Showing posts with label Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magic Carpets of Aladdin. Show all posts

High Flying Action

Today, there are 11 Disney Parks around the world (with #12 on the way). It only makes economic sense that some attractions would be repeated in more than one location. Part of the fun in visiting each park is seeing how those attractions are interpreted from place to place.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin was added to Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom Park in May 2001, set in the middle of an exotic marketplace. A duplicate of the attraction was built at the same time for inclusion on the opening day menu at Walt Disney Studios Park in March 2002. Here, though, the story is very different. Instead of actually being in Agrabah, we find ourselves cast as extras in a production of "Tapis Volants: Flying Carpets over Agrabah."

The original "rug man" is standing by, waiting for his scene, so you can slip him some tassel or just pose for a fan photo. Once in the queue, we wind behind the scenes to discover all manner of props and set pieces ready to be called into service for the film.

Next thing you know, we're on the set. A painted cyclorama provides the backdrop for our scene, depicting the setting sun and approaching night over Agrabah. We're given a few instructions (and an opportunity to adjust hair and make-up), and then we're off - flying high above the city. Looking to the right and focusing on the painting as you fly by is surprisingly effective at creating an illusion of being "inside" the animated film. It's almost enough to make you burst out with a chorus of "A Whole New World!"

Of course, the Genie's there, too. Sure, he's spent 10,000 years trapped in a lamp making people's wishes come true, but what he really wants to do is direct! As we fly around and around and up and down, Genie sits atop his perch shouting direction: "Higher! Faster! There you go... You look FABULOUS! And... Cut!"

Yo Rug Man, Slip Me Some Tassel

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, added in 2001, bring a degree of kinetic energy to the heart of Adventureland. The colorful carpets with their "pillow cushion" seats soar and swoop above the landscape, encircling an enormous jeweled vessel recently unearthed, perhaps through the magic of a certain Genie. The vessel is adorned in beautiful purple and gold tones, along with images of the scarab (which opened the Cave of Wonders), Abu (turning somersaults as the vessel spins), and the Genie himself (showing off his incredible range of expressions). Close observers will even notice the puffs and swirls of the Genie's magic, reaching out from the vessel to lift the carpets and their passengers into the air.

The Magic Carpets of Aladdin has been criticized by some as "just another spinner ride," but for the intended audience it's much more than that. At its core, the attraction is of course very similar to Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Astro Orbiter. For children (of all ages) escaping into the fantasy realms of the Magic Kingdom, though, it's a dream-come-true adventure. It's a chance to be Aladdin or Jasmine for a short time and feel what it must be like to soar on a magical, flying carpet, just as those other attractions offer the experience of being an astronaut in training or flying off (literally) to join the circus.

There also happens to be a bit of Hidden Disney here at The Magic Carpets of Aladdin in the form of the pair of golden camels. These camels started their Disney career "spitting" at Guests along the parade route of Disney's Hollywood Studios as part of Aladdin's Royal Caravan, which ran from 1992 to 1995. After that, they were placed in front of the Soundstage Restaurant at the Studios (the building now home to Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage). There, they heralded the entrance to an Aladdin Character dining experience. The Soundstage Restaurant closed in 1998 to become a live entertainment venue, but the camels were brought out of retirement a few years later to take up permanent residence in Adventureland.