Category Archives: Hollywood Studios
When the man whose name is also the name of your company indicated publicly that the company’s mission included constant growth, change, and progress you tend to be held to that standard. The fact that you’re charging an arm and a leg to visitors at your “Vacation Kingdom” also motivates mixing things up a bit. The Disney parks don’t always live up to this ideal and have certainly come under valid criticism because of it. But when you’ve got a large number of customers who are willing to visit over and over (like me) it indicates one of two things, or maybe a bit of both. A: They have actually provided a huge amount of experiences that stand up to lots of repeat business and have expanded over my lifetime from a single park with a few adjoining resorts to a mega complex with four theme parks, two water parks, close to twenty resort hotels, a huge entertainment and shopping complex, and a wide variety of other vacation options. B. With crowds continuing to be strong and earnings even stronger…maybe it doesn’t matter as much as it should.
Either way, they haven’t made me want to stop going yet. Not yet. We’ll see how that develops in the coming years though. In the meantime, I’m still finding myself capable of enjoying new things every time I visit. The above-pictured Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar is something I haven’t sampled since I was a kid and there was just one theme park on property. Maybe I’ll make a point to remedy that on my newest trip to Walt Disney World which is coming in just two weeks. Let’s take a look at what is new for me and what is tried and true.
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As my Walt Disney World vacation approaches I continue hitting guideposts along the way. Today was a major one as my MagicBand arrived in the mail! Join me as I open it up and give it a look over!
Okay, I’ve got to warn you right up front. This is a trip planning video that has a pretty limited audience. If you’ve never spent time over-planning a trip to Walt Disney World what you see in this video will probably seem arcane and a little bewildering. If you’re one of those people who got annoyed with Lebeau’s 50 day countdown to his trip a few years ago, this post isn’t for you. There is no video of the beautiful parks. There are no bouncy sing-along songs. This is pure obsessive trip planning. Keep in mind that I actually trimmed more than four minutes from the original run time.
You’ve been warned.
Okay, so for the last week and a half or so I’ve been sharing videos detailing my recent trip to Walt Disney World with friends. It has been a fun project, and might be the kind of thing I’d like to try again in the future. There are definitely things I have to learn about how to make such a project better than I have this time around, and I’d probably strongly consider an upgrade in my overall equipment next time around. My own camera skills are still a little questionable too, with plenty of shaky and meandering examples to be found even in the final videos.
This last Daffy Does Disney video for my Autumn 2016 trip will just be a fun set of highlights with no story to tell or information to share. It will just be some fun shots from all four days of the trip, sometimes organized thematically and sometimes grouped relatively randomly. If you’ve been watching my videos up to this point you will have seen a lot of this already, but there will also be video and photos that I have not yet shared included, mostly from our Saturday night park hop over to the Magic Kingdom which was very rainy at first. Not long after the rain stopped and filming resumed, I ran out of data storage, cutting short any shooting for the rest of the night.
Hopefully this last little bit of fun is enjoyable for everybody. Thanks for humoring me in this new approach to reporting on my trips!
A quick word of warning…The Singing Around the World project is irretrievably silly and sophomoric ….and incomplete. Let it be known that I have no problem embarrassing my self and others and that I had planned to do even more of it! So now that you’ve been warned, let’s dig in!
I told you, didn’t I? Horrifyingly enough, the project was originally conceived as including pretty much every attraction that features a song prominently. In fact, if you know your Walt Disney World jingle history you know that at least one of the songs we sang here is no longer a part of its attraction. Why didn’t we follow through all the way? My travel companions were enthusiastic about the idea, but it really came down to a matter of having enough time. Getting the three targeted shoots done in Hollywood Studios wasn’t hard at all, and we got off to a strong start at Epcot the next day, but as I started to focus on my “Snacking Around the World” videos and the park started to fill up and stuffing our faces became a priority, I went ahead and let a few of the songs slide. Strong light for shooting video was also a concern as night fell and that really cut into the available time for shooting songs the next day in the Magic Kingdom, where we only had from 4pm until whenever it got dark. We just didn’t have enough hours to complete the project fully. With a planned dinner at Be Our Guest and multiple parades/fireworks/shows a priority for the evening I decided to just be happy with what I had…but not before pushing for one last shoot over in Tomorrowland. If you’ve already seen the above video then you know what I’m talking about.
Hopefully everyone watching the video will take it in the good humor it was intended and won’t expect too much from my performance or production values. If anybody feels cheated by the exclusion of “Grim Grinning Ghosts” or “It’s a Small World” or some other classic we didn’t manage to follow through on, well I challenge you to complete the whole project where I failed. I believe in you!
Okay, so I’m about three weeks away from my next trip to Walt Disney World and I’m starting to get a little antsy to get the trip underway. If you’ve been reading along at home for a couple of years you know that I had the pleasure last summer of a three day trip across country to see Disneyland for the first time in 40 years. Obviously, that was a really great thing, but it also means that it will have been more than two calendar years since I spent any time in any of the Florida Disney parks by the time I leave for Orlando at the end of the month. I know, first world problems, right?
A trip of any kind will typically feature some stuff that you’re really looking forward to. Sometimes that’s because it’s something you’ve never tried before and you’re excited to give it a whirl and sometimes it’s an old standby that you just can’t get enough of. By way of working off some of my own impatience for the next few weeks to pass, I’ll be going over some of these things that I’ll be experiencing this time around. Join me after the break if you like!
