Tag Archives: Hollywood studios

Hollywood Studios and Epcot to eliminate paper fastpasses

As I reported briefly on my Twitter feed, Hollywood Studios and Epcot will be the last Walt Disney World parks to eliminate Legacy or paper Fastpasses.

Hollywood Studios will move to Fastpass+ only on January 21, 2014 and Epcot will follow suit in becoming Fastpass+ only on January 24, 2014.  My family and I have made a lot of great memories using the old system, including seeing my son grow to become our “Fastpass runner.”  Today, we finished out a great day at Hollywood Studios with a bunch of Fastpasses.  I’ll write about our fun experience later though.

Here’s a synopsis of what Fastpass+ will look like in each park:

Animal Kingdom (Choose any 3)

  • Dinosaur
  • Expedition Everest
  • Finding Nemo
  • It’s Tough to Be a Bug
  • Kali River Rapids
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Meet Mickey and Minnie
  • Primeval Whirl


Tier One – Select 1 preference from this group

  • Illuminations – Reflections of Earth
  • Maelstrom
  • Meet Mickey, Minnie and Goofy at Character Spot
  • Soarin
  • Test Track

Tier Two – Select up to 2 preferences from this group

  • Captain EO
  • Journey into Imagination with Figment
  • Living with the Land
  • Mission:  Space
  • Spaceship Earth
  • The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  • Turtle Talk with Crush

Hollywood Studios

Tier One:  Select 1 preference from this group

  • Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage
  • Fantasmic!
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
  • Toy Story Midway Mania!

Tier Two – Select up to 2 preferences from this group

  • Disney Junior – Live on Stage
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • The American Idol Experience
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Magic Kingdom (Choose any 3)

  • it’s a small world
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Enchanted Tales with Belle
  • Haunted Mansion
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • Main Street Electrical Parade
  • Meet Ariel
  • Meet Cinderella and Princess Friend (Aurora)
  • Meet Mickey Mouse
  • Mickey’s Philharmagic
  • Meet Rapunzel and Princess Friend (Snow White)
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • The Barnstormer
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Wishes

I’ll be posting a full guide with touring strategies in the coming week.  Don’t be intimidated by touring with Fastpass+.  Only the Magic Kingdom provides any challenges!

Character Palooza at Disney’s Hollywood in Janauary

Character Palooza ususally goes on hiatus during the winter months, but it appears that it will return soon.  I received the following information from my source that’s close to Character Palooza at Hollywood Studios:

Beginning January 6th, Fantasmic! Area Sets (Character Palooza as we know it) are being scheduled.

With Fantasmic! beginning at 7:00 pm, the sets are likely to be held at 2:30, 3:30 and 4:30 pm.  All three sets should be held on Streets of America, but all entertainment is subject to change without notice.

Get more information on Character Palooza.


RUMOR: Doc McStuffins to begin appearing in “early 2014”

As far as I’m aware, Drew81 broke the news last week on a web forum that Doc McStuffins will be coming to Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios in early 2014.  He didn’t provide an actual date and the thread failed to mention that Doc McStuffins will be an exclusive character for Hollywood and Vine character breakfast and lunch.  She will take the place of one of the other characters in the rotation, likely Agent OSO (sorry) or June.  I’ll let you know when I hear the proposed date that she will begin and other details.  I wouldn’t want anyone to book an expensive meal just with the hope that she might appear.  Of course, you could always cancel by midnight the night before your reservation with no penalty.

I’ve also heard that we should expect Doc to appear in the Walt Disney World Christmas parade, the segment is supposed to be filmed this Saturday.

Doc McStuffins as she appeared for her mobile tour.
Doc McStuffins as she appeared for her mobile tour.

Pirate in the Parks: Daddy / daughters character day at Hollywood Studios.

On Saturday, my daughters and I decided to head over to Hollywood Studios for some character fun and to ride a few of our favorite attractions.  My youngest really wanted to finally get to visit Vanellope and Sofia the First.  We used FP+ to ride Toy Story Midway Mania and The Great Movie Ride.  When I tried to book 3 FP+ for TSMM on Friday night, it was only showing availability for 7:00 pm, so I decided to wait.  The next morning around 7:00 am I tried again on the My Disney Experience app and it said “Standy by Only.”  At 8:30 a.m. on an 8:00 opening date, I found a number of slots open to choose from, so we choose a 9:45-10:45 a.m. slot so we could have some character fun before riding.

We started out our day with a photo op in front of the big Christmas tree.  I’m not much of a Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Christmas Tree 2013photographer, but deduced later that the picture would have been better with my daughters closer to the camera and still have the tree in the background.  Was I taking a photo of the tree or the kids with the tree?

