September 27th saw a lot of changes around Walt Disney World. It is a date that will stick on our minds and hearts for a long time. One of the changes was the removal of Off Kilter at Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. This Celtic Rock band, blasted their music across the World Showcase and have built up a huge fan base. When the news came that it was being replaced with a canadian lumberjack show, the feedback wasn’t favourable.
I have to admit that I questioned it at first too. The concept of a wood cutting demonstration would appeal to some. To be fair it would interested me. I watch the Discovery channel far too much and star at factory lines that weld lids on tin cans!
This isn’t Disney’s own production. They may have some input into the dialogue used in the show, but they have not set up the lumberjack show. Instead they have teamed up with Paul Bunyan to run the Lumberjack show. The Paul Bunyan lumberjack show has been running for over 28 years and been created to showcase the skills and events of traditional lumberjack shows from days gone by. The show is family friendly and potentially an exciting concept to watch.
The set up is two teams competing against each other. The Red team versus the Blue Team. Each event is worth a set amount of points. Which ever team has the most points wins. Simple.
Here is a run down of the events that could be chosen in each performance. We have selected videos that represent the events, but they are not filmed from Epcot’s Canadian Pavilion Mill Stage.
Standing Black Chop
Double Buck / Cross Cut Saw
Now you can’t say that watching a man run up a tree in 10 seconds and come down in 2 seconds isn’t exciting. Imagine watching this in person and realising the heights that is being climbed to!
OK I have to admit I haven’t seen any signs of the speed climbing yet at Epcot, but there is still potential. The Paul Bunyan LumberJack shows can include them and also add Log Rolling. Log Rolling involves standing on a log floating in water. In competition form two competitors stand on either end and try to out balance their opponent. Tactics including bouncing, running and splashing are used and the set up looks really entertaining at their other events. Unfortunately again I haven’t seen any signs of a water tank, but there is no reason it can’t follow at a later date.
The above videos show the Stihl Timbersports series, which is shown on ESPN. The Canadian Lumberjack show is a variation on these sports. Some of the Lumber or Timberjacks have competed in these games on ESPN and or very proficient in their discipline.
If I was to criticise the show for one aspect it would be that it seems very scripted. After watching the show 5 or 6 times, it is quite clear the compere is working from a script. Running jokes hit in every showing and Axe throwing seems to be the first event every time (so far). Saying that this is just a minor issue I have here and I can see that it could expand further into the other events on offer from Paul Bunyan.
Are you looking forward to seeing the Canadian Lumberjack Show? Do you think this set up looks entertaining for Epcot? Are you an Off Kilter Fan and you wish they were still in Canada? Share your views below.