Mar 252015
 

By Rikki Niblett

Get Frozen This Summer at Disney's Hollywood Studios

This summer at Walt Disney World, it’s gonna be so hot, it’s cool. How’s that? Well Walt Disney World is kicking off its Coolest Summer Ever this year, which means that once again, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests will be able to see their favorite characters from Frozen at the Frozen Summer Fun LIVE event. The fun is scheduled to take place from June 17 through September 7.

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Last year was the first year this exciting event, so because of that, this year’s offerings have been tweaked just a little, but don’t you worry– it will still be just as fantastic as ever! (And I can promise you that you’ll hear the songs from the movie only a few thousand times during the day.)

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To start off the day’s activities, guests will be able to catch the mini-parade called the Frozen Royal Welcome. Here guests will be able to see a cavalcade roll through Hollywoodland, featuring the Royal Arendelle Flag Corps, skaters, skiers, ice cutters and more. The parade will lead off with Anna in a horse-drawn sleigh, Elsa will be seen on a beautiful ice palace float, plus Kristoff and Olaf will be there too! It’s a great little parade that will delight all ages, for sure!

Now for those of you who just can’t let it go…this year, there will actually be two parade stops along the route – one on Hollywood Blvd. and one along the route by Echo Lake. During the stops, everyone will be invited to join in in singing “Let It Go.” The parade will take place twice daily. Check the Times Guide for exact parade times.

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Last year brought us the extremely popular For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show, and good news, the show is continuing…however, there will be one teeny, tiny change. The show will actually be moving into a new theater…the recently renamed Hyperion Theater. (Otherwise known as the former Superstar Television Theater, which previously housed the American Idol Experience.)

For those who haven’t yet seen the stage show, the Royal Historians of Arendelle share the story of Frozen through a comedic retelling, which includes lively sing-along portions. The show also features special appearances by Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff and it really is a cute experience. I was able to catch it on my last trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. (And I am not Frozen obsessed, but I don’t have Frozen Fatigue either. Though my hubby did enjoy the show too…so that’s a plus for it.) I actually laughed out loud in some parts and of course, had the urge to belt “Let It Go” with the rest of them! FastPass+ will be available for guests who want to experience this offering in its new location.

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Of course, every Disney event features some sort of specialty beverages and food. Guests will be able to enjoy many different Frozen-inspired dishes. In addition, there will be lots of merchandise, photo opportunities, Frozen decor and more!

On the main Event Stage, which will be similar to the temporary stage that’s been used in the past at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, (for those who don’t know, the Sorcerer’s Hat has been removed, and the stage was previously able to be seen directly in front of the Hat), guests will be able to experience a few unique offerings. First, there will be Olaf’s Summer Cool Down! I love Olaf and here, you’ll be able to catch him and some of his friends, like the Ambassador of Hollywoodland, up on stage to have a little fun “In Summer”. And as temperatures heat up, Olaf happily shares a burst from his personal snow cloud to cool things off.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Disney party without a DJ, so DJ Chill will be on hand at the Event Stage playing some sick beats. He will be joined by some of your favorite Disney characters too! Guests will even have the opportunity to be featured on the screen by utilizing a special hashtag! So get your selfie face ready!

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To end the evening, you knew there would have to be fireworks, right? The Frozen Fireworks will close out the night, as Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Event Stage to help kick off the fantastic fireworks show that will be set to the music of Frozen. Oh and be on the lookout for snow flurries too! These fireworks are simply mind-blowing! You don’t want to miss them.

I did mention that there would be a few changes. Unfortunately, this year, there’s no Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post, which means no ice skating and no snow playground. That’s kind of a bummer, because that was a really unique aspect to last year’s event.

Also, if you want to meet Anna and Elsa, do know that the only way to do that is to head to the Magic Kingdom. The sisters are only meeting guests at the Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland.

The Frozen Summer Fun LIVE event is a ton of fun, just like the name implies, and it is a can’t miss event for those of you with Frozen fans in the family! Will you be making sure to spend some time in Hollywoodland (otherwise known to us as Disney’s Hollywood Studios) to see your Frozen favorites? I certainly enjoyed experiencing it last year and I know I will be partaking in the cool excitement this year too!