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Chip n DaleWe began our day with a Chip n Dale meet and greet near the hat.  I noticed that the sun was flaring behind the characters, but decided to go ahead and snap the photo as a demonstration.  One could easily ask the characters politely to turn a bit and get rid of that early sun.  My daughter asked Chip if he would be able to accept a  chocolate chip cookie.  He got really excited, but Debbie didn’t have a cookie to actually offer him. He communicated that she will need to return with said cookie.  She promised him a homemade cookie on her next visit with him.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters PlutoPluto was standing near the chipmunks and he is my little girl’s favorite character, so we waited 7 minutes to meet him early in the day.  The attendant was informing everyone that they might end up with Donald Duck, but thankfully Pluto was still there when we arrived.  Debbie asked Pluto if he prefers bones or actual steaks.  Pluto is a bone lover.  Now she’s commited to bringing TWO treats back to Studios, lol.  Pluto’s tag says, “Backstage Pass. Valid today and tomorrow.  Pluto.”  Oh, by the way, during the Christmas season, Goofy is hanging out on Streets of America as Santa Goofy from 1:00 to 5:00 pm and again from 6:30 to 30 minutes after park closing, but get in line early as there is a long wait.  He also appears as Santa Goofy in Animal Kingdom.


The girls held the second spot in line at the Sofia the First meet and greet while I went to acquire some paper Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania.  We thought we would return later to ride.  I acquired these FP at 9:12 am.  They were all acquired within 60 seconds.  I watched as Fastpasses were gone for the day before 9:30 am.  We had to leave the park early, so we gave the Fastpasses away so another family could use them.

Wat Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Sofia the FirstMy little girl was really excited to finally meet Sofia the First and wanted to play along with her.  She was the second guest in line for Sofia’s first meet.  She noticed the shiny amulet and wanted to see that.  Sofia only seemed interested in taking a photo.  After the photo she tried to get a look at the amulet again and I mentioned in a louder voice that she just wants to see the magic amulet, not grab it.  Sofia just gave us a “move along” hand gesture.  Seemed out of character from my previous 3 meets with her.  Pretty disappointing first meet, but my little girl bounces back quickly.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Jake and the Neverland PiratesJake’s line was still pretty short, so we moved over there to meet him.  Jake was in a great mood and was doing some dance moves with a little boy pirate in line in front of us.  Jake was really fun for my little girl to interact with.  He was fist pounding and jumping and acting piratey with her.  He helped take the sting out the of the previous meet.  Yo ho!

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Mickey Mouse.We haven’t been back to meet Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse in quite some time.  It was always part of our family traditions when we vacationed at Walt Disney World, but it hasn’t been a priority lately.  We decided it was time to remedy the situation.  We were 2nd in line to meet Mickey inside the Animation Building.   We helped several other families plan out the remainder of their character day while we waited.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Minnie MouseWith Minnie Mouse in her new, unmarked, meet and greet area it was really easy to walk right in after meeting Mickey.  There’s no sign or marquee whatsoever that would point to this being an attraction.  Just the still inoperable Fastpass+ area.  I mentioned before that this will eventually become a Fastpass+ exclusive meet and greet.  I’d guess they will add the marquee at that time?  Minnie was very welcoming and spent a good amount of time showing my girls around her new room.  My little one was quite impressed with what Minnie had done with her room and told Minnie she’d like some decorating tips.  She was also impressed with Minnie’s shiny new dress.  3 beautiful ladies all together in one photo.

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Vanellope (2)
Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope were supposed to arrive at 10:30 am, so we we decided to become first in line to meet them and relaxed on the floor while Debbie played some of the interactive games and chatted with other little girls.  She meets friends every where we go.
Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Vanellope (1) I decided to join the meet and greet fun because I hadn’t met Vanellope alone before.  Vanellope didn’t seem too excited to hang out with a pirate who told people about a major flaw in the FP+ system.  It’s cool though.  Ralph once gave me a Hero medal.  So, where’s Ralph?  The attendant informed us that we wouldn’t be able to meet him until 11:00 am.  We chose to just meet Vanellope, it was the MAIN reason Debbie wanted to go the Studios anyway.  She HAD to meet Vanellope.

Mr. Incredible and Frozone also meet inside the Animation area, but we chose to skip them in favor of using our FP+ reservation for TSMM.  I noticed that they had added a cool Etch-o-Sketch since the last time I visited (or paid any attention).

