Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package Review

July 7, 2014 Cheryl 0
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Olaf’s Summer of Frozen Fun kicked off this Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I was lucky enough to get a premium package reservation for the festivities!  While the premium package is definitely not necessary, it does add some extra perks in to the day!

We had to check in to the event near Min and Bill’s Diner beginning at 10 am.  Cast members were waiting there with clipboards to cross off your name and then hand you a lanyard with the Premium Package credentials that you needed later.  Next you got to select the time you wanted to return to see The First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration at the Premiere Theater.  Once you selected your time you were given a ticket with the return time on it.  We already had Toy Story Mania fastpasses and dinner reservations at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, so we selected the 6 pm showtime.  Once we got our tickets, we were allowed to enter into the Premium Package area – which is a roped off area to the left of the hat and stage area.  There is parking for strollers as well as roped off sections for wheelchairs and children, for better viewing.  Once in the area you had access to unlimited Mickey Bars, Frozen Lemonade Treats, water and sodas that you could enjoy while waiting for the parade to start.

Although the area is the same one as the Star Wars Weekend Premium Package area, the parade itself is different, so it makes it a little bit more worthwhile.  The processional starts at the end of Hollywood Boulevard – there are skating snow flakes, ice skaters, skiers, ice carvers, citizens of Arendelle, and of course Princess Anna, Queen Elsa and Kristoff – plus a little bit of snow thrown in for good measure!!  Anna and Elsa arrive on a horse drawn sleigh and go up on the stage for the royal greeting, but afterwards the entire parade continues past Echo Lake for the rest of the park to see, so with the Premium Package you get a very good view of the show and the characters.  You can’t however, see the large video screen on stage, so anything with Olaf is out of view.

When Anna and Elsa take the stage, they are presented with flowers from the head of Hollywoodland, and all of it citizens sing the royal Arendelle song for them – which is of course “Let it Go!”   – just the first of many renditions of the song that is played throughout the day!

After the Processional was done, and after a few Fastpass reservations, we made our way over to the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Wonderland.  The line to get into the building wound around and around, and was over 2 hours long – so we decided to skip the shopping trip this time.  I did hear that it was fun to skate and that they had real snow (from the ice shavings) so that is fun, just not worth the 2 hours to see it!   They did have lots of great items for sale, and I am sure that eBay is full of them, as we saw many people walking out at 9:30 am when we arrived with bags full of Frozen items!    We did, however, get Frozen temporary tattoos – it is kind of a tradition for my son T and I to get them on Mommy/Son days at the parks, so I am glad we they had Frozen ones available!

Since it is Olaf’s Summer of Frozen Fun, they were giving out Olaf’s on a stick for you to take pictures with all day with the #olafsummervacation hashtag.  On the back of the picture Anna, Elsa, Kristof and Olaf have signed – the only signatures you are going to get!  We had a lot of fun with Olaf – he went on Toy Story, Star Tours, had lunch, saw his own water picture and met some characters of his own!  Everyone seemed to be having fun with the Ofaf pictures – and he seemed to be enjoying his first day of summer vacation!

The First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration was the next thing on our agenda.  We apparently did not get into the correct line – we had taken off our Premium Package credentials because we didn’t want them to get wet or damaged in the rain, so we were we were told to go stand in the ticketed line which is very long!  They were giving out return tickets throughout the day, so the only way to see the show is with a ticket – there is a standby line, but they give out the correct number of tickets, so it is doubtful that you will get in to see the show without one.  They start queuing the line on the Streets of America, and then it winds around under cover up to Muppets 3D – s0 even with a ticket, prepare to wait!  The Premium Package ticket holders have a separate entrance near the Theater, so just ask a Cast Member where you should go – we didn’t see the sign until we exited the building!

The Sing-a-Long itself is a cute show!  Anna comes out first and meets the Historians of Arendelle (who if you look closely look very similar to the Star Wars Weekend show storytellers!!) who proceed to tell the story of Frozen in a comedic way.  Peppered though out with many opportunities to sign songs at the top of your lungs (come on, you know you know the words)…with the finale featuring Queen Elsa herself!  It is cute, and I highly recommend seeing the show!!

