Magical Blogorail: Imagineer for a Day – Rock’n’Roller Coaster

Mayor for a Day. Firefighter for a Day. Astronaut for a Day. All good choices, but for the Disney fan, it has to be Imagineer for a Day! Join me and my fellow Blogorailers as we exploit our opportunities to change whatever we want about the attractions and/or shows in the Disney parks!

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Green Loop. I’ve chosen to reimagine:


RocknRoller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

Currently, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is an enclosed launched steel roller coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort and at the Walt Disney Studios Park in Disneyland Paris. As the attraction’s name suggests, the coaster features Aerosmith members, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford.

Remember them? Many young people today don’t, and this is one reason I feel it’s time for a rethink! Even if the queue area is awesome.

The Florida attraction opened on July 29, 1999 and is located at the end of Sunset Boulevard. The coaster accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds and that is something I would not change! Because riders experience 4.5 G as they enter the first inversion, more than an astronaut does on a space shuttle launch. Yeah. It’s that wicked!

But outdated. So what would I do to reinvigorate this attraction if I were an Imagineer?

F I R S T

Introduce a new theme

Out with Aerosmith and the music angle. Rather than mess with the beyond-awesome Twilight Zone Tower of Terror I would introduce a Marvel theme to this attraction instead. Universal Studios has made an art form out of fusing Marvel characters with cutting edge roller coaster technology and as a result has arguably kicked Disney’s butt in the thrill ride sector!

Adding to the obvious symmetry of this product placement is that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a movie-themed park. Marvel Comics movies are killing at the box office now and will likely continue to do so for many years to come. So a superhero overlay only makes sense.

S E C O N D

Reinvent the queue area

Out with the tacky video message. There are so many better and higher tech ways to engage an audience than a flat screen video presentation. The concept artwork for the Guardians of the Galaxy queue area planned for TOT would work here.

Or we could use Avengers Mansion as a template. Or Stark Industries. Or Dr. Strange’s Inner Sanctum. The list of available options are numerous and could be swapped out to freshen up the attraction as new Marvel movies are released. This would also give Disney the opportunity to promote new properties.

T H I R D

Add additional Photo Ops

One action shot is not enough! I love ride photos and this roller coaster has so many scream-inducing moves that more cameras to capture these moments would be cool.

Beyond that, we have the opportunity to create a Marvel hero meet-and-greet beyond anything we have seen in a Disney park to date! Face characters could interact with guests during times of peak capacity. More face characters could be waiting for guests after the ride, near the obligatory gift shop, to pose for pictures.

And that my friends is what I would do to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster if I were an Imagineer for a day! Of course, it would take slightly longer than a day to pull off such changes, but with a little faith and some pixie dust… it would still take longer than a day.

But I’m a patient man and would stick with it until it was done! Am I hired?

For more about Disney attractions we would like to see improved, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Imagineer for a Day Loop:

Why Disney’s LET IT GO Is a Bad Song

A Disney song has always been there to move the story along. It can define a character or delve into their motivation, or further the plot. Of course, it’s also designed to stick in your head so that you will love the movie and rush out to buy the soundtrack!

Fair enough.

But I also happen to feel that any song that plays in a children’s movie should be socially responsible. The content of the lyrics should promote good behavior, sound principles, and motivate the listener to be better in some way. I speak of songs sung by the protagonist, or hero, and not the villain. A song sung by a villain is designed to explain their reasons for being nasty and the bad ideas within the lyrics are shown to be wrong when the villain gets his or her comeuppance in the end!

So why do I say that the song Let It Go from the movie Frozen is bad? I know I’m going to be in a minority on this but I feel if people actually read the lyrics instead of just singing along with the tune, they just might begin to see some problems.  So let’s begin.

Let It Go was written by Robert Lopez, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Emanuel Kiriakou and is  Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Walt Disney Music Company. I obtained the lyrics from Google Play Music and trust that they are accurate. I will show the lyrics one stanza at a time, analyze, then move on to the next stanza:

The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I’m the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in;
Heaven knows I’ve tried

Things start off well with Elsa simply surveying her new surroundings and comparing them to her inner turmoil. Which is admittedly great and understandably so!

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Again, Elsa is honestly expressing her feelings about her treatment at the hands of her parents. Being told not to use her powers and then hiding her away from the world because of one accident was a knee-jerk reaction taken to an extreme level! Bad parenting doesn’t begin to cover this situation.

