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By Carol Vandiver
Ryan loves Annie. Cole loves Starr. Spinelli love Lulu. And us? We LOVE THEM ALL!
The fans of ABC’s “soaps” are getting geared up for Super Soap Weekend, which will be held on November 10 and 11, 2007. This is the twelfth year for this event, which is held at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida. Stars from all three ABC soaps (All My Children, One Life to Live, and General Hospital) make the trek to Orlando each year so that they can personally “meet and greet” thousands of their fans. And we love it!
Take it from a Super Soap Weekend (SSW) veteran: Although this weekend is all about fun, it’s also a lot of work! I’ve attended 10 of the past 11 SSW’s (I missed the very first one) and I will be there this year, too. So I wanted to take this chance to clue you in and give you some pointers on enjoying SSW to the fullest!
If you’re like most fans, you started planning for this event way in advance. You’ve got your room reserved. You’ve got your airline tickets. You’ve waited patiently (or maybe not so patiently) for the list of attending stars to be announced by ABC. And you’ve got a “plan” for the weekend. This is good. It’s all very good. But having a “plan” just isn’t good enough. Don’t get me wrong. You do need a plan, but not just a Plan A. You’ll need a Plan B and a Plan C and most of all, you will need to be willing to throw all of these plans to the wind on just a moment’s notice.
Yes, you heard me right. Throw all of those plans to the wind! Are you wondering what on earth can happen to destroy not one, not two, but three plans? Well I’m here to tell you, confusion will do you in! It won’t be the confusion of the event itself. This event has been fine-tuned over the years and although there is always room for improvement, let me just say that SSW 11 was much, much more organized than SSW 2! The confusion that will send your plans to the wind will be caused by your overwhelming excitement. Once you step foot inside Disney-MGM Studios, you’ll wonder, “What should I do first?” and last week’s perfect plan may not make much sense anymore.
Where do you start?
There will be so much going on during this event that you won’t possibly be able to see or do it all. No one can. Not even the veterans. But you can see and do a lot of it if you can keep your confusion down to a minimum.
Do Your Homework and Be Prepared.
You can find a list of attending stars, a link to the map of “On Location” Autograph Stations, and much, much more on our Super Soap Weekend page on the MFL website. This can help you with your pre-planning.
Digital photographers should be sure to bring plenty of “memory” and those who shoot film should bring plenty of that! Your opportunity for photographs is never-ending and you won’t want to miss a single shot. Don’t forget those extra batteries, either! Also, take lots of pictures. You’ll want pictures of yourself with your favorite stars, but be sure to get some candid shots, too.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before.
This is a must. You are going to be on your feet from the crack of dawn (or earlier!) until way past dark. You’ll walk from one end of the park to the other. And back. You’ll be pushed and shoved. You’ll be lugging around all sorts of odds and ends like your backpack, photo cards that have been signed, your Soap Opera Digest guide, souvenirs, and even toothpaste. Yes, toothpaste. Did I forget to mention that Colgate Total sponsors this event? Well it does, and they hand out goodie bags!
You will be doing a lot of walking and standing this weekend, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. The weather may be warm during the day but it will be cooler at night. Come prepared for both.
Get to the park early.
If you are planning to take part in an “On Location Autograph Session” by meeting your favorite stars personally, you’ll need a FASTPASS to do so. Getting a FASTPASS means standing in line. A long line. A long, long line! Over and over. (The things we do for love!) These lines form very early in the morning, outside of the gates of MGM. Be sure to grab a Soaps In Depth magazine on your way in to the park. This contains the schedules for the entire weekend, along with other juicy information about the ABC soaps and their stars. They make great souvenirs, too.
A Guaranteed FASTPASS (left) shows the time window for you to return for your autograph. The Standby FASTPASS shows your assigned number. People are taken at either session, in numerical order.
Know how FASTPASS works.
Once the gates open, you will be directed to a separate line for each soap. These lines will proceed to the FASTPASS location for that soap. Here you’ll wait until 8 a.m. when the first FASTPASS is issued. You must be in line, holding your own park entry ticket, to get a FASTPASS. You cannot send your ticket with another member of your party. Once you get your FASTPASS ticket, you can stop there or you can get back in any line to get another. You’ll continue to do this until all of the FASTPASS tickets have been distributed or you have all of the FASTPASS tickets that you want. A limited number of FASTPASS tickets will be distributed for each autograph session. After that, a limited number of “standby” tickets will be made available. Standby tickets do not guarantee an autograph. Standby ticket-holders will be taken if there is time remaining in a session after all FASTPASS ticket-holders have received their autographs. They are numbered and good for either autograph session.
Your FASTPASS will have the time and location of your personal autograph session on it. Your sessions are secure and all you have to do is show up, so now is the time for planning. You can see where you need to be and at what time, so get out that Soap Opera Digest with the schedule of events and fill in your available time with motorcades, talk shows, shopping, or walking around taking photos.
Don’t forget food.
This will be an extremely busy weekend for you and you’re going to need lots of energy! Throw some snacks in your backpack so that you can nibble without using much time or energy. Once you’ve collected your FASTPASS tickets for the day, look at your schedule and decide on a good time to eat at least one substantial meal.
Now that we have the basics out of the way, we can discuss the specifics. There’s something for everyone this weekend!
- Want to meet your favorite ABC soap stars up close and personal? Get a FASTPASS when you enter the park for a spot in the “On Location” Autograph Sessions. If you don’t want a personal autograph and photo of yourself with your favorite star, you can wander the park all day and still get great photos of the stars!
Julie Marie Berman (Lulu Spencer, GH) poses for a photograph.
- You can watch the stars arrive at the main stage via the celebrity motorcades and star conversations and listen as they are interviewed, right before your eyes. You may even be selected to direct a question to one of the stars!
Eden Riegel (Bianca Montgomery, AMC) and Pluto in the motorcade down Hollywood Bouldvard.
Catherine Hickland (Lindsey Rappaport, OLTL) interviews stars from OLTL on the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage.
- You can sit in the comfort of the Super Soap Theater and listen while Bob Guiney hosts the super soap talk show. Bob talks informally with the stars and you’ll even get some “sneak peeks” at what is coming up next on your favorite soaps!
Actors from GH on stage during the Super Soap Talk show Hosted by Bob Guiney (far right).
- You can watch as Cameron Mathison hosts “I Wanna Be a Soap Star” LIVE! This is a SSW version of Cameron’s popular reality show. Selected contestants will get a chance to perform onstage with one of ABC’s soap stars.
- Games? You’ll find those, too. John-Paul Lavoisier will host the triple-play game show, where stars from your favorite soaps will team up with fans selected from the audience to play a fast-paced, three-round game show!
- Who doesn’t love to shop? You’ll find SSW souvenirs along with one-of-a-kind costumes and props, directly from the set of your favorite ABC soap at Soap Central, located at the ABC Commissary.
Some of the costumes available at Soap Central.
- One of the most popular events of the weekend is the Colgate Total Street Jam, which is held on both Saturday and Sunday nights. This live street concert begins with all of the stars making their way up Hollywood Boulevard in the Grand Motorcade. They are joined on the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage by some of the Disney characters that we all know and love and start off the party with music and dancing. This year Sherri Shepherd of The View will host the Street Jam. You won’t want to miss this!
Jammin’ at the Street Jam.
All of this and more is included with your theme park admission to the Disney-MGM Studios. You’ve just gotta love it! I do, and I hope to see you there!