Exploring The Great Movie Ride Courtyard

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Mickey Mouse

Exploring the Great Movie Ride Courtyard

Now that the hat is gone from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the full-scale reproduction of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre that is home to The Great Movie Ride looks even more grand than ever!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard No Hat

One thing that strikes me now is just how many people are now exploring the footprints and signatures of some of Disney’s greatest stars embedded in the cement in the Great Movie Ride Courtyard.

While I have walked past these for years, I have never really taken time to take a peek at all the stars and memories that these cement squares hold. Also, I never realized just how many there are!

We spent a good amount of time looking at all of these footprints, handprints, signatures, and sayings. It really was a lot of fun and a great way to unwind for a bit and take in the beauty of Disney’s Hollywood Studios at dusk.

I have picked out some of my favorites to share with you in hopes that you will take a few moments to share some of your favorites soon!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard The Rocketeer

I love the detail of where The Rocketeer’s Rocket Pack took off!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Steve Martin

Now if this doesn’t capture the spirit and humor of Steve Martin…I don’t know what does!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Roger Rabbit

You knew I wasn’t going to leave out my beloved Roger Rabbit!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Robin Williams and Family

Robin Williams’ cement area spoke volumes to me of just how loving of a person and father he was in that he had his whole family join him.

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Peewee Herman

Pee-wee’s bow-tie is my everything!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Minnie Mouse

Stay perfect Minnie!!!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Leonard Nemoy

Would you expect anything else for Leonard Nemoy’s handprint?

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog

I have to say that Jim Henson’s square hit me pretty hard in the gut! The Muppets hold a special place in my heart, and for their hands to be together forever is pretty special.


The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford really thought about his placement.

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon was such a huge part of my childhood! I remember staying up late to watch The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and watching Starsearch to argue with the number of stars people received.

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Annette

Does Annette even need to sign her last name? Nope!

The Great Movie Ride Courtyard Angela Lansbury

Oh Angela Lansbury…

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Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine joins Star Wars Galactic Dine-In as the two new Star Wars Character meals available for booking exclusively during Star Wars Weekends.

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine is a buffet meal offered daily starting at 4:30 pm at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where you can meet your favorite Disney characters as their favorite Star Wars Character.

Here are some things to know before you go to Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine:

  • The cost for the meal is $55.99 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $32.99 for children (ages 3-9).

  • Dinner includes the dinner buffet and a non-alcoholic beverage, but specialty beverages are available for an additional cost.

  • While there have been varying reports of discounts available, we were able to get a Disney Visa discount on our meal from our server.

  • If you are on a Disney Dining Plan, your meal will take two adult table service credits per person. This includes children, so make sure you confirm with your server what Dining Plan credits you will be required to redeem

  • Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine is available to be booked as a Fantasmic Dinner Package with this meal for $59.99 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $36.99 for children(ages 3-9).

  • This dining experience can only be booked by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine is a more traditional ‘Character’ meal, and it was a lot of fun.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

The check-in process takes a bit of time, because after you checking in for your meal you wait in a queue for your party to have their picture taken with Chip and Dale in their Ewok finest.

A digital download of this picture with Chip and Dale is included with your meal on a special commemorative Photopass+ card that you can only get from dining at this location.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Once you have taken your picture, you then have to wait for your table. We found the wait to be seated to be longer than usual, but I believe that this was because the characters were spending longer periods of time with each table taking photos and signing autographs.

When you are seated, each member in your party gets a paper lightsaber for you to use during the meal to show which side you represent.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

We decided that we would use our paper lightsaber a little differently, and instead of having a lightsaber battle we had the characters sign them!

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine buffet was definitely stepped up from the normal Hollywood & Vine offerings! The food was delicious, and even though we had a very late reservation it was still well stocked and fresh.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

We also really enjoyed the fun Star Wars Names that each of the dishes were given.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Also, the dessert bar was AWESOME! Again, all of the deserts had a Star Wars touch and I really appreciated that there were mini versions of the Star Wars Weekends cupcakes available on the bar. It was my favorite part!

