Star Wars at Hollywood Studios

Star Wars at Hollywood Studios

In the beginning of December 2015 Disney opened Star Wars Launch Bay in the Animation Court at Hollywood Studios….and we have avoided it like the plague. haha

My husband and I have never been fans of Star Wars. We saw it when we were younger, but it just didn’t leave a lasting impression on us the way it did many people. However that wasn’t the only reason. With the holiday season in full swing and this being the last year for the Osborne Dancing Lights, Hollywood Studios’s parking lot frequently hit capacity which can only mean that the park was more than a bit crazy.

Launch Bay exterior

 

Our kids, on the other hand, are kind of obsessed with everything Star Wars. We almost always ride Star Tours at least once, we have gotten to the park early so the kids could participate in Jedi Training, and they have been eagerly looking forward to Launch Bay opening. Now that the holiday crowds have cleared out we decided to take the kids to explore.Animation Courtyard

I feel like the Launch Bay is a bit out of place in the Animation Court between the Disney Jr.and The Little Mermaid shows, but there you have it.

When you walk into Launch Bay you have the choice to go left or right. Left will take you to a video and the right will take you straight into the museum-esque part. We went to the left and watched the 10 minute video. It was cute enough, but not something I feel I need to do again unless they make major changes to it.

Launch Bay Video

After the movie we explored all through the different exhibits. There were costumes and set pieces to look at, as well as heavily themed areas that are excellent for pictures.

Space Chess

Rey Speedster

Once we got through that we came up to the character meet. With the choice of Chewbacca and Darth Vader my kids decided to go towards the Dark Side. It turns our that this was an excellent choice because Darth Vader will be leaving to make room for Kylo Ren in the near future.

Dark Side Lightsabers

Vader 1

Darth Vader welcomed the kids for making the choice to join the Dark Side and then Kid #1 showed him his Magic Band wrap that has Darth Vader’s picture and a lightsaber on it. (From MyFantasyBands – not sponsored, but tell her I sent you!).Vader Band

Up until this point Launch Bay seemed pretty neat, for Star Wars fans, but then we went into the Disney Infinity room. Yes, you read that right. You too can spend your time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios PLAYING A VIDEO GAME. We let the kids play for a few minutes but then dragged them out…thus concluding our visit to Launch Bay.

When we left we headed towards Star Tours at the demand of Kid #3, but the wait was 50 minutes which is just too long for us. However, the Jedi Training show was about to start and we had not seen it since the update so we stayed and watched it. The show was okay, but we liked the old show better. The highlight for me was 2 little girls dressed like classic Leia.

Jedi Training

The only thing I am a little sad about missing is the Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular which are the Star Wars themed fireworks. I love fireworks of all sorts. There is also a dessert party (that includes adult beverages!) for fireworks viewing (just like at Magic Kingdom). I’ve heard not so awesome things about different dessert parties and that they aren’t worth the cost ($69 for 10+ and $39 for 3-9)…I still want to do one just to try it myself.

Are you and your little ones excited about all of the Star Wars attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Are you planning on coming to Florida soon, or are you waiting until Star Wars land officially launches?

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Fantastic Fantasmic!

Fantasmic rock

Fantasmic! takes the cake when it comes to Disney Magic!

While Disney stage shows and spectaculars are almost always spectacular, there is just something about Fantasmic! that just leaves me in awe…yes, even more than Wishes.

On Black Friday (yes, I know I just talked about NOT going to the parks during Thanksgiving) we decided to have a 3 park day (Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom) and made sure to hit Fantasmic! because it has been months since we last sat in the Hollywood Hills’ Theatre.

We arrived about 1/2 hour before the show was set to begin and the theatre was already very full, but mainly of FP+ seating. By a stroke of luck, we managed to get prime seating at stage left.

Fantasmic rock

 

 

We were in the 2nd row back which is apparently the “Splash Zone” and busted our our kid snacks. We had grabbed some Gingerbread Popcorn earlier and hubs went to grab a beer and a snack for the adults. Yay stadium nachos!

I tend not to buy seasonal snacks because they are even more overpriced than regular snacks, but this was phenomenal. Gingerbread syrup and white chocolate covered popcorn…I must figure out how to do this.

Popcorn Smiles

 

 

 

 

I always try to post a lot on social media when we are in the parks and this was no exception.

Shout out to Simon who was seeing the same show as me!

 

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I also Periscoped a good bit of the show for you guys to enjoy!