I also decided to try to make a video of the attraction.  I’ve been videoing (can’t really call it videotaping because it’s on a flash memory card) all the attractions and shows a little at a time to add to my newly re-designed attractions pages.  I started with Animal Kingdom‘s re-design and I’m moving to the other parks in coming weeks.  I’m also going to create image galleries for every attraction, show, character, dining etc to help people who wish to plan their trips.  I tried to place the 3D glasses over the end of the camera as best I could while getting swung all over the place.  If you get a loose stomach, you can stop the video 🙂


Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios Characters Green Army ManAfter our game of TSMM, that I lost due to video, we found the Green Army Man patrolling the area of the toys and decided we’d take part in a quick meet and greet.  Salute soldier!  

We then took in the Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow walk-through type attraction.  This thing is really popular and regularly has lines of 30 minutes or more.  We saw the doors opening with only the one cattle pen filled and decided to drop in for a visit.  My little one had never seen it.  She said, “Eh, that was okay.  The Captain Jack part was kind of funny.”  That reaction may mirror what your child says after leaving.

We next used our Great Movie Ride Fastpass+ to ride this attraction.  I noticed that the props in the queue area had been replaced with some that were new to me.  I don’t really keep track of when little things like this are changed, so when I notice them I try to snap a quick photo.  I took a video of this attraction but haven’t had a chance to upload it to my youtube account yet.  We had the Cowboy scene, which is my favorite.  Love some fire and explosions!

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (2) Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (3) Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (4) Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (5) Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (6)

Walt Disney World Hollywood Studios The Great Movie Ride (1)We ended our day with a ride on Rockin ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith. We had to leave early due to another commitment.  Hope you enjoyed our little day in the park.

Princess merchandise available in Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios

I get a decent number of merchandise questions these days.  Especially concerning Princess attire.  I decided to snap a few photos on my Daddy/Daughters day at Hollywood Studios.  Perhaps these could help.  These photos were taken November 24, 2013.   There’s no guarantee that any product or size would be available on a given day, but I thought it might help parents who are looking for some Princess merch at Hollywood Studios.   My youngest daughter was kind enough to model the outfits of sorts 🙂

Click on any pic for a larger image.  The images will probably fill your screen because I knew you’d love the detail.

Sofia the First dress
Sofia the First dress

Continue reading Princess merchandise available in Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios

A couple of minor observations about Fastpass and Fastpass+ from today’s visit to Hollywood Studios

Before you pick up the torches to burn me at the stake for the earlier post that merely pointed out the EXACT flaw in Disney’s poorly engineered app, this post requires no multi-step processes, no need to print 20 pages and no high level MDE degrees.  Easy Gaston, easy boy.  Put down the club.


I noticed that the Morning Extra Magic Hour crowd wasn’t allowed to retrieve Fastpasses for Toy Story Midway Mania until 9:00 a.m. and those paper Fastpasses were gone completely by 9:25 a.m.  I saw people lined up in a queue to get said FP before 9:00 a.m. (I could show you a photo, but I’m too lazy to post it right now.)  I’m not sure how long they had been there, we had a breakfast ressie and didn’t make it over there by that time.  I got my paper FP at 9:12 a.m and they ranged from 4:30 to 4:45 p.m.  Each time I stuck in an Annual Pass, it went up 5 minutes or more!


Last night I went to book THREE (Only 3, relax) Fastpass+ for Hollywood Studios.  Our goal was to do Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower of Terror and Star Tours via FP+.  The app had a listing for 7:00 p.m. TSMM FP+, so I just decided to wait until morning to see if anything else would appear.  Before the park opened, the app stated “Stand by Only” next to TSMM, so I waited.  After the park opened I booked my ONE Tears 1 FP+ and TWO Tears 2 FP+ (Down flamers down!  I didn’t go there to “game the system” or cheat poor handicapped children or any of the other silly stuff I’ve been accused of today.    Just went to have a nice day with my girls like Walt would have done).  After park opening a series of times miraculously appeared for TSMM that weren’t available the night before or even before the park opened.  I would deduce that they are holding a certain number of FP+ for guests visiting with no prior plans.  I booked a 9:45 a.m. TSMM FP+ and later exchanged my Tower of Terror over to the Great Movie Ride (Fully okay with the Disney morality police from what I’ve heard).  We had a nice time and met a number of characters and rode some rides together.  The kind of things that families WANT to do at Walt Disney World.  If I had booked the FP the night before I would have ridden at 7:00 p.m.  If I tried to book prior to park opening, nada.  If I waited patiently I could choose from a series of times that might fit my touring desires.


As I was exiting, my oldest and I wanted to check out the changes to Sid Cahuenga’s over to some sort of My Disney Experience dance zone or something.  We were pretty shocked as we entered.  Not because the $6000 Paulie Shore autographed photos were gone, but because a WDW guest was berating MDE to an apologetic Cast Member (Tough job!) and all it’s problems.  Something about how she paid good money for the vacation and the dining plan she can’t even use and is having to pay out of pocket for food or something, and couldn’t even use Fastpass machines because she’s staying at Pop Century.  You’d think I’m making this stuff up, but alas I’m not.  Not the quality experience that we became accustomed to back in 2003 when we started coming multiple times a year to play and meet characters.  It was so easy back then.  Stick in your park ticket and out comes a Fastpass (In best Samantha Brown voice).

