Announced in August of 2017, Disney’s upcoming streaming service will soon be a presence in many of our households. It rings in a new era for streamed entertainment and, while other services have laid the foundation, no one before has had such a collection of intellectual properties to play with or the overall corporate outreach to market them.
While we will no doubt see future streaming originals promoted in the Disney parks, it’s more intriguing to think what Disney could do with park-centered stories and characters that have never been given a chance to shine outside their medium. Here are five parks related TV shows that Disney should consider making.
5. Expedition Everest
A thrilling roller coaster steeped in both the majesty of the highest mountain above sea level and the mysteries it holds, Everest could make for a white-knuckle adventure mini-series as it follows an expedition facing not only the harsh elements, but the monster lurking behind each corner – picking them off as they go. Though certainly intense, this would fall closer to the grittiness of the current line of Marvel Netflix shows than straight horror.
Show Influences: The Grey, Predator, Shackleton
4. The Enchanted Tiki Room
A park favorite and already a well received comic book series, the Enchanted Tiki Room has a lush setting and beloved characters to explore. With its tropical palette, a bright cartoon in the style of Disney collaborator and Canadian studio Mercury Filmworks could do the trick.
A key to this show working is to not lay guitar riffs over the main theme or attempt to overly modernize the music, but let them shine for the fun Tiki jams they are. We’ve seen this attempted with the parks’ “Under New Management” show and it betrayed much of the show’s original charm. Let it be a real Tropical Serenade!
Show Influences: Current Mickey Mouse Cartoons, Teen Titans Go
3. Spaceship Earth
Not all programming on Disney’s new streaming service needs to be fictional and Spaceship Earth offers an excellent in-road into visually stunning documentary programming focused on both the history of how we communicate and what our future might hold.
This show could also give Epcot a reason to update their decade old narration with the new host of the show. Such gravitas could be found in such actors as Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton, or Tom Hiddleston.
Show Influences: Cosmos, Planet Earth
Practically the official mascot of Epcot, Figment has always been a fan favorite, but never given much of a chance to shine outside the park. There was an attempt in the early days of Disney channel for a show based on the adventures of the purple dragon and Dreamfinder, but nothing came of it.
Today, a show based on our favorite Imagination traveling duo could do a lot to take Figment away from his current hyperactive incarnation and back to his original more charming inquisitive nature. He is an excellent vehicle to ask child-like questions and the show could lean into that. Make it a Disney Junior type program for younger children that mixes many forms of creativity and team up with the Jim Henson company, who has an excellent track record for producing stimulating mixed-media.
Show Influences: Bear in the Big Blue House, Fraggle Rock, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood
1. The Society of Explorers and Adventures
One of Disney’s best expanded universes is one most people don’t even know about. The Society of Explorers and Adventures (S.E.A.) ties together many of Disney’s park attractions through its adventurous members. You’ll find Harrison Hightower III featured at the Tower of Terror in Tokyo and Lord Henry Mystic and his curious monkey Albert over at Mystic Manor in Hong Kong. On the Disney Cruise line and at Typhoon Lagoon explorer Mary Oceaneer presides and Barnabas T. Bullion is the president of the Big Thunder Mining Company at the Magic Kingdom.
With each member comes unique tales that can take us on all sorts of adventures. In this way, S.E.A. would make for an excellent anthology series with each episode or season focused on one member of the society and their escapades – playing with genres and tone to fit the specific character.
Show Influences: The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Amazing Stories, The Twilight Zone
The upcoming Disney streaming services will without a doubt make a large cultural impact. While it will be used to push already popular franchises, if the company is smart, they’ll find ways to bolster park related stories that are already beloved by many.
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