 

I hope you guys liked this little glimpse into Fantasmic! Are there other shows/rides you would like me to do this for? Let me know in the comments!

Until then, let’s connect on social media for live updates from my park trips and occasional WDW news.

Facebook

Twitter

Periscope

Instagram

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Thanksgiving Break!

Epcot Tree

Are you thinking about going to Disney for Thanksgiving?

DON’T DO IT!

Especially if you are a passholder. You have options! Take advantage of them and don’t even think of setting foot in the park. We almost learned this the hard way.

This weekend we made Sunday a 3 park day by hitting Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Magic Kingdom before wrapping things up at the crazy McDonald’s near International Drive. The lines weren’t terrible (spoiler, we rode Star Tours 3 times). Then yesterday, Monday November 23, I saw posts on social media of the lines at Magic Kingdom and was sick. MASSIVE CROWDS. Huge lines for everything.

 

So here is what we did on our 3 park day.

Hollywood Studios

The park opened at 8am and we arrived around 7:40 so that we could make a beeline to Toy Story Midway Mania because it is humanly impossible to get FP+ for it as a passholder. This is because guests staying on site can make their reservations 60 days in advance and passholders only get 30 days. I’ll offer some tips on this another time.

So we made it to Midway Mania BEFORE the park technically opened and there was already a 20-30 minute wait. BOO! However this is better than the 70 minutes that we have waited before and got in line. I think that the problem with this line is it is SO DECORATED that people are constantly stopping to take pictures and holding up the line. I get it. You’re on vacation. That picture with the life size Barrel of Monkeys will not make your memories better. At least the talking Potato Head was blocked off (presumably because of construction to add the third track) because he REALLY holds up the line.

On this particular trip I was wearing a Greetings from Storybrooke t-shirt and one of the Cast Members commented about Mr. Gold’s shop in Streets of America. This is a common tidbit that they like to share. However this CM told us that the shop will not be there too much longer 😦 It seems that since this is the last year for the Osborne Lights and there is SO MUCH CONSTRUCTION coming to Hollywood Studios that the Streets of America might be going away. So, of course, we had to walk by and tip our theoretical hats.

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsNext up was an overdose of Star Tours. Since they have added scenes from the new movie and there are over 50 different combos that you can get we always got a new adventure. On our second trip Kid #2 got to be the Rebel Spy. You should ask her about it. She has been reminding us of it FOR DAYS. The only downside (IMHO) is that all three trips had the same middle and a transmission from BB8.

After hitting a few more rides including our favorite The Great Movie Ride and not-so-favorite Voyage of the Little Mermaid we headed off to Epcot. We probably would have stuck around a little longer, but the lines for Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster were just this side of too long because I would have to entertain the little kids for too long.

Epcot

Stitch at Epcot

Kid #1 went to a birthday party not long ago and they were talking about the World of Coke and Epcot’s Club Cool and he got obsessed! He wouldn’t stop talking about it. So we promised that we would take him this trip EVEN THOUGH we went to World of Coke when we lived in Atlanta and it is essentially the same thing. I think they were just excited to drink pop because we only allow it on special occasions. So we all OD’d on samples before heading off to the World Showcase for adult lunch and a Perry Mission.

Club Cool

Since Food and Wine is over the Showcase is MUCH calmer and it doesn’t make me twitchy to go there anymore. It was also not too busy for a Perry mission through Germany. There seemed to be a lot of people who had the same idea because there were kids with phones all over and Agent P and Doffensmirtz popping up all over the place. The kids had a blast!

We also did some things that we had never done before! We finally made it to the O, Canada! and Reflections of China movies, as well as catching part of the Lumberjacks show. My kids were unimpressed by having to stand for the Circlevision movies, but I thought they were beautiful. I want to take a vacation to Canada now!

I also learned, after our visit, that the Lumberjack show has ended! We caught one of the last shows 😦 If I would have known I would have gotten more pictures/video.

Mid-afternoon we were met with tantrums, a freak rainstorm, and wait times in excess of 2 hours on Soarin’ and Test Track. This is when we decided to grab the kids a snack (low blood sugar?) and head off to Magic Kingdom to round out a 3 park day.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom Tram

This was before round 2 of tantrums started.

“I want to go on this ride.”

“I don’t like that ride.”

“Noooooooooooo!”

*Throws self on ground.

Becomes a limp noodle.