The highlight of the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine was definitely the characters, because they took their time and had great interaction opportunities!

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

In addition to Chip and Dale as Ewoks, you had the opportunity to meet Stormtrooper Donald, Darth Goofy, Minnie Princess Leia, and Jedi Mickey himself.

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

Jedi Mickey's Star Wars Dine

We really enjoyed the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine, and if it returns for next year’s Star Wars Weekends we would definitely do it again!


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Star Wars Weekends Characters with Heather

Heather joins us again, and we couldn’t be happier!!! Heather is an annual passholder that loves coming up with excuses to take a trip to the World. Follow her adventures at Disney on twitter and instagram. Visit her website, I Love Characters, to see pictures of the over 200 characters she’s met at Disney World and Disneyland.

My favorite thing to do at Disney is meet characters, and Star Wars Weekend provides a great opportunity for this! You can meet over 30 characters, including beloved Disney characters in Star Wars outfits! Today I’m going to show you the where and hows of the Star Wars character meets.

Before attending, I recommend re-watching all the films. I love the originals, but I don’t watch the prequels too often. Also, along with the well known characters, there are some characters with smaller parts in the films, and I wanted to make sure I knew all the characters I would find! Star Wars Weekends also has characters from the animated series, the Clone Wars (rumor is, this might be the last year for Clone Wars characters.) Even though the theme of this year’s Star Wars Weekends is the new Rebels animated series, none of those characters meet (though they are in the closing show and motorcade parade.)

Over the 2 years I’ve attended Star Wars Weekends, I’ve only missed one character: Commander Rex from Clone Wars. Since I never saw the series, I was ok with that, lol. My first year, I met 17 on the first day, 4 on the second day, and 7 on our last day. This year, I didn’t spend the whole time character hunting, so it was a little less. I also did both character meals, which helped not having to run around to meet some characters! I met 5 at the character breakfast, 9 on our first Star Wars Weekends day (including the character dinner), and 11 on our last day (which was our only full Star Wars Weekends day.)

One quick tip, if you have any questions about when characters are out, make sure you ask the Cast Members in red Star Wars shirts. The other CMs with the characters (they are in white and blue stripes) usually don’t know the Star Wars Weekends character schedules. I also recommend KennythePirate’s blog, which usually has the correct info! Also, while most characters have set places to meet, and you get in line, there are several roaming characters. You don’t have to worry about lines, but they are a little harder to stop and get a picture with. If you ask one of the red shirt CMs in that area, they will know exactly when the roaming characters come out as well. 

Now it’s time to get to all the characters that meet! There are 6 Disney characters that dress as Star Wars Characters: Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Stormtrooper Donald, Vader Goofy, and Ewoks Chip & Dale.  If you don’t want to wait in line for these characters, you can do the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood & Vine. If you couldn’t get an ADR for this dinner, the good news is they’ve moved Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Goofy into the Darth’s Mall this year, so you won’t have to wait in the sun & heat like in past years! Mickey & Minnie switch out with Donald & Goofy, usually on the half hour. Chip & Dale meet near the Sci-Fi Dine-In all day, and their line is usually reasonable.

Star Wars Weekends Characters

One of the characters with a constant long line is Chewbacca. He meets across from Star Tours, where they have the fun speeder bike photo spot. He’s a character that you might want to try at rope drop, though if you wait until after the parade, an Ewok joins him. The first year I waited over 40 minutes for him (and the wait can get up to 90 minutes.) This year, I lucked out because I ran over to his spot after a rain storm, hoping he would come back out. There was only one other guest there, and I asked one of the Star Wars Weekends CMs if he would be back out, since it was already close to 8pm. She said, if I were you, I would stay here. 😉 He and Wicket came out shortly after. I only waited about 5 minutes! The characters have been staying out later this year, which is great because usually the line is shorter, and you’re not waiting in the sun!

In this Star Tours area, you’ll also find members of the Cantina Band roaming. I was able to catch one of them on my last trip. I asked if he signed, and he motioned that he didn’t, but one of the others did. There was a mob of people around the others, so I just decided to be content with getting my picture and moved on. I had hoped to catch other members this time, but my  timing never worked.

