Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, July 30, 2007

Disney Updates Canada...Finally

Looks like Disney is giving their Canadian exhibit a much needed facelift...or at least the most popular part of it.

Let me give you the whole backstory.

Of course, one of Disney's best-known theme parks is Epcot. Epcot contains 11 pavillions, each one showcasing the culture of a distant land. And one of those distant lands is Canada.

The Canada pavillion contains a replica of the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, some totem poles, and, the centrepiece is the Hotel du Canada, which is a replica of the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa.

The main attraction has always been an 18-minute film called O Canada!. Using a special process called "Circle Vision 360," the film completely encompasses your field of view, dropping you in the middle of some striking Canadian vistas.

Just one problem. O Canada! was filmed in 1979. Besides being laughably out of date, it also presents a very stereotypical view of Canada. The film contains "outdated footage of the RCMP musical rides, flannel-wearing fisherman, and voiceovers by actors affecting bad Newfoundland and Quebec accents." It also features Canadian folk music and a 1980's style pop song called Canada, You're a Lifetime Journey.

The Canadian Tourism Commission receives a constant string of complaints about the film. Jim Watson, Canadian Tourism Commissioner back in Y2K, tried to get Disney to change it, but to no avail. But now, it looks like Disney has finally listened.

Disney has said that the theatre that shows O Canada! will be closed for refurbishment from Augusts 20 to 24. This has lead many Disney nerds to speculate that a new, updated version of O Canada! will premiere on August 24.

Disney has made no official statments about a new O Canada! yet. However, over at her official website, Canadian Idol winner Eva Avila has announced that she's recorded a new song for it. And, the Disney nerds are reported that Canadian comedy icon Martin Short is the narrator of the new film.

Disney has long sought a Canadian coroporate sponsor for the pavillion. Only one of the Epcot pavillions - Morroco - is sponsored by the home country's government. The Canadian government has long declined to sponsor it.

But it looks like Disney will be showing a slightly-less stereotypical view of Canada to the world.

Here's the complete story at the Edmonton Journal

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