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WDW Disney's Hollywood Studios Discussion Thread

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Hmm...disturbing new trend here. Take out back lot tours/movie/tv history in favor of expansion. Read that Universal demoed the Golden Girls set and some other stuff to put in a stunt show.


Granted, a park's gotta change, but this makes me feel funny. And not the funny like climbing the rope in gym class either.


Even when the park was still a "working" studio, the backlot tour was basically just killing time until the tram got to Catastrophe Canyon. Using this space for something new is essential, I think.


I love the front section of this park, but the back isn't very inspiring.

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Hmm...disturbing new trend here. Take out back lot tours/movie/tv history in favor of expansion. Read that Universal demoed the Golden Girls set and some other stuff to put in a stunt show.


Granted, a park's gotta change, but this makes me feel funny. And not the funny like climbing the rope in gym class either.


Even when the park was still a "working" studio, the backlot tour was basically just killing time until the tram got to Catastrophe Canyon. Using this space for something new is essential, I think.


I love the front section of this park, but the back isn't very inspiring.

I'm gonna respectfully disagree here, Chuck. When the park first opened, I actually really enjoyed the backstage tour. While I agree that some of the tram portion does seem like filler by today's standards, it was mostly enjoyable back then. Now, of course, with today's movie audience generally being much more familiar with movie making methods due to countless "makings of," and "behind the scenes" on loaded special edition DVDs, etc., some of the aura of the backstage tour portion wouldn't hold up now.


However, I still feel that people would generally love to be emersed in the movie making process if done correctly. I would hate to see a place with "Studios" in their name fully abandon the "Studio" aspect. I probably wouldn't mind them doing away with the tram portion as long as they could provide a great interactive walkthrough environment. It would, perhaps, be pretty nice to see a great new thrill ride added in some of the "dead" space back there though.

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Heh, you gotta laugh at the corporate spin doctors. Press release translation: "our contract with MGM ran out so we had to think of something to call it that wasn't Disney Studios", which would have been just fine, but Disney's Hollywood Studios? I don't hate the name, but it will take some getting used to I'll give them that. The next thing they need to do is completely gut the great movie ride and put something else there.

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Ummm.. actually it was Disney that had the Golden Girls set

Ah. Thank you. Couldn't remember which park.


Yeah, I'm just a little bummed because I liked seeing the sets and props, even if they weren't in the best of shape.


The only thing that worries me is if there's a natural progression from getting rid of more gentle rides (tin lizzies, studio tours, etc.) to getting rid of things like the rapids rides, particularly the older ones with no drops. Dunno how true the Hershey Park rumor is, but hope that isn't the case.


The next thing they need to do is completely gut the great movie ride and put something else there.


They may need to update the movies in there, but (sniff) I'll miss getting drooled on by the alien in the ceiling. Good times, good times.

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Let us not forget that Disney MGM Studios was the place where one of my favorite TV shows was taped in front of a live studio audience...MMC aka The All New Mickey Mouse Club! Haha...dork moment.


I think most people are over the fact that the studios no longer have production, but it would at least be nice to see some attractions put into that space that they have back there.


I just wanna see the hat go the way of the wand.

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I believe that both Disney/MGM and USF abandoned the idea of being actual working studios long ago...now they are just theme parks.


I was told that USF still was a actual working studio. Its in that area behind Twister.


I forgot what show was filming last year but something was going on.

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Personally I'm pissed. I don't want them to update it to "newer movies." That was what made MGM Studios so great! Was the abiance if it being "old hollywood."


I'm still mad they took out the 3D Alfred Hitchcock ride.


I think you're thinking of Universal Studios. THEY had the Hithcock 3D attraction...and yes, I too miss it. Shrek 4D is OK, but the Hitchcock attraction was A-OK!


Disney Hollywood Studios sounds weird now, but in about 5 years we'll ALL know it and constantly refer to it as such. Its not a bad name at all. Disney needed to remove MGM from the name...they're Sony now after all and haven't had much decent memorable movies as of late.

