Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014 (more FastPass+ observations & problems, Beauty and the Beast)

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My family and I recently visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) on a pleasant day with temperatures in the low 70s – perfect for visiting one of Orlando’s theme parks.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

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We had not visited DHS since the new FastPass+ system was implemented for all guests. Last month, we used the new system at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, and I reported on our experience, including some helpful tips. Because we do not have MagicBands, we needed to make our FP+ reservations at a kiosk located in the park.

There are four such kiosks indicated on the DHS park map, located near the following attractions: Tower of Terror, the corner of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards, Muppet Vision 3D, and Toy Story Midway Mania. There were also additional temporary locations positioned underneath the Sorcerer’s Hat and in the American Idol queue. While my husband was renewing our son’s DAS (Disability Access Service) card at Guest Relations, I went in search of a kiosk to reserve our FastPass+ selections.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

The first kiosk location was at the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, next to the building with the Hollywood Junction sign on top. I thought the line was long here, so I decided to go to the kiosk next to Tower of Terror.

Surprisingly, that line extended to the courtyard of Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, and I waited approximately 15 minutes before I was able to make my choices.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

It’s important to know that FastPass+ is different at Hollywood Studios than at either Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom.

At DHS, the rides and attractions are divided into what Disney calls “Experience Groups.” Guests are limited to one FP+ reservation from Experience Group 1 and two reservations from Experience Group 2. Consequently, it is not possible to make reservations for both Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, because they are both in the first group. This limitation is problematic for many guests.

The other two attractions in Experience Group 1 are Fantasmic and the Beauty and the Beast show. Everything else is listed under Experience Group 2.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

While I was in line to make our FastPass+ selections, it was around 11:00am. A Cast Member made an announcement that Rock ‘n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, and Toy Story Mania did not have any reservations available for the remainder of the day. Guests started to leave the line not realizing that they should go ahead and make reservations for the other attractions, because they could check back later in case FP+ slots opened up for those three popular rides.

If you do not have MagicBands, the best strategy is to arrive early at the park and make your FP+ reservations immediately – just like arriving early was the best strategy for the old, paper FastPass system. I was able to reserve the Beauty and the Beast show, the Disney Junior show, and Star Tours.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

Walking around the park, I noticed the Backlot Tour was closed for refurbishment and the Premier Theater was showing “Blank, A Vinylmation Love Story” throughout the day.

Merchandise related to the movie was available for sale, including t-shirts for $29.95 and iPhone cases for $34.95.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

The Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine character meal at Hollywood & Vine Restaurant was recently updated to include Doc McStuffins and Sofia the First. Characters from the popular television channel meet and greet guests during the buffet breakfast and lunch. The Walt Disney World website description says:

“A few of your Disney Junior favorites are coming to Hollywood & Vine – don’t miss this chance to eat, play, and dance along with friends from Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Handy Manny during this fun and interactive dining experience.” Reservations are recommended for this character meal, with prices falling in the range of $15.00 to $29.99 per adult for breakfast and $30.00 to $59.99 per adult for lunch.

The crowds were heavy due to the Presidents’ Day holiday weekend and the beginning of winter break for many schools across the United States. The posted wait times for the popular attractions at DHS reflected the heavy crowds: Tower of Terror was at 70 minutes; Star Tours, 60 minutes; Toy Story Mania, 115 minutes; Rock ‘n Roller Coaster varied from 70 minutes to 120 minutes; and even Muppet Vision 3D had a posted wait time of 30 minutes for most of the afternoon.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

One of my family’s favorite shows at Walt Disney World – especially my son’s – is Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage.

Incorporating the lively music and festive costumes (especially Belle and Gaston’s) from the classic movie, the production features many talented actors singing and dancing, which everyone in the family can enjoy. The costumed characters of Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumière, Cogsworth, and the Beast help bring the movie to life. When these characters first appear on stage, they always cause a stir – chatter, laughter, or gasps can be heard among the audience.

