Not content with Crush’s Coaster, Cars Quatre Roues Rallye, High School Musical On Tour, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Stitch Live, officials and Imagineers at Walt Disney Studios Park are said to already be lining up their next new attraction.
Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage!, the puppet and character show from Disney-MGM Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, is now strongly rumoured to set up home in another of the empty television stages within Walt Disney Television Studios — the same building where, come March 2008, we’ll be able to see Stitch Live, forming a double act of live, interactive shows.
The trustworthy source La Rouquine on Disney Central Plaza forum claims the show is now a confirmed future plan for the Studios, likely to launch for the 2009 season.
In both Florida and California, the show is presented in a soundstage-style building with guests young and old sitting on the floor, a series of “hanging” sets interchanging automatically on stage to present the worlds of Bear in the Big Blue House, JoJo’s Circus and Book of Pooh, amongst others. A live presenter carries the show, which features both puppetry and regular stand-up characters, encouraging young children to dance and clap along to their favourite television stars.
The show seems a perfect match for the park’s real Disney Channel studios, which originally hosted the actual Playhouse Disney continuity set for some time, on the stage where Stitch Live is now under preparation. With guests seated on the floor, costs would be minimal and the attraction would finally answer the calls of many parents visiting the resort whose children want to meet these stars. Disney has been putting a great deal of effort into its ‘Playhouse’ brand in recent years, including using it to introduce young children to Mickey Mouse for the first time with “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”.
Where could this rumoured Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage attraction go? Well, the television building is far larger than many might realise. Since its inauguration in late 2001, Disney Channel France have gradually used less and less of the television production facilities built exclusively for them, handing them over instead to park operations and using the building instead as their main office headquarters and the channel’s “playout” centre.
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Beyond the stage most likely to be used for Stitch Live, a third stage of the same enormous size, perhaps larger, lies towards the back of the building. Its elongated shape would suit the live show format well, and with some realignment of doors the stage could certainly link directly through to use Disney Channel CyberSpace as its post-show, as has also been rumoured. Earlier rumours suggested new automatic doors will lead from the Stitch Live auditorium into the post-show area.
La Rouquine claims the show’s entrance would be located right next to that of Stitch Live. Noting the backstage corridors between the soundstages shown above and breaking into some pure speculation, it would be perfectly possible for Stitch to use the area marked “Pre-Show Area” for its pre-show, whilst Playhouse Disney guests could be ushered through the former “Channel Playout” backstage viewing area towards the third stage.
Now of course, we can’t forget those rumours — which are still surprisingly quiet — of the Stars and Motor Cars Parade coming to the park from Florida, either. Whilst many suggested that the vehicles in this parade hosting Playhouse Disney characters would be cut immediately, the addition of an attraction dedicated to the channel’s characters would say otherwise — and add more credibility to rumours of the parade itself one day arriving.
Speaking of Florida, their plans to rename Disney MGM Studios to Disney’s Hollywood Studios include an update of their own Playhouse Disney – Live on Stage! attraction in February 2008. The current round of characters will be replaced with even fresher faces from shows such as “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse”, “Little Einsteins” and “Handy Manny”. When — or should we still say, “if” — the show arrives at Walt Disney Studios Park, it will be this newer version of the show.