We pick things up from Part 1 outside of The Hyperion Theater. So far, my day has looked like:
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 8:52am-9:07am
- Tower of Terror: 9:08am-9:24am
- Tower of Terror: 9:24am-9:43am
- Star Tours: 9:51am-10:17am
- Frozen Sing-Along: 10:18am-11:05am
That’s a pretty solid morning without the use of any FastPass+ experiences. The longest that I’ve waited for any attraction has been about ten minutes – once at Star Tours and then again at Frozen.
Here’s a look at wait times over the course of the day:
Waits are above average, which may be a further testament to the success of early morning touring. I’ve completed five priority attractions in less time than it would take to ride Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster if I got in line at 10:45am and still have FastPass+on tap for Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, and Tower of Tower, which should guarantee at least three more rides with short waits later in the afternoon.
I caught the stage show portion of the March of the First Order, which typically begins near the entrance at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, and 4pm. Phasma and friends take the stage for just a couple of minutes before returning back down Hollywood Boulevard.
I typically like to watch the March on Hollywood Boulevard in the Celebrity 5 & 10 area on the right side of the street and then follow the procession up to the stage, finding a spot on either side.
You’ll typically see fewer shoulder kids off to the side and can enjoy watching tourists vertically film the stormtroopers on the screens attached to the mobile stage.
This isn’t even from the center of the area and I’ve got five shoulder kids, several phones, and a couple GoPros raised high in the air. We’re all just one low-quality video of the same show that’s been performed 7,000 times away from YouTube superstardom. I’m actually planning on teaching my child to hold a camera steady from a young age in hopes of getting the best angles and the most views.
With what “felt” like heavier crowds descending, I thought I would take the opportunity to “enjoy” a quick lunch at ABC Commissary. I’m not sure you’ll find anybody that hails Studios’ quick service options, even though they’re similar to a lot of the stuff you’ll find at the basic fast food eateries elsewhere.
Commissary, in its current state, may or may not live “up” to the negative hype.
The $10 “Mediterranean Salad – Fresh Mixed Greens with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onions, Pepperoncini, Kalamata Olives and Feta Cheese tossed in a Mediterranean Vinaigrette and served with Hummus and Pita Chips” is a decent change of pace from the ubiquitous Ken’s Caesar Salad. In my experience, it’s a very salty salad, but that may be less of an issue these days.
During lunch, the choice is between just five entrees before the eatery turns into a “Fast Casual” concept beginning at 3:30pm each day. Dinner brings items like the $17.49 “Chimichurri Steak – Sirloin Steak topped with Chimichurri Sauce and served with Fire-roasted Corn Medley and Steak Fries” and a $15 “Lemon Pepper Salmon – Seared Salmon served with Couscous and sautéed Green Beans.” Surprisingly, both are pretty good and I review that entire experience, which includes a cast member delivering the food to the table, in this review.
At least you’ll still find large sodas at the Studios, unlike Magic Kingdom.
And for the kids.
This time around, I went with the most expensive quick service lunch entree in the Park, with the $17.19 “Chicken and Ribs Combo Platter – Smoked Barbecue Spare Ribs and Roasted Chicken served with Coleslaw and French Fries.”
It may have been due to low expectations, but this was actually pretty good – it’s a sizable, juicy, flavorful half chicken with the breast, leg, and wing attached. The skin has a little bit of crispiness and there’s a real smoky flavor in each bite. Compared to what you could find in the “real world,” ABC Commissary is going to fall flat, but the chicken was above average theme park fare. Better than Cosmic Ray’s, which isn’t saying much considering you’re probably wearing a couple of garments that also taste better.
There’s just two ribs, but they seemed to be slathered in Flame Tree Barbecue’s Sweet and Spicy sauce which gave the meat, which was a little on the tough side, a bit of a tang. I don’t often deem meals shareable, but this is a lot of food even before you consider the heaping pile of crispy golden fries. It was really not bad at all and anybody on the Disney Dining Plan wants to consider seeking the entree out given the high price.
