Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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As night falls on August 23, over 50 of the most notorious Disney villains will emerge from their lairs and unleash fun all over Disney’s Hollywood Studios® until the 13th hour!  “Show your Disney villain side” and get tickets for this special one-night-only event!

Villains Unleashed at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Saturday, August 23, 2014 8 p.m.–1 a.m.

$67/Adults, plus tax • $62/Children, plus tax

Buy today and reserve your spot!
To purchase tickets call 407-939-1933

Entertainment offerings subject to change without notice. Admission to this event requires a separately priced ticket. Ticket valid only during specific event hours and subject to availability.

Here’s just some of the villainous entertainment in store for you:

Over 50 villains in one Park
For one night only, over 50 Disney villains will come together to roam the streets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, put on scary fun performances, and party until the 13th hour.

Villainy in the Skies
The villains will unleash their powers into the night sky for a special themed fireworks display. Don’t forget to pick up your limited-edition Glow with the Show Ears to complete the experience.

Oogie Boogie Variety Show
Guests can oogie-boogie down to Theatre of the Stars to see Mr. Oogie Boogie host a special variety show crawling with entertainment.

Hades Hangout and Dance Party
Rub shoulders with the ruler of the Underworld and dance the night away with his party crew—DJ Igg Nite, the Underworld Dancers and more.

Star Wars™ Villain Zone
Guests can unleash their dark side in a special zone filled with some of the most feared villains in the Galactic Empire.

“Ex-Scream” Makeovers
“Show your Disney villain side” and get your face painted to look just like one of your favorite Disney villains!

Villainous food, drink and merchandise
Enjoy mischievous treats and remember the night of villainy for years to come with villain-themed merchandise (not included with price of ticket).

Extended Attraction Hours
Up to 10 Disney’s Hollywood Studios® attractions will be running until 1 a.m. Beware the villains who may be lurking around some of your favorite attractions.

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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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Glow With The Show Fantasmic! With Big Fat Panda Show

Todd and Cheryl did a great job capturing clips of the Glow with the Show fun at Fantasmic! that we shared on our Facebook page, but now John Saccheri of the Big Fat Panda Show www.BigFatPanda.com also wrote a great guest post and shared his wonderful video of even more during the debut of the Glow with the Show Ears during Fantasmic!

…and then it happened! Everyone was blinking in coordination with the show and for that time, we were all part of the collective that is DISNEY! 🙂

Oct 15th, 2013 marked the 15th anniversary of Fantasmic! and Disney’s Hollywood Studios used the anniversary as the first night to roll out the GLOW WITH THE SHOW Light Up Mickey Ears here on the east coast.

httpv://youtu.be/tzhe7irsYJo

The ears have been used at the West Coast parks for some time now and their use, as most things, has some controversy. Some people see them as annoying and/or distracting while others just wish more folks had them. Apparently, at around $25, they are not as popular as Disney or their guests would like them to be. I will tell you, when a lot of people have them, the experience is nothing short of surreal.

We arrived at the Fantasmic theatre wondering if ears would be given out. I mean, it is the first night and their cameras were all ready to broadcast a live feed. Surely, they would want it to look great, right?

My friend Jeff, for reasons he knew all too well, suggested we do all we could to sit in the Mickey section. I figured because it was right in the middle. He knew it was because this was where Disney would focus most of their attention if anything special were to happen. We noticed a smattering of ears around us and then about 30 minutes prior to showtime, cast members with bags of hats were making their way through our section. Before long, EVERYONE in our section had Mickey ears. And to the little girl in front of me whose ears were OFF the entire show, you irked me. I wanted to reach over and turn them on but it was dark and I realize I can appear threatening in the wrong light LOL.

Some Light-Up Ears made their way to other sections as well, but only a few – I would say about 200 pairs were given out although rumor is that as many as 600 were. Interesting to note the ears given out were the old ones from California complete with a World Of Color sticker they asked us to remove. Not that they were used ears, but they were new old ones if you get what I mean. The newer ones have a rim of cushion around the inside and the mechanism to activate the ears is slightly different. If you have a large head, you may prefer the older ones.

My experience was joyful. When it first began, that is me you hear in the video laughing. I was having the time of my life and I won’t forget it. I was told it would NEVER look this good again because of the giveaways. I can only hope!

 

 

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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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Baby Care Center – Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This post is the first in a mini series visiting the Baby Care Centers at the Walt Disney World Resort. There will be four total; one for each theme park. This time we will be exploring Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

For those who don’t travel to Walt Disney World with young children the Baby Care Centers are completely ignored, or, in some cases, are unknown entirely. Being a Cast Member at the parks I have known exactly where each one is and what they offer. Did I know before I started in 2001 and got my park tour? Probably, but being in the 20 and under group, I would have to say I am sure it was ignored. Now being a mom to a newborn, the Baby Care Centers are my (and Cole’s) new favorite stop!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios would have to be my favorite park for getting in and out of with a little one by myself. I have to walk from the car because the stroller, diaper bag and baby in the car seat are just all too much for me to deal with if I don’t have an extra set of hands. Add that to an almost hour drive to the park, and it’s about time for Cole to want a diaper change and some food! Here Baby Care is located just inside the park on the left within Guest Relation, which, in my opinion, is the only downside. It’s the smallest of the Baby Care Centers, but even during Star Wars Weekends over Memorial Day weekend it wasn’t very crowded in the center. It was, however difficult to get in the doors to Guest Relations because *they* were busy.

 

When you first walk in, you are greeted with a lobby/seating area complete with a TV playing children’s programs (in my experience here it’s usually Little Einsteins), a padded bench, ottoman, two chairs and three high chairs for feeding the bigger little ones.

The lobby/seating area when you walk in.

 

There is also a mini kitchen, with a sink and microwave in here.

Kitchen

 

Then off to the left are two private rooms for nursing. It’s a cozy little room with a curtain door, dimmer light, outlets, a rocker with a padded seat, and small bench. They are small, but I can bring either of my strollers (I have a regular Chicco stroller and then a Baby Trend jogging stroller) in there with me and there is plenty of room for me and Cole. I doubt a double, inline or side by side, would fit and the Disney ones are too wide I think to fit in there though. While he was still small, (and not too wiggly) and I’m usually by myself, I would use the small bench to go ahead and change Cole’s diaper using my travel changing pad. I didn’t want to get him all settled back in the stroller just to take him out in the changing area and do it all over again.

One of the nursing rooms

 

Finally on the right side of the lobby is the changing area. It’s spacious and has two changing tables, a hand washing sink and even a restroom with a child sized toilet.

 

Changing area.

 

Of all of the Baby Care Centers, this is our most frequently used one.  It’s our second favorite!
Stay tuned for the second part of the series- Epcot!
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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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Walt Disney World Entertainment Round Table

Summer is almost officially here and that means vacation time at Walt Disney World for many families with kids now out of school. This also means it is a more popular time in the parks where wait times can increase. We thought we’d share some of our favorite Walt Disney World entertainment options that can give you a break inside or in the shade or pass the time while waiting for your Fast Pass time to roll around.  

