View Original Notice ? What if Disney+ did ‘What If …’ for Disneyland?
What if Disney did more with its “What If …” franchise?
If you have not been watching Disney+, “What If …” is an animated series that flips the script on several Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. It’s delightful fan service that acknowledges the way that people who love entertainment franchises often make up new stories about their favorite characters.
Marvel fans are not the only ones who do this, of course. Disney Parks fans also enjoy dreaming up new and different things for their beloved Disneyland, Walt Disney World and other Disney destinations. So let’s imagine a Disney Parks-themed “What If ….”
The easy way for Disney+ to do this would be an “Imagineering Story”-like series that focused on some of the many parks that Disney designed but never built. What if Disneyland had built Westcot — a west coast version of Walt Disney World’s Epcot — as its second gate instead of Disney California Adventure? Or, what if Disneyland had built the Port Disney project around the Queen Mary in Long Beach?
What if, after Walt’s death, Disney went ahead with plans for a ski resort at Mineral King? What if Disney had found a way to overcome local opposition and had built the Disney’s America theme park it had planned for northern Virginia? Maybe the series could go meta and ask what if Marvel has not signed away many of its theme park rights to Universal in perpetuity years before Disney bought Marvel?
All these questions would provide intriguing stories for a live-action series. But that doesn’t get to the spirit of “What If …,” which is an animated series focused on existing characters. For that, we need something that swaps the roles between theme park characters and guests.
Like “Jungle Cruise: Hippos Revenge.” What if the Jungle Cruise was flipped to be a Midway Mania-style attraction for the long-targeted hippos? Show it from the hippos’ perspective — the more boats they sink, the more points they score.
Or send the Matterhorn’s Yeti off on a Disneyland vacation to visit the park’s other mountains. Of course, it would all go terribly — but hilariously — wrong, as the abominable snowman invades Space and Big Thunder Mountains. If Disney plays it right, the Yeti’s adventure could set up why the Song of the South characters fled Splash Mountain, clearing space for the planned “The Princess and the Frog” takeover.
But I most want to see an Adventures Thru Inner Space episode, showing us the miniature community at the exit of this former Tomorrowland ride where millions of tiny Disneyland visitors permanently shrunk by Mighty Microscope continue to live. Not getting back to normal size was my nightmare as a young Disneyland fan who totally bought into “being shrunk to the size of an atom” shtick.
Part of Disneyland’s magic is how it captures your imagination, even after you leave. That I am imagining a Disney Parks “What If …” series just goes to show how powerful that magic can be.