First appearing on Disney Channel in August of 2007, and appealing to both children and adults, the animated series Phineas and Ferb has taken the world by storm. With a sketch on some butcher paper in a restaurant by Dan Povenmire of a boy with a triangle head, he and his partner Jeff “Swampy” Marsh were inspired to create the Emmy Award winning show we know today. It wasn’t always this easy though as it took them 16 years of pitching their idea until Disney finally accepted it.
It was hard for Disney to make the leap. Here’s an animated series that presents itself as hard lines and well defined shapes and angles. Not being rounded or humaniform it wasn’t exactly the type of animation Disney is used to producing. In fact, Disney Channel CEO Gary Marsh was against it, and the company had originally said “No” to the series. However, looking for something to rival Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants, Disney eventually piloted and then signed on for the series.
And that’s when it started. That one question everyone who visits a Disney Theme Park starts to ask about their (or their children’s) favorite characters. In this case it was, “Where can I find Phineas and Ferb?” or “Where’s Perry?” Of course, the answer was initially nowhere. Disney did not throw their marketing and franchising genius behind the show fully until after it’s second season. The first official in park appearance of Phineas and Ferb was in the 2009 Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade at Disneyland. People immediately wanted more, and since this time they’ve appeared a few more times, especially media events.
Now, as a lead in to the release of their upcoming movie “Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension”, Phineas and Ferb have created a movie set on Disney’s Hollywood Studios Backlot. It can be found near the exit to Muppet*Vision 3-D. There is a well organized rope-queue where you’ll find a sign that is intended to bring you into the story. And the hours as indicated when I visited were 10:30AM – 2:00PM and 3:00PM – 5:30PM.
The premise is that the boys are on the backlot to make a movie called ““We’re Making a Movie” – The Movie”. And the best part? Everyone’s a star in it. The set is considered “hot” (meaning they’re making a movie), and you’re in line waiting to film your scene in the movie with Phineas and Ferb. The set itself is full of all sorts of eye candy for fans of the show, including Ducky Momo, the Giant Floating Baby Head, and an occasional appearance of Perry the Platypus (sadly not a live character).
The queue can be long, I waited about 45 minutes to see Phineas and Ferb, and this was on our second attempt. We had decided that the line was far too long the first time. They payoff is pretty good, you can spend as much as 4-5 minutes with the characters. They do take frequent breaks, heading behind the scenes roughly every 10 to 15 minutes which contributes to the long wait time.
The boys are working with a Director who, while interacting with the boys is also there to help create other scenes for the movie. Pulling guests out of the queue he will stage some of the better known musical numbers from the show including: Gitchee Gitchee Goo, S.I.M.P. (Squirrels In My Pants), and Backyard Beach (a personal favorite). These folks don’t just act out the parts, they get props to do it with. Inflatable guitars, the giant baby head, hula skirts, etc. The Director then pulls out his camera and a clapperboard and after announcing the take with the help of a guest, he “films” the scene. Keeping with the highly interactive nature of the Studios it is exciting, fun, and enjoyable to watch.
The characters are definitely the best part of this meet and greet. And I don’t just mean Phineas and Ferb, who look fantastic (though freakishly large), I also mean the Director who, no pun intended, can steal the show if he’s very into it (I’ve seen a few different castmembers playing this role). If anything the set itself is a disappointment. It’s a 2D background depicting the tree under which the boys get most of their “creative” ideas. The rest of the set is entirely built out. It just feels out of place. Sadly Perry the Platypus is not an interactive character he just pops up as a painted piece of the set from time to time. Disney also missed the mark in not painting the building behind the set to look like Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated.
Whatcha doin’? Have you met Phineas and Ferb yet? Long to? Excited to meet them? Are you their biggest fan? Today is gonna be a great day.