To continue cashing in on Frozen mania, Disney announced earlier this summer that Walt Disney World would be offering special events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a “Frozen Summer Fun” event running from July 5 to September 1, 2014. Also announced was a Premium Package, which includes a dessert party and priority access to some of the events. The premium package sold out quickly. Don’t worry about getting left out in the cold though – Disney added more dates for both Summer Fun and the premium package – extending summer to September 28 and adding the premium package to the following weekends: September 5 – 7; September 12 – 14; September 19 – 21; and September 26 – 28, 2014. Interestingly, the price for the package has also increased with the new dates – to $69 for adults, and $39 for children. The following is a review from earlier this summer, before the price increase. Call (407) 939-1939 to book. Official information about the event is on Disney’s web site.
TouringPlans bloggers Kylene Hamulak and Julia Mascardo both booked the package separately and attended on different days. Kylene also had the opportunity to experience all of Frozen Summer Fun on a different day without the Premium Package. Here are their impressions.
Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome Parade Viewing
Check-in for the event is located at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner at 10:30 AM. At that time you receive a badge on a lanyard for the day and are able to select your time for the First Time in Forever Frozen Sing-a-Long. Once everyone has been checked in, you are allowed to enter the parade viewing area, at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the stage. Unlimited free bottled water, bottled soft drinks, and frozen treats (Mickey Bars and Frozen Lemonade and Strawberry Lemonade Cups) are available. The parade lasts less than 10 minutes, with a brief stage show halfway through the parade route.
Julia: I hate camping out early for a parade on a hot day, so I thought that this would be a great way to avoid that. Unfortunately, we still ended up camped out – just in the priority seating area. The frozen treats and bottled drinks were helpful, as sitting on the pavement without any shade was pretty brutal. Unfortunately, if you are going to get the Mickey Bars, expect to be covered in chocolate as it melts everywhere. (Or do what we did, and bring wet wipes!) The other disappointing thing was that there is a “kid’s seating” area in the front where a child can be accompanied by one parent. The other parent will have to stand in the back. The viewing location was excellent, however, and when Elsa pointed to my daughter’s Frozen shirt and said “I love that shirt!”, I teared up a bit…or a lot.
Kylene: Like Julia, I was looking forward to reserved parade viewing, and I was disappointed that the package wasn’t quite as convenient as I had hoped. We don’t mind waiting for parades if it means getting a clear, unobstructed view, but, as Julia noted, the reserved area has very limited “front row” seating. While the event officially begins at 10:30, we were told to check in at 10:00 AM. Wouldn’t you know, when we walked to the area at 9:45 AM, guests were already checked in and seated along the rope. In contrast, the day we enjoyed the event without the package, we found space – front row – directly across from the reserved seating at about 10:30 AM.
Moral of the story: You’ll still need to arrive early.
Unfortunately, the procession lasted just over three minutes for us (literally – I have the entire thing on video) before a huge Florida thunderstorm arrived. There was no stage show, and they rushed through Anna and Elsa’s arrival to get the cast under cover. Cast Members gave some guests vouchers for free popcorn as they hurried for cover, but it seemed to depend on who you happened to run by, and there was no other compensation. While Disney is clear that there are no refunds for weather, it would be nice for them to offer something in place of missing almost the entire event. There is no meet ‘n greet associated with this event, but we would’ve appreciated some sort of character experience for premium package holders once the event was cancelled. Popcorn doesn’t quite have the effect on a Frozen fan that seeing Elsa does.
For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration
A half-hour indoor show combining a sing-a-long of many of the most popular songs in Frozen interspersed with a retelling of the movie by the always-amusing Royal Historians of Arendelle.
Julia: I knew this is what my daughter would love most of all. The show was better than I expected. The comedic interludes done by the Historians were fantastic. Having the Premium Package meant not rushing to get the time we wanted, walking in 5 minutes before the show started with no wait, and being seated in the third row. Really wonderful experience and a great perk for the Premium Package.
