Armchair Imagineering: Crocodile Dundee Pavilion
Welcome back to Not Club 33, the new home of Cynical Disney!
The Anti-Cynic and I were fortunate enough to attend a lecture by Len Testa of www.touringplans.com about the “Disney That Was Never Built”. Part of that lecture focused on a proposed Disney theme park in Sydney, Australia. Apparently, the Australian government went to the Disney Company to propose that they open a park because they knew they were going to be getting an “infrastructure upgrade”. It turns out the Blokes down under had bribed Olympic officials and knew for sure that Sydney was getting 2000 Summer games, and wanted to make sure that all of the money they planned to invest didn’t go to wast like so many cities.
Also, FYI, the Olympics are such a public spending boondoggle. Root against your city/country to get them. Atlanta did theirs as right as they could, but they still built a tennis center near my hometown that was literally abandoned years ago. It’s far worse in places like Rio and Athens. Don’t ever hope to get the Olympics if you love a city, just travel to others to see the games.
Any way, part of the pitch to Disney contained a set of several ride ideas designed by an independent contractor in Orlando, one of which actually became a component of Soarin’. Have you ever noticed how any travel channel special focuses on the engineering of the ride, not where the idea actually came from? That’s why. Also, Australia has been threatened as a pavilion at World Showcase for as long as I can remember. So, for today’s Cynical Pitch, we’re going to actually flesh this pavilion out and steal another of their rides for our awesome American entertainment!
Premise: Australia is kind of like the bastard child of the world that got all of the weird genes, and I want to put that on full display. You want a desert that kinda looks like the American Southwest? Done, but you have to deal with gigantic rats with velociraptor claws and a penchant for punching people. You want a sweet beach scene? Done, but you have to deal with more sharks than everyone else. You want a movie star that is the pride of Australia? Done, but he has to mostly be shirtless while wearing a vest. It’s time to celebrate this weird as place.
Location: Goodbye Outpost, hello Outback! It’s really the only reasonable spot to add any pavilion to World Showcase without a lot of space restrictions. There’s allegedly room on either side of the American pavilion, but that seems like a tight squeeze, especially if we want to put an attraction at the pavilion, like I do.
Attraction Details: So, we’ll start with the exterior building. If there’s one landmark that people know from Australia, it’s the Sydney Opera House. It’d almost be criminal not to make the exterior building a recreation of that landmark, but on it’s left, the bridge that connects China to the rest of the world will be reworked to look like the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and flanking the building to the right will be leftover landscaping from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and a forced perspective Ayers Rock (see the first picture). The Australian Tourism Bureau, which is responsible for breaking my heart this past Super Bowl by not actually producing a Crocodile Dundee sequel starring Kenny Powers and George Kirk (deep cuts on the IMDB again), can sponsor the pavilion.
Once inside our recreated Opera House, we’ll be able to view a giant map of Australia with it’s major cities like Melbourne and Adelaide being pointed out. The queue to the attraction will have a narration by some of Australia’s favorite celebrities, like Paul Hogan along side the Thor brothers and Harley Quinn.
The attraction itself, I want to be a slightly slowed down and indoor version of Kali River Rapids. Guests would ride through different scenery reflecting the various natural ecosystems that encompass the continent. The Outback, The Great Barrier Reef, the savannas where eucalyptus grows and koalas and kangaroos inhabit, all while traveling down a river with some twists and turns. In fact, think of it more like a version of the Norway attraction on steroids, and with some Aborigines stuff instead of Thor and Odin.
I should also note that the ideas pitched for a similar attraction at the proposed Disneyland in Sydney were absolutely bonkers. I mean bat BLEEP crazy. The attraction I’m basing this off of had dinosaurs and stuff in it. There was another one that was based on a fictional Australian Space Agency with an alien tour guide that had some sort of ecological message of “don’t BLEEP up the planet” basically. Some of the more “out there” ideas aren’t going to make the cut for this series. It’s about trying to make Disney World better, not being Foster’s infused accurate.
That being said, an important component of World Showcase is the food and the booze. I’d love to know what those down under eat besides bloomin’ onions. Literally all of my exposure to Australian food is Outback Steakhouse. I’m assuming that while, yes, they eat somewhat tough and overcooked steaks, they also eat other stuff like kangaroo. If not, ok, just make it delicious. What I do have experience in is Australian wine. Some of the best wines on the planet get their start with grapes grown in down under. An extensive imported beer and wine list would be appropriate. Think Jiko, but with kangaroo steaks and Australian Cabernet.
The other often discussed potential pavilion at World Showcase is Brazil, which we will cover at a later date. In the meantime, is a boat ride the best idea for an Australian pavilion or should the attraction be something different? Discuss among yourselves. I just don’t want another movie. Next week we take a look at a Future World attraction in Epcot, match restaurants with attractions (with the rule that they can’t be in the same park), and I’ll come up with another Cynical Pitch for you all! Until Monday!
-The Disney Cynic
“I’m all Foster’s!”