Well, we all knew it was just a matter of time before it would be officially announced, and today on the Disney Parks Blog Tom Staggs confirmed the rumor we’d been hearing for almost a year: Frozen is taking over Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. A brand new Frozen-themed attraction will take guests to Arendelle, where they will be included in their favorite scenes from the movie. Of course, the music from the film will also play a large role in the attraction. Maelstrom’s last day of operation should be Sunday, October 5, 2014, and the new attraction is expected to be complete by early 2016.
In addition, a meet and greet opportunity will be added back to the Norway Pavilion, so – unless things change at Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom – guests will have an additional location to meet both Anna and Elsa.
Time to head back to Walt Disney World’s shopping and dining district, Downtown Disney (DTD). In my lastseveralphoto reports of DtD I have skipped over just how many construction walls have popped up all over the place, so today we’re going to get up close and personal with those, as well as a new bridge connecting DTD to the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa. We’ll also check out the Fit2Run store on the West Side, look at some new merchandise at World of Disney, artwork at Art of Disney, collectibles at D-Sreet and give a full report on whether or not Theme Park Tagalongs actually do what they say they do (as I had my doubts when I first saw them). So sit back and get ready to take a tour through the construction capital of the world (and don’t forget that clicking on any picture will bring up the full size version). Ready? Well let’s get to it!
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons to Check Out Disney’s Pop Century Resort. One of Disney’s Value Resorts, Pop Century has a level of theming that makes it stand out compared to the other lower priced hotel offerings at the All Star resorts as well as dedicated bus transportation to the parks and Downtown Disney. The entire resort is themed around pop culture icons from the latter half of the twentieth century, with the wings of the hotel dedicated to the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Each wing has elements from their particular decade throughout the area. If it sounds cheesy, that’s because it is cheesy, but it’s a good kind of cheesy way and one that can bring back a lot of memories for every family. At the very least Pop Century is great for an afternoon of “resort hopping” to see some of the things they offer that you can’t find at any other Disney resort, starting with…
# 6 – The Lobby is a Wonderful Trip Back Through Time
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
While the check-in desks inside Classic Hall are the same that you will see in many theme park hotels, the walls opposite check in are filled with shadow boxes containing items from the 1950s through the 1990s. This is a wall that will have various generations of every family seeing an item and instantly remembering where they were in life when that was popular. Elvis, the Moon landing, Dobie Gillis (with Maynard G Krebs), the Beach Boys, Star Wars, Mork & Mindy, Jane Fonda’s workout book, Trivial Pursuit, He-Man, Go-Bots, Smurfs, and so much more are in this area.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Typhoon Lagoon, taking a look at the fall decorations at Magic Kingdom, and stopping by to check on Frozen at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You may notice a little difference in the photo quality this week. I picked up a new camera, the Canon S110. I wanted to get something a little more portable than my big DSLR. I’m still getting the hang of it so forgive me if anything looks “off”. With that out of the way, let’s get started! I thought what better way than how I start every trip to Disney? WIth a quick pass under this magical sign!
Our first stop is Typhoon Lagoon, somewhere I’ve never taken you before! When I visited I had every intention of busting out the GoPro and taking you on some slides, but mother nature had a different plan. Black, ominous storm clouds started to fill the horizon and I knew it was going to be a short trip. I decided to run around and take a few photos and ask you if you’d like to see more. Pictured below is the Crush ‘n’ Gusher. I’ve only done the slides a few times and didn’t love it, but the wading pool out front is very nice.
My first goal was to arrive well before rope drop, in order to see how swiftly the infamously long line to meet Anna and Elsa was moving first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, I forgot that the monorail is currently opening late due to maintenance upgrades, which made the trip from the TTC to the park a bit more cumbersome than usual.
I opted for the bus transportation option over the overburdened ferry, which turned out to not be a bad choice. The busses loaded about as quickly as could be expected, with a continuous line of vehicles pulling up to service the sizable crowd, and before too long we had arrived at the recently expanded Magic Kingdom bus loop.
Frozen mania appears to be continuing and because of that, the Frozen Summer Fun event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been extended. The event was originally supposed to end on September 1; however, today Disney officially extended the event through September 28.
Most of the entertainment will continue as on previous dates; however, from September 5-28, the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular will be presented on only Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 9:45 p.m.
Guests will still be able to enjoy Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome, featuring both the mini-parade and the short presentation on the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage, welcoming the visiting princesses. The welcome takes place at 11:00 a.m.
Does Disney’s Hollywood Studios hold up in a post-Diagon Alley world? (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
“It was the best of rides, it was the worst of rides…”
With deepest apologies to Charles Dickens, today I present a Tale of Two Parks. As regular readers may have noticed, I’ve been spending a lot of time these past few months at Universal Studios Florida, documenting the debut of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter — Diagon Alley. But USF isn’t the only movie-centric theme park in Orlando. So on Monday, July 28, I stopped by the other Studios for the first time in forever — or at least since Star Wars Weekends — for some observations from Disney’s Hollywood Studios. How does DHS stack up in the age of Harry Potter’s newest expansion?
First, a bit of background. The origins of DHS and USF will forever be entwined, as Michael Eisner accelerated the opening of Walt Disney World’s third gate to upstage Universal’s first Floridian attraction. Though it was announced first, Universal Studios Florida opened a year after Disney/MGM Studios (as the park will forever be known in the hearts of long-time fans) and was initially hobbled by famously malfunctioning E-Tickets like Jaws and Kong. MGM sported only a half-day slate of entertainment upon its debut, but added major rides like Star Tours and Tower of Terror during its first decade, while Universal used that time to tame its balky headliners and add effects-driven shows like Twister and Terminator 2.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! I have tons of Frozen fun to share, but to start let’s pop over to Epcot. While the weather has been incredibly hot, the skies have been beautiful! Check out those blue skies and fluffy white clouds!
I wasn’t just there to admire the skies, though. I’d heard online that personalized bottles of Coke were available for free. It wasn’t something I was excited about but I wanted to check it out for you guys. I got there about 15 minutes before the posted start time thinking I’d beat the rush. As you can see from the photo below, I could not have been more wrong! There must have been 100 people in line! I quickly decided that Coke bottles were not newsworthy and moved on.
Staying on property during your next Walt Disney World vacation? Then you should absolutely be taking advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, which offer resort guests the opportunity to get to a park early or stay late. Simply show that you’re staying in a Walt Disney World resort and you can have fun in the parks beyond the normal operating hours. And if you’re using our Personalized Touring Plans, you can also extend your plan hours for both morning and evening Extra Magic Hours. As stated, Extra Magic Hours are offered both in the morning and the evening but for now we’re going to concentrate on some of my favorite Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions. While not every attraction is operating for Extra Magic Hours, some of the best and most popular attractions across Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are open to resort guests. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not offer evening extra magic hours. Perhaps that could change with the eventual opening of the park’s new Avatar Land but for now, park guests will have to get their Extra Magic Hours fill at the first three Walt Disney World theme parks. So without further ado, here are my top Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions for each park.
Who else is excited about the all new Frozen event, called Frozen Summer Fun Live? The fun takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from July 5 through September 1 and guests can choose to experience the excitement by purchasing a special, exclusive package. The Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package will offer guests reserved viewing areas for three different events that will take place during the day’s festivities.
To start off the royal-filled day, guests will meet at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner at 10:30 a.m. to check in and enjoy some refreshments. Guests will also have a reserved viewing area for Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome, which starts at 11:00 a.m. The Royal Welcome is essentially a mini-parade featuring Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, skaters, ice cutters, and skiers. Following the procession will be a short ceremony at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty.