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NEWS: Popular Disney Restaurant Closing for Most of 2016 – Goodbye Forever?

A very popular counter service restaurant will be closing for most of 2016. Pizza Planet in Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World will begin a lengthy renovation in mid-January, 2016 and will remain closed for nearly the entire year. This is an unusually long closure for a counter service restaurant signaling the possibility that this is more than just a standard refurbishment.





 

Considering the length of the closure and the future opening of Toy Story Land on the other side of the park, it seems possible (if not likely) that this may be the end of Pizza Planet. The theme of the restaurant is somewhat out of place being tucked in between the current Star Wars and Muppets area. Given the ridiculous success of Star Wars: The Force Awakes and Disney’s penchant for squeezing out every last drop of momentum from popular brand (think Frozen mania and everything that has come out of it), could a Star Wars themed counter service location be on it’s way?

At this point, we have no details other than the length of the closure. The rest is speculation. However, we will keep you up to date on any further developments or rumors we may hear.

What do you think? Will you miss Pizza Planet or be glad to see a change? What would you like to see it turned into?





 

 

8 Reasons Hollywood Studios is Still Worth a Visit

by Chad N

If you’ve been to Disney’s Hollywood Studios recently you may have noticed, it’s beginning to look a little more Detroit and less Hollywood. It seems hardly a week has gone by this year that we haven’t heard news of another attraction closing. Add in closures of food service and merchandise locations and I have to admit that it’s a little depressing to see so many closed doors and papered over windows. While the future of the Studios is exciting, the current state of the park is moderately concerning. Many people are beginning to wonder if it’s even worth visiting. I was in the park tonight and I’m here to tell you that despite the current state of transition, Hollywood Studios is still an awesome park and should be on the agenda of every guests. Here are the 8 reasons why.





8 – Conquer Disney World

I admit that I tend to think like a graduate of the General Patton School of Vacation Planning. But even if you don’t approach a day at Disney like there is going to be a winner and a loser, how could you possibly call a trip complete without at least getting a taste of all four parks. Unless your trip is going to be less than four days, you really need to include Hollywood Studios.

7 – Osborne Festival of Lights

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting between November 6 and January 3 then you need to visit Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights. This amazing holiday spectacular is worth the price of admission. Read more about Osborne Festival of Dancing Lights.

6 – Fantastic Nighttime Spectacular

Fantasmic is an amazing show. Wondering how good it is? Check out the line to get a seat. Sorcerer Mickey, clips from favorite Disney films shows on water screens, boats and a giant Dragon? What’s not to like?

TIP: To ensure a seat to the very popular show and save a lot of time standing in line, book a Fantasmic Dinner Package.

5 – Star Wars

Star Wars is back and as popular as ever. Yes, I’m nearly going out of my mind. If you have a Star Wars fan in your family, then Hollywood Studios is a must do. The Studios is Star Wars central. Star Tours offers a variety of different ride experiences and the Jedi Training Academy is just awesome for kids. There are also plenty of opportunities to spend money on Star Wars themed merchandise. Finally, if you need a break from the princesses, you can find it here.

Jedi Training Academy

4 – Lot’s to do with Kids

When you think of attractions for young children, almost everyone thinks of Magic Kingdom (and rightfully so). But don’t ignore Hollywood Studios. The truth is, when it comes to stuff for younger kids to do, Hollywood Studios has a surprisingly large number of offerings. It clearly the second most kid friendly park. Most of the shows (Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Muppet Vision 3D, Stunt Spectacular) are great for kids. Those are in addition to the ultimate kids show: Disney Jr. Live on Stage. There’s also the best playground on property at Honey I Shrunk the Kinds Movie Set Adventure. Plus . . .

3 – Lots of Unique Character Meet & Greets

Hollywood Studios has a uniquely high concentration of characters that can only be met here. Phineas & Ferb, Lightning McQueen & Mater, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First and Jake from Neverland Pirates are musts for any autograph book.

2 – Three TOP 10 Rides in this Park

I’m constantly perplexed when I hear people say there isn’t a lot to do at Hollywood Studios. The Studios is home to three of the top 10 rides at Disney World. Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster which is Disney’s only legitimate hard core coaster. Toy Story Mania which is consistently the hardest FastPass to get and the longest line of all 4 parks. Finally, Tower of Terror which I personally think is the best ride at Disney.

Toy Story Mania

1 – Three Great Restaurants including the 1st & 2nd Best Themed dining experience at Disney World

There are several dining options at the Studios that would justify a visit alone. 50’s Prime Time Dinner is without question the best themed dining experience at Disney World. This is the one restaurant that has been on our list every single trip. Beside great comfort food, how can you not love getting scolded for having your elbows on the table and reminded to, “clean your plate or Dad won’t let you have dessert?” I’ve even had one server help me finish my green beans by “flying the plane into the hanger”. This place is just plain fun.

A close second on cool theming is Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. Can you beat eating in a car at a drive in while watching a film reel of ridiculous “scary” movies?  Finally, for fine dining Hollywood Brown Derby is one of Disney’s better options. The setting is Hollywood elegant and you don’t have to compromise on food quality just because it’s inside a theme park.

So seriously, this is still a great park. Yes, it’s a park in transition, and yes there are a number of closed attractions. However, to say Hollywood Studios isn’t worth going to because of this is a big overreaction. And we haven’t even talked about the plethora of special events at the Studios like Star Wars Weekends. Get over to Hollywood Studios. You won’t regret it.

What is your favorite part of Hollywood Studios?

About Chad Nykamp

Husband, father and lover of all things Disney. Like every kid, I loved Disney and the couple trips I took to Disney World in my early years are good memories. But my obsession began in 2004 when we made our first family visit. It's hard to believe that we almost cancelled the trip because it seemed like a lot of work with 3 very little kids. We were hooked by the end of the first day. By day 3 we were planning our next trip back. By day 5 we were doing the math on DVC. And by the end of the vacation everyone was crying the blues that we had to leave. Since then, Disney World has become our favorite vacation destination, a hobby and now a home. We love the detail of the story telling and the memories of time spent with friends and family.