Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Possibility 9 - The Memorial Pause

First of all, I would like to deliver my apologies for my long period of blogging absence, due to a clogged up schedule and current state of mind already exhausted beyond cognitive awareness (sigh). For some apparent reason, there was a reason why I chose to post this article on a day of rememberance, as it has given me fresh inspiration to help with the Possibilities article. My heart goes to everyone whose lives have been changed, as well as the countless heroes who saved precious lives as well - from firefighters through to paramedics, and even ordinary people who gave their lives to save others.

Memorials, in the context of extinct attractions, are a very controversial topic in the eyes of many people – who supports the idea, who opposes it – but there is no universally correct answer of having one exist, to pay homage to many rides and experiences gone by, yet allowing room for others to move on. The Wonders of Life pavilion, one of the numerous examples of the extinct attractions worthy of a memorial, will likely be the typical candidate, but this post will be open to discussion in the comments section. In today's Possibilities, we will explore and brainstorm the many ways that the Wonders of Life pavilion could be given a tangible reminder of its existence – from events to attractions that once captivated our joy and wonder – but also to debate on which kind should be considered, and even where to draw the line.

Mr. Toad in Haunted Mansion pet cemetary
A notable subtle memorial to Mr Toad's Wild Ride, as seen here
Before we get started, chances are some of us may have encountered memorials before. In the context of Walt Disney World, there are subtle, but clever memorial nods to attractions that are no longer there. Until the mid 90s, one could enjoy a wild ride with Mr Toad in the Magic Kingdom, and a notable mini-memorial (or the 'five legged goat') paying homage to the attraction (Mr Toad's bust) can be seen in the Pet Cemetery section of the Haunted Mansion. This gives us the scale of how we describe any possible attraction memorials – all the way to the massive and monumental, but such memorials of this scale might not receive positive reception by some people.

Leave a Legacy monument
The Leave a Legacy monoliths, as found here
and article from the Epcot Explorer's Encyclopedia site
With regards to some opinions, a memorial may mean to them anything you would find in a cemetery – any tributes to souls gone by and dear to them (examples are the military or event memorial monuments scattered around the country) – and to have a memorial of this intention doesn't do the theme parks justice. Now I consider that the theme park is meant for enjoyment and not purely for lamentation and longing of something lost (well, save for a few), so we would not want anything massive or conspicuous to get in the way of the theme park experience. Case in point, the Leave a Legacy monoliths at Epcot's entrance, designed as part of the Millenium Celebrations to record visitors, notable or not, of the park, but come a decade later, there are mixed reviews for the millennium monument dedicated to family members, including confusion that this may be a memorial site for those that may have died somehow.

On the small end of the scale, one idea I have brainstormed for micro-memorials would be a small plaque embedded in the garden beds, adjacent to the pavilions where the attractions were located. Take for instance the long lost attraction Horizons – beloved by many, a small inconspicuous plaque embedded in the garden, resembling its original sign (before Mission: SPACE's initial reign over its land) would be partially hidden in the garden. I could picture it reading,
"In loving appreciation of Horizons, which gave us all a wonderful view of the future to come, on land, sea and outer space; we dreamt it, we did it, here's to many more",
but there are many possibilities.One podcast I usually keep in touch often is Communicore Weekly, and one of its sections is the Five Legged Goat, a guide to many interesting components and tricks (and even the cultural gags, starting with the Mary Lair mosaic in the Contemporary that harbored its name) hidden in each of the attractions and locations, even subtle tributes to past attractions, and notable Imagineers as well. But it is stressably important that there may be visitors willing to understand the message conveyed in the memorial, and there are cases nowadays that not every visitor to the park has been to the extinct attraction in question.

On the topic, given that Wonders of Life has some room left for gardens and rock pools, it might be possible to consider them if an external memorial site may be possible. Notably, one can recall the Tower of Life DNA monument that once towered 25 feet at the head of the pavilion, and as of now it is sadly dismantled for scrap (give or take accuracy). One can consider the Tower of Life to be a likely candidate for a subtle memorial garden that pays tribute to the pavilion's former glory, but where do we draw the boundary for an extinct attraction memorial? Shell of a Wondercycle? Door panel from a body probe vehicle? Buzzy's tomb? The latter three may have made you cringe, hence making my point in reducing the creepy factor for a memorial.

But consider this; with respect to the pavilion's past, there is much likelihood for a small memorial near the building, with intention to pay tribute to the previous attractions that captivated us. But in case a tangible object cannot be decided, perhaps it would be sufficient to conclude that the best memorial would be in the form of anecdotes - short but sweet tales of the fun experiences that would remain in our hearts.

PS: This article was finalised, intentionally to coincide with the US' day of loss, in which the epicenter of the day's events are now immortalised into a memorial, attracting tourists and families by the day. It was this that inspired me to write a Possibilities topic on memorials, not to capitalise, but as part of the brainstorming process of the pavilion. But twelve years on, we recognise the pain and shock from the day's events on Sept. 11th, 2001. Our hearts go to those whose lives were changed, and to the heroes who saved precious lives - from the firefighters to the paramedics and ordinary human beings in between. {:')


  1. 343 firefighters died that day, one of the scariest things was the day after; Firefighters ware a pack that beeps or rings to tell others ware they are or that they need help. IMAGINE 343 of those ringing all at once, when the city is silent. One of just meny of the scary things that day and after it.

    (As for your monument idea, a suggestion would be in the small flower bed in front, an inconspicuous little lawn ornament maybe a DNA strand or something of the sort.)

    1. Thankyou for a chilling comment, and it was a very sad day to comprehend the loss of this magnitude. The only positive aspect was that they dedicated their all in saving many innocent lives; even in failing the mission of going above the affected zones, they went down as heroes. *hug* :'(

      And a very smart idea for the inconspicuous ornament tribute, I presume.


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