• 15Aug
    Disneyland, News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Disney confirms Star Wars land expansions for Hollywood Studios and Disneyland

    At the D23 Expo today, Disney confirmed the long expected expansion of Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a land based on Star Wars – and another one at Disneyland Park as well! They report that both are receiving a 14-acre expansion, although the details of how (especially at Disneyland which has limited space available – but recent acquisitions of nearby parcels might be related) and when we’ll see it are still under wraps.

    I also wonder whether the 14 acres include reclaimed areas, as was expected in Hollywood Studios.

    The land will be based on a remote outpost on a new planet which has not yet been named, but presumably based on the upcoming The Force Awakens movie, but things will be drawn from the original saga as well. A Cantina is expected that will feature the variety of aliens and creatures you’d expect. And two new signature rides will be added, including one featuring the Millennium Falcon nd allow guests to take the controls in a climatic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

    “I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Bob Iger, Disney’s Chairman and CEO. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

    And for the purists, everything done will be officially canon.

    Stay tuned for more details, and follow along with The DIS as they provide live coverage from D23!

    Tags: ,

  • 12Mar
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Name change coming for Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

    It’s been rumored for a while, but Disney CEO Bob Iger let slip during today’s shareholder’s meeting that Disney’s Hollywood Studios will receive yet another name change, to further reflect that it is not an actual functioning studio any longer but rather an immersive, glamorized version of Hollywood and the land of film making. He caught himself after he said it before revealing a new name, not understanding that they had not yet released the info.

    Not sure what the final name will actually be yet, but the top two leaders in my head are currently Disney’s Hollywoodland (a reference to the original full Hollywood sign) or Disney’s Hollywood Adventure, compared to Disney’s California Adventure out west.


  • 10Jun
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on FastPass+ tier changes at Epcot and Hollywood Studios

    A few attractions will change their FastPass+ tiers at Epcot and Hollywood Studios, starting with FastPass+ selections for June 16th and later.

    According to WDW Magic, Epcot’s “Living With The Land” will move up to Tier 1, while “Maelstrom” and “Character Spot” will drop down to Tier 2. At Hollywood Studios, “The Great Movie Ride” will move up to Tier 1.

    This means that “Living With The Land” and “The Great Movie Ride” will be part of the tier where you can only choose one of the experiences in advance, while you can choose two from Tier 2.

    There is no tiering at Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom.

    This only applies to new FastPass+ selections made for days on or after June 16th. Existing reservations are not affected, but if you cancel them and then make new ones you will be subject to the new tiers.

    Tags: , ,

  • 24Apr
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Guest slate for Star Wars Weekends finally announced

    We finally have details for the upcoming Star Wars Weekends!

    Aside from the previously announced returning host of all five weekends, James Arnold Taylor (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) and Mark Hamill, Ashley Eckstein will return for all weekends to host “Behind The Force” show which provides a behind the scenes look, this year focusing on the upcoming Star Wars Rebels, and will feature a member of the voice cast each week.

    The guest stars include (subject to change):

    Weekend I: May 16-18

    Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend II: May 23-25

    Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Wald (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Capt. Jeremoch Colton (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)

    Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend III: May 30-June 1

    Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)

    Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend IV: June 6-8

    Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Darth Bane (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) (Note: Mark will apparently not be signing autographs)

    Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)

    Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)

    Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

    Weekend V: June 13-15

    Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

    Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

    Tags: ,

  • 20Mar
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Mark Hamill to appear at Star Wars Weekends

    Just announced today, and I believe the first celebrity announcement aside from James Arnold Taylor returning as host, is a big one…for the first time ever, Star Wars‘ own Luke Skywalker will appear at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during Star Wars Weekends.

    He will be there for one particular weekend – Weekend IV, which is June 6-8. He will take part in the daily “Legends of the Force” motorcade and “talk show”, and presumably (but not confirmed) he will be signing autographs at a few points during the day. If you’re hoping to snag an autograph, though, beware – Disney uses it’s FASTPASS system for celebrity autographs, giving them out just before the park opens for the day – and the lines can form very, very early in the morning for top guests…people reportedly lined up close to midnight for the next day for Billy Dee Williams last year.

    Tags: ,

  • 21Feb
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Star Wars Weekends extended an extra weekend, fireworks added, but no Hoopla?

    Walt Disney World has announced that Star Wars Weekends will be extended for an extra weekend this year, with the first weekend on May 16-18, and the final one on June 13-15. Also, via a cryptic message reportedly from the emperor himself, a nightly fireworks show will be added. It also mentions a new evening experience on Hollywood Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Boulevard is the main street that leads from the entrance to the central stage where the Hyperspace Hoopla has taken place the past couple years.

