Monday, June 2, 2014

Getting Meta - Original Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Getting Meta - Original Star Tours at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Formerly Disney MGM Studios, Disney's Hollywood Studios has gone through several incarnations and focuses.  It began as an alleged tour of a working studio, much like the original Universal Studios Hollywood.  Actual stuff was filmed there, from Newsies to Thunder in Paradise, but the implication that you could watch an actual production in the works and see real movie stars was largely unrealized.

As the park expanded and the focus turned towards individual attractions rather than one ginormous tour, the concept went from "pretending to be a real movie studio" to "being a pretend movie studio".  Stay with me here, it gets worse.

Star Tours was the first E ticket thrill attraction in the park, and Disney wasn't about to just attach a space ride in the middle of a studio themed park.  From The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Hollywood Studios -
"Sometimes a particular show makes sense in two or more different park concepts, but a change is usually required to alter the "wrapper" that places the attraction into each setting.  At the Studios, we're not trying to imply that Star Tours is part of a fantastic future.  This is about the movies!  So here we placed the attraction into a soundstage like others on the lot.  We dressed the front of the soundstage with a standing set of of the Ewok village.  And we allow Guests to see the backs of the set walls when they enter the building"

There's a couple of ways this can go.  Guests can pretend that they're on the set of a Star Wars movie production the entire time.  Or they can start by pretending they're at the Ewok Village, but wait, it's just a movie set.  Now we're heading into the Imperial bunker, but wait, also a set, and now we're in a loading bay, etc.  One transitional scene in the queue from movie studio to spaceport would suffice to keep the concept, but the guests don't need constant reminders that this isn't real.

Or, like ALMOST EVERYONE, they either don't notice/care, or they think "Hmm, they didn't finish this part for some reason.  Hey, they didn't even do the other side of that AT-AT.  A little lazy."
Happily they changed the concept during the update, as well as that of most of the park, to be "Attractions that might have something to do with movies".

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