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There are big changes coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando Florida. Disney has already announced that they are building new lands themed to Star Wars and Toy Story. These projects are ongoing and no completion date has been announced. In its current form, the park is operating at a diminished capacity and it has a reputation as a “half day park” to begin with. To accommodate the construction (but more importantly, to keep operating costs as low as possible) Disney has had several closures in recent years. Insiders are reporting that as early as next year, The Great Movie Ride will be joining them.
A few months ago, there was a crazy rumor that the brain trust at Disney had decided to retheme one of its signature theme park attractions, The Tower of Terror. Since its debut in 1994, the ride has tied in to the classic TV show, The Twilight Zone. But in an effort to save a few bucks on an intellectual property Disney doesn’t own as well as promoting a property it does, management was seriously considering ditching the existing theme for Guardians of the Galaxy – the popular Marvel franchise which has nothing whatsoever to do with a haunted hotel.
WDW1974, the insider who posted the original rumor, has provided an update. According to him, Orlando’s tower has been spared. The one in Anaheim may still become the home of a talking tree and gun-totting raccoon. But that’s a West Coast problem. Sorry, Disneylanders. That doesn’t mean Disney has given up on putting Star-Lord and Gamora in Orlando either.
Recently, a co-worker of mine told me he and his wife are taking their kids on their very first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida this summer. Apparently he’d heard I’m something of an enthusiast on the topic. After a quick rundown of where they’re staying and eating, he expressed some concerns over the quickly approaching date for reserving the family’s Fastpasses and worried that his young kids might be scared of some of the rides (he has a 4-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son). I told him they probably would be a little tentative and suggested that he sit down with them on YouTube to get a preview of some of the attractions he thought they were targeting. I’ve heard from some parents that this has helped to demystify some of the gentle dark rides and can act as a stepping stone for the overall experience. He seemed pretty pleased with this suggestion and I came out of the conversation feeling rather happy with myself. It was a win-win.
Unfortunately, he came back a couple of days later with a completely different problem. He had watched several ride videos with his kids like I’d said, and he hadn’t gotten much feeling that they were frightened by what they saw. But maybe that was because they had spent the entire time asking him who all of the characters were! This came as quite a shock to both him and his wife. After all, they were pretty sure all kinds of cartoons were on in the house on a rather regular basis. But there he was, trying to explain the seven dwarfs, Peter Pan, and even the Little Mermaid to his kids. A cursory investigation of the family’s available Disney movies revealed part of the problem: they weren’t the ones with rides based on them. Frozen had been played past one family member’s tolerance, but that ride isn’t open yet. His son had practically worn out a copy of Pixar’s Cars, but there is next to nothing at Disney World featuring those characters. There was a lot of Disney Jr stuff like Doc McStuffins and Jake and the Neverland Pirates available, which really just covers one stage show and maybe a character meal. He snatched out a copy of Beauty and the Beast and insisted to his kids that they had all watched it together a couple of times. Maybe they had, but at that moment all he was getting were blank stares. “For crying out loud,” he said to me (or something less printable here), “What the heck do they need to see before we leave in nine weeks?!” Clearly, the stress of trip planning was getting to him.
I smiled and told him I’d have a list for him in a day or two, but that a refresher on Beauty and the Beast couldn’t hurt in the meantime. Join me as we look at a big part of that promised list.
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Today’s Disney fans are waiting in anticipation for news on the upcoming Star Wars projects opening in Disneyland and Walt Disney World. In 1987, Starlog Magazine published a two-part article covering the first Star Wars attraction, Star Tours. Star tours opened that year in Anaheim and made its Orlando debut two years later. In 2011, both simulator attractions were upgraded with 3-D and multiple scenes that are shown randomly. Here’s a look at the first time Star Wars came to Disney.
Disney fans are looking forward to the complete reinvention of the Orlando theme park formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios. Exciting developments like a Star Wars-themed land have been announced along with a second area based around Toy Story. These are all long-term projects with no opening dates attached. That’s largely because Disney is still figuring out details themselves.
In this chaotic environment, a rumor has surfaced which fills me with a sense of dread. And not the good kind you get when you anticipate being dropped repeatedly in a haunted elevator shaft.
It’s been a while since I have discussed new projects at Walt Disney World because frankly, there hasn’t been much to discuss. It seems like ages since we were scrutinizing concept art for the New Fantasyland Project which is understandable since that expansion was initially announced six years ago. To put that into perspective, my first-grader was an infant when the last major Disney World project was announced. Last summer, we visited the Magic Kingdom just as the project was completed. Things move slowly at Disney World in the 21st century.
For the last several years while New Fantasyland was being built, Hyperion Wharf was announced and then replaced with Disney Springs and Magic Bands became a thing, there haven’t been a lot of new developments that Disney fans could get excited about. The announcement of an Avatar-themed expansion went over like a fart in church. And the Frozen-themed make-over over Maelstrom at Epcot has been controversial to say the least. There were rumors of good things to come, but for several frustrating years they remained only rumors.
This year at Disney’s D23 convention, those rumors were finally confirmed. Details were few and far between. But coupled with the projects which had already been announced, we’ve got a pretty good idea of where Disney World is headed over the next several years. So it seems like as good a time as any to assess the up-coming projects and rank them in terms of their overall potential and my personal excitement level.