experiential stories

The Stories of the Haunted Mansion

Observable Story

The happy haunts want one of us to fill the Mansion’s thousandth vacancy, but we’re reluctant to die.

The Ghost Host holds an open house. He waits till the other ghosts are comfortable with us, and then leaves us to wander. Since we survive the experience, we’re encouraged to return when we’re less alive.

Experiential Story

We want to escape the Mansion unharmed, but the ghosts grow bolder the longer we stay.

First we interact with unseen ghosts. We’re cool, which makes them get comfortable…and visible…and numerous…and they keep getting closer to us! Finally, they enter our ride vehicle, and even follow us home! Ahahaha!

The Stories of Journey into Imagination

Observable Story

Figment wants to learn about imagination, but he needs an expert to teach him.

Dreamfinder collects anything that can spark the imagination. He creates Figment, who’s curious about the process. Dreamfinder teaches Figment and us how to connect aesthetics to create meaning.

Experiential Story

We want to learn about imagination, but we need an expert to teach us.

We are invited to watch creativity in action. We pass through aesthetic dreamscapes. As we go, the dreamscapes become less immersive–prioritizing screens and narration over sets and atmosphere–until we’re just flat-out observing someone else’s imagination. The end!

To be fair, we can experience our own creativity in the Imageworks, but it’s a separate attraction, optional, and upstairs.

The Stories of Maelstrom

Observable Story

A narrator wants to define the spirit of Norway, but he needs an audience to share it with.

The narrator argues that the spirit of Norway is nuanced; it’s not just adventure. Then he sends us through an adventure. Then he concedes that the spirit of Norway is just adventure. The end!

Experiential Story

We want to learn about Norway, but trolls bogart our ride time.

We get hyped to learn about Norway. Then we’re forced to trespass into Troll Country. The trolls punish us by knocking us around and out of the ride without really giving us the chance to learn about Norway. The end!

The Stories of Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train

Observable Story

Heimlich wants to eat, but he doesn’t have food.

Heimlich is hungry. He fills up on food. Then he goes back for seconds.

Experiential Story

We want to find food for Heimlich, but he doesn’t need our help.

Heimlich asks us to find food for him. Then he finds it all for himself. Then he drops us off so that he can troll another audience.

The Stories of the Enchanted Tiki Room Parenthesis Under New Management End Parenthesis

Observable Story

Iago wants the Tiki Room to embrace the timeless aesthetics of mainstream pop culture from the 1980’s and early 90’s, but literally no one else wants that.

Iago commands the Tiki Birds to update the show. Everyone hates this so much that they explode Iago. Once he’s deposed, they update the show anyway because of [reasons], and they all live happily ever after. The end!

Experiential Story

We want to be entertained, but this version of the show isn’t designed for that.

We’re told that, instead of the original show, we want a jaded, witless update. Then we watch a jaded, witless update. The cast celebrates how jaded and witless the update is, and Iago threatens to shit on us as we leave. The end!

The Stories of Stitch’s Great Escape Exclamation Mark

Observable Story No. 1: Stitch

Stitch wants to be free, but the Galactic Federation wants him imprisoned.

Stitch is captured. He outwits the prison’s defenses. Then he escapes into Disney World, where he’s free to destroy the resort and make non-consensual advances on Cinderella. The end!

Observable Story No. 2: the Galactic Federation

The Federation wants to rehabilitate criminals, but the Federation is inept.

The Federation are brutes who incarcerate jaywalkers and shoplifters. When they capture an actual danger like Stitch, he easily escapes. They shrug it off; just another day at the office. The end!

Experiential Story

We want to be prison guards, but the ride isn’t designed to let us do that.

We are interrupted before we can finish training. The Federation straps us into chairs–even though we’re guards–because of [reasons], so we’re helpless when a prisoner escapes and mistreats us. Then we’re arbitrarily released. The end!

The Stories of Haunted Mansion Holiday

Observable Story

Jack Skellington wants to share Christmas with the Haunted Mansion, so he does. There’s no antagonism, and therefore no tension.

Jack previously brought Christmas to Halloween Town. Now he’s brought it to the Haunted Mansion. The Happy Haunts are cool with it. The end!

Experiential Story

We want to be told the story of “what happens when two holidays collide,” but the ride isn’t designed for that.

Instead of contextualizing the mash-up like he promises, the Ghost Host narrates scenes that don’t need narration. We pass through scenes that don’t involve us. Then we receive Christmas presents that don’t follow us home. The end!

The Stories of Maharajah Jungle Trek

Observable Story

King Bhima Disampati wants to hunt tigers more easily, but that means he’s locking himself in with tigers.

King Bhima encloses part of the forest to hunt tigers. A tiger kills him. His successors rededicate the hunting grounds as a nature preserve.

Experiential Story

We want to learn about the local animals, but we can’t do that without learning about the local people.

We observe animals. We learn about them. We pass clues that imply how they and the local people have interacted though the ages.

The Stories of Kali River Rapids

Observable Story

Loggers want to deforest Anandapur, so the community uses tourism to create an economic demand for conservation.

Loggers destroy the environment. The community responds by turning even their most sacred places into tourist attractions. If we’re guilted into taking action, then we all live happily ever after (after generations of systemic change); if not, well, thanks for exacerbating climate change, asshole!

Experiential Story

We want to enjoy our adventure, but the byproducts of deforestation could endanger us.

We are warned that the byproducts of deforestation could endanger us. We ignore it, and have a lovely little adventure. We are annoyed–but never endangered–by the loud and unsightly byproducts of deforestation. The end!

The Stories of Men in Black Colon Alien Attack

Observable Story No. 1: MIB Brutality

The Men in Black want peace between humans and aliens, but they are brutes.

The MIB preside over extra-terrestrial immigration. They send trainees to shoot the survivors of a crashed alien prison ship. Then they snub us of MIB membership, disserving most of the aliens and humans in the story. The end!

Observable Story No. 2: MIB Bigotry

The MIB want peace between humans and aliens, but not if that requires working with aliens. Associating with inferior species?! Yuck!

The MIB announce that some trainees are actually aliens who need to be shot because of [reasons]. We shoot the innocent trainees. Then we unite with them to shoot other aliens, and this is never even mentioned again. The end!

Experiential Story

We want to join the MIB, but we must prove we’re qualified.

We train by shooting cardboard aliens. Then we shoot real aliens. Then–even if we shot well enough to qualify–the MIB erases our memories, ejects us from their headquarters, and discourages our interest in alien affairs. The end!