Thursday, July 10, 2008

One Day Later: August 29, 1965

Our intrepid photographer returned to the park for the 3rd day in a row, and took 2 more shots of the Treehouse, as well as the entry sign. Interestingly enough, the day that Disneyland opened was also the day chosen for the fictional Robinson Family to have survived the shipwreck. As always, it’s the little details that make things interesting.

Katella Gate made a comment on yesterday’s Treehouse that I totally agree with; the original incarnation of the Treehouse was much more imaginative. The guest used their imagination, seeing the Robinson’s home but never seeing the family themselves. The guest became immersed in this primitive environment, and were able to see how the "plumbing" worked and all kinds of other contraptions. The Tarzan Treehouse of today is elaborate, but it has a different vibe to it.

There is no explanatory signage of what guests are seeing; the original treehouse had signage describing each room, giving guests a story to build upon. The Tarzan version lays everything out for guests to look at, with a few high-tech gadgets to keep today’s youngsters semi-focused and interested. There are also 3D representations of the cartoon characters from the animated film, quickly removing an element of believability that would make a guest think, "Hey, I could live would be cool to have a bedroom up here..." Once the guest sees the cartoon tiger, they are immediately removed from the environment and just become onlookers, and can no longer be part of the environment.

Unlike many critics, I don’t lay the blame at Disney’s feet. Having gone to the park quite frequently, I have seen how guests have changed over the years. Compare the average family from 1955 with the family of today; wow, is there a difference! Nowadays, it takes so much more to capture a kid’s attention. Although both generations had TV, today’s child has video games, cell phones, ipods, violent and action packed movies...and on top of that, it’s not uncommon for the child of today to have all these things going SIMULTANEOUSLY! No wonder "ADD" has become a household word! The only way to snatch a child away from the handheld video games or the all-important cellphone conversation is to create something that grabs their attention quickly. Hmmmm...we’ll add a piece of "paper" that draws its own pictures by "magic"! Yeah, that should be effective for all of 5 minutes...then what? Yup, these kids are ready for something else! Right away, too! I don’t want to get too heavy here, but I do feel the pain of the creative types at Disney; the rich creative nostalgia of yesterday’s attractions is not as appealing to the majority of today’s guests. See more vintage and current Treehouse photos at my regular website.

1 comment:

Major Pepperidge said...

Wow, this photographer loved the Treehouse! I agree with a lot of the comments regarding the changes to the treehouse. After seeing it once I have not bothered to revisit it, unlike the original SFT. It is very similar to looking into those windows on Main Street with the elaborate dioramas... I like them, but they don't grab me the way the old version did, when it seemed that the family might have just stepped out to get some food or make sure no pirates were on their way.