We’ll join what appears to be the 17 other people that took a wrong turn at Epcot and ended up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
The hodgepodge of balloons encapsulates the Park’s current state.
But then, variety is the spice of life.
Most of the current construction is more visible from outside the Park than inside.
This is driving up to the auto plaza, about half of which is behind walls.
The Streets of America is/are finally being torn down after closing back in early April.
The buildings that used to dot the Streets of America on the Muppet Vision side are completely gone for the most part. This is the view from Sunday afternoon. Since then, a bit more has been knocked down.
This would have been the view as recently as last week.
A couple more:
It will be interesting to see how this all comes together with Star Tours up ahead and this being decidedly Muppets territory. Star Wars is expected to go in around the old Lights, Motors area, so you would think they would have to carve a path/entrance to Star Wars Land that includes Star Tours but bypasses Muppets.
The current view outside Writers Stop.
Work continues on PizzeRizzo, which is replacing Toy Story Pizza Planet:
In their announcement via Twitter, Disney originally quoted a September opening date, but deleted it and replaced it with “Fall.” Next month seems likely though as additional signage has already gone up over the bathrooms closer to Star Tours/Tatooine Traders and the sign above where it says “SALADS.”
Hollywood Boulevard at 6:30pm in mid-August.
Sunset Boulevard a moment later.
Sunshine Day Cafe, a quick service that I am constantly forgetting the name of, has replaced Toluca Legs Turkey Co. at Sunset Ranch Market.
As previously mentioned, that means no more turkey legs anywhere in the Park. I haven’t seen a menu yet as the location is expected to operate on busier days, if there are any in the next couple of years.
It seems ripe for “healthy” alternatives, but then the sun only has one tooth. Sunshine Day Cafe…on Sunset Boulevard…I’m receiving mixed messages here.
In what may be a “test” or a “legal obligation,” Disney is posting calorie counts at a couple of quick services property wide. The counts seem a little curious as the 1/3 pound bacon cheeseburger comes in at “just” 520 calories. There are 380 calories in 1/3 lb burger patty assuming it’s 80% lean. 310 if it’s 85% lean, which it assuredly isn’t. A small Sara Lee bun is 120 calories. These are probably closer to 180. A 1-ounce slice of cheddar cheese is 115 calories. Two small slices of bacon come in at 85 calories. So:
380 calories in the burger
180 calories in the bun
115 calories in the cheese
85 calories in the bacon
That’s 760 calories. Even if you were to give Disney the benefit of the doubt and assume they are using leaner beef and somehow the bun is only 120 calories and the cheese is only 80 calories, you’re still looking at 600.
But assuming the counts are accurate, it might be helpful to know calorie counts to make more informed decisions. “Studies,” which could easily be funded by the hamburger lobby or whoever gets paid to constantly reprint the signs, show that posting such information not only doesn’t cause people to make “better” decisions, but actually makes them order meals with more calories than they would if the information wasn’t posted. But if you were counting calories and ignoring all other micros/macros/sodium/whatever people are doing, it is interesting that the Caprse Sandwich has about 20% more calories than the bacon cheeseburger and the salad with grilled chicken would only save you 50.
Beer doesn’t have any calories if you drink it fast enough. On the plus side, the calorie count would theoretically tell you how many ounces each drink is going to be. There are 16.25 calories per ounce in the Sam Adams Rebel IPA, so that would have to be a 20-ounce draft.
Signs at the register still lack calorie counts.
As part of a hastily executed plan to offer more dining options with Studio Catering Co. permanently closed and Pizza Planet temporarily closed, Disney had installed three Food and Wine kiosks across from Gertie under the Echo Lake Eats banner. Like the Food Trucks at Disney Springs, you never knew if they were going to be open or for how long with the kiosks typically closing no later than 6pm. It’s potentially a shame as the menus included some unique offerings that would be better than virtually anything else in the Park. At least there’s always ABC Commissary. Put the food directly on the table for bonus flavor.
Fortunately, Gertie still stands tall.
And not only that, but her hours are expanded even if the menu is a little shorter than it has been in previous years. It’s still a scenic spot for ice cream and the last bastion of water at the Studios.
The “big news” is that Fairfax Fare now offers two baked potato options, in addition to the most expensive quick service entree currently in the Park:
My assumption is that the number of times people have wished they had a baked potato outside in Florida in August is zero, but here they are.
The next most expensive, other than the Spareribs, is the Royal Guard Burger at Backlot Express.
There are two options, one of which is designated as “one Pound.” I think that goes to the weight of the beef and gravy rather than a larger potato being used.
And Disney has updated the menu online to designate both as being the same weight.
The potato on the left is the Fairfax Loaded (One Pound) Baked Potato(e) – Sour cream, Cheddar, Bacon, Chives and a side Southwest Salad for $9.49. Most of us have probably enjoyed a baked potato at some point in our lives and Disney does a decent job with it, though your experience probably depends on how long it’s been since the potato was taken out of the oven/microwave. Ours were both tender and flavorful with a nice rub of salt on the outside. The toppings were generous enough to get some of everything in most bites, perhaps with the exception of the sour cream dollop on the far end.
