Thursday, July 31, 2014

Frozen. Time for a Thaw?

By Beth Skarp

I recently returned from a trip to the World. Everywhere I turned, I was inundated with scenes or images from the ever popular movie Frozen. From the images of Olaf on t-shirts with friends being flakes, to little girls sporting the looks of Elsa or Anna, Frozen is everywhere. If you are at Disney, there is literally no way you could not be exposed to Frozen in one way or another. 

Having said this, I wanted to share my less than magical experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

I arrived at MCO fairly early after leaving Philadelphia. Once I checked in at my resort, my first stop was Magic Kingdom. I had a later afternoon dining reservation at Be Our Guest. I was early, so decided to ride the rides that had a fairly short stand-by line and put my Memory Maker to work by getting pictures. The first photographer I encountered had great “magical shots”....of Olaf on Summer vacation. OK, not a big deal, I would pose anyway and just keep going. 

After Magic Kingdom, I rode the monorail to Epcot. I meandered my way through World Showcase, with the intent of getting to the International Gateway. I stopped for pictures along the way, taking along my trusted stuffed Jiminy Cricket. When a photo opportunity presented itself, we stopped and took advantage of it. When we got to Norway, we were once again inundated with Frozen. But it didn't stop there.

Just outside the International Gateway entrance, Jiminy and I boarded the boats that took us to Hollywood Studios. It was a lovely boat ride. We left Epcot around 6PM, plenty of time to enjoy our trip to Hollywood Studios and make our 9PM dinner reservations at Mama Melrose. You know what they say when you make your reservations, to allow ample travel time to make your reservations. We got this.

Once we finally arrived at the boat dock for Hollywood Studios, our captain asked if we were here to enjoy the dance party. Dance party?! I had not a clue what she was referring to.

When we got to the main gates for Hollywood Studios—just before we entered—we came across a huge sand sculpture. What a great photo opportunity, the sculptures are well done and so artistic. What was the sculpture you ask...a larger than life Olaf on summer vacation. 20 minutes Jiminy and I waited in line for this.

A paper lithograph cutout of Olaf was shoved into my hands. On the backside were the signatures of the various characters of Frozen. While I really wasn't interested in this Olaf, I have to admit that it made an excellent hand fan on this hot and humid day. I used my Olaf several times over for just this very purpose.

Jiminy was getting into the swing of taking photographs, so we paused for a quick picture of the hours for Hollywood Studios for the day.

Finally, we made it through the main gates. 7PM...still plenty of time to make our dinner reservations at Mama Melrose. Oy Vey! The thousands of people! What in the World was going on?

When you use a walker to get around, walking can be a bit difficult. Add in several people lining the streets, each vying for the perfect spot to view what was in front of us. Well, it made getting around challenging but not impossible. I figured I would put to good use the trick of walking through the various stores in order to progress down Main Street. Bad idea. The first shop I went into, I came upon a literal wall of people. What was going on? Frozen merchandise had just been restocked on the shelves, so a shopping frenzy was happening. I had to giggle, as one guest, a man, asked me where I got my “shopping cart”. Shopping cart? It was my walker for crying out loud.

Backing out of the shop in order not to get run over, I finally made my way towards the Sorcerer’s hat. My intent was to bear right, heading towards Rockin' Roller Coaster. I had a FP+ for 7:05 to 8:05 that I wanted to use. I got to Rockin' around 7:35. Still plenty of time to get to Mama Melrose and not be late.

What is this Jiminy and I see...a 5 minute wait for Tower of Terror? Let me get this done so Jiminy and I can make dinner in plenty of time and knock this off our to-ride list. I mean really, how often do you see this and just literally walk on the rides?

After we got off Tower of Terror, it was around 8:25 or so. Again, plenty of time to get back to Mama Melrose. My mouth is watering for some Seafood Arrabbitta and a cold Italian Surfer, my favorite food and drink from there.

As I maneuver my walker down Main Street yet again, I made my way towards the Sorcerer’s hat with the intent of turning left and heading towards Mama Melrose. Instead, I found wooden barriers up and several cast members along with security preventing guests from going any further towards the back of the park.

When I asked about getting through to make my reservations at Mama Melrose, I was told it was impossible. I asked how I was supposed to get back and get to my reservation—one I made three weeks ago. I was told repeatedly "Well, you simply can't. The parade is coming, followed by the fireworks then a sing-along.” allowed me to make a reservation three weeks ago and never bothered to tell me that I would not be able to make my reservation!? OK, calm down and don't let it get you bothered.

I asked what I was supposed to do. Cast members repeatedly told me "Well, we just assume you will be at the back of the park so you can make the reservation on time." I mean really, does everyone stay in the area for their reservations for hours on end?!   

As I told you earlier, I had a FP+ for Rockin' Roller Coasterthen went on Tower of Terror. I had plenty of time to make my reservation at Mama Melrose, even taking my time and maneuvering my walker through the throngs of people. I was just not allowed to get to the back portion of the park to make this reservation. I was more than annoyed, to say the least.

