For Disney fans, nothing has ever been more interesting than just how the magic is made at the Disney Parks. With “Behind the Attraction,” the new docuseries on Disney+, both diehards and casual parks fans can get a glimpse beyond the pixie-dusted curtain.
Premiering with five initial episodes on Disney+ on Wednesday, July 21, “Behind the Attraction” takes the pop-up whimsy and approach of Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us” and “The Movies That Made Us” and combines it with some of the most iconic attractions in Disney Parks history.
For this review, I was able to screen a handful of the show’s initial 10-episode run. Having seen Executive Producer Brian Volk-Weiss’ previous documentary projects on Netflix, I wondered if “Behind the Attraction” would utilize a similar lens when examining what makes Disney theme park attractions tick — turns out, it would to a T.
“Behind the Attraction” is simultaneously inside baseball and entry-level Disney Parks history, thanks to its fast and loose delivery. Utilizing fun graphic design and near-constant jumping from one interview subject to another, interspersed with archival footage, this series takes what could feel a little stiff over time and makes it digestible and entertaining. It never assumes you know everything about the history of Disney attractions, but it also doesn’t spoon-feed you the basics, either.
A strength of the series is that each episode not only recounts the histories of attractions like Space Mountain and The Haunted Mansion, but takes a look at the trajectory of those ideas and how they’ve been adapted in modern day with the likes of Tron Lightcycle Power Run and Mystic Manor. Many Disney die-hards know the stories behind the classics — but offering connections to modern-day attractions is a fresh experience that might come with a story or two that even the most well-versed may not have heard before.
My only complaint so far is that each episode is pretty formulaic in its presentation, and practically indistinguishable from the style of its predecessors on Netflix. While I’m sure this was intended as “a feature and not a bug,” it did grate on me after a few hours of viewing (each episode is about 35-45 minutes in length).
Either way, I am jonesing for a visit to the parks after watching — so I’d consider “Behind the Attraction” a success.
The first five episodes of “Behind the Attraction” premiere on Disney+ on Wednesday, July 21. Check out the trailer below: