Thank you for all those great comments (and compliments). I really appreciate the kind feedback. And I see, I still have three more parks to cover, so I better get a move on now…
As the whole world knows “normal” people in Germany read Goethe all day, listen to operas and visit museums every weekend. And because we are all so very educated, Theme Parks are very suspicious places to us, places to ride dangerous rollercoasters, eat bad food and throw up. We even have two words for theme parks: “Freizeitpark”
(which is neutral) and “Vergnügungspark”
(which carries a rather bad connotation). And while “Freizeitparks”
have drastically changed over the last years, these are places where you would rather not see people with college degrees. Or if you do, they would not admit that they went. And if the admit, they did it “for the kids”. Of course they did!
Under very rare circumstances those “good people” visit a Theme Park in Orlando and to their great surprise, especially the Disney Parks are very different from what they would expect. Especially one park, which is undergoing a big transformation right now, did not fit in the common “Theme Park scheme”: Disney’s Hollywood Studios. When I visited the park for the first few times, it felt like a half-day park to me: I did all the rides, had lunch at a quick service restaurant and was basically finished by 1pm. It took me some time to learn, that the park wasn’t built around the rides. The centerpiece of the park was the shows. And compared to the crappy (and boring) performances you can watch in Germany (aside some few exceptions), those shows are quite good. Once I was aware of that, Disney’s Hollywood Studios became the trickiest park to plan, as booking my groups FP+ around the Indiana Jones Adventure, Beauty and the Beast, Lights – Motors – Action! and Fantasmic! proved to be a real challenge. Especially as two of the park’s rides – the Great Movie Ride and the Backlot Tour – had been extremely time-consuming. And I always tried to fit in a performance of the “American Idol Experience”
as it is that kind of attraction that would never work in Germany, although we do have a German version of the show called “Deutschland sucht den Superstar”
(Germany is looking for the super star, yes, this does sound crappy in German too). And at least two rides on the “good tower” were mandatory on every
A lot of the rides and shows are gone by now. And I’m not going to lie: I’ll miss all of them! I understand that most people did not get the concept of a show-centric park and I can comprehend why Disney had to change the whole concept of the park. I am confident that both Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land will make Disney’s Hollywood Studios a “full day park”, as Animal Kingdom has become recently, again. And with all those new attractions coming to Ecpot and the Magic Kingdom in the next years, those Orlando trips will become pretty exhausting again …
As of today “Disney’s Hollywood Studios” is still an entertaining and relaxing park. Fantasmic! is a beautiful night show and a great ending for a Theme Park day. And you can have a seat (I appreciate that). And I still scream with laughter every time Miss Piggy sings “Dream a little dream”. And I fully understand, that if you work with explosives, it’s dangerous.
Care to see some present and former attractions of the park? I have some pictures: