Awaken Summer in Hollywood Studios

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Awaken Summer is Walt Disney World’s name and answer to all things coming this Summer that are new, rebooted, or just a little bit special. Each park is going to have a lot going on and one of the most exciting is Hollywood Studios, especially if you are a Star Wars fan.

Now, some of these changes are already being tested or actually running, but they are new and part of Awaken Summer.

First, is the reboot of Star Tours with The Adventure Continues storyline where you travel to Jakku from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Star Tours has several different storylines so you never know what you are going to get but one of the best is this new one!

Another new Star Wars bit of fun is meeting THE Kylo Ren over at the new Launch Bay. Go over there and ask him why he killed his father? That will help you make friends!

A new Star Wars stage show appropriately called Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away where you can see your favorite characters take stage including my favorite BB-8.

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

Thanks to Disney Travel Professionals for the photo.

When it gets dark at Hollywood Studios do not miss the new night show that has a little bit of everything from fireworks to lasers to projections. Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular is amazing and a definite do not skip!

So, Hollywood Studios is definitely upping its Star Wars game and game in general. Even if you are not a huge Star Wars fan these changes are fun for everyone and promises to only be the beginning!

D23 News and Exciting Announcements

Oh my! If you are a Disney fan you know how much news came out this past weekend at D23 in Anaheim. If you are NOT a Disney fan you probably still heard some of it because it is crazy and wild all the cool stuff that is coming. If you are like me then you do not want to wait but want it all now! But go ahead and go to Disney and enjoy what is there now because with change you may lose some of your old favorites! But, do not worry because all the new stuff will make you quickly forget!


Thanks Disney Travel Professionals Page for the use of the photo.

Star Wars Land – Thanks Disney Travel Professionals Page for the use of the photo.

First, let’s talk about the BIGGEST news from D23 and I think we can all agree it is the new alcohol policy for Disney Cruise Line. Right??? Okay no that was not the biggest news at all (but I will address this news later but for now let’s start positive) and the biggest news…drum roll please… Star Wars Land. Yes, finally for all you Star Wars lovers (which clearly from the crowds at Star Wars Weekends is a ton) there is going to be an answer to your needs. Star Wars Land is going to be located at Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World (so thankfully something will be there to entertain us people) and at the Disney Land Resort.

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “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.”


There is more to come on this and stay with us here at because we are bringing it to you!

Thanks to Disney Parks Blog for the photo.

Thanks to Disney Parks Blog for the photo.

Second, more lands! Yes, there are more lands coming our way including Toy Story Land coming to Disney Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney World (again actual things to do there!) and at Animal Kingdom they are going with Pandora – The World of Avatar. I am sure Disney will do a great job with this as they do with everything. Another cool thing coming to Animal Kingdom that really gets me ready to go is After Dark at Animal Kingdom. They will have a show called “Rivers of Light” that sounds spectacular and is coming this Spring and also the Kilimanjaro Safari is going to have a night-time safari that will be a special type of safari and sounds awesome. I am a huge fan of Animal Kingdom and love seeing it grow.

Rivers of Light - Thanks Disney Parks Blog for the use of the photo.

Rivers of Light – Thanks Disney Parks Blog for the use of the photo.

Two more quick but excellent things to mention is a new restaurant at Magic Kingdom and a change to Soarin’. The table service restaurant named “Jungle Skipper Canteen” and will be themed after the Jungle Cruise. I am loving another table service option inside Magic Kingdom so this is good news. Soarin’ will no longer be Soarin’ Over California but instead we will be Soarin’ Around the World. This change will be put in place both in Epcot’s Soarin’ attraction in Walt Disney World and in Disney’s California Adventure’s Soarin’ attraction in Disneyland.

Last, is the bad news. Disney Cruise Line has changed the alcohol policy and the change goes into effect for any cruises commencing on or after September 30, 2015. I am just going to bullet point the new rules as I cry:

  • Each Guest 21 years and older may bring two bottles of unopened wine or champagne (no larger than 750ml) or six beers (no larger than 12oz) onboard in carry-on luggage at the beginning of the voyage and at each port-of-call.
  • All alcoholic beverages packed in checked luggage will be removed and stored until the completion of the cruise.
  • Wine or champagne in excess of the two allowable bottles or beer in excess of the six beers will be stored and Guests may retrieve them at the end of the voyage.
  • All liquors and spirits (including powdered alcohol) are prohibited and will be stored until the completion of the cruise.
  • Guests must retrieve any stored alcohol at the end of the cruise. Uncollected alcohol will be destroyed and no compensation will be offered.
  • Alcohol brought on board may not be consumed in any lounge or public area.
  • Effective Sept. 30, 2015, the corkage fee charged to Guests who bring their own wine or champagne into one of our restaurants will be $25 per bottle.

