MGM Memories

Friday, January 18, 2008

Recently, and with very little fanfare, Disney/MGM Studios officially changed its name to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (In fact, some reports suggest the only fanfare may have been our very own Matt Hochberg standing at the gates slack-jawed, and still a little shaky from his recent run-in with a certain prehistoric creature.)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is, so far, absolutely indistinguishable from Disney/MGM Studios. But on the theory that there will eventually be some discernable changes in the park, and because I am sorely lacking in good hooks for new columns, I’ll present here my top five favorite moments from my trips to the now-extinct Disney MGM Studios.

5) FastPass Photographer, July 2007. It was the end of a rare solo day at Walt Disney World (this busy mom usually uses her WDW time to reconnect with her also-too-busy kid). I wanted pictures of myself at all the parks I visited (I’d hit every park but Epcot), and had grown weary of assuring the FastPass photographers that yes indeed, I wanted a picture of myself, I was all by my lonesome. But not the guy at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster . . . whether he thought I was a loser or not, he made like he thought this was the best thing ever. “Just you ma’am? Excellent!!”

4) Stars and Motor Cars Parade, October 2006. Yeah, I know, I know. It’s nobody’s favorite parade. But see, here’s the thing. I’m quite the Star Wars fan, and my son’s following in my footsteps (he easily whups me at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit these days). And most of our WDW trips have been during the holidays, when the Star Wars characters take a break from their parade duties (what, maybe they’re up at the North Pole helping the elves pack gifts?). But that October we were lucky enough to make a special trip, so we finally got to see R2 cruise down Hollywood Boulevard. I tried to get a decent video for YouTube, but the audio track was too full of my shouting, “Oh my God, it’s Artoo! It’s Chewie! Hey, Artoo, come over here!” 

3) Dance Party! The time: December, 2003. The place: Right in front of that infamous sorcerer’s hat. The DJ: Who knows? But he was spinning old disco, and the kids were on their feet. I was in the middle of a sorely-needed vacation, practically a reunion with my son, who I’d been away from far too much that year because of business obligations. Even now I can feel it in my heart when I remember watching him dance that night under the electric stars.

2) First Ride on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. “Love roller coasters, love Aerosmith, hello?”  Aerosmith’s never been my favorite band (I’m more of a Ramones girl), but a trip around the Hollywood freeways in the G-Force Records limousine won me over.

1) Guest Services Saves the Day! It’s a good thing I have no shame, because otherwise I’d be pretty embarrassed by how often I find myself referring back to the evening that a Cast Member named Eric turned a dark moment into a precious bit of magic by giving my son a gift, to ease his sadness over a lost item. I think I remember it so often because it symbolizes the kind of magic that Cast Members make every day, and that Disney’s corporate policies make possible. Eric, if I ever run into you again I’m gonna be totally embarrassed that I rambled on so much about this online . . . but for real, it made a much bigger difference than you can even imagine.

If you’ve enjoyed this column, my name is Jennifer and this has been Jentasmic! If not, take pity and send a girl some column ideas, okay?