Feels Crowded, Cajun Shrimp Cone Review, Lone Ranger, Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind – Studios June 29 2013

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: https://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.

Also $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.

Harry Potter.

$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: https://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.


Yes please.

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.


  1. pfalcioni says

    I never realized how poorly designed HS was in regards to crowd flow until this post. Seeing the masses on Sunset Blvd, and “literally” no one on Streets of America and in front of Lights Motors Action really brought it home to me.

    That picture of Backlot Express!!! I think I need to bookmark that so I can post it anytime someone asks why we recommend eating during less crowded times of the day.

    We go into Sid Cahuenga’s every time we’re at HS, and I have yet to see them sell even a single item. Have you ever seen them sell anything? I love it because it reminds me of Disneyland back a million years ago when the stores were actually stores and sold all sorts of stupid stuff no one in their right mind would ever shop for at a Theme Park.

  2. Ginette says

    Have you ever seen anything from Zorro with Guy Williams? He made Walt Disney and cant find him anywhere…something for the boys other than pirates. Oh well I would love Zorro stuff!

  3. Anonymous says

    Someone totally used Sigmund the Sea Monster as the model for the Monsters University topiary, like it was going to go unnoticed

  4. weepstah says

    Three comments:

    1) The White Rabbit never actually seems happy when he finds out what the time is. All these extra clocks will have him chewing on xanax like they were tums.

    2) That bread cone reminds me of the doomsday machine from the original Star Trek episode. Except without the shrimp and stuff.

    3) For the Mouscar, I think they would have to shorten it to “Below Average” because all that blog stuff would never fit on it. I’ll bet “Practically Perfect” would fit though.

  5. dusty cheatham says

    the middle east is in flames ; snowden is on the run ;
    the government is spying on it own citizens
    theres no need to fear!!
    another blog from josh is here

  6. dusty cheatham says

    one of my dearest Disney friends is miss pam brody entertainer @ the rose & crown pub
    her late husband once owned sid cahuengas . & would do inpersonations of bing Crosby & other great 40s, 50s, 60s , movie stars during the day.

  7. Asha says

    “When FASTPASS+ does come online, I’m confident we’ll be able to take advantage of it”

    THANK YOU FOR THIS! I’m trying to be positive and this helps me stay positive. and when FASTPASS+ does roll out, I will be hanging onto your every word on how to take advantage of it.

  8. Alice Liddell says

    As much as we are looking forward to any Cars Land/Star Wars expansion, the loss of Muppetvision 3D would be very sad. It was the last time Henson performed Kermit’s voice, and the last Muppet project to be completely managed by him.

    I guess we’ll also be losing the ‘Honey I Shrunk the Kids’ playgound, which, although I’m not sure you’ve ever talked about it here, is one of the best parts of the park for families with small kids. It’s completely contained, full of interesting stuff to do and to look at, and makes a great unstructured way for your cranky, hot kid to blow off some steam and just run around and play in the middle of the day. (Of course, when we were there in September it was super crowded, I can’t imagine what it must be like now.) When asked about our HS days, my son will talk about only two things: fighting Darth Vader and getting to play on “the big ant’s playground”.

  9. Marc says

    ” Main Street Bakery. Never forget.”

    This made me spit out my diet coke onto my keyboard. Thanks for that.

    Seriously, what about eating breakfast at Starring Rolls? It’s quick, and has more light, un-greasy breakfast choices. Just a thought for DHS quick-service brekky.

  10. pinochio says

    AJosh im so glad your going to be here when us so called veterans need help with fastpass plus questions thank you

  11. Anonymous says

    The train from Lone Ranger was out in CA at California Adventure. We saw it around June 18-19 as they were getting ready for the premiere there.

  12. Blake says

    Sucks that they got rid of the Caesar Chicken stuffed sandwich–had them back in May and they were great. It was an option for at least a facade of healthiness (for a stuffed sandwich…). Although the chicken, bacon, avocado cone sounds intriguing.

  13. angela says

    We always spend time browsing in Sid Cahuenga’s. But yeah, I’ve never seen anyone actually buy anything and will often see the same item on display each trip. Also, speaking of Daenerys Targaryen, I was searching Etsy for Figment merchandise a couple weeks ago and found this awesome Game of Thrones/Disney mash-up:


    I guess if she were a Disney Princess her dragons would indeed be Figment, Elliott, and Maleficent in dragon form.

    (Sorry if links aren’t kosher and I’ll understand if this is deleted. It’s not my item, just something I found and loved.)

    I can’t wait for the announcement about Star Wars/Cars Land. The Studios is in dire need of something new.

  14. RebeccaMcK says

    I haven’t tried the Cozy Cones’ bread cone “snacks” or entrees at DCA yet (I was there Tuesday – did 25 attractions at both Anaheim parks in one day) but out of the ones on that Min and Bill’s menu I would have tried the shrimp one, too. Maybe I’ll try the chicken/avocado one instead, if we ever go eat there. The kiddo and I saw “Monsters University” twice and really liked it (I liked it more the second time). Dad and I saw “The Lone Ranger” (missed the first few minutes because of slow cashiers) on Wednesday and really enjoyed it. Could have been shorter but I don’t know what they would have cut. Very entertaining, with Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer (he had some good moments) and the funny horse. Dad thought the horse rivaled the horse from “Cat Ballou” for comedy. And when the William Tell Overture finally starts up, everyone in our audience was pretty jazzed. I’ll see it again (mostly so I can see the first few minutes I missed) at a matinee some time while the kiddo is at day camp.

  15. RebeccaMcK says

    ^ and by “25 attractions” I also mean two meet’n’greets, three shows, and the fireworks, along with the rides we went on.

  16. Lynn says

    Been lurking on Disney blogs and sites for years, and yours is the first I go to just for the entertainment. And it’s a silo of touring knowledge. It’s just . . . yummy.

  17. Kayla's Mommy says

    We were there at HS the same day and it was the worst day of our 11-day WDW trip (tomorrow is our last day). HS seriously needs a few more rides. EVERYONE rushes to the same 2 rides. Luckily for us we got there at rope drop and did TSM, RnR, ToT (2x) and the little mermaid show (forgot the name) all by 9:45. After that it was just a hot crowded mess in there! The layout is crazy, not enough rides either. We ended up having an early lunch then going back to the beach club by 11:30! Out of 11 days that was the only time my DD7 went. I did go back last night only to do the Great Movie Ride and the Animation class, I literally arrived at 5:30 and left at 6:30. Until they get some better attractions, I won’t be in a hurry to go back. The rest of our park days were totally fine (we did RD or evenings) and we did everything we wanted to do.

  18. Ernie says

    I highly recommend giving a listen to Jim Hill’s most recent podcast where he talks about Imagineering’s plans for Star Wars Land. It sounds like there’s a speeder-bike ride in the works where you are racing against 50 other guests at a time. He also talks about a lot of logistical considerations that make putting Star Wars Land back where LMA and Backlot Tour are unlikely. Very interesting stuff.

  19. gatorgirl says

    Urp. That shrimpy bread cone looks like an “after” shot of the last time I had a stomach bug.

  20. JulieS says

    “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.”

    Brilliant idea! Love it!

  21. says

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but
    I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  22. Brian says

    Instead of calling them bread cones, they should call them “Bread Sorcerers Hats”. BAM!!! Themeing problem solved.

  23. Mary Ann says

    Josh, I am SO depending on you to help me figure out the whole FastPass+ stuff when it comes down the pike.

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