Vote of the week: Airing of grievances about The American Adventure

November 30, 2012, 10:41 AM · The season of Festivus is upon us, so it's time for the annual Airing of Grievances. I'll be airing more grievances as the month goes on, focusing on problems that theme parks ought to be fixing, but haven't yet. Some of these are simply missed opportunities. Others are actual embarrassments. Let's start today with one of those.

The finale of Epcot's The American Adventure show past its expiration date years ago. Today, it's grown into an embarrassment. Sorry, Disney, but Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong no longer illustrate America's "golden dreams," as even Disney Legend and Imagineer Marty Sklar pointed out this month during the industry's annual IAAPA conference. Former Imagineer Rick Rothschild agreed, saying at the same event that Golden Dreams is supposed to be updated every 10 years, and this version is going on 12 years now.

The American Adventure
Epcot's The American Adventure

Many years ago, when the tanker Exxon Valdez dumped its oil on the Alaskan shore, Disney moved swiftly to cut a reference to the ship from the preshow at the then-Exxon-sponsored Universe of Energy pavilion. Disney's waited too long to respond to the public humiliations of Woods and Armstrong. Disney ought to save itself further embarrassment and close this show - today. Give Eric Jacobsen, the Imagineer charged with overseeing Epcot, the money he needs to pull together a team of film editors to cut a new ending to the montage and install it ASAP - before Christmas vacation starts.

What do you think?

Let's hear your thoughts on "Golden Dreams," in the comments.

Replies (31)

November 30, 2012 at 10:52 AM · I do not feel the ride should be closed for this to reason is that if this is your only trip for a few years that you would miss such a great experience. The movie shoule have both Armstrong removed. Tiger to me is not that important. What Armstrong did is unexcuseable and he should not be featured for something he did with help from substances. With the technology of today they should be able to edit him out and someone more deserving in in very brief time.
November 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM · I do think it should be taken care of ASAP, but I don't think it necessitates shutting the whole attraction down. This is something they can't work on fixing while the show still runs and then only shut down for the install.
November 30, 2012 at 10:57 AM · I voted yes because this is one of my favorite attractions. It would be cool to replace those guys with some of out recent Olympians like Michael Phelps and the 2012 U.S. Women's Gymastics team. The theater could also use some new seats.
November 30, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Gonna be hard to find the near perfect people needed to make the Golden Dreams sequence as timeless as possible. Maybe best to stick with fictional characters like Mary Poppins or Pollyanna. ;)

But yeah, close it, regardless of the people issues, the attraction is due for a refurb.

November 30, 2012 at 11:20 AM · This is what happenes when you put the real world into a theme park. Politics, sports, religion, big businesses, all of them have aspects that are smelly and dirty.
Killing off the "wrong" people in this movie is re-writing history. It happens all the time, there is no good or wrong in there.
Do I think it's a necessity? No, there are attractions and rides at Epcot that need more attention than this awesome show, just because they are stale and boring.
November 30, 2012 at 11:56 AM · I've never seen the show, but if he isn't in it already I think they should add Steve Jobs to the film.
November 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM · Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson are both promintenty featured in the show and they are far from perfect human beings. That's one of the things that makes us unique as American's, our forgiveness of our heroes shortcomings. What I'm saying is, no matter how much they change the show, there will always be people in it that aren't perfect...that just makes them human...and American. We can remember the great things they accomplished while at the same time keeping in perspective that they have made mistakes.
November 30, 2012 at 2:10 PM · I'd like to see it updated, but it has definitely been changed more recently than 12 years ago. They added September 11th to it just a few years ago. They also swapped the 1980 Miracle hockey team with one of the gold medal winning Olympic softball teams, which, softball aficionado though I am, seems like a great injustice. The end sequence will never be perfect, but neither will the US.
November 30, 2012 at 4:25 PM · The new ending will be a tribute to the greatest American of all time, Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes.
November 30, 2012 at 7:21 PM · Personal life and professional life should be separated. In that regard, Tiger Woods should stay. Armstrong, on the other hand, did something wrong in his own profession, so his presence is more tricky.
November 30, 2012 at 6:15 PM · Why all the Disney complaints lately Robert? You seem to be really hard on them these past few months.

This version was not created in 2000 (Stated that it is 12 years old). There is no way that it was in 2000. It has 9/11 in it.

For the American Adventure, this ending is brand spanking new! This ending is not that old and still rings mostly true. Say what you want about Tiger Woods, but he still is the champion they are portraying. I mean, if we are going to pick and choose, then Clinton shouldn't be there because of his infidelity (I think Clinton should be in there).

Lance Armstrong, I could take it or leave it, but he did battle back from cancer to ride in the Tour de France, an event that is nearly impossible even if you are on something.

Somebody mentioned Michael Phelps. Nope, he was caught doing drugs.

The point is that all these people are great, but have their faults as well. That is the wonder of the "American Adventure"

My guess on when they are going to update? 2017. I would think it would be hard not to put Barack Obama, the first African American President up there in the montage.

