Posts Tagged ‘meet & greet’

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever February 11, 2016: Kylo Ren & Construction Walls at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on February 11, 2016

Kylo Ren Disney's Hollywood Studios

Visit Kylo Ren and check out DHS construction with Best Week Ever! (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

Ed – Sorry to break in right at the start, but I would like to announce that this will be Seth’s last Best Week Ever for the time being. While Seth is focusing his considerable talent on other things, we will have some new Best Week Ever authors. Look for the first new Best Week Ever later today…that’s right, double Best Week Ever week! Now, on to Seth’s wonderful week.

It’s been a little while since Best Week Ever took a look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so I stopped by the park several times in recent days for an update on this in-transition attraction. Construction walls may be rising on a daily basis, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the crowds from coming! We’ll look at some of the changes around DHS, culminating in an encounter with the newest patricidal Star Wars star, Kylo Ren.


First, let’s take a look around Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the first week of February. This is a typically moderate time of year according to our Crowd Calendar, but I encountered some long lines around DHS, especially on February 8th:


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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever June 11, 2015: Disneyland Flora & Fauna

by on June 11, 2015

Disneyland flora fauna goats

Get down with the goats and other Disneyland flora and fauna in this Best Week Ever! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Well, faithful Best Week Ever followers, I just flew in from Anaheim, and boy are my arms tired! (Hey, we can’t all be as funny as Derek Burgan.) I truly had one of my best weeks ever, as any week at the Happiest Place on Earth is pretty special.

I was visiting the Disneyland Resort to update the upcoming 2016 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, and especially to review the parks’ new nighttime spectaculars. I had mixed feelings about some of the new after-dark additions, and you’ll shortly be able to read my full reviews of Paint the Night, Disneyland Forever, and World of Color — Celebrate! both online and in print. But something I have absolutely no hesitation endorsing is the wonderful world-famous Disneyland flora and fauna, which I enjoyed observing in abundance during my stay.

I know that most guests’ main interests at the Disney resorts are the rides and shows, and I love a ride on Radiator Springs Racers or the Indiana Jones Adventure as much as anyone. But some of the most magical Disney park memories I’ve ever made have involved the beautiful bounty of plants and animals — both carefully cultivated and amusingly untamed — that reside therein. And not to knock the Walt Disney World horticulture department, which does and impressive job (especially during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival), but there’s just something awesomely intimate about the agricultural encounters I’ve experienced out west.

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New Raptor Encounter Now Open at Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park

by on May 27, 2015

New Raptor Encounter Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park

Take a dino selfie at the new Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

While Disney was loudly kicking off their Coolest Summer Ever promotion with bicoastal 24 Hour parties, Universal Orlando quietly opened a new attraction over Memorial Day weekend with little fanfare, as the new Raptor Encounter debuted in the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure. Conventional wisdom says that, while Universal makes excellent thrill rides, Disney dominates the meet and greet experience. But much like the Transformers meet and greet in Universal Studios Florida, this innovative dinosaur photo op flips that expectation upside down.

The new Raptor Encounter is located outside of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, in an unused area that was formerly the entrance to Triceratops Trail, a long-defunct walkthrough attraction. Guests approach a fenced-in holding pen that has been built to contain a live velociraptor, who has been trained just well enough to pose briefly for photographs between snaps and screeches.

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Observations from Magic Kingdom: Frozen Meet & Greet and Be Our Guest Lunch Queue Updates

by on August 29, 2014

Queue update

Guests line up for busses to the Magic Kingdom due to morning monorail maintenance (photos by Seth Kubersky)

In the final weeks of the 2014 summer season, Walt Disney World experimented with some new queuing procedures at popular attractions and eateries, with somewhat controversial results. As the peak crowds have departed, so have most of those tests, so I recently headed into the Magic Kingdom for an early morning queue update on operations at Princess Fairytale Hall’s Frozen Meet & Greet and Be Our Guest restaurant.

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.

