Our planet is full of sinister powers, but perhaps none more so than the power of nature to swallow up the once-grand civilizations of man. The Earth may be round, but it still has its corners – dark pockets of mystery where the forest shrouds a decaying edifice, lost to history.
|For instance, this is all that remains of the original Backlot Studio Tour queue.
If Stephen King has taught us anything, it’s that you should never visit Maine. I mean seriously, you are pretty much guaranteed to die if you cross the New Hampshire border. But only slightly less well known is this: Stay out of the woods.
Trees lead slow, deliberate lives, and they seem bent on total and utter consummation of anything you might have erected in their place. Amid the frenetic, gleeful construction of the New Fantasyland, there are places within Fantasyland right now that are rotting under our nose.
|If you’re looking for Dumbo, you should have turned left three miles ago.
One such desolate forest is the Hundred Acre Woods. It has been barely a year since the new interactive queue area first opened at the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. This was the harbinger of the fabled NextGen project – a new way to experience attractions, without the rigid queues of the past. It has been a runaway success – better even than the Haunted Mansion queue which followed it. But time has forgotten the small clearing to the East, an enchanted glen of tiger-striped stepping stones that lies concealed behind a barrier of thickly entangled shrubbery.
Tigger’s Bouncy Place had all the makings of a real highlight: A series of delightful trampoline-like springs embedded in the ground, where kids young and old could burn off excess energy in bouncy, flouncy, pouncy ways. Before the queue even opened, this parkeologist observed a team of Imagineers and their test subjects (probably their own children) trying out the springs. I remember being amazed at the depth to which the platforms sank into the ground, and the strong launching power they could achieve. But Tigger’s Bouncy Place never opened to the public. It sits unused behind the planters, a pogo stick and Tigger-striped ball the only indication that it is there at all.
|I just bounced right out of a grave! Who wants a hug?
Somewhere along the lines, the fans lost interest in this little nook. Anticipation for other projects took over: New Fantasyland, talking Mickey, a new Star Tours. Guests continue to enjoy the Winnie the Pooh queue without even missing Tigger. Honey walls and Gopher pop-ups are more than enough to satisfy them. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost.
History become legend. Legend became myth. And for twelve months, Tigger’s Bouncy Spot passed out of all knowledge.
Darkness crept back into the forests of the world. Rumor grew of a shadow in the East. Whispers of a nameless fear.
|Pictured: Unadulterated evil. Also the reason we have seatbelts on Tower of Terror, lapbars on Splash Mountain, and curlicued wrought iron pokey things on the bridge to Mexico.
Did this age-old evil shut down the show, as has been theorized by the fans? Or did the equipment simply not stand-up to the rigorous play testing of a hundred thousand happy toddlers? Perhaps we are not meant to know.
The queue has recently gone down for rehab, only a year later. The paying public can be hard on Disney show scenes, especially if there is a lot of tugging, banging, popping, or wiping involved. But perhaps the way will be cleared, and Tigger’s glade finally opened.
For now, we can merely keep watch. For who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the forest? Beware, my friends, and stay out of the woods.
|Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.