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  • [Fun] 5 Upgrades 5 Downgrades

    Ok since members keep mentioning variations on this in various other threads I thought it would be fun to have a thread specifically about this and have everyone provide what they think are five upgrades and five downgrades on attractions or lands. This could be refurbs or removal and/or replacements.

    I will start:

    Upgrades:
    1. Cars Land - better than a backlot
    2. Thunder Mountain - The pack mules and train through natures wonderland were cool but BTMRR is one the best rides with a fast moving line and great theming.
    3. DLRR - I was shocked when they shortened the ROA but the S bend and the bridges and waterfalls really plussed this attraction imho.
    4. GotG - I know many are definitely putting this in their downgrade list, but the new ride and it's menagerie in the lobby and the more fun story line and music for me made the ride better not worse. The lines post change seem to reflect that I am not in the minority guest opinion wise.
    5. Lil Mermaid - The first time we went to DCA we actually never rode this attraction because we thought it was an ocean themed movie (I guess it actually was at one time) once we realized it was a dark ride we took our girls on it and they loved it. I have never seen the movie but the music is pretty good and I really like what they did with a pre-determine space and find the ride enjoyable and am never sad when my family suggest it . Also the lines are seldom long and it's a great cool break on a hot day.

    Downgrades:
    1. People Mover - I will be bitter about this one as long as I live.
    2. Removal of America Sings - Gutting a structure without any real proper plan for something to fill it was a huge misstep though I think it might have had to be done legally after the CM death.
    3. Country Bear to Winnie the Pooh - the ride is very cheaply done and the show it replaced was a classic that I think many younger guests would have thoroughly enjoyed more so than what I consider the weakest dark ride in the park.
    4. Bugs Land to Marvel Campus - They took what was possibly the best themed land in the park and gave us a section of the Irvine Spectrum themed to Marvel with a single ride that is more like a video game then a true ride.
    5. Matterhorn - They took one of the best rides in the park and ruined it with a poorly designed toboggan downgrade that seems to have been sponsored by the local Chiropractors Union.

    Honorable Mention: ATIS to Star Tours, when Star Tours first opened as a teen and a HUGE Star Wars fan I loved it. I remember proudly buying a Star Tours Cap that first year (still have it) It was a new concept using the simulator and having a unique Star Wars story while also being able to accompany the Trench Run was an awesome experience. Now though after decades in use I regret the move and think ATIS was truly a more immersive experience and I miss art and don't know that I would miss Star Tours as much if it was removed even though I enjoy it.
    Disneyland Fan since the 70's

  • #2
    Originally posted by Starcade View Post
    1. People Mover - I will be bitter about this one as long as I live.
    2. Removal of America Sings - Gutting a structure without any real proper plan for something to fill it was a huge misstep though I think it might have had to be done legally after the CM death.
    If so, that's a mighty slow-moving court case. The accident occurred when America Sings was brand-new in 1974. It closed in 1988.
    Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Starcade View Post
      4. Bugs Land to Marvel Campus - They took what was possibly the best themed land in the park and gave us a section of the Irvine Spectrum themed to Marvel with a single ride that is more like a video game then a true ride..
      I agree about Bugs Land. It was amazingly immersive. Avengers Campus should have been done in the Backlot area. It was already used for Avengers appearances and the city-look would have worked well. Now there are less children's rides than ever before. Sad.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Karalora View Post

        If so, that's a mighty slow-moving court case. The accident occurred when America Sings was brand-new in 1974. It closed in 1988.
        Hence "might". Upon further research it appears they made several changes to the COP building after the death of Deborah Gail so it's likely this wasn't the reason or they would not have installed the variation on the doors etc.

        Sounds like the reason was more due to wanting to cannibalize the animatronics for other attractions than anything else.

        But more importantly what are your up and downgrades?
        Disneyland Fan since the 70's

        Comment


        • #5
          Upgrade: Fantasyland '83.

