This week, Disney fans will say farewell to Mickey’s Sorcerer Hat at the Hollywood Studios Park. Standing at 122 feet tall, this structure inspired by the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” portion of the 1940 animated classic, Fantasia, debuted on September 28, 2001 as part of the 100 Years of Magic Celebration at Walt Disney World. After the celebration ended in 2003, the hat remained as the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios parks for another 11 years replacing Earful Tower, but not without disappointment to many. While some loved the new addition to the park, many have referred to it as an “eyesore” for many years.
In October 2014, Disney confirmed that the structure will be removed by early 2015 but no one really thought it would be this early in the year, or at least they hoped. However, On January 2, 2015, Disney revealed that the Sorcerer’s hat will be removed on January 7th and cheers and jeers have spread throughout social media. I have even received word today that construction crews starting breaking down the icon last night after the park closed.
With all of the recent changes to the Hollywood Studios like the closing of the American Idol Experience and the Studio Backlot Tour, the removal of the hat is leaving guests wondering what Disney has in store for the “reimagining” of the park as a whole.
I have to admit, I am a fan of the Sorcerer’s Hat but I also remember the park before the 2001 debut. I can remember walking into the Studios after it first debuted and seeing it for the first time. Gasp! It was magnificent and I thought it was the perfect icon for the park at the time. Magic Kingdom had the Castle, Epcot had the Ball, Animal Kingdom had the Tree and the Studios had the Hat….perfect!
As I grew older and the novelty of the icon started to wear off, I started to think that as cool as it is, it would have been better placed in another location in the park to not take away from the view of the classic Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the feel of Hollywood’s golden era that the park originally depicted. So, while I will miss the hat, I will also be looking forward to seeing the Chinese Theater at the end of Hollywood Boulevard once again. I just wish the park would return to a functional movie studio as it has been in the past.
I think the one thing that I will miss is the great pictures in front of the icon, and while we have many, it kind of makes me sad to know that this is the last one I will have in front of the hat….ever. At least it was with my best friend and on her very first visit to Walt Disney World.
Disney has yet to release exactly how long it will take to remove the hat nor have they said what its replacement will be, if anything at all. I imagine with the newest partnership with Turner Classic Movies and the makeover for the Great Movie Ride, the focus of the park is going to be on the Chinese Theater. Only time will tell at this point.
In the words of Walt himself, “Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.” Whatever Disney has in store, I am certain that the Imagineers have something amazing for its guests to enjoy in the future. After all, nobody does it like Disney.
Visit www.capturing-the-magic.com for a preview of the stunning coffee table book, Capturing the Magic and purchase your copy today.
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