A couple of days ago, we stopped by Walt Disney Studios Park to check out how things were going there. We have plenty of photos to share from our new favorite show, Mickey and the Magician, plus some updates on various happenings going on around the park.
The main Studios 1 building all guests pass through as they enter the Park was covered in tarps and scaffolding along its southward-facing wall, presumably for paintwork.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror continues its lengthy exterior renovation project, expected to last till May 2019, to fix problems with the facade. Despite earlier rumors, the iconic attraction is not planned to change its theme to Guardians of the Galaxy, as was previously thought.
Le Rendez-vous Gourmand
The Not-So-Food-And-Wine-Festival at Walt Disney Studios known as Le Rendez-vous Gourmand was in full-swing, where we sampled some tasty offerings from the Belgium tent.
Live jazz band made up of “chef” and “waiters” performing for guests in this park’s Hollywood Blvd. area, near the Disney Bros. Plaza
Mickey And The Magician
As WDWNT staff writer Henk Janssen reported last May, Walt Disney Studios Park guests who are MasterCard-holders have the special perk of reserved seating at select entertainment performances. We plan to take advantage of this benefit for as long as Disney and MasterCard continue to offer it, which we hope is for a long, long time.
We gave it a try on our recent trip to the park in August and we were quite satisfied with this service. To get the reserved seats, you need to ask at Guest Services, located just inside the main gates. The Cast Member we spoke to was very polite and helped us get seats at a performance of Mickey and the Magician later in the day, despite us asking for seats to the Marvel Super Heroes United show which had already sold out.
The reserved seats are all in the very front rows, providing excellent views right up close to the action. Seats do fill up, so make sure that you come to Guest Services as early as possible for any show you want to see. After receiving our reservations, the Cast Member we spoke to advised us to arrive at the venue 30 minutes before showtime, but once the show started I still saw some empty seats in our reserved area, so maybe this is more of a guideline than a hard rule.
The show itself is very cute, and features extravagantly choreographed musical numbers from various classic Disney movies, including Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Frozen, and Aladdin, along with some original music. The story is that Mickey’s job is to clean a master magician’s atelier, full of magical items including a talking hat, but keeps getting distracted by strange occurrences and characters which come to life. The dialogue is in both English and French, and blended together very smoothly without any unnecessary repeating. There even is a sign language interpreter slightly off stage for hearing-impaired guests, which was pretty impressive.
The stage lighting, choreography, and special effects are all very well done, and I was struck by how clever the show even incorporates real life stage illusions, such as levitation and vanishing acts, into what you expect in a typical song and dance Disney stage show. The solo performers which I especially enjoyed were the Genie from Aladdin, Rafiki from Lion King, and the Magician himself. If there is any one gripe I can make about this show, is that its choice of songs was predictable and non-risktaking, consisting entirely of guaranteed crowdpleasers (think Let It Go and Be Our Guest) that you have probably heard one too many times before.
Marvel Summer of Heroes and Super Heroes United
Enormous superheroes line the Place Des Stars as part of the Studios’ Marvel Summer of Heroes event. One thing I will say is that these statues are HUGE which you may not be able to tell from looking at the photos, and they look a lot better in person.
The new Marvel Super Heroes United show, which we reported last week will make way this fall for the return of crowd-favorite Cinemagique show, was a bit of a dud, despite all the promotional effort Disney put into it, not to mention the enormous investment in retrofitting the theater with new special effects and projectors.
The show is in English and French, like Mickey and the Magician, but the script is full of stiff dialogue and has the unfortunate problem of having each character’s lines repeated back in a different language, feeling very forced and unnatural. The stunt choreography in the fight sequences was not particularly convincing or exciting, and the stage direction was confusing.
The show consists mainly of origin-story vignettes introducing each Marvel hero one by one, loosely wrapped around a story about Thanos brainwashing Iron Man and Captain America to fight against each other. There are some cool special effects, such as a floating car controlled by Doctor Strange, and flying drones on stage, but the show relies too heavily on projection technology to tell the story, which isn’t very strong to begin with. It’s all a bit hokey and borderline campy, so unless you’re a die-hard Marvel fan, you could probably skip it.