I’ll spare you on the closeup of the coleslaw, which was soupy, flavorless, and pretty gross. They must know as it’s an incredibly small cup. I might have actually been mad had it tasted good since it would have meant that there was only a couple of bites. Not that such a thing would be possible with coleslaw.
As we all know, Great Movie Ride is closed with the ~8,000 FastPass+ experiences a day that it offered eliminated along with it. The 1,000+ people that would otherwise be consumed by the attraction every hour are also off clogging walkways and lengthening waits at area attractions. If you are ever in a hurry to get anywhere, just do what I do and scream that you have a medical emergency that only Doc McStuffins can fix.
Mickey’s Runaway Railway isn’t set to debut for about 18 months or around a year after Toy Story Land and probably a few months before Galaxy’s Edge.
Right at noon, you’re looking at a 25ish minute wait for Voyage of the Little Mermaid. It’s one of the easiest late afternoon FastPass+ experiences to book, which makes it a good 5th or 6th selection.
Unless Disney comes up with some sort of sorcery, Toy Story Mania is going to have to close for a time prior to the opening of Toy Story Land. The new entrance will be on the other side of the show building.
There’s currently a rare opportunity to see One Man’s Dream inside Walt Disney Presents.
I’ll run a separate post on everything that can be found in here.
Here’s where the entrance to Toy Story Land will be located – in between what is currently Pixar Place and Walt Disney Presents.
How the opening of the new attractions will affect wait times and crowd flow remains to be seen, but you would think that the new rides would pull people away from Sunset Boulevard first thing in the morning. The new rides should also help reduce the number of people heading to Toy Story as the Slinky Dog Coaster eclipses its popularity. On the other hand, we could very well have the next Barnstormer on our hands rather than a new incarnation of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.
A 60-minute wait for Toy Story Mania at 12:10pm.
And a congested Pixar Place.
Somewhat recently, Disney moved the entrances for both standby and FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania to the far left side of Pixar Place. It took nine and a half years, but Disney finally realized this area of the Park is busy.
With FastPass+, I was on the ride in ten minutes and back out front at 12:28pm for a total experience time of 18 minutes.
Here’s a look at Toy Story wait times over the last month:
It’s about what you would expect with the Thanksgiving dates in late November and the days leading up to Christmas seeing higher wait times than the last few days in November through the beginning of the third week in December. But it isn’t like there are a lot of good days to ride in standby come noon – you’re looking at an overall average wait of 76 minutes.
One thing that isn’t highlighted in the posted waits is just how short actual waits are during the last hour of operation. Most days, you’ll find Toy Story Mania a virtual ghost town in the last hour of operation. That’s particularly true during the last half hour as most guests flock to Fantasmic and the Star Wars/Jingle Bell Fireworks.
While it’s not in the same physical area, I brought up the comparison to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster in Part 1. Here’s wait times for the coaster:
This furthers the claim that wait times build faster and peak higher than Toy Story. At 9:30am, the overall average wait time at Toy Story is 43 minutes versus 55 at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. At noon, you’re looking at 91 minutes at RnRC versus 76 minutes at Toy Story. You don’t want to be in either line at that time of day, of course. But Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster’s overall average wait of 77 minutes is 15% higher than Toy Story’s 67 minutes.
This may change again after Toy Story Land opens. Slinky Dog waits could eclipse both.
Galaxy’s Edge is going to be a sight to behold once we wait the 8-9 days required to actually enter the new land. I’m considering attaching balloons to my house and sort of floating over the new land and then rappelling down when I think the wookiees aren’t looking. Since nobody has ever attached balloons to their house in such a way, I don’t think anybody will see it coming.
You’ll get a better idea about its size and scope on the drive in. But it’s huge.
Just like “The Last Jedi,” which has brought in more than 550 million dollars worldwide as I type this.
Disney switched out the props from “Rogue One” with some from “The Last Jedi.” I’ll put those pictures up in a separate post. (Editor: Yeah, sure you will.)
Otherwise, the individual waits for the three characters that meet inside remain nominal for the most part.
The Stormtroopers seem to be the most popular characters as crowds gather wherever they go.
