Things Only I Seem To Like: Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh
Things Only I Seem To Like: Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh
Posted Monday, September 3, 2007 at 12:44p Pacific Time
It's only natural that a blog post entitled Things Only I Seem To Dislike should be followed up with, well, another with precisely the title I'm using for this post. And oddly, in what's going to become a multi-part series, I'm starting with a ride that isn't even one of my favorites. But it deserves mention because the hatred this ride engenders is awe-inspiring. And I don't get it.
I'm speaking of Disneyland's Winnie the Pooh ride. People (or at least the Disney Internet community--that's an important distinction to make) hate--hate--this thing. Effective arguments about why this is so are hard to come by. Here's what I tend to read online:
1) The ride isn't a blockbuster "E"-ticket. No doubt, but most attractions fail to meet this criterion. And did anyone at Disney, either in press or in advertising, ever suggest that it was a masterpiece?
2) It's the worst of the Disney Winnie the Pooh rides. Probably true: Florida and Hong Kong's implementations are longer, and in Tokyo's elaborate rendition one particular show scene (the Blustery Day scene) is among the best things Imagineering has ever produced.
I'd contend, however, that evaluations based upon comparisons to other park's implementations aren't relevant. The typical Disneyland day visitor 1) hasn't been to any other Disney park, and 2) even if they had, they'd likely have no recollection that the other version they'd ridden was any different. Far better to evaluate the ride based on whether it entertains those who ride it.
(After making that argument it's worth asking: do typical day visitors enjoy it? I can't answer that question, but if they don't, I'm pretty sure that its weakness compared to what's in Tokyo isn't the reason.)
3) It's inferior to Country Bear Jamboree, the attraction it replaced. Certainly Winnie the Pooh features fewer--and less interesting--animatronic figures than the earlier attraction (a lot of Disney fans use this as a rough metric for attraction quality), but let's face it: Disney didn't demolish the Country Bear Theater because they were tired of replacing the carpeting from the non-stop tidal waves of guests. The attraction just wasn't that popular. And if you want to make an argument based primarily on nostalgia, go ahead--but at least acknowledge that's what you're doing, and acknowledge that the operators of Disneyland don't always have the luxury of making that same argument.
All that being said, Anaheim's "Winnie the Pooh" doesn't qualify as one of my favorite attractions, but it's certainly not one of the worst. It's of noticeably better quality than the Fantasyland dark rides it emulates. And though I don't know for sure, my guess is that it easily draws more riders--and more effectively entertains guests--than the Country Bear Jamboree did during its last years of operation.
So, why the hatred?
Coming soon: more Things Only I Like...
It's a long walk for a C ticket. I skip it unless I'm going on Splash or canoes/rafts. Sometimes the mansion gets me close enough to mosey over.
Posted By jeffshultz Friday, September 14, 2007 at 11:28a Pacific Time
Hmmm, looks like I missed about half of DLTheo's post before I posted - and we seem to be in agreement by and large.
Posted By jeffshultz Friday, September 14, 2007 at 11:27a Pacific Time
I wonder if one of the reasons that the other dark rides get more traffic than Pooh is because they are all logically grouped together in Fantasyland, which, deserved or not, tends to be the "kidzone" of Disneyland - from the Castle to Small World the area is more accommodating to the short set. I imagine many of that age spend most of their time there. Pooh may be in a high traffic area, but that traffic is significantly older and looking for a bit more in the way of thrills than a dark ride. For that matter, that's probably part of what doomed Bear Country Jamboree, aside from the fact it took them ages to put anything else in back there, and Splash Mountain changed the face of it significantly.
Okay, that's a long enough exposition from me.
Posted By dresswhites Monday, September 10, 2007 at 6:14p Pacific Time
when it comes down to it, i think critter country is one my favorite areas of the park.
Posted By dresswhites Monday, September 10, 2007 at 6:13p Pacific Time
i kind feel a little peace while waiting for winnie the pooh. it is a beautiful, tranquil location. with the little brook and flowers, the upbeat music, watching people board the beehives, and gazing across the way and seeing splash. i don't know the whole area just makes me happy.
