Yippee! It’s that time again! Kill Refurb Marry — the perfect opportunity to stress over things you have zero control over but feel very invested in! Yay! Today we are talking live performances in the parks. This topic is a little open ended because we wanted participants to get creative with it (and if we were talking only musicals we wouldn’t have much to go on).
Live performances in the park solidifies the environment, ties together the theme, and makes Disney parks more than a place that focuses on attractions and restaurants. (Though in recent years, the importance of these live performances seems to have dwindled in the eyes of the Company as more and more of them are getting eliminated.)
Personally, these bonuses add value to my ticket to the park and my experience wouldn’t be as vibrant and lovely without them.
I’ll step off my soap box and get down to the good stuff now. Don’t worry! Wait one more thing … LONG LIVE LIVE PERFORMANCE! Okay, I’m done now.
Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios: 1992 was a long time ago. There have been countless animated releases since then with strong music and memorable characters and still, this show remains. I understand its importance. Beauty and the Beast was part of Disney’s animation Renaissance but I don’t think that excuses a 22-year run.
Maybe I’d be less enraged about this if they even tweaked the show once. New costumes, a new arrangement, a holiday version for the Christmas movie that came out. But now with Belle’s Enchanted Tales over at New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, I need to see something new in this open air theater.
A revue of Disney musicals? A retired show from the Disney Cruise Line? There’s absolutely no excuse with the breadth of options they have at their fingertips. We can’t forget the new merchandise opportunities a new show could bring, as well. It’s time for Belle to retire her yellow dress. IT’S BEEN TIME.
I want to be unpredictable right here, but I cannot. If you are going to have one LIVE SHOW dedicated to a classic Disney film than I will accept Voyage of the Little Mermaid with some major major fixing. Yes, Disney, I know your Broadway show did not do as well as you wanted. But that doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate some of those newer songs into this show, bringing in more LIVE characters with LIVE voices, and ditching that fluorescent lighting for good.
I wouldn’t even be against this show getting a makeover and then moving it over to the Theatre of the Stars (when they give BatB the boot). Anything The Little Mermaid themed is already built on so much potential. With some effort, I could envision this being a star attraction once again.
Second choice: It’s a moot point really since Festival of the Lion King is taking a break while a new theatre is being built in Harambe. This is one of my must-sees because the talent is by far some of the best in all of theme parks. (So many Broadway stars have started out in this show, if you remember.) I’m hoping the show receives a little upgrade as well. Like the floats, the animal noises with the audience, and even some of the numbers. This is my mom’s absolute favorite and I’ve seen it so many times… a little change would be so welcome.
Voices of Liberty: If you think about it, this group doesn’t even need to exist. Disney could have easily planned it so that we would walk inside a building, wait 15 minutes staring at our phones, and when ready, walk into a theatre and watch an animatronic show. That’s all well and good, but in true Disney style (style that has made us spoiled) we have the pleasure of listening to the Voices of Liberty before sitting down to enjoy the American Adventure show. It’s this added bonus that makes a Disney theme park vacation so unique and hooks me. Without Voices of Liberty, I don’t think I would be as tempted to carve out much time for the American Adventure. They are just that good.
Second choice: Burudika in Animal Kingdom’s Harambe village might cause a bit of a traffic jam but they bring so much life to this corner of the park. We spent a lot of time listening to this band while sitting at the new Dawa Bar relaxing after quite a few hours hanging around the park. They were so great with the audience, full of energy, and, of course, tremendously talented. I could have sat there forever. (How many Safari Ambers would that be?)
→ A salute to Disney Broadway shows. Give me some Newsies, a preview of Aladdin, an oldie from Tarzan. Let guests know what they are missing in New York (or on tour!).
→ A salute to the Sherman Brothers. A Saving Mr. Banks tie-in, a piece of Disney history, and something fun for both kids and adults (who will both have fun recognizing songs).
Final thoughts: Live entertainment in the Parks is important. It strengthens the show. It’s attention to detail. Some friends who have recently gone to Disneyland can’t stop talking about the live offerings over in California. I wish that the East Coast would stop ridding itself of these gems and instead concentrate on them. When there are no plans for a new attraction or a new land to look forward to, the logical next step (in my eyes) would be plus-ing already existing entertainment or making something shiny and new.
So what are your thoughts on live entertainment, friends? I can’t wait to hear them!