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What bothers me more is the statement about getting away from "old Hollywood" or whatever they said, because that charm (the streetmosphere characters, art deco design, etc) is what have always endeared me to that park.


If they turn MgM into something like Universal that would make sense, so they can compete, with the small section of oldies, and then a new era of movies kind of like USF, they have there old section and there new era section, I dont think this is going to effect the park much at all. I just hope that they give the place a fresh coat of paint and a nice fancy looking sign.

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  • 5 months later...

From the AP, via Yahoo:


'Idol' attraction coming to Disney World


By DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer


NEW YORK - Disney World is about to get a little pitchy, dawg.


Walt Disney Parks and Resorts announced plans Thursday to create a live performance attraction based on "American Idol" at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park — formerly called Disney-MGM Studios — in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.


"Our goal is to try to recreate the excitement of those 24 people who show up on that 'American Idol' stage," Disney Parks chairman Jay Rasulo told The Associated Press. "We believe many, many viewers want to know exactly how that feels, and we're going to try to reproduce that feeling for them."


Much like the hugely popular Fox singing competition, the as-yet-unnamed attraction — scheduled to open in late 2008 — will allow theme park guests to audition then perform before a live studio audience inside the Hollywood Studios' theater space formerly occupied by the "Doug Live!" and "Superstar Television" attractions.


Disney licensed the rights to create the attraction from "Idol" co-producers 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia, despite the fact "American Idol" airs on Fox and Disney owns broadcast competitor ABC.


"It is owned by us, so we can extend the brand in the off-air space in the ways that we want to," said Keith Hindle, FremantleMedia's licensing vice president. "We don't see this in any way as a NewsCorp. vs. Disney debate. That's never been part of the discussion, and it's not something that's relevant to us. It's just part of 'American Idol.'"


The attraction's details are still being worked out, but it will probably operate something like this: Theme park guests ages 14 and up will be able to audition for a Disney casting producer. Those who pass the test will be selected to appear in one of the park's "Idol" stage shows. Rasulo anticipates six to eight such shows a day.


Backstage, the performers will receive hair and makeup touchups from a stylist and singing tips from a vocal coach. Then, the guests will perform on an "Idol"-like set in front of a live audience and three judges. No, not Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Instead, Rasulo says it's likely three audience members will be selected to evaluate the performers while a live host will keep the show moving.


Top audience vote-getters will compete in a grand finale show at the end of each day. Overall daily champs will win a special front-of-the-line pass at a regional audition for the actual "American Idol" show. Hindle says Disney winners won't be given any special treatment during the real audition, just the ability to skip ahead.


Because of eligibility differences — namely, the TV show's 16- to 28-year-old age limit — winners may be offered the option of transferring their pass to a friend or family member, but they won't be allowed to sell it. Daily champs too young to audition for the real deal could save the pass until they're old enough to compete, according to Hindle.


But will there be enough Fantasias and Sanyayas to keep theme park audiences captivated?


"I know that there's enough talent on any given day in our theme parks to keep people entertained," said Rasulo.


Beyond the attraction, Hindle says actual "Idol" stars may make appearances throughout the year and merchandise designed by both FremantleMedia and Disney's product divisions especially for the attraction would be available for sale.


"It's a very collaborative process," Hindle said. "Disney knows more about live stage productions that we ever will. We know more about our TV show that Disney ever will. Exactly how this will manifest it is something that will be mutually approved by all parties. We're looking to Disney to see how their guests like to be entertained."

Edited by jedimaster1227
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^Doubt it. There are a lot of people that dig this kind of stuff and don't mind getting in front of people to strut their stuff.


Although I think this is happening a couple years too late, that doesn't mean it won't be popular with Disney crowds. I mean, they get make-up, given the idol treatment for the day to sing on stage in front of a crowd of people, for some people that'd be an awesome experience.


I just feel bad for the singers that are going to suck. And doing this 6-8 times a day almost guarantees that.


I'd say if they have 2-3 singers a day competing for the daily winner, that'd be enough.


It'll be interesting to see how well this works out.