Posted By Dabob2 Monday, September 10, 2007 at 2:11p Pacific Time
I think there's something to that. I like Pooh as much as Snow White - but if I'm in FaL doing dark rides, and SW is a walk-on (which is usual), I'll do it.
If I'm in CC and have just done Splash, I'm more likely to feel like doing HM, or the canoes, or taking the train than doing Pooh. This ties into the concept of Pooh being in the "wrong place" - in FaL you ARE in "dark ride mode" and on the west side you're often not. I'm often not, anyway.
Posted By DLTheo Monday, September 10, 2007 at 7:57a Pacific Time
Overall I enjoy the Pooh ride, but there are a couple parts of the ride where I feel like I am in a huge empty warehouse with just a few visuals to look at, which I don't ever get in the Fantasyland dark rides.
Another reason why I will usually ride the Fantasyland rides more than Pooh is nostalgia. This may be true for a lot of people in the over 30 category. I would ride Snow White or Pinnochio several times in a visit and I'm willing to wait 30 minutes to ride Peter Pan, but I won't go on Pooh unless it is a near walk-on. I don't think this because of a quality issue, but rather that the other dark rides provide that sentimental link with my youth that the Pooh ride doesn't.
One other thought I had, I wonder what others think of this. I think there is a benefit to having all the Fantasyland dark rides clustered together in one place. When I go to Fantasyland I am in the mood for riding dark rides. It's what I'm looking for. So I'll go from ride to ride. Pooh being all by itself (as a dark ride), when I go to Critter Country it's a different attitude. First, there are only two attractions there. If I'm there it's usually because I just did Pirates or Haunted Mansion and I'm looking for another thrill ride in Splash, so I'm not in a frame of mind to do a dark ride. And I don't normally cross a park just to ride another dark ride. E tickets are what move me from one land to another, usually.
So, I guess my point is, while the location may be ok as far as traffic, the traffic going through there is less likely to be looking for a dark ride than the traffic passing through Fantasyland. What do you all think of that?
Posted By Tinkeroon Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 11:18p Pacific Time
I like the ride too. It's not a favorite by any stretch but I find it cute and very visually appealing. A lot of little ones appreciate the the gentle ride and maybe some of the more elder guests do too.
Posted By berol Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 10:15p Pacific Time
I ffailed to say people rate pooh lower than those 2, but it's ridden at least as much as they are. Maybe it's more than those. =:o You could chalk that up in part to location, thanks to Splash and/or the meet n greet.
Posted By dresswhites Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 9:27p Pacific Time
i like the attraction. is it the greatest attraction ever created? no. but i find it a fun little diversion.
Posted By Doobie Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 7:33p Pacific Time
It has a higher capacity than either of those so equivalent lines would mean more guests riding.
Posted By berol Sunday, September 9, 2007 at 9:18a Pacific Time
it gets lines comparable to snow white and pinocchio.
Posted By bravebrother Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 11:53p Pacific Time
Pooh is not by the Splash Mountain exit. It's across from Splash's Main enterance. So what is wrong with that??? The location is fine.
Posted By liveforvacations Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 10:57p Pacific Time
I happen to think location does affect the Pooh ride and I don't think being near the exit of Splash Mountain is a good location.
I think that people are interested in looking at their pictures and talking about the ride and may possibly not notice Pooh.
I think each ride in Fantasyland is very visible and I know I have been on each of them at least once, even if I only chose to go on Pinocchio once.
Was the Country Bear Jamboree in the same place?
The reason I ask is because I was at Disneyland on five occasions before it closed (pre-LP when I was uninformed) and I never saw the show and don't even recall seeing the attraction and I went on Splash Mountain mutiple times on each trip.
Posted By gmaletic Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 6:38p Pacific Time
>I think location does matter, but also didn't DL's have twice the capacity (two theatres rather than one)?
Yes, DL's had two theaters.
