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Behind the Ride: Pooh's Hunny Hunt

The experience: Bringing Hundred Acre Wood to life

The trick:  opening a book and sending honey pots in

Image: DisneyThe one commonality across all Winnie the Pooh attractions is the grandeur of the set designs. These are among the most sumptuous dark rides at Disney theme parks. Even by those standards, Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is special.

The Oriental Land Company spent a rumored $130 million on the attraction, the equivalent of almost $200 million US dollars today. While research and development costs were exorbitant, you’ll see much of the money as you enter Hundred Acre Wood.

Image: DisneyFrom the very moment you enter your honey pot, you’ll feel transported to another world. You’ll approach an open storybook for Winnie the Pooh. Should you look at the back of the building, you’ll see that it has the appearance of an English cottage, an adorable bit of symmetry in a Christopher Robbin way.

You’ll literally enter the pages, as the first room is an entranceway to a room full of them. These pages come alive when Winnie the Pooh asks for a balloon. You’ll understand the realism of the attraction later when you watch your favorite bear flying thanks to said balloon. 

The attention to detail in Pooh’s Hunny Hunt rivals anything in Disney’s global empire, even 20 years later! The key to its high standards is the unusual agreement between Disney and The Oriental Land Company. Few westerners realize it, but Disney doesn’t own Tokyo Disneyland. They’ve merely licensed the rights to the corporation that constructed and manages it.

As part of the complicated rights negotiations, Disney has approval over all attractions at Tokyo Disneyland. The Oriental Land Company's Imagineers must pass their own lofty standards for ride quality. Then, they must pass Disney's, too.

The two companies interact daily and even exchange Imagineers regularly. So, it's an extremely cordial relationship. However, it's still a unique situation where Tokyo Disneyland must please two different masters, and that higher demand for quality is integral to the luscious visual appeal of Pooh’s Hunny Hunt. Do yourself a favor and watch the two ride videos plus Disney's teaser clip. You won’t believe how gorgeous this attraction is.

While Disney rides are constantly evolving, something has remained true throughout the 21st century. Pooh’s Hunny Hunt is the embodiment of Walt Disney’s ideal for the concept of Fantasyland. It’s the place where the make-believe world of Hundred Acre Wood comes to life through a combination of invention, deception, and transformation.

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