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Don't count out Disney's Hollywood Studios Countdown to Fun! parade just yet

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Don't count out Disney's Hollywood Studios Countdown to Fun! parade just yet

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So it's been just over two weeks since Disney's Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade made its debut at Disney's Hollywood Studios. And based on the large number of Guest complaints that this retooled version of Block Party Bash has reportedly received so far, it's clear that Countdown to Fun! hasn't exactly won over theme park fans. Not yet, anyway.

Which is somewhat frustrating to the folks at Walt Disney World Entertainment. Given that many of the changes that they made to DHS's street pageant (EX: folding in characters from more recent Pixar films like "Up" and "Ratatouille") were made in direct response to earlier Guest complaints.

Though - to be honest - the biggest change that was made to Block Party Bash as it was revamped into Countdown to Fun! (i.e. the elimination of this 35-minute-long street party's three show stops) was made at the request of the people who work Ops at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

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"And why did Ops ask that those show stops get cut?," you ask. Long story short: Block Party Bash was originally designed for Disney California Adventure and its wide open spaces.  And thanks to the curb-free performance corridor that runs through Disneyland Resort's second gate, DCA had no trouble accommodating those over-sized "Toy Story," "Monsters, Inc." and "A Bug's Life" parade units. Not to mention the more-than 60 dancers, 16 acrobats, 12 pairs of jumping stilts and 30 electric scooters who originally performed in this street pageant.

But when Block Party Bash completed its nearly three year run at DCA in January of 2008 and was then packed up & shipped off to Walt Disney World ... Well, as you can see by the photo below ...

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... Block Party Bash proved to kind of a tight fit for Disney's Hollywood Studios. Especially when this street pageant moved through this theme park's Hollywood Boulevard area.

And then when you factored in how difficult it was for Guests & Cast Members to get across DHS whenever this 35-minute-long street party was being presented ... Well, at least from an Ops point of view, it made sense to ditch those show stops while Block Party Bash was being reworked to become Countdown to Fun!

But based on the number of Guest complaints that this retooled street party has received so far, it's clear that Walt Disney World Entertainment seriously needs to up Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade's fun quotient.

But don't count out Disney's Hollywood Studios Countdown to Fun! parade just yet. Tom Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, is aware of Guest concerns about this parade. Which is why - when Tom was in town last week to attend that Disney Dream / New Fantasyland combo press event - he made a point of dropping by DHS and personally checking out Countdown to Fun! And from what I hear, Staggs wasn't exactly pleased with what he saw.

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So just as the Orlando Sentinel reported yesterday, look for characters like Mr. Potato Head & additional entertainment elements to be folded into Countdown to Fun! in the coming weeks. I've also been told that a "Cars 2" -themed pre-parade will be added to this street party  sometime in the late Spring just ahead of the June 24th release date of that Pixar sequel. Which will then hopefully help beef up Countdown to Fun!

One Pixar Pal that will NOT be returning to Countdown for Fun! is Bo Peep. But that's supposedly due to story-driven reasons because this revamped DHS parade ends with a celebration of "Toy Story 3." And since - as that Lee Unkrich film reveals - (slight spoiler ahead) Ms. Peep is one of the members of the Andy's Room gang who's disappeared over the years due to those yard sales & garage sales that Andy's Mom would hold annually  ... Well, that's why Bo had to go.

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FYI: if you'd like to check out Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! for yourself,  Jeff Lange got video of the opening day version of this street pageant.

You'll also find some photos of the revamped parade units at JeffLangeDVD and MouseSteps. So go take a look at those pix &  come on back here to JHM and share your thoughts about Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun!

How do you think this retooled parade compare to the original Block Party Bash?

Do you think adding additional characters & entertainment elements will sufficiently improve Countdown to Fun! Or would you prefer that Walt Disney Parks & Resorts fund the development & construction of an all-new parade for that theme park? Something that's deliberately scaled to fit Disney's Hollywood Studios' somewhat problematic parade route?

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Your thoughts?

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  • Jim, not sure what entertainment elements are. More characters are always great, but the additional floats added in this parade are the saddest things I've seen in a long, long time. I get that it's a "Block" party, but the block like floats of Up, Ratatouille and Incredibles just stands separate of the other floats that were in the procession. I think it simply looks lazy.

    J. Jeff Kober


  • Let me correct what I intended to say. The floats look more like they might have been paired with a "Block" party given their design. But again, this is Countdown to Fun. Having seen it in DCA, this looks very different than what I experienced out in California.

  • Personally I was never a fan of Block Party Bash nor am I a fan of this parade (based on the vid I've seen of it). I'd much rather see something more in-step with the park itself a la Stars & Motor Cars (which I LOVED!!!) and not another DCA transplant that doesn't fit DHS as well if at all mostly due to theming. Granted, I give them credit for trying but still I just don't think either Block Party Bash or Countdown To Fun are a good fit here.lf it was something like Stars and motor Cars was then itd work-especially if it encompassed all aspects of DHS from Star Tours and Indy to Mickey, Muppets, and Pixar etc...and not focus so much on one aspect (in this case Pixar). Call me old-fashioned but I just think DHS needs a parade made and meant for DHS and not one meant for another park ..and one without showstops that just delays and clogs up the walking 'traffic' in the park while the parade is going on through whatever area its in.

  • Block Party Bash was embarrassingly bad.  Having Mickey implore me to "shake my booty" or do the Macarena was just scary.

  • Jim,  You make the parade route in DCA sound like it's the most ideal and uber wide - it's not, in fact the route is truely aweful and cramped ... I hate the fact there are no curbs - no place to sit down and when there is a parade - forget about being able to avoid it and get anywhere in DCA.

  • For the record.....Mickey is not in Block Party.

  • Hollywood Studios needs it's own parade. Block Party just didn't really work there, and this is simply a pathetic parade. Though that is currently the case with all WDW parades.

    or at least they could have brought over the pre parade floats Disneyland Resort had for Ratatoullie and UP.

  • Surely the operational aspects of BPB were examined before the decision was made to bring it to Studios. I thought the changes were made to save money. Paying the Green Army Men, the acrobats, and the much larger cast was more than WDW was willing to continue with, sadly. The equity drummers were also removed from Jammin' Jungle. Of course this makes no sense to me. Ticket prices go up, and guests seem to get less and less. Jammin' Jungle is 10 years old. DCT is in it's 6th crappy version. I'm even tired of the same, ancient floats in the Christmas parade. Why can't WDW get their act together and spend some money on a brand new parade like Disneyland does every few years? Disney World parades are pathetic and a slap in the face to everyone who pays good money in hopes of getting a quality Disney experience.

  • I Worked at the Studios at a CP when the BPB was going on and The Block Party was the best i seen in years because they made stops and interacted with guests and shot out the little squeeze balls at the end which a lot of guest loved, the countdown to fun is ok but  if they could change it a little they should at least bring back the jump ropers or the squeeze balls. I do miss the BPB but at the same time They should have the Aliens from Toy Story walk around or Slinky Dog or Rex or add more ppl to it

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