The current look of the projection towers in front of the Chinese Theater. The Studios is currently showing the Jingle Bell Jingle BAM show at 6:30pm with the Star Wars Galactic Spectacular show following at Park close.
Heavier afternoon crowds on the way back over to Star Tours.
Disney removed the blue wall ahead to showcase the grey wall behind it for those that paid $140 per person to go to “Galactic Nights” this past Saturday.
It didn’t look like a particularly impressive event. I peeked at most of the set pieces and models on the prior afternoon.
BaseLine Tap House has proven to be a lot more popular than I was expecting with its neighborhood bar atmosphere.
It bodes well for the California drafts.
The cocktails aren’t half bad either.
My full review of everything on the menu is available here, in case you missed it. The charcuterie and pretzel are quite good too.
It’s a pleasant place to stop, particularly outdoors with the comfortable temperatures.
Miss Piggy is a fountain of youth again.
“The early bird gets the worm – which is what he deserves.” – Miss Piggy
We’ll see if she changes her tune when she arrives at Galaxy’s Edge to find a wait of three months just to enter. Star Tours is at 75 minutes at 1:15pm.
That may be accurate with the line backed up outside.
With FastPass+, it only took me two minutes to arrive past the merge point with standby.
And four more minutes to make it to the pre-show.
And back out front at 1:37pm for a total experience time of 22 minutes. That’s five minutes less than it took in standby around 10am.
PizzeRizzo is still there.
And now offers a “Frozen Italian Margarita” in place of the “Wildberry-Basil Limoncello Lemonade.” I didn’t order it because I’m hoping Santa fills my stocking with one this year.
Prices are otherwise up 30-50 cents each since the quick service opened last year. My full review is available here. Read it if you don’t want to be hungry anymore.
It smells deceptively good inside. I have to assume they’re piping in the scent of freshly baked pizzas since nothing resembling that actually goes on here.
Disney Food Blog crafted an entire blog post out of Mama Melrose switching out the macaroni and cheese that used to come with the steak with potatoes.
Meanwhile, I can only muster a single sentence. Otherwise, the vegetarian Polenta Cake replaces the Vegetable Lasagna and the Sustainable Fish preparation is different.
But to be fair, which I very rarely am, the steak did come with about eight pieces of penne pasta, so it does seem like a monumental loss. At least you can still go to Jik…oh wait.
How anybody could sit and watch the kitchen prepare food and still order something is beyond me. Actually, you can catch my last review here. Note that next year, the appetizer isn’t included with the Fantasmic Dining Package, so you can’t order a flatbread and sneak it out to me outside. I’m very hungry. Maybe not hungry enough for Mama Melrose though.
There’s a wall outdoors here.
And a wall inside the Muppets store here.
Goofy used to meet in front of a wall.
Something tells me that DVC sales shouldn’t lead with the benefits of Hollywood Studios. “It’s the Park you don’t want to visit today, but after Star Wars Land opens in two years…well I guess you still probably won’t want to visit…BUT WAIT UNTIL I TELL YOU ABOUT THE MAINTENANCE FEES.”
This doesn’t seem very accurate to me. There should be a green screen and a computer.
Back to Sunset Boulevard to check in on things.
75 minutes for Tower of Terror at 2pm. You might remember that I rode twice in less than half that time earlier in the morning. I AM ENJOYING THE WORM JUST FINE, MISS PIGGY.
85 minutes at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
It’s going to be a lot worse next week.
Overall, it was a successful day given the early arrival, efficient touring plan, and intelligent FastPass+ selections. Afternoon wait times are rough, like they are virtually every day, but it doesn’t much matter when you’ve got FP+ in hand. If I wanted to extend my day, I’d mix in additional FP+ selections with stage shows and high capacity attractions like Muppet Vision and Star Wars Launch Bay. But leaving now offers an opportunity to rest up for dinner and the nighttime entertainment, particularly this time of year with the 9pm and 10pm closes.
Maybe I’ll finally copy/paste those pictures from Walt Disney Presents into a post.