Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios first opened in 1989 and today is the fifth most visited park in the United States. The theme is dedicated to show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. When it originally opened, it was known as Disney-MGM studios thanks to a licensing agreement between Disney and MGM. After a series of lawsuits between Disney and MGM, Disney re-branded the park as Disney Studios and then Disney's Hollywood Studios. Rumors of yet another name change have spun out of a recent shareholder meeting earlier this year, so don't get used to the Hollywood Studios name.

Although there are a lot of rides, shows and attractions, this is another one of the parks that you can do in a half day if you really want to. I was particularly fond of the Muppets 3D show. Our boys are fans of Star Wars and we tried to get one of them involved in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple only to find out that you have to sign up at the park gate or behind the Indiana Jones Stunt Show. Slots are usually all taken by 10:30am and once they are filled, that's it. These little tidbits of information weren't available in the My Disney Experience App, so we missed out and our child was hugely disappointed. That being said, it's still a very cool show. A group of kids appear on stage to be trained by a "Jedi Master". He teaches the kids a series of moves with the lightsaber ("block high," "duck," "cut low") and they learn them in a specific order. They run through it a few times, until they all have it down. Darth Vader comes out and then the Jedi Master informs Vader that the young padawans wont join him on the dark side. Vader then duels with a few kids, as the Master calls out moves to perform, just in case the child has forgotten. When it's done, the Jedi Master announces that Vader has been defeated and the Sith Lord marches off. Then the kids all get cool little certificates.

Ozzy And Sharon did a great job!!!
We stayed long enough to catch the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. According to the official story, Arkansas resident Jennings Osborne and his family loved the holiday season so much. In 1986, Jennings asked his youngest daughter Breezy what her Christmas wish was and replied that she would like to see their whole house covered in lights. They had quite a large house but Jennings was determined to make his daughter's Christmas dream come true, so the Osborne family covered their home with a modest 1,000 red lights. With each passing year, the Osborne family added more lights and eventually purchased property adjacent to their own in order to expand the display even further until the display grew to millions of lights. This attracted onlookers from all over Arkansas. Displeased by the resulting traffic jams, the local residents asked that the Osborne family stop the annual display. Legal intervention was sought, and it appeared that the Osborne's beloved tradition was about to come to an end. When Disney got word of this, the mouse offered a venue where the Osborne lights could be shared with visitors from around the globe. In 1995, Residential Street at the Disney's Hollywood Studios became the home of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. Whenever the Christmas music is played, the lights dance to the music. It's a beautiful display that captures the spirit of the holiday season. This was probably our favorite part of our visit to Hollywood Studios. Sadly, I hear that this will be the last year that Hollywood Studios hosts The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. I'm not sure if it's true, and, if it is, whether or not the display will be hosted elsewhere.

The Osborne Family Spectacle Of Dancing Lights Soundtrack: 

  • "Christmas Eve (Sarajevo 12-24)" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra 
  • "Jingle Bells" by Barbra Streisand 
  • "A Mad Russian's Christmas" by Trans-Siberian Orchestra 
  • "Feliz Navidad" by José Feliciano 
  • "Here Comes Santa Claus" by Elvis Presley 
  • "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" by Arthur Fiedler & Boston Pops Orchestra 
  • "Nuttin' for Christmas" by the Plain White T's 
  •  "Christmas is Starting Now" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy 
  •  "Winter Wonderland" (Original arrangement by Dan Stamper) 
  • "What's This?" by Danny Elfman (from The Nightmare Before Christmas)

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