Archive for the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ Category

Disney Detours – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

June 22, 2009

Image © Disney.

Disney’s Fantasyland dark ride through the Hundred Acre Wood is detailed and charming.

By Blake

Originally posted June 22, 2009.

No, I’ve never ridden Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. When it was replaced by the chubby little cubby that’s stuffed with fluff in 1999, many Toad fans weren’t happy. And despite their concerns, Imagineers pressed forward and introduced The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to Fantasyland in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.

Pooh is a “dark ride,” an attraction that travels guests through scenes of classic Disney movies in a relatively dark setting, with the Audio-Animatronics and backdrops colorfully lit up. Being the first completely new dark ride since the Magic Kingdom opened in 1971, Pooh conveyed the Imagineers’ 28 years of experience with the Florida park and their ability to blend a story, characters, music, and a playful mood into an attraction in a lighthearted and fun way. They had learned from the first version of Snow White’s Scary Adventures to keep Fantasyland attractions relatively child-oriented, with less frights and more charm.

Perhaps more than any other WDW Fantasyland dark ride, Pooh has an overall appeal that all comes together due to a number of different elements of theming and extending its story beyond the ride and into the gift shop and nearby character greetings, atmosphere, and play area.

The excellent theming starts the moment guests enter the queue line. They’re immediately immersed into the world of Christopher Robin’s storybooks, illustrated through large versions of book pages scattered throughout the loading area. Guests are literally put into the story in this attraction, and the plot involves guests moving through pages of Christopher Robin’s book about Pooh and friends. Those that are unfamiliar with Pooh shouldn’t have a hard time following along with the storyline, because instead of containing a structured plot, the ride (like its film counterpart) consists of several stand-alone short stories.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh attraction at the Magic Kingdom is based upon the film of the same name, which was released in 1977 and contains three Pooh featurettes. Image © Disney.

Once guests are loaded into their ride vehicle – a honey pot – the first scene they arrive at is a blustery day in the Hundred Acre Wood, complete with Pooh trying to use the wind to his advantage to breeze up to a bees’ nest to get a smackeral of honey. All throughout the ride, a variety of senses and special effects are used to further make guests feel like they’re right in the middle of the story. This is first instanced when the blustery day turns out to be truly windy. (The air, although indeed breezy, is surprisingly warm.)

Next up is Owl’s house, where a few infamous references to Mr. Toad can be found. After that, guests encounter Tigger, who invites everyone to bounce along with him. Again, wonderful sensory effects are implemented, this time through the movement of the ride vehicles “bouncing” up and down with Tigger.

Soon Tigger winds up telling Pooh that he had better watch out for “heffalumps and woozles,” and guests trek through Pooh’s nightmare concerning the fanciful creatures. A brilliant special effect is used as Pooh dozes off into his dream, and later guests see somewhat of a special effect of themselves, through the use of funhouse-like mirrors. Although it’s all lighthearted fun, the heffalumps and woozles sequence of the ride could potentially frighten young visitors if they’re easily scared.

Next, Pooh returns to the real world and soon finds that the Hundred Acre Wood has flooded! Again, special effects through movement are used marvelously to make the ride vehicles feel as if they’re really floating through a watery environment, even though they travel along a track. Again, some little ones might be scared by the dark environment of this scene.

Lastly, the flood recedes and it’s time to celebrate. Pooh’s friends are having a party, but where’s Pooh? He’s finally found his honey and is enjoying it immensely, as shown by his messy face.

As guests depart their ride vehicles, they enter Pooh’s Thotful Shop, a store filled with Pooh-themed merchandise. After they depart from the shop and exit outside, guests can experience other nearby Fantasyland attractions transporting riders into the worlds of Snow White, Peter Pan, and more. However, if guests still just can’t get enough of Pooh, they can walk directly across from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh into Pooh’s Playful Spot, a creatively themed play area for children ages two through five.

Pooh’s Playful Spot opened in September 2005 and is located in part of the former home of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It includes several play fixtures, including one of Pooh’s house (which features a clever 20,000 Leagues nod). Additionally, throughout the day guests can also meet characters from the Pooh stories at Pooh’s Playful Spot. The most common friends to find here are Pooh and Tigger, but others may show up, as well.

Fans of Pooh can also see him in several other places around Walt Disney World, as he is one of the few characters to have a role in all four WDW parks. Guests can dine with Pooh and friends at the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace restaurant, see Pooh in the Magic Kingdom’s afternoon parade, see Pooh solve a Super Sleuth case as part of Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and meet Pooh and friends at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion or in Animal Kingdom’s Discovery Island.

With such a great all-around experience, it’s no wonder that many guests love The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Its large popularity often causes quite a bit of a line. Fortunately, guests have the opportunity to use Fastpass, which is very beneficial in this case. Nearby activities that can help wait off your Fastpass return time include attractions like Snow White’s Scary Adventures, Cinderella’s Golden Carrousel, Dumbo the Flying Elephant, and the Mad Tea Party (all of which do not use Fastpass), or catching a showing of Storytime with Belle in Fairytale Garden.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is nestled in the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland, which is located behind Cinderella Castle. Image by Blake’s family.

Overall, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh does an excellent job at culminating together many different aspects – including the ride itself, its gift shop, and nearby play area and character meet & greet – to create an atmosphere that successfully takes guests into a well-executed story. Through clever use of sensory effects, Imagineers create an environment that immerses guests into the story wonderfully.

How do I rank The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh? (Bolded is my choice.)

  • Aaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh will most likely please: Disney Fans – Toddlers (ages 1-2) – Preschoolers (ages 3-4) – Kids (ages 5-7)

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By Blake; posted June 22, 2009. Pooh clipart image and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh DVD cover image © Disney; Cinderella Castle image belongs to Blake’s family.