We were those people. I HATE being those people.

So we plopped them all on a wall and gave them a Wasa cracker and a timeout. Mommy and Daddy would be dictating what rides we went on. Kind requests would be taken, but no promises that we would do them.

We made it on Big Thunder Mountain and Buzz Lightyear before giving up and heading home.

In Conclusion…

I fully blame myself for many of these tantrums. I did not bring enough food with us to keep bellies full and blood sugars evened out. However, I am so grateful that we went when we did. We had been planning on making a few trips over the Thanksgiving week and we have cancelled those plans to do other things, like go see Pan!

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The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Spectacle

We are all saddened that this is the last year for the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For us it is especially sad since this is our first time seeing them. I have a feeling that we will be making quite a few trips back to see the lights before they are gone.

Here is a periscoped walk through the Streets of America and the Osborne Family Lights in November 2015.

My Disney Bucket List

My Disney Bucket List - Disney Passholder Project

 

So having an Annual Pass for Walt Disney World is fantastic, but it has only wet my appetite for everything Disney. This has left me wanting more and more of the extras! Here is some of my Disney Bucket List as of October 2015.

Afternoon Tea at Garden View Tea Roomafternoon-tea-at-garden-view-tea-room-00-full

When I was in college a group of my friends starting going to High Tea at the Ritz-Carlton. It gave us a chance to dress up and be fancy vs. covered in paint and learning lines as theatre students. I guess that is the definition of a theatre kid 🙂 This is an experience I would love to share with my almost 6 year old daughter because who doesn’t want to dress up and be fancy?

Complete the Disney Princess Glass Slipper Challenge – Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 2.36.08 PM

I am not a runner by any means, but I have read such amazing things about competing in the runDisney events that I am chomping at the bit to compete! I am hoping to start doing some training in the next few months so that I can get signed up when 2017 signups open. Want to join me?

Be the family in the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show – Welcome Show - Magic Kingdom

I’m sorry, but how fun would it be to be apart of the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show!?! Until this past year I didn’t realize that they chose a family to be IN the show and now I am dying to get picked!

Meet ALL of the princesses in one (two) days! – character-meet-anna-elsa-with-visiting-princess-fairytale-hall-00

Yes, I am that girl! I would love to challenge myself (and maybe drag my little diva along) to park hop and meet all of the princesses in one day! It would take a ton of planning, but I think it could be done.

Stay in one of the nice Suite/Villa/Bungalow – Jambo House

People ask me all the time about the hotels, and I honestly can’t answer a single question about them! The only one I have ever been in (except while on the Monorail) is the Grand Floridian for a late dinner and fireworks viewing. This has only perked my interest over and over again and I cannot wait until I am independently wealthy and can spend a week in a fancy suite/bungalow/villa.

Do a solo trip –

Anne Marie

I love my family and all of their craziness, but I think it would be super fun to do a solo trip to Disney…any of the parks! Single rider lanes, quick service meals that are actually quick, not having to listen to someone ramble on about the Country Bear Jamboree. The possibilities are endless.

Do some serious Disneybounding –

Snow White and the 2 Dwarfs

For their school’s Storybook Parade to celebrate their annual bookfair my kids dressed like a Disneybound version of Snow White, Doc, and Doopy. I have never, and will never love a costume as much as this, but I am totally jealous!! I want to put together some adult versions of characters and go Disneybounding!

Go on a Disney Cruise –

G01-DDDF-deluxe-oceanview-verandah-stateroom-cat5ABCD-01

I have never been on a cruise, so why not make my first one a Disney cruise?  I have been working on hubby for a few months to get him to agree to one and I am pretty sure I can do it sometime in the next year. Fingers crossed!


 

I know that there are A LOT more things that I could (and will) add to my Disney Bucket List, but they escape me at the moment. What is on your Disney Bucket List? Have you ever done anything on my list?

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A Tour of Mr. Gold’s Storefront

A Tour of Mr. Gold's Storefront - Disney Passholder Project

Are you a fan of ABC’s Once Upon a Time?

I am so much that I co-host a weekly fancast (podcast) about the series called Greetings from Storybrooke. On a recent trip to Hollywood Studios my co-host (husband) periscoped a tour of the Mr. Gold’s Storefront. There are some awesome hidden gems in like Stealthy’s ax and Emma’s unicorn mobile.

Have you ever investigated some of the storefronts around the parks? Did you find anything fun?

