this. Maelstrom was wonderful, and was a part of my childhood. However, it was not the incredible journey or real representation of the people of Norway which it was made out to be. The argument that Disney is putting cartoons into a "real" attraction is bogus. The ride was about trolls, and was sponsored by a Norwegian Oil company. Because of this, I mourn the loss of Maelstrom, but also look forward to the story by Hans Christian Anderson making its way into the pavilion.
     Additionally, Disney World is always bringing in new things to its parks. People seem to be angry this time, because what they are bringing in is replacing many unsuccessful things (people like to root for the underdog). Nostalgics like myself are always tempted to think that the old was better, or how it ought to be. However, Disney World must keep evolving in order to stay open. The incredible shows, the unmatched level of service, and the life-changing messages do not come without Disney selling what it has to the public.
     We must always remember a few things: First, A Frozen Holiday Wish will go away, and will be replaced by a collection of Disney classics nightly in the Magic Kingdom sky. Next, Frozen will soon join the echelon of Disney movies that make up our collective cultural memory, and bring us back to childhood. Lastly, Disney World is not a museum. As the culture of the world changes, the culture of the World changes. Walt Disney World is built to be a reflection of hope back on a world that actually exists. It is part myth, and part optimistic interpretation of reality. Simply sit through Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, and you will know that Disney World is not stuck in the past, or stuck in an unreality of a false world. It is a celebration of real people, and a thus must reflect what real people see as good. Right now, Frozen is a positive message that much of the world wants to see.