A little past where Chewy meets, next to the Sounds Dangerous theater, you’ll find Queen Amidala. She also has a pretty backdrop that you can’t miss. Her line usually isn’t bad throughout the day, and her costume and makeup is gorgeous, so I definitely recommend stopping by!

Star Wars Weekends Characters

Head on over to the Streets of America for our next set of characters. Near Lights Motor Action! and the Monsters Inc meet & greet exit, you’ll find the Clone Wars characters. The first day, I walked by and there were 3 characters meeting together. I got in line on the second day, and met Ahsoka Tano and Commander Cody together, though Commander Cody was just about to leave. This year, my priority was Asajj Ventress, and I got her on my first try. The line is usually pretty short, so it should be easy to catch who you want. They also meet in front of a great backdrop. If you are there on a non Star Wars Weekends day (or when the characters aren’t out), you can get a great photo with just the backdrop! You’ll also find Clone Troopers roaming in this area

Star Wars Weekends Characters

The Jedi Council meets in the San Francisco section of the Streets of America, right next to the Singing in the Rain umbrella. There are 4 Jedi who switch out, though sometimes you can luck into catching 2 together. I got in line and met Shaak Ti, and then I got back in line and was able to meet Anakin Skywalker. The next day I came back, wanting to meet the last Jedi member meeting, Kit Fisto. This was the only time I got to the front of the line and wanted a different character than was out. Thankfully they let us wait (there were about 3 of us waiting.) I lucked out and I met him and Shaak Ti together. I think of all the characters I met at Star Wars Weekends, Shaak Ti was the most talkative. She talked to me about the droids on my shirt, becoming a Jedi, and showing me Jedi poses to do for our pictures. Mace Windu wasn’t meeting that year, so he was one of my character priorities this year. I got in the line for one of his first sets of the day, and caught him with Kit Fisto. He wasn’t nearly as talkative as Shaak Ti, but he still liked my R2-D2 dress, lol. I checked this line a few times, and it never seemed that long of a wait, though it may seem a little slow since the Jedi all like to interact.

In the same area as the Jedi meet, you’ll find roaming Jawas. My first year, I had a hard time getting a picture with one, since the Jawa kept turning around and away from me. I had better luck the second day, and there was even a Photopass photographer near there that took a few pictures of us. The Jawas also love to make trades. I saw someone trade a paper clip and get a used soda can in return, another get a set of stickers. I forgot to bring something to small to trade, but on the second day, the Jawa took out a toy camera, and kept trying to trade it for my own camera! I kept saying no, I think I like mine better, lol! This year, I met 2 Jawas at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine-In. Once again I forgot to bring a paper clip or something small, but I tried to trade a lifesaver that was in a plastic wrapper. Both refused, ah well!!

Star Wars Weekends Characters

You’ll see a great backdrop over by the Hat, and here is where you can find Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and usually C3PO and R2-D2 switching out throughout the day. The droids sometimes have technical issues, so they may not show up, or leave before they are supposed to. Of course my main goal the day I wore my R2-D2 dress was to meet him, and I got in line an hour early for what was supposed to be Leia and R2…and that day, he didn’t meet. Ah well, thankfully I had met the droids my first year. If C3PO and R2-D2 are meeting, they are the only characters that don’t sign. Even though I couldn’t catch R2, I had a great time meeting both Luke and Leia. They switch out, though sometimes you can catch them together. They were meeting together when I was waiting for Luke, and then she left after meeting the family before me. That was my luck with the line that day lol!

Star Wars Weekends Characters

If you’re looking for the Dark Side characters, the Backlot area is where you need to be! Here you can meet Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Jango Fett, and 5 roaming characters. Darth Vader’s line is usually one of the longest lines of the day, and I highly recommend getting in line at rope drop for a shorter wait. He meets undercover (so, no sun and not as hot!) near the Monsters Inc meet & greet. Even if you have to wait a while, watching Vader intereact with everyone is incredibly entertaining. When I stood in this line, I watched one girl take her shoe off for him to sign, and he made her get on the ground and bow before he would do it. Another guest tried to hug him, and he did not approve. He also force choked several guests (I was going to ask for that pose, but I chickened out once I got up there.) When he leaves and comes back to his spot, Stormtroopers walk him back and forth, which is really fun to watch, especially other guests reactions! 

