Crank­ing up the mu­sic for Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios’ birthday

Orlando Sentinel - - People & Arts - By De­wayne Bevil

Walt Dis­ney World Pres­i­dent Josh D’Amaro shared an­other visit to an­other empty theme park Fri­day, this time to mark the birthday of Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios.

His video post on so­cial me­dia ad­dressed a re­cur­ring ques­tion, “Is the mu­sic still play­ing at the parks?” The an­swer, D’Amaro demon­strated while stand­ing in front of the Chi­nese Theater, is no.

“It sounds beau­ti­ful in here. You can hear birds chirp­ing, and you hear a cast mem­ber talk­ing ev­ery once in a while. But it does feel very different in here,” D’Amaro says.

As a birthday gift of sorts, the pres­i­dent had the mu­sic flipped on for a bit by the re­sort’s en­gi­neer­ing ser­vice de­part­ment, which may or may not have in­volved some Dis­ney magic. View­ers could then hear a big-band ver­sion of “A-Tisket, A-Tas­ket” play­ing. The video also ran through a hand­ful of Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios scenes, in­clud­ing the Brown Derby restau­rant, the arch­way lead­ing to An­i­ma­tion Court­yard, the Walt Dis­ney Presents at­trac­tion and Ger­tie the di­nosaur.

It ends with D’Amaro stand­ing near the en­trance to Mickey & Min­nie’s Run­away

Rail­way (neon lights on), a ride that de­buted about 10 days be­fore Walt Dis­ney World shut down in re­sponse to the spread of coro­n­avirus in mid-March.

“I’ve got to tell you, I’m look­ing for­ward to the time when I can en­joy this mu­sic with all of you,” he said. Pre­vi­ous on­line out­ings with D’Amaro have in­cluded stops at Dis­ney’s An­i­mal King­dom, An­i­mal King­dom Lodge, Ep­cot’s World Show­case and Magic King­dom. (His In­sta­gram ac­count is @josh­damaro.)

Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios opened to the pub­lic on May 1, 1989, as Dis­ney-MGM Stu­dios. There has been a lot of churn and over­turn in the past 31 years, in­clud­ing a name change and the re­cent ad­di­tion of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land. The Great Movie Ride, which closed in 2017, was the fi­nal open­ing-day at­trac­tion to be in oper­a­tion, al­though restau­rants such as Brown Derby and the ’50s Prime Time Cafe are still avail­able.

Email me at dbevil@or­lan­dosen­tinel.com. Want more theme park news? Sub­scribe to the Theme Park Rangers news­let­ter at or­lan­dosen­tinel.com/news­let­ters or the Theme Park Rangers pod­cast at or­lan­dosen­tinel.com/travel/at­trac­tions/ theme-park-rangers-pod­cast.

WALT DIS­NEY CO./COUR­TESY

Walt Dis­ney World Pres­i­dent Josh D’Amaro stands in Dis­ney’s Hol­ly­wood Stu­dios theme park in a video shot dur­ing the coro­n­avirus shut­down of the re­sort.

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