Monday, August 4, 2014

Trip Report: [Day 5] Getting Frozen at Hollywood Studios

I was a bit sad to check out of the resort that morning. We really enjoyed our stay at the Grand Floridian.

Grand Floridian



Grand Floridian Lobby

Grand Floridian Lobby

We drove to Hollywood Studios and picked up a hitchhiker...

Little Frog

Our first stop and one of our main incentives to go to Hollywood Studios, rather than Animal Kingdom which we had originally planned, was so that Rachel could buy an Olaf plush.  I had switched our FastPass+ reservations the day before and was able to get Tower of Terror and Rockin' Rollercoaster (and Voyage of a Little Mermaid which we did not use).

Olaf Plush

Olaf Plush

Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome

The streets were packed for Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome. We found a spot past the hat, by Echo Lake. The parade route for Anna and Elsa's Royal Welcome is the same as the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade. The parade begins at the front of the park and heads down Hollywood Boulevard to the Sorcerer's Hat. Anna and Elsa leave their sleigh and go to the stage where they are royally welcomed with a Let it Go sing-along. The dialogue between Anna, Elsa, and (digital) Olaf is really cute.

After they are royally welcomed, Anna and Elsa return to their sleigh and begin the recessional towards Star Tours.  The recessional route is actually longer than the processional, but if having a good view of the Sorcerer's Hat stage is important to you, I'd recommend finding a spot along the processional route.

The Royal Welcome isn't really a parade, though.... at least it is not comparable to the elaborate scale of Festival of Fantasy.  However, Hollywood Studios hasn't really had a big, fanciful parade since the Mulan- The Parade (1998-2001).

It starts with some snowflake-looking roller (ice?) skaters -

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Then beloved Anna and Elsa.

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Elsa was really flirting with my camera (which I love).  And Anna's expressions and enthusiasm are perfect.

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Citizens of Arendelle -

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

A color guard...

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

More roller/ice skaters.

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Skiers!  That looks like a fun toy -

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

The ice pickers are quite serious.  They don't make eye contact, and they don't smile.

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

And Kristoff has his own float!

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Elsa and Anna's Royal Welcome

Lunch - Pizza Planet

Lately, we've enjoyed Pizza Planet which is located near the Muppets Courtyard.

Here's the pepperoni pizza (served with a caesar salad) -

Pepperoni Pizza

And the entree Antipasto Salad -

Antipasto Salad

We couldn't resist an Olaf cupcake, one of the many Frozen summer treats offered around the park.

Olaf Cupcake

Neither could Olaf!

Snowman Cannibalism

Olaf Selfie

Frozen Summer Fun

We had planned to attend the Frozen Sing-Along, but we arrived and learned that rather than lining up, they were issuing return tickets (like the old paper FastPasses) for later performances.  If we had known that earlier, we could have gotten tickets for the first show when we arrived.  Of course, the return tickets available were only for shows later in the day, so we had to skip the sing-along.  I wanted to talk to a cast member and voice my concern that this return ticket distribution wasn't listed in the Frozen Summer Times Guide, and I while I think that issuing return tickets is a good idea to control crowds and reduce wait times, they really need to put it in writing so that all guests are aware.  But my family walked ahead of me, so I didn't have the opportunity to say this to a cast member which is why I am telling you now.

Unable to sing-along, we decided to check out the Frozen souvenir store that had a long line earlier that week.  It turned out that we entered the wrong line, so we found ourselves inside Frozen Funland which houses an ice skating rink, snow play area, some souvenirs, and Frozen treats.

When we entered, there were professional skaters performing.  I was unable to get a good view, and I didn't want to wait however long it was until they performed again.

Ice Skating

After the professionals, they started a new session of group ice skating.  Skating costs $10 per person for a half-hour session.  Not a bad price, but the line looked to be rather long.  And I should mention that it is real ice, not that plasticy board stuff.  I don't think that the pros could skate on fake ice.

Ice Skating

There is also a Build A Snowman play area which is not an additional cost, but there is a bit of a wait time.  A group is let in for 10 minutes at a time, and there are molds and tools to use.  Also, I am told that the snow is real.  We got in line for a few minutes but decided that we didn't really care to wait.

Do You Wanna Build a Snowman

We wandered next door to Wandering Oaken's Trading Post.  Honestly, I didn't see any merchandise that appeared to be exclusive to this location.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

I did get to witness some Frozen drama, though.  I remembered reading that Disney actually had to take the Elsa dresses off the floor in the NYC Times Square store because mothers were fighting each other for them.  Well, it turns out that months later, the fight for Elsa dresses continues.  Two little girls were searching through the dresses to find their sizes when a woman snatched the dress out of the youngest's hands.  I didn't realize what was happening and thought the adult must have been a parent or relative.  No.  The woman turned around and quickly started making her way to the register and actually shoved past my mother.  The parents are trying to find another dress in that size, but can't, so the little one is sobbing, and big sis is crying, too, offering her dress to the little one (I'm a big sister, myself, and no one upsets my little sister but me).  Luckily, a cast member was coming to restock the dresses.

I cannot believe that an adult would be so greedy and cruel to take a dress away from a child.  Shame on her!  Rachel actually shouted at her as she power-walked out of the store that she hoped she could sleep at night.

Wandering Oaken's Trading Post

We used our Rockin' Rollercoaster FastPass+ before heading home.  It was a great long weekend at Walt Disney World!

Crossroads

See Ya Real Soon!