Frozen Summer Fun Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® is underway. Plus news on the Villains Unleashed summer event, an update on Harambe Nights and more!
July is upon us and Summer is in full swing at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. It’s an exciting time at WDW, as several big Summer events have recently kicked off amongst much fanfare, but what parks will play host to these events, when are they taking place, and just what do they consist of??? Find out this and more in the July edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin this edition of the Newswire with some exciting news on visiting Royalty at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Frozen Summer Fun Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® is the big event of the Season, with festivities having got underway on Saturday, July 5th. DHS is abuzz with the recent arrival of the visiting Regals and their friends. Princess Anna and Queen Elsa will be on hand each day throughout the Summer, with events beginning each morning at 11am with a Royal Welcome Processional down Hollywood Boulevard. Known as Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome, the precession includes several of your favorite characters from the movie, as well as a chilly ensemble of skiers, skaters, and ice cutters. Anna and Elsa’s arrival is marked by the waiving Royal duo elegantly sitting atop a horse-drawn sleigh. There are several other special events on tap each day, including For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-long, a 20-minute storytelling and sing-along celebration inside Premiere Theater with Anna, Elsa, and the Royal Historians of Arendelle. You’ll also find Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Funland at Soundstage One, where Guests can purchase Frozen merchandise, build a snowman, gaze at the many ice sculptures that have been created for the event, or even strap on a pair of skates and take to the rink for a few laps! The cost to skate is $10 per 30 minutes, but if you’d rather just watch, Oaken’s cousins will be happy to offer up a demonstration! As afternoon turns to evening you’ll find live entertainment on the schedule, as bands rock out the “Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party,” which takes place from [5:30]-9:30pm at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage. Finally, at 9:45pm when the sun goes down and the stars fill the Florida sky, each night is capped off with the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular. This brilliant pyrotechnic display brings the theme of the day full circle, with songs from the film’s soundtrack and wintery projections on the giant Sorcerer’s Hat all playing a part in the amazing spectacular!
But Anna and Elsa won’t be the only ones making their presence felt at the DHS this Summer, as the Villains Unleashed event is also set to invade the Studios. On Saturday August 23rd DHS will be overflowing with a sinister presence, as over 50 villains converge on the park for a night of wickedly entertaining fun! The event kicks off at 8pm, with admittance to DHS beginning at 5pm. Whether it’s classic Walt villains like Maleficent, Captain Hook, and Cruella De Vil, new school Disney baddies like Dr. Facilier, Hades, and Jafar, or even the evilest Sith Lords in the Star Wars™ galaxy, you’ll find them all at Villains Unleashed. Dozens of villains will be milling around throughout the park posing for pictures and signing autographs, and several of them will even be serving up some headlining entertainment. Hades will play host to his own hangout and dance party, complete with live DJ and house band. And speaking of “playing host,” Oogie Boogie will headline a delightfully ghoulish Variety Show at the Theater of the Stars. And speaking of stars, the Star Wars Villain Zone will be crawling with esteemed members of the Galactic Empire, including Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine, Asajj Ventress, and more. The Fett Family will also reunite, as both Boba and Jengo will be on hand for the festivities as well. Delicious food and exclusive event merchandise will also be available for purchase, and many of the park’s major attractions will be in operation throughout the duration of the night. This is a “Hard Ticket” event, and prices are $67 (plus tax) for adults and $62 (plus tax) for kids. If you plan on attending, be sure to catch the special pre-show to Fantasmic! and the Villainy in the Skies Fireworks Spectacular!
There’s one more newsbit to address at Hollywood Studios, as the days of The American Idol® Experience are now numbered. The interactive Guest attraction is slated to close its doors and drift into the realm of extinction shorty after the end of the calendar year. The American Idol® Experience has had a nice run, as it debuted back in February 2009. But interest has dwindled significantly the last year or so, making Disney’s choice to pull the plug both a logical and inevitable one. Expect the attraction to remain open in a limited capacity throughout the remainder of 2014, with the closure date set for early January 2015.
Time to park-hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park now for an update on Harambe Nights. Saturday nights have been sizzling this Season, as DAK plays host to this special “Hard Ticket” event each Saturday throughout the Summer. I talked about all the the details of Harambe Nights in the May 18th edition of the Newswire, but with the event now in full swing, I thought an update was in order. Harambe Nights pays homage to the 20th anniversary of the 1994 release of Disney’s, The Lion King, and festivities kicked off on Saturday ,June 7th to a sold-out audience. Each event thereafter has been completely sold-out as well. There are still four dates remaining (July 19th, July 26th,Aug 2nd, Aug 9th), and tickets are limited but still available for each date. I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance, as this is proving to be a very popular event.
For more news out of DAK, let’s venture deep inside the Tree of Life where the 3D film: It’s Tough To Be A Bug!® has just gone on a Summer hiatus. The attraction closed down for refurbishment on Monday, July 7th, with Flik and friends set to return on Tuesday, August 12th. This will put the total downtime for the attraction at just about five weeks.
Let’s travel over to Magic Kingdom® Park now for some news on Cinderella’s Royal Table. Much to the dismay of both Lords and Ladies alike, the Princess-themed dining experience (held inside Cinderella Castle) is scheduled to close down early next year for a two-month refurbishment. The closure is set to begin on Monday, January 5th, with a re-opening date slated for Saturday, March 7th.
Our final bit of news is also from the refurbishment front, and comes courtesy of the Walt Disney World Railroad. The steam trains will be shut down for track maintenance beginning on Sunday, September 28th, with a reopening date scheduled for Sunday, November 9th. This will put the total downtime for the attraction right at six weeks. The Disney’s Magic Behind Our Steam Trains tours will also be shut down throughout the duration of the six week closure.
Well, that’s gonna do it for today’s Newswire update. But I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World®. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine, submitting over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication.