As of July 2, Disney fans will lose their chance to meet Flynn Rider (aka Eugene) at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, at least according to WDW News Today.
Disney created a special “play and greet” area late last year, replacing the Story Time with Belle with a re-theme to tie into Tangled. The interaction with Rapunzel and Flynn was purposely more intensive and interactive than a standard meet and greet, with guests getting to dance with the characters and play out their story (see Erica’s earlier post about the meet). Flynn’s presence was important to the play and greet, particularly because of his prominence in the film as an adventure interest targeted at boys. The meet and play seemed like a preliminary trial of the meet and play opportunities now being planned at California adventure, and it certainly pulled large crowds at the Magic Kingdom. It also allowed the cast members portraying Rapunzel and Flynn to spend a little extra time making their guests feel special.
The WDW News report suggests that not only will Flynn be leaving the meet, but the entire experience will be revamped to make “lines move faster.”
Although the lines at the meet can be daunting, streamlining the experience to make it more of a meet and greet with less “play” will reduce some of its magic, and it will certainly call into question the removal of the Story Time with Belle from the area if the play portion of the character encounter is removed. Furthermore, the idea of streamlining the experience raises questions about the meet and play model. Was the Flynn & Rapunzel meet a prototype which Disney intends to change in future encounters, or is the meet and play a bad model that will be returned to mini “shows” and meet and greets?
One of the unanswered questions remains whether Rapunzel or any other princess will retain a special meet and play outside of Fantasyland. Perhaps this is one step toward moving Rapunzel out of the spotlight as Tangled takes its place in the pantheon of Disney movies past. What do you think of the potential change? Are you disappointed that Flynn is leaving, or would you like to see the whole meet and play removed?