We begin to see a hint of the problem when Elsa callously flips off the line ‘Well now they know’. Yes they, her subjects, do, as their entire land is frozen, live stock and crops are dead, businesses are ruined, and if this was the real world, many are likely to die due to being completely unprepared for such a drastic change in the climate.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore

This signature line from the chorus is the one sung heartily by everyone, even little children. But what are these lyrics actually saying? The idea is that when you can no longer handle a bad situation, let go (or lose control as Elsa does) no matter what the consequences are to yourself or others.

Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care
what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway

And this is perhaps the worst part of this song! Slamming the door in the face of the problem is not going to solve anything. Not caring while being aware of the bad situation caused by one’s decisions and cruelly saying ‘let it go on’ because ‘it doesn’t bother me’ is again not a lesson to teach small children!

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all

Here Elsa has run away from her problems far enough to make them seem small and trivial, when in fact they are big and impactful. She is happy to be safe while everyone else is still in great danger.

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I’m free!

So now that her powers are ‘outed’ she chooses to see just how much damage she can do with them instead of seeing if she can fix things and prove everyone wrong about her. We need to know and accept what is right and wrong and adhere to certain rules to have a safe and working society. Someone who feels ‘free’ from these concepts inevitably hurts others.

Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You’ll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I’ll stay
Let the storm rage on

Now Elsa decides not to face her issues but bury them deep inside her and simply let the world go on without her. She is also okay with the world having to deal with the mess she left behind, just letting ‘the storm rage on.’

My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back, the past is in the past

The past is never ‘in the past’ until there is a resolution to whatever the problem is. That is why we have coined the term ‘closure’. People spend serious time and money on trying to deal with traumatic events in their past so that they can have a better future. Elsa is in effect ceasing to live.

Let it go, let it go
And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on

The cold never bothered me anyway!

Elsa should never have been made to feel that she had to be perfect, nor that the way to achieve this was to hide who and what she was. But to decide to be, in effect, a bad girl, is not a healthy alternative!

Lastly, this final line is perhaps the most damaging lesson this song teaches. That if something doesn’t bother you, who cares about anyone else? Loving, caring, and well-adjusted people care about others, even if those people have made mistakes that hurt them or don’t seem at first to appreciate the effort.

This song seems to say that if you are treated poorly, become as bad as the abusers. Whereas I think we can all agree that the better path is to take the high road and rise above the crowd.

Does this look like a good attitude?

Conclusion: It should be noted that Elsa endured horrible treatment by the two people who should have loved and protected her, her parents. The damage that this would do to a young child is incalculable! So perhaps we can understand her position. But I put forth that her song is that of a villain explaining the reasons for doing what she does, and certainly not a song of empowerment. Remember that the Ice Queen in the original book was a villain and I don’t think Disney intended Elsa to be viewed as well as she has been, but has just run with it for merchandising dollars.

Why this song is held in such a high regard is that somehow Elsa has been cast as a suppressed victim who has every right to act as she does. And she doesn’t act well! In fact, she accidentally freezes Anna’s heart, and instead of trying to help, creates an Ice Monster to remove her from her presence. This monster then goes on to immediately try to kill Anna. I guess that didn’t bother Elsa either?

Also, many fixate on the ‘sisterly love’ angle of the movie, but again, I contend that there is no sisterly love, just one sister’s love (Anna’s) for her sibling (Elsa), which is not returned.

Now that we have analyzed the lyrics stanza by stanza, I would like to recommend that you consider Anna as the true hero of Frozen and consider looking to her as a role model for your little girl or boy, and not Elsa, even if she does have a catchy song.

FUN FACT: Note the shape of the balusters in the railing in the above picture. Does the repeating shape remind you of anything? It resembles the chest insignia of Wonder Woman, the ultimate symbol of female empowerment. Coincidence, or subliminal message?

Walt Disney’s Stories from the Mouse Factory LP

A long title for a short entry in the catalogue of Disneyland Records. These story records are indeed short on content but perfect for little ones with short attention spans. This offering even has eleven storybook pages to help focus the listener.

 

Front and back of the sleeve

The four stories that are narrated for us are The Little House (1952), Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952), Johnny Appleseed (1948), and Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952). These are all Disney Shorts. This album was produced in 1972.

