Thursday, August 26, 2010

Disney's Hollywood Studios: The Hat

There always seems to be criticism of DHS's "new" park icon, the Hat. Most of the blogs and commentaries hate it. They hate it with a passion. Kevin Yee recently posted a question about what to do with DHS to increase the bottom line, like what shows or attractions to cut down on or cut out. Several of the suggestions on his Facebook page boiled down to "Tear down the Hat and sell it for scrap metal."

(My own suggestion, there and in a blog entry, was to create a boutique experience a couple nights a week, or maybe just several times a year, where they turn the park into a "Glamour Night", like a movie premiere or a big star studded event. The architecture is there and so are the facilities to put on some special shows, roll out the red carpet for guests. I'm sure Imagineering could come up with some wonderfully fun stuff to do at this party, much like the Christmas and Halloween ticketed events at Magic Kingdom...but that's not really the point here...)

Everyone seems to hate the Hat. It never bothered me all that much. I didn't like that it blocked the beautiful reproduction of Graumann's Chinese Theater, and I didn't like that it only houses a pin trading store. That seems to cheapen the whole thing. And as I said in the last post, it makes a certain amount of logical sense, since it is Yensid's hat, and Yensid is the sorceror who makes the magic happen, and who also stands for Walt himself...

But the more I think about it, the more I look at the various park icons, I've decided that it just doesn't work as a park icon. It struck me as I was watching the video in my Disney Parks 6-pack on Animal Kingdom, when one of the Imagineers (Joe Rohde, perhaps?) was talking about constructing that park's icon, and he referenced the Castle and Spaceship Earth as icons to live up to. And DAK's Tree of Life DOES live up to those icons. It's a work of art on its own, and it is striking!

There is an elegance to all three of those icons, the geometric perfection of the Epcot geodesic dome, the sweeping spires and detailed architecture of Cinderella's Castle, the portrayal of LIFE itself by the big Tree.

There is no elegance whatsoever to the Hat.

It's a cartoon.

I realize that this is a park about movies and that animation is where Disney made its bones as a studio. But something else is needed as the icon, if it is not going to be the Theater.

Most bloggers and folks commenting on the issue seem to feel the Theater building is a perfectly adequate 'weenie' and perhaps they are right. But if Disney, for whatever reason, feels that it cannot be the symbol of DHS, then I'm going to weigh in on the side of those who feel that the Hat is not elegant enough or iconic enough to be used as the symbol. Surely they can come up with something that rivals the beauty, elegance and power of those other symbols. (Just off the top of my head I thought of some sort of sculpture featuring an Academy Awards statue and empty film reel spools. It probably wouldn't work since that Oscar statue is a copyrighted and protected symbol of the Academy, but something like that. There have to be ideas out there.)

I like the Hat but not where it is, and not as the park's 'weenie'.



Mario P said...

I agree with you in that I have nothing against the hat. Moreover, I like it and it looks great in the traditional picts we have taken in front of it. However, when you do put it up against the 3 other Icons, is does seem to fall short of the thought behind the others.

Scott said...

Thank you for commenting and reading! My kids like the Hat and think it makes a fine park icon, but they're 8 and 10. :-)

I don't hate it either, not as much as most bloggers and commentators seem to. But you've put it succinctly - it falls short when compared to the other three parks.