Posted By Mrs ElderP Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 5:56p Pacific Time
I don't like Pooh because I'm way cramped in the seat. I've finally figured out that if I sit in the front of the honey pot and twist myself just so, my feet won't fall asleep by the end of the ride. And thus I don't make much of an effort to ride it. I usually sit it out while others take the toddlers in our group on the ride.
Posted By Dabob2 Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 3:48p Pacific Time
<I believe the answer is yes. Weren't America Sings and the Mine Train both bumped down to D from E tickets before they closed?>
Yes in both cases, the the Mine Train fluctuated between D and E for a few years, as did the Twain and Columbia.
In the early 60's, all (then) four FaL dark rides were D's. As more D's and E's were added, they were downgraded to C's, and Alice for some reason became a B by the mid 70's. They stayed at that level till tickets disappeared.
<And yet essentially the same attraction here in Florida in a much more prominent location does much better. >
I think location does matter, but also didn't DL's have twice the capacity (two theatres rather than one)?
Posted By bravebrother Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 10:07a Pacific Time
Your probably right Doobie, Location does matter...to a point. If the attraction was any good it wouldnt matter where it was, people would make an effort to go to it.
What I am saying is that I think Pooh's location is fine in DL. It,s right across from Splash mountain, ya cant get too much better than that!
Posted By Doobie Saturday, September 8, 2007 at 3:45a Pacific Time
I don't think most guests think "Pooh opened 30 years after the Fantasyland rides so should be much better". And think they compare what is now to what is now. And Pooh is at least on par with the Fantasyland rides whether it was done on the cheap or not.
I go back to the Country Bears. Logic says they had just as much traffic in the area as Pooh does yet the numbers there weren't very good. And yet essentially the same attraction here in Florida in a much more prominent location does much better. Location does matter. It's not everything - a better Pooh attraction would do better - but it does matter.
Posted By bravebrother Friday, September 7, 2007 at 10:17p Pacific Time
>>Just as I did in my post, let me question that statement: what do you mean by the "quality of the attraction?" Why do you perceive Pooh to not be a quality attraction? Is it not of higher quality than most of the attractions in Fantasyland (most of which feature painted flats while Pooh features dimensional characters, Pepper's Ghost and fiber optic effects, an outdoor boarding area, a character that's probably more popular than any other...even the chance to see a glimpse of characters from the Country Bear Jamboree?) I'm not getting how that doesn't add up to something that wouldn't be considered one of the better attractions in the park.<<
No,..Pooh is not a higher quality of any darkride in Fantasyland.Thats the problem...It was done on the cheap end. Dont forget Snow White, Peter Pan and Pinocchio all have similar special effects that you mentioned for Pooh. And like you said, Pooh probably being the most popular Disney character should of had a much higher quality attraction installed.
Posted By gmaletic Friday, September 7, 2007 at 9:14p Pacific Time
I should correct one statement I just made: most of the Fantasyland rides no longer feature painted flats. The only one that I believe does would be Mr. Toad.
Posted By gmaletic Friday, September 7, 2007 at 9:10p Pacific Time
>I really believe that people are just disinterested in riding Pooh because of the quality of the attraction.
Just as I did in my post, let me question that statement: what do you mean by the "quality of the attraction?" Why do you perceive Pooh to not be a quality attraction? Is it not of higher quality than most of the attractions in Fantasyland (most of which feature painted flats while Pooh features dimensional characters, Pepper's Ghost and fiber optic effects, an outdoor boarding area, a character that's probably more popular than any other...even the chance to see a glimpse of characters from the Country Bear Jamboree?) I'm not getting how that doesn't add up to something that wouldn't be considered one of the better attractions in the park.
Posted By bravebrother Friday, September 7, 2007 at 8:07p Pacific Time
Doobie, there is huge traffic around Pooh and it doesnt help it one bit (Im sure everyone here has fought there way through that area) I really believe that people are just disinterested in riding Pooh because of the quality of the attraction.