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FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers and Frozen Meet and Greet

by on March 25, 2014

As I’ve detailed in my recent blog posts, navigating Walt Disney World now that FastPass+ has fully rolled out for Annual Passholders is a whole new adventure that seems to evolve on a daily basis. Here are some updated FastPass+ tips on two of the hottest topics among users of My Disney Experience and the associated MyMagic+ programs: Annual Pass vouchers and the new Frozen meet and greet.

FastPass+ Tips for Annual Pass Vouchers

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

New FastPass+ tips for Annual Pass vouchers and Frozen meet and greet (photos by Seth Kubersky)

One of the most frequently asked questions in the comments to my recent blog posts has been if Annual Pass vouchers that have not yet been activated can be tied to a My Disney Experience account for FastPass+ access. This is important to guests who wish to purchase an annual pass in advance of their visit to make FastPass+ reservations without having the 365-day timer on their ticket start ticking until their arrival. Multiple readers have reported inputing their voucher number as a linked admission pass in My Disney Experience, and being unsuccessful in attempts to then make FastPass+ reservations.

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Video Double Feature: Walt Disney World Talking Mickey & Jingle Cruise

by on November 16, 2013

Hey boys and girls, it’s movie time! Today on the Touring Plans YouTube Channel we have a very special video double feature direct from Orlando’s Magic Kingdom, featuring the new Walt Disney World talking Mickey Mouse and a Christmas twist to a classic ride.

Talking Mickey

Now you can do more than just say cheese with the Big Cheese at WDW — you can have a conversation!


First up is a complete ride-through of the Jingle Cruise, which (as Morgan Crutchfield recently reported) is the new holiday overlay of the classic Jungle Cruise attraction:

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Thor: Treasures of Asgard Exhibit Opens in Disneyland’s Innoventions on November 1

by on September 19, 2013

Early this spring, Disneyland introduced their newly-purchased Marvel superheroes to their Anaheim resort in the form of a Stark Industries exhibit at Disneyland’s Innoventions, featuring an Xbox-based virtual experience in Iron Man’s iconic power suit. Starting November 1, the gradual Marvelization of Tomorrowland continues as Stark is joined in Innoventions by his thunder-god pal Thor.

Thor: Treasures of Asagard is an exhibit promoting the November 8th theatrical release of Thor: The Dark World, the second feature film starring Chris Hemsworth as the Nordic immortal. The conceit is that astrophysicist Jane Foster (played in the films by Natalie Portman) has determined that the Bifrost inter-dimensional portal will reopen inside the Innoventions building, and has invited guests to observe its appearance.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Meeting Characters at Disney World

by on June 12, 2013

While the rides at Walt Disney World get all the buzz, very often it’s meeting Buzz, or some other Disney character, that becomes the highlight of a child’s vacation. Here’s the scoop on what you need to know about meeting characters at Walt Disney World.

Characters are often much larger than children.

Characters are often much larger than children.

SPOILER ALERT – I’ll be using words like costume and mask which may dull the magic a bit for true believers. If you’re in that camp, feel free to move along now. On your way out enjoy this video of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog Song. OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way …

What is exactly is a character?

Characters are the live version of animated creatures/people found in Disney films and television programs. Characters appear in the Walt Disney World parks and resorts in parades, stage shows, and in guest greeting opportunities. While a character may be just inches tall when you see him on TV, all the in-park characters are adult human size or larger (sometimes much larger).

There are two types of characters: fur characters and face characters. Fur characters are those with an oversized, non-moving mask serving as their entire head. Typically the fur characters are animals such as Mickey and Minnie, Goofy, Donald, and Pooh. There are a few “human” fur characters, notably Captain Hook and the Incredibles, but these are less common.

Face characters have a fully human form – they look like real people. The essence of the character is conveyed via costuming, wigs, and makeup. Face characters include all of the princesses, Peter Pan, Jack Sparrow, Mary Poppins and more.

Other than appearance, one of the key differences between face characters and fur characters is that face characters talk, while fur characters generally do not.

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