The main event for the Premium Package is the Dessert Party and Fireworks show.  The weather was not exactly cooperating, so instead of eating treats outside at the dance party/Ice Men concert, we were escorted to the Disney Junior building and had our own dance party!  The music was rocking, the chocolate was flowing, and the desserts were a plenty!  There were unlimited cupcakes, cookies, key lime tarts, strawberry shortcake cups, fruit with chocolate fondue, ice cream, and drinks-a-plenty!  My favorite was the Iced Summer – yummy!!!

After we had our fill, the kids needed to burn some energy so we all went out to the stage area to wait for the show.  The area is very close to the stage, so perhaps not the best viewing spot, but at least you didn’t have to wait for hours for a good spot.  We parked ourselves right along the rope in front of the Disney Videographer (I figured he had a good view) and we waited for the show to begin.  The Ice Men were just finishing up on stage, and the Anna, Kristoff, a video version of Olaf  and Elsa came out for the finale.  They projected some pictures that people had taken with Olaf throughout the day, and then the fireworks began.  I am not sure if it was the rain, or the lack of breeze, but there was so much smoke that it was very hard to see the fireworks….they were still good though, and I will definitely be back to see them again!

All in all, I would say that the Frozen Summer Premium Package was fun to do, the desserts were tasty, and it definitely cut down on the wait times.  However, as with the Star Wars Premium Package, I wish that we had a better view of the fireworks….and although the desserts were delicious, for the cost of the package you could buy a lot of Mickey Bars to eat while you were waiting in line.

 

FROZEN Summer Fun Premium Packages

July 2, 2014 Cheryl 0

anna and elsaThis just in – Walt Disney World will be offering FROZEN Summer Fun Premium Packages! They will be available daily from July 5 – September 1, 2014 (with the exception of August 23 when the Villains are taking over the Studios).  From the sounds of it, the package is very similar to the Feel the Force Premium Package which was offered during this year Star Wars Weekends – right down to the location of the special area.

Guests who book the package will check in near Min and Bills Dockside Diner starting at 10:30 a.m.(although I  recommend getting there as early as possible so you get a spot up front), then enjoy refreshments and reserved viewing for Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession at 11:00 a.m. Later on, they’ll experience reserved seating at one showing of For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, which takes place between 12:30-7 p.m.   According to the Cast Member I spoke with, you will be able to pick your time that day, so you can coordinate it with your other Fastpass+ and dining reservations.  The evening will end  with an exclusive dessert party in a reserved area for viewing of the nighttime Frozen fireworks spectacular, which will take place from 8:30 – 10PM. Please note: Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession and the dessert party offers a reserved viewing area, no seating is available. Wheelchairs and ECVs will be accommodated.  Again, the I recommend getting there early to get a prime spot for the fireworks, as some locations may be blocked by leaves.  In case of in climate  weather, you will still check in at the same place, but be escorted to an indoor location for the dessert party.

Packages cost $59 for adults and $34 for children (including tax and gratuity). Discounts do not apply. Park admission is required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.

(Note: Guests will receive a credential for identification during the Royal Welcome procession viewing. If you are not able to attend the Royal Welcome procession viewing, please visit Guest Relations to check-in between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and select a show time for the sing-along celebration. After 8 p.m., please check-in at Min and Bill’s. Credential identification is non-transferrable and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.)

Get ready for a Frozen Summer…It’s Been extended to September 28th!!

June 26, 2014 Cheryl 0
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Do you want to build a snowman….come on let’s go and play!!   Olaf is spending his first summer vacation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is inviting you along for the fun!!  This summer Frozen is taking over the Studios with all sorts of amazing events, and you get to be part of the fun!!  Running July 5th through September 28th – there are lots of awesome experiences that you won’t want to miss!!  Here are some of the highlights:

Here are some of the highlights:

    • Olaf on Summer Vacation –  Olaf, the magical snowman, is living it up during his first summer vacation, and wants to share all the updates with you!!  Throughout the day he will be keeping everyone updated on his adventures, and you can even take him with you on yours!  You will be able to get your very own Take-Along Olaf, and when you share your photos with Olaf on social media, be sure to tag them with #OlafSummerVacation. Your picture might just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!
    • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – Like every good Royal family, it is important to visit the neighboring kingdoms and trading partners.  At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna will arrive in in a horse-drawn sleigh and travel down Hollywood Boulevard, and they are bringing Kristoff  a flurry of skaters, skiers, and ice cutters along for the goodwill tour!  The processional will end with a special ceremony on stage.
    • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – You know you love the songs – so here is your chance to belt out a tune and cool down inside the Premiere Theater.  Anna and Elsa will join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun retelling of the history of the kingdoms history, along with some sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
    • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his family have created a Frozen Funland where there will be a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
    • “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more!  Get ready to dance to your favorite hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites.
    • “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – This may be my favorite part!!  Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”  Fireworks and Frozen songs – that doesn’t need any fixing upping!!

For the first time in forever….I am REALLY excited to be going to Hollywood Studios!!    The sky will be blue….and I hope you can be there too!  There is no word on whether or not there will be character meet and greets, and as of now there will not be any Fastpasses to these special events, so it promises to be a busy summer at Hollywood Studios based on the über-popularity of all things “Frozen”!

 

Feel the Force at Star Wars Weekends!!

April 23, 2014 Cheryl 0

Force ChokeThis IS the event you have been looking for!  A new premium event for Star Wars weekends is open for booking today, and I am SO excited to say that I got a reservation!!!

The Feel The Force Dining Event will include a reserved premium viewing area for two popular Star Wars Weekend events: Guests will be able to sit in a VIP area for The Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, AND The Symphony in the Stars Fireworks that same evening!!!

During the daytime parade, soft drinks and snacks will be included.  Then at night guests will attend a Star Wars-themed dessert party with the fireworks. Guests will also receive a souvenir PhotoPass card with a series of free Star Wars photos, which can be linked to their My Disney Experience account, so you will always remember your day in the Galaxy far, far away!!

Here are some added details:

The Feel the Force Premium Package occurs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 to June 15, 2014.

  • Price: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included).
  • Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade viewing is from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon with the motorcade starting at 11:30 AM.
  • Symphony in the Stars fireworks dessert party is from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM with the firework shows beginning at approximately 9:30 PM.
  • Check in for this event will be at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 10:30 AM.
  • Guests will receive a wristband during the motorcade viewing that will allow entry into the evening fireworks dessert party. If you are unable to attend the motorcade viewing, you can check in at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 8:30 PM.
  • Beverages include soda, water, tea and coffee.
  • The fireworks dessert party includes a specialty beverage with an alcoholic option. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

This year is the first time we are attending Star Wars Weekends, and I am so excited for this…just don’t tell my son, we are keeping it a secret until the big day!!!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

April 20, 2014 Cheryl 0

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa hosted it’s third annual Easter Egg display this year – and it was amazing!  It took 19 amazingly talented Cast Members three weeks to create these edible works of art!  They started with huge hollow milk chocolate eggs (9-12 lbs and 16-20 inches each) and then let their imagination go wild!  Check them out!!

 

 

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Looks like they had a great time!!!

April 7, 2014 Cheryl 1

Planning Disney vacations is my dream job…I love helping families get the most out of their trip, and making sure that they come home with a lifetime of magical memories. I was lucky enough to plan a spring break getaway for this family – their first trip to Walt Disney World. It looks like they had a great time, what do you think?

A huge thank you to the Gonzales Family for letting me share this video, and for allowing me to help you with your special vacation.

For the mobile version https://vimeo.com/91235894

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Parties at Epcot

March 14, 2014 Cheryl 0

IlluminationsBeginning, March 15, 2014, you will be able to  experience IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot® in an exciting new way.

The new IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party invites Guests to enjoy international desserts and sparkling wines in an intimate, exclusive setting with a clear view of the World Showcase Lagoon during the nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  The party will be set up near the gift shop right as you enter the World Showcase from Future World.  Some of the desserts served during the dessert party will be Tiramisu’ from Italy, Baklava from Morocco, Vanilla Pot de Crème from France, Shortbread Cookies from the United Kingdom, and Ice Cream Novelties from around the Disney Parks.  This is a great way to end your day at EPCOT after enjoying time with your family strolling the World Showcase or after a day at the Flower & Garden Festival.

