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Are the Imagineers taking another shot at getting a shoot-the-chutes built at a Disney theme park?

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Are the Imagineers taking another shot at getting a shoot-the-chutes built at a Disney theme park?

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It was supposed to be Disneyland's first thrill ride: Monstro the Whale ...

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Which - in much the same way that Dumbo the Flying Elephant ...

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... was just a Disneyified version of that amusement park favorite, the spinning rockets -- ...

Disneyland's Monstro the Whale was supposed to have taken that classic early thrill ride, the shoot-the-chutes ...

... and given it a Pinocchio themed overlay.

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But during Disneyland's initial construction phase back in late 1954 / early 1955, as the money got tighter, Walt's initially grandiose plans for his family fun park got simplified. So the animated menagerie & sideshow-themed restaurant that was supposed to have set the scene for the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride ...

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... got cut. As did Disneyland's Monstro the Whale ride.

But Walt wasn't the type to let go of a good idea. And since he really wanted to find a spot inside of his theme park to showcase this sinister cetacean, when Disney decided to turn Fantasyland's underwhelming Canal Boats of the World ride into the Storybook Land Canal Boats ... Well, Walt had a slightly smaller version of Monstro built ...

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... to serve as Scene One in this float-through attraction.

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Walt also never forgot about the exciting-splashdown-finale portion of Disneyland's proposed Monstro the Whale ride. Which is why - when the Matterhorn opened in July of 1959 - your bobsled splashed through an alpine pond ...

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... before it finally came to a stop.

And speaking of stops ... After Walt died in December of 1966, Dick Nunis continued to push the Imagineers to somehow find a way to fold a flume ride and/or a shoot-the-chutes-like water thrill ride into Disneyland's assortment of rides, shows and attractions (This is actually where the impetus for the Splash Mountain project).

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Now jump ahead to the mid-1990s. Where - in the wake of the Westcot 2.0 collapse - WDI was exploring all sorts of ideas when it came to a second gate for the Disneyland Resort. And among the many concepts that were considered was an anti-Disneyland, if you will. A deliberately old-fashioned amusement pier with all sorts of classic attractions like a wooden roller coaster ...

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... and a ferris wheel.

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And if you look closely at the above concept painting (between DCA's old Sun Wheel and Orange Stinger), what do you see?

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That's right. A shoot-the-chutes ride. As you can see the concept painting below, the track layout for this water-based thrill ride was to have been woven over, in, around and through California Screamin'.

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So why wasn't this shoot-the-chutes attraction built as part of Paradise Pier? For much the same reason that the Monstro the Whale ride didn't make it into Disneyland back in 1955? As construction costs for the Disneyland Resort's second theme park began to soar, pieces of the project had to be pared back. And among the first things to go was DCA's shoot-the-chutes ride.

So could the Imagineers ever possibly circle back on this particular ride concept for Disney California Adventure? Given that Paradise Bay is now filled with all of the equipment necessary to support the Disney "World of Color" nighttime water spectacular, sending a boat-load of tourists skipping out across this body of water is no longer a viable option.

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Not for Disney California Adventure, anyway. On the other hand, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" -themed water coaster that the Imagineers now have in the works for Shanghai Disneyland will reportedly have some shoot-the-chutes-like elements ...

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... Which just goes to show you that WDI never ever gives up on a good concept.  Especially when it looks like Guests will have a whale of a good time riding this proposed attraction.

And as far as the Imagineers are concerned, a Disneyified shoot-the-chutes is definitely worth another shot.

Your thoughts?

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  • I love the idea, but will the Imagineers bring it into the future by making it more like a thrill ride.

    Watch what they did at this dutch themepark 'Efteling'


    This might just be the right approach for shanghai disneyland

  • The artwork for the Pirates of the Caribbean-themed water coaster looks fantastic. If they build it, I'm gonna have to go! :)

    EDITOR'S NOTE: To be fair here, I should point out that the artwork that I used to illustrate today's story of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" flume ride is not from the version that's being built for Shanghai Disneyland. But -- rather -- the version of this attraction that was once in the works for Hong Kong Disneyland. Back when one of the expansion plan concepts that was being considered for this theme park was the "land" of Tortuga. An entire pirate town which was to have been built around a radically reinvented version of "Pirates of the Caribbean."

    The scene that I always liked from this version of "Pirates" was ... Well, you know how when you reach the top of Chickapen Hill, you have that show scene off to the left that's supposed to momentarily distract you from the fact that you're about to plunge down this 5-story drop?

    Well, in the first iteration of this attraction, as your vehicle climbed the hill for this drop, you were to have looked up and (as the Imagineers borrowed a page from the finale of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl") an AA figure of Captain Jack Sparrow was one side of the trough at the very and an AA figure of Captain Barbossa was on the other side of this trough.

    And as you chugged up the hill, you were to have looked at this these two AA figures sword-fighting (Yep, the Imagineers were going to repurpose those sword-fighting pirate AA figures from the Disneyland Paris of "Pirates of the Caribbean"). And only at the very top of the load hill were Sparrow and Barbossa to have momentarily stopped fighting and pull back. Allowing your boat to slip through and then plunge down that drop.

