Friday, June 11, 2010

Land of the Broken Yeti

I’ve recently returned from the land of the broken Yeti- aka Animal Kingdom. It had been 8 years since I'd last been to WDW. There were a handful of new attractions I was very eager to see. And there were some attractions I found disappointingly still in existence. One of the biggest things I had been looking forward to was Expedition Everest.

The country regions of Animal Kingdom I find absolutely amazing. To me it hearkens back to the core feeling that Walt Disney intended in his parks -a wonderment of the world about us, of times and far reaching places that don’t need brands and tie-ins to justify their marketability. I’m sure there were some within WDI that would have much rather seen this:

But alas Joe Rhode’s vision was left alone and an unbranded creative vision emerged -the likes we have not really seen since!. An E-ticket ride with no tie-in, with no Pixar characters, with no 3d technology, no game element. A simple idea based on a mythical legend set in an intriguing local.... So you can imagine I was very enthused to get strapped in and take a whirl through the land of the ferocious Yeti. The ride, the surroundings, the detail were all exquisite- the structure and the line itself were a true reassurance that Imagineer’s, unobstructed, left to do what they do best- do their best!

The ride was absolutely amazing except for the fact that I never saw the alleged Yeti! I assume since the allusive Yeti wasn’t working the lights were kept off him? I did see his elbow one time when someone’s flash went off as they were taking a picture. I went on it three times and on three different days and he was never working. Talk about a disappointment. The Yeti is the star of the show, his size and ferocity is inferred with the destruction of the tracks and fleeting footprints, his silhouette is hinted at for a brief moment, you hear him grumbling around certain turns, and then… nothing! Maybe an elbow if you’re lucky.

So I asked around only to hear my Yeti is “…usually broken, more often than not!” How disappointing.

After the third and last time I gave the Yeti to show himself, to no avail, we headed around the back of the attraction. It was so frustrating to walk around a corner and see a giant jarring Cal-Trans orange Dinosaur and cheesy carnival game after cheesy carnival game with the mountebank like employee’s huckstering you over to play over load speakers. That corner transported me from the Himalayas to Camp Snoopy in 2.2 seconds.

It's no wonder it looked like a ghost town. I couldn’t help but think that the cost of design, construction, and day-to-day pay roll for this "land" could pay to fix the Yeti that people were waiting 2+ hours to not see. This is precisely the garbage Walt reacted to while sitting on that bench with his daughters that inspired him to make something better.

It’s a shame that one of Disney’s best additions runs broken most of the time. The Yeti needs to be fixed. "Fix the Yeti Campaign" anyone?