Thursday, February 16, 2006

Wanted: Giant Pin

Let's move on over to Disney MGM Studio at Disney World in Florida. While cooler heads would have spent the budget for this park on new E-ticket attractions at the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, it did have a couple appealing things going for it, one of them being its Hollywood version of Main Street.


In classic Disney fashion there was a nice architectural draw at the end of the street, a faithful full scale re-creation of Grauman's Chinese Theater. Somehow, someway, the management at the parks saw fit to sign off on a huge blue Mickey's Sorcerer Hat at the end of the Blvd., completely blocking the Chinese Theater. Where once stood an intricate and magical architectural icon now sits a giant blue zit of a thing with weird gold swirlies spraying out of it and what appear to be enormous gold cardboard stars superglued on its side. All that's missing is four hundred children bouncing around on plastic pellots inside.


Making it worse is that views from the far end of the street include the turrets of the Chinese Theater right behind the Big Blue Bouncehouse. Imagine placing this 'hat' right in front of the castle at Disneyland or Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom and you'll get an idea of why it is so, so, wrong.

Incidentally you can buy Disney pins and merchandise under this giant mess, which makes it all the more carny and evil.

24 comments:

moochie said...

It looks like somehting you'd see at a McDonalds playground. Someone help!

Anonymous said...

Is there any truth to the rumour that the Grauman's Chinese Theater owners in LA didn't want Disney using it as the main symbol of the park in merchandise and marketing, so they dreamed up this concept?

Ian said...

This has got to go down in history as one of the WORST decisions by WDW management.

That thing is an eyesore extraordinaire. First thing I'd do if I was John L. would be to order it's immediate removal!

Another Mouse said...

Remember that these exec clowns DID consider placing a Ferris Wheel in from of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle back in the mid 1980s (during the State Fair promotion). I recall that several Imagineers jumped in and initiating the idea of the bronze "Partners" statue that was installed in the center of the Plaza instead.

I completely agree with your original post!

cj powers said...

Putting a big blue hat in front of the park's [secondary] icon, thereby DESTROYING the vista, sounded like the punchline for a joke when I first heard about it. Alas, there it is.

Klark Kent 007 said...

Refresh my memory: When was the hat from the Sorcers Apprentice found in old Hollywood?

This just says: We are out of ideas!

RogerRmjet said...

Please, please, please tear this thing down immediately.

RogerRmjet said...

Disney-MGM is one of my favorite parks -- not for what it is, but for what it could be. The themeing is excellent (though the park is too small). I LOVE walking down Hollywood Blvd. The atmosphere is spot on. Hoping that with new management this park can finally become what it should be. A few requests:

- Tear down the hat (already mentioned).
- Give us multiple destinations on Star Tours (great ride, but it still has OPTICAL FX).
- Give us Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye!
- Give us some actual RIDES. Where you get in a car and it takes you somewhere. Disney-MGM has far too many shows (that said, a Kim Possible stage show would be nice).

And one of my biggest requests is (this goes for all the parks), put something in the closed and empty spaces, like the ABC Theatre and the WDW Skyway. Even if it's something cheap and quick (but creative). I just hate to see empty show spaces.

Anonymous said...

The hat was yet another outgrowth of the Millenium Celebration, if I recall correctly.

That wonderfully creative time that also brought us the abomination which still sits perched above Spaceship Earth at EPCOT. (please note the sarcasm)

The hat needs to go (as does the EPCOT sign). All of this junk should be hauled to Downtown Disney where it can be stored inside Disneyquest, thereby giving that pathetic facility a purpose as well.

CaptainEO said...

Looks like everyone's in agreement. The hat (and Epcot's hand) would have been fine as temporary gimmicks but they're now really spoiling decades worth of fine imagineering theming and ideas. I'm guessing that there's more chance of Epcot's anti-icon coming down than MGM's though.

I'd be interested to know quite how much both cost to design, build & maintain. I'm sure it's a lot less than installing a mid-level ride into an empty soundstage or World Showcase location but I know where most people would like to see the money splashed.

Chris said...

