50th Anniversary Celebration Original Announcement
On May 5, 2004, Disney held an enormous press event at Disneyland to announce its plans for the celebration of Disneyland's 50th anniversary in 2005. Although DisneyLies.com does not usually report on Disney-related news and current events, we though that this announcement was important enough to reproduce here in excruciating detail, just in case our readers overlooked it on every other Disney-related Web site.
Elements of the celebration will be seen in all of Disney's theme parks. There will be special events, themed merchandise, new attractions, and (reminiscent of the "Mickey is Fifty" slogan of some years back) omnipresent "Disneyland is Fiftyland" banners, buttons, signs, and tattoos.
Each of the parks will also celebrate the anniversary in its own way.
Two new dark rides and six new thrill rides will open in 2005 -- including DisneySea's innovative "Psychotic River Delta" attraction, the world's first flume ride with a 360-degree vertical loop.
Each week, a new large-scale Broadway-style stage adaptation of one of Disney's classic films will be unveiled.
A new land will open in Tokyo Disneyland -- Disneyland-land. This will be an exact copy of the Anaheim park, right down to the number of ducks in the Rivers of America (but not including ride closures).
The Magic Kingdom
For an extra $5, guests will be able to enter the park half an hour early on weekdays.
A new stunt show, "Lights, Camera, Carnage! A Super Motorized Ultra Action Stunt Show Turbo Spectacular," will open, featuring explosions, car wrecks, and life-threatening audience participation.
In the tradition of the animation department, all live-action filming in the studio will be canceled. If all goes as planned, by 2007 Disney-MGM Studios will be completely self service and have no employees at all.
In a demonstration of Imagineering excellence, the "MGM" part of the park's name will slowly fade away from all signage and print materials as the year progresses.
The "Soarin' Over California" attraction from Disney California Adventure will be moved to Epcot, in the hope that putting it in a park people actually visit will give it better exposure.
A new dark ride will be added to the World Showcase's Japan pavilion -- adventures in Tokyo Disneyland. This Pirates of the Caribbean-style animatronic extravaganza will show guests what it's like to visit a theme park that has a significant budget for maintenance and new development. A separate admission charge will apply.
Disney's Animal Kingdom
Because the public is not as entertained by live animals as it once was, all of the animals in the park's larger attractions will be replaced by computer-operated ones. The care of remaining live animals will be outsourced overseas.
A new e-ticket attraction, Expedition Everest, will open. This high-speed thrill ride will take guests through a simulation of Mount Everest, complete with thin oxygen, freezing temperatures, a chance to fall into a crevice and perhaps starve to death before help arrives, and a gift shop.
Prices will quadruple, but everything in the park -- including fixtures -- will be for sale, cheap. Executives will greet guests as they enter the park and tearfully beg for money.
Hong Kong Disneyland
Although the park may not actually open in 2005 (largely because of difficulties with predicting the performance of an underpaid third-world construction team), Michael Eisner promises that, in a tribute to its inspiration, the new park's final construction cost will not exceed the cost of constructing Disneyland in 1955. To meet this goal, the park will not have some of the original Disneyland's thrills (e.g. rides, landscaping), but Eisner promises that this seeming lack will be made up for with a variety of shopping and dining-cart opportunities and an absence of intrusive staff and maintenance.
Disney California Adventure
"Blockhead Bash" events will spring up at random around the park. It's not clear what these will be, but they sure sound violent.
The new Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will be made even more terrifying with continuing threats that, if the ride becomes too crowded, Superstar Limo will be reopened.
The first new animatronic-filled e-ticket ride since Pirates of the Caribbean will open, setting a new standard for attraction excellence. Gangs of Los Angeles will be a peaceful boat ride divided into two parts -- humorous scenes of dead gang members who have rotted away to skeletons, and a robotic recreation of the Los Angeles riots. The ride will have no height restrictions so it can be enjoyed by the whole family.
Sleeping Beauty Castle will be redecorated with gold and jewels and surrounded by heavily armed guards, 24/7.
The "Disneyland -- The First 50 Years" exhibit, originally slated to replace the current contents of Innoventions, will instead appear in a scaled-back form behind the Bank of Main Street in a maintenance closet next to the restrooms.
Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln will be replaced by Great Moments with Mr. Eisner. This replacement attraction will remain until at least 2006, whether guests like it or not.
Instead of a new parade, there will be a new "streetacular." A streetacular is essentially a standard Disneyland parade that is not restricted to the normal parade route. At any time, the parade may take off through the park, cramming through the streets of Adventureland or jumping into the Rivers of America for a quick wade to Tom Sawyer's Island. The parade will also feature massive balloon releases, not seen in the park in years, much to the delight of children and dismay of environmentalists, bird lovers, and helicopter pilots.
The new Tomorrowland attraction, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters will open with the tagline, "Lightyear's, better than other attractions." This will be the first attraction ever to have a live link to the Internet, so that people at home can enjoy the ride along with guests in the park, and park guests can have the added thrill of slowdowns due to network congestion and the possibility of their ride vehicle being infected by a worm, Trojan horse, or virus.
Space Mountain will reopen with the same old track layout, new special effects (including a baby alien bursting from the chest of random guests), and no oxygen.
Big Thunder Railroad will return to its roots and reopen as "Pokey Slow Mine Train Ride Through Nature's Safe, Non-Threatening Wonderland."
A new, improved Enchanted Tiki Room -- "Now less dilapidated than ever!"
A new fireworks "ultra-extravaganza" will run all year. It will include the largest number of fireworks ever unleashed on a theme-park audience, culminating in a spectacular finale in which special nozzles atop buildings throughout the park spray a fine mist of gasoline into the air which is then ignited, covering the park with a blinding sheet of flame for several seconds. Guests over six feet in height will be asked to sit during this part of the performance.
Note that several anniversary celebration ideas conceived by Disneyland's previous management and mentioned elsewhere on this site may or may not become part of the final plan. These include:
The reworked Many Adventures of Elvis the Pooh attraction in Critter Country.
Colorfully painted man-eating sharks in the submarine lagoon.
Turning Star Tours back into Adventures Thru Inner Space and bringing back the Hall of Chemistry.
Quadruple speed and banked turns on the Disneyland Railroad.
Chip 'n Dale's Treehouse of Horror.
New house in Mickey's Toontown for Michael Eisner.
New 3D film on the planning of Disney California Adventure in the Tomorrowland Magic Eye Theater: "Honey, We Shrunk the Budget".
Real corpses in the Haunted Mansion.
Improved Mad Tea Party ride vehicles that don't actually move at all.