Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Disney Announces "Yeti Mountain"

Disney's Animal Kingdom stated in a press release this past weekend that it is pleased to announce its first major thrill ride. In an effort to bring a little more excitement to a park with 6 attractions, including as many as one or two that don’t suck worse than anything you can possibly imagine, it has been announced that Vekoma, a Dutch coaster manufacturer known worldwide for its three despicable coaster designs, has been contracted to build the Animal Kingdom’s new e-ticket attraction.

The riders' journey will begin as they step into the heavily themed queue area. "We felt that theming is very important, even while the guests are waiting in line,” said a Disney spokesperson. "And that is why we've extended the theming beyond just the ride itself. The
extensive network of back and forth switchbacks will give the riders the feeling that they really are waiting in line for a train." Following the “literally hours of amusing switchback negotiation,” they will be ushered into a room and divided into groups of four to watch a "preshow" on the televisions mounted above the doors through which they will enter. This preshow will fully explain the legend of the yeti, as well as the safety procedures to be followed once riders are in the train. Attractive female guests may or may not be crudely groped at this point by nasty teenage ACE members.

ARN&R was made privy to a Disney management synopsis of the thrilling new attraction. According to the materials, “riders will enter the train station where they will prepare to set out to find the rare and elusive Yeti. It has been found in studies that the safest way to travel in a train is facing backwards, so in keeping with the realistic theming of this ride, this journey will be no exception.” The "train" that the riders will take their journey in will actually be contracted out and built by a Utah-based company, S&S/Arrow. It will feature such comforts as molded plastic bucket seats, padded over the shoulder restraints with extra large semi-circular hand grips, and the standard ball peen hammer that sharply whacks riders on the head every few seconds.

The Disney materials continue by stating the following: “And the journey begins...as the train ascends backwards up the mountain, riders marvel at the scenery as they pass waterfalls and bamboo fields. Just like at the real Everest's base camp at 18,000 feet above sea level. The expedition leader will be talking the whole time over a PA system installed in the ride, keeping riders updated on the search for the ever-elusive Yeti. But shortly into the ride the first Yeti encounter occurs! At the apex of the hill, the Yeti jumps out and attacks! The expedition leader screams out ‘we're losing control!’ and the train comes loose and plunges down the mountain. Back through the station it goes, and into a giant snowdrift, which sends the train up into the air and upside down. The train, seemingly out of control, will ‘boomerang’ around the snowdrift before hitting another drift and flying into the air in a loop, then landing back on the mountain, not too far from where it had originally begun its journey.

”From here the train begins its climb up the mountain again, this time moving up forwards. Riders look again for the Yeti, but this time are instructed to be more careful. Again, the Yeti jumps out and attacks! Once again, the train loses control and careens back down the hill, only this time, riders get the whole experience BACKWARDS!!!”

The brochures conclude by stating that, “after having ‘boomeranged’ their way back to the train station, the riders receive an announcement from the expedition leader that this amazing trip is over.” ARN&R has learned that, from here, some "feel-good" music plays and the riders are supposed to learn that sometimes, Man is better off not tampering with nature. Or something.

Disney has also announced that, in keeping with modern times, no animatronic puppets will be used in this ride; instead, a real human being will play the role of the Yeti. While names were not released, it is rumored that the man chosen to play the Yeti is a Wisconsin native, and the movements of the Yeti will be based on an original creation of his known as the "[censored] Flags Dance." Disney executives refuse to confirm speculation that the Yeti has already been chosen, and firmly maintain that Alec Baldwin, Nicholas Cage, Ben Affleck, and Andy Garcia are all still strong contenders for this important role as a big, scary, hairy ape.

Yeti Mountain is the only ride of its kind in the Orlando area, though of course approximately 250 other parks have basically the same dumb ride, minus a hirsute actor. Disney reps speculate that the ride should be open and thrilling the public by the summer of 2009.

Disney Studios Announces Long-Awaited Star Tours II

Reportedly years in development, the long-awaited update to Star Tours has been announced. The original Star Tours, located both at Disneyland and Disney Studios Theme Parks, was considered a groundbreaking simulator in its time, but has grown a bit long in the tooth in recent years. All that will change with the opening of Star Tours II: Darth Maul's Revenge.

"We've been working on this behind the scenes for about eight years now," said Imagineer Jeremy Miller. "Unfortunately, Disney management keeps reducing our budget year after year, and refuses to develop any of our concepts that don't involve gift shops and overpriced food, which really isn't the kind of stuff we took this job for. Star Tours II should be the ride that really puts Disney back at the top of the heap as far as innovative, cutting edge thrills, though."

ARN&R was able to confirm that the project has indeed undergone severe budget cuts over the years of development. In fact, 97% of the money available was spent on the guest shop revamp a few years back. We learned that the new attraction may be a bit more low tech than some Disney attractions, consisting only of a cabin that rocks guests back and forth as they view this exciting footage of some moron pretending to be Darth Maul with his own make-believe lightsaber. Regular guests will be able to view the standard ride, while resort guests will be provided with an upgraded ride experience that features better special effects and a soundtrack to accompany the moron's wacky antics with his throbbing rod.

"Okay, I admit it," said Miller after a moment. "The ride's going to suck. We have a few burly guys rocking a cabin around while some buffoon appears on a video and acts like a nimrod. I hate Disney. Why didn't I take that %&#$ing job at the Baltimore Aquarium instead?"