How many of us walk by an attraction and see it has no line and say hey lets jump on, there is no wait?? I sure do. Not with Pooh, People see that and just keep on walking....I think that speaks volumes...
Posted By DLTheo Friday, September 7, 2007 at 1:28p Pacific Time
<< And this whole discussion also brings up the interesting question: back in the ticket era, was any attraction ever demoted? i.e., a "E" to a "D", "D" to a "C", etc. It would seem that something like Body Wars would have had to been taken down a notch during its lifetime.) >>
I believe the answer is yes. Weren't America Sings and the Mine Train both bumped down to D from E tickets before they closed?
Posted By gmaletic Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:55a Pacific Time
>Does that mean you'd make Star Tours a D as well?
Great question. I think that Disney could get away with calling Star Tours an "E" for two reasons. One, the Star Wars brand name could credibly give a one-level "bump" to any attraction it's attached to. Secondly--and my reasoning here is getting admittedly mushy--Star Tours feels a little more like a complete experience given that its queue is fairly rich in detail. It's almost--but not quite--an attraction unto itself. It raises the whole experience to be a tiny bit more than just a "movie" ride. (Let me say that I'm not--and never really have been--a big Star Tours fan.)
But here's the killer question: what about Body Wars? It was essentially Star Tours without the brand name and without the interesting queue. Would that have been a "D" or an "E"? And admittedly, I have to say that it still feels like an "E" to me. And if Body Wars is an "E", then Soarin' probably needs to be an "E" as well. (The "D" I initially gave to Soarin' might just be my personal bias: Soarin' to me feels more like "America The Beautiful" in Circlevision 360 (which I'm going to guess was a "D" ticket) rather than a ride-type, "E" ticket attraction.)
(And this whole discussion also brings up the interesting question: back in the ticket era, was any attraction ever demoted? i.e., a "E" to a "D", "D" to a "C", etc. It would seem that something like Body Wars would have had to been taken down a notch during its lifetime.)
Posted By DLTheo Friday, September 7, 2007 at 11:16a Pacific Time
That is a really good point. Even know the ride is there, it takes a moment for me to figure out how to get to the entrance of the ride.
Posted By Sport Goofy Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 1:07p Pacific Time
<< I'm also sure it would do better numbers if it were in a more trafficked location. >>
I'm not sure the traffic is the issue as much as the fact that you can walk by Pooh and not really know that it's there. The ride loading and unloading area is obscured by landscaping, and the entrance to the ride is detached from the show building. If you aren't seeking out Pooh, you could walk right by and not even know there was a ride back in there. I find Pooh to be on par or better than Monster's Inc. in DCA.
Posted By Doobie Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 12:56p Pacific Time
To add to that ... I believe the Country do much better at WDW than they did at DL. I'm sure the audience is part of that, but I think the location is also a huge part.
Posted By Doobie Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 12:40p Pacific Time
Pooh is the only one of those that's both the only attraction in the area and a dead end. I'm sure Pooh would do better numbers if it were a better attraction. I'm also sure it would do better numbers if it were in a more trafficked location. Both things are factors.
Posted By BlueOhanaTerror Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 11:39a Pacific Time
It's an awfully long walk to Autopia, Small World, Roger Rabbit, Mickey's House, and even Splash Mountain.
None of those attractions ever (typically) has a short line.
More people would queue up for Pooh if there were demand for it. If it had more to offer, there would be demand.
Posted By Doobie Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 4:51a Pacific Time
Does that mean you'd make Star Tours a D as well? If so, would you have made it a D when it opened in 87? Or only now that simulators have become so commonplace?
Posted By gmaletic Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 9:49p Pacific Time
>gmaletic, you had a good thought, but Pooh being in the back of the park has nothing to do with it being a walk on.
I think it has something--not everything--but something to do with it. No question that an attraction can succeed being on the outskirts of the park, as you point out, but all things being equal it will hurt attendance. (Splash Mountain would no doubt attract even bigger crowds if it were sitting, say, where Dumbo is.)
>I'm not sure either...but I dont see it being all that much greater than the other Fantasyland dark rides.
