Greetings…You may call me keeper…for I am the keeper of theme park tales. It’s no secret that for me, the theme park adventure is fueled by tales. Be it Sinbad seeking treasure or Pooh Bear seeking honey the story, almost without fail, brings a level of detail and fullness to the adventure unmatched by any other component. You can keep your bright shiny, noisy, coaster drops, for me its story, story, story.
….I wrote these very words a few months back as a prelude to my praise of the Magic Kingdoms Be our Guest restaurant and they are brought to mind again and I feel, worth repeating. I am seeing everyone’s praise of Hong Kong Disneyland’s new Mystic Manor as it prepares to open and feel a bit disconnected from the masses again. Obviously none of us has experienced the attraction yet and we are making judgments and forming opinions from the 3-4 ride through videos that have cropped up, but that’s what the internet is for, right?
See it for yourself:
Mystic Point, a mysterious land where the supernatural and unexplained reign, what an amazing and NEW concept to tell all manner of stories that will take us out of the real worlds and into the world of our imaginations. The building is possibly the most beautiful structure built in a theme park. It shows a mix of architecture with nods to Japanese, Chinese, Moroccan, and Indian designs. A fanciful structure that, not unlike the Magic Kindgom’s signature castles, is not a replica of a specific place but a blueprint of what our memories of these places are. In short it is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for this land.
The story is in place, the mysterious house looms above the mysterious land, there are interesting diversions outside and the que sets the stage for an incredible tale and then…
NOTHING!!! We are rewarded with the most unimaginative plot device ever told. “I’m an eccentric guy and I collect weird s&%*”. Great Zeus, is this the best you can do? The “catch all”, hell this was old when I was just a pup. I remember 6 Flags using it at their Baltimore Power Plant indoor park ages ago. “I’m an eccentric scientist and I make weird s&%*”….really imagineers? Now I’m hearing the fanboys saying that this should be brought to Animal Kingdom because it has a monkey in it…WHAT? Are we that shallow?? Because it has a monkey in it? Have we learned nothing…is it back to us getting what we deserve?? Are our standards so low for Disney now that we accept this as a story?
Now I’ll admit that I know little about the culture of Hong Kong theme parks and perhaps they don’t take well to imaginative stories but the other transplanted Disney rides and the stories of their people in literature seem to point away from that. Don’t get me wrong, there are many great effects in this attraction; the AAs are stunning; the ride technology fascinating; and the façade, as I said, one of the absolute bests in any Disney park. Why or why can’t we have a decent tale worthy of this stunning piece of work…maybe Lord Mystic just needs to bring back a book or two for his collection? Who knows, maybe the imagineers may be inspired by them.
Every Day’s An Adventure