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…


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