Thursday, April 10, 2003

Disney and me.

Steven Johnson, formerly editor of the much missed web magazine Feed, was apparently in Paris at the same time I was. His main reason for being there was to speak at a conference being run by Microsoft in one of the hotels at the Disneyland Paris resort way out in the suburbs.

Steven mentions nipping out of his conference so that he could go to the Magic Kingdom for a "Pirates of the Carribean" ride. He describes going on "Pirates of the Carribean" in various locations around 25 times, and considering the version in Paris to be the best. Which means he must have gone to the various Disneyland resorts at least a few times. Which brings me to my terrible confession, which is that I have never been to a Disneyland anywhere. I have always kind of meant to, but I have never quite managed it. There are Disneylands in Los Angeles, Orlando, Tokyo, and Paris, and I have been to all of these cities except Orlando, but I have never got round to it.

On my one trip to Los Angeles, I only had time for one theme park, and I chose Universal Studios, because it is the other famous theme park in Los Angeles (and it is the other globally franchised one, with clones in Orlando, Osaka, and Barcelona), and because it is actually in Los Angeles rather than Annaheim, and that is where I was. (It was very enjoyable). On my two trips to Tokyo I have sort of meant to go to Tokyo Disneyland, but I have never quite done it. And I could have gone to the one in the Paris suburbs this last weekend, but again couldn't quite be bothered. I have never been to Orlando. (Perhaps I should go to the new Disneyland in Hong Kong when they open that. This one is being built in an interesting location on Lantau island).

While on Pirates of the Carribean, Disney are releasing a film adaptation of the ride as one of their major summer releases, produced by uber-blockbuster producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and directed by Gore Verbinski. As far as I know, this is the first movie to be adapted from a theme park ride, although the reverse is, obviously, commonplace. We will see how this turns out, but I am not terribly hopeful. The last time Bruckheimer was instructed to produce a big summer blockbuster for Disney, he came up with Pearl Harbour which was actually profitable (although nowhere near as profitable as Disney had hoped) but perhaps more pertinently was a complete load of crap. Verbinski is a decent director (I liked his remake of The Ring) but we will see what he can come up with. This may be somewhat similar to making a movie out of a video game, and the history of that genre is not especially good .

I think that I need to go to Orlando to go to Disney World. Firstly, there isn't much reason for the exuistence of Orlando other than theme parks, so I am unlikely to be distracted. Secondly, when I am Tokyo, the temptation to go to some other, more indigenously Japanese theme park like, for instance the Hello Kitty theme park.

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