Pooh vehicles hold six people and can board at least two vehicles simultaneously; Peter Pan vehicles hold two and can, I believe, board one vehicle at a time. That's a big difference.
>As for Roger Rabbit, I think this is the most overated attraction of all time. I never could figure out why this was considered an E ticket??
Just anecdotal evidence here, but I'd contest the "overrated" part because I haven't run into many people that like it all that much.
And despite my fondness for it, I wouldn't consider it an "E" Ticket. Given its similarity to Fantasyland dark rides (all "C"s), I consider it a plussed version of those, probably qualifying it as a "D". (This, despite the fact that I think it's better than some other attractions that would be considered "E"s.)
For comparison, what else might be a "D"? I think Buzz Lightyear feels like a "D" to me, and personally I'd consider Soarin' a "D" as well. (True, Disney could probably get away with labeling it as an "E"--but for my money, no movie attraction qualifies as an "E", even if the seats do move up and down.)
Posted By patrickegan Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 8:35p Pacific Time
These threads come up now and again and you either love the Pooh, or not so much. I think it a shame to tear out CBJ for such a half hearted attempt. The same could be said for DCA, we had a beautiful parking lot with all of those cute character sections and now...
Posted By bravebrother Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 7:19p Pacific Time
from gmaletic: To bravebrother: I don't have any stats to back it up, but I'd argue that Pooh is a walk-on for two reasons: 1) it's at the very back of the park, the last area for guests to arrive and the first for them to depart; 2) more importantly, the capacity of Pooh is dramatically greater than any of the Fantasyland dark rides. For those two reasons (mainly the latter) the line is always going to seem shorter than the Fantasyland rides.
gmaletic, you had a good thought, but Pooh being in the back of the park has nothing to do with it being a walk on. It is located across from one of the most popular longest line attractions ever. This area is swamped with people going to and coming from Splash mountain.
Pooh should be packed because of where it is!!!
As for the capacity of Pooh, Im not sure either...but I dont see it being all that much greater than the other Fantasyland dark rides.
As for Roger Rabbit,I think this is the most overated attraction of all time. I never could figure out why this was considered an E ticket??
Posted By junglejoy Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 6:31p Pacific Time
GPMike, I totally agree with you. We use Pooh Bear as a happy diversion for those not tall/brave enough to go on Splash. When we went to WDW, we really missed having Pooh Bear right next to Splash. :(
Posted By GPMike Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 3:38p Pacific Time
One other great thing about Pooh - it's at the exit for Splash Mountain. We have four kids, and each year we go more of them hit 40", but there are always some that can't ride Splash. It sure makes things easier to tell the little ones that they get to ride Pooh with Grandma, dad, mom or whoever's turn it is while the others go on splash. I'm certain my soon-to-be 3 year old thinks we are going on Splash to kill time waiting for her to take a few turns on her favorite ride in either park.
Posted By tynkrbell1977 Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 2:48p Pacific Time
Those reasons are great. I love to look at them when I am riding it and I point them out to the others in my hunny pot as well! Spinning ones would have been cool.
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Posted By tynkrbell1977 Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 10:54a Pacific Time
That makes sense! =) Quite honestly I have never just gone through not spinning and seen the scenes. LOL I can imagine you not liking it if you dont like spinning!
Posted By liveforvacations Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 10:43a Pacific Time
tynkrbell1977, if the spinning is a big reason you like it, it would make sense that I would not as I just cannot tolerate the spinning-I can't even watch rides that spin!
Posted By tynkrbell1977 Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 9:23a Pacific Time
I dont think there is a "bad" ride either. I am not a big Pooh fan (I am all about the mouse) but I do ride the ride. =) I ride EVERYTHING!! Love to take in the Disney magic no matter what it is! I do miss the Bears too though. And for Roger?? I love it because of the spinny craziness. Actually we dont pay attention to the ride half the time since we are trying to spin uncontrollably! LOL Last time we could barely walk when we got off. =)
Posted By midget3175 Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 7:54a Pacific Time
I am a fan of Pooh, My son (10) LOVES this ride(don't know why) but we rode it 12 times last time we were at Disneyland. I don't recall waiting more than 10 mins for this ride which is a bonus and I have to say I do enjoy the ride myself, Don't get me wrong I miss the bears - however, I don't think that there is a "bad" ride at disneyland park. Maybe it's just me - I enjoy ALL the rides.