          Downgrades:
          - Tomorrowland '98
          - The Mark VII Monorail debacle
          - Spine-destroying Matterhorn sleds
          - Turning the Swiss Family Treehouse into a Tarzan Disney Store display
          - Turning Pirates of the Caribbean into a movie franchise promotion
          - Turning It's a Small World into a Where's Waldo of Disney cartoon characters
          - Turning the Submarine Adventure thru Liquid Space into the Finding Nemo Underwater Kiddie Video
          - Removing the Skyway
          - Removing the Motorboat Cruise
          - Closing Fort Wilderness
          - Removing Cascade Peak
          - Closing the Court of Angels to the public
          - Closing the One of a Kind Shop
          - Closing the Town Square Cafe
          - Replacing the Tahitian Terrace with Aladdin's Oasis
          - Turning the Main Street Market House into a Starbuck's
          - Turning Carnation Plaza Gardens into a Disney Princesses merch machine
          - Turning the Alpine Gardens into a Tinkerbell franchise promotion
          - Turning the Penny Arcade into a Disney plush merch venue
          "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
          it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
          together with every variety of recreation and fun,
          designed to appeal to everyone."

          - Walt Disney

          "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
          - Michael Eisner

          "It's very symbiotic."
          - Bob Chapek

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
            Upgrade: Fantasyland '83.

            Downgrades:
            - Tomorrowland '98
            - The Mark VII Monorail debacle
            - Spine-destroying Matterhorn sleds
            - Turning the Swiss Family Treehouse into a Tarzan Disney Store display
            - Turning Pirates of the Caribbean into a movie franchise promotion
            - Turning It's a Small World into a Where's Waldo of Disney cartoon characters
            - Turning the Submarine Adventure thru Liquid Space into the Finding Nemo Underwater Kiddie Video
            - Removing the Skyway
            - Removing the Motorboat Cruise
            - Closing Fort Wilderness
            - Removing Cascade Peak
            - Closing the Court of Angels to the public
            - Closing the One of a Kind Shop
            - Closing the Town Square Cafe
            - Replacing the Tahitian Terrace with Aladdin's Oasis
            - Turning the Main Street Market House into a Starbuck's
            - Turning Carnation Plaza Gardens into a Disney Princesses merch machine
            - Turning the Alpine Gardens into a Tinkerbell franchise promotion
            - Turning the Penny Arcade into a Disney plush merch venue
            Oh my Lord, I can't believe I completely forgot about this one.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Starcade View Post
              3. Country Bear to Winnie the Pooh - the ride is very cheaply done and the show it replaced was a classic that I think many younger guests would have thoroughly enjoyed more so than what I consider the weakest dark ride in the park.
              I would agree with this, except with the caveat that I think there's a lot of potential there -- if they upgraded the finale room to make it look nice and not cheap it would turn the experience around for me (especially as I already like the storm room towards the beginning a lot).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by BasilOregano View Post

                I would agree with this, except with the caveat that I think there's a lot of potential there -- if they upgraded the finale room to make it look nice and not cheap it would turn the experience around for me (especially as I already like the storm room towards the beginning a lot).
                I can see this as well the first room is very cool then the ride turns into a carny attraction near the end. If pooh is having a dream than what better place to put in some screens and effects to give a more surreal environment rather than cheap plywood cutouts.
                Disneyland Fan since the 70's

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Starcade View Post

                  I can see this as well the first room is very cool then the ride turns into a carny attraction near the end. If pooh is having a dream than what better place to put in some screens and effects to give a more surreal environment rather than cheap plywood cutouts.
                  Exactly! The whole point of that room, from a design and storytelling perspective, is to create a interesting, engaging, surreal environment -- this is the sort of thing they should be knocking out of the park.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Starcade View Post
                    3. Country Bear to Winnie the Pooh - the ride is very cheaply done and the show it replaced was a classic that I think many younger guests would have thoroughly enjoyed more so than what I consider the weakest dark ride in the park.
                    Forgot to add that to my list of downgrades (and to offer my apologies for not following the 5+ / 5- format of the thread).

