14 May 2012

Everyone can choose

There are attractions whose stories are fairly well set in stone, I’m looking at you Fantasyland dark rides, but there is a ton of opened ended storytelling taking place at attractions around Walt Disney World. From Space Mountain to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Expedition Everest to Pirates of the Caribbean, there is a lot to wonder and dream about after you’ve left the attraction. With ideas like Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure running rampant around Walt Disney World, you’d expect parks built upon a sturdy foundation of story to find new and creative ways to take those stories home with you and create new adventures.

A classic and simple way to carry stories home with guests, or to build anticipation about an upcoming trip, fills the shelves of every school library across the country. Not to keep you in suspense, I am speaking about the Choose Your Own Adventure stories. For those of you who may not remember the series of books, each book revolved around youths in a precarious and mysterious situation. In each story, the main characters regularly come across crossroads and the reader is asked to make a choice as to which direction the story will move in next. A choice can lead to the main characters escaping quickly from terrifying forest, meeting a deadly booby-trap and their end, or winding slowly through a shadowy murder mystery. There is a repeatability to the books as readers uncover new angles and twists in a story they only thought they knew.

The rub is that Choose Your Own Adventure books already have a presence in Walt Disney World. This volume about the abominable snowman, aka the yeti, can be found in the show that follows Expedition Everest in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. With so many mythical or extinct creatures playing in the Disney sandbox that is filled with futuristic, historical or fabled scenarios, the possibilities for creating as many possible twists and endings.

Let’s take the Haunted Mansion as an example. There are so many ghosts, some friendly to our ‘sympathetic vibrations’ and others who may only be hanging around with malice on their minds, that the possibilities for stories are limited only by the imagination of the writer. The same could be said for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Star Tours, Jungle Cruise and many others, even the savanna of Harambe is filled with the potential for twist endings and meandering tales.

Now, I’d love to throw my hat into the ring as someone to help write these type of stories (heck, I even did some Walt Disney World fiction early on in the Gazette’s life), but I’m also aware of the staggering amount of writing talent that permeates Walt Disney World and Disney as a whole. There is a wealth of stories tucked into every corner of the Vacation Kingdom’s parks, but there is also an untapped reservoir hidden within these adventures. Who wouldn’t like to take one of those home in a book or in an ebook?


melissa sue said...

what a neat idea! i loved those books as a kid. and when i was older and teaching reading skills to school kids, my tutees loved them, too!

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Melissa - I loved them too, and they were definitely shelf staples when I work in an after-school/summer program for school age children!