Two Disney Cast Members push a boulder up an Indiana Jones Adventure ramp.

An Imaginative Look at Behind the Attraction Season 2 on Disney+

From a swashbuckling adventure on the seas to an ever-evolving theme park where the impossible becomes possible, Behind the Attraction continues to live up to its name in Season 2, now streaming on Disney+. From executive producers Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Brian Volk-Weiss, the series shares inside looks at Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure and EPCOT and shares untold stories about the food and nighttime spectaculars that make each Disney Parks experience feel magical.

“The power that we have to build things that guests can only dream of or imagine is so humbling,” says Jeanette Lomboy, Executive Producer, Creative Ideation, Walt Disney Imagineering. “It speaks to all of the tools we have in our toolkit: the technology, the lessons we’ve learned from the past, and our legacy as Disney Imagineers. And all of that together creates the magic. That’s good stuff, right? That is what dreams are made of.”

Whereas Season 1 gave viewers an inside look at Jungle Cruise, Haunted Mansion, Star Tours, Space Mountain, and other attractions, Volk-Weiss had always hoped to tell the behind-the-scenes story of a personal favorite. “My all-time favorite attraction anywhere is Indiana Jones Adventure,” says Volk-Weiss, who also directs each episode. “I got the bad news that it wouldn’t be in Season 1, but once Season 2 was official, we got the good news!”

Six small monitors and one larger monitor are mounted on a wall inside the Pirates of the Caribbean control room. Attraction blueprints are mounted on another wall.

Another attraction that seemingly everyone was excited to dive into was Pirates of the Caribbean. Initially conceived as a wax museum, technological advances convinced Walt Disney that a more sophisticated attraction could be created using state-of-the-art Audio-Animatronics® figures. The original version at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, proved so popular it spawned a hit film franchise and iterations in parks around the world. “I grew up about 10 minutes away from Disneyland, so it felt like an extension of my backyard,” Lomboy recalls. “When you’re a kid, you typically learn about a subject like pirates by reading books and seeing movies. But with Pirates of the Caribbean, as you go down those waterfalls, you’re immersed into a completely different world. You forget where you are. The pirates are alive and in front of you! It below my mind as a little girl. I was transported to a place I had never been before, to a place I’d only understood didactically.”

From the first time he experienced Pirates of the Caribbean as a young adult, Luc Mayrand, Senior Creative Executive for Walt Disney Imagineering, was blown away by the sea-roving scallywags. “As I started digging into it, I discovered more and more about what went into the attraction,” he says. “An immense blooming of all this magic had been made for this—the creation of New Orleans Square and all the things that go into on top of this extraordinary attraction. To me, it was a step above any invention I’d ever thought possible.”

So, imagine Mayrand’s delight when he was invited to help reimagine the attraction for Shanghai Disney Resort. “I had been dreaming about it all the time: ‘What could possibly be the next version of Pirates?'” he recalls. “At one point, we even did a hypothetical exercise where I sat in a room with a couple of core people and asked, ‘If Walt was doing this today, what would he want to do? If you picture how innovative he was, and what a rule-breaker he was, what would Walt and his team have thought?’ And, actually, some of those ideas are in the attraction [Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure].”

Of course, the original Pirates of the Caribbean attraction has been updated several times over the years, adding context and layers to its storytelling. “I always have this quote in the back of my mind that Walt actually intended Disneyland to be a living, breathing thing—that it would be constantly evolving and changing,” Lomboy says. “If you go to any of our parks worldwide, there are a group of Imagineers at each whose sole job is to continue to adhere to the story of opening day, as well as continue to maintain, update, and add to it.”

A Disney Cast Member holds up an unbaked Mickey Mouse gingerbread.

That same ethos guides the Disney Parks Food and Beverage team, who share several mouthwatering tales about churros, DOLE® Whips, turkey legs, and more. “Over the years, people’s tastes have changed,” Brian Piasecki, Concept Development, Culinary Director, Walt Disney World Resort, says. “Tastes have changed because we’ve pushed the envelope.”

Much of that iterating happens inside the secretive Flavor Lab at Walt Disney World Resort—and in Season 2 of Behind the Attraction, viewers get a special glimpse inside the intentionally nondescript building. “Aside from doing the food and the beverage menu development, we do a lot of collaboration here,” Piasecki says. “We’ll invite all of our partners from Walt Disney Imagineering to discuss what each dish is, hear stories from the Imagineers, and see the artists’ renderings. We really dive into how to bring a story to life and how to continue the storytelling with the food. It’s a great collaboration space that’s very open and friendly; it’s really, really comfortable, and it leads to so many great things.”

Because no matter how creative something looks, it needs to taste good, too. “It’s got to be delicious,” says Gary Maggetti, Food and Beverage Director at Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California. “What the culinary team has been able to do is put the accelerator down on great flavors that are memorable and that fit the accompanying story. Years ago, I would sit in front of an audience and say, ‘In Food and Beverage, we’re humble enough to realize that guests come here for the attractions and the entertainment, but the food and beverage needs to support the story.’ I don’t say that anymore, because now, people actually come for the food—and they’re doing that because the memories, the flavor profiles, and the adventurousness we’ve been able to execute is incredibly profound.”

“What’s really unique is that Disney’s culinary teams have the freedom to use their best judgment and to try new things,” Maggetti continues. “It’s not about mass dining. It’s actually about experiential food and beverage in every possible area. That sometimes is the reason why you’re coming to Disney. I’ve talked to many people who plan their vacations around dining experiences. It’s so incredibly important to the way they experience Disney.”

The Food and Beverage team has also found unique and magical ways to extend the storytelling from beloved films and series through its ever-changing menu offerings. For years, many fans had wondered what things such as the blue milk from Star Wars: A New Hope or the grey stuff from Beauty and the Beast tasted like—and thanks to the Food and Beverage team, their questions have been answered. “Disney has the ability to bring things to people that are only in the movies; they don’t exist otherwise,” Piasecki says. “For example, when we developed blue milk for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, it was all about: What do we think it would taste like? What does the animal eat? What is its environment? We had no idea—but like always, we figured it out through collaboration and trial and error.”

With Season 2 of Behind the Attraction now streaming, Volk-Weiss hopes fans have as much fun watching it as he did putting it all together. “One of the great things about making a show like this is that not many people get to go to all the parks in five weeks,” the director and executive producer says. “I’ve always known that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Anaheim is the exact opposite of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Orlando—but how many people get to ride it on Tuesday in Anaheim and again on Wednesday in Orlando?”