Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Mexico, Schmexico -- They're All Latin!
That's what Disney seems to be thinking when it comes to a renovation of the Rio del Tiempo ride in the Mexico pavilion.
Word is out that Disney is planning a refurbishment, and the long-rumored plan is for Imagineers to base an updated ride on the 1944 Disney animated movie The Three Caballeros.
There's just one little problem: Only one of the three caballeros is actually Mexican, and a good chunk of the movie takes place in Brazil.
The movie was designed to promote good relations with all South American countries. To base a Mexican ride on a project that was inherently Latin but not specifically Mexican is to thumb a corporate nose at understanding what makes each Latin-American country unique. It's a shame to think Disney might stoop to this level just to introduce still more animated characters into Epcot ... a move that the more cynical among us might imagine to be aimed at selling more merchandise, not at actually improving the ride.
Mexico is a beautiful country with a remarkably rich culture that goes all the way back to ancient times. To even imply that a ride aimed at showing off that culture and heritage can be "improved" by adding in some cartoon birds (sorry, Donald, Jose and Panchito, but let's call a bird a bird!) is to ignore the thousands of years of progress and contribution that Mexico has made.
The Rio del Tiempo refurbishment is an opportunity for Imagineers and Disney's park management to show they understand what makes Epcot so special and what it needs to return to its former glory.
Let's hope this rumor is really a rumor, and that Disney won't cheapen Mexico's history and people by adding in some funny cartoons and making yet more Americans and Europeans think that all Latin countries are essentially the same.