As mentioned some amount of time ago, the Monsters University topiary scene has moved outside the entrance to Hollywood Studios.
It used to sit at the base of World Showcase for the Flower and Garden Festival.
If you don’t want to wait in line in front, you can instead opt for the monsters in back.
Monsters U was well reviewed and has brought in 180+ million domestically and 300+ million worldwide.
It’s 9:55am on June 29th.
This is around the worst time to arrive at the theme parks, particularly on a morning with an Extra Magic Hour. Things are calm out here in front, but only because 10+ thousand people are already inside.
Yup. It’s just past 10am and you’d already be waiting three hours if you wanted to experience Toy Story Mania and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. That’s approximately 31.71 minutes of waiting for each minute of riding.
Around 10:15am at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with the posted wait of 85 minutes and FASTPASS out to 1:15pm. I don’t like morning Extra Magic Hour at Hollywood Studios. It’s basically like any other rope drop, only moved up an hour so you get one less hour of sleep. Everyone is still headed to Toy Story Mania. And then by the time 10am rolls around, you’ve got the Disney resort crowd on top of heavy summer crowds.
And FASTPASS return times also get bumped up by an hour, so by 10am we already have a lot of people returning with FASTPASS, causing the bloated standby wait and what is essentially a full standby queue.
Add another 60 for Tower of Terror. So you’re looking at an even four hours of waiting for the three major attractions. And that’s assuming you could get in line to “take advantage” of that 90 minute wait at Toy Story now. In another hour, the wait will be up to 120 minutes.
I can’t really imagine a situation where I’d be looking to eat a quick service breakfast inside the theme park, but Fairfax Fare is your best option and it’s conveniently located on Sunset Boulevard close to Tower of Terror. You could probably order and be on your way in around seven minutes.
I’m a bagel in the room kind of guy on theme park days.
Maybe if Hollywood Scoops was open at 9:30am I’d change my tune.
Then again, maybe not if I have to sit with this guy while I cry into my cinnamon roll. Main Street Bakery. Never forget.
Sunset Boulevard at 10:15am.
I’ll have a separate merchandise update in the next couple of days, but the Parks have a new Buy More…Buy More tote.
You can have the privilege of paying 18 bucks for this tote only if you otherwise spend $25.
Whoever is manning the wait times chalk board from the 1950s has lowered the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster wait time to 80 minutes, but left the FASTPASS return times the same as 20 minutes ago. A reminder that you can follow wait times in real time at www.easywdw.com/waits.
This Monsters University Dance Party thing runs from 6pm to 10pm nightly if memory serves. Mike and Sulley join a re-purposed Mulch, Sweat, and Shears along with floats re-purposed from the Pixar Pals Parade and the DJ from Animal Kingdom. Characterpalooza still occurs for about 20 minutes on the Streets of American beginning at 6pm.
Don’t worry. There is a merchandise cart on the left side of the stage.
These ridiculous glasses return from the Monsters U All Nighter from May.
Chip, Dale, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, and Stitch continue greeting in shifts from 9am – noon and then again from 2:10pm – 2:50pm around the Sorcerer’s Hat. Check the full schedule for exact times here.
Great Movie Ride was already using the extended queue at 10:30am. That’s the FASTPASS+ entrance visible through the doors on the left.
It’s about to be a whole new world or however that Aladdin song goes. Not sure I would invest in a “2014 guidebook” when the upcoming changes will make most of the old touring strategies moot.
I’m not sure if the queue inside Great Movie Ride was re-engineered to provide more direct access for FASTPASS+. Space set aside for FASTPASS+ users would eliminate queue space for standby riders. With the 30 minute posted wait, my assumption is that there really are that many people in line. But I’m expecting another symptom of FASTPASS+ to be additional waits outside at attractions that have not historically offered FASTPASS. FASTPASS+ will cut down on the amount of room inside and underneath awnings causing more of these lines that spill outdoors. We’ll take a look at Haunted Mansion, where all standby guests will now be sent through the cemetery, while FASTPASS+ users fill in the area right outside the entrance into the Mansion. Or at it’s a small world, one half of the queue near the loading area will be designated FASTPASS+, causing people to wind around outside the building in the heat and rain.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid has historically offered FASTPASS when crowds are heavy, but will be a permanent FASTPASS+ fixture. Here, you’d be waiting at least 15 minutes to get inside and then another 15 minutes to enter the theater.
FASTPASS+ at Disney Jr.
Disney has done a commendable job with the signage if there’s any positive takeaway at this point. And there will be a lot more clocks around, which is sure to please White Rabbit.
The Sound Stage inside the Animation Building was behind walls. I’m not sure why – it could be FASTPASS+ related. Sorcerer Mickey is around the corner and Wreck-It Ralph meets on the right.
The Animation Building is one of the best places to catch your breath in air-conditioning inside the Studios.
“Setting the Scene” is the current exhibit and includes original artwork from animated films. I have a full look at the exhibit at the end of this post, so I won’t rehash it here.
Some art for sale in the Animation Gallery. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/galleryart.jpg.
