Posts Tagged ‘Disney’s Hollywood Studios’

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Is It Still Worth Your Time?

by on July 27, 2015

Hat demolition

The Sorcerer’s Hat is one of many recent departures from Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Another day, another closure. The Magic of Disney Animation has seen its last pen stroke, adding it to the ever-lengthening list of attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that have been shuttered without any replacements announced. Indeed, in the time it’s taken you to read this opening paragraph, Disney has probably closed 3 more attractions. With this being the state of affairs, you may be thinking that there’s no good reason to bother with Hollywood Studios in its current form and that you should cross it off your list until some time in the 2020’s — and that seems to be a popular refrain within the Disney fan community.

This perception notwithstanding, however, the reality is that most of the closures were of attractions that were already waning in popularity, while the things that have served as the backbone of the park over recent years are still alive and well. While it would be tough to argue that Hollywood Studios is a “must-do” or that you should build a vacation around it at this point in its life cycle, there remain plenty of good reasons to pay it a visit:

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Dates for 2015

by on July 24, 2015

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Let the rejoicing begin! The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights dates have officially been announced for this year’s holiday season. The unique light show which takes place on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will occur from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Each year, guests marvel as they walk along the street, gazing up at the beautiful lights, made even more spectacular when they start to blink and dance to the musical tracks. It’s great to grab a beverage (my choice is a cup of hot chocolate or coffee…no matter what the temps are…it is Christmas after all) and walk along marveling at the gorgeousness.

In addition,  continuing for 2015, guests who purchase Made with Magic items will see them interact with the lights as these items have been programmed to light up, both matching the colors of your surroundings and flashing to the beat of the holiday music.

For those who are unaware, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights started modestly in Arkansas as each year, Jennings Osborne and his family set up an elaborate collection of holiday lights. Over time, the collection of lights grew until 1995, when the lights were brought to Walt Disney World Resort and have remained ever since.

Oh and the best thing about this spectacular is that it is included in your park admission!

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Gets Ice Palace Boutique for Frozen Summer Fun Event

by on July 16, 2015

Have a little Frozen fan who wants to prepare for Coronation Day? Well, soon, they will be able to at the Ice Palace Boutique at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the Frozen Summer Fun event! Here, guests will be able to to undergo a transformation at the wintry-themed salon which will be located on Commissary Lane across the way from ABC Commissary.

So how does this differ from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique? Well here, the whole family can get in on the fun, because there are select packages that will be available where families can enjoy the excitement too! Members of the party will be able to enjoy the exclusive Ice Palace Cafe, where there will be Frozen-inspired snacks. Also, Guests will get a reserved seating for one showing of “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” at Hyperion Theater.

There will be three different packages that Guests can select from. They are:

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 7/7/15

by on July 7, 2015

Happy Tuesday! I’m here with some more little nuggets that will help make your next Walt Disney World vacation that much better. (Well, hopefully.) Who’s ready to jump right in to the fun?

  • The Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom has officially been replaced by the Wishes Dessert Party. The new version is relatively similar to the previous version, with a few additional desserts, and a higher cost–$49.00 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $29.00 per child (ages 3-9).
  • Also at the Magic Kingdom, as a reminder, Liberty Tree Tavern is now closed for refurbishment as they work on the kitchen area.
  • There has also been a character meet and greet location change. Now guests can meet some of your favorite characters from The Princess and the Frog at Heritage House in Liberty Square. The location was previously a FastPass+ Kiosk Station and prior to that, the location sold merchandise.
  • The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party will be presented at only 12:30 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. on the following dates:  July 10, July 14, July 15, July 21, and July 22.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Ways Disney is Playing “Chicken” with Guests This Summer

by on July 4, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Ways Disney is Playing “Chicken” with Guests This Summer. We are little over a month away from the ultimate Disney fan event – the D23 Expo – where we will gain some insight into the future of the Walt Disney World parks. While the California parks have been blessed in recent years with a $1 Billion renovation to Disney California Adventure (bringing Cars Land, World of Color, and a new park entrance) along with upgrades to Disneyland for the park’s upcoming 60th anniversary (including the critically praised Paint the Night parade and Disneyland Forever, a new nighttime spectacular,) the Florida parks have been recipient of things less noticeable by your average guest like MagicBands, My Disney Experience, and Downtown Disney’s transition to Disney Springs. While additions like Animal Kingdom’s Wilderness Explorers and Winged Encounters have drawn rave reviews, they don’t have the pick-your-jaw-off-the-ground moment like seeing Radiator Springs Racer’s Cadillac Range mountains or walking into Universal’s Diagon Alley. 

Many expect us all to be wowed by what will be announced at the D23 Expo, some even speculating a $3 Billion overhaul to DHS (for the record, we here at the SATURDAY SIX don’t expect anything approaching that number, but even “just” a Billion dollars goes a long way baby.) One thing is for certain, whatever is coming isn’t coming soon, and today we’re going to look at how Disney is all but taunting guests to open their wallets starting with….

# 6 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios outright dares guests to go to the park

What a year for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In fact, DHS has removed so many things without replacement that Matt Hochberg – the park’s biggest defender – is rumored to be hiding in the same bunker Saddam Hussein was found in. The Sorcerer’s Hat, gone. Studio Backlot Tour, gone. American Idol Experience and The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, gone. Recently it was announced that the Magic of Disney Animation will be closing on July 12th and those in the know report that One Man’s Dream is also on the chopping block. Every park loses stuff as its part of normal theme park operations, but the difference here is nothing has come in to replace anything. Well, to be fair, a recent Soundstage Lounge was installed at the Jack Sparrow location. Unfortunately it looks more like the filming location for a sequel in the Saw series of films than your usual WDI made ultra-detailed area. The park has a shrinking amount of attractions, and while Frozen Summer Fun will get us through the next couple months, then what?