Under duress, I would admit that my favorite salad dressing is Litehouse’s Lite Salsa Ranch and the side Southwest Salad had a similar flavor, blending ranch and salsa together with some crunchy tortilla strips for added texture. Very fresh and would work well as an entree with grilled chicken.
The $10.49 Fairfax Tri-tip One Pound Baked Potato – Beef Sirloin, Brown Gravy, Cheddar Cheese and a side Southwest Salad is a less attractive option.
I think it looks better in the pictures than it did in real life. Thanks Lightroom! At the risk of embarrassing myself, I enjoyed this more than the rest of the members of our group. It got really salty with the beef and gravy, but I appreciated a change of pace from the standard lineup of toppings and the beef made for what “felt” like a heartier meal rather than a side that would arrive with a steak. With that said, we’re not talking Ruth’s Chris here and the “tri-tip steak” is closer to roast beef than filet mignon.
Overall, I think these are fairly decent options for Hollywood Studios and they are more shareable than you might expect. I virtually never come into contact with a meal that I can’t finish, but the Tri-Tip was too much. If you were to cut it into two or three sections, you might be able to share it along with one of the other entrees. One potential wrinkle is that you’re paying ten bucks for a potato, but this is Disney World and this is an entree and that is how much you’re going to pay for one.
We also tried the seasonal cupcake, which is of the delicious, light, natural-tasting strawberry variety at the moment. I probably should have made that into a separate post. At the Studios, the seasonal cupcakes are typically the most expensive dessert, so it makes some sense to add it as the dessert on the Disney Dining Plan. You typically have to check the smaller signs near the register to see what’s currently being offered.
Elsewhere on Sunset Boulevard, the trolley car that is usually used here may be out for refurbishment.
I suppose that it’s worth mentioning that after 17 years, Disney edited the pre-show video to remove a lewd gesture made by Steven Tyler that I’m not sure anybody really picked up on. But the story made national headlines, like this one at E News: http://www.eonline.com/news/788615/steven-tyler-s-crude-hand-gesture-removed-from-rock-n-roller-coaster-at-disney-world. While I am relatively familiar with the joys of Urban Dictionary (if you don’t know what that is don’t Google it), I will admit that I never put two and two together myself even after sort-of watching the pre-show and crossing my fingers that the cast member wouldn’t yell out “HOW ABOUT SOME BACKSTAGE PASSES” hundreds of times over the years.
At least Tower of Terror remains wholesome.
In sign news, Mickey now moves his wand or baton or cane or whatever he is holding after years of dormancy.
I put up a separate post full of Halloween merchandise: https://www.easywdw.com/easy/blog/disney-world-halloween-2016-merchandise/.
Launch Bay, or at least the store next to it, is a revolving door of merchandise.
Enough people had taken pictures with these $3,000+ statues that Disney built a wall around them.
Old school action figures:
Does anybody remember that scene from House of Lies (not cards)?
Disney teased Launch Bay exclusive phone cases and MagicBands shortly after it opened and recently came through:
Remember when I made fun of how much that Rogue One shirt was and it turned out that the proceeds went to charity?
Rogue One is a Star Wars Story just in case you weren’t aware.
The Star Wars Lego game is supposed to be fun.
While there weren’t a lot of people mulling about, waits were surprisingly long for this time of night. 50 minutes at Toy Story wouldn’t have been bad in April, but it’s rougher than usual now that the third track is online. Some of that probably has to do with the morning Extra Magic Hour attracting resort guests. You might have seen my post that argued in favor of using your Tier 1 FastPass+ at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster instead.
Not much has changed on this side of the Park other than Toy Story Land’s budget getting slashed again with all of the physical effects on the Slinky Dog Coaster getting the ax.
Speaking of FastPass+, Voyage of the Little Mermaid’s status as the second highest Tier 2 priority might be surprising.
But actual wait times are often unfortunately long. Even here at 7:55pm at night, the entire indoor holding area is full as is most of the exterior queue. If you got in line now, you’d be seeing the 8:30pm show in standby or the 8:05pm show with FastPass+. That’s a 35-minute wait.
Olaf’s 55-minute wait is the longest I had seen.
It had gone from 35 minutes to 55 minutes to 15 minutes over the space of about three minutes. So I guess if you see a wait time that you don’t like, just wait a second.
A few more as the sun goes down:
This is the first time that I’ve seen somebody holding a “Fireworks Viewing” sign with an arrow pointing people farther forward, though it’s possible that it’s been a thing for a while. I don’t make a habit of seeing the show from that far back, which you might remember from my Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party review/tips. In addition to pulling the tables from the dessert party viewing area, Disney also removed a few palm trees to aid viewing.
We’ll be back the next time something of interest happens or in 2018, whichever comes first.