[Update: I still have not been there]
As I write this article, Carsland is just days away from its grand public debut. Everyone from the Disney fan community will be there to cover the event, WDWNT of course being among them. I am, regrettably, unable to make it out to the West Coast to be a part of it all. Thankfully, there will be all of this amazing coverage online, from videos of the attractions, to reviews, to enough photos to cover the whole of the surface of the earth.
Many of you reading this may not be aware, but there was a time before the Internet existed, or at least, before anyone outside of major universities and the military had access. If you wanted news, you got it either from TV (they used to have news on the news channels back then), radio (ask your parents), and newspapers (Google it). The ability to follow every last thing happening at the Disney parks was rather limited. In fact, it was pretty much limited to coverage on the Disney Channel (yes, there was a time you could see the Disney parks on the Disney Channel – crazy!) In other words, you would often go down to your favorite Disney park for a trip, completely unaware of the changes – big or small – that had taken place, without going to some greater lengths to discover them.
A great example of this was our family trip to Disney World in the summer of 1994. It had been one year since we were there last. Anyone who visited the parks prior to and after 1994 is aware of the absolutely staggering number of changes that took place during this time period. Tomorrowland got a complete makeover. EPCOT Center became Epcot 94, thereby solving the problem of the park becoming dated by literally dating it. Dramatic changes were all around.
And I had no idea that it was happening. Granted I was 11, but still, it was a shock to the system to see such a drastic change in one short year. Can you imagine that happening now? Over the last three years, I think the Disney fan community, us included, have documented every time a construction worker in Fantasyland sneezed. In fact, New Fantasyland managed to announce itself online before Disney even had the chance. We know about every new construction project from obscure paperwork filings that no one would have seen two decades ago.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I indulge constantly in the coverage and feel that I am even closer to the resort as a result. But what I do want to do is recapture that real sense of getting to do something for the first time, and legitimately not having any clue what is about to happen next. I often envy the Disney tourists who board attractions not knowing what is about to happen to them.
The last time I really experienced something like this was with Mission: SPACE. This was 2003. While there was a fledgling Disney fan community online, there was no YouTube, no Facebook, no Twitter, and camera phones had only just begun to hit mass market (not like there was much you could do with those truly awful photos back then anyway). We knew that Mission: SPACE was coming, but had very little idea as to what it was. And this was during the early stages of soft opening, when the attraction lacked the dozens of warnings that now exist before you even hit the preshow. My mother has not made it further than that game at the exit ever since (I could feel the terror the first time that centrifuge started spinning). And at the time, I thought it was an awesome ride, and I now owe a lot of that to the fact that it was a genuinely new experience at the time (my views on it have lowered in subsequent years).
Since then, I have seen a video of every major attraction before riding it. I knew the Soarin’ score before I rode Soarin’. I knew when the train went backwards on Expedition Everest. And I even knew the order of the songs in World of Color before seeing it.
So I am not going to do it this time. I have managed to avoid what coverage there has been of Radiator Springs Racers so far, and I intend to continue to until I can get out there and ride it for myself. This will not be easy, partially due to the enormous amount of coverage it will be getting, but also since I will not have an opportunity to get out there until at least next fall. I will get to try this out though before then, on Disneyland Paris’s new nighttime show, which I will be seeing this September.
By no means am I trying to make a kind of political stand in my purposeful avoidance of this one particular attraction. And I doubt I would be able to do this for every new change that Disney makes (okay, I KNOW I won’t be able to). But I think I will enjoy Carsland just a little bit more by really going in for the first time, ignorant and loving it. If all goes according to plan, I will have my very own review of Carsland ready to go in only 16 short months!