Earlier this year, Disney released a brand new documentary series called “Behind The Attraction”, which includes ten episodes, each one focusing on a different attraction at one of Disney’s theme parks, including “The Haunted Mansion”, “Space Mountain” and “Star Tours”.
The documentary series was created by Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions and Brian Volk-Weiss’s The Nacelle Company, who also created Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us”.
Since the show debuted, many Disney theme parks fans have complained that the series didn’t live up to the same standards as “The Imagineering Story” series, which was released on Disney+ at launch. Fans suggested people check out theme park historians on YouTube, such as Defunctland, who make outstanding documentaries about Disney’s theme parks.
And it looks like the production teams on the “Behind The Attraction” did just that. As James St.Onge, who runs a YouTube channel called “Art of Engineering”, has accused the series creators of using his graphics from one of his videos. In his video, he shows how the “Twilight Zone Tower of Terror” attraction works.
James St.Onge’s video was released two years ago, and after watching the “Tower Of Terror” episode, James took to social media to expose what’s happened.
Several people have mentioned that the graphics in the Tower of Terror episode of ‘Behind the Attraction’ are very similar to my YouTube video, so I decided to give it a watch for myself.
I did not reference any building plans when I produced my video. All the drawings are my own artistic representation of the attraction, so it would have to be quite a coincidence for every line to match up perfectly, right down to the individual stars in the 5th dimension.
It’s worth noting that Disney did not produce the series. It was created by Seven Bucks Productions and The Nacelle Company. Graphic design is credited to award-winning graphic designer Jeremy Samples, so it’s disappointing they would copy instead of producing original artwork.
It’s also disappointing because I would have been more than happy to collaborate on the series. And despite copying my video, the episode still contains several errors, like saying the Orlando version has 2 ride systems while showing 4. But it gets worse for the other towers…
First, they say the ride has 1 shaft instead of 3. That’s false. It has 3. The vehicle on the top floor is a stationary prop, yet they show it moving through the course with people onboard. And the vehicles are shown facing different directions, which isn’t physically possible.
Normally I wouldn’t be so nitpicky, but if you’re going to produce a documentary for Disney just to copy someone else’s work and still get it wrong, then that’s kind of pathetic. I’d expect that from a kid on YouTube who doesn’t know better, not a film company working for Disney.
Here are some examples of the similar artwork:
Looking at the artwork from the original YouTube video and from “Behind The Attraction”, it’s obvious that they are similar, just with a colour swap. If the artwork is based on a similar original source, such as blueprints, it is easier to accept that’s why they are so close.
However, James St.Onge, claims he designed the artwork himself as he hasn’t seen the blueprints. With the art styles looking so similar, it does look suspicious. Especially as the production team should have been able to get direct access to Disney’s blueprints and Imagineers, so would have had original Disney resources available.
It’s important to note, that Disney didn’t actually make the series for Disney+, Seven Bucks Productions and The Nacelle Company, made the series. With so many great YouTube videos out there going into depth about theme parks attractions, it’s not a huge surprise to see people using this resource. However, in this case, it looks very suspicious that someone has copied James St.Onge artwork.
Hopefully, this situation can be sorted, either with a change to the original episode or James St.Onge can be credited and paid for his artwork for the series. Either way, it’s embarrassing for Disney+.
All 10 episodes of “Behind The Attraction” are available on Disney+ now, though I’d recommend watching James’s video below instead:
What do you think of this?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.