Kylene: Agreed – we loved this show as well! Once again, however, we found that our non-premium experience was very comparable to the package. We booked the package with this in mind, assuming it would allow us to save hours of waiting to get into a show. Once they began distributing tickets for standby entry to a particular show, however, the value was somewhat decreased. While package holders are seated in rows three and four, there are only a couple of bad areas to sit in the entire theater. We were seated in row three, with rows one and two reserved for handicapped guests. Unfortunately, about ten minutes before the show was to begin, the seats were filled with latecomers who did not require accessible seating. Per the Cast Members we asked, they were simply standby guests who arrived late, and they were now sitting in front of those of us who paid for the premium package. While it’s only a row or two, if you’re unlucky and short like me (or a child), having a giant head in front of you can change your experience. With that being said, we have heard that in other shows, the first two rows were reserved for groups in need of accessible seating only – if they weren’t filled for that particular show, they were left empty.
It’s also worth noting that, even though we checked in for the Royal Welcome prior to 10:00 AM, the 12:30 PM sing-along was already unavailable, so even with the package, we did not get our first choice of shows. On our non-premium day, we got passes for an early afternoon show. We joined the queue about a half hour before show time and were seated towards the back, but certainly not with a bad view.
Dance and Dessert Party
Beginning at 5:30 PM, a live DJ spins dance tunes including some remixes of Frozen songs. With the Premium Package, you get a dessert party with unlimited drinks (including specialty alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic drinks, and bottled soda and water), a chocolate fondue station, and unlimited miniature versions of the desserts sold at Wandering Oaken’s Funland.
Julia: There was a light drizzle in the area, and so our dessert party was moved inside the Disney Jr. building. That worked better for us, as it was quieter than it would have been in front of the stage during the dance party. What we heard of the dance party made it sound like it was a lot of fun, and we might go back to do it some other weekend. As far as the desserts go, I have done other Disney dessert parties before, and the selection at this one was the best I’ve ever been to. I’m not much of a drinker, but I did enjoy one cocktail and really enjoyed the non-alcoholic blueberry lemonade. I tried most of the desserts, but the Olaf carrot cake cupcake was amazing. We also took bottled drinks with us from the party and one of us may have also taken a dessert home to get through the next day’s deadline. For me, I would have paid the $59 fee for just this dessert party and not felt like I had wasted money.
Kylene: Like Julia, the rain moved us indoors for our dessert party, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere and set up of the event. Great care was taken to present everything with the Frozen theme, including the names of foods and drinks. The desserts were delicious, but you can only eat just so many decadent foods – and I’m not sure that it was $59 worth for us. They let us in just after 8:30 PM, and we were relocated to the fireworks area at just after 9:00 PM, so we had about a half hour to sample everything. We were also encouraged to take drinks and desserts with us as we moved outside – it was nice to have a hot cup of tea to wash down all the sugar.
Without the package, we enjoyed the dance party from the area near Keystone Clothiers on Hollywood Boulevard. It was a fun mix of music and Frozen references, but we didn’t miss much by having our party indoors instead of outside.
Frozen Fireworks Spectacular
Most would agree that no one does fireworks better than Disney. Set to the music of Frozen, this fireworks show also includes live action segues on the main stage.
Julia: Truthfully, the reserved location wasn’t the best to really see the fireworks themselves, but it was the best location for seeing the stage show that went with it. However, knowing that we didn’t have to camp out on Hollywood Boulevard shoulder-to-shoulder with our squirmy four-year-old child and could let her run around and even dance and twirl during the fireworks made the less-than-ideal location for the fireworks perfect for us. Because we’re local, we’ll be back again to see it from a better vantage point for the fireworks because this fireworks show is one of the best that I’ve seen.
Kylene: Because the reserved area really is ideal for the stage show, we enjoyed the fireworks from our non-premium spot on a different night. While in the reserved corral, we did disperse to catch the fireworks from different spots that were less obstructed by the stage, and it was actually nice to be able to move right back towards a good view once the action moved back to the stage.
