Welcome to Extinct Attractions. My name is Cole, and today I’ll be your partner in crime as we try to solve the mystery of the missing spider.
We are now just one week away from the event that every Disney fan is waiting for, the D23 Expo. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it this year because of school obligations, my first time missing the Expo since 2013. The one thing I definitely won’t miss though is waiting in long lines for hours just to have a chance to attend a panel. Instead, I’ll be following along the great coverage that Laughing Place does through the site and Twitter, so if you can’t make it this year either, you still have some great options to stay in touch with the fun.
At the 2017 Expo, the Parks & Resorts panel had a large focus on Disney’s Hollywood Studios with Toy Story Land, Galaxy’s Edge and Mickey’s Runaway Railway all on the upcoming agenda. Now that the former two have opened (or will in two weeks), Hollywood Studios probably won’t have many major announcements at the Expo, so what better time to give it some love here?
But before we can start in Hollywood Studios, let’s take a look at one of the most popular franchises on the 1990s.
In 1994, Jim Carrey officially took the comedy world by storm with The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Each of these films is generally regarded among Carrey’s top films in his whole career, so he was definitely at the top of world rolling into 1995 when he returned to the role of Ace Ventura for Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, one of the only times in his career that Carrey has returned to a character in a sequel.
Now you may be wondering to yourself, “Ace Ventura was a Disney movie?” And if you thought it wasn’t, you’d be absolutely correct. The property was distributed by Warner Bros., but that wasn’t going to stop Disney at the time, especially when it came to Disney-MGM Studios.
At the time, Disney-MGM Studios was loaded with non-Disney content, and I’m not just talking about MGM properties. The park had Muppet*Vision 3D, Star Tours and even a Goosebumps attraction, all of which Disney licensed for the park (though they did get Muppet Studios and Lucasfilm later). With that in mind, there was a lot of precedent to include a property like Ace Ventura that had some adult tones in it but could easily be toned down to fit in the park.
With that background in place, Disney saw the success of the first film and reached out to the Ace Ventura team about some kind of promotion for their new film coming out the very next year. Of course, Morgan Creek Productions and Warner Bros. quickly agreed because having an attraction in a Disney Park is one of the greatest forms of marketing to ever exist. Thus, Ace Ventura Pet Detective: Live in Action opened day-and-date with the film on November 10, 1995.
I’m not sure where to start with this show because it was so meh. The best way to put it is that this show existed and just leave it at that. The best comparison that I can think of today is going to one of the sneak previews that are so abundant in the parks today. You sit down and watch, so that you can say you went if you are a completionist and then you never talk about it again. It’s just … there.
Apparently, most people felt similar to how I felt because there is very little information about the attraction out there. There are a few things that did catch my attention a bit, though, so let’s dive in a bit deeper.
I do have to give some credit to the actor who played Ace, at least in the video. While some of the jokes fell flat, you could tell he was doing his best to emulate Jim Carrey, and I thought he really did a nice job of capturing his spirit at the very least. Though billed a stunt show, we didn’t get too many stunts, but you could tell Ace was trying his best to entertain the crowd, plus you could stick around to meet him after, a nice touch.
It was also pretty cool to watch someone run around the Streets of America and actually utilize them. Towards the end of their life at the park, they were so underused and just kind of stood there waiting for something to happen, so to actually see them in action was very exciting.
But those parts couldn’t balance the poor writing and just overall lackadaisical attitude of the entire show. It wasn’t introducing anything new to the Disney pantheon. To be honest, it almost felt like a “stunt show” that you would see at your local amusement park, which is fine in that context, but just doesn’t do justice to the level of expertise that Disney is capable of. Basically, it was the typical attraction you would hide in the back of the park.
Sadly, I couldn’t find any information about how long Ace Ventura stuck around, but I imagine it wasn’t more than a couple of months, probably disappearing sometime in 1996. Though it was inexpensive to produce, even that wasn’t enough to keep it around. All in all, I think it was a really fun idea on Disney’s part, and it’s disappointing that it couldn’t materialize into something more exciting.
Well, that’s all for this week and I’ll be taking next week off because I have a nonstop workweek, so check back in a couple of weeks as we discuss the attraction hinted below.
- This attraction appeared at a few Disney Studios Parks.
- This attraction is closing at its international park on September 1st.
- This attraction’s domestic version has been rumored for a re-theming for years.
Thanks for reading and have a magical day!
Cole Geryak is a childless millennial making his way through the world. He has ridden every single ride in Disneyland in one day, all while wearing a shirt and tie. Imagination is his middle name, and his heart truly lies in the parks.