Magic Kingdom
Betsy – I absolutely love the Dapper Dans! They remind me of one of my favorite movie musicals, the Music Man. I have even been lucky enough to be serenaded by these guys while getting my haircut at Harmony Barber Shop, which was perfect. I love their often A Capella performances, which are sometimes accompanied by the awesome Deagan organ chimes. It is especially cool to see them entertain as the Cadaver Dans during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Cheryl – Push the trash can is very entertaining to watch with kids.
Dana – Wowzer is an acrobatic clown that usually juggles while balancing on boards that he has set up himself. He has a spinning plate act as well. Wowzer is fun and super talented.
Beth – I love watching the Dapper Dans tap dance!  You never know when they’ll grab you from the audience and make you part of the show!
Kelly – Main Street Philharmonic – No matter how many time I’ve seen them perform there is a simple, yet amazing way to how they play and what they play with such ease, especially in the Florida weather! It’s awesome to hear Disney songs that most of us know in a slightly different style. Also, to hear them during Flag Retreat is fantastic! 
Mike – One of my favorite things to experience while in the Magic Kingdom is the famous Main Street U.S.A. barbershop quartet, the Dapper Dans. Serenading guests, the Dapper Dans are a true piece of Americana. Not only are they delightful to listen to singing classic songs such as “Mr. Sandman” and “Hello My Baby”, but also the Dapper Dans love to get their guests involved in the show by allowing them to play the infamous Deagan Organ Chimes.
Shelley – To me nothing says the Magic Kingdom quite like the Main Street Trolley Show! I will stop EVERY time I see the Main Street Trolley Show, to sing and dance along with the performers. It also holds a special place in my heart, because Zoe has loved them from her very first visit! The Citizens of Main Street really are the heartbeat and soul of Main Street USA! They’re always willing to talk to you about your day, your celebrations, and especially about their lives on Main Street USA. Don’t forget to shake the Mayor’s hand, ask Scoop Sanderson about his latest pin, or let the Fire Chief know he’s doing a great job!
Dapper Dans in Harmony Barber Shop
Dapper Dans in Harmony Barber Shop
Citizens of Main Street
Citizens of Main Street
Main Street Trolley Show & Zoe
Main Street Trolley Show & Zoe
Wowzer
Wowzer
PUSH
PUSH
Epcot
Betsy – This is a toss up for me. Off Kilter and Voices of Liberty are my two favorite entertainment options in Epcot. I love how Off Kilter covers some eclectic choices of songs with their Celtic Rock flare. They range from classics like Amazing Grace and Danny Boy to Bob Marley and Byan Adams hits. Voices of Liberty perform American classics from hymns to revolutionary war songs. I absolutely love their set last year for the Fourth of July! It was one of the most moving performances and brought me to tears. 
Cheryl – Voices of Liberty – It is great to get out of the sun and just sit in air conditioning 
Dana – Miyuki – I always stop to watch her when I hear she is making candy. Yes, I said hear because she usually has a mic on. Her personality is as fun as the candy she creates for guests who stop to watch her. I’ve never been lucky enough to be picked by her, but still very entertaining. 
Beth – Hands down Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion.  They are so talented and genuinely enjoy meeting and talking with their audience.
Kelly – JAMMitors – It never fails that when I’m walking by Innoventions that they are out there playing. The crowd they draw is amazed by how they are playing and what they are playing. British Revolution – I’m a sucker for British music and the atmosphere is a great way to relax and take in some awesome songs.
Mike – One of my favorite entertainment offerings in the World Showcase is the Celtic rock band known as Off Kilter. They rock out five times a day to some of the best in traditional Celtic music and sometimes will even throw in a few modern day hits in their set as well. If you love the sound of bagpipes combined with guitar, drum and bass this is definitely the band for you. Some of my favorite songs that Off Kilter plays include “Danny Boy” and “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.
ShelleyOff Kilter – Dancing to Off Kilter is quite possibly one of my favorite things to do at Epcot! They’re a really fun group of guys who play music that is great to dance (and maybe drink) to even if you’re just walking by around World Showcase. Their version of Whiskey In The Jar is awesome! Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps – There is something quite special about catching the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps in the American Adventure Pavilion. They have several sets they play, but my favorite is when they have the kids march around, and as a fun bonus they receive a copy of the Declaration of Independence as a gift for participating.
Mariachi Cobre
Mariachi Cobre
Voices of Liberty
Voices of Liberty
Miyuki
Miyuki
JAMMITORS
JAMMITORS
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Betsy – You may or may not have seen me at the Studios enjoying a performance of Mulch, Sweat and Shears. I have an affinity for the lead guitarist Axe and may even have picks he has tossed during shows. They cover classic and more current rock and some pop songs. 
Cheryl – Citizens of Hollywood – They have some totally funny acts, and it is great to stop and watch.
Dana – Citizens of Hollywood – I love them strictly for the comedy.  They can go unnoticed sometimes, but when you spot them, hilarity ensues. Jedi Training – Super cute. I watched it the first time last week.  Everyone loved Darth Maul and I loved the sound effects that were perfectly timed to his lightsaber.
Beth – I enjoy the Citizens of Hollywood. You never know when you’re gonna stumble upon a performance.
Kelly – Citizens of Hollywood – Improv acting mixed in with random Hollywood Studios guests always makes for a great show.
Mike – Often found over in the Streets of America, Mulch, Sweat & Shears plays some of the greatest classic rock hits from bands such as Van Halen, Aerosmith, Queen, Kiss and so much more. Not only is this band extremely entertaining but also they do an amazing job with getting the crowd involved and allowing the audience to become an honorary member of the band by playing the cowbell, rocking out on the guitar with band leader Morris Mulch and even singing along with the band.
Shelley – Catching Mulch, Sweat, & Shears at the Studios is something I try to do as often as I can, because it is definitely a family favorite. Zoe will dance her heart out, and has high hopes of playing the cow bell with the band one day!!! Whatever you do, PLEASE take a moment from your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to watch the Citizens of Hollywood!!! This talented group of performers are great at improvisation and making you laugh no matter how long you had to wait for Toy Story Midway Mania.
Citizens of Hollywood
Citizens of Hollywood
Jedi Training Academy
Jedi Training Academy
Mulch, Sweat & Shears & Zoe
Mulch, Sweat & Shears & Zoe
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
BetsyDJ Anaan is one of the newer additions to the live entertainment at Animal Kingdom. I remember going shortly after the Bhangra dance party started last year. It is so much fun watching the dancers move along with the Punjabi style music. Every time I have seen kids of all ages joining in with the party learning moves straight out of some of your favorite Bollywood movies.
Cheryl – I enjoy watching DJ Anaan and the dancing in front of Yak and Yeti.
Dana – DiVine – The first thing you notice is a group of people looking into the plant life on the walking between Africa and Asia. Then you spot her when she finally moves.  It’s fun to watch her move into plant-like poses and watch her disappear back into the foliage. 
Beth – My 4 yr old nephew Alex visited DAK for the first time this year.  He loves playing the guitar and singing songs.  As we were walking through Camp Minnie Mickey, Gi-tar Dan spotted Alex and started singing about his grey dinosaur shirt and grey shoes.  The look on Alex’s face was priceless as he discovered the song was about him.
Kelly – Tam Tam Drummers – When these guys start playing their instruments you feel like you’re in their homeland. Such a cool dance party! 
Mike – If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages then look no further than the Burudika band at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Located over in the Harambe Village of Africa, Burudika plays some of Africa’s modern hits and encourages all guests to dance freely in front of the stage joining the band in an African street party. Sometimes if you’re lucky enough, the Tam Tam Drummers will join Burudika’s street party and aid them in teaching guests some traditional African dance moves that they can take home with them to show their friends and family.
Shelley – Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe – NOTHING makes me happier than being able to dance in a park, and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe are my favorite to dance with at Animal Kingdom…maybe even all of Walt Disney World! These guys play a mean song and dance with everything they have. They put on a great show, and taking in a show is a great way to spend time waiting for your Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Pass time!
 
