So long Narnia

Don't panic.  This won't be an essay lamenting the loss of Journey into Narnia.  In fact, I'll be writing about how I'm happy to see it go.  But this column post wont be me slamming the attraction.  So what exactly am I writing about?  The rumored demise of Journey into Narnia on September 10 is exactly what that attraction needs and it's part of the history of that part of Hollywood Studios.

Journey into Narnia is an attraction designed to promote the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian film from 2008 and while many may not have cared for that film, the attraction's role in the park is part of a tradition at the Studios.  For years, new Disney films had been featured in Soundstage 4 to help promote the film.  You may recall a Haunted Mansion film walkthrough, a 101 Dalmations (the live action one with Glenn Close) walkthrough and many others.  

What I'd love to see is with the departure of Journey into Narnia a return of short-lived attractions that help promote new films.  I'm willing to overlook the fact there isn't much substance to the attraction if we can get some regular change in there.  Shameless self promotion is something Disney does extremely well, so why not keep the area a rotating venue for new films.  Throw in some film props, a video montage and some set decoration and you have a great way to promote a new film while giving guests something else to do.

Why didn't Journey into Narnia leave sooner?  It's complicated, but a major issue was crowd control.  In 2010, Star Tours closed for much of the year to be updated and between that and other attraction refurbishments around the park, Hollywood Studios management needed to have Journey into Narnia open as another place guests could go.  

I recognize that movie preview attractions aren't exciting or sexy and not anywhere near the top of any self respecting Disney World geek's wishlist.  But you have to keep in mind that not every attraction can be an E-Ticket attraction and the space that Journey into Narnia currently occupies is quite small, so there's no room for much else.  And I think we can all agree we don't want another Sounds Dangerous on our hands with a venue that is closed with nothing replacing it.  Unused space in theme parks has become a pet peeve of mine so by returning to a rotating film preview attraction, it's a good start.

While few people will really be sad to see Journey into Narnia leave (assuming of course the rumor is true), I'm hoping that this will be an opportunity for Disney to start fresh with the venue and give us more, more often.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 by