Attractions Review 2018: April
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Attractions Review 2018: April

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In a year of ups, downs, loops and scoops, Attractions Management looks back at some of the biggest stories to hit the headlines, giving possible indicators at what’s still to come in the year ahead.

April was very significant for both Disney and for an 'Absolute Unit' representing a museum in Reading, UK. For Disney, the operator launched its first Toy Story Land, while its chief Bob Iger revealed he had considered a Presidential campaign for 2020. For the Museum of rural Life, its use of meme culture gave itself some unexpected of fame, with the tiny museum garnering responses from hundreds of thousands of people online in just a matter of days.

To Infinity and Beyond

Disney chief Bob Iger was on hand in Shanghai to launch its new Toy Story Land attraction in Shanghai, which would be followed closely in June by another in Orlando at Hollywood Studios.

The all-new lands shrinks visitors "to the sizes of Woody and Buzz and the other toys in Andy's collection as they explore Andy's backyard".

Covering 10 acres, the new attraction was the first major expansion for Shanghai Disney resort since it opened in 2016. It features the popular Toy Story Mania ride, Rex’s Racer, and a Slinky dog-themed family rollercoaster. The new land also features meet and greet areas for Toy Story characters, and immersive shopping and dining experiences created by the team at Walt Disney Imagineering.

"We’re grateful to the people of China for wholeheartedly embracing Shanghai Disney Resort, for truly making it their own and also making it one of the most successful theme parks we’ve ever opened," said Iger, speaking at the launch.

"We’re incredibly proud of the success of this one-of-a-kind, world-class destination, and we are thrilled to give our Chinese guests even more to explore and enjoy at the resort with the addition of a spectacular new land based on Pixar’s beloved Toy Story characters."

President Iger?

Bob Iger made the headlines for multiple reasons in April, with the Disney chief revealing that he did consider running as a candidate for the US Presidency in 2020.

In an interview with Vogue, Iger said the "patriot" in him was his reason to consider the move, with the Disney chief saying that he grew up "at a time when we respected our politicians not only for what they stood for but because of what they accomplished".

"I am horrified at the state of politics in the US today, and I will throw stones in multiple directions," said Iger. "Dialogue has given way to disdain. I, maybe a bit naively, believed that there was a need for someone in high elected office to be more open-minded and willing to not only govern from the middle but to try to shame everyone else into going to the middle."

Iger was briefly involved with current President, Donald Trump, in December 2016, being named a part of the President’s strategic and policy forum. In Feburary 2017, Iger warned Trump on his trade and migration policies, particularly in terms of a Chinese trade war, which would have pitted Disney against the will of the Oval Office. He would leave the council in June last year following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate deal.

"I thought that being given access to the president of the United States was a privilege regardless of who he was or what he stood for," said Iger talking about the advisory council.

"The principle of countries getting together and declaring that the world was potentially in peril was right. And when the President decided to pull out, I thought, an unhealthy world, a fragile world, is not good for society, and it’s not good for business."

Absolute unit

The effect good social media can have on an attraction was well demonstrated in 2018, as the little-known Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, UK, finding some unexpected internet fame, with its images of animals described as "absolute units" going viral on social media.

The museum and archive, devoted to the history of farming in the English countryside, received hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets in just a few days after adopting meme culture and adding it to its social media output.

Tweeting a picture of a rather fluffy ram, along with the caption "look at this absolute unit", the museum found itself trending worldwide on Twitter, something it has continued to take advantage of, posting more images of ‘absolute units’, along with memes about its other works to the delight of social media.

The original image, a photograph of an Exmoor Horn, taken during the Devon Show in 1962 has become an educational tool for the museum, which has leaned into the social media craze to educate and to entertain.

Check back with Attractions Management tomorrow for a look back at the highlights from May

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April was very significant for both Disney and for an 'absolute unit' representing a museum in Reading, UK. For Disney, the operator launched its first Toy Story Land, while its chief Bob Iger revealed he had considered a Presidential campaign for 2020. For the Museum of Rural Life, its use of meme culture gave itself some unexpected of fame, with the tiny museum garnering responses from hundreds of thousands of people online in just a matter of days.
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