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Maneuvering Hollywood Studios Extra Magic Hour day with Frozen Summer of Fun activities

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I set out on a Saturday to learn what Hollywood Studios would be like on an Extra Magic Hour day.  I rarely recommend that people attend parks on Extra Magic Hour days because the lines are longer than other days, the restaurants are busier and it just feels more busy.

Hollywood Studios started something new just for the Frozen Summer of Fun Live celebration.  In the recent past the parks have moved to eliminating “Welcome shows.”  Studios used to offer a simple one at the corner of Hollywood and Sunset, but dropped it in favor of opening around 15 mintues early and letting the crowd ease into the park.

Now the majority of people are crowded into the Hat stage area for the short park opening show with a cast member and Olaf.  Here’s a video that I took yesterday:

After the rope drop, the majority of guests are heading straight to Toy Story Midway Mania.  At this point I recommend that you get Fastpass+ for this attraction or be among the very first guest in line.  Arrive at least 45 minutes early for any park opening to reduce waits for several attractions.  Here’s the crowd in front of me already, because I don’t run.

Disney's Hollywood Studios park opening

Here’s the crowd behind me at the same point.Disney's Hollywood Studios park opening

Buzz and Woody were standing out front attempting to gather some people to meet them.  I was first in line.  Do you think a guy with an app called Character Locator would start with Toy Story Midway Mania?

Disney's Hollywood Studios park openingDisney's Hollywood Studios Buzz n Woody meet and Greet

To infinity and beyond.Disney's Hollywood Studios Buzz n Woody meet and Greet

It took me TWO minutes for the meet and greet and this is the chaos that was available for me to join at Toy Story Midway Mania.Toy story maniatoy story mania

Just don’t EVER believe this sign.  The posted waits are never correct here and posted waits near park opening aren’t ever right in any park at any time.  They haven’t run the red cards through the line yet to check.toy story mania wait time

The one advantage you have in a morning Extra Magic Hour over here is that guests cannot use Fastpass+ during the EMH.  I did see a few guests using  DAS card.toy story midway mania queue line

I waited 28 minutes to ride TSMM.  Many of my Facebook friends said that’s not bad, but I HATE to wait.  I would use FP+ for this and then use FP+ as 4th option at Rock N Roller Coaster, if I had it to do over.  However, this park is best experienced over TWO days.

The posted wait now for Buzz is now 25 minutes, but it will easily take 35-40 to meet them because the queue is already full.  I do feel that during the Frozen celebration it’s important to meet them right away at park opening.  They close at 8pm and the line stays packed all day long.buzz n woody meet

They bumped up the wait time at TSMM, but it isn’t correct.  I’d bet those people waited more like 60 because FP+ people started returning in mass at around 9:00am.toy story

During this Frozen stuff the characters that usually meet at the hat (Chip n Dale, Stitch, Goofy, Pluto, Donald and Daisy) during the morning hours now meet at the Great Movie Ride Courtyard.DSC_0108

Goofy and Pluto meet at same time, but in different photosDisney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet GoofyDisney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Pluto

When Donald and Daisy appear they do the same thing with separate photos.  Daisy was upset that she wasn’t on my D23 special edition hat and decided to autograph the hat.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Daisy

She loves me, she really loves me!Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Daisy Duck

Well, Donald wasn’t too happy that Daisy got to sign and wanted to sign the hat too.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Donald Duck

He has an issue with being number 1 all the time.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Donald Duck

From there I decided to head over to meet Phineas and Ferb.  If I had hung around the Great Movie Ride area a few more minutes, I would have met Chip n Dale and Stitch with little or no wait.  Still had a very brief wait for Phineas and Ferb.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Phineas and Ferb

Decided to check on the line to meet Sofia the First.  Most guests were still stuck in the TSMM stand by line, so there was a short wait to see her.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Sofia the First

I thought I would just go from meeting Sofia to meeting Jake, but he had a line, so I returned later with no wait.  I decided it was best to arrive a few minutes early to meet Mickey, which was a wise choice. Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Sorcerer Mickey

People regularly wait 30 minutes or more to meet Sorcerer Mickey.DSC_0152

I dropped in to visit Minnie next.  It’s funny because I was standing in line with someone following one of my character plans and they didn’t even know it was me.  They began to discuss how they would meet Mickey, Minnie and Ralph/Vanellope before heading to the parade.

