Our new social media and blog series, Theme Park Tuesdays, was launched this week! Each Tuesday we will be visiting a theme park and posting live on social media with a follow up blog and photo report. This week's theme park was Disney's Hollywood Studios (DHS).
Crowds at DHS were heavy-much more than I expected for a Tuesday in October. At one point I had difficulty walking from one attraction to another because of the sheer number of guests. One reason for the noticeable crowds was probably due to the limited number of open attractions at this park now with all the construction going on resulting in more people walking around. It was also Columbus Day week, with some schools out for their fall break. Wait times for attractions varied with 90 minutes for Toy Story Midway Mania, 25 minutes for the Great Movie Ride and Star Tours at 50 minutes. The temperatures were great with highs in the low 80's and skies were overcast.
My first FP+ reservation was for The Voyage of the Little Mermaid show. Since I was alone this visit, I wanted to see the show because my son with autism does not like the noisy and crowded holding room prior to the show's start. The combination puppet/live actor show is endearing, especially for guests who are fans of the Little Mermaid movie. Unfortunately, during the final scene where Ariel transforms into a human with legs, the fin portion of her costume malfunctioned. The curtains were immediately closed and the audience watched a closed curtain while listening to the remaining audio portion of the show. Hopefully they fixed it before the next show.
For lunch, I purchased a ham sandwich, chips, bottled water and a carrot cake Halloween cupcake from Starring Rolls Cafe, one of my favorite quick service eateries at Walt Disney World.
The tasty sandwich was particularly fresh and the cupcake was delicious-very moist and the icing wasn't too sweet. Total cost was $20.12 with no annual pass discount available.
DHS is currently under construction throughout a significant portion of the park. Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land are the major projects underway. Recently, the Writer's Stop shop was closed and is now surrounded by construction walls.
The entire Streets of America section of DHS is permanently closed. In addition, the area of the park at the end of Pixar Place (where the Back Lot Tour was previously located) is also closed off with construction walls.
Also under construction is the new PizzeRizzo restaurant, replacing Toy Story Pizza Planet near The Muppet Vision 3D attraction. Rizzo the Rat, a famous Muppet character, is the pizzeria's namesake. There will be two floors of indoor and outdoor seating and is expected to open soon.
DHS has several unique character meet and greets including but not limited to Olaf, Sorcerer Mickey, Disney Junior characters , Buzz and Woody, Mike and Sully, Kylo Ren and Chewbacca, to name a few. You can also see the Green Army Men walking around Pixar Place and posing for photos with guests throughout the day. Check the park map or My Disney Experience app for times and locations of the character meets.
My second FP+ reservation for the day was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular show. This is another attraction my son does not like due to the loud noises including fireworks and guns shooting during the show. I enjoyed the stunt show especially the massive sets that changed and stunts performed by the talented actors.
Several times a day, Star Wars fans at DHS can watch the March of the First Order along Hollywood Boulevard. This commanding march by Storm Troopers led by Captain Phasma begins near the entry to DHS, down Hollywood Boulevard and stops at the center stage in front of the Chinese Theater. The music used during the march is key to setting the mood. I also recommend that Star Wars fans should see the Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away show also at the center stage throughout the day. Check the My Disney Experience app or Times Guide for specific show times.
Before my last FP+ reservation, I toured the One Man's Dream exhibit. The back section of the exhibit where the models of various Disney theme parks and attractions were previously located is now blocked and curtained off. I'm hoping future displays will include a model of Star Wars Land or Toy Story Land.
In the Walt Disney Theater, for a limited time, guests can watch an extended preview of the Marvel Movie, Dr. Strange that will be in theaters November 4, 2016. I liked the preview and am looking forward to seeing the movie.
My last FP+ reservation was for Toy Story Midway Mania. This attraction is fun for the entire family and although I'm not an expert at the game, I was pleased with my score. After scanning my magic band and a very short wait, the queue moved quickly and I was in the ride loading zone within 5 minutes.
After Toy Story Midway Mania, it was time for me to head home. I truly enjoyed my Theme Park Tuesday at Disney's Hollywood Studios. I hope you follow my adventures next week where, barring unforeseen circumstances, I'm visiting the Magic Kingdom.
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Maureen is married and has a son with autism. She and her family visit an Orlando Theme Park nearly every weekend. Maureen created AutismAtTheParks to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks. She is also a contributor to the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
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