“Tarzan” Director Seemingly Disappointed By Treehouse Changes at Disneyland

The director of the 1999 Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Tarzan, apparently made a trip to Disneyland recently and had some thoughts about the newly reimagined Adventureland Treehouse.

What’s Happening:

  • Lima seems to have taken issue with this, sharing a number of images along with the caption, “Was sad to see that #Tarzan's Treehouse had been returned to the Swiss Family Robinson's Treehouse. Does your average family visiting #Disneyland have any connection to the 1960 film? Was nice to see they left an homage in one of the rooms…”
  • Back in the late 1900s, Disneyland closed the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction to make way for the Tarzan-based renovations, in lieu of just simply removing the Adventureland offering. Which, according to former Imagineer Tony Baxter at 2016’s Destination D, was a very real plan with Tarzan saving the treehouse.
  • In the Fall of 2021, Tarzan’s Treehouse closed with many thinking a new attraction or theme was on its way to the treehouse spot, when it was revealed that the treehouse would take on a more classic look and feel, becoming the Adventureland Treehouse inspired by Walt Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson. Not the Swiss Family Treehouse per se, but with a similar walk-through experience touring a family tree-top home. The new attraction also has a number of ties to the Society of Explorers and Adventurers (S.E.A.), which are nowhere to be found in Swiss Family Robinson.
  • Lima also points out the reference to Tarzan that he spotted, a book on a table in one of the rooms – Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Lima, however, did not point out that there is an animatronic ostrich featured in the treehouse who bears the name “Jane,” which is also reported to be another tribute to the former Treehouse residents.
  • Disney & Universal Theme Park historian Jim Hill replied to Lima’s tweet with an anecdote, sharing that “When the Tarzan Treehouse opened in June of 1999, Disneyland's PR team invited James MacArthur (who played Fritz in Disney's 1960 film version of "Swiss Family Robinson") to take part in that press event. When MacArthur was asked how he felt about Disneyland retheming that park's Swiss Family Treehouse to now become the Tarzan Treehouse, James reportedly said that " … it feels weird to outlive your memorial."”
  • Lima simply replied “Ditto.”

  • Lima is a director, writer, and producer, who worked at Walt Disney Animation Studios in numerous ways throughout much of what is known as the Disney Renaissance. He worked on films like Oliver & Company, The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, and Aladdin before helming the fan-favorite film, A Goofy Movie. From there, he got a spot directing the hit film Tarzan and the live-action 102 Dalmatians, returning to Disney to helm Enchanted in 2007.
  • Tarzan’s Treehouse can still be experienced at Hong Kong Disneyland, and a lot of inspiration was taken from A Goofy Movie in the newly reimagined Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland, namely in Goofy’s How-To-Play Yard and songs from the film being featured in new ways in the area music soundtrack. Music from Tarzan can also be heard in the new Luminous The Symphony of Us that debuted recently at EPCOT, alongside music from Enchanted.

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Tony Betti
Originally from California where he studied a dying artform (hand-drawn animation), Tony has spent most of his adult life in the theme parks of Orlando. When he’s not writing for LP, he’s usually watching and studying something animated or arguing about “the good ole’ days” at the parks.