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Remembering ‘Hercules the Muse-ical’ on Disney Cruise Line

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Hercules-PosterContinuing our Pump-Up Week celebrating Hercules leading up to Friday’s new Animation Addicts Podcast, today let’s take a peek into Disney yesteryear.

Hercules is a film that received minimal presence in the Disney theme parks. The most longstanding tie-in have been character meet & greets, but even those are few and far between these days, with the most consistent being a surefire appearance by Hades around Halloween. Arguably the biggest stamp Hercules made on Walt Disney Parks & Resorts was Hercules: The Muse-ical, a stage show performed for nearly a decade on the Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder ship. It had its final performance in 2008 to make way for Toy Story: The Musical.

Not taking itself seriously for a moment, Hercules‘ sea voyage was practically half musical, half stand-up comedy. Hades, Pain, and Panic (the latter two both portrayed by women) especially packed a humorous punch, infusing relevant pop-culture references into the script. They often changed to keep up with current trends, much like Genie’s jokes in Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular, still performing at Disney California Adventure.

Here’s a glimpse of the comedic dynamic of the show, with Hades listing his five steps to ruling the cosmos (with lovely 2007 pop-culture laughs).

At the same time, though, the show had quite an impressive production caliber as a full-fledged musical. Take a look at “Zero to Hero” below. (You’ll notice, keeping with the farcical nature of the show, one of the Muses is a dumb blonde and another is a guy.)

I enjoyed this show when I saw it at age 13. I remember laughing and laughing and laughing with my siblings and cousins. Hercules may not have that huge of a presence in the parks today, but this show definitely captured the unique nature of the film.

If you were an Imagineer, what would you dream up for Hercules on land or at sea?

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About Blake Taylor

Blake is a scriptwriter at Elevation Church, where he develops documentary shorts and creative elements as part of the film team. He graduated Appalachian State University studying Electronic Media Production and is an alumni of the Disney College Program. Blake’s favorite films are Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Toy Story 3. You can find him on Twitter (@blake_242) and visit his blog at blakeonline.com.