Like Disney Channel viewers around the globe, my elementary-school-age children were die-hard "High School Musical" fans. They eagerly anticipated each of the sequels and the accompanying soundtracks. I'm pretty sure we single-handedly supported the merchandising branch of the franchise with all the clothing, costumes, Barbie-type dolls and dance mats that littered our play room.
Unlike many other "High School Musical" fans, though, my children also are fortunate enough to live in Orlando and have annual passes to Walt Disney World, where they regularly could see a live musical production based on each of the movies at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Since 2007, the theme park has offered guests the opportunity to see their favorite "High School Musical" songs performed -- and even participate in the show by learning dance steps from the professionals.
The first moving stage show was High School Musical Pep Rally (which ran January – September 2007). It was followed by High School Musical 2: School’s Out (September 2007 – September 2008), High School Musical 3: Senior Year (October 2008 – September 2010) and, finally, Disney Channel Rocks! (October 2010 – April 2013). Through each production, the anthem "We're All in This Together" remained a constant, and I'm sure, brought back memories for fans.
Disney World recently announced that the current show, Disney Channel Rocks!, will have its swan song on April 6. Although I certainly can understand the decision -- much of the material is dated, even with the addition of "Camp Rock 2" songs in the fourth version of the production -- I have to admit I also was a little sad to hear the news.
I remember when seeing the pep rallies that traveled down Hollywood Boulevard and stopped in front of Mickey's Sorcerer Hat was a must-do each time we visited Hollywood Studios. My children had their favorite viewing spot and loved to participate. And, clearly, they were not alone. But as their interests and ages have changed, they have moved on, and I suspect that's the same for many "High School Musical" fans.
So, what's next for Hollywood Studios? Disney World hasn't announced what entertainment, if anything, will take the place of Disney Channel Rocks! It would seem that Disney's Channel's "Shake It Up" would be a natural fit with its story of a televised dance show, if theme-park officials want to keep the elements of music and dance that appeal to young Disney fans.
In the meantime, take a look back at each of the four "High School Musical" pep rallies in the videos below.
High School Musical Pep Rally (2007):
High School Musical 2: School's Out (2007):
High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2010):
Disney Channel Rocks! (2010):
The previous post in this blog was Easter activities spring to life early at Epcot.
The next post in this blog is Tour Disney Fairy houses at Epcot Flower & Garden Festival and learn how to create one at home.