Posts Tagged ‘Disney’s Hollywood Studios’

Updates to Disney’s Hollywood Studios Ride Ratings

by on April 9, 2014

A mother from Ellicott City, Maryland, sent us this question last week:

Do you provide a description of how you come up with your star ratings for rides?  I’m not talking about the age-related ones, but the authors’ rating.  This question came up when we were reading about Magic Carpets of Aladdin.

As it happened, last week was also when the Unofficial Guide staff got together to review the ratings for every attraction in Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

The authors’ rating is the consensus opinion of the Unofficial Guides’ authors. And while everyone’s got personal favorites and criteria, all of us agree that the basic rating system functions something like this:

***** Attractions rated five stars  are iconic attractions by which all others are judged. These are generally combinations of great storytelling, attention to detail, and technical achievement, all done on a grand scale. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal is a good example, as is Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom.

**** Four-star attractions are generally either done on a smaller scale attraction, like Mickey’s PhilharMagic, or it’s a headliner attraction that has aged technology or content (e.g., Living with the Land).

*** Three-star attractions are usually budget-friendly rides that Disney uses to increase the capacity of a particular area. Magic Carpets of Aladdin was the example we discussed most often here.

** Two-star attractions are usually older, lightly-themed carnival rides, such as Mad Tea Party, or in the case of Stitch’s Great Escape, a rare attraction with so little merit that it can’t be recommended.

* One-star attractions are either simple diversions that Disney promotes as an attraction, like Frontierland Shootin’ Arcade, or the ride has material weaknesses in story, theme, ride experience, and maintenance, and should be avoided.

There are no zero-star attractions in Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando. Also, an attraction can earn (or lose) half a star if it’s slightly better (or worse) than similar attractions.

Here’s a list of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions whose authors’ ratings have changed in the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and a short explanation for the change:

Citizens of Hollywood *** 1/2  One of the best sets of roving street performers in any Disney park, you’ll find this comedy troupe on Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, dragging unsuspecting tourists into the antics. Previous rating: none

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

More Adventures with Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+: DHS & DAK Edition

by on March 22, 2014

Welcome back to the continuing saga of Walt Disney World’s recent roll-out of Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+ privileges to the general public. As explained in our last episode, all WDW annual passholders should now be able to make up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations within the next 30 days through the My Disney Experience website and apps. Last time, we looked at how I set up my first week of FastPass+ selections, and saw how my first intinerary turned out at Epcot (TLDR: not perfect, but pretty good).

For this followup, follow me to Walt Disney World two least-popular parks for examples of how advance FastPass+ may (or may not) work to your advantage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+

Much like my day at Epcot, I arrived at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot a little after 1:00 p.m.

Advance FastPass+

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Mark Hamill Will Appear At Star Wars Weekends for the First Time

by on March 20, 2014

Star-Wars-Weekends-2005-Logo49848807

©Disney

Did you all just hear that collective gasp? No…it wasn’t because of a busted March Madness bracket…it’s because for the first time ever, Mark Hamill (otherwise known in the Star Wars saga as Luke Skywalker) will appear during Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

The actor will make his debut during the fourth weekend of Star Wars Weekends, June 6-8.

Fans will have the opportunity to see him in the daily “Legends of the Force” Star Wars-themed motorcade and in a featured talk show, which will likely be held at the Premiere Theater. (The location isn’t official, as of yet. Just speculation on my part.). Hamill will not participate in any autograph signings.

Could this be a great indicator of how amazing Star Wars Weekends will be this year? We’ve already learned that there will be a new fireworks show this year. Only time will tell as to how Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm will further enhance these fantastic fun-filled weekends.

This year, Star Wars Weekends will take place during five consecutive weekends (Friday-Sunday), from May 16 to June 15.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

The American Idol Experience, Tips from a Mom

by on March 7, 2014

During my most recent visit to Walt Disney World, my daughter Josie performed on stage at the American Idol Experience (AIE) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS). This was, as you might imagine, a fantastic experience – truly one of the most entertaining days we’ve had a Disney World, and for me that’s really saying something.

IMG_5807

For those of you unfamiliar with the attraction, AIE is simulation of the American Idol television program. Park guests can audition with “casting directors” and “producers” to perform on a set designed to look like the real American Idol stage, in a theater which holds about 1,000 people. Guests who pass several rounds of auditions are invited to perform in one of five or so daily shows. The winners of each of the daytime shows can compete in an evening show – the winner of which gets a “FastPass” to audition before a producer of the real American Idol TV program.

All three of my daughters take voice lessons and are members of several vocal groups, but Josie is the one with aspirations for pop solo performance. When we first visited AIE five years ago, then nine-year-old Josie immediately said, “I have to do that,” and really meant it – she counted the days until she would be old enough to be on stage at AIE.

