We are returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this evening to check in on crowds for the first day of what I am officially dubbing, FANTASMICATHON.
Here we are arriving at about 5:20pm, which is about 30 minutes earlier than yesterday. More people than yesterday, but certainly nowhere near crazy busy.
I tried to take similar pictures as yesterday at similar times of day to give a more accurate idea of the crowds between the two days. One of these days I will make a list of exactly what shots to take. Someone will have to remind me. This is outside Star Tours at 6:01pm. The standby wait time was 30 minutes, but FASTPASSes were still widely available with return times just 40 minutes in the future.
The Phineas and Ferb Meet and Greet ends at 5:30pm, but these rocks, I mean Cars, are available to pose next to all day, every day. I’ve never seen the wait more than a couple of minutes.
I may have mentioned this before, but these are my favorite bathrooms in all of Walt Disney World. You’ll find this building in the Backlot/Streets of America area right next to the entrance to Lights, Motors. This is where you want to head (if you can make it) if you have a meal that doesn’t quite agree with you because few people tread out here unless there’s a Lights, Motors show scheduled soon.
More people on the Streets of America than usual, but there’s really nothing here to draw crowds. Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground is a fun diversion and it might be fun to take a photo in front of the San Francisco painting, but not a whole lot to see or do otherwise. The facades are certainly a neat effect, but….
Studio Catering Company was open until 5:30pm today, even with the 10pm close and double Fantasmics. We should see it open later beginning tomorrow.
This is the first indication that crowds are much heavier than yesterday. While the posted wait time is actually lower than yesterday by ten minutes, the actual wait time was 41 minutes longer. Had you gotten in line for Toy Story Mania at 6:15pm today, the actual wait would have been 61 minutes. Had you gotten in line for Toy Story Mania at 6:15pm yesterday, the actual wait would have been 27 minutes.
A lot of people on Sunset Boulevard. Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster was out of FASTPASSes at 6:20pm, but Tower of Terror still had FASTPASSes with return times of just 40 minutes in the future.
Here we are back at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. Full menu and seating pictures available here: https://www.easywdw.com/menus-and-seating/min-and-bills-dockside-diner-menu-echo-lake-minor-quick-service/ and previous review/pictures of the Pretzel Roll available here: https://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/disneys-hollywood-studios-walk-around-may-7th-2011-the-worst-park-to-visit/.
Every time I get close to feeling like I can unequivocally say, “This is the best Hollywood Studios quick service location,” that location disappoints me. I was high on Studio Catering Company for a little while and then hot for Min and Bill’s soon after. Today, I ordered the Chicken Caesar Sandwich and a Chocolate Shake. The chocolate shake is a chocolate shake in the same way that a Wendy’s Frosty is a chocolate shake. It was extremely delicious, but it’s chocolate soft service ice cream – not a hand scooped shake or anything like that. For $3.99 it’s a large serving, cold, and refreshing. Somehow I ended up with two bags of chips. I asked the girl behind the counter if I could substitute the regular “Potato Chips” for Doritos and I’m 99% sure she shook her head no and said, “Sorry.” But shortly after that a bag of Doritos appeared on my tray and the bag of regular chips wasn’t taken away. I’ll chalk it up to Disney magic, though it’s just as likely she received a notice that I’m kind of a big deal and should be given whatever I ask for. Though if you’re reading this Walt, you’re welcome to send me a bill (no pun intended, I feel like we’re on the Jungle Cruise here). The Chicken Caesar Sandwich was what was a bit disappointing. I was expecting more chicken, I guess. As the title of the item insinuates, it’s basically a Caesar-salad-stuffed-roll and that’s exactly what you get. While I’m conditioned to pay $8+ per quick service entree, this one didn’t strike me as much of a value. It was filling with the shake (I actually didn’t eat either bag of chips), but it wasn’t a “wow” moment. Overall, Min and Bill’s is one of the better and more interesting quick services at Hollywood Studios. If I could only visit one location, I’m honestly not sure which I would pick.
Here we are walking around at 7:30pm – not a lot of people waiting for the Cars, full Backlot Tour trams, 95 minute posted wait time at Toy Story Mania, and an unfortunate number of people waiting for Prince Caspian.
If you don’t make it to the American Idol Finale Show you can watch it on the big screen.
This is the Fantasmic crowd at 7:40pm waiting for the 9pm show. Yep, this is well over an hour before the show. The far empty bleachers in the second picture above are the reserved sections for Fantasmic Dining Package users. The first two sections open to the “public” are full and the third section in the picture right above this caption is filling quickly. That’s why I recommend arriving at least an hour early for the first Fantasmic of the evening.
More people on their way to Fantasmic at 7:50pm.
While not an out of control day at the Studios, I think we can agree that it was busier than yesterday. I’ll continue to keep an eye on crowds over the next several weeks to make sure the recommendations are on the money now that Fantasmic is added every night.