Our family is leaving in one week to head down to Walt Disney World. It will be an abbreviated resort vacation followed by our first trip on the Disney Cruise Line (reviews and comparisons to others coming in a few weeks).
In this short trip we do have one full morning at Disney’s. Hollywood Studios, to see some of our favorite attractions. However it’s also the one park where the atmosphere and theme of the park is lost on my group. At the present, we are hearing changes are coming to the park. What could be coming in the future to help bring an atmosphere that allows the whole family to stretch their imagination? Let’s look at what is in the park now and what could be….
Starting down Hollywood Blvd, from our entrance to the park, we see a street of retro buildings filled with shopping…however our younger ones don’t have that connection that this Hollywood helped launch our beloved Walt Disney Studios. Perhaps a reference to those films in the gift shops..a series of movie posters on the walls…or even a major relocation of Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat(an idea many have suggested) moved to the front of the park would help connect the retro Hollywood buildings as the beginning of the “story” for our youngest….
Moving along to the center of of the park we see the replica of Grumman’s Chinese Theater which holds the great movie ride. This would be another opportunity to reconnect our multiple generations. The classic movies selected for the experience to tell the magic of the movies could use an influx of inspiration from the last 20 years…perhaps even a look to the future of movies…
To the right we have the animation courtyard with the Magic of Disney Animation, where many of us once saw working animators preceded by a short movie that returned us to Neverland using the original animation process. I believe this area should be revitalized starting with the original film, using Peter Pan as an example of how 2d animation of the years gone by has evolved to the 3d animation that our children are seeing today. This could be followed with perhaps a walk through the animation studios using a play off the old carnival fun house mirrors…where a family could see themselves as 2D animated as well as 3D animated.
(Remember, the experience should allow us to stretch our imaginations.)
Moving down towards Pixar Place we pass several attractions based on contemporary Disney/Pixar films. This may be one area that connects with the entire family currently so we will hold off on ideas here for now. However after we pass through we come to an original attraction, the Backlot Studio Tour, that could be connected with the making of the classic and new movies we have seen throughout the park.
Stepping across the park towards the area known as Echo Lake, we see a soundstage closed down, an American Idol labeled theater with an expiration date, and finally an amphitheater showing old stunt attractions used in a classic movie years ago. This may be the area with the most potential for change. There have been rumblings of inserting a “Star wars land”. While the easy path to instant traffic for the park would be to replicate scenes from the previous Star Wars movies, I believe that we could have more potential fun with “reimagining” more…while trying to “recreate” less.
Before we begin our leap into a “galaxy far far away” though, let’s not forget our love of the adventures of one Dr. Indiana Jones. However, instead of reliving anything we have seen in the past… Could we go on adventures of our own? Disneyworld has seen success with the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, a Pirates adventure, as well as Phineas and Ferb Secret Agent Adventure in the other parks….all giving the families a new role playing experience. An interactive “Adventure with Indiana Jones” where families could traverse the park following clues to find a specific relic (perhaps the scripts and props used to make the original films) would blend perfectly with the spirit of the parks.
Now on to that galaxy…which is where the next steps in our imagination should go. In order to do so, Disney need only set the stage with intergalactic adventure and otherworldly atmosphere…while at the same time tying back to the creative process of the original and new movies.
Use the soundstage to help us understand what created a lightsaber sound 40 years ago compared to the technology that triggers it today…turn the idol theater into an area that allow us each to virtually become a new Star Wars “character” and imagine our adventure. Convert the amphitheater and nearby restaurants into otherworldly experiences based on the spirit of intergalactic adventure of Star Wars….. that gives us the opportunity to take our new “characters” (via magic band technology” and walk through a worlds that seem familiar that we have not yet seen.
There is more to be (re)imagined here for all of us…and it begins with connecting the magic of Hollywood of the past to our families today and tomorrow.