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Obviously, the lumberjocks that now occupy the Saw Mill Stage in EPCOT's Canada are not to blame for the departure of Off Kilter. They didn't ask Disney to get rid of the band. So, I've made every effort to not resent them. I want them to do well, because if they're going to take the place of Off Kilter, let's hope they're at least entertaining.
The problem is, the show is worse than I could have ever anticipated.
It's difficult to decide where to start in analyzing how badly this show falls short of what a guest expects to see at WDW, so in David Letterman fashion here's my Top Ten issues with The Canadian Lumberjack Show.
9. The games appear to be staged. It seems really convenient that red and blue would tie, and that guests would have to come back later to see the tie breaker. It also seems suspicious that the M.C. arbitrarily picks the blue team as the winner of the last event, even after they know their log off the stand, and don't actually complete the competition. It's definitely rigged, which again goes against the whole "authentic" Canadian show idea.
8. You can't really see what the performers are doing. The performers are either so far away from the audience while they're competing that it's difficult to see, or they're performing behind a pane of plexiglass that has a horrible glare, It's hard to be excited about what they're doing when I can't really see what they're doing.
7. The performers are not very exciting. They don't really seem to be into what they're doing. I'm sure these guys are great at what they do, but this version of competition is so watered down they seem to be having difficulty showing enthusiasm.
6. These events are not that impressive. While these performers may be able to do all of these events more quickly than I am able to, the fact remains that I can do all these events. That's not very exciting.
5. The help wanted ad said applicants should be able to log run. I didn't see any water anywhere. There was also supposed to be dog log rolling and tree climbing. All of those events would have been far more interesting.
4. For being professional axe slingers, their aim is terrible. They're throwing a huge axe at a fairly large round mounted on a wall from a distance that can be covered in three strides. How do they miss. I can understand not sinking the blade into the wood, but a professional should at least be able to strike the target. The obvious answer is that this, being a "traditional Canadian event," is more easily done while drinking—it's like curling (which, coincidentally, would be more impressive than this show).
3.The M.C. is not helping the situation. His carnival barker style, is indicative of a show that is subpar by Disney standards. And, his attempts to rile the crowd into supporting their team are poor. He doesn't strike me as the type that can get an audience to engage and feel any sort of connection to "their" team in the short span of a single show.
2. There were far too many jokes about maple syrup and pancakes. To be fair, I didn't count, and I only recall one such joke. But any jokes about maple syrup or pancakes is too many jokes about maple syrup and pancakes.
1. What kind of lumberjack doesn't wear boots. I get that you're going to be performing on your feet all day, but they make comfortable boots. I used to work cutting trees in the Sequoia National Forest to prevent wildfires, and I wouldn't have been caught dead in tennis shoes out there, and I definitely would not have worn bright white orthopedic sneakers. It just looks ridiculous. Disney's costuming department either totally dropped the ball or they gave these guys far too much leeway.
This list really just scratches the surface of what's wrong with this show. This is not Disney quality entertainment. This is county fair quality entertainment, except they'd probably have log running at the fair. The good news is that if it doesn't improve, enough people will tell Disney how lame this show is that they'll have to change it. Well, I say that, but Stitch's Great Escape is still in Tomorrowland, so... let's hope they improve.