One of the first changes to the FastPass+ program was the ability to make more FastPass+ selections after using your first set of advance reservations. Besides being able to get more FastPasses, this lets you get FastPass+ options that may not have been available to you previously. (For example, the advance FastPass “tiering” rules at Epcot and the Studios aren’t in effect for your 4th FastPass+ selection and beyond, nor is the once-per-attraction restriction.)
This means you have to choose a strategy. The two most common options are:
Book your advance FastPass+ reservations early in the day and have more time for “extra” FastPass+ selections,
Schedule your advance FastPass+ reservations during the busiest time of the day and use the standby lines early in the day, when the wait times are lower
To make this choice, it helps to know each attraction’s day-of FastPass+ availability.
A new Starbucks location is currently being built on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. (It was where you previously could find the L.A. Prop Cinema Storage Shop). The new coffee house, which will be called The Trolley Car Cafe, will be themed after a classic trolley car station, which fits in perfectly with the theming of that section of Hollywood Studios.
This is the third location to be built in the Florida parks. The fourth location, which will be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is expected to begin construction sometime next year. The Disney’s Hollywood Studios store will be similar to the other two Starbucks locations, The Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and The Fountain View at Epcot. There are two additional Starbucks locations at Downtown Disney.
This new Starbucks is expected to open in February 2015.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to say goodbye to The American Idol Experience and The American Film Institute Showcase. Next, we’ll stop in to see how things are going with the Polynesian Resort refurbishment, and then we’ll wrap up this week at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s get started by taking a look at American Idol. While I’m not surprised that this show is going the way of the dodo, I’m sad to see people lose their jobs. Hopefully there are better plans to utilize this space for all the talented actors who worked here. In the short term it seems pretty obvious that with the Frozen Sing-A-Long suddenly offering FastPass+ on September 2 that the show will be moving into this space. Does anyone want to see video of American Idol before it closes on August 30? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to include it next week.
Already closed as of August 17 is The American Film Institute Showcase. I stopped in this weekend to get a final look and video walk-through for you, but first, the gift shop:
Click to read more and more see video of the Showcase.
The plan is designed to start at 11:00 AM but we were through the turnstiles and had the plan pulled up on the phone by 10:00 AM. The extra hour probably helped in the long run since the new Frozen Summer Fun – Live bumped up the crowd level to a solid 9. It looked like it was already a 7 when we arrived.
Looking at the list, I forgot to send it though the optimizer, but the first step was to ride Toy Story Midway Mania!, which would probably have been the suggestion anyway. We headed straight to Pixar Place and into the standby queue. The posted wait time was 75 minutes, but we made it through in 45. When the line splits before the stairs at the end of the main queue room, the Cast Member directed us through the FastPass+ lane, likely accounting for the saved 10-15 minutes.*
This Saturday, August 23, is the first ever Villains Unleashed, taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. The event, which celebrates the love that people have for the Disney bad guys and gals, is sure to be a fun-filled evening for those who attend. There will be over 50 different characters, dance parties, fireworks, special shows, unique food and shopping, and much more!
So, let’s get into the full details about this event so that those of you who will be attending have a better idea of what to expect.
While the event begins at 8:00 p.m., guests may begin to arrive as early at 5:00 p.m. and still be allowed entry. Those already in the park may obtain party passes at either Soundstage One (where Wandering Oaken’s currently is) or at the Epic Theater.
Guests driving to the park who are attending the Villains Unleashed party will need to use the Main Entrance off World Drive to for event parking. The secondary parking entrance located on Buena Vista Drive will be closed to all incoming traffic beginning at 3:00 p.m. Standard parking fees apply.
The evening will include many activities throughout the night. They are:
Hades Hangout: The main villain of ceremonies will be there to get the party started and keep it rocking all night long. Hades will be joined by Meg, Pain, and Panic. The dance party will also feature house band Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, as well as DJ Igg Nite and the Underworld Dancers. (8:00 p.m. through 1:00 a.m.)
A few months ago, we learned that after five years, the American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios would be closing. The original indication was the attraction would have its final performances in January. That is not the case. It has been announced that the last shows will take place on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
The attraction, which is based on the real life hit Fox television show, has guests performing in front of a live audience. The audience then, much like on the show, votes on which performer was the best in their eyes. During the final performance of the evening, the winners from every prior show that day come back and perform in the finale. The finale winner receives a Golden Ticket, allowing special front-of-the-line access at any American Idol audition (if their age fell within the television show’s age restriction.)
