Behind the Attraction: Disney’s Must-Watch Series

Chewbacca at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. Courtesy of Disney.

If you’ve ever been to any of the Disney parks, the ten-part documentary series, Behind the Attraction, is going to be a must-watch series.

The first five episodes of this awesome behind-the-scenes series are available today. That’s right, you can watch five episodes in a row instead of waiting a week for the next installment. Obviously, Disney is making us wait before we can watch the final five episodes. Of the first five episodes available, the ones that have my biggest interest are “Star Tours” and “Jungle Cruise.” Marvel fans will also have an interest in watching the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror because the attraction in California was transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!

The other episodes in Behind the Attraction focus on Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, and the Twilight Zone Tower of Tower. When it comes to the Twilight Zone, it’s absolutely fascinating to watch how they reimagine the attraction at the Disney California Adventure Park as the Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! What’s more unbelievable is how the Walt Disney Imagineers transformed the attraction in less than a year!

My first trip to Walt Disney World came in 1994. I went back during spring break in 1997. However, it would not be until 2011 when I went back during the summer leading up to the 40th anniversary. I’m a fan of the parks but even more than that, I’m a fan of the documentaries that take us behind the scenes. After all, we’re talking about one of the most magical places on Earth. Some of what we see in these episodes will complement what is covered in The Imagineering Story. The difference being in that this series has a particular focus on each episode. I really want to see the remaining five episodes because those really have my interest and I’m sure the same applies if you’re a Disney fan.

I want to say this first about watching the Star Tours episode: it’s so weird to see a clean-shaven George Lucas. The episode focuses on creating Star Tours before focusing on bringing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge to life. Before Batuu, before Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run or Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, there was simply Star Tours. If The Black Hole were a successful film, Disney might never have partnered with George Lucas. What could have been, right?!? Fans from all over the world would travel to Disney and ride what was supposed to be a simply flight in space. Next thing you know, you’re right in the middle of the action between the Rebellion and the Empire. But how did it happen? And yes, that’s Paul Reubens voicing one of the droids.

Bringing Galaxy’s Edge to life owes a lot to the likes of Scott Trowbridge and Doug Chiang. This episode will complement the previous Galaxy’s Edge special and the book.

Jungle Cruise, Behind the Attraction
Jungle Cruise in Behind the Attraction. Courtesy of Disney.

It’s really a no-brainer to include an episode focusing on the Jungle Cruise attraction. After all, Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt are starring in a film based on the attraction. You can watch it in theaters or at home starring on July 30. With Johnson on board as an executive producer on the series, it’s a no-brainer decision to also include him. What I did not know about the attraction is that The African Queen had a big influence on the costumes. In terms of the landscape, it’s so fascinating to see how it all came together especially the trees. While the Imagineering department played a strong role in putting the animatronics together, they turned to one of Disney’s Nine Old Men, Marc Davis, to add humor to the ride. He would also bring humor to the Haunted Mansion, too.

Harper Goff and horticulturist Bill Evans played a huge part in making the ride happen. While the ride as we know it has animatronics, Walt initially wanted to have live animals on the cruise. Here’s the thing about live animals: they don’t just sleep at night. There’s no shortage of humor from the skippers–Johnson himself shares one of his favorite jokes about the backside of water, too. If you don’t point out the backside of water, the tourists will certainly let you know!

While I’m not one for horror, one takeaway from watching the Haunted Mansion episode is that they didn’t know if they should go for scary or funny. Of course, Marc Davis was brought on in order for them to add the funny. Meanwhile, the Space Mountain episode also discusses the TRON Lightcycle Power Run at the Shanghai Disney Resort.

Upcoming episodes will feature the Castles; Disneyland Hotel; “it’s a small world;” Hall of Presidents; and Trains, Trams, and Monorails.

Paget Brewster brings some fun narration but Disney fans will learn a lot as they take viewers Behind the Attraction.

DIRECTOR: Brian Volk-Weiss
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Hiram Garcia, Brian Gewirtz, Kevin Hill, Brian Volk-Weiss, Robin Henry, Cisco Henson

Disney+ launches the first five episodes of Behind the Attraction on July 21, 2021. The other five episodes will be available at a later date.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.