DiVine
DiVine
DJ Anaan
DJ Anaan
Tam Tam Drummers
Tam Tam Drummers
Resorts
Betsy – One of my absolute favorite ways to unwind after a fun day in the parks is to grab a drink at Mizner’s and to listen to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. They play big band music mixed in with some Disney tunes and even take requests. I adore sitting for hours to catch their sets alternating with the piano player in the Grand Floridian lobby.
Cheryl – Yehaa Bob – It is no longer a “secret” at Disney.  Its great to go and watch him perform.
Dana – Grand Floridian Society Orchestra – This could be a time to relax, beat the heat, and just listen to the Orchestra’s music.
Beth – Watching the Electric Water Pageant from the beach of the Polynesian Resort is fantastic.  The pageant sails the Seven Seas Lagoon and around Bay Lake nightly and can be seen from any of the monorail resorts as well as the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.
Kelly – Grand Floridian Lobby Society Orchestra – I love, love, love listening to the orchestra play classic Disney songs. You can hear it all throughout the lobby and it makes Grand Floridian that much cooler when you walk in and hear them playing. Scat Cat’s Club musician – This bar is nice and relaxing and to hear some jazz music in the background is a great way to end a day.
Mike – One of my all-time favorite entertainment options located on Disney property is Yehaa Bob Jackson located over at the River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Join Yehaa Bob for his whimsical piano sing-along featuring numerous classic songs like “Sweet Caroline”, “Piano Man” and of course my all time favorite audience participation song “Sarah, Sarah” (Don’t mess it up!!!) The reason why I love going to see Yehaa Bob so much is because he is not your ordinary piano player. In fact, he is the complete opposite. Instead, Yehaa Bob Jackson is a phenomenally talented piano player who is almost rarely sitting down and plays a piano that rarely sits still.
Shelley – Boardwalk Magician, Juggler, Musicians – The Boardwalk performers are quite different than what you will find at the Walt Disney World Resort, and they variety of shows they put on are sure to please every member of you traveling party. There is nothing like grabbing a snack on the Boardwalk and watching a performance! Yehaa Bob Jackson – Some of my most favorite memories of living so close to Walt Disney World involve going to a Yehaa Bob Jackson show! We’ve had girls nights, birthday parties, and gatherings there and we always have a blast! It can get a little loud, but don’t let that intimidate you from joining in on the fun…just donnnnnnnnn’t mess it up!!!!!!
Grand Floridian Society Orchestra
Grand Floridian Society Orchestra
Boardwalk Magician
Boardwalk Magician
Yehaa Bob Jackson Group Pic
Yehaa Bob Jackson Group Pic

These are just a few of the many options that Walt Disney World entertainment offers in and around the theme parks. We hope that you take some time to take a break and enjoy some of these fantastic choices for ways to spend time outside attractions. So much of what makes Walt Disney World amazing is the people and interacting with these performers and even other guests can provide some priceless memories. I know I will never forget the time I got pulled up to “sing” with Mulch, Sweat & Shears and my friends just happened to be there with a video camera. Seeing someone spot DiVine for the first time is often quite entertaining. If you haven’t enjoyed the ragtime piano playing while grabbing a snack at Casey’s Corner, you’re missing out on one of the best secrets in the Magic Kingdom. Hearing the Voices of Liberty perform Golden Dream live is a transformative moment to say the least. Take a moment and slow down while you’re on your vacation to experience the live Walt Disney World entertainment. You won’t regret it!

