By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, from the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever. Paperback available on Amazon here. Kindle version available on Amazon here.



yourfirstvisit.net—Disney World Instructions for the First-Time Visitor



Holiday Additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios



By Dave Shute

For 2017 Disney World has added to the returning Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! show three new holiday elements to Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

  • Olaf, new songs from “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” and a tree lighting to the end of the Frozen Sing-Along
  • Holiday projections on the Hollywood Tower Hotel (site of the Tower of Terror)
  • A Christmas Tree and substantial decorations in the Echo Lake area.

The net effect–especially of the last two changes–is really a transformed feel to the park, which now feels more Christmassy than any other Disney World park except the Magic Kingdom.  This is a big change, and one to delight in.

OLAF AT THE FROZEN SING-ALONG

The Frozen Sing-Along (officially “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” but no one calls it that except its mom) is a show that is surprisingly good even for those not obsessed with Frozen.

Here’s the review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018–a guidebook so good that you probably want to be sitting down while reading it:

The Olaf additions to this show happen at the end, and your pleasure at them will be in direct proportion to how much of an Olaf fan you are.

Olaf arrives…

…is treated like a visiting rock star…

…new songs from Olaf’s Frozen Adventure are sung…

…and the bit ends with a Christmas tree lighting.

There’s not much to the stage business, not much narrative or sense of ending to the new action, and the new songs are quite weak compared to the high melodic and lyrical standards set by the classic Frozen songs. As a result, Olaf fans will probably love this add, and everybody else will be waiting for the show to return to its original staging.

HOLIDAY PROJECTIONS ON THE HOLLYWOOD TOWER HOTEL

The Hollywood Tower Hotel, best known until now for screaming elevator riders, has had four holiday projections added to its facade.  While there is not much to them, when combined with other holiday decorations on Sunset Boulevard, they really amp up the holiday feel of this section of the park. The entire effort is called Sunset Seasons Greetings.

Framed around Frozen…

…Mickey’s Christmas Carol…

…the Muppets…

…and Toy Story.

There’s not much to these–nothing like the action and subtlety of Tree of Life Awakenings at the Animal Kingdom, for example–but together with the other holiday decorations on Sunset Boulevard (and snow!–see the image at the very top of this page), the overall impact is to turn this into a much more festive area of the park.

THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND DECORATIONS IN THE ECHO LAKE AREA

Hollywood Boulevard has always been delightfully decorated, but now so is the Echo Lake area.

The most notable addition is the Christmas Tree, which used to be outside the park…

…but Gertie now has a bit of holiday decor as well–snow and a Santa hat.

A closer view of the tree…

…and the tree after dark.

Echo Lake after dark. There’s a tree lighting ceremony–at 6p the night I saw it–but it’s not much and definitely not worth scheduling around.

On the Gertie side of Echo Lake you’ll find these decorations…

…and further counter-clockwise around Echo Lake, near Hollywood and Vine, these.

The same later in the evening.

Until now, Echo Lake has been a bit of a pass-through-without noticing area for me, kinda like (but not so extreme as) Commissary Lane.  Gertie has historical importance, and the lake itself is cute and some find it to part of an enormous hidden Mickey.  But really, yawn.

The holiday directions add a focal point and a coherent atmosphere that’s been missing here until now. You will still largely pass by the lake on your way to something else, but now it’s a delightful walk.

The Echo Lake and Sunset Boulevard decorations profoundly strengthen how well Disney’s Hollywood Studios celebrate the holidays.  Don’t miss them!

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