The Sleepy Hollow ride and grounds would be great as a permanent attraction at the Disney theme parks. It is fascinating how much a child associates some of the great stories with Disney films and the theme park, when in fact all of the stories were taken from fairy tales, long before Disney ever existed. Thanks to public domain, Walt Disney was able to turn obscure fairy tales into the most iconic childhood experiences ever. Depending upon when you were born Pinocchio, Snow White and Peter Pan will have substantial meaning to you, or Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin or Frozen. But what really hammers home the childhood experience that never leaves you is when the film becomes an attraction at the theme park. This one-two experiential punch is what cements a childhood association with a favorite fairy tale or short story. So the question becomes, what went into the decision making as to which films became theme park attractions? 


Sleepy Hollow Is Perfect Material For Disney Theme Park Attractions

The reason for asking is because one of the more popular rides at Disneyland/Disneyworld is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride based on the Wind in the Willows animated short film. It was paired with another animated short version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Those two together billed as a full length animated feature The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad in1949. Yet one got the ride and the other did not. Now if there was ever a story that certainly did not need Disney’s help in plucking it from obscurity it was Washington Irving’s short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This Halloween themed American gothic tale has been able to leverage itself off of one of the most popular days in the year, and the major character in the story has an iconic status that equals werewolves, vampires and the Frankenstein monster. Yet could you imagine the possibilities had Disney decided to have a Sleepy Hollow ride?  Better yet, convert the entire Tom Sawyer Island to the Sleepy Hollow village as you wait in line for the ride? Imagine the ride ending as you arrive out of the haunted forest across the bridge to safety as the Headless Horseman launches his spectral pumpkin head towards the passengers.

I live in California, and the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges- Yosemite and the Nevada/California state line- are some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. And when the sun goes down, it seems that the mountain ranges combed with Pine trees get more beautiful, whether summer or snow-capped. You can easily go for a midnight walk, smell the fresh pine cones and look above the redwoods and pine trees to see the stars. But the upper state New York landscape of Sleepy Hollow, while beautiful by day, becomes downright creepy when the sun goes down. It’s an old world forest that has deep history and a landscape that does not look pristine and beautiful in the moonlight as in California.  Rather, it is downright creepy, haunted and is no place for anyone to be at night.  It would seem the dark American gothic landscape of rural New York woods in the late 1700’s would offer fertile ground for a creepy yet entertaining  theme park experience.

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