Hello, and welcome to Dateline Disney World! This week, we’ll take a look at what’s been going on over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! It’s be a while since we last covered the park. Let’s see what we can find. Lights, camera, ACTION!

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Welcome to the Studios!

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Upon entering the park, we have Sid’s, which we reported may become a MyMagic+ station. I’m glad to report that while some of it is being used for MM+, it has not taken over the entire store.

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They have old time tv’s with touch screens with the My Disney Experience app loaded onto them, or at least the WDW website.

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The large stage is STILL in front of the Hat, which is STILL in front of the Chinese Theater. I try not to harp on the negative, but that stage really bums me out, way more than the hat does.

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Wait times on a busy August day. These should start to slow down over the coming weeks.

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The Hollywood Hills Amphitheater entrance for Fantasmic is also now being used for a Fastpass+ entrance for the Beauty and the Beast show next door.

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Over in the Animation Courtyard, the theme is all now Planes related.

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Disney Junior has FP+ now.

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The planter in front of the Animation attraction is under refurbishment.

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Kevin and Jody tiki merchandise is still all available. I’m hoping they make it over to the Premium Outlets someday soon so I can scoop one up at a cheaper price!

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Inside the Animation building, Monsters University is still the centerpiece.

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One Man’s Dream may be one of the only attractions at WDW that has yet to receive some sort of Fastpass integration.

[img]http://www.miceshots.com/usr/72/DatelineDisneyWorld08082013-IMG_5029.jpg[/img]

Behind the Great Movie Ride, advertising is up for the Lone Ranger and Planes, two movies that were hit pretty hard by the critics. We’ve all seen the financial beating Disney took on the Lone Ranger. If it were up to me, I’d be taking those signs down and forgetting that project as fast as possible.

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Speaking of Planes, over at the Backlot Tour, they have added eyes to Walt’s plane that is on display to promote the film.

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I didn’t have time to ride the Backlot Tour to see, but it was the cause of quite a bit of internet rage this week, so I’d say it’s worth mentioning. It is a little frustrating to see something like that happen to something close to Walt, but at the same time, getting too worked up over something I can’t change doesn’t always seem worth it.

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Over at the Streets of America, I would expect to see Osborne light installation starting later this month.

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Muppet Vision is closed for refurbishment until September, and it now has Standby and Fastpass+ signage.

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Indiana Jones Stunt Show also has FP+.

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American Idol has a FP+ entrance way over to the left of the building.

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But Disney thought that a hideous looking arch was a good idea for the main entrance. It just looks like unnecessary clutter to me.

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Standby and FP+ is now also being used at the Great Movie Ride.

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Time to head out!

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Looking for a little more Disney World news? Take a listen to the Wakefield Report from the MicePod:

That wraps things up for this week’s column. How do you all feel about Planes advertising being everywhere? What about all the changes made to the park due to MyMagic+? Let us know in the comments!!

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  • airick75

    Planes actually got a pretty good review at EW (Entertainment Weekly) – a solid B. Pretty good considering it’s a rehash of Cars and something I thought initially was a direct to DVD release.

  • Bongo

    Wait…there are eyes on Walt’s plane? There are EYES on WALT’S plane?

    That…that is…wow…that’s just a low low LOW blow right there/

  • Freddie Freelance

    [quote]
    Behind the Great Movie Ride, advertising is up for the Lone Ranger and Planes, two movies that were hit pretty hard by the critics. We’ve all seen the financial beating Disney took on the Lone Ranger. If it were up to me, I’d be taking those signs down and forgetting that project as fast as possible.
    [/quote]

    They probably don’t have anything to replace those ads with. Does Disney have anything in the pipeline for upcoming release that could go up on those billboards?

    Maybe they could replace those movies with original ads from [I]Robin Hood[/I] and [I]The Sword in the Stone[/I] to celebrate their Blueray releases, or ads for “Once Upon a Time: Wonderland” or other ABC shows?

    • WookieCookie

      “Saving Mr. Banks” would be a perfect replacment.

  • clewandowski

    Look at the second to last picture, the top portion of the hat is a totally different color from the bottom sections! Time to go!

  • BC_DisneyGeek

    Fastpass for Muppets? Why?

  • DZNY LVR

    There are so many things wrong with this park I dont know where to begin- we were just there last week and I thought we would be there for the day but we were there for a couple of hours and that was it. They do have 4 great rides- RR Roller Coaster, Star Tours, Tower, Midway but other than that it is all shows and not great ones at that. I think that the only show that is worth time is the Beauty and the Beast show which is pretty good. I LOVE Little Mermaid but that show has a theater but the show is lacking to say the least. They need some rides! I would go as far to say that they need a makeover as much as DCA did before Cars Land. There seems to be so much wasted space. They need to have at least 3 more etickets and at least 3 more D tickets added to make this a well worth a day park. I am sure at Christmas time this park is amazing which hopefully one day I will see but other than that if I had a choice I would get there early in the morning & ride the 4 rides and be on my way to another park.