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Our First Passholder Trip

Our First Passholder Trip - Disney Passholder Project

There is a rule in our house that each child’s first trip to Disney (Magic Kingdom) has to be alone with Mommy and Daddy. This way we can focus on just them and taking in the magic. Kid’s #1 and #2 each went right around their third birthday. However, around Kid #3’s third birthday we weren’t able to make the trip due to work commitments. We just passed his fourth birthday in July and we knew it would be our first trip once we were down here.

Well, when we got our Annual Passes we couldn’t get a babysitter for the older kids for a few days, so we decided to hit Hollywood Studios since it would be brand new to all five of us. Bring on the Pixie Dust!

Friday August 14, 2015

My husband had some comp hours saved up so he took a half day and we made the trip down to the park right around lunchtime. We packed sandwiches and snacks for the kids to eat in the car because as Annual Passholders we don’t want to break the bank on food.

After a quick pit stop at the ticket counters to trade in our annual pass voucher for our ticket cards we were off! And we walked right in to a ton of Frozen Summer Fun! We were perfectly placed for the tail end of the Frozen parade..and (of course) that is where Elsa is! Kid #2 was exploding with excitement.

Elsa - Hollywood Studios

I can’t comment on the parade as a whole, but the “Let it Go” at the tail end and when it STARTED SNOWING was lovely! We were also able to follow the parade for a little while before veering off to check out the Disney Jr. section of the park.

I’m sure anyone without small children will just zoom past this area, but we were very excited. I mean, we *may* have been watching the Disney Jr. Live on Stage show on Youtube for years and have watched it change and use different characters. Before the show started we took a few minutes to meet a couple of friends. These lines were relatively short and we only missed meeting Doc McStuffins because we had to get in line for the show. She also had the longest wait of the three.

Sofia - Hollywood Studios

Jake - Hollywood Studios

I cannot believe how excited Kid #1 looks to be meeting Jake. I’m always worried that he is growing up too quickly and this gives me hope that he is still a little boy.

If you have little kids the Live on Stage show is awesome with tons of interactions. I mean, who doesn’t love bubbles and gold dubloons being thrown into the audience?

We then spent our day virtually walking on to ride after ride (including Star Tours) and into shows (Muppets!!!)…until Toy Story Midway Mania. OY! We had walked by this ride many times through the day and were constantly checking the My Disney Experience app to try and find the smallest wait times. It was almost always around 2 hours. WHAT?! I hate to waste so much time in line. There is so much to see! Finally, after an early dinner at the ABC Commissary we decided to brave the 85 minute wait line. Thankfully the line was really only about 60 minutes and not too painful. As with most newer rides at Disney the line is so in brand and entertaining. It was like you were dumped into the bottom of Andy’s toy chest with giant toy pieces and cards everywhere. There was even an animatronic Potato Head gabbing with everyone (and holding up the line) as people took pictures.

Toy Story - Hollywood Studios

THIS RIDE WAS AWESOME, but basically just an updated version of the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom. It was fun, but not worth the wait as an adult. My kids, however, thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

We finished up our day with the 9pm showing of Fantasmic and then Frozen fireworks. I had heard how awesome Fantasmic was, but I knew nothing about the actual show. This might have been the highlight of the trip! I absolutely LOVE the water projections. This makes me excited for the new show that they are putting in at Animal Kingdom. This is a FastPass+ option, but the way that the theatre is set up I don’t think you need it.

Once Fantasmic let out we headed towards Hollywood Boulevard and the entrance of the park. This set us up perfectly for the fireworks with a quick escape to the trams.

Overall it was an amazing trip and got us super excited for Kid #3’s birthday trip to Magic Kingdom two days later.

Our Experiences – not necessarily in this order

  • Frozen parade
  • Sofia and Jake meet and greet
  • Disney Jr. Live on Stage
  • The Voyage of the Little Mermaid
  • Star Tours
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Toy Story Midway Mania
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Adventure
  • Muppet Vision 3D
  • ABC Commissary
  • Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • Fantasmic
  • Frozen Fireworks

Bonus!

My husband and I host a fan podcast, Greetings from Storybrooke, about the show Once Upon a Time and we had a little too much fun geeking out over the Mr. Gold’s Shop storefront.

Mr. Gold's Shop - Hollywood Studios Gold 3Thanks for joining me for our first trip to Walt Disney World as Annual Passholders! Stay tuned for our next trip…Magic Kingdom!

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