|This tree is so much more awesome living 30 feet away from where it used to live.|
Today I want to talk about Interactive Pooh. No, I will not be stooping to any cheap bathroom jokes. I hope. But I did get a chance to see the new Queue for Winnie-the-Pooh out at the Magic Kingdom. Lots of interactive elements have been added to what was once a standard dark-ride switchback line. Not all of them were operating yet (they turn them on just in time for Thanksgiving; that’s a heckuva stress test).
|Strangely, no meerkats.|
Truth be told, this is exactly why we love Disney. The loving attention to detail here is top notch. Perhaps it seems even more impressive because WDW’s Fantasyland has for so long been so plain, but this little corner has really beautified itself, and it will be even more impressive once the trees and plants fill out.
|Rabbit’s Garden has interactive watermelons, sunflowers, and lettuce. Now we know what happened to the characters from Food Rocks.|
They’ve finally hit on the right way to make the “waiting in line” experience more interesting. Soarin’ and Space Mountain with their stationary video games were steps in the right direction, but Pooh takes it up several notches.
|Imagineers were letting select families into the Tigger area. Believe it or not, those are springs that sink down about 6 inches and bounce you back up. Don’t let the lawyers find out.|
It would be quibbling to say that a lot (okay, most) of the activities here are for kids. Not many adults are going to want to crawl through Pooh’s house or Eeyore’s shack, and I’m darn sure they aren’t going to let adults jump on those nifty Tigger trampolines (even though I really want to). But frankly, it’s probably fidgety kids who have the most problems with lines, and this is built to take out the fidgetiness.
|Props from Tigger’s stint with Cirque du Soleil|
Disney has truly created something different here. It’s a step beyond the “interactiveness” of the Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland. This is practically a line that doubles as a playground. I was shocked but just how many different experiences are crammed in here. This isn’t one or two little “rope pull” effects. The activities are wide and varied.
|Hard to see, but the door is dimensional, and you’re supposed to knock on it. I’m guessing it will trigger some sort of effect, but Piglet was too scared to answer today.|
In fact, I’m still not sure how it will work in practice. The various interactive areas are not linear, but sort of stations and detours through the “real” line. Maybe the kids are allowed to play while the adults hold the spot? It’s a complete reinvention of the concept of waiting, and it’s this kind of thinking that puts Disney so far in front of everyone else.
I admit to being annoyed when they shut down Haunted Mansion’s cemetery for a similar retrofit. Now I’m excited for it. And it certainly bodes well for the interactive Dumbo area rumored for the Fantasyland expansion.
|If this is the gloomiest place Eeyore could find, then he needs to stop complaining.|
There are some things I don’t have pictures of, like the wall of writable honey, and some stuff that’s still a mystery. This shot of Pooh and a cloud of bees is in an area that at first glance looks like a FastPass distribution area, but the pages on the wall indicate that it might be something else, and it’s sort of smack in the middle of the real queue. Fastpass Distribution is still happening over at Philharmagic. My theory is that it will be something with honeybee hives, but the hives weren’t there yet.
|Hope your kids aren’t allergic.|
Also, the ride itself has stayed the same, but the rails in the loading area have been replaced with awesomely themed “wooden” rails (you can catch a glimpse of them in some of the pictures here). If I had to complain about anything, it would be that I think “Pooh’s Thotful Spot” is a better name for the shop than “Hundred Acre Goods.”
|Nice wood facade, nice stone paving, nice brick queue walls. A far cry from the old building.|
|The most significant change of the day: The shop checkout counter has moved!|