If you’ve got a performer in your house with a yen to rock the crowd at Disney World, here are some tips you might find helpful in getting your star up on stage.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Star Wars Weekends Adds Fifth Weekend and Additional News

by on February 21, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Star Wars Weekends is a fantastic event for the Star Wars lover in your family and this year, you will have FIVE chances to experience the power of the Dark Side. That’s right. Just announced on the Disney Parks Blog today, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be home to an additional weekend of Star Wars fun. (The previous weekends had been announced in December.) Star Wars Weekends (all are Friday through Sunday) for 2014 are:

  • May 16 – 18
  • May 23 – 25
  • May 30 – June 1
  • June 6 – 8
  • New – June 13 – 15

During Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios, guests can take part in special meet-and-greet opportunities with Star Wars celebrities, meet with characters who were in the film (like Princess Leia and Darth Vader), take in special presentations, enjoy a special parade, and purchase one of a kind merchandise.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Catch “Blank – A Vinylmation Love Story” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on February 9, 2014

nk - A Vinylmation Love Story showing at Disney's Hollywood Studios

©Disney

Disney’s Hollywood Studios has a fun event planned to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. “Blank – A Vinylmation Love Story” will premiere at the Premiere Theater found on the Streets of America from February 14 – 17.

The film is brought to life by Disney Interactive and shares the story of a blank Vinylmation who is in search of his lost soulmate. Through the use of stop motion animation, “Blank” is an epic adventure in miniature scale, a completely original, heartwarming love story. The film lasts about 40 minutes. Showtimes are 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 5:30 p.m.

In addition, there will be a special showing for Disney Annual Passholders on February 14 and 16 at 10 a.m. In addition, DVC members can take part in a private presentation on February 15 and 17 at 10 a.m. A valid Annual Pass or Disney Vacation Club Member ID card must be shown at the entrance of the theater.

You can visit here to see a short preview of the movie.

The screening is included in your Disney’s Hollywood Studios park admission.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

FastPass+ Coming For All Guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot

by on January 17, 2014

fastpass-kiosk

Bye Bye FASTPASS Machines

As MyMagic+ continues to move forward, according to reliable sources both inside and outside Disney, FastPass+ will be rolled out for both on-site and off-site guests at both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot within the next week. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is expected to make the change over on January 21, and Epcot is expected to become all FastPass+ starting on January 23. This means that Legacy FASTPASS machines that distribute paper FASTPASS tickets will be turned off, and guests will only be able to make FastPass+ reservations.

If off-site guests would like to make a FastPass+ reservation, they will need to visit one of the FastPass+ kiosks found within the park to reserve their ride times on the day they visit the park. Much like the previous roll outs, non-Disney resort guests will currently not be able to use the My Disney Experience app or website to make FastPass+ reservations. To make a FastPass+ reservation, off-property guests will need to use their RFID-enabled ticket to access the FastPass+ kiosks, as they do not currently have access to MagicBands.

Guests who are staying at a Disney resort will have the ability to make FastPass+ reservations up to 60 days in advance via the My Disney Experience app or website. If they have not made them ahead of time, they can also do so in the parks at the FastPass+ kiosks.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Adds a Few Dining Options This Week

by on December 23, 2013

To help alleviate dining crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week, the park is adding a few extra options for guests to choose from.

The first is the “Taste of Hollywood” To Go Meals. These are special boxed meals that include reserved seating for Fantasmic! The cost per meal is $15.99 for adults and $5.49 for kids ages 3 -9. Meals can be picked up at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner anytime from 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Meal options include:

  • California and tuna sushi roll with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
  • Cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus, and chocolate cake
  • Shrimp salad with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and mandarin orange cheesecake
  • Hot fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots, and warm apple crisp
  • Veggie sandwich with avocado, orange and tomato salad, tabbouleh, and chocolate cake

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Celebrate New Year’s Eve At Walt Disney World

by on December 9, 2013

©Disney

©Disney

New Year’s Eve is just three short weeks away, and those lucky enough to be at Walt Disney World during this time are in for some amazing treats! Here is an idea of some of the fun you can expect to see at Walt Disney World for New Year’s Eve.

Magic Kingdom

Celebrate 2014 with a bang…literally…as the Magic Kingdom will show not one, but two fireworks spectaculars on two separate nights. On December 30 and 31, guests may take in Holiday Wishes:  Celebrate The Season at 9 p.m. and then Fantasy in the Skywhich is scheduled for 11:50 p.m.

Epcot

This year, World Showcase will feature a variety of DJs found situated throughout the different pavilions. Guests can dance in the New Year at the Future World Fountain Stage, near the Italy Stage, at the America Gardens Theatre, and by the United Kingdom Stage, among others. As we mentioned a few weeks back, many World Showcase restaurants are also offering special dining opportunities.

Two showings of IllumiNations will light up the sky on New Year’s Eve, ending with the Holiday Tag after the 6:30 p.m. show and the New Year’s Eve Countdown spectacular after the 11:40 p.m. show.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Testing New Fastpass+ Configuration

by on November 17, 2013

©Disney

©Disney

It was recently rolled out at Epcot, but now it appears that Disney’s Hollywood Studios is testing a new FastPass+ configuration that features two “groups” of attractions.

The trial will work like Epcot’s version, where guests still have the opportunity to reserve three FastPass+ options for the day. However, with the new FastPass+ method, guests are able to choose ONE attraction from Column A (mostly headliners) and TWO attractions from Column B (mostly secondary attractions).

The attractions are as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest