Imagineering Awesome: Summer Magic

This post is part of the Imagineering Awesome series

This is the seventh post in the Imagineering Awesome series so if you’ve missed any of the previous posts, click on the link at right. It will open in a new window, so you won’t miss the classic attraction outlined below.

Today’s idea comes to us from Sarah Norris of Gluten Free & Dairy Free at WDW.  When Sarah isn’t sharing planning tips about the Walt Disney World Resort, you can find her on her blog, where she writes dining reviews and shares tips and tricks about dining at Disney with a special diet.


I was so excited when Mouse on the Mind contacted me to create my own theme park ride. What could be cooler for a Disney fan like me than to come up with an idea for a ride in the parks using my imagination and pretend unlimited funds (oh, if only this were a reality!). My ride idea was sparked by Walt Disney himself.

For me, the best rides at Disney World are those filled with nostalgia like Carousel of Progress, Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion and the Tomorrowland People Mover. These all reflect Walt Disney’s own personal touch and vision of the Americana that inspired Disney World.

As Jean Shepherd says in the Carousel of Progress, “You know, Walt loved the idea of progress, and he loved the American family.” Personally, I think the movie Summer Magic embodies this quote to a T. It was one of my all-time favorite Disney movies as a kid (and they showed it a lot on the Disney Channel back in the 80s). I really wanted to be Hayley Mills’ character, Nancy Carey.

Summer Magic 1

For those who aren’t familiar with this Disney film, here’s a brief synopsis: the film begins in Boston with the Carey family. This close-knit family loses their fortune after the death of their beloved father and are set upon a journey to a charming small town in Maine called Beulah. There they meet a good-natured but scheming postmaster and shopkeeper, Osh Popham (played brilliantly by Burl Ives), and his family as well as many other memorable characters. Throughout the film, we are reminded of the simplicity of life and of family. It’s a wonderful film, and those who are fans of Hayley Mills (who plays the title character) will be sure to want to add this to their collection. Obviously, it has played an important part in Disney history, as it is featured in Main Street U.S.A.

In fact, you can see many nods to this film on Main Street U.S.A. if you look closely. The Emporium’s proprietor is Osh Popham, the character played by Burl Ives. Cousins Nancy and Julia Carey are the proprietresses of the Chapeau hat shop. You’ll see “No. 63” on the sign. That’s the year of Summer Magic’s theatrical release. And there are framed prints of two ladies inside that are also a subtle tribute to the characters. With so many Disney World nods to this film, it’s only fitting that a new ride for Summer Magic be created and located on Main Street U.S.A. I couldn’t think of a clever name, either from the music or the movie itself, but I really do think “Summer Magic” works somehow.

Summer Magic 2

The ride itself should be located near the front of the park (perhaps in the Town Square Theater), so that guests could journey from Boston (where the film begins) to Beulah, a typical small town in America, to Main Street U.S.A., which could be a part of Beulah. It should feature music from the film itself. Disney guests will easily recognize the classic music from the Sherman Brothers including “Flitterin’” and “Beautiful Beulah.” In fact, you probably already know them and don’t even realize it! These tunes are played on Main Street U.S.A.!

The ride queue would take you through the streets of Boston playing out some of the films crucial beginning scenes. It would utilize the same technologies that you see in attractions like “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” with projected images. You’d enter the Carey house and join in singing “Flitterin’”… and then off you go on a ride to Beulah. The ride vehicles would look a bit like the car character Digby drives the family to and from their home in the country to the quaint town of Beulah. In fact, they would look rather similar to the old Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride carts.
Summer Magic 3

Summer Magic 4

You’d start off in the countryside (with the song “Beautiful Beulah” playing) and wind up in Main Street Beulah. You’d swing by Osh’s store and say “hi” (utilizing the same image projections). We’d meet other characters like Cousin Julia and then it’s off to the Yellow House where the Carey family lives. Then you get to see all sorts of fun scenes from the movie—“Sitting on the Front Porch with You” and “Ugly Bug Ball” are two songs that would be used. By the end of the ride, you get to join the whole town in celebrating Halloween in the Carey family’s barn. It’s all rather quaint and very similar to the nostalgia you feel in Carousel of Progress.

Summer Magic 5

And then you’re off to Main Street U.S.A. You wouldn’t debark directly into a gift shop, but rather encouraged to visit Osh over at the Emporium or Nancy and Julia in the Chapeau. In fact, the locations could be modified to include more elements of the film in them.

The attraction is simple, classic, and totally Disney. Sure, it’s not as exciting as Expedition Everest or Space Mountain, but it is a ride that would make classic Disney fans smile and one that would continue to endure, just like other classic Disney rides at Walt Disney World.

Does a classic Disney attraction like this one appeal to you? Let us know below! 

Comments are closed.