Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fencing In The Imagination

One sign of a Disney park attraction (never a ride) is the overwhelming attention to detail. You won’t find simple lines for attractions. Instead, you have elaborate queues. The interior queue for the Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith is stacked with details worthy of your attention as you meander closer to the limo. The excitement within the G-Force recording studio makes the time spent outside in the bland (but covered) queue worth the wait. The studio also serves as a museum of sorts, featuring gold records, vintage guitars, poster and album artwork among the artifacts. The pre-show features a mockup of a recording studio with the band members from Aerosmith winding down their session. Their manager (who is channeling her best Bobbi Flekman) whisks them away to a performance for which they’re late. Steven Tyler, ever so courteous, arranges for a stretch — no, make that a super-stretch — limo, parked out back in the alley, to take us to the show.

This is where it gets fun. The indoor attraction has the luxury of utilizing a small and dimly lit space to reconstruct a faux alley, complete with a parking garage next to it, cheap apartments and a gritty, utilitarian fence separating the guests from the road. There are bills plastered along the wall advertising the Ska Review, about as diametrically opposed to Aerosmith as you can get, musically. 

Signs at Disney parks always have some meaning, if only to help elaborate on a theme, project a pun or offer a hidden layer of Disney goodness. Several signs here are worth noting. Two fall into the bad pun department: First up is an overhead sign by the parking garage entrance that reads Lock 'n Roll Parking Systems. A smaller sign on the wall is an advertisement for Sam Andreas & Son, Earthquake Busters, specializing in structural retrofitting, an obvious nod to the earthquake-prone antics of Los Angeles.

The best sign, albeit small and nondescript, is for the Buena Vista Fence Company and is attached to the chain-link fence: 

The phone number isn’t for a fence company, but instead for a different organization that’s near and dear to our hearts. It’s the number to the front desk of 1401 Flower Street in Glendale, California, home to Walt Disney Imagineering (minus the local area code, of course).

Walt created what was then known as WED Enterprises (for Walter Elias Disney) in 1952 as his ‘personal playground’ to develop Disneyland and its attractions. Buena Vista further adds a layer of Disney history, which references Buena Vista Street in Burbank that runs along the western edge of the Disney Studios. It’s also the name of the distribution arm that Disney established in 1953 for its films. Finally, it references Lake Buena Vista at Walt Disney World.

There you have it. A subtle tribute to Imagineering which, among other things, developed one seriously intense coaster. Keep your eye out for this sign the next time you’re there. Oh, and don’t forget Chris’ black Les Paul. 


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