For our non-premium night, we grabbed some pavement in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard to enjoy the dance party about a half hour before the fireworks were scheduled to begin, and I’m really glad we got to see it from two places. There are large screens to show the action on the stage, so you don’t miss a thing even if you’re standing closer to the park entrance. If you’re booking the premium package, it’s worth spending two evenings in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to get this view in addition to the reserved one. As Julia said, the fireworks show is one of the best, and the music and “snow” really make it a special experience.
In addition to the events included with the Premium Package, the Frozen Summer Fun event also has some new attractions.
Oaken’s Frozen Funland
Attractions in this building include opportunities to ice skate (for an additional fee), build a snowman, take enhanced pictures with the Aurasma app, purchase desserts and hot chocolate, and watch an ice skating show.
Julia: I moved to Florida from Maryland so I wouldn’t have to build a snowman (and certainly not out of crushed ice)! Ice skating was also something that I really didn’t gel with. The ice skating show was good, but nothing extraordinary. Sadly what I liked most of all was the music for the Zamboni driver. Seriously, that needs to be my ringtone. Glad we went in there, and no desire to do it again. Truthfully, I would have liked there to be an ice skating voucher with the Premium Package. I wouldn’t have used it, and it wouldn’t have cost Disney anything to provide, but it would have been “value added” for someone out there.
Kylene: I appreciated Oaken’s for what it is, and I suspect there are some warm-weather families who are quite delighted at the prospect of enjoying all things winter! We live in Connecticut, so we weren’t quite in that demographic, but it was a fun place to visit. We spent most of our time trying to get the Aurasma app to work with our phones to take some fun photos. Tip: If you can’t get the app to capture your moment, ask someone who looks like she’s between the ages of 12 and 18 for help. Cast Members were pretty clueless, but the young guests can figure out your technology for you!
Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post
Your one-stop shop for all things Frozen, including special Frozen MagicBands.
Julia: They have some cool merchandise (pun intended), and I did get my daughter an Elsa MagicBand. It’s not as neat as the experience of Darth’s Mall, however. It really just is a temporary store and nothing more. Thankfully we never had to wait to go in, and hearing the Cast Members at the registers saying “Yoo hoo” to signal the next person in line was really amusing.
Kylene: I was on the prowl for Frozen merchandise throughout the resort, and I did find this to be the best selection on property. If you’re not looking to open your wallet for your Frozen-obsessed kid, don’t go in – you WILL end up buying something. I also liked the “Sauna” door, although I think it would’ve been even funnier as an exit to the Florida sauna outside!
Julia: As we walked out through the snowfall on Hollywood Boulevard, my first thought was that I wanted to book it again. (Maybe it’s the party talking or the chocolate fondue?) If I did it again, I’d probably skip the parade itself (but pick up the free goodies), but I would take advantage of all the other parts of the Premium Package. All total, I probably broke even when it came to food and drink consumed for the cost of the event, but it was really nice knowing that everything was all taken care of – I could show up right before the event if I wanted to and not wait for anything. That level of convenience really is priceless to me.
Kylene: I had the opposite impression, actually. I was happy we did it, but our family wouldn’t consider booking again. Maybe it’s because the rain spoiled one of our events, but we just didn’t feel like the package gave us enough of a premium experience. Except for the dessert party, we experienced all other aspects of Frozen Summer Fun in a comparable way, as we found ourselves waiting even with the package – we were just entertained with food as we did it. It’s also worth taking note that, as previously mentioned, Disney does not offer any refunds for weather related cancellation, and there are no guarantees that any aspect of the outdoor events will take place. With the summer weather, this means both the Royal Welcome and the fireworks stage show can frequently be at risk. It’s a big investment to make if it ends up basically being cupcakes and cookies for a family.
Whether the Premium Package is an option for your family or not, the Frozen Summer Fun events are definite must-dos, especially for fans of the film. Check out the recently updated Disney’s Hollywood Studios Touring Plans to help make the most of your visit. Even if you don’t have Elsa-obsessed kids or know any of the words for the sing along, the fireworks and atmosphere for this limited-time offering are not to be missed!