When someone posts issues to MDE on their blog, a newspaper or nails it to a door, perhaps they are calling for change in the EXPERIENCE part of My Disney Experience.  The app is still in “testing,” maybe they can still fix this mess and stop restricting its guests from having a quality DISNEY experience.  How about just using the same, exact system they currently use, but digitally.  Get one at 9:00 for 9:40.  Get one at 9:40, another at 11:40, 1:40 etc.  When the great ones are gone, they are gone. I never missed any sleep over TSMM being out of FP when I arrived at 1:40 p.m.  Early tourist gets the Fastpass.

Hollywood Studios to become the next park to “test” tiered Fastpass+ system

Epcot recently began a “test” that allows guests to choose ONE Tier One and TWO Tier Two Fastpass+.  I wrote about that “test” recently and many people were unhappy to hear that Disney is moving forward with its plan to provide limitations on Fastpass+ usage.  Disney had stated early on that the system would be presented in a Tiered format and that eventually paper Fastpass would be eliminated from the parks.

Well, according to wdwmagic.com, the system will continue “testing” at Hollywood Studios beginning early next week.  According to their posted information, the system will be presented as follows:

Tier 1 (One selection can be made)

Tier 2 (Two selections can be made)

If I were the one being limited to one Tier 1 FP+, I would choose Toy Story Midway Mania and book it well in advance.  I would just rope drop Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and then ride Tower of Terror immediately after.  If paper Fastpass is available to you, you could use that for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, use stand by or choose single rider.

If the park is busy, the Great Movie Ride would be a good choice for one of your Tier 2 FP+ because it doesn’t offer a paper Fastpass option and can easily have a 30 minute wait.  The only other viable options to in Tier Two for me would be Star Tours and the Tower of Terror.  I wouldn’t waste my FP+ option on any of the shows.

If you have 3 Fastpass+ headliners already in your plan, DON’T change your choices!

I noticed that American Idol isn’t mentioned and it’s my opinion that many parents would prefer to use a FP+ option to pre-register their child for Jedi Training Academy.  Maybe one day Disney will see that too?

What do you think about these possible changes?

Character Palooza October 4, 2013

The characters for Character Palooza arrived right on time at 5:10 PM on the Streets of America.  The majority of them were on San Francisco street.  We met the Queen of Hearts, Pinocchio, Jasmine, Snow Queen, Jessie, Mary Poppins, Snow White and Pocahontas.   We didn’t try to meet:  Mulan, Captain Hook, Chip n Dale or the Green Army Men.

The only characters that appeared that don’t offer regular meets are:  Captain Hook, Pinocchio,  Queen of Hearts and Snow Queen.

In other news, I’ve updated the Master Character List so you can see ALL meets including those that are rare or uncommon characters.  This info is also now available by clicking the Pirate icon on the Character Locator app.

Click any pic for a larger view.  They were all taken with my cell phone because my camera isn’t working properly 😦

Character Palooza November 4 2013 (3) Character Palooza November 4 2013 (5) Character Palooza November 4 2013 (6) Character Palooza November 4 2013 (8) Character Palooza November 4 2013 (10)

Character Palooza November 4 2013 (4) Character Palooza November 4 2013 (12)

A first look at Mike and Sulley’s Monsters University look.

From StitchKingdom.com:

In addition to some of the upcoming additions to the Disney Cruise Line Disney Magic that we reported earlier today, we have some details on Walt Disney World’s ‘Monstrous Summer’ that are expected to be confirmed/announced later this week during a press event.

To confirm reports from other sources, ion May 24, 2013, the Magic Kingdom will play host to a 24 hour party, which will feature appearances by Mike Wazowski and James P. ‘Sulley’ Sullivan as their Monsters University meet and greet persona, as pictured here.

Read more: ‘Monstrous Summer’ Event at Walt Disney World Details – Disney News by StitchKingdom.com 

The Monsters Inc meet and greet area in Hollywood Studios is set to undergo a transformation to Monsters Inc very soon as well!


Disney World Character Schedules

All character schedules are permanently fixed to the TOP of this site, but here’s the links to get you there too:

Animal Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Magic Kingdom
Water Parks Character Palooza Disney Jr Dance Party Epcot Training
Frontierland Hoedown Random/Rare Uncommon or Unlikely
Halloween Party Christmas Party Star Wars Weekends
Master List Character Meals Interaction Tips