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Today we set out for Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check out the Frozen Summer Fun offerings and try to craft a plan that minimizes waiting, crowds, and the heat as much as possible.

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Disney made several more changes to the July operating schedule as indicated below. The full operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf. Note that it’s showing the incorrect fireworks show for July 1st through 3rd. Those dates will feature the Frozen fireworks that are offered almost every night from June 17th through the first week in September.

Monday July 13:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Tuesday July 14:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Wednesday July 15:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Sunday July 19:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.

Monday July 20:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Tuesday July 21:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Wednesday July 22:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-12am from 9am-12am.

Friday July 24:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-7pm from 9am-6pm.

Saturday July 25:

  • Animal Kingdom hours extended to 9am-6pm from 9am-5pm.

 

 

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This review is sponsored by by DVC Magic Resales at www.dvcmagicresales.com (they used their DVC points to book the room and in exchange will also be posting this review and reviews of the other properties). If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club or purchase more points for less than you’d pay Disney directly, they’re a great choice. They also take excellent care of those looking to sell their contracts independently.

Past reviews:

We spent something like 10,000 words looking at Animal Kingdom Lodge and a 1-bedroom Villa in this post and this post, which also reviews The Mara, Jiko, Sanaa, and includes a couple hundred pictures in and around the resort. This time, we’ll take a look at Studio accommodations at Kidani Village and pop over to Jambo House for dinner at the Boma buffet.

The DVC reviews so far have mostly considered the 1-bedroom accommodations with separate living rooms and full kitchens as pictured above.

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Since I’ve been threatening summer wait times for a few weeks now, I thought it would be prudent to take a look at whether or not those crowds have materialized as we head into the second week of what is the longest stretch of near-peak-level crowds of the year.

Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/ak6915.jpg

I covered general AK touring strategies during a morning rope drop back in late April, but it would probably make some sense to return under summer conditions, perhaps with an alternative plan that begins at Expedition Everest and instead relies on FastPass+ at Kilimanjaro Safaris later in the day. The trends otherwise discussed continue here in the summer, even if afternoon waits are higher.

The morning is a little more forgiving than at the other parks. Unlike Epcot, where we see 90 minute waits develop at Test Track and Soarin’ by 9:30am, it takes a bit longer for Everest, Safaris, and Kali to take off. You still want to arrive as early as possible and ideally by 8:20am or so, but it’s not the life and death situation that Toy Story Mania might be in your head. Still, if you don’t arrive until 9am and don’t get to Safaris until 9:10am, then you’re looking at waiting about 15 minutes for the ride and not being on your way elsewhere until around 10am. And by then, Everest is already going to be 45 minutes, instead of the ten minutes it was closer to 9:15am.

Afternoon waits are another reason why this website recommends beginning the use of FP+ in the late morning. You can rock standby pretty easily here through about 11am, hitting the highest priorities first before moving on to the likes of TriceraTop Spin, It’s Tough To Be A Bug, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Wilderness Explorers, and some of the lower priority characters. Then once 11am hits, you can start using FP+ to bypass waits that are 60+ minutes long instead of 20 minutes.

Using FP+ earlier also inhibits your ability to use standby at some of the moderate priority attractions like DINOSAUR or Primeval Whirl around 10:15am. Ignoring the multiverse, or the infinite possible universes that together comprise everything that exists, for a moment, you can only be in one place at one time. So if you’re using FastPass+ for Kali at 10:15am, it means you can’t also be spending that time more intelligently using standby elsewhere. With the lack of 4th FP+ opportunities given these crowd levels, you’re going to be working against yourself trying to use FP+ at 9:30am and then trying to use kiosks for the rest of the day

There’s always a lot of talk about the 3pm showers during the summer, but evening showers are also incredibly common – usually between 7:15pm and 8:30pm or so. 7pm showers on this particular day, Tuesday the 9th, shut down the outdoor attractions until close. That can put some pressure on the indoor attractions like DINOSAUR and the Adventurers Outpost Mickey and Minnie meet and greet, though we don’t see that here with the 8pm close and crowds that are already clearing out much earlier.

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We’ll take a relatively brief look at mostly relatively new Walt Disney World merchandise.

I know a lot of people have been waiting for the Animal Kingdom Starbucks mug before putting in an order for all four mugs with my girlfriend Lisa, who runs a personal shopping service.

With the Animal Kingdom Starbucks expected to open on the 18th of this month, all four mugs should be in stock in about ten days. One each of Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom would run you  an even $99 including shipping and tracking via USPS Priority mail. Considering the retail price with tax on four mugs is $64 and shipping is around $18 depending on your zip code, the service fee on time, gas, shipping supplies, etc. comes in at $18. You can of course go the eBay route, where just the Animal Kingdom mugs are “preselling” for $44 each. She would also be happy to pick up any of the below items, in addition to a lot of the items Disney won’t ship you like Cinderella popcorn buckets, limited edition Star Wars Weekends merchandise, Trader Sam’s souvenir mugs, and the like. You can send her an email at lisa@theparkshopper.com to get things rolling.

Otherwise, enjoy a moment or two of window shopping:

Pirates of the Caribbean store at Magic Kingdom:

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After a busy morning touring Epcot, it’s time to head over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at 2:25pm on Memorial Day.

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After taking some time to look at one-day touring at Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom, we move on to Epcot on Monday May 25th. We’ll take a look at Hollywood Studios touring once the Frozen Fun thing begins June 17th. And hope that we’re not stuck waiting in front of the stage for a two minute video like last year.

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We’ll visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to check out a new Disney Vacation Club Studio and hit the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto patio. We’ll return for a look inside Trader Sam’s and for a walk around the resort to see what’s changed during construction.

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Instead of inputting the various attractions we’re interested in experiencing through a computer algorithm that doesn’t work and pretending like that offers insight into why our crowd calendar is permanently broken, we’ll hit the pavement and see how the 1-day cheat sheet touring plan actually plays out on the ground.

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Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/tornup.jpg

Heavy roadwork on Buena Vista Drive and Hotel Plaza Blvd continues as crews widen the road to ten lanes. My advice is to avoid both as much as possible and use Epcot Center Drive and Bonnet Creek Pkwy as far as you can. You’ll still turn onto Buena Vista Drive for a short stretch as pictured above at the turn, but you can take a left into the parking garage and avoid almost all of the current roadway construction.

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