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2013 Star Wars Weekends Overview

Star Wars Weekends

It’s that time of year again, where fans from all over the galaxy flock to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a chance to celebrate the franchise that they love so much with fellow fans at Star Wars Weekends, held every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday May 17 – June 9, 2013.

During Star Wars Weekends, Hollywood Studios is full of really unique and special ways to meet some of the stars of the series, have your picture taken with some of your favorite characters, learn more behind-the-scenes details, and have a lot of fun.

Here are some things to keep in Mind if you are going to attend Star Wars Weekends!

Star Wars Weekends – Autographs

Every week you can bring in a memento or picture to be signed by an actual Star Wars!

For those wanting to get an autograph, a FASTPASS Ticket Required!

A FASTPASS ticket ensures your place in line at the celebrity autograph kiosk outside the Front Gate entrance. Grab a FASTPASS ticket before the park opens, as quantities are extremely limited and are issued on a first-come, first-served basis. Once FASTPASS tickets have been distributed, stand-by tickets may be issued, although stand-by tickets do not guarantee an autograph.

Please note that each Guest must be present to receive a FASTPASS ticket. Guests may not get a FASTPASS ticket for other members of their party, nor may Guests save a place in any FASTPASS line for other party members.

Here is a list of who will be appearing each weekend:

Weekend 1: May 17 to May 19, 2013

  • Ray Park (Darth Maul – 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)
  • Dee Bradley Baker (voice of Captain Rex – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend 2: May 24 to May 26, 2013

  • Ray Park (Darth Maul – Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
  • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
  • Jim Cummings (voice of Hondo Ohnaka – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend 3: May 31 to June 2, 2013

  • Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
  • Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar – Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
  • Sam Witwer (voice of Darth Maul – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Weekend 4: June 7 to June 9, 2013

  • Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian – Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
  • 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)
  • Tom Kane (voice of Yoda – Star Wars: The Clone Wars)

Star Wars Weekends – Meeting Characters

You care sure to find your favorite characters from the Star Wars films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars throughout Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

These character interactions are always tons of fun! But, the lines are often VERY long and specific characters aren’t always out and about.

Also, keep in mind that these character meet and greets can be canceled at any time…so happy character hunting!

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

Star Wars characters you may encounter include:

Mickey Avenue

  • Darth Vader
  • Darth Maul
  • Boba Fett
  • Jango Fett
  • Zam Wesell
  • Aurra Sing
  • Stormtroopers
  • Tusken Raiders
  • Gamorrean Guard

Streets of America

  • Anakin Skywalker
  • Commander Cody
  • Captain Rex
  • Ahsoka Tano
  • Asajj Ventress
  • Shaak Ti
  • Kit Fisto
  • Jawas
  • Clone Troopers

Star Tours Area

  • Queen Amidala
  • Chewbacca
  • Ewoks
  • Cantina Band

Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Area

  • Leia
  • Luke
  • C-3PO
  • R2-D2

Hollywood Boulevard

  • Jedi Mickey
  • Leia Minnie
  • Stormtrooper Donald
  • Vader Goofy

Star Wars Weekends – Shows You Won’t Want To Miss

There are SO many ways to catch your favorite characters and actors during Star Wars Weekends! Laugh along with humorous interviews, parades and motorcades, and immerse yourself in interactive experiences!

Star Wars Weekends
Zoe getting ready to watch Stars of the Saga last year
  • Stormtroopers at the Gate – Hollywood and Vine Intersection
  • Boba Fett Patrol
  • Stormtrooper Patrol
  • Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade

Marvel at a grand motorcade featuring a galaxy of your favorite Star Wars characters and 5 Star Wars Celebrities. The motorcade begins at the front of the park and travels to the Star Wars Weekends Event Stage, concluding with a grand celebrity welcome.

  • Star Wars Celebrity Welcome

Immediately following the Celebrity Motorcade, Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor, the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, along with 4 visiting celebrities highlight the day’s events and give you an exclusive Star Wars Weekends photo opportunity.

  • Padawan Mind Challenge

Join a pair of wacky intergalactic hosts, and a few other Star Wars surprises, as they provide 2 fun and interactive Star Wars trivia challenges, featuring younglings ages 4 to 11. Watch as they wield their mental force alongside a popular Star Wars character.

  • Behind the Force: Star Wars Voices

Listen closely as host Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars, along with 2 very special Clone Wars co-stars reveal the fascinating art of voice acting utilized throughout the Star Wars saga and beyond.

  • Stars of the Saga

Kick back with Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor as he puts on this entertaining and often surprising 30-minute, Star Wars-themed talk show. Experience the fascinating life and movie-making adventures of 2 Star Wars celebrities.

