Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Top 5 Favorite Things for The Whole Family To Do At Disney's Hollywood Studios

This week is Disney's Hollywood Studios Appreciation Week!

For those who don't know, last year, Matt Hochberg of Studios Central started this week as a way to show that the Disney's Hollywood Studios Park really is one that should be celebrated.  It's a park that many consider to potentially be a half day park, a notion that I believe to be a misconception.

Whenever I go to The Studios, I always find more than enough to do to fill an entire day.  There's tons to do in the form of attractions and shows, plus countless other interactions you can have at this park. Spending less than a day here is "distinctly unpatriotic".  (Distinctly Un-Disney?  Maybe that works better.  :)  )

Disney's Hollywood Studios as of late is most commonly known for their Thrill attractions.  They have some of the best around right there on Sunset Blvd...The Tower of Terror and Rock n' Roller Coaster.  Not to mention the brand new Star Tours.  But those attractions don't work if you've got little ones who can't meet the height requirement.  And it's because of those who think like this that make many believe this park is a half day one. 

So, I thought I'd do another Top 5 Top 5 Favorite Things For The Whole Family To Do At Disney's Hollywood Studios.

First, we have the Streetmosphere characters, otherwise known as the Citizens of Hollywood.  Honestly, I could watch these shows all day!  For those who've never stopped to watch before, basically, guests get the chance to meet with the people who run the town at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  You'll get to interact with directors, actors, actresses, agents, and yes, you may even have a run in with the Police.  These are total improv skits done right there, with you in tow, and I'm telling you, they are FUNNY!  Shows run continuously throughout the day (usually opposite the Disney Channel Rocks Show schedule).  My favorite show to watch is the Funniest Citizen of Hollywood!  It's done in the late afternoon and it is simply a hoot!

My next one is a show that I think the whole family needs to go experience and that is the American Idol Experience.  So, if you all like Idol, this is a no brainer...but if you're not the biggest fan of Idol, you may be thinking to yourself, Rikki, why on earth would I want to watch a show about karaoke?

The American Idol experience is about as close to the whole concept of a "real working Studio" that Disney tried to personify years back.  This show makes it seem like you're really at a taping of a Live American Idol Show.  And yes, of course, there's the singing (which if you can make it into the Finale Show, you'll see a much more quality performance if listening to bad singing isn't your thing.) but it's more often than not a good, quality show where you can share in family time.

My third choice is one that always seems to have a little debate surrounding it, but, it's one of those classic Disney's Hollywood Studios attractions that can't and shouldn't be missed, no matter what.  I'm talking about taking the ride through the movies over at The Great Movie Ride.  While the debate rages on surrounding this attraction based on the movies that are portrayed in it's building, the fact of the matter is, this is one of the attractions where the whole family can get something out of it.  (Of course, you'll need to be aware, there are a few scary moments that could potentially scare little ones, but they are fleeting.)  You can have fun delighting in movies your family may have seen or you can discover movies that maybe you all should sit down together to watch in the future. This attraction is the epitome of what a Disney attraction should be, so no matter how you feel about some of the movie's relevancy, I think it is considered to be a Disney staple attraction.  If it was ever taken away, it would upset the whole balance of the Studios.  It would be like removing the Haunted Mansion from the Magic Kingdom. 

Next we're gonna go on an adventure with the Muppets over at Muppet-Vision 3D.  This attraction has stuff for everyone, really.  Kids, of course, will get a kick out of the Muppets in general.  Adults will be able to enjoy all those gags and puns designated for a more mature audience.  This attraction, even though I've seen it a countless number of times, still gets me cracking up, as if it's the first time I'm seeing it.  And even if you have seen it before, watch, closely, because there is going to be something that you've missed on a previous viewing that isn't so obvious at first glance.  (My favorite is the characters from the different countries in the finale scene chanting "It's A Small World After All".)  The Muppets are timeless and that is why they are perfect for the entire family to get to enjoy together.

My final choice would be the most obvious choice there is at Disney's Hollywood Studios and that would be Toy Story Midway Mania.  Even the crowds would agree with me, as this is one attraction that consistently has high wait times.  (And if you were even thinking of getting a Fastpass, better do it before noon...and they may even be gone before that depending on the day!)  The best part about this attraction is that no matter how old you are (there is no height requirement for this attraction), you can play and compete with your family to see who's the best of the best at this interactive attraction.  There's nothing like a little sibling rivalry, or better yet, parent/kid competition and this attraction brings it!  So, start the trash talk now!  Cause somebody's goin' down!

