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Conversations with Eddie Sotto
The Tokyo Disney Resort - Part 2
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This interview was conducted through e-mail correspondence during the last week of March, 2001. The majority of Eddie Sotto's comments were written from the Santa Monica offices of Progress City and the majority of Marc Borrelli's were written from a laptop computer in Tokyo Disneyland. If you missed Part I of this interview (which includes Eddie's bio), click here to read it.
Eddie: The new Tiki Room show is also something that turned out well yet was done on a lesser budget than the Florida reissue. Without adding new characters, we rewrote the show and spiced it up a bit. One of the four birds had a "sex change" at WDI and became a female lounge singer. In our story, four Vegas "Rat Pack" type singers (and a couple of rappers in the preshow, "The Beaky Boys") come to awaken the sleepy Tiki Room. The only way the Tiki Room could revive the sleeping Tikis was for "Lava," our Ann Margaret type vamp, to give them "Fever," and she sings that song in a sultry Vegas style rendition..It is actually pretty funny to see the Tikis aroused by her and sing back up. It has been well received in Japan and revived the attraction's utilization.
Marc: It's really a fun show and it surprised me how consistent it is with the spirit of the original... or maybe spirit of the venue is more accurate. It made me feel like the Tiki Room is an actual theater in the "real world" and it simply moved on to a new show, as would any theater.
I'm kind of a purist when it comes to Disneyland's Tiki Room, but I wouldn't be opposed to "Fever" coming to Disneyland in California. Before I saw the show I didn't think I'd feel that way (and it's not how I felt after seeing the "Under New Management" show in Florida).
Eddie: Bruce Gordon produced the show and he felt the same way. Scott Hennessy wrote it and his English script is really great. I'd just like to see "Lava" do her sultry lounge act at Disneyland, too.
Marc: The Tomorrowlands at Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom in Florida have gone through major makeovers in recent years, but TDL's has remained relatively unchanged. What do you think should be done there?
Eddie: Funny you should ask. My involvement in TDL began when Marty Sklar asked me to get involved in some schemes for TDL's Tomorrowland that he felt were missing the mark. We integrated the best ideas from the previous scheme and then examined the market and tried to come up with something that worked for the Japanese audience, especially teen males. Our approach was to reinvent Tomorrowland in more of a Sci-Fi direction and make it more cinematic than "yesterday's tomorrows." It was well received, but not at the top of their list I'm afraid.
Marc: You mentioned to me previously that Disneyland's ill-fated Rocket Rods attraction was under serious consideration for TDL's Tomorrowland. I'd love to hear more about that.
Eddie: It was under consideration as an addition to their Tomorrowland and we had produced a faster, greatly enhanced and restyled version of the ride called "MagRacers." This was a dual racing design with a sci-fi "powered by magnetic power" angle..They wanted it until "Rocket Rods" began to unravel and we moved on to other options.
Marc: Sounds like kind of a high tech drag race. Would that have run between Starjets and Showbase? Now that the Skyway is gone I think that area really needs something. I dream of seeing the good old slow, boring PeopleMover there...
Grand Circuit Raceway
Eddie: We looked at replacing Grand Circuit Raceway. I doubt that OLC is up to replace it now, this was long ago. I'm unaware of their current plans.