                    "Disneyland is often called a magic kingdom because
                    it combines fantasy and history, adventure and learning,
                    together with every variety of recreation and fun,
                    designed to appeal to everyone."

                    - Walt Disney

                    "Disneyland is all about turning movies into rides."
                    - Michael Eisner

                    "It's very symbiotic."
                    - Bob Chapek

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      How about this...


                      Upgrades:

                      (1) Section of Frontierland --> New Orleans Square

                      (2) Big Thunder Ranch --> Galaxy's Edge

                      (3) Fantasyland '55 --> Fantasyland '83

                      (4) Sunshine Plaza --> Buena Vista Street

                      (5) Paradise Pier 1.0 --> Paradise Pier 2.0


                      Downgrades:

                      (1) Tower of Terror --> Guardians of the Galaxy

                      Here's my brief case for this, if you give me a moment: Though not as successful as its DHS counterpart, DCA's ToT was nonetheless a work of art, creating a sense of genuine suspense and dream-state otherworldliness unmatched by other attractions. GotG:MB is fun and entertaining, but lacks artistic depth. We might liken their differences to, oh, I don't know, let's say... a great, thought-provoking Twilight Zone episode (e.g., "The Shelter") vs a Guardians of the Galaxy movie. The latter might be a lot more popular (at least today), but there are important elements that it lacks compared to the Twilight Zone episode. Disney theme parks have historically been about more than just entertainment, but were in fact the birthplace of a new art form - narrative placemaking. And that's part of what has made Disney parks truly special. Ironically, Joe Rohde himself described this very situation recently: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQlr2GZn2RS/ Anyway, just my two cents.

                      (2) Paradise Pier 2.0 --> Pixar Pier

                      After all that effort at creating a transportive environment (a seaside amusement pier of the 1920s), they turn it into an aesthetic/thematic mishmash with no sense of time or place.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mr Wiggins View Post
                        Upgrade: Fantasyland '83.

                        Downgrades:
                        - Tomorrowland '98
                        - The Mark VII Monorail debacle
                        - Spine-destroying Matterhorn sleds
                        - Turning the Swiss Family Treehouse into a Tarzan Disney Store display
                        - Turning Pirates of the Caribbean into a movie franchise promotion
                        - Turning It's a Small World into a Where's Waldo of Disney cartoon characters
                        - Turning the Submarine Adventure thru Liquid Space into the Finding Nemo Underwater Kiddie Video
                        - Removing the Skyway
                        - Removing the Motorboat Cruise
                        - Closing Fort Wilderness
                        - Removing Cascade Peak
                        - Closing the Court of Angels to the public
                        - Closing the One of a Kind Shop
                        - Closing the Town Square Cafe
                        - Replacing the Tahitian Terrace with Aladdin's Oasis
                        - Turning the Main Street Market House into a Starbuck's
                        - Turning Carnation Plaza Gardens into a Disney Princesses merch machine
                        - Turning the Alpine Gardens into a Tinkerbell franchise promotion
                        - Turning the Penny Arcade into a Disney plush merch venue
                        Downgrades:

                        Ruining Mr. Wiggins' childhood. lol.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Of all time? That's rough given how many options there are and things that have happened.. there's so many objectively good things in Disney's history that I'd probably sound like a broken record if I echoed stuff like "they built New Orleans Square". So I'll just list things off that come to my mind first, from my lifetime. They are in no particular order. Just what came to my mind.

                          Upgrades:

                          1) Addition of the Haunted Mansion Holiday.
                          2) Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.
                          3) DCA 2.0 initiative but specifically Buena Vista Street and the Paradise Garden Park areas.
                          4) Space Mountain's 2005 refurbishment.
                          5) Tropical Hideaway.

