Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Sorcerer's Hat Comes Down Tomorrow. Why Was it There, Anyway?

     Disney announced earlier this year that 2015 would bring the removal of the Sorcerer Mickey hat that has  long adorned the end of Hollywood Boulevard at Disney's Hollywood Studios. It has functioned as a pin station, a hub of different shows and events, and a merchandise shop. Many don't know, however, that the hat came for a reason, served a function, and will now leave for a reason.
     In 2001, Disney World celebrated (17 months of) its "100 Years of Magic" promotion, counting 100 years since the birth of Walt Disney. The World brought in several attractions from around the rest of the Disney world to accompany this celebration. These included Soarin' from Disney's California Adventure and the Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show from Disneyland Paris. Along with the celebration in Florida came a name and sponsorship change in the then called Disney MGM Studios. Disney no longer had a partnership with MGM, and was working on retooling the park so as not to infringe on legal rights of MGM. One of the issues that came up at this time was the Chinese Theater at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. Since the Park's opening in 1989, the Theater had been the dubbed "weenie" of the park. It was all over signs, advertisements, postcards, trash cans, and everything they sold at the Studios. Those of you with better memories will remember that Disney very suddenly removed that facade from all of its merchandise, and stuck a giant sorcerer hat in front of the Theater. This happened as a deal between Disney and MGM, in response to a claim by MGM that Disney remove the theater from the park completely, because it owned the original Chinese Theater in California. As a compromise, Disney essentially covered up the Theater, and removed it from all of its merchandise and signs.
     Thirteen years later, Disney will tomorrow remove the Sorcerer's hat, and allow the theater to once again shine as the center Hollywood Studios. This change comes in front of major upheavals coming to the Studios, and is a sign that Disney is not completely abandoning its roots in its Studios park. What changed between Disney and MGM you ask? The new deal between Disney and Turner Classic Movies allowed Disney to upgrade the Great Movie Ride, and purchase the rights to the beautiful building that was once so iconic in the park. However you feel about the hat, big and exciting things are happening here!

Thank you for reading!

-William (www.facebook.com/wdwforthetaking)