As my husband and I were cruising the Caribbean for our vow renewal from Miami, we thought we’d take the opportunity and meet up with some American friends who we had met on a cruise 5 years earlier. I also wanted to visit Hollywood Studios to see the Osbourne Lights as I’d read that this was the last year for them at Disney after 20 years. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Osbourne lights, it has nothing to do with Ozzie or Black Sabbath! It all began with Jennings Osbourne back in Arkansas. Every year, he set up an elaborate collection of holiday lights and over time, the collection of lights grew! In 1995, Walt Disney World Resort became the new permanent home for this exceptional exhibition of holiday cheer.
My friend Debbie and I decided to go on our own as both our husbands were reluctant and would rather visit Kissimmee train station (another review due by Drew soon).
Whilst having our ‘all you can eat’ breakfast at the Golden Corral (lots of choice including ice cream!), we noticed a kiosk selling theme park tickets. We thought we’d check with them on the price of a one day ticket for Hollywood Studios in case they could offer a discount. Much to our surprise the price they quoted was $5 more! When I queried it, I was dismissed as not understanding the pricing and not adding the taxes! As I had been online at the Disney site, I knew the correct price and so I told them to check and much to their surprise they discovered that their prices were higher than the gate price. So beware these ticket booths and check for yourself first. I left them arguing amongst themselves as why their system was quoting higher prices.
The guys dropped us off at Hollywood Studios and after having our bag checked, we walked up to an empty ticket booth and bought our tickets and entered the park. Our first point of call was to get our fastpass tickets. These allow you to enter up to 3 rides/shows with priority and no (or very little) queuing. As neither Debbie or I are big riders, we opted for the shows – Indiana Jones, Lights, Camera, Action Stunt Show and Fantasmic. Whilst we waited for our allotted times for the shows, we went on the Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, Muppet Vision 3D and the new Toy Story Midway Mania (this was a lot of fun, a combination of Men in Black ride at Universal and Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom). We didn’t wait too long for any ride usually around 15 minutes with the exception of Toy Story which was showing a 90 minute wait but was actually less than an hour. The shows were their usual slick Disney shows which although I have seen a few times before, were still as entertaining as the first time. With only Fantasmic to see at 7pm, and as it was now dark, we made our way over to, what for me was the main attraction, the Streets of America. These streets were completely covered in thousands of lights and Christmas displays. We were directed to a one way system through the streets. There was no time limit on how long you could stay looking at the lights but most people slowly walked through looking at it all and taking photos. It was a little surreal walking through brightly decorated house fronts with Christmas music playing and artificial snow falling whilst wearing t-shirts and shorts in 80F! It was a lovely experience and I’m glad that I saw it. We spent about 30 minutes looking at it all and I’m sure that we didn’t see all the detail but we had Fantasmic still to see.
The fast pass tickets allow us priority entrance to shows/rides and with the shows this meant being in the first groups to enter, so we had good central position seats which added to the enjoyment of the shows. They are definitely worth getting for your favourite ride/show unless you want to wait up to an hour for a ride or be seated on the far right or left of the seating areas (although you will be able to see the shows from every seat).
Although Debbie and I have no mobility issues, if you have then there would be no problem getting around and seeing the attractions. Disney are well equipped for the mobility challenged amongst us so everyone can have a good time.