                          Downgrades:

                          1) Tower of Terror being turned into Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!.
                          2) Paradise Pier becoming Pixar Pier.
                          3) The various failed tenants of the former Innoventions building, especially the Star Wars Launch Bay.
                          4) The current brightness levels of the Haunted Mansion's loading zone.
                          5) The most recent incarnation of Fantasmic!.

                          Picking just 5 for both of these is hard. There's a lot to love and a lot to critique in the resort's many years of operation. -and I won't bother going into any further detail about why I picked the ones I did because the reasons are just my own opinions and tastes pertaining to the resort and whatever is bugging me or making me smile right now.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Upgrades:

                            Jack Sparrow in Pirates
                            Ghost Galaxy for Space Mountain at Halloween
                            Tropical Hideaway in the former Aladdin’s Oasis area
                            Fantasy Faire instead of Plaza Gardens
                            Red Rose Taverne instead of Pinocchio’s Village Haus

                            Downgrades:

                            Most of the non-Sparrow movie references (especially the music)
                            Hatbox Ghost (I prefer the more subdued look of the ride and when it was more of an urban legend)
                            Finding Nemo instead of Submarine Voyage
                            River Belle Terrace sit-down menu
                            Kylo Ren instead of Darth Vader in Star Tours 2.0

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Co Foo View Post
                              Upgrades:

                              Jack Sparrow in Pirates
                              Ghost Galaxy for Space Mountain at Halloween
                              Tropical Hideaway in the former Aladdin’s Oasis area
                              Fantasy Faire instead of Plaza Gardens
                              Red Rose Taverne instead of Pinocchio’s Village Haus

                              ...
                              I agree with all your upgrades, Co Foo! Writing my lists was a pain because I could have just kept going on and on for both of them, honestly.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Starcade View Post

                                But more importantly what are your up and downgrades?
                                Upgrades:
                                • Fantasyland '55 --> Fantasyland '83. A few people have mentioned this one already, and no wonder. It was a slam dunk, going from flat concrete/asphalt and clapboard building frontage to atmospheric cobblestones and charming village architecture, eliminating the bottleneck at the land's entrance and repositioning the Tea Cups closer to the Alice dark ride, tightening the sub-theme. We lost Skull Rock and the pirate ship but gained a pretty good dark ride and a decent sit-down restaurant, so that evens out.
                                • 1992 renovation of NOS waterfront. Since they had to dig up the ground to install all that retractible infrastructure for Fantasmic! anyway, they took the opportunity to dress the area up a little, replacing a simple slope down to the riverbank with a nice set of shallow terraces, steps, and flowerbeds. I think the bridge in front of Pirates went in at the same time.
                                • 1978 Harold --> 2015 Harold (and associated scenic changes). The new bobsleds might be back-cracking, but there's no denying that the more advanced Yeti animatronics, projected ice cave scenes on the lift, and hoard of derelict bobsleds and Skyway cabins up the ante for the mood and implied story of the Matterhorn.
                                • 2017 changes to DLRR dioramas. Another more serendipitous set of improvements--as long as the trains were down during the Galaxy's Edge conversion, the dioramas got some much needed TLC--backdrops were touched up, the dinos had all their internal armatures repaired and some of the critters got fantastically lurid new paint patterns, projection effects were added to make the backgrounds more lively, and we got that super-nifty lightning strike effect in the Grand Canyon. Thumbs up!
                                • HATBOX GHOST 2.0! They not only figured out how to make him work, but made him creepier and more effective than I think Marc Davis and Yale Gracey could ever have dreamed.
                                Downgrades:
                                • 2009 changes to IASW. It's hard to know what they were thinking when they decided that what Small World really needed was for some of the dolls to be cosplaying Disney characters. It's not the first time an original attraction has referenced the works of the Animation Department (have you listened to the Tiki Room outro lately?), but in context it's incredibly cynical. World peace is not a marketing opportunity! I'm none too pleased with the addition of the USA scenes either. The whole point of the ride is to get us Americans thinking about other countries instead of our own for a change, and giving the US its own room right before the finale is almost like saying "Of course, we saved the best for last! LOL!"
                                • 2014 Club 33 renovation. This move not only lost us the Court of Angels, it ruined the forced perspective of NOS in order to give a tiny minority of rich people a better view. It sent a clear message about the priorities of upper management, that's for sure.
                                • ATIS --> Star Tours. OP might leave it as an Honorable Mention, but I'll put it in my main list. Not only did we lose the last of the "Science is cool!" Tomorrowland attractions, it heralded a change in the philosophy regarding attraction changes in general. Previously, if an attraction was flagging in popularity, it would be improved as itself--the technology and effects upgraded, etc. Eisner's solution to ATIS was to replace it something else entirely--something based on a popular movie franchise so they could underwrite the expenses with sales of tie-in merchandise. Moreover, at the time Star Wars was outside IP (and where were the "Shouldn't DISNEYland have DISNEY rides?" people back then, I ask you?), another alarming first showing that, perhaps, management was losing faith in the in-house creativity.
                                • Movie characters invade Pirates of the Caribbean. There is something...disrespectful about taking a ride so good that it spawned a successful movie franchise, and turning it into an echo of said franchise. And possibly even worse...
                                • Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. There is something especially obnoxious about IPs that not only take over perfectly good original rides, but spill outside the boundaries of their natural themed land and colonize other parts of the park.
                                Like this post? Read more like it at The Disneyland Dilettante!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Upgrades:
                                  1. Sunshine Plaza into Buena Vista Street
                                  2. World of Color added to Paradise Bay
                                  3. Frontierland Section of Disneyland Railroad pre-2015 to current rock work and train trestle portion.
                                  4. Parking Lot into Cars Land
                                  5. Big Thunder Mountain's Canary Ending to Dynamite Ending
                                  EDIT BONUS 6. Big Thunder Ranch into Galaxy's Edge

