With parades, it's inevitable: Two years after arriving at Disney's Hollywood Studios, Block Party Bash has scheduled it's last trampoline leap and twist-and-shout.
Earlier this month, Disney announced that Block Party Bash will have it's last performance on January 1st, 2011, marking an end to my favorite parade to grace Hollywood Studios.
With it's impending demise, I can't help but look back at Block Party Bash's legacy as a parade. It replaced the Stars and Motor Cars parade, a parade that lasted a very long time for a parade, October 1, 2001 to March 8, 2008. I think today we look back fondly to that parade, but in March 2008, its time was up and I think we were all ready for something new.
Block Party Bash was certainly something new. It took the traditional model of the afternoon parade and turned it on its head. No more passively watching parade floats run past you. Instead, Block Party Bash sought to make the parade an experience for all who watched it and it was really more of a travelling show than a parade. Like many others, I was not a fan of the afternoon parades but Block Party Bash was the exception for me because it was so unlike the rest.
Frankly, I was a little surprised that Block Party Bash was leaving so soon. I didn't expect it to last as long as Stars and Motor Cars, but when it leaves it will have been at Hollywood Studios for less than three years. Despite my affection for the show, I had heard mixed reviews of Block Party Bash from a variety of sources. I felt that the majority of people enjoyed it, but often I would hear anecdotally from Cast Members that guests would often complain that they couldn't see the entire parade at once. Others complained about the lack of classic Disney characters (namely Mickey, Minnie and friends).
I found these perceived weaknesses were Block Party Bash's strengths. The fact that you cant see the whole parade in one sitting gives Block Party Bash the unique attribute of being something you can enjoy more than once. All too often parades are a case of "seen it once, seen it enough" but I felt that Block Party Bash was different. And as for the lack of Mickey, I found it refreshing. The parades in the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom feature these characters, so why not have a little change?
I think that the success of Block Party Bash inspired the current afternoon parade in the Magic Kingdom, which features party stops along the way. In short, Block Party Bash changed the way guests enjoy parades. Thinking about it now, the best part of any parade I see are the characters and Cast Members who aren't on the floats. The floats are boring; it's the characters that walk around the float and interact with the guests that really make the parade fun and Block Party Bash took that concept and centered itself around it.
There's still about three months left to catch Block Party Bash before it leaves for good. There's no word on what its fate will be, nor official confirmation on the new parade's name or specific details but just like the real Hollywood, things change and new productions come and go so I'm looking forward to seeing what the next parade will be and I'll be sure to compare it to the gold standard of Block Party Bash.