02 January 2011 by By Matthew J. Palm - Theme Park Ranger
The high-energy Block Party Bash parade at Disney's Hollywood Studios somehow upped its energy level a notch higher for its closing performance Jan. 1.
Plenty of Walt Disney World cast members, along with the throngs of New Year's Day park guests, watched the final showing of the Hollywood Studios parade, which opened at the park in the spring of 2008 after a three-year run at Disney's California Adventure Park in Anaheim.
The cast seemed determined to go out with a bang, all the way from the opening dance routine by the troupe of young women who were extra-sharp with their choreography. The acrobats seemed to jump higher and twirl faster than usual, as well.
There was lots of chatter from the various Green Army Men -- all known as "Sarge" -- about it being the parade's final mission, and one really exuberant dancer called out "Last time ever" as the final showstop dance sequence began.
Some in the crowds held up signs -- "We'll miss the Block Party Bash. Party on!" was a fun one I saw -- and fellow Disney cast members loudly cheered on their colleagues in the show. One Green Army Man, taking his final spin on the overhead-mounted wheel that lets him rotate at high speed, twirled himself with such force that he looked a little dizzy -- and took and uneasy step or two as he dismounted.
Woody was tipping his hat in response to the crowd's adulation, and some dancers were blowing kisses to friends.
A large crowd gathered for the final dance number, right before the parade exits the park near Star Tours, and it was a dance marathon as many of the performers filled the plaza-like area for one last routine. Even several of the Green Army Men were shaking their groove things.
Through pure luck, I caught a green Nerf ball when the final volley of balls was projected over the crowd. In all my times seeing the parade, I've never been in a position where a ball smacked the pavement right in front of me and then bounced up right into my hands.
I've always been a huge fan of this parade, since its days at California Adventure. It has a different kind of energy than your standard Disney parade yet retains all the touches that make a Disney parade: The fun costumes, the synchronized choreography. Add in the spectacle of the scooter riders, pogo jumpers, trampoline artists, and it was a winner. There was always something new to look at, keeping this parade fresher on repeated viewings than most.
And a special shout-out to the cast members who performed in the parade. Through the years, I have never seen anyone not giving 110 percent to make Block Party Bash the rockin' good time it was. In other parades and shows around Disney you do occasionally see performers who are having an off day -- but not at Block Party Bash. It demanded an energetic commitment, and the cast always came through. I never would have guessed I would so enjoy a parade that relied on Kool and the Gang for its main musical theme, but the cast made it work. Bravo!
[Note to parade aficionados: There is no parade scheduled at Disney's Hollywood Studios for the next two weeks. The Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! parade debuts Jan. 16.] GO BACK