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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Things I Thought I Would Never See In Disneyland

Before we get to our friend and hero Iron Man now prominently displayed in Tomorrowland, my first real Disneyland surprise occurred when I first walked through the turnstiles last Sunday morning. The nice young man who scanned my annual pass wore a neatly cropped beard. That's right, he had a beard as did several other cast members I encountered throughout my week's stay. Beards were forbidden by Walt Disney from the get-go. I had heard there was a change in grooming policy but this was the first chance I had to see young men with beards and goatees working in the park. To me, it was quite noticeable but I also have no problem with it. It's just a different look from your male cast members.

Ever since Disney bought Marvel a few years ago, some of the larger gift shops have carried a few Marvel toys and consumer products, but barely enough to be noticeable as the first presence of Marvel in Disneyland. The display of Iron Man Suits currently in Innoventions is something of a game changer. While the display of suits is not large, and if you spend more than 10 or 15 minutes looking at the display, you probably need to work on your life.  The Iron Man display is Disney's first chance to gauge the acceptance of a Marvel presence in Walt's park. While I have no issue with anything related to Marvel from displays right up to a Marvel based E-Ticket attraction, in Disneyland I do understand the position of those who think Marvel superheros in Disneyland is a bit of a stretch from the original park concept.

To me, the Iron Man display is kind of irrelevant. What is important is that for the first time in years, there was a reason for Mrs. DisneylandTraveler and me to walk into the Innoventions building other than to get out of the rain. The building is huge and cavernous and used to show off things that people have little interest in seeing inside of a major (and expensive) theme park. The Innoventions building now represents a giant waste of a space in a park that is space challenged. (Not to mention the place is badly in need of a coat or two of paint). But with the display of Iron Man suits, even as minor as it is, people line up once again to get into Innoventions, something that hasn't been done for years. An Iron Man attraction? An Avengers attraction? A TRON attraction? Bring any of them on - just put the space to a use that will absorb some of the crowds rather than sit there rotting away. (Granted: Since Innoventions is primarily corporate sponsored by Yamaha, HP, MicroSoft, Honda, etc., the place makes Disney money even if no one goes in).

As for Marvel in Disneyland, in a few years someone is going to have to do battle with that Harry Potter kid up the road at Universal Studios Hollywood. Why not Iron Man?

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