Review: “Behind the Attraction” Offers Fantastic Footage & History, Annoying Narration

Hi everyone!

We received seven episodes of the new Disney+ show “Behind the Attraction” for a review. “Behind the Attraction” will debut  July 21st with five episodes to begin with and then the other five later this year (this is different than the June press release stated, which was July 16th/all ten episodes). “Behind the Attraction” is a show that we had been looking forward to – I’ve been regularly visiting Disney parks since 1977 (Jeff since 1971). I love park history and information. “Behind the Attraction” is executive produced by Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and narrated by Paget Brewster.

Photo copyright Disney

First, here is the trailer. Watch it and you will know what to expect from the series in regards to narration and pacing.

“Behind the Attraction” is a series that combines Disney history, interviews, interesting information, archival and never-before-seen footage and photographs all tied together with annoying and constant narration that can seem dismissive at times. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through all the episodes when I first started watching it.  There are so many moments where I’m looking forward to hearing something an Imagineer/Disney Legend/etc. has to say and then a voice breaks in. Some people will probably love that aspect, but “The Imagineering Story” is much more my speed in that regard as well as its pace. That said, there is also a lot of really good content within “Behind the Attraction”, including plenty of Rolly Crump for the “Haunted Mansion” episode, which focuses on the balance of scary and fun that the Imagineers had to come up with.

Photo copyright Disney

I’ll focus first on one of the episodes – “Space Mountain”. The episode talks about how the Japan park ended up with an American experience, but in Disneyland Paris, Discoveryland is a very French experience. There is a great Disneyland Paris Space Mountain segment that includes footage of composer Steve Bramson riding Space Mountain as he scored it. Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune was the first roller coaster to receive on-board synchronized music. The Disneyland Paris Space Mountain also received several inversions and a higher speed. Space Mountain at Disneyland (California) is also discussed (my favorite music of any Space Mountain music is from Dick Dale). TRON is featured both at Shanghai Disneyland and as it is being built in Florida. The Space Mountain episode has a surprisingly emotional ending. Thankfully the narration was minimized for that part.

Photo copyright Disney

The “Trains, Trams and Monorails” episode includes a nice segment about Walt as he was adding the Carolwood Pacific Railroad (with a tunnel) to the backyard.

There are interviews with a wide variety of Disney Legends and historians, including Tony Baxter, Kim Irvine, Tom Fitzgerald, Joe Rohde, Tim O’Day, Bob Weis and many more. Some of these interviews are quick snippets and some are longer.

Each episode of “Behind the Attraction” is about 40 minutes long.

If you are a fan of the Disney parks, you will want to see “Behind the Attraction”. There is a nice mix of different parks and attractions, of history and current day, and I’ve learned quite a bit from watching the episodes that I didn’t know. But I hope if there is a season 2, the narration is pulled back on – less is more, and I’d like to hear more of what the interview subjects have to say. This is a show that would be aimed directly at me but it didn’t quite hit the mark.

Mousesteps grade for “Behind the Attraction”: B.

Official information on “Behind the Attraction”

Peek beyond the magic of Disney Parks to discover what’s Behind the Attraction! From Executive Producers Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Brian Volk-Weiss, explore how Imagineers filled the Haunted Mansion with 999 happy haunts, how the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ transformed into Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! (while defying gravity in the process) and why Space Mountain took so long to launch. From the 1950s to today, from Jungle Cruise to “it’s a small world” to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Disney Parks attractions have amazed millions. And this is the story of how they did it.