The production lasts about 25 minutes and keeps the audience engaged; even though almost everyone knows what happens next, the theater guests are silent in anticipation of Belle telling Beast she loves him and his subsequent transformation back into a prince.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

The last number performed is Belle, in her signature yellow dress, dancing with the Prince to the award-winning song “Beauty and the Beast,” as sung by Angela Landsbury (as seen above). A “magical” touch to the performance is when Belle and the Prince present a rose to one lucky audience member at the end of the performance.

I highly recommend that this stage show be a part of your day at DHS.

Even with the heavy crowds, our family enjoyed our day at the park, and we look forward to future visits, especially during Star Wars Weekends, which begin May 16.

Disney's Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014.

I hope that you will be able to visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon, as well.

To continue reading about Walt Disney World, view our WDW archive on the OI Blog. Or you can catch up on all our trip reports.


Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – photo gallery

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Maureen Maureen is married with a teenage son who has autism. Since she and her family moved to Orlando in 2007, they have visited Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, or SeaWorld almost every weekend. Maureen recently created AutismAtTheParks.com to help vacationers who have a family member with a developmental disability to better navigate and enjoy the theme parks.

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13 Comments on "Disney’s Hollywood Studios trip report – February 2014 (more FastPass+ observations & problems, Beauty and the Beast)"

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Stewart Williamson
Guest

Waste of time money and staff, if your not there early to book fast past they sell out, you have que up to get them anyway, slows the regular lines down, when there’s not big lines for fast pass the regular lines move quickly, we booked fast pass , and when we got to lines at about 5 o’clock regular lines were fairly empty

Kristi Mandigo
Guest

The fast pass + is the biggest waste of time you have to be at the park when it opens to get what you want and at that you can only get one “main” ride and two others per day for all four parks! And Disney has magic bands now but only for the people staying in hotels and they can reserve there FP+ from there hotel room without even going to the park yet the annual pass holders can’t even do this! Crap!

Dad4Cranes
Guest

We are headed to DHS in two weeks. Thought we would go straight for TSM standby as the park opens. OR is it better to go straight to kiosk to get FP+ time for TSM instead?

CaptainAction
Guest

Best advice is to skip WDW and head to Universal. WDW in it’s current state, doesn’t deserve any of our hard earned money.

julie y
Guest

Thank you Maureen,another great report with good tips!!! The tip about the experience groups is very helpful,as our next trip from the UK is in December, and we want to be organised!!

Sarah Beth Hernandez
Guest

If your staying on Disney property it’s a good benefit. But if your not your kinda screwed

Sherry Suter
Guest
I’m an AP holder and I really, really wanted the magicbands. What I did was book just 1 night (at a discounted rate thanks to the annual Pass) and tada, magicbands that work all the time. They linked em’s up with our passes and now we can schedule our rides and reservations right from our phones anytime. Sad that our credit cards are not linked to the bands after the 1 night hotel stay. Although I did hear a rumor that bands were going to be made available to all AP holders without a stay at one of the resorts… Read more »
CaptainAction
Guest

Let’s quit calling them Magic Bands. They are Magic Handcuffs.

Ryan
Guest
As a local visitor with an annual pass with the exception of Magic Kingdom, I am not impressed at all with the new Fast Pass+ system.  Before we were able to ride pretty much every ride at every park in a single day.  Now we are forced to wait in line for essentially all but three lines and like Maureen stated, the big rides tend to run out of fast passes quite early.  My only critique is that I would not recommend a Fast Pass for any show.  As a cast member told us, the Fast Pass only guarantee you… Read more »
Debra Lynn
Guest

I have only used the FP+ system once, but I did not really find it worth the hassle or the long line (waited until it died down and by then all the good rides were “sold out”). The old system was MUCH BETTER.

Nic1977
Guest

Hi does Star Wars weekends start on the 3rd or did you mistakenly press 3. I really hope so. I did wonder if they would do may the fourth (be with you) again.

OrlandoInformer
Guest

Nic1977You’re right, that was a typo (which I’ve fixed). This year Star Wars Weekends run May 16 through June 15: https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/hollywood-studios/star-wars-weekend/

Nic1977
Guest

Ok. Thanks I thought you had new information we didn’t know. We go home on 15th may so will miss them.

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