A few steps away from Darth Vader is Darth Maul. Of all the characters I met, he was definitely the creepiest! I was a little freaked out, I don’t know how kids didn’t run away, lol. He didn’t want to sign my book, and we stared each other down until he finally did. Then he snapped it closed, which was pretty funny (even though I know it wasn’t supposed to be!) I can’t talk enough about how in character all of the Star Wars Weekends characters were, it was amazing and made every wait worth it. He meets near the Backlot Tour, and his line is kind of hidden behind the Backlot line.

Star Wars Weekends Characters

Across from where Darth Maul meets is where Boba Fett and Jango Fett meet. You can’t miss it because there is a great backdrop for this meet! When the characters aren’t out, you can take fun pictures here.

Star Wars Weekends Characters

Boba and Jango switch out, and usually the CM there wouldn’t let you wait for who you wanted to see. Thankfully I was able to catch both by just waiting once each time. I met Jango on the first day, and Boba on the third day. 

Star Wars Weekends Characters

The roaming characters in this area were so fun. I met a Stormtrooper, and he walked me over to another area. My mom was still in the first area, and I was telling her to come over. The Stormtrooper walked towards her and pointed at her to come over, it was great. There was a Photopass photographer there, so I got a lot of great pictures, even if my mom was somewhere else, lol. I almost got another picture with a Stormtrooper on the third day, but after he motioned that I come over to where he was, he walked away! 

There are also several Tusken Raiders in this area. When you are waiting in line for Darth Maul, you might even see some peeking over the wall at you before they come out. As you can see in the picture, this one didn’t like me very much. I asked if he signed, and he just stared at me. Then I said please, and he took the book and signed, but when I asked for a pic, you can see the pose, lol. Another time we were trying to get another character, and didn’t know that one of the Tusken Raiders was behind my mom until he scarred her. If only I had a picture of that! This year, when I went to get a picture, he came right up to my camera and pulled out the lens cloth and played with it. My selfie with him probably came out better than the regular picture, and it ended up being shown during the pre-fireworks show at the hat!

Gamorrean Guard is another great roaming character. I know I said Darth Maul was creepy, but this guy was almost just a creepy. His eyes kind of looked right through you! When I asked if he signed, at first I thought he wasn’t going to, since he posed for a picture. But then he grabbed my book and signed.

The first year I went, I had trouble catching the last 2 roaming characters, bounty hunters Zam Wesell and Aurra Sing. Zam Wesell came out while I was in line for Boba Fett, and the guy behind us held our place in line while I ran to try to catch her (one more reason to chat with people while you wait in line!) I was able to get a picture before she started walking around and got mobbed, and it’s one of my favorite Star Wars Weekends pictures. This year I had an easier time getting a picture, and we even took a selfie together.

Aurra Sing was MUCH harder to catch. We held the place in line for the guy behind us, while he ran over with his son, and was able to get a picture and signature. I waited until we met Boba Fett, and then started following her around, but she just wouldn’t stop. She’ll stare right at you, but not really stop. Finally I tried not smiling at her, and she stopped for a second and I finally got the picture! She wouldn’t sign for me though, but she did grab others’ books. This year, there was a photopass photographer following her, and I had an easier time having her stop, sign my book, and take a picture…but she ran away before I could get a selfie. 😉

Star Wars Weekends Characters

Needless to say, while you don’t have to worry about lines, catching these roaming characters can sometimes be a challenge. Once you get a picture with them, though, and just hang back, they are a ton of fun to watch interact with everyone. One of my favorite moments this year was watching Aurra Sing approach a kid in a stroller, and then he pulled the top down because he was so scared!

