Miss: Tarzan’s Treehouse

Before being revised and renamed as Tarzan’s Treehouse, this Disneyland attraction was known for decades as the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse. Why do I call this attraction a miss? In a nutshell, it is based on a forgettable Disney animated film. I know, I know–people don’t remember Swiss Family Robinson, either. But the original attraction perhaps inspired guests to look into some classic Disney history and learn a bit more about the film. With “Tarzan’s Treehouse,” well, most people will remember that it was a film from the late 1990s. It’s doubtful the attraction will inspire anyone to go look up more about the film.

It’s unfortunate Disney took the easy way out and used its animated film to inspire the revision to the attraction. If Disney felt that Swiss Family Robinson was no longer relevant, why not create something completely new? Come up with an original story and draw guests in. If you have to use a film, pick one of the beloved ones, not the latest “hit” that will be a second-tier film in Disney animation history.

Anyone want to defend Tarzan’s Treehouse and persuade me that I’m wrong? 🙂

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2 responses to “Miss: Tarzan’s Treehouse

  1. Ernestine Adair

    You are absolutely right! Swiss Family Robinson is a classic . . . inspiring the imagination of all ages. Isn’t that what Disney is all about? I was so disappointed when I saw that it had been converted to Tarzan’s treehouse. It was especially difficult to explain that to my husband who was a first-time visitor to Disneyland (not a Tarzan fan). It was so much more fun to visit the rooms of the Robinson children, to imagine how the family lived together in the tree using resources at hand. As a child, I felt a part of that adventure. As an adult, I wanted to go back to the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and take my husband there with me. I tried. My mood was lifted again, though, after the Pirates ride. It is relatively unchanged, only expanded somehwat. . . thankfully.

  2. Jennifer Marie Vail-future Imagineer

    I would first like to say that you make an excellent point in saying that Disney should try new things and explore new ideas-there’s a whole part of Imagineering dedicated to it (Research & Development FTW). However, I disagree with the fact that you say Tarzan was not a beloved Disney classic, but more just another animated film of the 90’s. Tarzan has become a bigger film than expected, and even though it’s not an official “classic” like Peter Pan or Sleeping Beauty, it does encompass the type of values that Disney classics stand for: love, friendship, and family over personal gain (well it changes now and then but you know…those happy feelings that give you fuzzies). In fact, Disney is turning Tarzan into a Broadway musical, and the stage show/stunt show “Tarzan Rocks” was a huge hit at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for years until just recently it was replaced by “Finding Nemo: The Musical”. As for the attraction not making guests do more research on the film, I’ll give you that. Though the attraction does reveal some about the story and does make one curious, it just doesn’t make you AS curious as it did for Swiss Family Robinson. So, all in all, I think that Tarzan’s Treehouse is a delightfully fun playground that expresses the best parts of the movie (and lets you make a beautiful melody of music on pots and pans), there are several points that make Swiss Family Robinson better. Luckily, guests of the Magic Kindom in Orlando, Florida are still able to enjoy the timeless tree that is still inhabited by Swiss Family Robinson.

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