This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. While we looked at Animal Kingdom last week, today we’re going to turn our gaze over to the park which many insiders agree was created solely as a preemptive strike against the upcoming Universal Studios Florida, the one and only Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by Brian Carey)
Right now Hollywood Studios is in the middle of a transition stage, as two mammoth properties in Star Wars and Pixar’s Toy Story have begun their major expansion inside the park. However, Hollywood Studios still contains some of the most unique dining experiences in any Disney park, amazing streetmosphere, several of WDW’s most thrilling attractions, and two of the best nighttime spectaculars in Florida. In short, we love Hollywood Studios. But what do we love most about this park? Well, sit back, grab a carrot cake cookie , and let’s start our countdown with…
# 6 – The Citizens of Hollywood
The dedication plaque for Hollywood Studios (originally known as Disney-MGM Studios) includes a line from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner that reads: “We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was – and always will be.” The dedication also refers to the park channeling classic Hollywood as a state of mind, rather than trying to pinpoint a specific time and place. Nowhere is this more evident than the incredible Citizens of Hollywood who roam the thoroughfare of the park. Completely committed to their particular character, the Citizens of Hollywood are an improvisational comedy troupe who have a lot of fun with guests and every interaction is unique. You’ll find policemen writing tickets, aspiring starlets auditioning for their big role, maintenance crews stumbling around a job, and much more. The Citizens, along with the evocative theming of both Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, combine to wonderfully recreate the Tinseltown none of us ever knew but always imagined. Quality streetsmosphere such as the Dapper Dans at the Magic Kingdom or The Citizens in Hollywood Studios separate Disney from all their competitors, as no one else can even approach this high level of show.
Citizen of Hollywood, Evie Starlight. (photo by Brian Carey)
Ben Appetit and Dara Vamp. (photo by Brandon Glover)
It was announced today that Pop Secret Popcorn is now the official popcorn for both the Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts.
As part of this relationship, Disney will now sell freshly popped Pop Secret popcorn property-wide at its popcorn carts found within the parks. The brand will also serve as the sponsor of Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and will also sponsor movie nights at many Disney resort hotels.
According to Burke Raine, Vice President of Marketing, Snacks, at Diamond,”Pop Secret popcorn and Disney both have deep associations with movies and encourage lasting memories shaped by fun family activities.”
Disney popcorn is a staple for many vacations. I know I have trouble walking past a cart when I catch a whiff of that buttery, salty goodness. What about you?
Learn the best way to experience the Disneyland Forever fireworks in our new 60th Anniversary entertainment review. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
Nearly two months after after Anaheim kicked off its Diamond Celebration, Disneyland‘s 60th birthday has officially arrived. By now, several members of the Touring Plans team — including Seth Kubersky and Guy Selga — have had a chance to experience the new anniversary nighttime entertainments from multiple angles, so in honor of Disneyland’s big day we’re sharing a sneak preview of the new reviews that we’re including in the upcoming Unofficial Guide to Disneyland 2016. If you missed our previously published Paint the Night coverage, check it out now. Then read on for our in-depth review of of the all-new Disneyland Forever fireworks:
As part of its Diamond anniversary celebration, Disneyland retired the popular Remember…Dreams Come True fireworks spectacular (originally created for the park’s 50th birthday) in favor of the all-new Disneyland Forever show. Created by extravaganza expert Steve Davison, who designed Wishes and World of Color, his latest production runs the full gamut of special effects: a rousing score, castle lighting, lasers, and an impressive flight from the fairy Tinker Bell – not to mention spectacular fireworks effects. After an introduction evoking the orange tree groves that originally covered Anaheim, the show sails through memorable musical vignettes from beloved Disney movies.
Here’s a construction wall-free look at the Great Movie Ride to make you smile, before I share my woeful tale of testing the new DHS food ordering mobile app (photos by Seth Kubersky)
On May 1, 2015, Disney’s Hollywood Studios marked its 26th birthday with…not much at all, aside from the removal of construction walls around the giant hat’s former home. But while there was no big celebration like there was for last year’s silver anniversary, DHS did gain one unpublicized addition last week. As Rikki Niblet reported, a new food ordering mobile app is currently testing at two locations in the park, and I stopped by on the (not so) big day to give the new system a whirl. To save some typing, suffice to say that things did not quite go according to plan. Keeping in mind that this new service is still in the testing phase, you may decide to stick with buying your Studios snacks the old-fashioned way by the time you finish reading about my experience.