    But what does that mean for the Hoopla itself? Word is spreading fast that the Hoopla is gone this year, being replaced by the fireworks, as cast members have internally been told that Hoopla has been retired – but we’re still wondering what is meant by the “new evening experience”. In the mean time fans are livid – The Hyperspace Hoopla was HUGELY popular as the nightcap for each day, generating such a large crowd over the years that it had to move from the small Jedi Training Academy stage to the much more accommodating (and now semi-permanent) central stage at the crossroads of the park. Having seen the crowd last year, I find it crazy that Disney would consider ending this show – unless the plan is for something even bigger.

    Also announced will be the return of James Arnold Taylor has the host of the weekends – he was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and has hosted for several years. He does an amazing one man-many voices show that is not to be missed. And the theme this year is “Join The Rebellion” – perhaps a tie in to the upcoming Star Wars Rebels show?

    Oh, and if you heard that there were some unfinished episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, it was true – and they are finished now, and will be released on Netflix next month.

    Tags: ,

  • 14Nov
    News, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Changes to FastPass+: tiered choices at Epcot and DHS, no regular FP for Pop Century guests, limited FP+ for Swan/Dolphin

    Recently there have been some sudden and surprising changes with the FastPass+ system being rolled out. And at least in one case, it has guests shifting to other resorts or canceling their reservations all together…

    First, about a week ago Epcot’s FastPass+ selections began to be “tiered”. This is similar to how attractions were handled with the Birthday/Give A Disney Day Fastpass cards, and with very early FastPass+ testing. What has happened is that the attractions were placed into two groups, or tiers, and you could only make ONE FastPass+ selection from the top tier, which included Epcot Character Spot, IllumiNations (when available), Maelstrom, Soarin and Test Track. Then you can pick two from all the remaining attractions. And you could not change your selections afterwards to attempt to get a second top tier attraction. Note that Soarin’ and Test Track – arguably the top two attractions at Epcot and often the only two you really need a Fastpass for, are in the top tier, which means you have to make the choice – which one are you going to use your FastPass+ for? For now, you could still get a regular Fastpass for the other, but that is changing as well (see further below.)

    Now word breaks today that the same is happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with Toy Story Mania, Rock’n’RollerCoaster, Fantasmic! and Beauty and the Beast in the top tier. While this pits TSM and RNRC against each other, it leaves Tower of Terror and Star Tours in the other tier, so you at least have some reasonable choices.

    Why are they doing this? Well, without any specific data, it is believed that these top two attractions at each park are getting almost all of the FP+ selections – and this is making availability somewhat scarce as the day draws near. By tiering and forcing the choice, more availability among the top attractions will allow more guests to take part instead of only those planning far ahead.
    Continue reading »

    Tags: , , , ,

  • 18May
    Walt Disney World Comments Off on Star Wars Weekends have begun!

    Star Wars Weekends started yesterday! There have been a few changes – the Stormtroopers apparently aren’t doing their park opening routine above the turnstiles this year, instead are appearing at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, and the parade makes a stop at the event stage in front of the Hat and they introduce the guests and give a quick overview of the events of the day.

    But everything is in full swing, and you can follow along on Livestream with the DIS – I hear that they will carry the Hyperspace Hoopla live at 8pm!


    Tags: ,

  • 09Dec
    Trip Reports, Universal Studios, Walt Disney World Comments Off on Trip report – Saratoga Springs, Holidays and Harry Potter (December 2010)

    [This is a trip report from December 2010, being included as a new post as part of the site redesign]

    Day 1 – Arrival, Animal Kingdom

    This was a larger family trip – my in-laws would be joining us, and we had a 2 bedroom villa booked at Saratoga Springs. Even though this is a holiday time trip, we decided to skip the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party this time, as we felt the crowd levels were far to high from our 2007 trip to warrant the expense, and we instead wanted to spend a day at Universal’s Islands of Adventure to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

    Continue reading »

    Tags: , , , , , , ,

  • 08Dec
    Trip Reports Comments Off on Trip Report – Pop Century, Star Wars Weekends (June 2009)

    [This is a trip report from June 2009, being included as a new post as part of the site redesign]

    Introduction and Travel

    This was a somewhat impromptu trip. Thanks to JetBlue and their charge card, we had a free flight. The unfortunate part of the TrueBlue program is that as soon as you earn sufficient points, they issue you a certificate for a free flight – that expires in 12 months. You can’t save them up (Edit: This has since changed). So we had a free flight we needed to use, with no plans to go to Disney for over 18 months (out of DVC points).

    Continue reading »

    Tags: , , , , ,

« Previous Entries