Word comes in today from Mouseplanet.com that Disney is continuing its tradition of celebrating milestone annivesaries at its theme parks.
Except, that is, at EPCOT.
This weekend, Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean received the anniversary treatment, with a commemorative banner at its entrance as well as limited, collector's merchandise at the Disney Gallery.
You'll get no argument from me that Pirates of the Caribbean was enormously influential in the development of the theme parks. Although it opened after Walt Disney died, it proved his belief that Audio-Animatronic figures could provide a scale of entertainment no one had ever seen in an attraction, and though succeeding rides (particularly those in the last 15 years) have failed to realize the promise of the technology, Pirates changed theme parks forever. It doesn't hurt, too, that Disney has the big-budget Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End coming out this year.
But does a single ride, no matter how important, merit something that's not even being given to an entire theme park? Based on Brad Rex's comments to Allears.net, the only effort Disney is making to mark EPCOT Center's Silver Anniversary is to hold some "private observances behind the scenes for cast members."
Taken in conjunction with a press release touting the 10th anniversary of Disney's Wide World of Sports, this continues leading me to one of two sad conclusions about EPCOT:
1) Disney doesn't understand the important role it played in its own company and doesn't appreciate the impact it had on millions of people;
2) Disney just doesn't care.
Either conclusion isn't particularly pleasant, wouldn't you agree?