If you don’t want to try to catch some of the Dark Side characters throughout the day, you can meet Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Stormtroopers, Jawas, and Greedo at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast. You can only meet Greedo at the character breakfast this year, he won’t be a random character during Star Wars Weekends this year.

I hope I didn’t bore you on my character hunt throughout Star Wars Weekends. It was a lot of waiting, but for a character hunter like me, it was completely worth it! 

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Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Everyday from 8 am until noon, the Sci Fi Dine-In is transformed for the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In, and for Star Wars fans this needs to be on your must do list.

I will be honest, the breakfast is a little pricey at $47.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids before tax and gratuities. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, you will need to allot two table service credits for this experience. And the real bummer is that there are absolutely no discounts available!

However that being said we would (and hopefully will) go back to the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In, because we had a great experience with the service, food, and characters who we would normally have to spend time finding during Star Wars Weekends.

After you are called to go to your table, you first take a photo with Darth Vader and Boba Fett. What is really great is that with your meal a digital photo of your party is included with a commemorative PhotoPass card that you can only get at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In. We also really appreciated that there were several character attendants who were able to help us take photos on our phones, and they didn’t mind when we took a little extra time for some selfies.

Star Wars Galacatic Dine-In Group Shot

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

The first thing that we noticed when we sat down was that the normal Sci Fi reel of movies had been replaced with at Star Wars loop of extended film clips, created bits with characters, a nice peek at Star Wars Weekends with James Arnold Taylor, and even a hefty chunk of the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. It was awesome!

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

The menu has some really great, but really different options for breakfast. As you can see below there aren’t too may breakfast entrees, so I would definitely suggest trying to go a little on the later side so it can be more of a brunch than a breakfast. Also…BLUE MILK!!!!

Here is the menu…

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Star Wars Breakfast Pastries

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Vanilla Cream Turnover, Almond Pastry, and Double Chocolate Muffin

Anchored Appetizers (Choice of One)

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Greek Yogurt Parfait with fresh berries and Homemade Granola OR Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Berries

Entrees (Choice of One)

The Dune Sea – House-smoked salmon scrambled eggs, wild mushroom potato hash with multigrain toast slatered with goat cheese butter

The Kessel Run – Grilled beef tenderloin on baby spinach with bacon and cheddar custard on a roasted tomato and cheesy horseradish potatoes

Tatooine Sunrise – Scrambled eggs, Nueske’s bacon, sausage links and breakfast potatoes

Imperial Delight – Caramelized banana-stuffed French toast with caramel sauce and strawberry compote

Ackbar Surprise – Smoked paprika-dusted shrimp pan-seared with cheesy grits

Mos Eisleys Morning – Egg white omelet with shiitake mushrooms and caramelized onions, garlic roasted fingerling potatoes, and greek yogurt with berries

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In
I had the Ackbar Surprise, and it was really tasty! The grits were extremely creamy and the shrimp were tender.

Kid’s Menu

Appetizer (Choose One)

Greek Yogurt Parfait with fresh berries and Homemade Granola OR Seasonal Fresh Fruit and Berries

Entrees (Choose One)

Kenobi Cuisine – scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and breakfast potatoes

Gamorrean Goodness – Puffed French toast sticks in cinnamon sugar with chocolate dipping sauce

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Complimentary Beverages (With Refills) 

Blue Milk, Freshly Brewed Joffrey’s Coffee, Minute Maid Light Pomegranate Lemonade, Hot Tea, Hot Cocoa, Soft Drink Selection, Ice Tea, Minute Maid Apple Juice, Minute Maid Orange Juice, 1% milk or chocolate milk.

Specialty Drinks (Not Included)

Bellini – peach puree and prosecco $8.75

Mimosa – orange juice and prosecco $8.50

During breakfast at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In there are three characters meet and greet opportunities that come to your table. Jawas, Stormtroopers, and Greedo come to your table, but as you know Sci Fi is SUPER dark so taking photos requires a flash or some assistance from someone’s flashlight app.

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

My biggest tip for these character interactions is to have fun! While I love the Stormtroopers, the Jawas are the best because you can trade with them!!!