  • Stormtrooper Pre-Show

15 minutes prior to the Stars of the Saga Star Wars Celebrity Talk Show, a unique and immersive pre-show descends upon the Premiere Theater featuring 4 Imperial Stormtroopers on a special assignment. This interactive and always surprising presentation takes place in the audience and builds to an explosive conclusion.

  • Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor

Feel the force flowing as Star Wars Weekends host James Arnold Taylor takes his audience on a fun and fascinating journey into the world of voice acting. In this Star Wars Weekends exclusive, James performs over 200 popular and iconic characters.

  • Visit to the Maul starring Ray Park

Learn film and martial arts techniques from the actor who brought Darth Maul to life—the man, the Sith, the legend, Ray Park. In this unique presentation, the martial arts master performs impressive demonstrations as he reveals his journey to action-star fame. Show takes place during weekends 1 and 2 only.

  • An Ewok’s Tale – My Short Story starring Warwick Davis

Step into the fascinating world of entertainment giant, Warwick Davis. In this hilarious presentation, Warwick doesn’t just tell us about his time in the galaxy far, far away or his smorgasbord of roles leading up to the present—he reenacts his entire life! Show takes place during weekends 2 and 3 only.

  • Hyperspace Hoopla (My absolute favorite)

Star Wars Weekends shifts into hyperdrive hilarity as characters celebrate the day’s final entertainment: Snig & Oopla’s Hyperspace Hoopla! This over-the-top, end of the day celebration features the most beloved Star Wars characters performing in a number of fun and exciting musical numbers.

Star Wars Weekends
Don’t forget to wear for your favorite Star Wars shirt!!!

Remember that Disney’s Hollywood Studios admission is required for Star Wars Weekends. Availability is limited for some events, which may be cancelled at any time. Check the weekend event map for up-to-the-minute information about entertainment and appearances.

Over the duration of Star Wars Weekends, We’ll be posting about the Star Wars Weeekends merchandise, events, and more, so be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest!

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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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My Monsterous Summer Preview

Monsterous Summer

I had the pleasure of attending the Walt Disney World Monsterous Summer Media Preview last week, and it was great to learn so much about all the fun there is to be had this summer at the Walt Disney World Resort!

Disney’s Monstrous Summer is going to have a little something for everyone! It’s the first summer of fun in New Fantasyland, this summer the surprises of Limited Time Magic continue, and some all-new adventures begin around the Resort including the opportunity play pirate in the Magic Kingdom or becoming a wilderness explorer with badges galore in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Monstrous Summer lineup is inspired by the June 21 release of the Disney-Pixar animated feature, “Monsters University.” Mike and Sulley are dropping in from MU to scare up monstrous surprises! An all-new collegiate setting for meeting their favorite aspiring scarers will be on the Backlot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have a great view of the MU Campus. Also at the Magic Kingdom MU students have been studying new jokes to bring to the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor!

But the event wasn’t just about Mike, Sulley, and their friends! It was an event full of some great announcements, so let’s take a look at what I learned all about…

Monsterous Summer – Special Events

May the 4th Be With You  – In honor of Star Wars day, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be hosting “May the 4th Be with You!”—a one-of-a-kind Star Wars-themed celebration for the whole family. During this Limited Time Magic Event, you will be able to meet iconic characters, parents will be able to join their fellow Padawans in a special family Jedi Training Academy, purchase special merchandise with messages like “May the Fourth Be with You” and “Revenge of the Fifth”, you can join DJ Lobot for a Star Wars-themed Dance Party, and at the end of the day you can take a seat on Hollywood Boulevard and settle in for “Symphony in the Stars,” a spectacular fireworks display set to close the celebration. Catch all the amazing sights and sounds, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the fall of the Empire!

Monsterous Summer

Pull an All-Nighter to Celebrate the beginning of Summer – A larger than life Mike Mike Wazowski joined us to tell us all about another 24 hour celebration coming to both coasts on May 24th. You can find all of the details about the All-Nighter here.

httpv://youtu.be/OBRYUUO29LM

Downtown Disney Revs Up for Car Masters Weekend June 14-16 -Car Masters Weekend, now in its third year, is the perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day as Downtown Disney West Side hosts a classic car show with a modern twist June 14-16, 2013. Featuring all things “Cars,” the event showcases more than 150 classic, muscle and exotic cars; a chance for guests to meet “Cars 2″ stars Lightning McQueen, Mater and Finn McMissile; and special appearances by automotive designer Chip Foose and Disney-Pixar “Cars” filmmaker Jay Ward. Completing the car-nucopia of events, fans may purchase tickets for a ”Cars” & “Cars 2″ movie marathon at AMC Downtown Disney 24, “test drive” Ridemakerz “Cars” models, and enjoy caricatures, themed food and beverage, live entertainment and more. Entertainment subject to change.

Monsterous Summer – New Offerings

Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort – Joining later this summer its sister spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, the new Senses Spa at Saratoga Springs will be inspired by the healing properties of natural springs that have drawn people for centuries to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York. A completely redesigned space, Senses, A Disney Spa At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort, will feature 10 treatment rooms offering an array of services including water therapy, massage and facials. Senses will incorporate the springs, nature and the storyline of health in its design and theming. For reservations and information, you can call 407-WDW-SPAS.

Wilderness Explorers Comes to Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Coming this spring Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests will be invited to become Wilderness Explorers and experience the park in engaging and challenging ways aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the natural world we live in. When you sign up and take the official pledge, you set off with your field guide and in hopes to earn all 30 sticker badges of the Wilderness Exlplorers!  You will have to complete challenges as you explore the park and all of its rich details. While this activity is aimed at guests 7-10, it really looks like fun for the entire family! Who doesn’t love stickers? Wilderness Explorers will be self-guided and encourage more “up close and personal” time with the animal inhabitants of the park, and Wilderness Explorers will be included in Disney’s Animal Kingdom admission.

Monsterous Summer

New Meet-Up with Mickey, Minnie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse are scheduled to welcome Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests to their new exploration headquarters, Adventurers Outpost, on Discovery Island, beginning this spring. The all-new indoor retreat is the perfect spot for guests to meet the globetrotting duo as they get ready to set off on their next adventure.

A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas – In testing now and scheduled to debut this Spring, “A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas” will be a new interactive adventure where Magic Kingdom guests participate in pirate raids throughout Adventureland. Pirate maps lead to fabulous treasures as guests join Captain Jack Sparrow and fight off the Royal Navy, Captain Barbossa, headhunters, curses — and the greatest threat of all, Calypso, the sea goddess. If they help Jack succeed in all the missions, they will be welcomed as part of his new crew. If not, they face the wrath of the cruel sea…alone. The adventure is divided into 5 different raids, each comprising a series of interactive tasks.

httpv://youtu.be/kUZOEV_k46I

Disney Dining – Coming by summer’s end: a re-imagined California Grill crowning Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Guests will experience a beautiful new dining room, onstage kitchen and new dining choices – chef Brian Piasecki will keep the focus on creative, fresh, seasonal dishes, and top-of-the-line sushi.  At Epcot, what says summer better than ice cream? The France Pavilion will be expanding with L’Artisan des Glaces, an artisan ice cream and sorbet shop, debuts in mid-June with 16 yummy flavors, all made in-house with fresh ingredients (with the option of adding a shot of liquor on top, for grown-up tastes).

Summer Latte, Anyone? More Starbucks Locations Coming to Disney Parks -Starbucks will be opening locations at Disney theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resortt. When it reopens in early summer, Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom will keep its name and theming and continue to serve Disney favorites such as cookies, brownies and seasonal cupcakes, in addition to Starbucks signature beverages and other menu items. At Epcot, Starbucks products will be featured when the Fountain View location reopens for midsummer. Each Starbucks location inside a Disney Park will reflect the theme of its surroundings.

New Summer Line of Disney Parks Cosmetics – In time for summer, fairy tale legends and secrets come to life with the captivating new Unlock the Spell collection from Beautifully Disney, Disney Parks’ line of cosmetics and beauty products. The new-for-summer collection — inspired by the spellbound Tiana, Belle and Rapunzel — is rich in lush colors: soft, pretty yellow, rosy golds, and punchy purples. Unlock the Spell will make its debut at Trend-D at Downtown Disney.

New Disney Dooney Pattern – This spring, a new pattern of Disney Dooney and Bourke purses will be released at TrenD. This coated canvas, features a bold and fun type spelling out Minnie and Mickey with Mickey and Minnie Heads.The colors are more of a neon/bright color and are really on point! It’s a really great and versatile pattern that is great for casual fun or taking to the office. I can’t wait to bring one home for myself!

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer

Disney Ray-Ban Sunglasses – Disney Ray-Ban sunglasses will be coming this spring, and they are adorable! Available in both original Wayfarer styles, they feature a black and white Mickey pattern. What will be really interesting, is to see if the black version with the Mickey pattern on the inside will be considered ‘Disney Look’…I have my fingers crossed for all my Cast Member friends!!!

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer – Announcements

Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade – The Magic Kingdom will be replacing the ‘Celebrate a Dream Come True’ Parade with the Festival of Fantasy Parade that will be stepping off in the Spring of 2014. This all-new parade will bring a celebration of New Fantasyland to life through innovative parade floats, costumes, and an original soundtrack of familiar favorites and a specially crafted parade theme song. The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will specifically highlight the stories of “The Little Mermaid,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Dumbo,” “Pinocchio,” “Peter Pan,” “Tangled” and the Disney●Pixar film “Brave” among others.

