This past weekend marked the final performance of Block Party Bash at Disney's Hollywood Studios and for many, it meant the end of a favorite afternoon show. Block Party Bash may have only been at Hollywood Studios for less than three years, but it left its mark as popular a parade as the park has ever seen.
Looking back on Block Party Bash now, I can't help but recall the first time I saw the show, which was during a Cast Member preview before the official beginning of performances in the Studios. I had heard a lot about the parade from its time in Disney's California Adventure but I really hadn't understood just what I was in for quite yet. The preview occurred after park hours at night and even though we picked a bad spot to watch the parade from (almost at the Sorcerer's Hat), myself and everyone around me were completely in awe of the show we saw.
Block Party Bash flipped any notions we had of a traditional afternoon parade on its head and that's why I really enjoyed it so much. I always found the afternoon parades to be dull, passive experiences that failed to capture my interest. With Block Party Bash, it wasn't about just watching characters walk by you. Rather, it was about creating interactive experiences for the guests around the cast and making the guests a part of the show.
After seeing Block Party Bash for the first time, I just couldn't get enough of it and I brought many friends and family to the Studios to see this parade, especially those that had sworn off afternoon parades because I had once felt the same way. I really felt once someone gave the parade a chance, they would end up enjoying the show they saw. All too often, I got the same reaction, which was something along the lines of "Wow, that's so different from the parades I'm used to."
During one showing of Block Party Bash, I was joined by a good friend, former Citizen of Hollywood Francis Floot, who was dressed in character but took the time to watch the show with me. He had wanted to check it out for himself and we both enjoyed watching the parade and commenting on what we saw. We both laughed at the costumed characters, opened our eyes wider at the Cast Members who performed aerial acrobatics and screamed when instructed to do so during the "You make me want to shout" sequence.
Of all the characters, dance sequences, performances and guest interactions of the parade, my absolute favorite part of the parade has to be the Green Army Men who, if I may borrow a line from Hall of Fame baseball player Reggie Jackson, are the "straw that stirs the drink". They engage the crowd and quite often have some hillarious jokes to make during the show. Still, I can't help but be in awe of one particular Green Army Man, who on the Monsters Inc float, will grab a hold of a metal wheel attached to the ceiling of the float and spin himself unimaginably fast during a few dance sequences. I don't know how he manages to not make himself sick or stumble around after, but it is an amazing sight.
To the cast of Block Party Bash who gave so much of their energy and excitment to all of us over the past three years, thank you so very much for changing how I and so many others feel about parades. I won't forget how much fun Block Party Bash was and while I'm looking forward to seeing what Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! has in store, it's going to have a tough time measuring up to its predacessor.