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In

All-in-all we all had an awesome time at the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In, and we can’t wait to try dinner at The Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine this weekend!


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Studio 25: Disney’s Hollywood Studios 25th Anniversary Event

Studio 25: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Studio 25

A WDWCelebrations Commemorative Event

Thursday – Sunday, May 1st – 4th, 2014


WDW Celebrations has put together Studio 25 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Disney’s Hollywood Studios May 1-4, 2014, and we are extremely excited about partnering and celebrating with them!

Studio 25

Studio 25 is an amazing four day event around the Walt Disney World Resort designed to bring old and new Walt Disney World enthusiasts together through signature offerings to complement the official Walt Disney World celebrations planned.

The **tentative** schedule includes group dinners, prizes for trivia challenges and scavenger hunts, group rides, and more! I have to say that I am really looking forward to the new interactive game and group rides! You can find the entire schedule on the WDW Celebrations Page here, and with a schedule that is so full of fun events you don’t have to worry about keeping up with any changes or missing things because they have an Event Alert Service.

Studio 25

Registration for the Studio 25 Event by WDW Celebration is open now, and as an extra bonus a good chunk of the registration fee will go towards the WDWCelebrations Charitable Initiative! The Registration Fee for adults (ages 16+) is $10, of which $3 will go toward the charity donation, and the registration fee for children (ages 3-15)  is $6, of which $3 will go toward the charity donation.

More information about Studio 25 and upcoming events will be released on the WDWCelebrations.com website, theWDWCelebrations newsletter as well as the WDWCelebrations official fan page on Facebook and theWDWCelebrations Twitter feed.

Studio 25

We are really excited about attending WDWCelebrations Studio 25, and hope to see you there!


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Wordless Wednesday – Christmas in Orlando

Wordless Wednesday – December 25, 2013

We want to wish everyone celebrating today a very Merry Christmas!

We hope that you all have a day full of family, fun, and love!

Merry Christmas from Orlando!!!

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Unleash The Villains With Kelly (@kelbelle)

Unleash The Villains Set Up

Kelly Hicks takes us along as she went to

Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Unleash the Villains!

When Disney first announced their Limited Time Magic celebration last year, I thought it sounded like so much fun. As a local, I knew I would be able to experience the majority of them and I was really looking forward it. The offerings have been a hit or miss for me, but I have been able to take part in most of the ones I have been interested in. Highlights for me have included Long Lost Friends week, the special President’s Day Voices of Liberty concerts, and Merida’s coronation. Each week I look to twitter to see what will be announced for the upcoming week’s Limited Time Magic.

One of the events mentioned in the original Limited Time Magic presentation immediately caught my eye and I would have to wait almost a year for it to take place: Friday, September 13. It would be called Unleash the Villains and would be held at Hollywood Studios until 1 a.m. I knew that I wanted to try to attend this one when the time came.

Leading up to last Friday, I started getting a little anxious about getting to the Studios for the villains event. I wasn’t able to take off work and I knew it would be crowded. The Studios parking lot has been known to close due to reaching capacity before.

As soon as the clock struck 5:00 that afternoon, I was out of the office, home to pick up my mom and to change into villains wear, and out the door again by 5:20. We were approaching the parking tollbooths by 6:00 and I knew luck and good timing were on our side. It wasn’t too backed up yet and soon enough we were walking through the gates.

Since we knew crowds would probably be crazy, we definitely had our priorities. I wanted to go to at least one character meet and the Villainy in the Sky fireworks show was a must see. Beyond that, anything else would be bonus.

After a quick dinner at Fairfax Fare, we decided to head of to Echo Lake to wait for the character meets. From reading Twitter earlier in the day, I knew that there were only three meet and greet locations so lines were sure to be long. After winding our way through the crowd gathering at the stage in front of the Sorcerer hat, we got in line at the first location. Characters were due at 8:30 and it wasn’t even 7:00 at this point. Lines were already outside the queues that were set up so it was basically just a somewhat organized mass of people. No one knew at that point which characters would be meeting where and since the lines were so long we figured we’d wait once, move on and be happy with the outcome. It felt kind of like Let’s Make a Deal and we chose door number one!