This new IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Parties will be available on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and will run from 7:45 p.m-9:20 p.m. The cost is $49 for adults and $29 for children. Parties begin March 15, 2014 and booking is now open. Epcot park admission is required.

 

Festival of Fantasy Parade

March 10, 2014 Cheryl 0

The brand new Festival of Fantasy Parade debuted at the Magic Kingdom® on Sunday March 9th and I was there to see it, and let me tell you…it was amazing!  The floats, the characters, the catchy music….for all the hype this parade was getting, it certainly did not disappoint!!

We were actually able to get Fastpass+ reservations for the parade so we had a prime viewing spot right in the circle, with a view right towards Liberty Square – so we saw the parade coming right at us and then making the turn…pretty sweet spot!  Being the inaugural event, two lucky high school marching bands started off the festivities, soon followed by the grand marshal of the parade.  Then it was time….the music began and here came the floats!!

The first featured Belle and Beast, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Tiana and Prince Naveen, and the characters everyone was waiting for … Anna and Elsa from Frozen!  The sections of the floats rotated, so you didn’t always get to see who you wanted…we had a great view of Tiana, but only about a second of Anna and Elsa.

Next up was the Tangled float – featuring swinging I-am-still-not-sure-whats with Rapunzel, Flynn, Maximus, and even the Mime!!  The float itself had such great detail – and a lot of hair!!

Ariel then floated up sitting on a clam shell, surrounded by lots of dancing fish!

Then along came the Lost Boys, Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, the Tick Tock Crock, and even a canon-firing ship!

We then moved to the opposite side of the world for a little Scottish dancing, Merida and the bear princes from Brave!  That was one large bagpipe!!

The highlight (at least for me) was next – an actual fire breathing dragon!!  The good fairies showed up and Malificient was not happy, so she turned herself into the dragon and tried to take out the Prince!!  Very well done!

 

Next up was a mix of characters – Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs, Alice and her friends from Wonderland, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Donald, Daisy, Pluto, Chip and Dale…all leading up to the big cheese(s) – Mickey and Minnie!

All in all it was a great parade, and one I highly recommend adding to your schedule while at the Magic Kingdom!  It is performed daily at 3:00 pm!  Here is the full video if you just can’t wait to see it in person…enjoy!

 

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Walt Disney World Monorail Maintenance

January 13, 2014 Cheryl 0

Monorail

There is going to be some planned maintenance that will soon affect daily operations of the Walt Disney World® Monorail System.  Beginning January 21 through late March, monorail service will be suspended on the Magic Kingdom® Express and Resort Monorail lines Monday through Friday during the non-peak hours of 11:30 am – 7:00 pm.

This means that guests will be unable to access the following destinations via Monorail during these hours:

  • Magic Kingdom® Park
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC)

The Epcot® branch, which runs between the Transportation and Ticket Center and Epcot®, will operate regularly during this time.

To accommodate guests impacted by project, additional boats and buses will be used to transport guests to their destinations. And remember, if you need to travel between Magic Kingdom® Park and Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower there is a  pedestrian walkway that connects the two – that will probably be your quickest alternative.

New Balance RunDisney Shoes 2014 – the experience

January 9, 2014 Cheryl 1

Disney Marathon 2014 is this weekend, and to kick things off the Health and Fitness Expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports opened yesterday.  This is where runners can pick up their race packets, meet with various vendors, and be inspired during the extensive speaker series.  It is also where you can purchase lots of Disney Marathon gear such as shirts, hats, jackets, Dooney & Bourke bags and of course the exclusive New Balance® RunDisney running shoes!

Last year was the inaugural year for the exclusive shoe, and they sold out quickly.  This could have been because they allowed each person to purchase up to 20 pairs of shoes, because they underestimated the popularity of anything Disney, or a combination of both.

This year they changed things up a bit – they offered more styles, limited the number of shoes each person could buy to 4 adult and 2 child sizes, and set up a sign-in system so that each customer had to meet with a New Balance Sales Representative to be fitted and get any additional shoes.  However, once again demand seemed to WAY outweigh the supply, and a lot of people were left out.

