Monday, July 13, 2020

Mousey Movie - The Legacy of Arrow Development

The Legacy of Arrow Development is offered by American Coaster Enthusiasts for free on YouTube!

This 70 minute documentary provides an in-depth history to the creation, popularity, decline and legacy of Arrow Development and its impact on the theme park industry.  Arrow is often the unspoken of partner for Disney parks, developing Imagineering concepts into physical rides.  These legendary rides include The Matterhorn Bobsleds, it's a small world, The Flying Saucers and so many more.  It would not be an overstatement to say that the Disney parks that we know today would not look the same without the contributions of this ride engineering company.

The documentary starts with the formation of the company with veterans of the American industrial machine from World War II.  The founders lacked capital and in some cases experience, but had practical engineering knowledge and a strong work ethic.  The company built a number of offerings, but began to specialize in small amusement park attractions.  Eventually, the Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan led company caught the eye of Walt Disney, who often relied on Arrow Development to make his Imagineering visions into realities.  Arrow Development would continue to grow and would provide attractions to non-Disney parks.  And with the passing of Walt Disney, the company's use of Arrow was largely discontinued.  Arrow then serviced numerous parks, often building large and fast roller coasters.  But with the changing of leadership, numerous sales, and declining market share the Arrow name largely disappeared as the company was sold to another amusements engineering firm.

I do not really watch YouTube, and never for 70 minutes.  But The Legacy of Arrow Development is a true documentary that needs to take notice and kept my attention for the entire time.  The presentation, really highlighted why Arrow was important and how its legacy continues to this day.  Additionally, for the Disney fan that wider impact outside of the Disney parks is sufficiently felt.  And it cannot be forgotten, this is a free quality professional look into the theme park business focusing on one of the engineering pioneers of the industry.  I was worried that it would feel like a fan film.  Instead it is well-researched with interviews from those who worked for and with Arrow.  The film also looks straight on to the eventual fall of the company, with an explanation of why. 

The Legacy of Arrow Development is a Mousey Movie that Disney parks fans will want to watch.  It provides a great historical look at a Walt Disney partner and ally.  As without Arrow Development, the theme park that we have today would not exist. 

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