So, that is it. I know it hurts because it hurts us all but I am just the bearer of the news. Disney Cruise Line is still the best hands down and now you just need to save a few more dollars to pay for drinks on board. Also, remember at each port you can get 2 bottles and alcohol is usually very cheap at most ports of call – hey looking at the bright side! But overall, the news was amazing and I can not wait for these new things! If you have any questions let me know.


Part 3: If I was an Imagineer for the Day at Disney…Disney’s Hollywood Studios Version

HS Water Tower

If you are keeping up with my Imagineer for a Day Series you will know we have covered Magic Kingdom and Epcot so far. I am getting some great feedback from you guys and welcome all your suggested changes (and as soon as I get to be an Imagineer I will pass on the good word!) So, next on the list is Disney’s Hollywood Studios…and if you keep up with rumors will be getting a name change soon. Though I am not sure it is a rumor anymore since Bob Iger himself let it slip during the shareholders meeting.

DHS has a lot of good and some bad and it is already going through many changes so it will be interesting to see if any of my “Imagineer for the Day” changes or if any of yours will be ones that Disney makes to see if my thinking is on par with the genius minds over at corporate.

Sorcerers HatAs a side bar one of the biggest changes that has happened recently is the Sorcerer’s hat is gone. I was on the fence with this change but I will say the street looks better and more authentic…like a real street. But, I hope they make something as the “anchor” like the other parks have. It just makes sense that each park has an anchor or mascot to represent it…if the sorcerer’s hat is not the answer then I think there should be something. But this is not one of my changes…it just was an obvious observation.

So my first change as “Imagineer for the Day” is I would add more restaurants. DHS only has a few counter service options and honestly none are anything to write home about. I need a few more options than burgers and corn dogs, etc. and they just do not have 50s Prime Timeenough places and enough good choices for my preference. When it comes to table service options there are a few that are great options like 50s Prime Time and perhaps you can make an argument for Sci-Fi Diner but the rest are just meh (compared to other WDW restaurants). The “flagship” signature restaurant is The Hollywood Brown Derby and I may be on a remote island with my opinion on this but it is my least favorite restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. It honestly has no redeeming qualities for me other than the grapefruit cake. The last few visits to Brown Derby (see I have given it more than just a chance or two) it has been not only disappointing in food, but also has taken a ridiculous amount of time. But moving on since this is not the topic J So, let’s bring some new fun restaurants to Hollywood Studios, both table service and counter service.

Second change is to bring back the backlot tour. I may be the ONLY person interested in this but I loved that attraction. Yes, it was dated but seeing Walt’s plane and the Golden Girls home was a good time for me. If you are not going to bring back the backlot tour then bring something new that has to with props, movies, Hollywood, etc. This would definitely help themeing and make sense.

Last, and I think we can all agree on this – but please update the Great Movie Ride. The movie Alien is not even a classic and is so old no one really wants to see that giant bug alien coming from the ceiling. Some of the “rooms” are classics and can stay like Wizard of Oz but it is time to update others. The main updates needed are the scripts that the cast members “act” out and I use the term act loosely and the movie reel at the end. The end when you see the collage of movies could use about 20 years of updates. I remember years ago when the storyline and cast members were fun and made it even better than it was written but that has definitely gone. Now that this ride is the first attraction you see since the removal of the Sorcerer’s hat and is part of the Hollywood Blvd anchor it needs to live up to its location.

So, this is a start and I know Star Wars Land is coming and some other changes and these have me very excited but there are a few remaining issues that if updated or changed or added to would make Hollywood Studios so much better and more appealing to the masses.

What do you think? What would you change and what do you love and not love the most about Hollywood Studios? Lastly, tell me what you would like to see the name changed too?