17 7 / 2014
"Think about some of the classic Disneyland attractions—Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion, Matterhorn Bobsleds and “it’s a small world.” How would they fare against the story litmus test? Do they have a beginning, middle and end? A clear antagonist or protagonist? Would they be better if they had a clearly defined inciting incident, conflict and resolution? Without these things an attraction has no story, and therefore is no good—according to the current dogma.
"So, has the injection of story in recent years improved the quality of theme park attractions? Well, sometimes. The immersive backstory created for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror adds layers of depth to the experience—heightening the sense that the guests are visiting a real place with a real history. However, in Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a tacked-on story about a baby elephant makes the experience seem less credible, more contrived and altogether artificial. It disrupts an otherwise beautiful and realistic experience."
THIS NEXT PART IS SO SPOT-ON IT’S TERRIFYING:
“‘Story’ is not a bad thing, but ‘plot’ potentially is. The Haunted Mansion has a GREAT story. You’re a guest at an old mansion (why? that’s up to you to decide), a ghostly voice gives you a tour, you see strange things and evidence of ghosts, you meet the ghost of a fortune teller who calls the spirits for you based on your ‘sympathetic vibrations’, and then the ghosts appear and you party with them! In the end, one of them comes home with you. That, along with the elaborately implied (but never revealed) history of the mansion and the ghosts themselves, is a story.
"However…in today’s climate, there would be a forced ‘plot’ with an elaborate pre-show setup (probably using video of live actors) about an evil ghost or demon, or unscrupulous ghost-catcher kidnapping someone (probably someone marketable and cute) and the Ghost Host ‘needs your help’ in rescuing them; your ‘help’ of course involves sitting passively in a Doom Buggy while you hear brilliant ‘immersive’ dialogue like ‘there he goes! after him!’"
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