A reminder as to where we are. The Animation Building is here in the back of the Animation Courtyard. Disney Jr. is on the right and Voyage of the Little Mermaid on the left. The easiest way to get into the Building is through the Animation Gallery Store.
Handy Manny is reportedly on his way out next month to make way for Sofia the First.
y u do dis
People will walk right into a half-empty theater in September and tell you it “was super crowded.”
The Legend of Jack Sparrow recently reopened from a brief refurbishment that saw the opening skull monologue reduced and the removal of the kraken scene. The four minute reduction in show length has helped wait times a bit, but they continue to be in the 25 to 40 minute range for a show that is more or less skippable. It would probably be better received if the wait was shorter, people didn’t think it was a ride (LOL), and it was in a comfortable theater with a a large capacity rather than a dark standing-room-only room. With the limited capacity and lack of FASTPASS, you really have to plan to get in line immediately after Toy Story in the morning or at the very end of the night. Or wait 30 minutes. On one hand, it is a skippable attraction. On the other hand, there are so few new things at Disney World that you may want to prioritize it anyway.
Pixar Place at 10:40am.
FASTPASS is already out to 6pm – 7pm. FASTPASS+ may make the Park Hop or late arrival more doable, particularly at Hollywood Studios. If current plans stick, you’ll be able to select FASTPASS+ opportunities at only one Park each day. But it doesn’t have to be the Park you initially visit. You can just as easily select FASTPASS+ attractions at the second or third Park you elect to visit that day. At present, if you show up at Hollywood Studios at 1pm in July, you can pretty much forget about riding Toy Story and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with short standby waits and FASTPASSes may very well be gone. With FASTPASS+, you may be able to schedule Toy Story Mania at 2pm, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at 3pm, and Voyage of the Little Mermaid at 4pm. And that’s after theoretically barreling through Animal Kingdom with short waits at its attractions when fewer people are there in the morning.
When FASTPASS+ does come online, I’m confident we’ll be able to take advantage of it. FASTPASS originally arrived with similar doom and gloom sentiment. But there were loopholes like being able to use FASTPASSes after the return window that made the system beneficial to those who knew how to take advantage of it. And there are other examples like Dumbo, Barnstormer, and Mickey being disconnected from the rest of the system. Not to mention simply knowing which FASTPASS+ opportunities are the most desirable. It isn’t like Disney is going to announce these kinds of “advantages” for FASTPASS+ in advance.
Two hours for Toy Story before 11am. I’m surprised a similar attraction to Mania isn’t in the pipeline. True, it does suffer capacity woes, but that problem could be alleviated by increasing the capacity of the vehicles from four to eight. You’d think a Star Wars themed attraction where riders pilot the Millennium Falcon and rack up points for shooting down Tie Fighters and Star Destroyers, before a final battle with the Death Star would be a no-brainer. Not to mention there could be various missions with advanced screen technology.
Great use of space. Just kidding.
A serious backup for Backlot Tour for this time of day. Or any time of day for that matter really.
Maybe they will cut to the chase and call next year’s promotion “Limited Time Cupcakes and Thinly Themed Dance Parties.” It kind of has a ring to it. They do not consult me about these things.
Keep an eye on the operating hours of your favorite quick service. Even with heavy crowds, Studio Catering Company closes just in time for dinner. Which totally makes sense.
Before- and after-hours, Catering Co. seating is a nice area to relax with few people around, even if it’s outdoors. And there is a full bar attached on the left with drinks that are generally more interesting than your typical Disney resort lounge.
Mike and Sulley remain popular across from Studio Catering.
I’d be surprised if we can’t take this exact same picture in two years.
A modest 15 minute-or-so wait for Phineas and Ferb next to Mama Melrose and across from Muppet Vision exit.
I can vaguely remember a time when Phineas and Ferb merchandise was entirely unavailable.
The platypus must be the most popular character.
I’d be surprised if this wasn’t here in five years.
With its healthy capacity and relatively pedestrian facade (even with the Walker), Star Tours remains a 20 minute wait even with triple digit waits at Toy Story, Tower of Terror, and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner has added three new bread cones.
Despite being located inside of a boat on Echo Lake, Min & Bill’s goes mostly unnoticed.
But that’s where it is.
The Chicken Caesar Sandwich is no longer available and three Bread Cones have been added. Also note the early 10:30am opening and later closing than most other quick services. ABC Commissary and Sunset Ranch Market continue operating through close if you’re wondering where to grab a bite at 9pm. Note that Sunset Ranch is popular at that time of night because it’s right outside the entrance to Fantasmic and there aren’t many other places open to grab a bite to eat.
Running $9 – $10, the Cones are served with chips by default.
I often note that I order items that come with bagged chips without the chips in order to save two dollars off the listed price. Just about any item is available sans side for a two dollar savings, including any item that’s accompanied by fries, corn on the cob, etc. People will occasionally come back reporting that I’m wrong and they were told that the item is the same price with or without the side. This is both true and not true. It’s true that’s what they were told, but also not true because it’s not true. I ordered my Cajun Shrimp Cone without chips and was at first told it would be the same price with or without chips. I asked incredulously, “Are you sure?” She responded, “I’m absolutely positive.” I looked on disapprovingly, which apparently caused her to click around a little bit on her screen. And she found the button. So if you’re told that the items aren’t available without the side, ask if there’s an “entree only” button. If the cast member insists that such an option doesn’t exist, there is not a whole lot you can do other than potentially ask to speak to a manager over two dollars.
