Started off the morning boarding a bus to Disney’s Hollywood Studios around 8:30am. Arrived just after the 9am park opening and made my way into the studios as it kicked off its 25 Anniversary celebration. Wandered down Hollywood Blvd. taking some pictures then found a spot for the 10am re-dedication event. After the event visited with some friends and roamed the park a bit circling down commissary lane and the back lot before ending up on Sunset Blvd. then made my way to Toy Story to rejoin my group and use a Fastpass+ for Toy Story Midway Mania. Set the high mark for the ride/day/month which was not that high then walked down Mickey Ave and around to the Streets of America. Ended up at the Backlot Express for lunch then used a Fastpass+ for Star Tours (even though it was not needed). At this point the group separated.. some stayed at the Studios, others back to the room and I hopped on a bus to Art of Animation then transferred to a Downtown Disney Bus. Walked through the Market Place and out to the far end of the West Side before returning to the Pleasure Island bus stop. This time transferred at Pop Century on my return to the Studios. Strolled down Hollywood Blvd and made my way out to Toy Story Pizza Planet for dinner then walked down Mickey Ave stopping at One Man’s Dream before heading to the Great Movie Ride. Next up to find a spot for the Stars of the Studios Motorcade. After the procession found some friends to visit with and wait for the fireworks. Walked through the dance party while waiting then enjoyed the show before making my way back to the resort bus to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Today marked the 25th Anniversary of Disney's Hollywood Studios (formerly the Disney-MGM Studios). There were commemorative buttons, guide maps, time schedules, merchandise and a couple of events to mark the occasion.
- I have become disappointed with the Studios in recent years and tend to spend the least time there out of the four major parks. I think the park has lost its way. The idea of movie making has disappeared and in its a place a random mix of attractions having to do with movies and television. I think the park is in need of a Disney California Adventure type of investment to transform the park in a big way. I do not think it should be Cars Land, but something of that scale plus other improvements in shows, attractions, and an overall update.
- At 10am there was a re-dedication ceremony on the hat stage. It started off with a pre-show featuring three of the Citizens of Hollywood. The show itself was a nice tribute to the cast and park. The current vice-president spoke and they had over 80 cast members who have worked at the park since opening day on stage. The fab four were also present and dressed in their Hollywood finest for the event. There was a hand print ceremony too featuring a Mickey, an opening day cast member, a guest, and the VP. I was hoping for a chance to get a good picture but they cleaned it up quite quickly and the cast members I spoke to after the event said it was not going to be in a guest accessible area. It was going backstage somewhere. I thought this was poor and hope it finds a home on stage somewhere in the future.
- I was a bit disappointed with the rededication event. I thought with the big media event going on they would try to incorporate that somehow. Or at least Tom Staggs or someone would make an appearance. Instead it really seemed to be a "local" event in the park.
- I thought the Studios also missed a great opportunity to update One Man's Dream with either a look back at the history of the Studios park or forward at where it can go. Instead walking through One Man's Dream it was the same old displays at the end. The Paradise Pier model and the new Fantasyland one.
- I did not make it down in the merchandise area in the morning but I heard the line was close to 2 hours. Later in the day I stopped by and it was under 10 minutes and they had everything in stock except for a key chain that sold out earlier in the day. I did pick up the annual pass holder and one other pin. They were both looked much better in person than the pictures I saw of them.
- I was expecting really heavy crowds in the park today and it turned out to be a mild day. For example in the late morning Toy Story had a stand by wait of only 55 minutes. At 1pm right after lunch Star Tours was a walk on. I had booked a FastPass+ weeks ago and it actually took me more time to use than than had I gone into the standby line.
- Speaking of FastPass+ I did use one for Toy Story also. It was nice not having to hike out to get a FastPass. I managed to set the high score for the day (I went on before lunch) which I thought was impressive at first to also have the high score for the month. Then I realized it was the 1st so not as impressive. I did manage to trigger the bonuses for all but Woody's game and I was playing by myself. I had two targets left in the shooting arcade.
- In the afternoon I took a trip over to Downtown Disney to check out the Disney Springs progress. As i walked around I had some Disney California Adventure construction flashbacks with walls everywhere. All in all though its not nearly as intrusive as DCA's work was. It will be interesting to see how it turns out. Downtown Disney just keeps getting bigger.. not sure if it is necessarily better. I still remember the simple Village Marketplace. The new parking structures look like they will be a great relief to those who drive to the area. If only Anaheim would build some.
- On the way back to the Studios the bus had to take the long route there and circle around Epcot Resort Blvd. since no turns were allowed from Buena Vista Blvd. to the Studios. I was expecting the Studios to be a madhouse, thinking what happens at Disneyland in the evening, but was pleasantly surprised to find it very mild.
- My plan was to visit some of the opening day attractions.. I only made it on the Great Movie Ride. As I rode through it really became obvious how it needs some updating and help. If nothing else an update to the film at the end and re-align it to the screen.
- At 7:00pm was a Stars of the Studio Motorcade that featured many of the parks characters riding in convertibles down Hollywood Blvd. and gathering at the main stage for a group photo. I thought the concept was ok but the execution was not very good for this event. The cars rolled by so quickly it was hard to get pictures. There were MCs talking but they were way down the street and did not match up to what I was seeing. As it ended the street became chaos with guests trying to follow to the stage, some leaving, and others were trying to figure out what they wanted to do. Once on the stage it was a brief photo moment and with all the cameras being held up, kids, iPads, etc.. you could not really see much.
- At 9:30 there was a special fireworks show that was to feature the attractions of the studios over the years. It had been years since I saw a fireworks show at the park. The old Sorcery in the Sky was one of my favorites. The show did not disappoint and it featured some great shells and music. I have been a fan of the attraction review concept since Disneyland rolled out Remember Dream's Come True for its 50th so this fit naturally for me and it worked. Here is a video of the show (not the best since I was shooting this with one hand and stills with the SLR and cell phone with the other):
Here is a clip of the final taken with the SLR at a wider angle:
Pedometer Information for the day: