August 7, 2014

Summer Successes: Princesses & Potter

Two Summer success stories to share today.

We start with Disney -- which  is not known to be the most nimble of organizations when it comes to developing attractions. But its hastily put together 'Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!'  at Hollywood Studios.


It has been  such a hit with guests, this daily celebration has just been extended by four weeks to September 28th.  For those who don't know, it starts the day with a short procession down Hollywood Boulevard welcoming visiting royalty Queen Elsa & Princess Anna of Arrendelle, along with their friend, Kristoff.

 



 Then, several times a day to packed crowds, the Frozen sisters lead a sing-a-long for those who just can't "Let it Go."



 -- followed by a dance party and daily fireworks show.
(the FIRST daily fireworks show at Hollywood Studios since "Sorcery in the Sky" was canceled in 1998).


 There is also ice skating (for a small fee) and snow play in air conditioned comfort all day.




 That's at what Disney calls "Wandering Oaken's Trading Post & Frozen Funland" -- which is really SoundStage 1 -- home to the Darth Mall shopping space during Star Wars Weekends.  And "Wandering Oaken" is one of the big reasons this is such a hit, in Disney's eyes.  Frozen mania shows no signs of slowing down. From what I hear, Disney is happy attendance is up in a park with no major additions since 2011 (Star Tours makeover) but they are REALLY happy with the food and merchandise sales.


Yes, guests are even after snapping up Olaf & Elsa Magic Bands.



So I am not surprised Disney has extended the event   through Sept. 28, 2014. After the 1st, the fireworks are weekends-only, but all other offerings are daily.
And speaking of money, Disney is selling premium packages with reserved seating and viewing spaces, plus a dessert party  That's $59 for adults, and $34 for children,
Call 407-939-1939 to make those reservations.

The fact the event is a hit also does not surprise me. Frozen seems to have captured the public's imagination in a way few Disney films have since the early 90s. What MAY surprise you: the whole event (including ice rink, parade, stage show and fireworks)  was put together in just a few weeks.  Big Wigs noticed people were still voluntarily waiting 3 or more hours to  meet Anna and Elsa inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland.  They were also shoe-horned into the  "Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade" just weeks before its debut after Disney brass were seeing enormous demand for the characters.
Look for a more permanent Frozen presence sooner-than-later, probably in the place where the meet-and-greet mania started before the movie came out last November.



The Summer's other big hit was years in the making.  Yes, I am talking about Universal Studio's expanded Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

 No surprise, Diagon Alley is loved by money-spending-muggles, and the Gringotts ride is growing more reliable by the day.

I'll have an update on how the new land is faring overall soon. But the standout statistic just came in from Universal. The Hogwarts Express is a runaway hit: Carrying its MILLIONTH passenger early today.

It's only been open since July 8th. That works out to be about 32,000 guests per day (though, granted, many people are riding twice to see both shows)
While it is true many in the industry expected longer lines in the King's Cross Queue:


I hear it is not for lack of crowds. It's just the Hogwarts ride operations  team has reliably exceeded how many guests they can launch in an hour.  On July 8th, they were hoping to send out one set of 2 trains every 10 minutes (or 12  trains an hour) Each train carries a maximum of (about) 185 guests. My math minion tells me that would be an impressive 2,220 guests max per hour. But they are NOW launching trains about every 8 minutes ( so roughly 15 trains or 2,775 people per hour) To put that in perspective,Epcot's people-eating Spaceship Earth can handle about 2,400 guests per hour.
Now if only Universal can work its magic and get Gringotts up to the high number of people it is supposed to carry.


That's it for Theme World today. Thanks for those who've asked about me. I hadn't intended to take this long between posts, but between a vacation, schedule changes and the whims of the news gods -- I've been away from the blog. Trust me, there is a LOT to talk about. Exciting things are in the works at Universal,  I-Drive, and beyond.