Disneyland sets the stage for a new Frontierland tale
Published: June 25, 2014 at 10:18 PM
"Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush!" will debut on July 9. In the press release announcing the new experience, Disney said:
“Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush!” will be a whole new way to experience a land in a Disney theme park. Instead of watching the story unfold, guests will be part of the story themselves – naming, creating and developing their own characters and influencing the direction and action of the story’s first chapter. The story will involve entertainment, merchandise, food and more – throughout Frontierland.
Here's the new backstory: The people of Rainbow Ridge, the town at the end of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, are trying to move into the adjacent Frontierland now that their town's been dried up, and there's that darned roller coaster riding through it every few seconds. (Okay, I added that last part.) But the people of Frontierland, being good Orange County NIMBYs, are having none of that, and want to keep those Rainbow Ridge outsiders out. (Wow, this could get uncomfortably dark really quickly.)
We've written in the past about the potential for theme parks as entertainment platforms, beyond being collections of distinct rides and attractions. Like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inspires interactive play, especially with its new wands, Disneyland's new Frontierland experience could help bring a new sense of imaginative play into the land. Unlike with Potter, fans won't come into the park with any knowledge of this new Frontierland story, so Disney will have to construct a way to inform guests as it inspires them to want to take part. Then, Disney will have to hope that the whole thing won't be hijacked by a small handful of annual passholders who decide that they're going to be in charge and try to run it.
Perhaps starting this in July, when Southern California and SoCal Select annual passholders are blocked out of the park, might help minimize that risk. Ultimately, though, it all comes down to execution, and Disney's ability to inspire people to play well together. Are you interested? Might you join in if you'll be at Disneyland this summer?