I think Steve Jobs is in it (first computer). A really young Steve Jobs

November 30, 2012 at 8:01 PM · I think that images of brave and heroic Americans should be included, such as seal team 6, heroic first responders, and brave, humble and everyday Americans who went to Katrina's and Sandy's aftermaths to just hand out water and do what they could to make our great place whole again.
November 30, 2012 at 9:49 PM · First, the problem is with the attraction itself featuring current public figures. Walt had the plaque for the original park read that we were leaving the world of today for the world of fantasy, tomorrow and yesterday. The theme parks should aspire to such direction because being in the present is frankly boring (why am I paying all this money to go through the gate to experience what's already outside?) and fraught with quickly changing events, times and mores.

Second, sports "heroes" should not be featured anyway. What have they really done? Hit a small ball into a hole from great distance? Ride a bicycle longer and faster than others? Who cares!?!? The person above who implicitly stands Tiger Woods next to Benjamin Franklin has no sense of historic consequence and proportionality.

The answer is take all the current events references out of the parks, and concentrate on the historical, the future and fantasy. Walt did that for good reason.

And, Robert, it should be "passed" not "past" its expiration date years ago. Sorry to point that out but I've gotten used to your fine writing and self-editing as compared to the sub-standard prose of other fan sites.

December 1, 2012 at 12:20 AM · It could be worse, it could always be Barbie again...
December 1, 2012 at 2:42 AM · As a 'foreigner' I have to say that I loved the show as it is. It's jingoistic for sure, but it was also surprisingly humble in places. What strikes me most of all about it however is that it is patriotic in a way that we in the UK simply aren't. Don't get me wrong - we love our country, but we can never express that love in the way that you can and I find that strangely moving.
The show itself is a triumph of animatronics and it might surprise you to know that I didn't even notice Tiger Woods. As for Lance Armstrong I've heard plenty of him this last few months but I wouldn't recognise him if I fell over him so I'm not sure it's an urgent need to wipe him from the show. As has been pointed out there are so many flawed characters in American history that if you remove them all you won't have a show left... But then you could say that about any country...
December 1, 2012 at 4:52 AM · I don't think closing the show and having it reopen by the "holidays" is in any way realistic. I voted no.
December 1, 2012 at 7:08 AM · Armstrong already got caught long ago. Besides, it is just not possible to compete in cycling without dopeing, which is known for a very long time too. Pantani, Ulrich, Riis, all those winners before Armstrong are known dopers too. The mistake is not to exclude Armstrong too late, the mistake was to select him solely based on the perception of a very bad informed public in the first place.
December 1, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Woods and Armstrong should definitely be omitted. There are no more American heros except for the Avengers.
December 1, 2012 at 1:03 PM · It seems a bit ridiculous to advocate closing a show because you no longer admire two people who occupy four seconds of the film. Both good and bad things happen in America, as many of the other scenes remind us, so perhaps being uncomfortable over two of the supposed "heroes" is just another reminder of that. Who ever decided that rich guys playing a sport were heroes anyway?
December 1, 2012 at 5:42 PM · Hmmm ...

Washington is in the show (owned slaves), Jefferson is in the show (adulterer, owned slaves), FDR is in the show (should there be a reference to Lucy Rutherfurd?).

If you believe Tiger should be eighty-sixed then should the new edit still include Tony Hawk (accused of adultery -- now on his third wife who used to be married to his best friend/business partner)? And if fidelity is the standard should that "ask not what your country can do for you" guy still be included in the mash-up?

Just sayin'.

December 3, 2012 at 4:56 AM · This discussion seems kind of pointless when you consider that there has been technology available to theme parks for years now that would allow Disney to swap out images on the fly in just a few hours. Sure the decision to do something might have to go through some process that takes time, but if someone of authority decided that Lance Armstrong should get dropped (whether that's a temporary thing or permanent), it could be done overnight with no downtime whatsoever.

Now, maybe AA needs a technology upgrade to allow such flexibility--I buy that. Seems like this attraction deserves it, if only because of this kind of situation.

December 3, 2012 at 7:40 AM · This seemingly benign question of whether this show should be changed to remove potential embarrassments has opened Pandora's Box.
I concur with contributors like James, TH and Anthony. It's going to be tough to find anyone these days who's going to tick every box in our search for the immaculate. It seems that we are quick to overlook any achievement if we can find some flaw or indiscretion.
The two given examples of sporting excellence are Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. Tiger's indiscretion had absolutely nothing to do with his golfing achievements and Lance Armstrong's more serious misdemeanour is still being debated because , it appears, that his "abuse" is not at all rare in cycling.
But I think we need to be realistic. Were certain things about our past war heroes, for example, to be discovered would we really dismiss them so readily ?
Would their achievements be any less remarkable because they cheated at something or on some one ? Of course not.
But Disney must ensure that they don't condone any misgivings. So maybe all real people should be removed.........just in case they were actually human beings and not the shining gods we wanted them to be.
December 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM · The rationalizations of Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong are ridiculous.