While I agree about the fact that it is out of place entirely, I do wonder what the imagineers had in mind. I recall hearing about the time that was built that an entirely new attraction would replace the Great Movie Ride. If that construction were to happen, the hat could possibly block a of the unsightly construction work if needed.

That's what I gather from the location of it, I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

It could be worse...they could have left that nauseating pink candy extreme makeover on the castle.

ILoveWalt said...

As a former CM who watched the infamous hat being built, I still stare in amazement at this monstrosity. I understand there may be issues in the future with the right to use the Chinese Theatre as well as MGM movies, but what an eye sore. And can someone explain to me where the hand is coming from? Freakish...

S.T. Lewis said...

The Magic Kingdom has the Castle, Epcot has Spaceship Earth, Animal Kingdom has the Tree, and MGM had the water tower... I guess the water tower wasn't good enough, because this hat seems to only be there to provide MGM with a symbol that could be attached to all of Disney World's bags, picture frames, photo albums, postcards and things. I remember seeing the top of the hat first, probably because I was rolling my eyes. And the fact that it's just a store... even more eye rolling.

Anonymous said...

i can totally see this as the entrance to the animation courtyard, but why in the world would you cover up the theater!? it's not even possible to take pictures of that beautiful structure!

Lee Nelson said...

Ugly! that's what it was -- pure, plain UGLY! Hubby and I stepped on the MGM tudio lot and were overwhelmed by the ugly hat -- it just didn't fit in!

We also thought that the pin store located under it was just tacky -- it served no purpose and sent a message of pure commercialism.

It definately started our time at MGM with a sense of disappointment.

Allison said...

Anonymous, the hat was erected for the Walt celebration "Share a Dream" which was the celebration after the Millinium. I am in total agreement with how obnoxious it is. I also agree that there is a good chance the theater will not be staying due to contractual rights, etc. I hope that doesn't happen and I also hope they tear down the hat and the hand on Spaceship Earth (just had to throw that in).

David Ransom said...

I didn't like the hat thing when it went up, but I thought it was temporary. It greatly detracts from the feeling of Hollywood that once existed in the park. I didn't really think about how bad it is until I saw your comparison pictures! (Good job!)

I heard that Pixar bought all of the old hand-drawn animation equipment from Disney after Disney laid off almost all of their classic style animators. I hope that with the merger they also bring back the real animators and production to the studio!

David Ransom said...

I didn't like the hat thing when it went up, but I thought it was temporary. It greatly detracts from the feeling of Hollywood that once existed in the park. I didn't really think about how bad it is until I saw your comparison pictures! (Good job!)

I heard that Pixar bought all of the old hand-drawn animation equipment from Disney after Disney laid off almost all of their classic style animators. I hope that with the merger they also bring back the real animators and production to the studio!

David Ransom said...

I didn't like the hat thing when it went up, but I thought it was temporary. It greatly detracts from the feeling of Hollywood that once existed in the park. I didn't really think about how bad it is until I saw your comparison pictures! (Good job!)

I heard that Pixar bought all of the old hand-drawn animation equipment from Disney after Disney laid off almost all of their classic style animators. I hope that with the merger they also bring back the real animators and production to the studio!

Dragonrider1227 said...

okay, I like that hat. I think tearing it down is a little dramatic but you're right that it's in a bad spot. They should move it at the entrance of Fantasmic or something.

Dragonrider1227 said...

PS. I also agree that it was dumb to make it a pin store. After seeing pictures of it, I was actually dissapointed to see that it was just another pin store.

Donny Prater said...

I've been to MGM probably 6 times and never noticed the Chinese Theater. I was too busy getting autographs for my kid at the Giant Hat. They should get rid of the hat and put it in it's own special park that is only for getting character autographs and buying/trading pins.

Anonymous said...

My understanding (from a cast member) is that Disney lost the rights (or wouldn't pay the price) to use the image of the theater from the new owners of the theater. So rather than take the theatre down, they put the hat up. Photographers have to shoot the photo spot without getting the theater in the back ground.

The hat does make a nice photo landmark, but the pin station is a bit tacky.