- A new Disney+ series “Behind the Attraction” takes viewers behind-the-scenes of classic rides.
- Insider spoke with Imagineers Jeanette Lomboy and Dave Durham ahead of the series launch.
- They shared their thoughts on revamping attractions, creating new rides, and more.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Disney employees “thrive on doing crazy, impossible things,” Imagineer Jeanette Lomboy recently told Insider.
One example is that Imagineers – the employees responsible for creating just about every inch of Disney theme parks – are often tasked with revamping classic attractions so that both new and longtime visitors can appreciate them.
This is discussed in the upcoming Disney+ series “Behind the Attraction,” which takes viewers behind the scenes of creating classic rides like Star Tours, Jungle Cruise, and more.
Ahead of the show’s release on July 21, Insider spoke with Lomboy and her fellow Imagineer Dave Durham about the series, innovating Disney theme-park attractions, and how they feel about legacy rides changing over the years.
“Walt Disney famously said that Disneyland would never be complete, and I think that we have taken that to heart,” Lomboy told Insider about the evolution of Disney theme parks.
She noted that Disney has a “very rich history,” and Imagineers are always putting “a lot of thought” into theme-park changes – even smaller updates like moving a park bench.
That being said, it’s no surprise that bigger renovations – like Disneyland’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror becoming Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! in 2017 – require a bit more work.
“One of the things that makes Imagineering so unique is that we are 66+ years old,” she said. “We’re tied to the opening design of Disneyland, and we have a long history and legacy of incredibly talented Imagineers that have brought these things to life, so we always go back.”
Most recently, Disney shared some of its plans to make its theme parks more inclusive and welcoming for all visitors. Not only is the Jungle Cruise ride being updated to remove racially insensitive scenes, but Splash Mountain’s “Song of the South” theme will eventually be replaced with “Princess and the Frog” decor.
According to Lomboy, respecting the history of Disney parks has been a big part of starting those renovations.
“We don’t make those changes without making sure we’re bringing them back better than ever,” she said of the rides.
But that’s not to say changing beloved attractions is easy. As Durham told Insider, Imagineers are constantly asking themselves: “How do you make it something different and make it better at the same time?”
One way they do so, according to Durham, is by taking two major factors into consideration. First, Imagineers make sure that people who loved the original ride will love it “in a different way” once it’s updated. Second, Durham says he and other Imagineers try to remember that for other visitors, “their first time ever riding it will be the new version.”
“It’s definitely a challenge, but it’s something that we take very seriously,” he said.
And even after rides are completed – whether that’s new attractions or older ones that have been updated – Disney never stops working on them.
“I can look at the best thing we’ve ever done, and tell you five things I’d change if I was gonna do it again,” Durham said. “Our parks evolve, and our parks change over time. As Walt said, there’s always imagination left.”