I’ve just read Tom Bricker’s latest blog post — on the subject of Ratatouille (which he’s ridden many times at DLP, and I rode there last August) and whether it might be over-hyped.
It turns on the question of suspension of disbelief vs immersion. The conceit of the ride is that you are Remy, scurrying around Chez Gaston. I thought the ride was tremendous fun and wonderfully themed, but I never for a moment imagined or believed that I was Remy.
This got me thinking about other attractions.
The one that springs to mind is FOP — I don’t find it too hard to believe I’m flying on the back of an animal, swooping around a fantastical alien world. I really want to believe it and that helps.
On the other hand, I don’t for a moment believe that Pandora is, er, Pandora. Or that the floating mountains are either mountains or floating. That’s not to say that I don’t love how cool the whole area is. But it’s the theming that gets me, not the immersion and there’s certainly no suspension of disbelief on my part.
The same goes for TSL. The conceit here is that we are toys, wandering around Andy’s backyard and exploring his creations. Those are giant popsicle sticks because we are very tiny. Except I’ve never felt like that. It never occurs to me that I’m small. Again, the theming is marvellous and I love TSL. But it’s not immersive. No suspension of disbelief.
What about SWGE? I think that does a better job of being superbly themed and being immersive. However, while ROTR is clever and wildly ambitious, I never believe a word of it. I do think the docking bay full of stormtroopers is an awesome sight to behold, but I never feel any sense of peril or dread. One of my friends complained that she felt pulled out of the experience while you wait in the corridor after the docking bay until you are called to the lines for the interrogation rooms. Even then the cast members do their best, but I know they are cast members.
Which brings me to character meets. I can and do suspend disbelief for fur characters, but I just can’t do it for face characters.
For those of you who aren’t self-harming Disney obsessives, let’s turn to UOR. One of the reasons people like me love UOR is because the WWOHP is both superbly themed and incredibly immersive. I don’t really think it’s real (though King’s Cross is so realistic I did catch myself suddenly thinking I was actually in London). But — to quote the Pope in response to the Passion of the Christ — it is as it was.
I actually think Kong does a good job of immersion and I’m nearly at suspension of disbelief. Hugely controversially, I even think F&F works. Well, for me.
Which experiences work at what levels for you?