Of course, these are just the tip of the iceberg attractions that I think family's shouldn't miss at Disney's Hollywood Studios.  There are a TON more (and to name a few, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast Live on Stage, Fantasmic, The Magic of Disney Animation, a meal at 50s Prime Time Cafe...just to name a few!) 

But now I want to know...What are your top things to do at Disney's Hollywood Studios as a family?  Make sure to leave a message in the comments section!

And Happy Disney's Hollywood Studios Awareness Week!  Hope you have gained a little more insight into why the Studios is such a great park.

Disney Dining Plans 2012

It's that time of year again!  The time has arrived once again where we take a look at the Disney Dining Plans.  The 2012 Disney Dining Plans have been announced and as there are every year, there are some changes that have been made that you should be aware of. 

First of all, it appears that Disney has made one change to the Quick Service Dining Plan.  Before, guests were allowed 2 snack options per day, per person.  With the new 2012 plan, that has been reduced down to just 1 snack allowed per day, per person.

The other change that appears to have taken place is to the Basic Dining Plan.  New for 2012, guests will be given one refillable mug per person that is to be used for refills only at quick service locations at your Disney resort.

Those appear to be the major changes with the new 2012 Dining Plans.  Of course, as more details are to come, they will be included in this article as we receive them.

With that being said, let's take a look at an explanation of each of the 2012 Disney Dining Plans, plus the pricing structure for this upcoming year.  (Included in parenthesis are 2011 and 2010 prices in order.)

Quick-Service Plan
Adults 10+: $34.99/night ($34.99/$31.99)
Child 3-9: $11.99/night ($11.99/$9.99)

The Quick Service dining plan allows each guest to get 2 Counter Service Meals per day (which includes an entree or combo meal, dessert or juice, and a non-alcoholic beverage), 1 Snack Options per day, and 1 Refillable Mug per person for the length of your stay.

Basic Plan*
Adults 10+:  $51.54/night ($45.99/$41.99)
Child 3-9: $15.02/night ($11.99/$11.99)

The Basic Plan (Also known as the Standard Plan) comes with 1 Counter Service Meal per day (which includes an entree or combo meal, dessert or juice, and a non-alcoholic beverage), 1 Sit Down Meal per day (which includes entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage. Or, if eating at a buffet, the full buffet.) Also 1 Snack credit per day and 1 refillable mug per person. 

Deluxe Plan*
Adults 10+: $85.52/night ($78.99/$71.99)
Child 3-9: $23.79/night ($21.99/$20.99)

For the Deluxe Dining Plan, guests receive 3 Table Service Meals (Or Quick Service meals). Table Service meals include which includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage. Or, if eating at a buffet, the full buffet. Also included are 2 Snack Credits per day plus one resort refillable mug per person for the length of stay.

*Note that during Peak Season, prices will increase for both the Basic and Deluxe Dining Plans.   During Peak Season, the Basic Dining Plan will cost Adults 10+:  $53.54/night and $16.02/night for Child ages 3 to 9.  For the Deluxe Dining Plan, it will cost Adults 10+:  $89.52/night and ages 10+ and $25.79/night Child ages 3 to 9.

One thing to keep in mind when deciding on whether to purchase the dining plans is that gratuities and any extras like alcoholic beverages and appetizers (with the exception of the Deluxe Dining Plan...appetizers are included on that) are not included in the prices listed above and will be added at an additional charge.  Be mindful of that when you are budgeting to see if the dining plan is worth it for you, because if you like an adult beverage or two (or three) or often eat appetizers with your meals, the plan may not work for you.

The biggest question that I hear though is, "Is the Dining Plan Worth It?"  Is it a good value?

Honestly, I can't tell you if the dining plan is a good value. Really it all depends on each person's individual budget and tastes. It takes a lot of homework to decide if the dining plan is worth getting and for that I suggest looking at the menus on and deciding which restaurants you may be thinking about eating in (to me, the best value is to make sure you're eating dinners when on the dining plan) and looking at the prices and seeing if it meshes up with the cost of the plan.

(Basically, in a nutshell, for the easy way to figure it all out, for an adult, you want to budget about $11 for counter service meal, $3 for snack, and that leaves you with about $37 for dinner, give or take. If you think you'll spend more than that for the majority of your days, then the dining plan may indeed be worth it for you. If not, you may want to look at other options for saving for meals.)

A lot of people do like the convenience of the Dining Plans though. Everything is all paid for (for the most part) and you don't have to worry about what to order. You can just sit back and order what you want. Plus, since everything is then prepaid, so all that you'll really have to pay for during your vacation is for souvenirs.