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*head to wall* I couldn't believe that rumor when it first came out. It seemed just too crazy and too dumb to be true. I still don't want to believe this press release, like it's some mistake. As a heartfelt fan of Disney's product in the amusement and theme park industry, this news deeply saddens me. This, in my humble opinion, is probably one of the worst directions they could have taken.



This decision optimizes to me the fundamental problem in decision making for planning and development of these parks, especially Walt Disney World. This is not a long term decision. This is barely a short term decision. This can barely be considered a decision. This is a waste of money. The show has a mass appeal, that is undeniable, but as an attraction I just can not see it working.


I can understand the logic that went into planning, the though of "oh, this is just Millionaire II". But by human nature, it doesn't work that way. AllenA07 said it best:

I bet the park is going to have a hard time getting people brave enough to get up there and do this.

I wholeheartedly agree. With Millionaire at least every had some sort of even chance. The way it was structured, everyone felt equal when playing and when you happened to get into the hot seat, you did so over others, so your confidence was boosted in getting that far. Dry picking from the audience in a competition like this will be extremely difficult and probably not very fruitful. I do not envy any cast member having to work this attraction. I, personally, don't share Rasulo's sentiment that "there's enough talent on any given day in our theme parks to keep people entertained". Functionally, this has the potential to be very disastrous. Like Fear Factor Live: Dead Celebrity Edition disastrous.


Another issue I have with this is that no matter what they say in the release, this is promoting a competitor's product. There is no way around it. Yes, the product is owned by 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia, but the public associates the product with Fox television. End of story. You can try to spin it all you want, but go out and ask anyone what they associate with American Idol and you will more than likely get Fox. I think that is going to confuse people more than anything else. Yes, it can be argued that a number of other attractions (Star Tours, Indy, Tower, Rock N' Roller Coaster, Great Movie Ride) are all using licenses and products that are competing products to Disney, but their competition is not as direct as American Idol. ABC doesn't have to fight the Twilight Zone every week for ratings. Outside of Star Wars Weekends, people generally don't put the Disney brand and Jedi's together in the same sentence. I may be inexperienced in the ways of business and deals, but this, to me, just seems like bad business. I can not easily see a good side to this outside the realm of "at least that space is finally being used again". At least, it's being used for now.



*deep breath* Well, I feel a little better.


I think this is the first time I can say Disney is behind the times on this one. I think it's about four years too late.


Although they were slow with Who Wants To Be A Millionare too. These live shows never do it for me.


To be honest, they're behind the times a lot, but that's a nature of the beast type thing. It's difficult to make an attraction right when something is huge, unless that place is earmarked for it from the get go. The only time to my memory of that plan being set into motion is Dinosaur, and we know that worked perfectly...yeah. The quickest I can think of from successful movie to successful ride/show was the turn around for Nemo where Turtle Talk came into play a year later. It seems to be a general rule to not go into motion on construction of something until you know it's a sure fire hit because you will be stuck with a major construction cost and the license you hope to build will then fall to pieces. For the greatest example of this, see Dick Tracy. Disney wanted that to be their next big license. Didn't work that way. So, it becomes the "Better safe then sorry" mentality. Though, I do agree they definitely have completely missed the curve on this one. Another aspect of my dislike, but my ranting is over currently.


RapidsNerd summed up my ideas perfectly:

I don't like American Idol and I don't like this idea for the park. Nuff said.
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If this is the way that Jay Rasulo wants to run Disney's themeparks we should all want for him to be removed and John Lasseter or Tony Baxter replace him. Now that seems like a good themepark decision for Disney!


If Iger had any sense he would have gotten rid of Rasulo when he brought in John Lasseter. I can see the whole Michael Eisner crew leaving and frankly I am happy that there are only very few of them left. With Rasulo gone most of our biggest problems would be over. We all know how well his years of millions of dreams is going now don't we?

(end of rant)


I think with a few good changes in management we would never have had this idea in the first place. Here's to hoping that it does not make it off the drawing board and something more useful takes up that area.

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