TPT logo

Your guide to theme parks in Orlando and beyond

 

Main menu

4 Disneyland Attractions That Desperately Need an Upgrade

Golden Zephyr

Golden Zephyr

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

Major renovations to date: 0

When it comes to issues of continuity within the Disney Parks, perhaps no rides stick out more obviously than Disney California Adventure’s Golden Zephyr and Jumpin’ Jellyfish. The two are holdovers from the park’s original construction in 2001 and have survived numerous thematic changes to both Paradise Pier and the current Pixar Pier, with no apparent retheming of their own in sight.

The Golden Zephyr was reportedly inspired by Captive Flying Machines at Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England, and has been likened to the rocket ships used by fictional space travelers Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers. That may be entirely lost on today’s audience, as the rides are positioned near a hodgepodge of attractions that include The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Goofy’s Sky School, and Silly Symphony Swings.

If there’s a specific reason Golden Zephyr has been allowed to persist this long, Disney hasn’t revealed it yet. What they might do, however, is align it with either Ariel’s Undersea Adventure and Jumpin’ Jellyfish—maybe turning those long, golden rockets into the dolphins and sharks that roam through Atlantica—or incorporate elements from another classic Fab Five cartoon in order to connect it with Goofy’s Sky School and Silly Symphony Swings.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters

Image: HarshLight, Flickr (license)

Major renovations to date: 0

When the brash and cocksure Buzz Lightyear first invaded Tomorrowland in 2005, the concept of a dark ride/shooting gallery hybrid attraction was thrilling and new. It was the first real attraction that allowed guests to compete against each other (albeit only for bragging rights) since the Frontierland Shooting Exposition inspired informal contests among parkgoers 48 years earlier.

The premise of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters is technologically simple: Ride vehicles wind through space-themed corridors and rooms, using a moveable joystick and laser pistols to take aim at differently-valued targets and defeat the Evil Emperor Zurg (well, more accurately, to accrue points). Over the last 14 years, however, some participants have become a little too familiar with the system, leaking strategies and secrets that make it far from a fair fight against less-practiced contenders.

Today, the interior of the attraction—starry, blacklit backdrops accentuated in glowing, garish oranges and greens—also appears a little kitschy and outdated compared to its contemporary, Toy Story Midway Mania. That might work in its favor, as Disney has a long history of trafficking in kitsch and nostalgia within and without its theme parks, but without the added bonus of updated technology, the attraction might soon feel too predictable and dull in comparison to other 4D-enhanced, screen-based rides.

The answer, then, doesn’t seem to be a full-scale overhaul of Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, but a modest update that allowed Disney to strike a better balance between modern tech and the classic feel of an action figure-sized space battle against evil robots. Those kinds of upgrades—specifically, a switch to screen-based targets with unpredictable point values—would challenge repeat visitors to continue honing their skills while increasing the popularity for an already-beloved attraction. (As a bonus, it might even ensure a steady stream of visitors to Tomorrowland after the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, too.)

***

Do you think Disneyland needs to refresh some of their long-standing attractions? Are there any we missed on this list? Let us know!

Go to page:

Pages


There are no comments so far.

Connect with Theme Park Tourist: