‘Behind the Attraction’ looks at the origins of several notable Disneyland attractions

Category: Television


The new 10-part series on Disney+ is not only fun but also very informative. Behind the Attraction is a look at how so many of the iconic attractions in Disneyland and the other Disney parks came to be.

The episodes explore the histories and culminations of:

  • Hall of Presidents
  • Trains, Trams, and Monorails
  • “it’s a small world”
  • Disneyland Hotel
  • The Castles
  • Space Mountain
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Star Tours
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise

 

Several of these attractions got their start at the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair. That was when Walt Disney was asked to supply attractions that he ultimately added to Disneyland. Not only do viewers see the origins of these attractions, but there are also some pretty funny anecdotes that go along with them.

Technology was advancing but not as far as it has come today. Animatronics was just in its infancy. The first animatronic attempt was Abraham Lincoln who, after the fair, was relocated to Anaheim where he took up residence in the Opera House on Main Street USA in Disneyland. To say his beginning was something of a disaster is a mistake. He would stand up and smash his chair, leaving the creators to figure out what in the world was going on. Well, as explained in the show, they finally found what was happening and he was once again standing tall next to his chair. Wait until you see what caused his malfunction. Anyway, in Orlando at Walt Disney World Lincoln was joined by all of the presidents in the Hall of Presidents.

Walt was really into transportation. His love of trains led him to create the train station at the entrance of Disneyland. And his idea for the monorail system was inventive and could have changed the landscape and structure of Los Angeles. But the powers that be did not have the foresight that Disney had. Alas, L.A. is stuck with an outdated freeway system.

The iconic castles in the various parks around the world have their own histories. And the famous Jungle Cruise, which opened in 1955, has loyal fans. As a matter of fact, it has been made into a feature film. In the past the attractions were based on films, but these days there are films based on the attractions.

How did they come up with the 10 episodes? In a virtual press conference Brian Volk-Weiss, executive producer and director, explained, “So we started with a list that I exaggerate not, was like, it would have been over one hundred, but I think Mark was like that you might you might want to trim that down a bit. So I think we I think we still submitted a list of 30. The good news to get it down fast was we decided very early on not to work, not to do any episodes about attractions that don’t exist anymore.”

Disney Imagineer Dave Durham told the media, “Literally the coolest thing for me as an Imagineer is to be able to go stand by the exit of a new attraction that we opened. And you you’ve put years working with a team, so many hours, so many meetings, so many decisions. And you have the vision the whole time as to what you what you hope that thing will end up being. And then when all is said and done, the guest literally speaks as they come off the ride. And you’re listening. Do they like it or are they happy? Did it meet the expectations? And what I watch for is do they run right back around and get back in line again? And it’s this thing where you don’t have to say a word. Their actions say it for you and you just sit back and smile and go. That was worth it. And so it’s not always what you hear is what you see.”

Disney Imagineer Jeanette Lamboy explained, “So I think sometimes we use technology that exists in different ways,” citing the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror which has been transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout.

“That’s one perfect example of how we think out of the box.”

Yes indeed, the Imagineers are truly dedicated to their work.

Volk-Weiss said he wanted guests to the parks to learn about the attractions so when they visited the parks they would be further engaged and interested in them.

Lamboy admitted, “My favorite attraction of all time is Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean, but it is expressed differently and our most recent Pirates of the Caribbean and Shanghai is such an amazing technological masterpiece and really one of the finest rides in the world. So I would love to see that covered. And I’m sure that was on the short list of things that got cut Brian. Season two.”

Behind the Attraction is a must-see for fans of the Disney parks. It is not only entertaining, but also very educational. It’s a fun experience. The episodes stream on Disney+ beginning July 21, 2021.

About the Author

Francine Brokaw has been covering all aspects of the entertainment industry for over 25 years. She also writes about products and travel. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County. She is a longstanding member of the Los Angeles Press Club and the Television Critics Association and is accredited by the MPAA. Follow her on Twitter.