Disney+'s Behind the Attraction series takes a look at the creation and the functionality of several classic attractions found at Disney Parks around the world. It does it all with a very lighthearted and humorous tone, but at least one person isn't laughing right now, as a YouTuber is accusing the series of using his graphics to demonstrate the functionality of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror without permission or credit.
James St. Onge is a YouTuber and creator of the Art of Engineering YouTube channel. His videos cover a variety of engineering topics but as he is a self professed theme park fan, many of his videos deal with the engineering involved in theme park attractions, both in terms of how general ride concepts work as well as deeper dives into how specific attractions function. Two years ago he published a video on Disney's Hollywood Studios' Tower of Terror. He recently watched the Disney+ Behind the Attraction episode on the same ride, and found some disturbing similarities.
In the above image we see a side-by-side comparison of St. Onge's graphics and those that are seen in the Behind the Attraction episode. The follow-up tweet lays the two over each other, and the similarities are obvious. It would be one thing If these were two separate pieces that were based on a common source, but St. Ogne says his work was entirely his own creation, and thus the similarities certainly become suspicious at best.
It's not simply that the drawings show the same things, that's to be expected, but the style of the two is so similar. And since the Art of Engineering work is only meant to be an artistic representation of how the Tower of Terror works, it's not supposed to be a blueprint, you would expect the Behind the Attraction graphics to potentially be more specific, since it actually worked with Walt Disney Imagineering to make the show. And if the producers of Behind the Attraction discovered the Art of Engineering video and liked the work, it seems they could have simply asked its creator, as he would have been willing to collaborate.
Theme park content is quite big on YouTube these days. There are entire channels dedicated to the history of various parks, up close looks at current and former attractions, and deep dives into the evolution of character costumes. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms of Behind the Attraction as a series is that anybody looking for anything more than a surface level review of these rides would have better luck going to YouTube than watching the show on Disney+. There is some incredibly well researched work to be found there. A lot of effort is put into these videos, which makes the accusation that this Disney+ show didn't even make its own graphics all the more troubling.
Thus far, Seven Bucks Productions and The Nacelle Company have not responded to the similarity publicly. Time will tell if they will.
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CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.