Dec 172014
 

By Melissa Bejer

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Magical moments around Walt Disney World are plentiful throughout the year, but somehow, around the holidays, they are even more magical! 2014 has been no different. Below are just a few memorable magical holiday moments we experienced a few weeks ago.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party was full of magical holiday moments! This year, we participated in the Holiday Hootenanny at the Diamond Horseshoe.   This is a new dance party hosted by the Country Bear Jamboree fellas and also participating were Horace Horsecollar, Clarabelle Cow, and my personal favorite, Clara Cluck. The clock struck 7pm, and MVMCP had officially kicked off when we entered the Holiday Hootenanny. I had the pleasure of dancing with the Country Bears all by myself, as we were the first family walking in the door. There is a reason they call it a Hootenanny, it was a real hoot! Those bears can cut a rug! They played all kinds of music during the dance party, from disco, rock and roll, country and Christmas songs too. The Country Bears took a break after about a half hour of hootenannying, which left the dance floor open for Horace, Clarabelle and Clara to come and share in some of the fun. Clara was even getting people to do “the sprinkler” dance. For the rest of the night, whenever we were a quick mosey away from Frontierland, my family let me run in for a dance or two!

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A good tip if you are waiting in line for Uncle Scrooge, Donald, and Daisy: the line is twice as long as Santa Goofy’s line. I was able to grab a quick Merry Christmas with Santa Goofy (he is right across the walkway from the ducks), while my husband held the line and although we still had a 20 minute wait when I got back, it felt like we got a real deal – a bit of a quadruple holiday treat for the time we waited!

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Nothing is more festive than during MVMCP when it snows on Main Street while drinking your complimentary hot cocoa. If that doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, even Uncle Scrooge will roll his eyes are your bah humbugness!

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We stayed at the Contemporary during our trip, and this year the resort’s festive display was an homage to Frozen, in all GINGERBREAD AND CHOCOLATE! They also had a small area set up for Frozen merchandise and some gingerbread and chocolate goodness for purchase should you sweet tooth get inspired by the display.

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Christmas Duffy was greeting guests over at his usual spot in Epcot, he’s always such a fun character to visit.

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And file under rare character sighting (these seems to pop up from time to time around the holidays), Launchpad McQuack from Duck Tails – we found him over by the International Gateway. (Ed. note: While rare characters are just that, rare, sometimes you can happen upon them at the International Gateway. So, always be on the lookout, as these are fun meet and greet opportunities when they do indeed happen.)

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The Osbourne Family Spectacle of Lights never disappoints. It is a holiday feast for the eyes and the ears, and every 15 minutes there is a light show to the tune of various Christmas carols. While it can get crowded while walking around viewing the twinkling lights, the crowd actually adds to the ambiance of the scene, as many people are singing along to the carols. It feels like true holiday spirit as everyone sings songs together and marvels at the wonder of it all. I highly recommend a good spectacling!

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In typical Magic Kingdom fashion, Christmas was in the air all over Main Street! Staring with the Dapper Dans and singing their beautiful carols while playing their organ chimes (Silver Bells, Frosty, Rudolph – they have so many good tunes in their repertoire).

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And don’t forget to catch the Trolley Show with the Main Street citizens and their song and dance medley of Sleigh Ride, Jingle Bells, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

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But Cinderella’s Castle is simply magnificent during the holidays, by day or by night.

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Food Related Honorable Mention (not holiday related, but still memorable) – The famous “croissant doughnut” that is being replicated across the globe as an alternative to the famous Cronut invented and trademarked by Chef Dominique Ansel out of his bakery in New York City, can be found at the Refreshment Port in Epcot. It has been home to the Refreshment Port for about a year now, but if you have walked past the Refreshment Port without knowledge that it is the home of mouthwatering delights, you are missing out big time. Disney’s version of the croissant doughnut is fluffy and light, tossed in cinnamon sugar and while I don’t use this word often, it is delectable! Do not pass up a chance to sample this heavenly treat. Keep in mind, if you decide to partake in this scrumptious yumminess, the Refreshment Port doesn’t open until 11am. So if you were thinking of stopping for a quick breakfast (given that separately, croissants and doughnuts are breakfasty foods), make sure you plan on eating breakfast late morning. And enjoy the water view!

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Season’s Greetings to all, from myself and the mayor of Main Street, Honorable Mayor Christopher George Weaver!

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Nov 132013
 

By Rikki Niblett

©Disney

©Disney

Wow!  The Holiday Season is upon us (Wasn’t it just January?)  The glorious festive fun is back with colors or red and green popping up, Christmas songs playing on the radio, and holiday decorations everywhere you look.  So, with the Holidays popping up around me in my daily life, it’s also plain to see that they have taken their place already at Walt Disney World too!  Let’s take a look at all the activities that guests can participate in at the four Disney theme parks in Florida.

The Magic Kingdom starts things off and it’s considered by many to be a park so rich in Holiday traditions.  It almost feels like it’s Christmas morning each time you step foot in the park!