Guests who have previously received a Dream Ticket will still have the ability to use those, as long as the American Idol TV show is still being produced and auditions are taking place.
The American Idol Experience debuted in 2009, and many of the performers on the American Idol TV show have actually previously auditioned and performed first on The American Idol Experience stage.
Disney has not announced its plans for the theater.
For those of you who will be down in Walt Disney World and who love this attraction, make sure you make a visit before the end of the month.
The shop and exhibit located at the end of the Studios Backlot Tour, known as the American Film Institute Showcase and Shop, will be closing on August 17.
The walk-through exhibit features many iconic movie props and unique costumes from past and present day movies. The current showcase is called “The Best in Film: AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies,” and features items based off of AFI’s “Greatest” lists.
The shop that is connected to the exhibit features collectible merchandise (including items that had previously been found at Sid Cahuenga’s, which closed last year to make way for a MyMagic+ Service Center). Merchandise for sale includes things like autographs, movie props, and more. The merchandise and collectibles will not be relocated and will no longer be available at the park.
The Studios Backlot Tour will continue to operate as normal at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; however, guests will no longer exit through this exhibit area.
Disney has not officially announced anything specific that will be taking over the space, but the company claims to be working on finalizing a new concept for the next experience to take residence in the venue.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! First, I owe you an apology. I had a family member go into the hospital for emergency surgery, so I’ve missed the last couple weeks. That not only took me away from my writing, but I also had to cancel my solo Disneyland trip. They are recovering well, and I’m back on duty bringing you all the best of Disney weekly! Boy, I missed you guys! But don’t worry, I have one epic update for you! This week we’re getting wild at Animal Kingdom, cooling off with a little Frozen at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios, seeing what’s new at Magic Kingdom, and finishing up at DisneyQuest.
While it may well still be sweltering outside, the time has come for us all to start thinking about…Christmas. That’s right, nothing says preparing for the Holiday Season like knowing the second you step outside, you’re going to need to take another shower. However, for those who are eagerly planning a vacation for November/December, this is, of course, one key piece of news you’ve been waiting for.
You see, the dates for The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which takes place annually at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, have been released! This season’s event is scheduled for Friday, November 7, 2014, through Sunday, January 4, 2015. (Note that – barring changes to park hours – they will be unavailable on December 10 since the park is scheduled to close at 6:00 pm.)
The dazzling showcase of festive lights takes place on The Streets of America. Guests marvel as they walk along, gazing up at the beautiful lights, made even more spectacular when they start to blink and dance to the musical tracks.
In addition, introduced last year and continuing this year, guests who purchase Glow With The Show ears will see them interact with the lights as the ears 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.
The event is included in the price of your admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
What does Mickey call his home? A mouse pad. Who handles Br’er Rabbit’s money? Br’er Broker. How do you turn Epcot into the best park in Disney World? Turn 21. Now that I’ve clearly established my comedy expertise with these masterful jokes, I hope you’ll trust me to guide you through some of Walt Disney World’s Funniest Attractions. One of the words most often associated with Walt Disney World is “magical” but don’t be fooled. Disney World is host to a bevy of attractions that’ll have you laughing out loud. Of course, everyone has his own sense of humor, but if you’re a first time visitor or just happen to have never been on one of the following attractions, I hope this article will give you an idea of just what makes these attractions so funny. I may have only recently started doing stand-up but I’ve been laughing at Walt Disney World my entire life.
If you love “dad” jokes, you’re going to love Jungle Cruise. The attraction features a guided tour through the “jungle” and while you’ll see a bunch of animatronic animals along the way, I think the real appeal of the attraction is your skipper who provides some hilariously corny jokes. Like any attraction with different guides, your enjoyment will definitely hinge on how into it your cast member is. Some of the better ones will have both kids and adults of all ages in stitches by the end of your “six month cruise.” Also be sure to ride it at night and you might be lucky enough to get some jokes that are a little too “edgy” for the day crowds. For a more official new experience, go during the holidays when the whole attraction is re-themed to the Jingle Cruise.