Some however, don't like the Dining Plans because it serves them too much food. More than they normally eat. This is something else that needs to be considered when looking at the value of the plan. For example, if you don't normally eat desserts, these plans may not be for you.

Whatever you decide to do for your family, getting the Dining Plan or just saving money on something like a Disney Gift Card to pay for your food, or putting money aside in envelopes or whatever, I can't stress really have to do your homework. But unfortunately, the often asked question of is the Dining Plan worth it, doesn't necessarily have an easy answer to it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

News and Rumors 6/6/11 - 6/12/11


Magic Kingdom

  • The Frontierland Shootin' Gallery is closed for a 4 month long refurb.  It is expected to reopen Oct. 1st. 


  • Changes are happening at Innoventions East.  The Don't Waste It Exhibit presented by Waste Management has closed.  A new attraction called Hero's Habit will be taking it's place, which will be an interactive video game experience. Second, it appears the House of Innovations will be reopening with all new technologies for around the home. 
  • Construction walls have gone up in Japan, as it appears that the Kakigori stand is now going to be made into a permanent building. 
  • New booths for this year's Food and Wine Festival include Hawaii, The Caribbean Islands, and Scandinavia. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid's refurb dates have changed a bit.  The refurb has been moved up to start Aug. 13th and last through Sept. 4th. 

Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • It appears the test of DJ Dyno-Mite was apparently successful as he is now back in Dinoland USA from 1 pm - 4:30 pm.  He will continue appearances until July 30th. 
  • It's Tough To Be A Bug will be closed for refurb from Aug. 15th - Sept. 30th. 

General WDW News

  • Magic Your Way Ticket prices have increased.  Please read this blog post for further details. 
  • Reservations for 2012 packages are now eligible to be booked. 
  • In addition, the Disney's Art of Animation Resort is now accepting bookings.  For guests looking to stay in June 2012, Starting June 1st, they may book at stay at the Finding Nemo suites.  Starting Sept. 1st, 2012, guests may choose from either Finding Nemo or Cars Suites.  Finally, starting Oct. 1st, 2012, guests may choose from Finding Nemo, Cars, or Lion King Suites.  No word yet on when the Little Mermaid rooms will be available just yet. 
  • Also, guests who may be looking to stay at the Princess rooms in Port Orleans Riverside, reservations are open starting for March 4th, 2012.
  • Disney Dining Plan info appears to be coming out. Look for a full blog post with that information here soon. 
  • It appears that the Adventurer's Club and the BET Soundstage will be coming down for demolition soon to make way for Hyperion Wharf.


  •  Rumors indicate that the Villas at the Grand Floridian will indeed be the next DVC property announced and it very possibly could be announced at the D23 Expo. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Update: The Second Annual Be Our Guest Podcast Live Show

This past Wednesday was our 12 Hour Live Show where we raised money for Give Kids The World.  It was a FABULOUS show!  We all had so much fun with it!  Not only did we get to chat with our listeners via phone calls and through our chat room, but we were also lucky enough to have some greats in the Disney Community volunteer their time to join us as well.  Without the help of these people, I don't think we would have gotten as many contributions as we did. 

With all that being said, I am proud to share the total with you of how much we ended up raising!  Our original goal was to raise $2000.  We got so close to that goal last year, so we thought that was a good goal to have this year.  Apparently I like to low ball stuff, because I not only changed the goal amount once, I ended up having to change it TWICE!  And we STILL beat our goal!  Thanks to the Disney Community's love and support, we raised over $5300 for an amazing charity. 

So I just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated in our show.  Whether it was by donating, calling in, being a guest, or chatting in our chat room with us, you were all the driving force behind being able to have a total like that! 

Now all I guess I can say is let's do it again next year....and let's beat our goal yet again! 

Walt Disney World Ticket Price Increase 2011

It was announced this afternoon that Disney was increasing ticket prices, yet again.  This increase comes a bit earlier than usual, as most of the time in the recent past, Disney has increased ticket prices in August. 

To see how things have changed now, a One Day Magic Your Way Ticket (a base ticket into one theme park for one day) has increased from $82 to $85, Annual Pass prices increased from $499 to $519 and a one day Water Park Pass will have increased from $46 to $49.

For those who are unaware, here is an explanation of how the the Walt Disney World Ticket Pricing works: 

Base Ticket admits guest to one theme park each day of use. Park choices are: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
Park Hopper option entitles guest to visit more than one theme park on each day of use. Park choices are any combination of Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom on each day of use.
Water Park Fun & More option entitles guest to a specified number of visits (between 2 and 10) to a choice of entertainment and recreation venues. Choices are Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park, DisneyQuest, Disney’s Oak Trail golf course, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
No expiration means unused admissions on a ticket have no expiration date. All tickets expire 14 days after first use unless No Expiration is purchased.
Annual Pass entitles guest to unlimited admission for 365 days from the activation date (except activities/events separately priced) to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, as well as complimentary parking.