Posted By gmaletic Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 7:10a Pacific Time
>What I don't understand is the statement that Roger Rabbit is "one of the absolute best that Disney has ever created."
I don't think you're alone in thinking that, which may point the way to my next blog post...
Posted By liveforvacations Wednesday, September 5, 2007 at 6:48a Pacific Time
I agree that the Pooh ride is not that great of a ride-especially for the over 6 crowd.
I would describe it as cute.
However, I also agree with gmaletic that Pooh probably never has a line up because of where it is situated which I have never understood and that it does have a really good capacity which the Fantasyland rides do not.
What I don't understand is the statement that Roger Rabbit is "one of the absolute best that Disney has ever created."
I have never been fond of Roger Rabbit-I find it loud and jarring and the scenes just not that interesting.
I am curious however as to why others like it.
Posted By gmaletic Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 11:48p Pacific Time
To FerretAfros: No doubt that Roger Rabbit is a lot better. In fact, I'd argue that's one of the absolute best that Disney has ever created.
To bravebrother: I don't have any stats to back it up, but I'd argue that Pooh is a walk-on for two reasons: 1) it's at the very back of the park, the last area for guests to arrive and the first for them to depart; 2) more importantly, the capacity of Pooh is dramatically greater than any of the Fantasyland dark rides. For those two reasons (mainly the latter) the line is always going to seem shorter than the Fantasyland rides.
Posted By FerretAfros Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 10:52p Pacific Time
I would also compare Roger Rabbit to Pooh, which is from the early 90's. They seem to have similar coloring, but Roger Rabbit still manages to feel full and realistic. There are a ton of 3D props in there, as well as clever use of darkness. Pooh, however, has a bunch of flats, and their dark spots look like where the sets ended, not integrated into them to make the bright spots seem brighter.
Posted By bravebrother Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 8:05p Pacific Time
I dont think Pooh is anywhere near as good as the Fantasyland darkrides. It lacks any charm or atmosphere that the fantasyland attractions have. I find that there is really nothing memorable about the Pooh ride at all.
Pooh is usually always a walk on. Every darkride in fantasyland enjoys longer lines than Pooh.
The problem is they replaced an attraction with an inferior product. Sure they didnt intend too, but it is obvious they thought that the ride would be popular because of the Pooh name and therfore not worry about the quality.
How wrong they were!!!!!
Posted By Doobie Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 7:42p Pacific Time
The current Fantasyland rides only go back to 1983. But I think it compares well visually to Buzz and Monsters. Maybe that's just me.
Posted By k_peek_2000 Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 7:35p Pacific Time
When the only rides you can compare, The Many Adventures of Pooh ride to, are over 50 years old, then you have a problem.
Posted By FerretAfros Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 7:11p Pacific Time
I would agree that it's really not that bad either. What I feel like a large part of the problem was is that they spent a TON of money (I think I heard around $30 million) on it, and had it at the front of the year's ad campaign. Of course, that is a lot of promotion for something equivalent to Pinocchio's Daring Journey. Factor in it's location (what it replaced and the number of small children who are just passing through the area) and that's another strike against it. And this is personal, but I really can't see why Pooh is so big to begin with. The movie is just dreadful, which is why I don't get it. The shows on Disney Channel have been better, but still not great. To me, it's more of a symbol of everything I dislike about the Pooh franchise. The attraction itself, I would say is probably about on par with many of the similar darkrides in Fantasyland.
Posted By Doobie Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 5:53p Pacific Time
I have to agree with Greg on this one. Take away the comparisons to the other parks and to what was there and what's left is a pretty decent dark ride.