    You gotta admit having AA figures of Captain Jack and Barbossa at the very top of the load hill, sword-fighting each other across the trough that your vehicle was chugging up would have been a terrific bit of misdirection. Totally taking your mind off of the idea that your bateaux is about plunge down a steep flume.

    Here's hoping that this show element in some form makes it into Shanghai Disneyland's "Piratesd" water coaster.

  • given how many times and walt himself wanted a shoot the chutes water ride since the begining . the imagineers should take another shot after all given all the other ideas that were abanonded for the Disney parks some how sooner or later get revived and make it. the chute idea is worth another try again.

  • How does the company keep running over budget, and cut the truly amazing aspects of a project out of it?

  • Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the original Pirates in Disneyland a modified shoot-the-chutes ride?

  • Uh . . . Didn't the chute-the-chutes concept come to fruition when they included the drops at the beginning of Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland?

    Doc --

    My understanding that -- in order to be considered a really-for-real shoot-the-chutes -- you have to have the chute portion outside. It's the equivalent of Walt Disney's weenie. The thing that makes the public actually want to ride that ride. They see that boatload of people sliding down a hill and then splashing into the lagoon and think "Ooh! That looks like fun. I wanna go on that ride."

    Interesting little side note here: The Tokyo Disneyland version of "Pirates" has never done the business that the Imagineers had thought that it would largely because the Federal-style building doesn't give TDL Guests any sort of visual clues as to what sort of ride is inside of that building.

    Which is why -- for both the Shanghai Disneyland as well as the proposed Hong Kong Disneyland version of "Pirates" -- the shoot-the-chutes portion of this attraction was deliberately placed outside along with all sorts of Pirates-like theming. So that people walking by then know exactly what sort of ride this building contains.

    A lot of the buildings proposed for Shanghai Disneyland will have these sorts of exteriors. So that the Guests who don't know the Disney characters will know just what they're getting into as they walk up to that show building.

  • To respond to OVERRUN:

    I worked for a few years in Project Management at Walt Disney Imagineering.  To say attractions get deleted because things ran "over budget" can be misleading.  That makes it sound like money was squandered, costing an attraction.

    The truth is usually that Disney finance sets a target for what a reasonable capital investment would be.  Usually WDI dreams something up without constraints and presents the concept.  The money folks--often referred to as "digitheads" while I was there--look at the concept, then make a series of calculations.  They figure out what the customer would pay for admission, food, retail, parking, etc.  They figure out how much it might cost to operate.  And then they define a justified investment that will provide the company with an appropriate return based on the cost and risk.  It's this number that sets the parameters of the project.

    Then the concept is tested against the justified investment.  The dreamers get as specific as they can about their design, and an estimator puts a number to that design.  Usually, there is a gap between the cost of the original concept and the justified investment.  Then a process begins called 'value engineering' to bring the design into conformance with the justified investment.  This is when the project team tightens its belt.  People on the team propose changes that might produce savings and the estimator scores the amount--called the 'delta'.  The team deliberates together until they agree on a consensus of cuts with deltas sufficient to conform the estimate to the justified investment.

    It is usually at THIS stage that scenes get cut from proposed attractions or attractions get cut from proposed theme parks.  I cannot recall a project that didn't go through this process.  They almost all lose something that project team misses.

    Eventually, the estimate gets formalized into a budget.  The budget becomes part of a capital authorization request.  The top executives officially "greenlight" a project when they sign the capital authorization.

    So, in the case of something like the shoot-the-chutes we're talking about, the cut almost certainly occurred before the budget was authorized.  These cuts often occur years before field construction actually begins.

    I was not on the DCA team, so I have no idea what their process actually was.

    EDITOR'S NOTE: And this response ... This is why I love the Internet.

    I mean, the story that I wrote above? It's light, fun and (hopefully) kind of informative. But Doc Eagle's response -- which pops the hood of how WDI actually runs (or ran back in the day) -- that's gold. The sort of stuff that you never ever find in any of the official authorized books about the Parks.

    So thanks for chiming in, Doc. I genuinely appreciate the insight.

  • I think it would be interesting if Disney were to build an actual shoot the chutes type attraction that actually includes the free skipping boats at the bottom. Insuracne companies have long since quashed those being built in the USA. But Asia? Who knows?

  • Yeah, thanks Doc... that's exactly the kind of details I've always wondered about.

  • At this point, the concept art for the Pirates ride in Shanghai is more reflective of and derived from the two water drops in the original Pirates of the Carribbean ride at Disneyland, than of a traditional shoot the chute ride, although it was a nice touch to tie in the concept art from the original Monstro ride and from Paradise Pier that showed what could have been during the hot summer months... ;-)

  • To DocEagle - that is the most insightful (and credible) Imagineering story I have heard in years. We can now coin a whole new phrase for the original plans for DAK: that they got digitheaded to death!

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