On Sunday morning, Disney had a media preview, of sorts, for two coming-soon attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We didn’t get to go inside the Toy Story Mania! building, it’s not quite ready for the “hard-hat” tour even. But we did get some official details that had previously been whispered about. After that presentation by Imagineer Chrissie Allen, we watched a live snippet of the Block Party Bash parade show, which is being transferred from California Adventure park in Anaheim.
OK, for those of you behind on Toy Story Mania!: it’s a dark ride, set for a “summer” opening in the area that previously housed Who Wants to Be a Millionaire — Play It! The exterior is definitely getting a facelift; it’s behind a formidable construction wall now. It’s a competition, with park guests aiming at targets with “spring-action” cannon devices on board. The vehicles spin and “everyone has a front row seat,” Allen says.
There are four original songs written especially for the attraction. The backstory is that Andy (the child from the Toy Story films) has been given a midway games playset that features five carnival booths. After Andy and his mom go to Pizza Planet, Woody and the other toys drag the set under the bed and assemble. Studios guests will then be “shrunk” down to toy size to play the games.
In the pre-show, a 5-foot-2 Mr. Potato Head acts as a boardwalk barker. He’ll talk directly and specifically to guests (think Epcot’s Turtle Talk With Crush). And he’ll give clues for high scores and special targets.
More ride details, plus photos of the Block Party Bash preview, after the jump.
Riders, after boarding their “carnival tram” vehicles and being shrunk to toy size, will receive some non-scored spring-action training. All characters are there, and Rex is the stage manager. The cannons can do 60 shots a second, Allen says, and in the training area, you’re launching virtual cream pies at targets.
The ensuing games includd “Hamm n Eggs,” where you’ll toss eggs at farm animals; dart throwing at balloon hosted by Wheezy and Bo Peep; throwing baseballs at plate under the instruction of Green Army Men; ring toss with Buzz Lightyear and the little green men (this is said to be the most difficult of the games); and a big-score opportunity/saloon scene with Woody, Jessie, the Prospector and Bullseye.
Later, your score is revealed, and it’s compared with the top scores of the day, the hour and of all-time for the attraction.
Hmmm, sound like Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin over at Magic Kingdom to you? “It’s like Buzz Lightyear to the 100th power,” Allen said Sunday. It was the first time she’d spoken publically about the attraction in the two-year planning of Toy Story Mania!
Cue the seamless transition to a sneak peak of Block Party Bash, which has one segment of Toy Story characters — along with other Pixar properties. I hate saying “high energy,” so I’ll go with “exhausting”
What we saw Sunday was lots of dancing — wildly colorful and baggy costumes — to a medley of pop dance tunes not typically thought of in the Disney catalogue.
(Sidenotes: Sunday’s exhibit was staged by the Studio Catering Co. eatery, not where the parade will be held beginning in “mid-March.” Also, photography was not allowed of the Toy Story Mania presentation).
A Green Army Man barks out orders and dance moves from his big blocky float. This, I believe, is the macarena, but there’s some disco and more contemporary beats in there too.
The cast puts the Y in “YMCA.” I was on the wrong side to capture the Toy Story characters in action, but Woody, Bo Peep, Potato Head, etc., were shaking it.Â Beware: There’s also crowd participation. In the foreground are scooters that a few of the dancers arrived on, but everyone else came onto the scene with more perk than humanly possible. (Insert Uppers With People joke here.)
This is one of the king-size traffic cones in the production. They have various tricks and haul props around, including tambourines. You can’t have high energy without tambourines, right? The super-pylon is moved from spot to spot by a performer who enters it through a door and pushes it from the inside (with some guidance from co-stars). If nothing else, it’s eye-catching.
On occasion, I hear complaints from townies that there’s not enough to do at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but by the end of 2008, we’ll have new stuff: Toy Story Mania!, Block Party Bash and the recently announced American Idol show. Now who’s going to be exhausted?
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