I recommended, Mickey then Minnie, then parade spot.  I saw them again later and they were happy that I made that suggestion as the parade area filled quickly.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Minnie Mouse

I’ve seen the Frozen parade from the best viewing areas a couple of times, so today I wanted to investigate the areas from American Idol to Star Tours, so I would hang around to visit Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope.  According to my sources, they are going to be gone in November2014.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope

If you look carefully, you’ll see some of the same people still in line for Mickey.  Hey, peeps, you’re going to miss the parade.  Should have arrived 10 minutes BEFORE Mickey.DSC_0165 copy

As I came out of the Animation Building, I found Jake with no wait.Disney's Hollywood Studios meet and greet Jake and the Neverland Pirates

But these people would meet Sofia and miss the parade too.DSC_0169

 

Someone told me that they were given the advice to stand right here and watch the parade and welcome show with Anna and Elsa.  You could stand here if you want, but it’s a terrible view of the parade and the show.  Follow the advice I gave in this post. Or you could stare at a tent, it’s up to you.Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Parade

 

But Kenny couldn’t we just stand on the OTHER side of the ugly tent that blocks guests views and sells libations?  NOPE.  Three cast members stood there, chased everyone away and watched the parade and show themselves.Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Parade

This was their viewDisney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Parade

Here are the people that sat in that location.  If watching the parade AND the welcome show are important, Follow that link I gave you earlier and do exactly like I said.  It’s not hard, but it does require arriving early.

DSC_0170

It’s 10:46am and those people above are sitting in the blazing sun.  The American Idol steps are shady near the top and side and they are among the last to fill (until I post this at least).DSC_0171

These people are just feet away from the shade.  Maybe they wanted to take 3 billion photos of an empty float?DSC_0172

You cannot sit in front of those bushes on the left.  You also aren’t allowed to sit on the wall on the right behind the dancing cast member.  Oh, he’s pointing?DSC_0173

There are benches around the corner to the left.  DON’T sit there.  You’ll see the backside of floats.DSC_0174

This family chose a pretty nice view.DSC_0175

These benches on the left are great if you are only interested in the parade and not the welcome show.  They are shady and comfortable.  Arrive 20 minutes early.DSC_0176

These benches on the right are filling about 12 minutes before the parade.  You can stand beside the benches on each side as well.  If you want better photos of Elsa, stay on this side.  Anna is on the opposite side.DSC_0177

There’s some more benches down by Star Tours that are in the shade.DSC_0178DSC_0179

Olaf photo bombed me!DSC_0180

Hey that’s the same dude that was in my photo of the wait time for Buzz n Woody.  Stalker?DSC_0181

 

Reminder, the benches under the umbrellas are a terrible viewDSC_0182

At 10:50am I conceeded and had a seat on the steps.  They block the entire middle still.  Why?  Who knows?  They don’t start the first Ameican Idol show until 3:15pm now and it still doesn’t fill up.DSC_0183

The parade shows up and stops at 10:04am.  It was really awkward.  They first skaters do their thing, they drop off Anna and Elsa and they congest the entire parade into this little area.DSC_0184

Anna and Elsa leaving the float fo r the little welcome show.DSC_0186

Skaters look happy.DSC_0187

An empty float then rolls up and parks right in front of American Idol. You can get some terrific shots of the horse, if you’re into that.DSC_0193

 

After the little show, Anna and Elsa re-board the float and the parade continues, but the parade portion in this area is really odd.  They take a minute to realign the floats and dancers and get the music in sync.  They should have just done the parade and skipped the Welcome Show thing IMO.7-18 Elsa frozen parade hollywood studios

Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Anna and Elsa

They added these citizens since the last time I watched this parade.

Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Citizens of Arrendale Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Citizens of ArrendaleDisney's Hollywood Studios Frozen ParadeDisney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Parade

 

After the parade, I headed over to catch the 11:45am Beauty and the Beast Show.  I was seated on the left hand side and there was plenty of viewing available.

Use Fastpass+ as a 4th or 5th option or you’ll also sit over there!7-18 beauty and the beast lady

 

I liked how Belle was caught up in her book,but the villagers were riioting.7-18 belle and the townspeople

I bet you never noticed that Beast is a smooth operator.  He pulled the classic “yawn and arm around move” on Belle.

7-18 belle and beast arm around

 

The witch lady was happy that they were getting along.7-18 old hag movement

And dancers danced.Disney's Hollywood Studios Frozen Beauty and the Beast

 

I took a one hour break and ate lunch at Rosie’s.

I then used my Fastpass for Tower of Terror to avoid the 45 minute wait and walked right into the Library. Disney's Hollywood Studios Tower of Terror

7-18 Tower of Terror

 

So, I had used my 3 Fastpasses.  The world came to an end right?  Well, I stopped by the Tower of Terror FP+ kiosk and received a FP+ for the Great Movie Ride that was for immediate return.  You couldn’t do that under the old system!7-18 Great Movie RideDisney's Hollywood Studios Great Movie Ride

I then acquired a FP+ for Muppet Vision 3D that I would change to Lights, Motors, Action and change again to Fantasmic! with little effort.

I wanted more air conditioning and headed for Disney Jr, but it was broken.  How does a puppet show get broken??? I headed to Walt Disney:  One Man’s Dream.  I drew this little sketch.  Do you think it will ever catch on?Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney One Man's Dream

I grew up with Uncle Walt on TV and didn’t even know he had passed away already.  Special man.Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney One Man's Dream

The afternoon character meets return to the area that is dominated by the “Premium package” guests for their afternoon meets.
Disney's Hollywood Studios Stitch meet and greetI noticed there was a new Photopass Magic Shot going on beside the ABC Sound Stage and decided to try it out.
Disney's Hollywood Studios Photopass Magic Shot Guardians of the Galaxy

 

How come I didn’t get to be green?7-18 guardians of the galaxy photopass magic shot (2)

 

And how did that man become a woman?7-18 guardians of the galaxy photopass magic shot (1)

I headed over to Lights, Motors, Action.

We interrupt this boring post with a public service announcement:  It’s really hot in Florida in the summer.  Stay hydrated, or this could happen to you!Disney's Hollywood Studios Lights Motors Actions

Or your car!Disney's Hollywood Studios Lights Motors Actions

Or your hand!

Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt ShowSo I moved swiftly over to see the Indiana Jones Stunt Show and was seated left center.  There were still a decent number of seats for the final show of the day despite walking in right as they finished casting the extras.

Add just a touch more sand Indy!Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Man, it’s hot in Florida in July!Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Indy gets all the blogger love, so here’s a pic of the pilot and the motorcycle guy.Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Ooops, you missed!Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Great show Chris, umm Indy!Disney's Hollywood Studios Indiana Jones Stunt Show

Then finished up my day with a disappointing Character Palooza.  It only featured FOUR characters.  Jafar, Pocahontas, Meeko and Rafiki.  Still had a fun time. Disney's Hollywood Studios Character Palooza JafarDisney's Hollywood Studios Character Palooza JafarDisney's Hollywood Studios Character Palooza Pocahontas and MeekoDisney's Hollywood Studios Character Palooza Rafiki

 

I had the paper return card for the Sing a Long at 7:00pm, but chose to skip and spend some time with a good friend.   I also didn’t use my Fantasmic! FP+ that was so easy to acquire.

Here’s a parting shot.  It’s the Photopass Magic Shot inside the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post next to Toy Story Midway Mania.  One mom said she would take her daughters there instead of Magic Kingdom.

