After all this time spent celebrating Animal Kingdom’s 14th birthday, I can’t believe I almost missed Hollywood Studios’ big day too! Way back when my family and I first started visiting WDW, I could hands-down say that DHS was my favorite park. I think I was too young to enjoy EPCOT fully, and felt a little old (silly me) calling Magic Kingdom my favorite. (Plus it was my sister’s favorite and we couldn’t have the same one – duh.)
I’ve never been the most well-versed in movies. In fact, so many people I’ve met are always surprised I never saw Star Wars until I was 20 years old, or Indiana Jones trilogy a few years after that. What can I say? My parents took me to the movies to see Disney animated classics (and Operation Dumbo Drop, remember that Dad?) and then bought us the VHS tapes. We never ventured too much further than that. But I did get worked up over watching the Oscars every year and wrote letters to my favorite celebrities back then so maybe DHS being dubbed as my favorite park isn’t THAT much of a shock.
Nowadays, I still find a lot to love about it — MuppetVision 3D, Mama Melrose, The Great Movie Ride, Toy Story Midway Mania (when I can get on it). But it has also become a neglected park. I still can’t get over the DESTRUCTION of Residential Street or the absence of a real cast member touring guests around on the Backlot Tram. And as far as live entertainment goes, I’m not sure if I’ll ever forgive the DHS Gods for the closing of The Hunchback of Notre Dame the Musical.
Hey. I’m not delusional. I know we can’t bring back the past. How about just add in a few recent movies and give the place a good spring cleaning? It’s 23 years old, fresh out of college, and feeling totally directionless. Help it! Nurture it!
That is my wish for DHS on its birthday. I’m hoping before its next birthday rolls around new and exciting opportunities will be popping up everywhere.
Until then, here are 5 ways that DHS has made my life a little fuller.
1. I saw Singin’ in the Rain. It’s true that thanks to DHS, I’ve seen Casablanca, Alien, Indiana Jones, and had The Searchers on my Netflix list for quite some time. The Great Movie Ride pre-show (and post-show) is probably the best way to get some flick inspiration. I’ve always been a big fan of the movie musical (surprised?) but it took me way too long to see this (even after singing the songs in chorus in 4th grade). But I absolutely love Singin’ in the Rain the most out of my Great Movie Ride movie education. Did you know Gene Kelly directed this movie as well? (That’s a joke. A truth but a joke.)
2. I made a life altering discovery at the Sci-Fi restaurant. The refreshment cartoon that plays during your meal is the same one that plays during John Travolta’s drive-thru ballad in Grease. (Fun fact: my sister has almost successfully collected every movie that previews during the Sci-Fi loop.)
3. I guess I’ve always been a fan of Aerosmith. I really liked when Alicia Silverstone was in their music videos (3 of them!). But at this point in time, I can’t hear “Love in an Elevator” without thinking of Rockin’ Rollercoaster, a ride I love after I get over the initial takeoff. I’m always quietly wishing to hear that particular song (while I’m trying not to pass out with anticipation).
4. Ever since I saw My Girl 2, I wanted to go the Chinese Theater and seek out of my favorite star’s handprints. I still haven’t made it there but at least in DHS I could check out Kermit’s (fin) prints and Jim Henson’s too. It’ll do until I get to experience the true thing. (Full disclosure: my hands are bigger than Kermit’s.)
5. My first opportunity to see the Muppets on the big screen. It’s true. By the time I went on my first trip to WDW in 1997, I was 12 and the Muppet Christmas Carol had been released, as well as Muppet Treasure Island. But I saw neither of those until they came out on VHS. So that means my first time seeing the Muppets on a screen bigger than my television set was the 3D feature in DHS. I’ve probably seen the show close to 50 times by now and it never gets old. SO THANK YOU!
And there you have it! Five little things to take away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Oh how I wish I could be taking a few of these activities in on its real birthday but it’ll have to wait a few months until we meet again.
See ya at the movies!