Nuggets of Wisdom

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Disney Sunday: My Neighbor Totoro Ride?

If you’re not familiar with Hayao Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli, then you’re either not an anime fan or you're not a human being with a soul. (I’m joking, of course!)

Miyazaki has often been considered to be the Walt Disney of the East; so it only seems fitting that Disney has taken upon itself to import to the West his many animated masterpieces including My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away.

Of course, other than provide English translations for his films, Disney hasn't done much of anything else with Miyazaki’s work. But what if they utilized his properties more? They’re already utilizing Star Wars and Marvel for all that they're worth, so why not Studio Ghibli? What if, for instance, Disney were to create a theme park attraction based on one of his films?

One Disney theme park designer, John Ramirez, who’s worked on numerous films and attractions, has envisioned such an attraction based on the animated favorite My Neighbor Totoro, and it’s everything that a Miyazaki fan would expect from such a ride:

The Nerdist describes the attraction in more detail:
The Totoro ride, based on the adorably fluffy, wonderfully mysterious “keeper of the forest” begins with you entering an acorn. You travel through dad’s office next, and then out into the backyard where the very first meeting with Totoro takes place. Then you travel through the bushes, which appear to be a tunnel to a video wall of the camphor tree. You’ll pass the turning tree, the night sky, other video walls, and, of course, the disappearing catbus. Finally, you make your way past a room full of so much adorable Totoro-ness, you won’t know what to do with yourself. Even the dust sprites are there! Ramirez is clearly a huge fan of the film and it shows in every bit of the design.
Of course, don’t expect this attraction to come to Fantasyland or Disney's Hollywood Studios anytime soon. For the most part, this design is nothing more than fan art. But could it ever be more? Could it ever become a real ride? If Ramirez has his way, it very well could:
For what it’s worth, while this isn’t an official thing yet, that’s not for want of Ramirez trying; he tells Kotaku that he’s spoken to Hayao Miyazaki a number of times about Disney building this ride somewhere, and while he’s been knocked back each time says he’ll keep asking “until they bar me from the studio or until he says yes!”
Perhaps Ramirez would have more leeway if there were an on-line petition supporting the ride. We can only dream, can’t we?

For those with much more advantageous aspirations, another person has created fan art for the layout of an entire Miyazaki-themed amusement park. Check it out!

And if you’re still not familiar with Miyazaki and his work, then I’d recommend watching Animat’s retrospective, Animation Lookback: Studio Ghibli.