Over the past few years, Disney has been testing ways to get food to people faster and more efficiently. For example, they’ve been doing it with Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, where guests can pre-order their breakfast or lunch up to 30 days prior to their trip. However, right now, there is currently a new test occurring, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
To take part in the test, guests must first download the Express Order app on the Apple or Android device. Guests will also need to make sure that they have checked to allow for location services and Bluetooth to be accessed.
The busy holiday season is rapidly approaching, and over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios there is a great option for guests to have the chance to grab a quick meal, as well as a reserved seating for Fantasmic!
The Taste of Hollywood To Go Winter Fantasmic! Package Meals are pre-packaged offerings that are available from December 24 through 31. There will be five different picnic-style choices that guests can choose from. They are:
Golden fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots and warm apple crisp
Veggie sandwich made with ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, with quinoa salad, and chocolate cake
California and tuna sushi roll with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
shrimp salad with fresh pita, ginger-marinated tomato and cucumbers, and mandarin orange cheesecake
cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus and chocolate cake
I recently paid a visit to the Fantasmic! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I was on my own, so had a bit more time to watch the crowd than I typically have when I’m with my family. While most guests appeared to enjoy the program, my personal observation was that many of the very young children (aged about 4 and under) were either asleep or crying by the end of it. While obviously some little ones do have a good experience at Fantasmic, it’s a problem for a sizable enough subset of small kids that you may want consider whether this is the right attraction for you at this stage for your family.
This creepy snake thing wants to eat Mickey.
Here are some things to think about…
What Time is the Show?
Fantasmic showtimes vary considerably throughout the year. During the winter holiday season, there may be three Fantasmic shows, with the earliest being at about 6:30pm. That’s an hour that most preschoolers are familiar with. However, during the summer, the first Fantasmic showing may start in the 9:00pm range, with the later show perhaps at 10:30pm. When they were preschoolers, my own kids would have been cranky disasters if I had them in a loud, busy environment that late at night. What is your child’s personality like?
Are There Any Factors that Will Counteract the Impact of a Late Show?
If you’re coming from another time zone, or if your child has had an exceptionally lengthy nap, Fantasmic’s late hour may not be as impactful. Or if you’re trying to get your child to adjust to a later hour, then Fantasmic’s late start time may be a benefit.
Is Your Child Capable of Sleeping Late the Next Morning?
The time honored tradition of camping out 3 hours for a Fantasmic! viewing spot is now a little less necessary. Disneyland has announced that Fantasmic! will get a FASTPASS-only viewing area starting December 12. Disney also made it clear that there will still be a stand-by viewing area for those who want to keep it old school, but it’s unclear large or how good that viewing section will be. FastPass tickets will be distributed on Big Thunder Trail (that’s the path to the left of Big Thunder Mountain) and will be distributed until they run out or 1 hour before showtime. Even with a FASTPASS in hand, I’d still recommend that you get in line for the reserved section a bit early. If it’s anything like World of Color’s FASTPASS line in DCA, it is safe to assume that it will be very long and take a good amount of time to get through.
It wouldn’t be a Disney “Nighttime Spectacular” without dinner packages, so they have also announced a variety dining options that will get you FASTPASSes for the show.
Summer is here, and by now hopefully everyone has had a chance to enjoy a fireworks display. I got a chance to enjoy the fireworks in a small Colorado town on the 4th of July. My friends’ house had a great view of the town’s fireworks display from their back deck, so all we had to do was sit down and enjoy!
I did notice that something was missing. While the display was an impressive sight and had a variety of fireworks, there wasn’t really any plan to the show. One shot went up. BOOM! Another shot went up. BOOM! Oh – here’s a change of pace – two going off at the same time! BOOM BOOM! The only time the show really ratcheted it up was at the end, when the sky was smothered with all of the fireworks they had left.
Was your viewing of fireworks the same as mine? Did you feel like it was missing…well…a little Disney magic?