Roundtable Contributors: Elizabeth Caran (Outlander Travel), Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog), Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), and yours truly.
Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)
Another all-nighter is in store for Disney's theme parks. Following the success of Leap Day 2012's "One More Disney Day" event, in which the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland stayed open for 24 hours straight, it's time for a repeat. This year, the fun will happen 6 a.m. Friday, May 24 through 6 a.m. Saturday, May 25, and Disney California Adventure is added to the mix. The news was announced via a giant Mike Wazowski projection onto Spaceship Earth (which is a pretty nifty technological feat in and of itself).
No specific happenings have been announced yet, but last year included unique opportunities like a midnight parade and a 4:30 a.m. Frontierland Hoedown. In a relatively short-term decision, some friends and I decided we're making the trip down for the one day, so I guess you could say this will be another money-maker for Disney if others are following suit. It will be Memorial Day weekend, so crowds will be thick already, and the 24-hour event will only add more people to the mix. So will there be a lot of people? Yes. Will I be tired? Yes. Am I excited beyond belief? You betcha.
Confession – I love going to the movies. Yes, it’s expensive, but I love getting there early, grabbing some popcorn and a cherry coke, and settling in for the previews and a good movie. As someone with some history in music, I especially love how big of a role music plays in a film. The quality of the film score can make or break a movie. The shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho is not nearly as shocking without Bernard Herrmann’s piercing musical score. A camera slowly panning through the ocean becomes a man-eating shark stalking its next victim simply by adding two musical notes. With that in mind, we can all celebrate the fact that it appears John Williams will be back to pen the score for the next Star Wars installment.
I actually never thought about the possibility of a Star Wars film without John Williams. To me, he’s just as vital to the Star Wars films as R2D2 and C3PO. However, at the age of 81, John Williams may decide to retire his baton soon. And with a resume like his, he definitely deserves to ride off into the sunset whenever he is ready. But until that time, I am excited that he has decided to keep working with the Star Wars franchise, because let’s be honest; it wouldn’t be a Star Wars film without that opening fanfare.
Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog)
There's so much chatter over the interwebs this week about Merida becoming an official Disney princess on May 11. I'll admit... I thought it was the coolest thing when Rapunzel was crowned in London and I'm a little less than wowed that Merida's ceremony will take place at Walt Disney World. (I guess Scotland was out of the budget?)
But the first princess from Pixar is pretty exciting, even if Merida was never into those girly things anyway. Here's hoping she makes a very Brave-like splash on her day in the limelight! (Otherwise, it would be a little disappointing, don't ya think?)
Elizabeth Caran (Outlander Travel)
I am not a huge fan of parades in general at Walt Disney World. I love pageantry as much as the next person, but over the last ten years, the daytime parade has been very meh for me. I do enjoy the night time parades, with a special nod to the Boo to You Halloween Parade, but the daytime parade seemed very... plastic. The music is super-catchy though, so I haven't really minded it. And I think I know the choreography now because it runs like 10 times a day, right?
But last year, I was very fortunate to visit Hong Kong Disneyland and see the parade there. And I suddenly remembered that I actually do love parades. In January, I was wowed by the evening parade at Disneyland as well. And it got me thinking... can't the World do a better daytime parade? I mean, why CAN'T they?
Well, it looks like my musings are turning into reality. The concept art for the new Festival of Fantasy Parade that Disney announced this week are fantastic in more than one sense of the word and very reminiscent of the parade I loved in Hong Kong. Some steampunk elements mix with classic Disney characters and colors to bring some really amazing and alluring floats to Main Street. Not a steampunk fan? Doesn't matter. The concept art doesn't hammer you with it. It just plays on the nifty gadgetry and clockworks of the movement.
The music is going to be classic Disney music with a new main theme worked in. Sounds like Wishes to me, which is just great! Promising lots of motion and ways to catch the eye and wow the audience, this parade looks like it will be worth taking a mid-day break with a big Mickey bar to soak it all in. Too bad we have to wait until Spring of 2014. (No need to start lining Main Street quite yet.)
Ryan P. Wilson (Main Street Gazette)
Star Wars Weekends begin in just a few short weeks, but for those of you who can't wait to get down with the Hyperspace Hoopla, you're in luck! As the Force would have it, Star Wars Day (May the 4th, think it over it'll hit you) is going to be celebrated at Disney's Hollywood Studios this Saturday. Events include DJ Lobot, Jedi Training Academy sessions where parents can grapple with the Dark Side alongside their children (sadly, adults without children will not be permitted to participiate), and a special fireworks show, Symphony in the Stars.
Think of all of this as a preview for what is to come with Star Wars Weekends. With schedules and full guest lists not yet being released from Disney, this could be the perfect appetizer to the main event. This will also be the first year that Star Wars Weekends will occur since Disney acquired Lucasfilm, so I'd expect a few surprises. Symphony in the Stars in not a regular component of Star Wars Weekends, it has been used twice now for Star Wars Day and the Last Flight to Endor party, but I would absolutely love to see this show become a regular feature!
So, this weekend, laugh it up, fuzzball. I do not have a bad feeling about this May the 4th at all!