Changes at Walt Disney World

Maelstrom

CanyonSeptember 1999

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?

Changes to the MyMagic+ and the FastPass+ system

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?

New Meet & Greet with ‘Frozen’

Anna & Elsa from Disney's "Frozen"

Anna & Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen”

Coming this November, guests of Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be able to take part in a meet and greet with Anna + Elsa from Disney’s latest princess film, ‘Frozen’. Anna + Elsa will be signing autographs and taking photos with guests at the Epcot Norway Pavilion in Walt Disney World and at Fantasyland in Disneyland.

How exciting!!

Frozen hits theatres November 27, 2013.

Starbucks Heaven

Starbucks
Hot off the presses!!

Disney Parks Blog has just announced that Fountain View at Epcot in Walt Disney World has reopened and is now serving Starbucks products.

You’ll remember a while back Starbucks being added to the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom. And more Walt Disney World locations are coming! Starbucks will soon be served at Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and yes, even Downtown Disney.