Walt Disney famously coined the phrase “weenie.” He loved his dog, Lady, and gave her a special treat whenever he came home from work. He would throw the puppy an uncooked weenie, extremely aware of the Pavlovian reactions he got from the dog.
From that moment on, he thought of massive park landmarks as weenies. The first famous one was Sleeping Beauty Castle, the jaw-dropping castle at Disneyland. Although Uncle Walt didn’t live to build Walt Disney World, Imagineers maintained his legacy by building similarly iconic structures. Here’s how I rank the 11 weenies at Walt Disney World.
11. Chinese Theatre
Disney’s Hollywood Studios comes with a checkered landmark history. The Earffel Tower and Sorcerer’s Hat both took so much abuse that Disney tore them down. And nobody really misses them.
The Chinese Theatre is a different story. It’s an eye-grabbing building that also fits the original theme of the park. Disney’s added to its utility over the years by hosting shows and digital projections on the stage. Still, with so many spectacular weenies at Walt Disney World, something has to finish last.
10. Big Thunder Mountain
One of the crucial aspects of a Disney landmark is that it tells a story. A park visitor should be able to look at the structure and have an immediate idea of what it represents. Big Thunder Mountain is terrific in this manner. When you gaze on it from a distance, you’ll know that it’s an Old West-based attraction. Mission accomplished. By Disney standards, it’s a bit lacking in originality, though.
9. Millennium Falcon
The next two entries are indicative of my reluctance to overrate newer attractions. Both of these landmarks are sublime, but they’ve yet to stand the test of time the way that everything else on the list has managed. So, I’m arbitrarily punishing them for that.
In the case of Millennium Falcon, it’s the landmark that Star Wars fans have anticipated for many years. Now that they have it, they’re thrilled with the accuracy of this full-scale model of the fastest vessel in the galaxy. It’s a hallmark achievement in Imagineering construction, but I wouldn’t even describe it as the best recent one.
8. Hallelujah Mountains
In the movie, Avatar, the mountains seem like impossible digital constructs that couldn’t possibly exist on Earth, yet Imagineers somehow brought them into reality. They built unconnected mountains in the clouds. I was tempted to rank them much higher if not for the recency concern with my thinking.