Interesting news coming from Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios this morning…..
Toy Story Mania, definitively one of Disney World’s most popular rides, is operating on a FASTPASS only system this week.
You heard that right. During this ‘test phase’, Disney is no longer holding a stand-by line for Toy Story Mania. Only those with Fastpass+ reservations will be able to enjoy the uber-popular ride. Disney will be issuing additional Fastpasses, depending on demand, but will not say how many they will be issuing per day.
Disney’s logic is that they want to see if this will cut down on wait times for this ride, which can sometimes get as high as 90-120 minutes. But good luck if you haven’t snagged a FASTPASS+ reservation 60 or even 30 days in advance. On previous trips, we’ve headed straight to the fastpass kiosk shortly after opening time (roughly 8:10) only to get fastpasses for 7-8pm that EVENING. This will surely make same day reservations obsolete.
This announcement comes on the heels of Disney’s decision to make the “Anna + Elsa Meet and Greet” a Fastpass+ only attraction in Magic Kingdom.
All good things must come to an end…..
A few of Walt Disney World’s favorite attractions are closing…some for good.
At Hollywood Studios, the Studio Backlot Tour is closing permanently. The final day for this attraction is set for this Saturday, September 27, 2014. The AFI Showcase at the end of the tour will also be permanently closed. For those not familiar with the attraction, guests take part in a live effects demonstration of a “Harbor Attack” where a few guests actually get to ‘act’ (and subsequently get soaked!). This is followed by a tram tour of production houses, props and “Catastrophe Canyon”. As you make your way across a rickety bridge (would you expect anything less?) the ground begins to shake and a huge tanker filled with fuel comes storming towards you with fiery gusto as water splashes you from the mountain side. Sound fun? Then you’d better get there before Saturday! I’ve been on this attraction many times over the years and while it does get a little old after the umpteenth time going on it (whatever happened to the Golden Girls house?!?!), it was definitely a good attraction for first timers and will certainly be missed.
Also closed at Hollywood Studios is the American Idol Experience which closed permanently as of August 30. Having never been to this attraction, I can’t comment as to whether or not it was any good. With the popularity of American Idol dwindling as the years go on, it’s no surprise this attraction got the ol’ heave-ho!
Most surprising to people, and upsetting to some (depending on who you ask), is the closure and redesign of Maelstrom in Epcot. Set for its final run on October 6, 2014, Maelstrom and The Spirit of Norway will close to make way for a new attraction based on the uber-popular film FROZEN. While most of the details are still under lock and key, you can bet the new Frozen attraction will most definitely take guests to Arendelle where Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff and Sven will be featured. Try getting “Let it Go” out of your head after that ride! 😉
There is also talk that Anna + Elsa will be back to Epcot with a new meet and greet location in Norway. This should hopefully ease up the craziness currently being experienced at Magic Kingdom, where Anna + Elsa currently meet guests.
So how do you feel about the new changes announced at Disney World? Any surprises?
Dig out those Chewbacca costumes, grab a lightsaber and cue the Cantina Band. It’s Star Wars Day!
Fans all over the world celebrate the Star Wars franchise today with parties, viewings and organized celebrations. At various Disney Stores, fans will be in the thick of it, with in-store activities, giveaways and promotions.
This year is especially exciting as it coincides with the recent announcement of the new Star Wars Episode VII film and cast including originals Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).
Star Wars Day has become so popular that the following day (May 5) has been referred to as Revenge of the Fifth. Fans let their evil sides come out by celebrating the villains from the Star Wars series.
How will YOU celebrate Star Wars Day?
Disney Parks Blog
Back on May 1, 1989, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) opened at Walt Disney World in Florida.
Originally, the park only had 9 attractions – Backstage Studio Tour, Catastrophe Canyon, Disney Classics Theatre, The Great Movie Ride (I think the water is still the same as 25 years ago!), Hollywood Hollywood, Magic of Disney Animation, Monster Sound Show, Superstar Television and Residential Street.
My, how things have changed.
Now, the park has tons of rides and attractions for all to enjoy – Fantasmic, Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, and Rock n’ Roller Coaster, to name a few. One special treat we got to experience on our last trip was the Jedi Academy Training. Both of my kids signed up (BIG Star Wars fans) and had so much fun!! Darth is huge close up!
The one thing I definitely miss from the old MGM Studios days is Residential Street. I loved seeing the Golden Girls house, one of my favorite shows growing up. It was just such a treat to see these props as you rode by, making you feel like you were somehow part of the ‘magic’ of television.
So Happy Anniversary Hollywood Studios! Here’s to the next 25! 😉
Disney Parks Blog just posted a video capturing a full ride through of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Magic Kingdom. So awesome.
The ride opens this spring (could you BE move vague Disney?). Height requirement for this ride is 38 inches, which is great for little ones to experience their first “rollercoaster”.
I wonder if Snow White will take a ride on this every once in a while, similar to Aladdin + Jasmine do on the Magic Carpets? Hmmmm….she might not want to mess her hair up though.
Having watched the video a few times, I cannot wait until our next trip to Disney World to ride it firsthand.
Let me know what you think once you’ve watched the video yourself!
Starting today, some big changes are in effect for MyMagic+ and the FastPass+ system.
Using the ‘old’ system of FastPass+, guests were only allowed to book three FastPass+ options for their Disney MagicBand per day. Once those three were completed for the day, you were out of luck. Have fun with the line-ups.
BUT starting today, guests can now select additional FastPass options once they have used their first three FastPass+ selections! Much like the old system, when they’ve used that fourth selection, they will then be able to book another, and then another, and so on, and so forth. The only downside: these subsequent selections will have to be made at kiosks inside the parks (hello line-ups?).
Also, Guests are now able to select their additional FastPass+ selections from different parks, using the Park Hopping method. For instance, if I was at Magic Kingdom all morning and used my initial three FastPass+ options, I could then make a fourth option for Test Track at Epcot and park hop over there for the rest of the day. This was not available using the original FastPass+ system.
Having used the MagicBands on our last trip we found the system seamless and had no troubles. Our one complaint was that you could only book three FastPass+ options per day, but this new method seems to take care of that. However, having to line up at kiosks to make your fourth, fifth, sixth choice doesn’t really seem ideal. Making use of the My Disney Experience Mobile App seems to be a better use of time and energy. However, from what I’m reading, you can make your choice at the kiosk, and then modify it using the Mobile App. Seems like a decent compromise…..for now!
Any thoughts on the changes to MyMagic+ and FastPass+? What’s been your experience using the systems?
On April 10, thousands of people at Disney Parks around the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the iconic attraction “It’s a Small World” with a rousing sing-along of….can you guess…..”it’s a small world”!
As Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts puts it, “Every moment of every day there are Disney guests enjoying ‘it’s a small world’ somewhere around the globe. The 50th anniversary of this attraction represents a celebration of the shared optimism, hope, and humanity of people throughout the world.”
For those of you not familiar with the attraction (really, are you out there?), ‘It’s a Small World’ was designed to celebrate children all over the world. The ride features different scenes and cultures from around the world, all with ‘dancing doll’ animatronics and that catchy song that I DARE you to not be singing by the end of the ride (or at least have stuck in your head all day).
My absolute favorite scene in the ride is the Finale Room, featuring a white carnival representing all of the cultures featured in the ride. The whole ride is adorable, but this last scene is the most enjoyable to me. The colors, the whimsy of it all is just beautiful.
Let me know what your favorite scenes are from the ride (and no, trying to count all the coins in the water doesn’t count!). 😉