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Countdown to Fun? More like Countdown to Ho-Hum

18 January 2011 by By Matthew J. Palm - Theme Park Ranger

There's some irony -- bitter irony -- in the fact that Disney World's new parade has added "fun" to the title, yet removed the elements that make watching a parade fun.

Admittedly, the new parade -- called Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun -- had a tough act to follow at Disney's Hollywood Studios, coming after the high-energy acrobatics of Block Party Bash.

But with this totally forgettable parade, it's as if Disney didn't even try. Block Party Bash had trampoline artists, shouting contests, a participatory dance party. The original Countdown to Fun Parade, at Disney's California Adventure, featured gymnasts, bubbles, squirt guns and aerialists.

None of that is on hand at the Studios' Countdown.

It is nice to see Pixar characters Remy (from "Ratatouille"), and Carl, Dug the Dog and Russell from "Up." But even the characters aren't given any spark -- none speak and they have no way to express their personalities except through the same choreography as the dancers.

Think of it less as entertainment and more of a moving photo opportunity. And it moves fast: The whole parade passed me in less than 5 minutes. I clocked it at about 15 minutes from entering the park to leaving (and there's no finale, as in Block Party Bash.)

The speedy procession surely delights Disney crowd-control workers. It might also help curb disappointment. As I left the park, a guest in front of me said to his friend, "Well, at least it was short."

As usual, when Disney entertainment misfires, the hard-working cast members are left to do all they can to save the day. And the crew I saw was full of pep, singing along to the catchy tune and shouting with gusto as they repeatedly went through their countdown. Let me know when the fun arrives.


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