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February 22, 2010

Captain EO Returns

Tomorrow at Disneyland, Captain EO returns to Tomorrowland. The business reasons are obvious:
  • The country is currently obsessed with Michael Jackson.
  • It's an easy swap; just pull out the Honey, I Shrunk the Audience film and put Captain EO back in. Also, dress up the 3-D theater in a Captain EO theme.
  • Make some special merchandise to sell.
Seems foolproof, right? From a business perspective, it mostly is (more on the mostly part in a minute). Honey, I Shrunk the Audience isn't pulling in large crowds; it's been long overdue for a replacement. Also, Disney hopes to pull in a few extra people looking for an M.J. fix and sell them a t-shirt.

While the business reasons are sound, here's my question: when has Disney ever reverted an attraction to its previous incarnation? I know, just look at my previous post. Let's exclude fireworks and parades from this; Walt Disney World used Fantasy in the Sky for special occasions for years, and the Main Street Electrical Parade already returned to WDW once. Generally, Disney is not a company that goes backward, for better or for worse. For example, Stitch's Great Escape has been dogged by Disney fans since it opened. Why not restore the attraction to its prior incarnation, Alien Encounter? Because Disney likes to move forward.

Finally, here are two reasons why I think this is mostly foolproof:
  1. I don't think Captain EO is going to hold people's interest in the long run. While people are interested in Michael Jackson right now, how long is it going to last?
  2. M.J.'s background is questionable. While some will come to Disneyland to see Captain EO, others may avoid Disneyland because the attraction has returned. Honestly, I think both factions are very small and at worst will cancel each other out, but it is a risk.
What are your thoughts on Captain EO's return?

(Thanks to coconut wireless on Flickr for the image above)

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