HalfOffStudios

Need an attraction? Make us an offer! (photo by Michael Sheehy and Matt Cleary)

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The Magic of Disney Animation to Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on June 29, 2015

Copyright Disney

Copyright Disney

One more attraction will close its doors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this July. The Magic of Disney Animation will be closing on July 12. This impacts not only the meet and greet opportunities with Mickey, Minnie, Baymax and Hiro, but also means that guests may no longer view the video featuring Mushu from Mulan teaching guests about the animation process or access the Animation Academy.

Guests will still have the opportunity to meet Mickey and Minnie at the park in yet-to-be-disclosed locations; however, Hiro and Baymax are unlikely to make the move to another location. (The Incredibles meet and greet quietly left the area earlier this month.)

The Animation Gallery will remain open until late August.

This is just another closure in a long line at this park lately, starting with The American Idol Experience, the Studio Backlot Tour, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, and more. Of course all of this appears to be ahead of the impending Star Wars announcement (and one would assume additional changes); however, I think many are getting exceptionally frustrated (I can’t be the only one) with the number closed attractions combined with no knowledge of what is actually coming to this theme park.

I am anxiously waiting for an announcement of whatever is in store for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Selfie Sticks Now Banned Across Walt Disney World Property

by on June 26, 2015

IMG_8629

©Seth Kubersky

Due to safety concerns, selfie sticks (the extendable poles where you can attach a phone or a camera to the end) are now banned property-wide across the Walt Disney World Resort. This means you cannot use them at the theme parks, the water parks or DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park. This new rule will go into effect on June 30.

Guests who attempt to bring selfie sticks into the park will be stopped at bag check and they will be escorted to Guest Relations where the device will be tagged and the Guest will be given a claim ticket to retrieve it upon exit. For those who get caught using a selfie stick in a park, a Cast Member will escort the guest to a regional Guest Relations area where the device will be tagged and a claim ticket will be given to the guest. Again, the Guest will be able to claim their selfie stick as they exit.

All guests must relinquish their selfie sticks, they cannot simply put them away if a Cast Member approaches them about it.

Recently, Disney banned selfie sticks on attractions, however, it seems that more drastic measures needed to be taken regarding these devices.

What are your thoughts on the ban? Do you think it’s a good idea or were you a fan of the selfie stick?

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Independence Day Will Be a Blast at Walt Disney World

by on June 23, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you will be visiting Walt Disney World during the Fourth of July weekend, you will have a lot of fun activities in store! It will be a magical two day celebration to honor America’s Birthday! (It will not be a salute to all nations, but mostly America. This will be a full blown salute to America!)

For those who are looking to celebrate the holiday with blowing stuff up, you will be covered with fireworks on both Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4.

  • The Magic Kingdom will show “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” at 10:00 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party will segue into the “Rockin’ Fourth of July Celebration” fireworks show.  It will be a rock n’ roll tribute across America. The DJ will start at 5:45 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
  • Epcot will have a special Fourth of July tag at the end of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which will take place at 9:00 p.m. In addition, you won’t want to miss the special Fourth of July concert from Voices of Liberty at the America Gardens Theatre at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.  They will then move inside the American Adventure Pavilion for shows at 4:15 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Oh and don’t miss Don’t Look Back, a Boston tribute band who will be performing at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Guests will also be able to meet patriotic characters throughout the day.

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Frozen Fever Short Added to Frozen Summer Fun Activities

by on June 6, 2015

Frozen Summer FunThe Frozen Summer Fun event kicks off in a little less than two weeks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and this year, a brand new activity has been added to the schedule.

For those who loved the short, Frozen Fever, which played ahead of the live action Cinderella, you’ll be able to catch both the short and a behind the scenes look at the making of the film at the ABC Sound Studio.  The premise (for those who missed it) takes us back to Arendelle to celebrate Anna’s birthday, but unfortunately, Elsa has a cold which could hamper the activities planned.

The short will air twice each hour, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

In addition getting to see the short, during Frozen Summer Fun, guests will also be able to enjoy the Frozen Royal Welcome mini-parade, Olaf’s Summer Cool Down, Hot Frozen Nights DJ Dance Party, and the Frozen Fireworks.  In addition, guests will also be able to catch For the First Time in Forever – A Frozen Sing Along Celebration in its new theater, the Hyperion Theater, which is the former American Idol Experience stage.

The Frozen Summer Fun event will take place from June 17 through September 7.

 

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Complete Video of Updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies at DHS

by on June 2, 2015

DHS updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies

DHS’s Great Movie Ride is now presented by Turner Classic Movies (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Just a few days ago, Disney’s Hollywood Studios quietly implemented some major changes to one of its iconic attractions, when WDW introduced the updated Great Movie Ride presented by Turner Classic Movies. The update features TCM host Robert Osborne, and includes new decor elements in the queue, an entirely new preshow video, brand new narration through the ride, and a revised finale film.

Here’s a look at the ride’s Chinese Theater exterior, which has received subtle new signage and a much-needed cleaning.

The attraction had a 25 minute standby wait in the late afternoon when I visited, but earlier in the day it went up to nearly an hour. Is the refreshed ride really popular, or is there just not much else to ride at DHS?…

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