Here is a quick overview of the procedure they set up:  Each guest had to sign in on the iPad app, and then they were given a number.  They could then browse the Expo and receive a text when it was their turn to come back to the New Balance® tent to get their shoes.   The way it was advertised was that no one had to wait!

Expo images (3 of 14) Expo images (6 of 14) Expo images (5 of 14)Here is how it really worked:  The Expo opened at 10 am.  I arrived at 10:35 and there was already a huge line to sign up for the shoes.  At 11:10 they closed the line to any more customers for the day – and started a Standby line, which MIGHT allow you to get shoes.  That’s right…1 hour and 10 minutes after the Expo opened the line was shut down to any new customers!!  We then proceeded to wind around the Wide World of Sports Stadium for the next 3 hours in order to put our names on the list.  That’s right…3 hours to get a Fastpass to buy shoes!!

There were maybe 10 people in line behind me, and then a Cast Member “bouncer” whose job it was to keep all of the newcomers from trying to get into line – and there were a lot of those!  I can understand people’s confusion and frustration that they just wanted to get shoes…but really, if a Cast Member tells you that you can’t get in the line, he is just doing his job and watching out for those of us who have waited for that long.  Puppy dog eyes, death stares, and bribery are really not necessary!!

After my new line friends and I made it to the front we simply had to put our names, email and phone numbers into an app, got our magic number, and were told that sometime that evening before the Expo closed at 8 pm that we would get a text.  Yep, up to 6 more hours of waiting for shoes.  The last number given out was 1,204 and then they shut down the machines and did not take anyone else for the day (I was number 1,995 and my husband was 1,201).

Now, you may be thinking – phew, well at least you know you are getting your shoes.  Well, not so fast.  I now had a Fastpass to see if the shoes I wanted to get would still be available when it was my turn to ask.  The smaller sizes of Men’s shoes and little kids shoes were already gone by the time I even put my name into the system!  I was a little bit worried what would still be available that evening!

Expo images (8 of 14)

Expo images (7 of 14)My husband left to pick our son up from school, and I headed over to the Expo and toured the booths, signed my name on the “Good Luck Runners” board, sampled some treats, and even bought a thing or two.  From time to time I would check in with New Balance® to see how far along they were – not very.  So, I decided to leave, get some dinner and come back when I got my text. Probably a good plan, since it was 8:05 when we got our texts (5 minutes after the Expo officially closed).  

I will say that once I was allowed in, the process was smooth sailing.  I was getting a pair of shoes for me, and 3 for friends.  My husband was getting ones for himself and my son.  We all tried on our shoes fairly quickly, had to make some adjustments for the exact style we wanted, but ended up leaving with some cute comfortable shoes.  By then they were out of any women’s shoes under size 8, and any men’s shoes over 12.5 (and we bought the last of those), small girls and boy sizes were also running low (with many specific sizes and styles gone), and larger women’s sizes were also out, so hopefully those around me in line were able to get the shoes that they wanted too.

Run Disney shoes (11 of 13) Run Disney shoes (8 of 13) Run Disney shoes (6 of 13) Run Disney shoes (1 of 13)

The shoes themselves are very nice looking.  For men there is a Mickey and a Goofy version.  For women there are Minnie and Cinderella versions and for kids Mickey and Minnie.  Each comes with some signature style and even a few hidden Mickey’s thrown in for good measure.  They plan is for new styles to be released each year – but yet to be seen if they will only be available during RunDisney events or all year long.

I am not sure how things went today at the Expo, but my understanding is that they are restocking all sizes each day, and holding some inventory for Saturday as well, so hopefully those that want shoes will be able to get them (without having to go the eBay route).  Next year maybe they will allow registered runners to pre-buy the shoes – that seems pretty fair to me.  And, if they go with the same sign in procedure, maybe they could pass out those paper wristbands so you know who is really in line, provide more than the 6 iPads that they had available, and then maybe, oh I don’t know…walk the iPads around….I do hear that they are mobile devices J  That would certainly have helped cut down on the initial part of the process!

For those shopping for shoes I wish you short lines and lots of supply…and for those running I wish you all good luck and fast times!!