Now let’s have a look at the storybook pages within:

I was very glad to see no coloring or children’s name scrawled on these pages! Also, there is no hole punch through the top right corner. This was a technique practiced by retail stores to identify discounted LP’s that could not be returned for a refund. Most of my Disney record collection has just such a hole punched in the corners. Boo retailers!

    

Disneyland Records label

Just for a bit of fun, take a look at the time on the punch clock at The Mouse Factory where Mickey works:

Who starts or ends their shift at 2:50 in the morning or afternoon? I guess when it’s your image on the clock, you can punch in or out any time you want!

Tubby the Tuba LP – Narrated by Annette

Who is Tubby the Tuba you ask? Well, if you were into collecting very obscure Disneyland Records releases in 1963, you’d recognize this character as a one-off musical instrument used to teach children about, what else: music.

But I’m guessing that doesn’t clear anything up for you, so I think this would be a good time to show you the LP cover:

I love his socks!

This LP from Disneyland Records follows the pattern of most similar releases in that the main title is confined to the A Side, with filler or stock music of a related theme confined to the B Side. So as you may gather from that, Tubby the Tuba and his story only appears on the A Side of this LP.

Annette does a fantastic job of narrating the story doing many character voices and even singing a very funny character song for a bullfrog.

FUN FACT: Even though Walt talked her out of changing her last name, with the argument that she would be unique and remembered for it, she is often billed as simply ‘Annette’. What’s up with that?

The story of Tubby the Tuba follows, you guessed it, a tuba as he tries to be taken seriously by the snobbish instruments of the orchestra he is a part of. While they get to play beautiful melodies he only gets to go ‘Uumpa! Uumpa!’ and is shouted down if he tries to do anything else.

After a rehearsal Tubby goes off by himself and sits down beside a pond where he meets a large bullfrog. The bullfrog is a happy and courteous fellow and greets the tuba and soon they are swapping life stories which turn out to be very similar. It seems the bullfrog’s singing isn’t appreciated by his pond friends either. He sings a tune for Tubby that both cheers him up and gives him something to play for his band mates!

Tubby returns to the orchestra for another rehearsal and tries to sneak the bullfrog’s tune in but is again shouted down by the other instruments. But the Conductor hears it and asks Tubby to play it again. He does so and it is so good that all of the other instruments join in and Tubby is now a respected part of the orchestra!

NOT-SO FUN FACT: Back in 1963 society still wasn’t very sensitive to anything that was different. Movies and television were filled with stereotypical depictions of heavy-set people. Usually every plucky protagonist had an overweight friend constantly munching on junk food for comic relief. I always wondered how those (usually) younger actors felt about being hired solely to be laughed at?

My contention is with the naming of this character: Tubby the Tuba. With the root word so obvious and the tuba’s size as an instrument, it’s not hard to see why the writers took the easy way out in naming him. But although arguably not as cute, couldn’t he have been named Thomas the Tuba or Terry the Tuba or Tony the Tuba?

This may be a stretch, but it comes close to fat shaming a tuba because of its size.

Now back to 2016 and the B Side of the LP:

  Tubby the Tuba Record 4

  1. This was a Short from 1953 and provided a history of music through the ages, from prehistoric man to the modern symphony orchestra.
  2. An old standard given a new musical twist.
  3. A medley featuring five things kids might sing about.
  4. Jimmie Dodd sings a quasi-religious song based on the Bible book of Proverbs to the Mouseketeers.
  5. This song was written by Dodd but sung by an ensemble.

It was great to hear Jimmie Dodd again as he was such a great talent and a very good man all around. It’s always interesting to see him outside of his Mickey Mouse Club role.

These old LPs are great collectors items and very inexpensive to obtain. I picked this one up a local flea market for just a dollar. The music is well done and the artwork is fun!

Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess on the Lawrence Welk Show

And here we have yet another Disney reference popping up on television. We all remember the Merry Marching Mouseketeers with everyone’s favorite female performer, Annette. But who was your favorite male performer?

Perhaps it was Robert Wilkie “Bobby” Burgess (born May 19, 1941), who was one of only nine Mouseketeers who stayed for the entire run of the show:

Later he would continue his dancing career on the long-running Lawrence Welk Show. Here he is as he appeared in a LW clip show some time after the original run was completed:

And here he is with his full-time dance partner on the original LW show:

     Bobby Mouseketeer Welk 012

With so many of the original Mouseketeers ending their careers after the Club disbanded, and others falling into trouble, it is so nice to know that some were able to go on to continued success, both as people, and performers!