  • Skimbob

    I feel no love for this park either. People talk about AK but I would go there any day over Hollywood Studios. It definately needs a reboot like DCA except without putting Cars Land in there. I spend the least amount of time at this park out of the four. Eyes on Walt’s plane sounds pretty hokey to me. It shows the lack of imagination they have.

  • Orlando71

    Fingers crossed for a full out Star Wars LAND. I hope they don’t go cheap with star wars land. I know i might get hatin for this, but i’d rather a full copy of cars land than a mediocre star wars land. By that i mean all they do is meet and greets. an indoor jeti training academy, and maybe a restaurant. Hollywood Studios has so much potential. Come on Disney. Has anyone seen their star wars teasers? They’re so cruel. They wont announce anything.

  • Chazbo6

    I’ll be heading to WDW next week for 4 days after an extended visit during the same time last year. Putting together a to-do list for the parks, I found very few attractions from DS on it. After hearing so many directions they are considering for this park, I hope they spend some DCA sized makeover cash on it and add not only some new E & D tickets but overall freshen up some of the parks existing rides (GMR redo, new theater show, WOC type upgrades to Fantasmic). I would really like to see them do a decent SW themed land along with a non-cloned Carsland experience.

  • CaptainAction

    WDW is now synonymous with TIRED. WDW is only about maximizing profit not about appreciating guests. Plan your meals 180 days ahead, plan which time of which day you are riding Peter Pan with Fast Pass +, turning off your coke mug every 5 minutes to prevent a guest from getting an extra sip, etc. Baiting us with “free” food to try to keep us from visiting Universal.
    BECAUSE if guests visit Universal they will discover a park that is SPENDING it’s MONEY on THE GUESTS!
    If you went to Universal you might discover that they opened a new Transformers Ride, New Despicable Me Ride, New Simpson Land, New Parade, New Nightime Watershow, and more, in LES THAN 1 YEAR! Also New PotterLAND, New Train, New Hogwartz Station with Emersive Environment, New Value Resort, all completed in the next 9-10 months.
    You can stay in a gigantic suite with 2 full bathrooms at a 4-5 star resort with $100 food credit, take a beautiful boat to the front of the parks, with a roomkey which skips the lines at Universal for the same price as a Disney single room at a moderate resort with a bus ride.

  • CaptainAction

    If we want to talk about something new for the guests we will need to talk about Universal Studios Florida.
    If we want to talk about the guy in the flowered shirt at the Indiana Jones stunt show who is really part of the show, or the gangster who nabs the tour guide in the Movie Ride (not Great), or the Big Sorceror’s Hat, the same film clips from Sci Fi Diner for 10 years, etc, then we talk Disney.
    If we want to talk about NEW, WHERE GUEST APPRECIATION is shown by ADDING RIDES and ATTRACTIONS, WHERE YOU CAN STAY in a 4-5 STAR Resort for the price of a Disney MODERATE, WHERE your ROOMKEY SKIPS ride LINES instead of locking a RIDE TIME in on a COMPUTER 180 DAYS BEFORE YOUR VACATION, then we need to talk about Universal.
    Universal builds complete immersive LANDS in 1/3 the TIME WDW takes to BUILD 1 SEVEN DWARF COASTER.

    • Country Bear

      Love your comments.
      I assume the FastPass units at all attractions now is an attempt to spread crowds out once this new system comes into play. If you are dropping the number of passes available per person and including existing attractions that they can barely fill (American Idol…really?), then you can see how this makes perfect sense to a company out of touch with their customers desires. Disney now seems more invested in “managing” my time at their parks than impressing me with what’s in them. There can’t be a single person on the planet who wants to visit WDW so they can be better controlled when they visit. Heck, who needs an E-Ticket when you can have that? I do.
      The spirit of your statement that Universal is spending money on plussing the Guest Experience is very accurate. You can see it and feel it when you visit their parks. I have found this to be true for years now in Florida (and also in California). As international visitors, we are spending more and more time and money at Universal parks every year and plan to stay at a Universal resort next trip to Florida. That will be a direct loss to Disney as we have always stayed on their property in the past. Universal is investing in having us as their guest and we are only too happy to oblige them.

      I firmly believe that Universal wants us to visit, whereas Disney is inconvenienced when we visit.

  • bespinally

    One finger pointing.

  • billyjobobb

    In February we made our first trip to Florida ( but have made hundreds of trips to California)

    We went to all the parks. Next time we’ll skip Hollywood studios and Animal Kingdom and instead take 3 or 4 days at Universal.

    And at least in February, fast pass plus was all wonky. Oh, and with the meal plan you get food you don’t want. I can’t tell you how many times I stood in line behind people that found out what they wanted to eat wasn’t part of their package.