The event officially started at 8:00 p.m. at the stage, but from where we were we couldn’t see what was happening over there. Due to the amount of people there, characters didn’t arrive until almost 9:00.  I imagine they had a very hard time making it through all the people. While waiting, we found out that we were in line for either the Queen from Snow White or Shan-Yu from Mulan. The other two locations would feature Jafar or Oogie Boogie, and Maleficent or Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons. Each pair would switch off with each other every 30 minutes.

Unleash The Villains Meeting Shan Yu

We were lucky enough to be able to meet Shan-Yu! He was appropriately intimidating and gave us a creepy red-eyed stare. From where our line was situated, we were also able to get some good pictures of Oogie Boogie and Jafar.

After that, we decided we needed a break from the crowds and something to drink before grabbing a fireworks spot. This is where we encountered our major issue with the event: not enough food and beverage locations. Everywhere we tried, it was either closed or the lines were very long. We could have used a few extra carts set up.

I found a fireworks spot in the street, while mom decided to stick to the sidewalk where she could have more breathing room. While we waited, we could finally enjoy some of what was going on onstage. They had a giant screen set up so even those of us further back to see well. I hope they add this to Star Wars Weekends next year!

Unleash The Villains DJ Iggnite

DJ Iggnite alternated with Bernie Briquette and the Brimstones for musical entertainment. Hades, Meg, Pain, and Panic from Hercules also made appearances onstage. These entertainers did a fantastic job and even grabbed the attention of those of us further back.

Unleash The Villains Hades

Unleash The Villains Megara, Pain, and Panic

Unleash The Villains Villainry in the Sky

Finally it was fireworks time! Such an amazing show! This alone was worth it for me. Villainy in the Sky featured an incredible musical score, including music from The Hunchback of Notre Dame – one of my favorites! I would love to see these fireworks used again some time!

I knew the crowd would thin out some after the fireworks, so we walked around some to take some more character pictures and grab autograph cards that we missed the first time around. We hung out around the stage for the rest of the event. Some villains, like the Big Bad Wolf, Cruella, Captain Hook, and Frollo, wandered around and dance with the crowd. Each of them were followed by waves of people trying to get pictures.

Unleash The Villains on Stage

Unleash The Villains Hades getting down

Unleash The Villains Oogey Boogey

Unleash The Villains Jafar

The band and Hades led sing-a-longs with songs by The Beatles and Queen. As we approached the end of the night, Hades re-introduced all of the villains that were present, some of whom I hadn’t seen yet. There was a fun party atmosphere through the end.

Unleash The Villains Bowler Hat Guy

Overall, I had a great time at this event. Yes, it was incredibly crowded and there were problems associated with that. The meet-and-greets could have been organized a lot better and setting up more food and beverage carts would have helped alleviate the long lines. I did see cast members throughout the night that worked incredibly hard to keep the crowds organized and moving.  I would still do it all over again and I hope Disney will feature villains and other rare characters more often in the future.

Thanks to my mom, Sherry (@sbeanyears) for hanging out with me that night. Also thanks to Heather (@heatherw25) and Dave(@fotodave) for keeping me in the loop with what was going on.

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Wordless Wednesday: Someone Is About To Get Drenched

Wordless Wednesday – June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to the Studio Backlot Tour during the Harbor Attack! Demonstration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to an unfortunate moment for one lucky volunteer.
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Wordless Wednesday: Star Wars Weekends Coming Soon

Wordless Wednesday – May 15, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday takes to a Galaxy far, far away…or Disney’s Hollywood Studios for Star Wars Weekends which start this Friday!
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Wordless Wednesday – You’re On Walt

Wordless Wednesday – April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
Wordless Wednesday this week takes us to Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It is one of my absolute favorite things to do at DHS!!!

Today’s Giveaway will be announced later today on our Facebook Page!!! So be sure to ‘Like’ Us and follow us on Twitter for a link!

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