Monsterous Summer

Monsterous Summer

Disney Magic Overhaul – There’s an extra dose of magic coming aboard the  Disney Cruise Line Disney Magic! The Disney Magic is the first ship of the fleet, and will be getting a “re-imagineering” transformation during dry dock from Sept. 7 through Oct. 10, 2013. The fleet’s flagship  will be receiving a new atrium, restaurant, improved dining experience in Palo, an update to the senses spa, additions in the kid’s club areas (I am most excited about the Avenger’s Academy addition),  new pool and water play areas, as well as two all new slides! It is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to take the plunge on the AquaDunk!

Monsterous Summer

httpv://youtu.be/qCmyUmJFp1s

As you can see from my crazy long pos (sorry) there is a lot of great new experiences coming to Walt Disney World this Summer!!!

In the next few days I will be sharing more information and pictures from the Monsterous Summer Media Preview!

What are you most excited about?

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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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Spring into Adventures

Spring is in the air. Hopefully the pollen and my allergies will clear up soon and it is heating up and starting to feel like summer here in Florida. I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the things I’m most looking forward to over the next couple of months instead of doing that spring cleaning that I probably should be doing. Now that I’ve found out my schedule for the rest of the spring and beginning of summer, I thought I’d start planning some weekend adventures. The parks across the area have some fantastic special events this time of year, and before the kids are out of school it is a great time to get away while the crowds are lower.

Spring in bloom at Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival
Spring in bloom at Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival

At Epcot we are already more than halfway through the International Flower & Garden Festival. I love this event each year and have been attending since 1998! I dearly miss Davy Jones of the Monkees, as his was always my go to concert for the Flower Power Concert Series. The thing I think I am most excited about (aside from the newly added food and beverage kiosks) is that my favorite HGTV celebrity, David Bromstad, is going to be hosting presentations May 17 – 19 and I’m now off that weekend!

Star Wars Weekends
Star Wars Weekends

Another of my favorite things that I will get to do for the third year in a row is Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This fabulous event has quickly become a must do for me! I still have so many things I haven’t done yet that are on my to do list. I need to get up early enough and get to the park to see the Stormtroopers on top of the entrance to the park above the turnstiles. Also, I really want to get my picture taken with as many of the characters as possible and go to some of the presentations and shows. And then, of course, there is Hyperspace Hoopla, my favorite of all! My apologies to anyone who now has that song stuck in their head (Hoooooooopla, Hyperspace Hoopla…).

Viva la Música
Viva la Música

Busch Gardens and Sea World are playing host to an awesome special event that I got to experience last year for the first time: Viva la Mύsica! This great offering is one that features Latin American food, merchandise, cuture, and of course, music. I got to go just for an hour or so to Busch Gardens after work last year and got to try to some amazing food, but was too late for the concert. This year I was hoping to catch at least one weekend at Busch Gardens and Sea World each. I was so excited when I found out that my favorite salsa band, El Gran Combo, was going to be playing at both parks. I know where I’ll be that weekend!

One of the greatest things about these three events is that they are all included in park admission. Food and beverages of course are extra, but the entertainment and most of the presentations are free of charge with your ticket. These add tremendous value to your vacation or even just a day in the park for us locals.

Water parks are definitely on my list for the next few months. I’ve lived in Florida for almost 20 years and I’ve only been to Typhoon Lagoon for a couple hours and did the lazy river and snorkled with the sharks before the park closed due to weather. This needs to be rectified. I’ve visited Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach for functions, but haven’t done a single water slide. This is a travesty! I also would love to check out some of the other area water parks like Sea World’s Aquatica and Adventure Island in Tampa.

Now we all know that sometimes with the spring come those showers that we need for those pretty flowers. What to do when it isn’t exactly park weather? Why not catch a film? Two movies I am ridiculously excited to see this spring are Marvel’s Iron Man 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Monsters University (visit this site if you haven’t already – it is hilarious!). I am a huge Avengers fan and loved the first Iron Man movie, enjoyed the second one, and adored the Avengers, so I cannot wait to see what they have in store for Tony Stark in this next installment. Monsters Inc was a great, feel good family flick and I think that this will be very entertaining to see some of Mike and Sulley’s adventures before they were best buds.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Did I miss any of your favorite spring special events? Have you been to any of these before? What are some of your favorite things to do in spring when the weather doesn’t cooperate? Hit us up and let us know.

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Wordless Wednesday: Lunch With Walt

Wordless Wednesday – April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes us to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for lunch with Walt and Garco. I love all the old cartoons and clips that play while we have a fun lunch!
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