by Faith Kazim
We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.Walt Disney
Ah, the movies. That delicious aroma of greasy, highly overpriced, yet still tempting popcorn. The expectant lull in the audience just before the movie, and just after the five hundred coming attractions (fifteen of which looked promising). It’s safe to say practically everyone has at least one fond memory at the theater. It might be waiting in that huge line to catch the new blockbuster on opening night, or finding a hidden gem of independent cinema in the small, private theater down the street.
For some people, that wonder extends past the world in the film, and all the way to the world behind the camera. I have become one of those people. I still love diving into the stories, but I’m always looking to see what angles the Director of Photography used, how the Production Designer used color and costuming to depict the character arcs, or where the soundtrack was placed so as to enhance, and not distract from, the action.
While these discussions can become a bit annoying to others less interested in the behind the scenes secrets of film, we are supposed to be producers, not consumers! After all, producers think, create, solve problems, and lead. Consumers react, spend, wait for others to solve problems, and follow.
That’s why I loved Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Watching how stunts are done in movies? It really doesn’t get cooler than that! Stepping into the park just gave you this sense of stepping into Old Hollywood. Which is why I was heart-broken when I heard that The Great Movie Ride had been replaced with Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway. Now, I know this actually happened back in August of 2017, but I haven’t been to Disney for a while. I saw an article about it recently, so it’s fresh in my mind right now.
It’s cool that they made a ride honoring the early animation that rose Walt Disney to fame, but I’m unhappy with what it replaced. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. The Studio Backlot tour closed in 2014 to make room for Toy Story Land. The Magic of Disney Animation closed July 2015 to make room for the Star Wars Launch Bay. Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show closed April 2016 to make more room for Toy Story Land, and later, Galaxy’s Edge. Do you see the pattern here? Thank goodness they haven’t touched the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular yet.
Yes, Disney has a new generation they need to cater to, and they need new stuff to boost attendance. But they are dismantling the only theme this park ever had. Where else could you see stunt scenes in action? Where else would they give you a good look at the behind the scenes of set-building, costuming, and filming processes? Since they began to develop Toy Story Land and Galaxy’s Edge, the park has slowly slipped from inspiring future producers to enticing consumers with shiny toys and souvenirs from their favorite blockbuster.
Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I am just as guilty as anyone of geeking out over Star Wars or Marvel. The problem here is what it is being replaced. Yes, the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids playground was nearing the end of its time, but The Great Movie Ride? Seriously? How does that become unrelatable? They could have just added a few newer movies, maybe replaced a few obscurer ones. How about putting La La Land in the musical section, or maybe The Matrix in the sci-fi area?
Hollywood Studios was a really innovative and unique park. No other major theme park has attempted to showcase the movie-making process. Even Universal Studios, the park known for its famous movies, focuses on the movies themselves, not the making of them. Disney went out on a limb with Hollywood Studios. And I appreciated it. I hope other people did too. Ultimately, though, Disney isn’t looking to produce content that will appeal to just a certain group of people. They’re looking to see what will bring in the most customers, and ultimately, the most cash. And that’s a big step away from what Walt Disney would have wanted. After all, didn’t he say,
“Disneyland is the result of love. We did not go into Disneyland to make money.”Walt Disney
Disney still works to preserve the child-like magic and wonder in their parks, but behind the scenes, the corporate focus seems to be money. In the words of Walt Disney himself,
“That’s the real trouble with the world. Too many people grow up.”Walt Disney
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