Disneyland impresses me every time I visit. The rides are magical, the shows are enchanting, the streets are clean, the food is good, and the customer service is exceptional. I am so thankful for Walt Disney's dream to create a place for families to have fun together. He succeeded and his legacy continues to inspire the next generation.
During our most recent visit, I couldn't help but think what I might do if I could join the magic-workers, architects, imagineers, and creatives "behind the scenes" at Disney's theme parks.
If I were in charge of Disneyland, I would...
- Enhance the Mary Poppins experience. It's such a classic & enchanting film, an enduring story that is certain to withstand the test of time. Mary Poppins would absolutely translate well as a ride, but there also ought to be a character dining "tea" - with scones, soups, sandwiches, pastries and photo opps galore. I also vote for Mary Poppins as Hyperion's next show whenever it adds a new one (although the Frozen one is fantastic).
- Create Narnia. Think about the possibilities. You could enter through a wardrobe into a frost-covered land with a rollar coaster (The White Witch), a full-service restaurant (Aslan's Table), a C.S. Lewis documentary and museum with Audio-Animatronics technology, and a souvenir shop that sells turkish delights, richly colored cloaks, and bows/arrows. Narnia would be an excellent addition to Disney's California Adventure Park.
- Update the Baby Care Centers + add one new/additional center at Disneyland. I was surprised how busy the baby care centers were on our most recent visit. Grateful dads + moms were stopping in continually to change diapers, nurse babies, buy forgotten supplies, and/or use potty training toilets. The Baby Care Centers are one of Disney's many, many strong points and I hope that they are able to maintain high standards of cleanliness and friendliness. Adding a second center in Disneyland would help to ensure both.
- Take out Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin. Aside from the fact that I'm not generally a fan of "spinning" rides, I find this one to be an improper fit for Toon Town. It's not a recognizable or popular storyline for young children...and even has semi-adult theming that I don't care for.
- Add a Robin Hood ride (perhaps in place of Roger Rabbit?). Disney's animated Robin Hood is such a frolicking and fun animated film - with such lively music, to boot! It would be fantastic to see a bit of Sherwood Forest theming somewhere in the parks, not to mention character interactions with Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Little John.
- Build a Belle's Library coffeehouse/gift shop. The quaint space would feature BOOKS galore, cozy spaces to read, lit-theming, and specialty menu items (giant cinnamon rolls?). There could be an attached outdoor photo space where Belle, Beast, and/or Gaston could make appearances.
- Sell only digital downloads for PhotoPass. As a guest, that's really all I want. I don't need 4x6s or 8x10s. On the contrary, I want fun and frame-worthy shots that I can make into canvases, cards, or photo books from my preferred printing company.
- Speaking of PhotoPass, train the photographers WELL. Invest in quality camera equipment and training programs to ensure that photos are professional and aesthetic.
- Offer a VIP Photography experience. For a designated sum, a photographer will follow your family for the day to capture candid and special moments that you can treasure for years to come.
- Expand the Hyperion to include restrooms. There may be space limitations now that the structure is already in place, but it would be quite convenient to have restrooms on-site.
- More entree salads. It would be excellent if every fast casual and sit-down restaurant in the parks offered a main entree salad option. Examples: Caesar w/ chicken, cobb salad, BLT salad, taco salad, pesto pasta salad, etc. I am always looking for salad options when I am traveling and Disney is no exception. In fact, maybe there could be a character dining experience with an all-you-can-eat salad bar and accompaniments.
- Continue to run a tight ship when it comes to costumes and casting. Disney clearly does an outstanding job when it comes to orienting employees to the company culture and maintaining high expectations when it comes to cast behavior and costuming. I love that you'll never find a cast member out of character (or at least it is very, very rare).
That's it for tonight's late night brainstorm session.
What would YOU do if you were in charge of Disneyland?