There are a few major activities that take place here and the first is something that the whole family can delight in each and every night and that is the Castle Dream Lights. The only word I can use to describe them is breathtaking.  I can’t tell you how much photos cannot do this justice.  The colors simply glow in a way that you can’t even imagine.  Guests should also not miss the special Castle Lighting ceremony which takes place called Cinderella’s Holiday Wish, where Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother works her magic to get those lights to sparkle!  This show takes place anywhere between 6 pm and 6:30 pm, so check your Times Guide and be prepared to be in awe.

The Magic Kingdom also gets into the holiday spirit with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. This is a special hard ticketed event that happens on select nights.  The two major draws for this Party which are the Christmas parade, as well as the fireworks extravaganza.

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Sep 042013
 

By Rikki Niblett

 

©Disney

©Disney

I’m back with my third segment in this series with a look at what you’re missing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This park, because of it’s show heavy nature, I believe causes a lot of people to miss things, mostly due to timing.  Many shows are shown at or around the same time throughout the day, so it really is hard to fit everything in to one succinct day.  So, attractions that you CAN miss, start falling by the wayside.  Of course, Toy Story Mania and Tower of Terror are musts, but what are the things that you are skipping that you shouldn’t be?

First and foremost, I think I would be remiss if I said that many first timers simply pass up Walt Disney:  One Man’s Dream.  The fabulous walk through attraction (more or less) is all about the great man who had a dream and helped to create all that we love today.  It is quintessential and shouldn’t be missed.  This walk through exhibit showcases Walt Disney’s life, featuring fantastic memorabilia and models.  However, because it isn’t a ride and it’s not really a show (though there is a movie shown inside)  It’s really more of a tribute to history, which many people aren’t intrigued enough to actually walk in.  (I mean, we aren’t in a museum…we’re in a theme park!  I didn’t want to learn here!)  But that’s where many are wrong.  Because without this simple story that’s told in a fabulous way, none of this resort would be here.  It is because of this man that we are all visiting these parks today.  So go pay tribute.  He deserves to be remembered as the visionary he was.

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May 162012
 

By Rikki Niblett
Random useless commentary by Chris Johnson

 

©Disney

Every year in May/June Walt Disney World holds Star Wars Weekends, celebrating all that is included in the Star Wars Universe.  This event takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Friday, Saturday and Sunday during those weekends.

I know that I’m in the minority as I am not a Star Wars fan.  Well, I guess I can’t actually say that. Someone can really only say that if they’ve seen the Star Wars movies…and seeing as how I have NOT…saying I’m not a fan isn’t really accurate.  I’m pretty much indifferent to the whole Star Wars saga.

She is breaking my geek heart. Really? You haven’t seen ANY of them? How is that possible? I thought they were required viewing in most school systems by now.  

Yet for some strange reason, I would like to experience a Star Wars Weekend at some point in my life.  From everything I’ve heard about this event, it seems like it would be something to experience, kind of like how a person should attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at least once.

So what is it that would draw in someone like me (or maybe you) who’s never been into Star Wars?  (Or in my case, someone who’s never watched the movies?)

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Aug 252010
 

We asked the travel agents at The Magic for Less Travel for their opinions on the counter service eateries at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We also asked them to share their favorite menu items at any of the DHS counter service locations. Here’s what we learned.

The pick for best counter service location was Starring Rolls Café, with 30% of the vote. Rosie’s All American Café came in second (23%) and there was a three-way tie for third (ABC Commissary, Backlot Express and Studio Catering Co Flatbread Grill). No one, not anyone, voted for Toy Story Pizza Planet. Surprised?

Respondents noted that Starring Rolls is often overlooked as a counter service restaurant. Despite having limited seating available (and all of it outside), the travel agents noted that Starring Rolls has a great selection of huge sandwiches (and huge desserts) and is a great use of a Quick Service credit if on the Disney Dining Plan. Rosie’s All American Café was noted as having a decent selection, good burgers but again, limited indoor seating.

Specific menu items that were recommended included:

  • ABC Commissary — the Cuban Sandwich (no longer served-so sad!), the Curry Chicken and the Asian Salad
  • Backlot Express — the Grilled Turkey & Cheese Sandwich and Grilled Vegetable Salad
  • Catalina Eddie’s — Hot Italian Deli Sandwich
  • Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner — Frankfurter in a Pretzel
  • Rosie’s All American Cafe — Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Starring Rolls Cafe — Black Forest Ham Sandwich, the blueberry muffin, and any of the cupcakes or pastries
  • Studio Catering Co. Flatbread Grill — the Greek Salad, the Chicken Wrap, and the Turkey Club with Roasted Red Peppers
  • Toy Story Pizza Planet — If you must, either the Pizza Combo or the Veggie Pizza

In the “other suggestions” category, one travel agent admitted to just hopping over to Epcot for eats. However, it seems like there are plenty of appetizing options at DHS to be able to fend off hunger without leaving the park. Bon appetit!