The third episode of the Imagineering Story focuses on how the Disney executives Michael Eisner and Frank Wells come in and boost the division back to its glory days. Especially as Frank Wells becomes an important ally to the creative branch of the Parks team, which leads to the creation of Star Tours, a ride based on the Star Wars franchise, which was completely different to everything done at the parks before then.
Another major aspect of this episode was the creation of the MGM Studios (now known as Hollywood Studios) at the Walt Disney World, including lots of details about how they created the Tower of Terror attraction, which will probably surprise most viewers.
One of the biggest stories of this episode is the creation of the Euro Disney theme park in Paris, which ran over budget and created possibly one of the most beautiful Magic Kingdom parks in the world, but Disney underestimated the reaction from the French population, who didn’t take to Disney bringing their American ways to France. Which saw Disney eventually rebrand the park, Disneyland Paris, as the European audience didn’t like the “Euro” name.
As someone who has visited Disneyland Paris on multiple occasions, it was very interesting to see footage and getting more information on its creation, since generally Disney focuses more on its US parks.
The final attraction we learn about is the creation of the Indiana Jones and Temple of the Forbidden Eye at Disneyland. Which was fascinating to see the behind the scenes creation of one of my favourite rides.
But it’s the death of Frank Wells, which sets the Imagineering division back once again. As without his input, Michael Eisner, loses his way, which the next episode goes into more detail on.
If you thought this series was going to be super glossy commercial for the theme parks, this episode shows how the documentary makers wanted to tell the whole story and it makes for compelling viewing, because Disney doesn’t always get it right. This episode was very interesting, because it covered the creation of some of my favourite attractions, but didn’t shy away from the issues of creating Euro Disney, including showing footage of Michael Eisner having tomato’s thrown at him by the French.
Rating – 4 Stars