                                  Downgrades:
                                  1. Paradise Pier into Pixar Pier
                                  2. Fantasy Waters into a Patch of Grass (Future spot of DVC Tower)
                                  3. Space Mountain's Indoor Queue Pre 2005 to Red Hallway(at least part of it was kept, before the loading zone chamber)
                                  4. Bug's Land to Avengers Campus (I don't hate Marvel! I'm just disappointed by the final result.)
                                  5. World of Disney's Character Maquettes removed for...nothing?
                                  Last edited by Spongeocto4; 07-13-2021, 06:25 PM.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Spongeocto4 View Post
                                    Upgrades:
                                    5. Big Thunder Mountain's Canary Ending to Dynamite Ending
                                    I totally forgot about the Canary to Dynamite change.


                                    Originally posted by Spongeocto4 View Post
                                    Downgrades:
                                    3. Space Mountain's Indoor Queue Pre 2005 to Red Hallway(at least part of it was kept, before the loading zone chamber
                                    I back this big time the ability to see the coaster flying by while in the queue created such anticipation. I really miss it when I walk by that section that is now just a great wall I believe.

                                    Disneyland Fan since the 70's

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Karalora View Post

                                      The accident occurred when America Sings was brand-new in 1974. It closed in 1988.
                                      I recall the accident happen at the same time the attraction just open........
                                      They added safety measure since ,to the attraction

                                      Soaring like an EAGLE !

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'll limit myself to things I've personally experienced (so nothing from the 50s or 60s).

                                        Upgrades:
                                        1) Matterhorn 1978 refurb with enclosed tunnels and Yeti.
                                        2) Switch from ride coupons to pay-one-price.
                                        3) Fantasmic
                                        4) Fantasyland '83
                                        5) Haunted Mansion

                                        Downgrades:
                                        1) Swapping Rocket Jets for that new thing whose name escapes me and I can't be bothered to look up -- Orbit-something?
                                        2) Brakes on the Mad Tea Party cups.
                                        3) APs getting expensive (and now eliminated).
                                        4) Removal of Adventure Thru Inner Space (have never liked simulators)
                                        5) Haunted Mansion Holiday

                                        Comment

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