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Net aflame with Disney protests

Once again, Disney park loyalists use the Web to protest purported plans to close a beloved attraction: the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Once again, Disney theme park loyalists are using the Web to protest what they think are plans to close another beloved attraction: the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland.

Although Disney won't confirm this, it is another amusing reminder of how the Web can level the playing field between any Web site producer and a media and entertainment giant. In the first case, a Florida resident posted a Web site to block any plans to close "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" at Disney World.

This time, Arizona resident Christopher Wingert has posted a Web site and a petition to "save the Enchanted Tiki Room," a "30-something-year-old" attraction at the park that features a "tropical revue of 225 singing birds, flowers, and tiki poles," as Disney puts it. When the attraction was opened, it used cutting-edge technology--dubbed "Audio-Animatronics" by Disney.

"Don't let the Tiki Room become a food court!" reads the site, which is hosted by Net community GeoCities. "The purpose of this page is to let you voice your concern. It is not too late." The site even includes sound clips from the show.

According to Wingert, rumors of plans to close the attraction come from Disney newsgroups and theme park workers, or "cast members."

However, a Disney spokesman said he knows of no plans to close the attraction, although he conceded that rumors of modernizing it have been circulating for years. He chalked this speculation up to the Net's reputation for fueling rumors.

But Wingert is not persuaded. He has gathered 338 email signatures on the petition so far and has forwarded it to Disney executives, including chief executive Michael Eisner. "Hopefully this will help promote the Tiki Room and save it from demolition," his site says.

Wingert apparently has taken a cue from another Netizen, Miami resident Jeff Moskot (a.k.a. J.T. Toad). He has organized a campaign to protest the supposed closing of the Mr. Toad ride at Disney World. Disney has not confirmed any plans to close that ride, either. In small print at the bottom of his page, Wingert thanks "J.T. Toad," among others, for helping him with the project.