7-18 anna and elsa photopass magic shot wandering oakiens hollywood studios

Here’s a summary of my 25 attractions without really trying day:

In Queue On Ride Off Ride
1 Meet Buzz n Woody 8:07 AM 8:09 AM
2 Toy Story Midway Mania 8:09 AM 8:37 AM 8:45 AM
3 Meet Goofy 8:48 AM 8:50 AM
4 Meet Pluto 8:50 AM 8:51 AM
Walked about looking around 8:51 AM 9:05 AM
5 Meet Daisy 9:05 AM 9:08 AM
6 Meet Donald 9:08 AM 9:12 AM
7 Star Tours (used FP+) 9:16 AM 9:22 AM 9:29 AM
8 Meet Phineas & Ferb 9:31 AM 9:38 AM
9 Meet Sofia the First 9:46 AM 9:51 AM
10 Meet Sorcerer Mickey 9:53 AM 10:12 AM
11 Meet Minnie 10:13 AM 10:21 AM
12 Meet Ralph & Vanellope 10:23 AM 10:39 AM
13 Meet Jake 10:41 AM 10:43 AM
Checked parade spots from Hat to Star Tours 10:46 AM 10:50 AM
14 Parade reached American Idol and stopped 11:04 AM
Parade restarted 11:12 AM 11:15 AM
15 Rock N Roller Coaster (used FP+) 11:27 AM 11:35 AM 11:40 AM
16 Watched Beauty and the Beast 11:44 AM 12:15 PM
Ate lunch at Rosies 12:15 PM 1:20 PM
17 Tower of Terror (used FP+) 1:23 PM 1:33 PM 1:42 PM
Acquired Great Movie Ride FP
18 Great Movie Ride (used FP) 1:46 PM 1:51 PM 2:20 PM
19 Relaxed at One Man’s Dream and watched next show 2:27 PM 3:00 PM
Took short break 3:00 PM 3:10 PM
Stopped by to check on Chip n Dale and Stitch 3:11 PM 3:12 PM
20 American Idol 3:14 PM 3:45 PM
21 Muppet Vision 3D 3:53 PM 4:04 PM 4:20 PM
22 Lights Motors Action 4:30 PM 5:10 PM
23 Indiana Jones Stunt Show 5:15 PM 5:50 PM
24 Met Indiana Jones 5:55 PM 5:55 PM
25 Character Palooza 6:00 PM 6:11 PM
Spent time with a Friend
I had return card for 7:00 PM Sing a long, but skipped
I had FP+ for Fantasmic, but skipped

 




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20 COMMENTS

  1. Another Frozen return card question: Can you select the show you want to see? Or do they just give you one for the next available show?

  2. Is it difficult to get these return cards for the Frozen Sing-a-Long shows?? If I was to get to Hollywood Studios at noon, would I be able to attend the 4:30pm show?

  3. Kenny, Thanks for your review! We are going on an EMH day in August and want to head straight to TSMM. We don’t care about seeing the welcome show. Where is the best place to head to after the gates open to be closest to TSMM? Thanks very much!

  4. So, are people not let into Hollywood Studios before the official opening time? Is the line for Jedi Training any less busy now that there are Frozen activities, too? Is a pre rope drop breakfast at Hollywood & Vine a good strategy to get kids into Jedi Training?

    • They are let in 15 minutes early and pile up at ropes all over the place. No the line for Jedi isn’t any less busy. It’s still nuts. Not necessary to get breakfast for that. Just arrive at park 45 minutes early and go there as soon as the opening thing is over.

      • Thank you! Do you think it would work to have breakfast at H&V at 8:00 and leave for a bit at 8:40 or so to get in line for Jedi Training? I was thinking that my kids would probably be happier eating breakfast during the waiting time rather than standing in line waiting 45-60 minutes before park opening. Does the park still randomly let people in 30 minutes before the official opening?

      • I should add that my kids are 8 and 10, so they won’t need time to hang out with the characters. We would just be eating breakfast as a way to fill the waiting time. Thanks!

  5. Great post as always! The Frozen event seems to be going over well with people I know who attended it.

    I keep checking my Disney experience app every now and then to see how things are going in terms of characters, and it says Lilo is meetable at Hollywood Studios with Stitch?? Is this a mistake or can you actually meet her there?

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