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Roundup at Diamond Horseshoe

After 32 years of live stage performances at Disney's Magic Kingdom, the Diamond Horseshoe Saloon is finally going Hollywood. And Toy Story's Woody may be its new star.

Featuring non-movie characters in various musical and comedy acts since the park opened in 1971, the 300-seat theater will temporarily close on Feb. 1 to prepare for a new show that will feature characters from Disney films, possibly including the two hit Toy Story movies.

The Frontierland theater's shows have always had an Old West theme. Currently it's the"Revue and Medicine Show," including the Traveling Troubadour, Wildcat Kate and Dr. Bill Ya Later.

The old "Revue and Medicine Show's" characters were created especially for that 45-minute show and weren't movie-based.

The new musical comedy, tentatively called "The Country Character Roundup," will star the likes of Goofy and other well-known characters from Disney movies.

Under consideration are Toy Story 2's Woody the cowpoke, Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl and Bullseye the Horse, said Jacquee Polak, a Disney World spokeswoman. It hasn't been decided whether Buzz Lightyear, a main Toy Story character who also has his own ride in Tomorrowland, will be in the show.

It wouldn't be the first time Disney has had a theme park show based onToy Story characters.

Disneyland in California had a live-action show based onToy Story 2 called "The All-New Woody's Roundup" at its Golden Horseshoe from November 1999, when the film opened in theaters, until July 2000.

The new Disney World show's starting date hasn't been determined, but Polak said it will probably be in the late spring or early summer.

"This is a response to guest feedback. It will give them another opportunity to interact with familiar characters from the movies they love," she said.

Arleen Moore, visiting this week from the Princeton, N.J., area with two pre-schoolers, was happy about the impending switch.

"I think it's great that they'll be offering more of characters the kids already know," she said. "They just love recognizing their favorites from the movies in a live show."

But some longtime Disney visitors were sad to hear the old show would be going away.

"We have been to this show at least six times over the years, and we'll miss it," said Joseph Bacchus, a retiree from Des Moines, Iowa.

The new show is part of the periodic freshening of Disney World attractions that management says is necessary to encourage repeat visits. But some old attractions die hard, such as Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, which was replaced by The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh a few years ago over the protests of numerous supporters.

Robert Johnson can be reached at rwjohnson@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5664.

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