Here is what the pricing structure will be increased to:

Base Ticket
(plus tax)
Park Hopper

Water Park Fun &
More Option

No Expiration

Ages 10+ Ages 3-9

$55 (plus tax)
regardless of days

plus tax
1 Day $85 $79
$55 (2 visits)
Not Available
2 Day $168 $155
$55 (2 visits)
3 Day $232 $214   $55
$55 (3 visits)
4 Day $243 $224   $55
$55 (4 visits)
5 Day $251 $232   $55
$55 (5 visits)
6 Day $259 $240   $55
$55 (6 visits)
7 Day $267 $248   $55
$55 (7 visits)
8 Day $275 $256   $55
$55 (8 visits)
9 Day $283 $264   $55
$55 (9 visits)
10 Day $291 $272   $55
$55 (10 visits)

Ticket prices are scheduled to increase June 12th, so if you are going soon, buy your tickets within the next couple of days to get the cheaper prices. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

News and Rumors 5/23/11 - 6/5/11

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.


Magic Kingdom

  • The Tomorrowland Terrace is open again.  It is open until June 11th for lunch. 
  • Disney leaked out two new additions to the Fantasyland Expansion.  One is the Casey Jr. Roundhouse which will be a circus themed water play area and Scuttle's Scavenger Hunt, an interactive game (I would guess similar to Kim Possible at Epcot) where you will search for human treasures like a dinglehopper and snarfblatt.


  • The line up has been released for the Eat To The Beat Concert Series.  They include:  Taylor Dayne: 9/30-10/2/11
    38 Special: 10/3-5/11
    Jon Secada: 10/6-7/11
    Roger Hodgson formerly of Supertramp: 10/8-9/11
    Billy Ocean: 10/10-12/11
    Starship starring Mickey Thomas: 10/13-16/11
    Sugar Ray: 10/17-19/11
    The Orchestra starring former members of ELO: 10/20-21/11
    Howard Jones: 10/22-23/11
    Boyz II Men: 10/24-26/11
    Gin Blossoms: 10/27-28/11
    Sister Hazel: 10/29-30/11
    Hanson: 10/31-11/1/11
    The Pointer Sisters: 11/2-3/11
    Night Ranger: 11/4-6/11
    Air Supply: 11/7-8/11
    Richard Marx: 11/9-10/11
    Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: 11/11-13/11
  •  The band that took over for the British Invasion has a new name.  Formerly known as the English Channel, they will now be called The British Revolution. 

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  •  The Phineas and Ferb meet and greet is now open.  Their schedule is from 10:30 am - 2 pm and 3 pm - 5:30 pm.

 Disney's Animal Kingdom

  • Primeval Whirl's refurb has been extended to Sept. 14th. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

The 2nd Annual Be Our Guest Podcast 12 Hour Live Show

Hi guys!

So things have been insanely busy around here! We are officially 2 weeks from leaving for Florida and of course, things always get super hectic before a big trip!  With that, I apologize for the lack of posts lately again.  (I barely have time to sleep it seems!  I'm sure you all understand)

However, I wanted to let you all know about the Be Our Guest Podcast 12 Hour Live Show that we're having next Wed, June 8th from 12 pm EST - 12 am EST.  Yes, we are doing it again!  This year is our second annual attempt at doing 12 hours nonstop on

Like last year, we will be raising money for the charity Give Kids The World.  Give Kids The World is a resort where children with life-threatening ailments plus their families, are treated to a week-long, cost free, family vacation.

Many Guests from the Disney Community that you know and love are wonderful enough to help us with this endeavor.  Guests scheduled to appear include (but are subject to change and all times are Eastern): 

We ask you to please listen as we join together to help give children and their families a vacation to remember forever and if you are so inclined...we ask that you make a donation.  No amount is too small.  Every little bit helps these kids.  The link can be found on our FirstGiving Page.  (Donating through this site is simple, fast and safe.)

If you could...I also ask that you spread the word among the Disney community.  This is a charity that is near and dear to so many's hearts.  Every penny we can send their way helps a child in need.  Our goal this year is $2000, as we got so close to it last year.  But we'd love to easily beat that goal this year!  And with all the Disney Community's help, I think we can! 

We can't wait to talk with you on June 8th!