Tiger Woods didn't have a mere affair. He had multiple simultaneous affairs with porn stars. His affairs have blown up in spectacular fashion with Gloria Alred getting involved by representing his paramours. You couple that with his current long long golfing slump. Surely, if he plays better, all will be forgotten, but his best years are well behind him. It seems like he needs his affairs to maintain his game (pun intended).

Lance Armstrong's doping has happened in the last decade. It is found that all his competitors have doped as well so they will not benefit from the vacating of his winnings. The mid-1990s to mid-2000s will be known as the doping decade. Such a massive doping scandal cannot be allowed to stand. It sullies the sport especially if from this point on, every single current cyclist is found to be clean. Lance Armstrong's history of doping cannot be dismissed so easily. Testimony from his friends and sporting team members hasn't been impeached. Lance didn't bother.

Sorry the doping incidence isn't being debated anymore. Lance didn't deserve his winnings.

Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong cannot be featured in a Disney attraction anymore. If some think their sporting achievements are worth touting, then there are other forums. If Tiger Wooods wins another Masters, people will forgive, but we will never forget his porn stars. Lance is beyond redemption.

December 3, 2012 at 1:21 PM · The name of Charles Lindbergh has been spelled incorrectly on pre-show sign, right in the where hall Voices of Liberty perform, for years now. Disney knows about it but hasn't bothered to fix it. It's such an embarrassment -- to claim to honor someone but not get their name right, and not have enough pride to fix it.
December 4, 2012 at 4:58 AM · In answer to Anon Mouse :
Tiger Woods' extra-marital activities are academic. His inclusion in the American Adventure movie is solely due to his rise to the top of his sporting profession.
Lance Armstrong's case is, of course, different. He has been found guilty of taking performance enhancing substances to reach his particular goals in cycling. However I think that his fortitude in overcoming a life threatening disease and continuing to participate in his chosen field should not be undermined. Particularly as a number of his competitors were also taking these substances making it an almost level , if not morally ethical, playing field.
In both these cases they have demonstrated inspirational efforts to realise ambition. That surely is deserving of some recognition.
Let he who is without sin...................
December 4, 2012 at 9:28 AM · "Let he who is without sin...."

Who is being condemned? Omission is not condemnation. Forgiveness does not mean acceptance of such sin. The side benefit of removing Tiger and Lance is burying their notoriety.

As for bringing up Christianity, are they Christians? I never thought of Disney as a religious place. Let's not bring up Christian doctrine to whatever end. It seems awfully self-serving.

Lance continues to not admit guilt. How can you forgive in the religious sense if he hasn't admitted he is wrong? The worse thing is Lance forced his teammates in the Tour de France to dope. He is the doping King.

Tiger has divorced, which is the way things ended. If his wife was the forgiving type, she would have accepted him back. She didn't. Why should we, the fans, love him more than his wife?

December 4, 2012 at 3:19 PM · Yeah an update would be nice. However, most people whowatch the show are probably more than indifferent even if they recognize people at the end. This, however, never comes close to a need to shut down the attraction.
December 5, 2012 at 3:50 AM · "As for bringing up Christianity, are they Christians? "

Is Anon Mouse for real ? How sad.

What on Earth is he going on about ? At what point did I raise the question of anyone's beliefs ? I merely used a much quoted phrase, which happens to be in the Christian Bible , to illustrate my point.
It has relevance to everyone no matter what their religion.

December 5, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Rob P: Are you for real?

"At what point did I raise the question of anyone's beliefs ? I merely used a much quoted phrase, which happens to be in the Christian Bible , to illustrate my point. It has relevance to everyone no matter what their religion."

WRONG. You can't use the Bible to illustrate a point without bringing the religion into the discussion.

It is nice to assume that I'll stay in my corner, but you opened a new line of attack that had to be addressed.

Again, I'll repost my point. "Let's not bring up Christian doctrine to whatever end. It seems awfully self-serving."

And finally, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong is in the court of public opinion. Thankfully, they are not in a religious court.

December 5, 2012 at 10:40 AM · Anon Mouse appears to be the kind of person who just can't help spoiling for a fight.............without any justification. Just for the hell of it ( oops there I go again with religious content ). Bet he's the life and soul any party he goes to.
He/She has deliberately, and unsuccessfully I might add, tried to take the high ground and argue on moral and religious issues that simply aren't there. He's entitled to his opinions, as are we all, but he/she obviously delights in taking a lightweight discussion, on what is supposed to be an enjoyable forum, and making it his/her own personal platform for pedantry. How glad I am that , in my world, the minutiae of life don't require over examination.
Sad person. Now get back in your corner.
December 5, 2012 at 11:30 AM · Right back at you. It is sad you couldn't see your own argument in light of... what you're actually doing!!!

Essentially, you're arguing that you're not to be taken seriously. LOL!!!

Back to your previous post "In both these cases they have demonstrated inspirational efforts to realise ambition. That surely is deserving of some recognition."

Surely, being cheats have that moral element. Wonderful. You're so sad to turn it around on other's people's sin. Great.

Are we all cheats in reference to "Let he who is without sin.."?

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