    • CaptainAction

      Hey Billyjobobb, You know what is really cool. Try to stay at one of the Universal Resorts if you haven’t before. We like Royal Pacific and Portofino. They are 4 star resorts which give you roomkeys WHICH SKIP ALL THE LINES except two attractions. It is so liberating to walk through the parks without caring about the lines. It’s hard to get used to not looking at the wait times. We never waited longer than 5-10 minutes for the most popular attraction at the most crowded time of day. They open each park one hour early every morning for resort guests too. Be sure and sign up for the Loews First Club. It’s free and after a few stays they upgrade you to a gigantic suite with two full baths for free and give you $100 for the restaurants at the resorts per stay. There is a beautiful boat ride which takes you to the front of the parks from the resorts. We always check in real early and get our keys and go to early morning at Harry Potter area. The best discounts at these resorts comes by buying 1 annual pass and then using it for an annual pass discount.
      When you have all these benefits it is a great bargain. I hope this is helpful.

  • lynxwiler

    I go to the Disney Studios to enjoy Hollywood Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, the Brown Derby, and the Chinese Theater looking beautiful. The rest of it, eh. Can’t get enough of those LA-themed streets and shops but that’s it for me.

    So glad I’ve got Buena Vista Street in SoCal, but really enjoy the design of those thoroughfares at the Disney Studios.

    Yeah for Universal Studios Florida! I can spend days there.

  • Orlando71

    The comments about Universal providing more and more for their guests might be true as of now, but you have to think about it. It is a lot riskier and expensive for disney to build expansions because they are their own company. Universal isn’t. Comcast owns Universal and Comcast is loaded. Disney cant afford to keep chucking out 500 million dollar expansions here and there. Besides Disney has done plenty in the past couple of years. 1.1billion California adventure, 400 million for New fabtasyland, 2 new expensive cruise ships for 1.8 billion and Aulani -800 million. Now admiitedly 1 billion for fastpass + for disney world looks stupid,but disney thinks that that + New Fantasyland is the best way to make money, which after all is the whole point of a company.

    • CaptainAction

      Come on now Orlando 71. You are in the Nile at Jungle Cruise.
      I got engaged at the Disneyland Castle 22 years ago. We had our honeymoon at the Grand Floridian. I was as big a Disney fan as anyone.
      Country Bear is right on this too in above post.
      Disney can buy Star Wars and Marvel but can’t risk money on a new ride? New Fantasyland is all revenue centers. Mermaid was a trade gor Snow White. They should have at least built the dark rides from Disneyland Fantasyland. They can only risk money on new stores and restaurants?
      Walt didn’t buy 43 square miles of land because their “gambles” on new rides didn’t pay off.
      Walk around Universal and Islands and check out all the new rides and lands they have added in the last 2 years. Notice all the construction which will be completed by next summer of all the new lands and rides.
      Then check out Disney’s new Dumbo sitting next to the other Dumbo.
      My family of 5 from Texas now all have Universal Annual passes and only Disney Water Park passes. We are very happy not to be taken for granted by Universal Studios.

  • MikeBlakesley

    I have to agree with the two posts above. Disney has seriously mis-spent money in the last few years — first on the overdone/underwhelming New Fantasyland at MK (which I love for the scenery, but it’s not exciting enough), and then on the problematic MyMagic+ program. The whole Fastpass+ thing seems to be getting more and more ridiculous, what with it being added to rides that usually don’t have more than a 20-minute wait anyway. They’re just trying to “spread” the crowds out to the less-popular rides, rather than having everybody funnel right to the most popular ones.

    They seem to be putting more of their major development money at WDW into hotel rooms and restaurants, rather than on attractions that will “wow” the guests. They’re betting that even if people come to Florida for Universal, they’ll still want to spend time at Disney.

    I like the overall atmosphere of the Studios park, especially the two main avenues; but the overall “feel” of the park is all over the map, what with the big stage in front of the hat (neither of which looks good in my opinion), the bottleneck that is Pixar Place, the poor planning of Midway Mania (hour-plus waits even on slow-ish days), the list goes on.

    I love the Osbourne Lights, but I hate that they ruin the looks of that whole area during the 3 months of “non holiday” time that they are up (not to mention during the daytime of the actual holiday period). Blankets of lights over those beautiful buildings are NOT attractive in daylight, nor are the skeletons of the above-building light elements.

    Bottom line, this is a park that desperately needs some love, even in its best rides: The Rock’n’Roller Coaster needs some serious updating (the pre-show is tired, tired tired! and how about some new soundtracks?) and even the Tower of Terror drop sequence hasn’t been re-configured in what, about seven years?

  • tntraveler

    Do people actually go to American Idol? I have never paid any attention to the line area.

  • Orlando71

    CaptainAction, you are right about Universal providing more for their guests. And you are right that Disney spent 8 billion for marvel and star wars but dont want to build new rides. But they are going to use those two properties(and avatar) to build new attractions in the future. At least we know they are building star wars and avatar attractions. They are just taking a long time. But i would rather them take longer and have a lot of detail than be bad. I mean look at Transformer’s show building compared to the Undersea ride. i hope Disney steps up their game, and i see your points. But in the end, the theme park guests really are the winners.