It's now been one week since The Walt Disney Company announced its intentions to acquire 21st Century Fox (after the spinoff of certain assets) for $52.4 billion. Since then, the announcement has sparked everything from fanboy theories about the MCU's Phase Four to regulatory concerns in Congress. But, you may be asking yourself, what about the theme parks?
Earlier this year, Disney finally debuted Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney's Animal Kingdom. As luck would have it, the record-breaking film that inspired that land just so happens to be owned by Fox. In fact, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the project has brought them a strong relationship with director James Cameron, who was pleased to hear about the Fox deal. Of course, a few breaths later, Iger said he didn't see many applications for other Fox properties in the Disney parks.
With all due respect to Mr. Iger, we beg to differ. But, while there are plenty of retheming one could make to existing attractions to shoehorn in Fox IP, there are a few areas where Walt Disney World is lacking and could benefit from some 21st Century updates. Here are a few of our ideas:
A Diamond Horseshoe Stage Show
For a long while, the Diamond Horseshoe at Magic Kingdom was a far cry from its older sibling out west. After years of mostly closed doors, some life was breathed into the venue when it became an all-you-care-to-eat dining location. Still, there's something notable missing from the Diamond Horseshoe: a show. Well, look no further than the 1945 Fox film aptly titled Diamond Horseshoe as an inspirational starting point for a new production.
FernGully at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
When the would-be blockbuster Avatar was first released, many couldn't help but compare the themes of the film to 1992's FernGully: The Last Rainforest (Disney's Pocahontas was another frequent comparison). Well, with Disney deeming Avatar a fit for Animal Kingdom, why not double down and bring FernGully to the park as well? For one, this would be a great excuse to reuse parts of the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Play Area that recently departed Disney's Hollywood Studios as well as the rumored to not be long for this world A Bug's Land decor in Disney California Adventure. If they really wanted to go all out, they could also work this into a retheme of Kali River Rapids — and hopefully add another drop while they're at it.
Dr. Doolittle Talking Animal Spectacular at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Speaking of Animal Kingdom, although the aforementioned Pandora helped turn the park into a full-day experience (or at least got it a lot closer), there's always room for improvement. Enter the Doctor Doolittle franchise, which will be under Disney control if the deal with Fox is allowed to close. Imagine, if you will, a humorous talking animal show that would best the beloved seal, sea lion, and otter shows found at SeaWorld and other venues. Okay, on second thought, maybe an interactive augmented reality game featuring the good doctor and his surprisingly talkative pals is a better route to go in these times.
Hello, Dolly on Main Street
For a non-Disney film, Hello, Dolly sure has a lot of Disney connections. For one, the Main Street U.S.A. background loop has long included an instrumental version of the song "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" from the show-turned-film. Additionally, the movie was memorably featured in Pixar's Wall E. With old Main Street not always getting the love it deserves, perhaps it's time to say "hello" to some more Dolly on a daily basis. For example, there could be a mini-parade or streetmosphere flash mob that appears near-hourly throughout the day (except at 3:00, of course) to perform "Before the Parade Passes By" — or something more upbeat. And, while it may not be thematic appropriate, who could be mad about a full-sized Wall E performing alongside?
The Wonders (The Oneders) Performing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
In the same vein as the proposed Hello, Dolly-inspired performances, what if Hollywood Studios added some rock and roll to their atmosphere? Directed by Walt Disney himself (Tom Hanks), 1996's That Thing You Do features one of the catchiest tunes ever recorded — and one that will soon join the Disney songbook. What better way to celebrate this accomplishment than to have The Wonders/Oneders perform the song multiple times a day? These appearances could even evolve every few hours, changing the tempo, swapping the bass player, and remaking their iconic The Hollywood Television Showcase debut.
While those are the five ideas we think are the best, here a few other (mostly unserious) Fox attraction ideas for Walt Disney World and beyond:
Innoventions at Epcot Get Robots-Themed Pavilion
Hey, they have to put something there, don't they? The Blue Sky film featuring the voices of Ewan McGregor, Drew Carey, Amanda Bynes, and Robin Williams seems as logical a theme as any.
Animation Desks at Hollywood Studios Get Office Space Overlay
You may not be able to watch the latest Disney animated features being created at Hollywood Studios anymore, but perhaps we could watch the inner workings of Initech and see "what's happening." I believe you have my stapler...
Mission: Space Camp
Just because puns are fun (and, with the film starring Tate Donovan, this updated attraction could go the distance).
Disney Cruise Line Chipwrecked Days
Presumably this would include the horn melodies being replaced with a pattern meant to resemble Dave Seville yelling, "Allllllvvviinnnnn!"
Main Street Penny Arcades Add Zoltar
Clearly the Main Street shops should feature the fortune teller that Walt Disney himself once wished upon.
24-Themed 24 Hour Parties
Fox's rebooted 24 may not have worked out so well, but Disney rebooting their 24-hour parties with Jack Bauer would be a surefire hit.