OK, so I can't get to Mama Melrose. I still need to eat. Let's do alternate Plan B. My plan was to eat at ABC Commissary. Well guess what—this is closed as well. A sandwich board is placed up around 6:30 PM or so to alert park guests that it will close at 8PM prior to the parade. Lot of good that did me—I wasn't in the Park then and no mention was made of the back portion of the Park being closed early on the hours posted at the front of the Park. Also, nothing was mentioned in the times guide or park map. 

Starring Rolls was also closed, which is actually what I expected. Starring Rolls closes around 3PM or so—when they run out of sandwiches and goodies, they close. No way did I feel like fighting any more crowds to get back to Backlot Express, the only other place that was open at this time.

My temper kicked in at this point, I am sorry to say. With a less than pleasant attitude I asked "Where in this Park am I supposed to eat?" The Cast Members never missed a beat, but simply replied, "Well, you could get a tub of popcorn and join the dance party and sing along."

Sorry, not my cup of tea. It has been 6 hours since I last ate and I needed a decent meal, not filler, thank you very much. Don't even get me started on missing out on my Italian Surfer.

After stopping at Guest Relations at the front of Hollywood Studios to let them know how displeased I was with missing my reservation AND to make sure that I would not incur a no-show fee for not making this reservation, I headed back to the bus stations and to our resort. Guest Relations did give me a $25 gift card for my trouble, but this still left a rather sour taste in my mouth.

What did I finally get for dinner? Chicken nuggets back at the resort around 9:45 PM. What were my choices for dessert to go with my dinner? Frozen Cupcakes and Frozen Rice Krispie Treats. You are freaking kidding me...right?! Grrrrrr.  

On Saturday, I met up with some good friends at Port Orleans Riverside at the River Roost Lounge. We were all meeting up to hear Yee Haw Bob. Guess what one of the songs was that the group sang. Yep...”Let It Go.” 

Even at Animal Kingdom, you can't seem to get away from Frozen, no matter what you try. From magical shots to offerings for drinks or desserts, Frozen is everywhere.

I know that many enjoy the movie, the song or songs and the various characters. But really, must Disney incorporate Frozen into EVERY THING is does? Each theme park, every venue of entertainment, every restaurant, the merchandise, the photographers, even the television shows have a bit of Frozen in it someplace.

I for one really and truly believe we need to take a bit of a thaw. It's time to well....LET IT GO!

Excuse me as I run for cover...



  1. I couldn't agree more. I am so very over FROZEN!

  2. I couldn't agree more. I am sick of "Letting it Go." They are taking marketing too far.
    What a shame you were not even allowed another way to your reservation.

  3. We were there for the first day of Frozen Summer Fun (by coincidence, not design), and it wasn't like this. First of all, there was no evening parade. There was a multi-hour dance party on the stage, but the crowd was small to medium sized. It seemed like the sort of thing where the kids could stop by, dance a little, go do something else and maybe come back later. The party lead into the fireworks. The crowd for that was about what you commonly for any Disney nighttime event (Main Street Parade, Wishes, etc). Most importantly, there were no sections of the park that were closed off. Getting around was harder, sure... but Disney maintained pathways for getting through. Again, just like they do for the other nighttime events in the various parks. It really is terrible that you weren't allowed to get to your reservation. And, let's flip it around... what if you did get there early? How were you supposed to get out after you finished dining? This just sounds ridiculous. The crowds for the Frozen event must be reaching unmanageable levels. Which is shocking, considering we were there July 4th week, and we didn't experience this.

  4. I'd be pretty upset about missing my ADR too... Especially since they didn't warn you. :-(

  5. I wonder if the overload of Frozen stuff is because Disney was caught short by how much people wanted Frozen merchandise just after the movie came out and there wasn't much. If this is making up for being behind the 8 ball. Enough already! Missing an ADR because of this sucks.
    Every now and then a coworker starts whistling Let It Go. I make her stop.
    When I was there in May 2014, barely any Frozen, now to be inundated with it, ugh. Sorry this all happened to you.

  6. I agree. Although Disney does know how to reach a particular audience, maybe it should not be incorporated in every single park, even if some of us missed merchandise. Those obsessed with Frozen could participate while those just trying to enjoy a vacation would not have to be submerged in the world of the movie. There should be designated times and areas and all staff should be well informed and up to date on schedule conflict. Although I do know Disney provides excellent customer service, I also feel as though they should have done better to accommodate your reservation and not just brushed it off. It's not like it was a fast pass ride, it was your dinner! I am diabetic and have to eat at certain times and I know this would have just not worked for me. It is completely unfair and not right how they blew you off. I hope this never happens to you again. Sorry for your bad experience there. Although I do love Frozen I do not get all the hype that is coming along with it. I adore Anna's personality and Elsa's dress and the quirks of the other characters but I just don't get why everyone is just SOOOOOOO excited. I think maybe Disney is over doing it because it is the first movie in years to have this much hype. They see the opportunity to make money off it it and leap. I am a true Disney fan and try to get into all the movies and characters, not saying anything wrong with having a Frozen celebration at Hollywood studios, but I agree with you it should not be such an overload at all the parks and the resorts as well. Thank you for this insightful and informative post. I for one appreciate your honesty about this.


Thank you for your feedback. Comments will appear pending moderation.