The recession has, in the last few months, put a noticeable squeeze on the global tourism industry, especially resort giant Walt Disney World. In response, major cutbacks have been implemented throughout the famous theme park. Some highlights:
The Haunted 2BR Sublet
The Mansion has downsized considerably, moving the shock ride into a comfortable two-bedroom place uptown, sublet by a friend of a Disney employee working overseas. Most ride trappings are removed, replaced by a few desk lamps and large pieces of poster board with the words bats! and mummy!” written on them. Guests with allergies are warned that the layers of dust from the original ride have been transferred to the smaller version.
Big-But-Not-So-Showy-As-You’d-Want-To See-Our-Tax-Returns Thunder Mountain Railroad
The location of the ride is the same, however rising power costs have forced the trains to stop running. Instead, a local community college intern regales guests with tales of actual mining techniques used in the mid-1800s. At the end, your photo is taken with the intern and you have to pay for it.
Hall of President
Guests are introduced to only one of our many presidents, an actor in place of animatronics. The President du Jour changes on a regular basis, but usually tends to be Monroe, since that actor is trying to pick up more hours. Note to actors: Disney has lifted restrictions and is auditioning black and Hispanic actors for all parts.
The Busking Bears Jamboree
While the musical robot bears are still active, there is a distinct emphasis placed on the empty guitar case at the front of the stage. Guests are encouraged to donate money and occasionally the bears will play more current tunes, mostly Bob Marley’s “No Woman, No Cry.” At various points in the show, one of the bears will take a faded plastic Burger King cup and fill it with water from a leaky pipe to drink.
Space Mountain, Presented by Sony
When maintenance costs began soaring out of control, Japanese media giant Sony stepped in to sponsor the troubled ride. After some minor renovations, the ride reopened. Guests found the coaster part of the ride to be enjoyable, but were confused about numerous references to the Japanese being first into space, first on the moon, and possessors of a lunar rock crystal that can summon monsters from under an island in the Pacific.
It’s A Small—Hey, This Place Smells Like Eggs
Not really a ride per se, the space formerly occupied by “It’s a Small World” has been thoroughly gutted and turned into an empty lot which, for some reason, smells like eggs.
Tax Shelters of the Caribbean
This exciting ride thrills guests with tales of actual tax shelters that exist to this day among the islands of the Caribbean. Through the use of Disney-branded pie charts, PowerPoint presentations, and a show-stopping demonstration using a half-full glass of water, Disney cast members inform guests of the great ways to save money if they act now. Guests inquiring about additional information must first pay a nominal fee of $400.
Splash Mountain Open House
Guests of the park have enjoyed the down-home antics of Br’er Rabbit and friends for years at their log flume attraction, but now Disney is offering the tiny prop homes where the characters live at discounted rates. Close to running water and never short on fun, these small bungalows can be viewed from the log flume ride itself and bids can be placed after disembarking. Interested guests are forewarned that while the properties are affordable, they may be shared with robot frogs, birds, or beavers.