14 June 2010

Picture show

Being a guest at Walt Disney World should not be a passive experience. The stories being told in the attractions, shows, even in the buildings that line the lanes are only as immersive as they guests choose to let them. Involvement is crucial to the success of the narratives, from the World Showcase Players to the interaction between a Cast Member and a ‘princess,’ occasions to take part in these stories are everywhere. The pinnacle park for interactive opportunities is Disney’s Hollywood Studios, an actor and actress’ paradise where dining, shows, and street performances all offer chances to become part of the tale. Here are a few of my favorite ways to get in on the act.

Sitting down to a meal at 50s Prime Time CafĂ© is not a passive meal experience. The restaurant seeks to create dining rooms that could pass as a 50’s prime time kitchen set. Once seated at the kitchen table, a guest can try to keep their head down and just finish a meal, but the waiters and waitresses, otherwise known as uncles and aunts, are going to chide, berate, humiliate, mock, and even feed guests their vegetables if need be. One way to make this experience more enjoyable, apart from savoring each bite of the meatloaf and fried chicken, is to engage the uncles and aunts. Involve them in shenanigans, quip back at their sarcastic remarks, and, if you are a glutton for punishment, keep your hat on while eating or elbows on the table. Whatever the tack to play into the act, make sure you do not tattle-tale on the other diners sitting around the table.

An immense theater filled with hundreds of guests is not the place that most people want to make their acting or singing debut, but situated around Echo Lake are a couple of shows that offer just that opportunity to the brave. The newest addition to the park, The American Idol Experience, gives guests the opportunity to see if they have the chops to take the Hollywood heat and the chords to hit the high notes. Just around the corner, the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular puts guests in the middle of an action flick with smaller extra roles. Both of these performances offer a variety of experiences from making a mockery of yourself by laughing, screaming, and posing at Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular or through auditioning, belting out a tune, and hearing the applause of the audience at The American Idol Experience.

Perhaps the least regimented of all of the interactive activities at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are the interactions with the park’s troupe of streetmosphere performers, the Citizens of Hollywood. Found working along Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd., these actors, actresses, film crews, and community helpers, the Citizens of Hollywood are looking for guests to assist them in their daily functions. Whether it is assisting a director, fanning an actress, performing a water check, performing for a production, or being issued a ticket, guests have the opportunity to be a part of the impromptu shows that take place throughout the day.

Becoming involved in one of these performances or interactions, surprisingly, doesn’t take much, just a willingness to be the guest who puts yourself in the middle of the action. The stories are meant to give guests not only an immersive story to be a part of, but a memory that will last years after the trip to Walt Disney World has ended. It is easy to pass by these experience, or to simply sit in the audience, but let that be some other guest. The next time you’re at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, stand up and stand out, laugh at yourself, and become a part of Hollywood.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Great connection between these seemingly different forms of entertainment! Being a part of the show, so to speak, I think is a really fun aspect of being in Hollywood Studios.