I’m led to believe that these are the same style bread cones that are available out west at Cars Land, where they make a little more thematic sense with the Cozy Cone Motel from the movies.
Sizing context. I would stipulate that sizing is reasonable.
The Cone is stuffed with salad-size shrimp, tomatoes, red onion, and green peppers in a mayonnaise-y sauce with a bit of pepper.
It’s coming right for you. For better or worse, the Cajun Shrimp Bread Cone was almost entirely devoid of flavor. It really did not taste like much of anything at all other than perhaps a faintly like onions and the sea Unlike the Sausage, Marinara, and Mozzarella Cone, it was easy to squish together and eat. If you squished the Sausage Cone, you’d be wearing marinara sauce for the rest of the day. And nobody likes wearing marinara sauce for the rest of the day. The Bread Cone itself was soft and fresh, but did not have a lot of flavor either. And it began to unravel a bit near the end, which is a bigger problem with the messiness of the Marinara Cone. Overall, I didn’t find anything compelling about the Cone. It was cold and filling on a hot summer day, but you can do better.
On the other hand, this is the scene at Backlot Express at the same time. There were two people in line at Min & Bill’s. I would happily eat another Cone before I waited in this catastrophe. I’d even pay for the bag of chips. Two times over.
Min & Bill’s looked like they had added some additional picnic tables. You could also take your Cone down to the covered seating outside Backlot Express. Tables inside are hard to come by this time of year.
I’m not sure how much longer it will continue with The Lone Ranger now in theaters, but the ABC Studio or Sounds Dangerous Building or whatever it’s called is/was showing a preview of the movie.
Reviews are not real great. Lone Ranger brings back the director, producer, writer, actors, and budget from Pirates of the Caribbean. Only it’s a Western.
They call him The Lone Ranger but he always appears with Johnny Depp. Accompanying merchandise:
The Preview for Lone Ranger was neat. It includes some behind-the-scenes footage along with a few minutes of action from the movie. The film is not as CGI’d out as one might expect. There is actually a train and they actually went out to film in the desert rather than the green screen. When one of the characters looks like he’s about 100 feet up in the air in the middle of a canyon, they actually sent the actor high up on a perilous platform over a canyon. As I’ve mentioned before, I wish Disney would bring in movie sets for guests to walk around and inspect. Imagine if the train and other props from the movie were available to look at for a few months up the movie’s release. It seems like it would be good marketing to get people familiar with and excited about your upcoming 250+ million dollar movie.
FASTPASS+ Signage at Indiana Jones.
These figurines are customizable.
You would think “Below Average Disney World Blogger” would be a default option.
We last took a look inside Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind Antiques and Curious back in October. It’s located just inside the entrance on the left hand side. That’s guest services to the left of it. Almost everyone entering the Studios walks right past – probably because it’s a little further back from Hollywood Boulevard’s main drag and with the small entrance, it isn’t all that obvious what it is from the outside. It’s another example of something that would do a lot better if it was called “Mickey’s Movie Memorabilia and Magic.”
The store is mostly full of autographed pictures of celebrities in the $90 – $550 range.
A signed Lion King poster for $275.
But it’s far from just Disney properties and stereotypically Disney celebs.
Items are added often – this poster commemorating the life of Mr. Gandolfini is new since his death last month.
A healthy dose of Star Wars.
And music. Pete Townshend would set you back $400. Billy Joel is $350. Les Paul for $350. Joey Bishop $300. David Jones, Mickey Dolenz, and Peter Tork would set you back $700. Pierce Brosnan also $400.
Mostly sports. The Star Trek one in the center, including William Shatner, costs $2500. $800 for Roger Bannister (the guy who ran the first sub-four-minute mile).
The guy that jumped from space.
$800 for Seinfeld.
$550 for Stallone or $275 for Damian Lewis.
$450 for just Shia LaBeouf.
A few props are also available.
I think it’s literally just a box.
Promo tickets and signed books. Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports9/sids.jpg.
Brian Wilson autographed guitar for $1800 and Angus Young for $1500.
Voice actor autographs in the $150 – $275 range. Pat Carrol, the voice of Ursula, would set you back $175.
I would be less enthusiastic if Pinhead showed up.
A cast member inside was explaining to guests that they were welcome to take pictures, but weren’t allowed to “photograph for the purpose of authenticating an autograph.” He mentioned a lawsuit where someone was trying to sell fake signatures on eBay. I’m not real sure how Sid’s and Disney play into that but the cast member said they were legally obligated to mention the authentication spiel.
For those of you saving up, never fear, this $65,000 jacket from Mary Poppins is still available.
Not a whole lot going on at the Studios these days as we wait for some kind of announcement from Disney regarding what’s going to happen with Cars Land and Star Wars Land.