The Hollywood that never was, but always will be…that’s the theme behind Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios. It’s also the theme for the Movie Magic Projection Show that debuted earlier in 2017.
The show starts with an announcer proclaiming… Welcome to Hollywood, not a place on a map but a state of mind that exists wherever people dream and wonder and imagine, a place where illusion and reality are fused by technological magic. We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was and always will be.”
Leveraging the projection mapping added to Hollywood Studio’s Chinese Theater for the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular, Movie Magic adds sort of a “night cap” to your day at the studios. Well, at least it would have before the re-imagineering of the entire park…
To me, the show felt a lot like Disneyland’s nightly fireworks, a night cap reminding you of your day in the park. With references and movie clips from Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, Mary Poppins, Zorro, The Rocketeer and Pirates of the Caribbean, all direct reminders of attractions that are currently, or at least were a big part of Hollywood Studios. You can’t help but think Great Movie Ride during the ending of Movie Magic; the ending montage of movie clips is a direct reminder of the ending montage from the now extinct “Great Movie Ride” – As soon as Robin Williams proclaims
“Good Morning Vietnam”, it’s obvious that this version of Disney Movie Magic was developed for a now extinct version of Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios.
The projection mapping technology fits nicely inside Hollywood Studios, and would not have been possible with the Sorcerers Hat as the park Icon. No doubt, Disney was looking at the 5 year plan when the hat was removed and had the projection technology on the road map; a reminder that there is always a bigger picture and long term plan for every move Disney Imagineers make inside and out of the Theme Parks. The projection mapping can easily be updated with new properties and new storylines. The technology is now well baked having been introduced all the way back in 2011 with The Magic, The Memories and You at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
Disney Movie Magic lasts about 10 minutes and is the first stand-alone projection at the park. Is it a sign of things to come? Absolutely, and an easy way to showcase new properties like Guardians of the Galaxy, and a way to feed the cult following of other properties like Tron and The Nightmare Before Christmas in a way that makes sense. You can even throw in Walt Disney audio and a cameo of Tom Hanks portraying Walt from Saving Mr. Banks, and it feels right.
While the show currently plays the role of a “Pre-Show” to the nightly Star Wars Galactic Spectacular Fire Works and Projection Show, Disney Movie Magic is scheduled to perform the same function for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! this holiday season. While the name and content are sure to change, the Hollywood Studio’s projection shows are sure to become a nightly tradition at Hollywood Studios.. I can already see the Toy Story show as we approach the opening of Toy Story Land in summer 2018.