10 September 2012

Out of the night

This is an idea that has been percolating around in my mind for a while now. We’ve talked quite a bit about how we’d love to improve Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with everything from expanding Pixar Place to reinvigorating unused spaces like Sounds Dangerous. It may seem like we’re picking on Walt Disney World’s third gate, but we only want to build upon the strong foundation of a park that we love, that’s why we continue to come up with fresh concepts for the Studios.

There has been a lot in the news about The Rocketeer lately. Disney appears to be ready to relaunch the film franchise. IDW Publishing has been celebrating the 30th anniversary of the original comic source material by collecting and releasing the original work by Dave Stevens along with a new series from Mark Waid and Chris Samnee. This news is what started me thinking. It was compounded when I saw the previews of the new comic, Masks. Masks is a fully painted comic from Alex Ross, with Chris Roberson providing the script, that unites pulp heroes The Shadow, Zorro, The Spider, Green Hornet and Kato, Miss Fury, Black Bat and others to fight crime.

This got me thinking, could the Rocketeer team up with others from the canon of Disney television and film history? After all there are some great pulp and folk heroes and even some anti-heroes wandering around in the vaults. Zorro, Davy Crockett, Dick Tracy, The Swamp Fox, Rocketeer, and Captain Nemo are some of the greats that fill out these ranks. The questions is, how do you bring all of these huge names together under and single roof? Well, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe actually gives us a great starting point.

The diner belonging to Pecos Bill is a crossroad for folk heroes of the West in Frontierland, with personal items from all of those who have passed through being left behind to Pecos for use as décor. While it’d be great to see the helmet of The Rocketeer sitting next to the organ of Captain Nemo, but I don’t want to simply copy a restaurant concept in a new park. Seeing as how we are looking at film and television heroes, why not look at the sets they call home for a theme.

Utilizing a space with multiple rooms in a backstage area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, say Backlot Express between Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular and Star Tours, a restaurant could be designed to make use of old film and television sets. Guests could choose to dine in the Bulldog Cafe filled with trinkets and news clippings dedicated to The Rocketeer, or in the courtyard of de la Vega hacienda with hints of Zorro’s, or Nemo’s parlor aboard the Nautilus, the possibilities for the dining areas is truly only limited by imagination! To top it off, why not show clips from the films and shows on screens throughout the restaurant. Not only would it allow guests to familiarize themselves with some stories they may not know, and explain the settings in which they are enjoying their meal, but it could be explained as if these serials and films are being edited.

Let’s talk food for a moment. Sure, you could offer up the same old burgers, nuggets, and salads (all of which have been coming up in leaps and bounds in terms of quality and concept in recent years), or you could tie it into the heroes who’s bases of operation guests are dining in. Pie from the Bulldog Cafe, a kelp and seafood salad for Nemo, southwest fare for Zorro (along with some good wines), grilled hotdogs straight from the diner in Dick Tracy, and barbeque for Davy Crockett (while granola and dried meats would be more historically accurate, guests tend to shy away from such dishes) could all help boost and tie together a hero-driven menu.

The selection of heroes from the films and television series in the Disney catalog is as large as any studio out there, especially with the acquisition of Marvel. With all of these heroes wandering around the backlot of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I’m sure they’d get hungry and want to eat in an environment familiar to them. Why not give these heroes the nods they deserve and guests a restaurant they could spend hours wandering through with a good, quick meal!

1 comment:

Rich T. said...

I love the idea of a hero-themed cafe. I'm trying to imagine flying this great concept past executives who think "Classic Disney" means That's So Raven. Myself, I'd like to read news articles by Gallagher while waiting for a table!

If a re-launch of Rocketeer succeeds (oh, please please please), that would indeed open a perfect window for a project like this. I think Nemo's too tragic and anti-hero, but Dick Tracy's perfect (there's another property that needs a reboot).

You know the execs would try to shoehorn The Incredibles in there, somewhere! :)