Monday, March 17, 2008

Have You Been to the Beach Party?

I imagine that this sort of home video title is the kind of thing that alot of people simply discard as children's programming not worth watching. While Beach Party at Walt Disney World does seem to be inspired by the home video & PBS hit "Barney & Friends" Mickey Mouse and company never come close to reaching the heights of annoying condescending overacting that Barney and his multi-cultural friends have made their trademark. Released in 1995 as part of a new home video series "Mickey's Fun Songs", the Walt Disney World resort is the real star of this 30 minute musical video .There's no story here and not much talking either, instead the video soars through 11 musical numbers all shot at different locations throughout the Orlando resort.
The main purpose of the production to to promote the WDW water parks. (Blizzard Beach was in it's first year of operation when the video was made.) However, the party starts with some good old fashioned shots of the Disney/MGM Studios backlot. Mickey gathers up some kids from their front yards and city streets. Anyone who's ever visited the Studios theme park before 2004 will instantly recognize the suburban settings as the now missing Residential Street area of the backlot tour. It's a neat reminder of how the Disney/MGM Studios theme park used to actually be the home of a great deal of film and television production.

From there we're off to several beach locations shot on the shores of Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon. The kids next follow Mickey to Typhoon Lagoon for surfing in the wave pool. The song "Three Little Fishies" spotlights the park's Shark Reef with plenty of footage of the tropical fish found there and even a scuba diving Mickey Mouse. The next song "A Pirate's Life" was shot on a pirate ship docked in World Showcase Lagoon. It seems the only reason for this location was to have the Mexico building serve as a distant backdrop for the buccaneers. After the boys song, the girls sit with Ariel on the shore while she sings "Part of Your World" with the Polynesian resort looking beautiful in the background.

The centerpiece of the video is a rather extended version of "Hot, Hot, Hot" performed by Goofy while the kids and characters spend a day at Blizzard Beach. Plenty of the attractions are shown in great detail, especially the Ski Patrol Training Camp. Next, the kids take a boat over to the Polynesian for some hula dancing lessons.

The show wraps up on a beach at night time. It's hard to tell exactly where they are, but (a neat little surprise) the Electrical Water Pageant is parked right off shore. It's one of the few times I've seen the water pageant featured in a Walt Disney World show.

Beach Party at Walt Disney World is alot of fun. It's one of those videos that will give you that fix you need when you're having WDW withdrawal. You can easily find the DVD in stores, and ebay is always offering plenty of the VHS copies. The original VHS release is under the "Mickey's Fun Songs" banner, while another VHS and the DVD are labeled as "Sing Along Songs".


Disneyana World said...

I have a copy of New Kids On The Block at MGM-Studios. It's from 89-90.

There is an amazing scene that takes place at Typhoon Lagoon.

Anywho... this post reminded me of it.

FoxxFur said...

Beach Party at WDW may be fair to middlin' but it can never match the soul-searing brilliance of Sing Along Songs: Disneyland Fun. Not only does that function at one of Disneyland's best souvenir videos, but it features the immortal delivery "Where... Where's Roger??!!?"

Anonymous said...

Those videos are like time capsules of WDW. We bought these for our kids when the tapes were first released and they played them constantly!

It's too bad that Disney hasn't come up with anything this much fun lately.