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Countdown to Disappointment

This past Sunday I was in Disney's Hollywood Studios for the premiere of Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! parade and I was really looking forward to seeing the new parade.  I was a big fan of Block Party Bash, the parade's predecessor, and still a fan of the more traditional parade before that, Disney Stars and Motor Cars Parade.  What I saw on Sunday wasn't anything like those two parades.  Rather, it was the worst parade I've ever seen in Walt Disney World.

There were so many flaws with Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun!, it's hard to point out just one glaring issue and say that is the real problem.  It's like a baseball team that vastly underperforms in a season due to the best starting pitcher on the team getting injured, one of the sluggers suspended for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, ownership trading away a favorite veteran and the closer having an unlucky season.  

I can start with the parade's content.  Firstly, it's just the Block Party Bash floats.  A few have been repainted but mostly it's the exact parade floats.  I was expecting some new floats to be added given that some new characters were being added to the parade in addition to the ones that were already in Block Party Bash.  Instead, they took the floats the Incredibles used to appear from, painted them, and stuck the new characters on there.  Basically, they took the old parade, painted a few things and called it new.

Repainted Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! float

Original Block Part Bash float

Making things worse is the music.  The soundtrack is what really makes a parade good or bad, in my opinion.  Think about the iconic soundtracks of the Main Street Electrical Parade, Spectromagic and even Block Party Bash.  They were unique compilations of music that complimented the parade floats so well.  What we have in Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! was a repeating track of Todd Rundgren's hit "Bang The Drum All Day".  Aside from being repetetive and stale, it was uninspired to hear not only nothing original recorded for the parade, but the same thing over and over again.

In addition, the choreography of the parade was rather lack-luster.  The characters and performers had next to no interaction with the crowd and it really felt like a passive experience.  You may recall in other Disney parades a character coming up to a kid and giving them a high-five or a performer tossing a ball at a guest or running up to someone videotaping and posing fo rthe camera.  There's none of that in this parade and it compounds the problem of an already uninteresting display.

On top of all of these issues is the fact the parade clocked in at a whopping eight minutes in length.  Yes, 8 minutes.  It started at 3:00pm and ended at 3:08pm.  Eight minutes is not a parade, it's moving distraction.  To call Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! is a parade is like calling ramen noodle soup a complete meal.  

I really found Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! an insult to us, the Disney fans.  I tried to find merit in the parade and the best thing I could come up with is the parade features a number of Disney characters you can't see anymore, such as Russell, Dug and Carl from Up.  The parade was a dissapointment in every sense of the word.  There's a number of theories I've heard from others as to why it's so bad, such as Disney made it so short and so dull to cut back on the cost of the parade, namely the performers. Or there wasn't a budget for anything more than a paint job.

Sadly, I find myself not only disliking the new parade, but encouring others to skip it.  It's not worth seeing unless you are absolutely desperate for some of the Pixar characters in the parade.  If I may borrow a phrase from a friend, Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! is the epitome of what's wrong with Walt Disney World these days: cheap.  

To the Disney management, I ask they simply bring back Block Party Bash while they spend more than $50 this time and invest in a parade worthy to be in Walt Disney World.  We, the guests, are not stupid and we know when you put out a quality product in the parks and when you go the cheap route and try to get away with something. 

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 by