We spent a considerable amount of time going over Hollywood Studios touring last week in this post, but it’s been a while since we’ve taken a look at construction and various other happenings going on around the Park.
So we’ll take some time to do that now.
Very little construction is visible inside the Park despite two major projects continuing. This is basically all you can see of the future of Toy Story Land. These are the most recent aerial photos of the Land that I’ve seen with more here. It looks like they’ve got quite a ways to go in front of what is expected to be a debut next year.
A smidgen of Star Wars Land is visible over the walls running down to Muppet Vision 3D.
Much more is visible from the air here and you can really get a better idea about just how much real estate we’re talking about.
Over in Pixar Place, there is a mound of dirt beyond the walls.
It blends in, but there’s an active bulldozer moving dirt just about in the center of the frame.
Otherwise, it’s just a dead end. It will be interesting to see what kind of structures appear over the walls in front of the Land’s expected 2019 debut, though nothing will likely beat the aerial shots.
It’s still strange to see so much empty sky next to Sci-Fi.
They removed my beloved cupcake.
At least I can let everyone know how much I miss it via this cupcake scarf.
The missing hot air balloon above Muppet Vision.
Maybe the saddest photo of the Studios ever taken. No fountain, cupcake, or balloon.
From PizzeRizzo. It seems likely that the Streets of America buildings that haven’t yet been razed will remain to help the transition from Muppets Courtyard into Star Wars Land.
Other than that, there isn’t a whole lot going on around the Park. Disney has been installing videos in the queue showing the load process at a variety of attractions, including Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
The visuals are perhaps aimed at those that don’t speak English.
Sweet Spells, located on the turn onto Sunset Boulevard on the left, continues to be your best bet for a treat, including the popular Carrot Cake Cookies. Starring Rolls is of course closed, but Trolley Car Cafe Starbucks continues to serve several of their most popular cupcakes and other items as they did when Starring Rolls was operating.
The entrance to the Moana Meet in the back of One Man’s Dream, where there’s also a variety of props that are either newish or recently moved:
Just in case there wasn’t enough Star Wars stuff around. The website maintains that a curated Star Wars exhibit would be a welcome addition to the Studios. The Smithsonian’s “Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume” exhibit will be at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida beginning on November 11th of this year while Star Wars Identities is still in London through September.
The booze rollout continues with just about every kiosk that serves frozen beverages now offering a shot of vodka, rum, or whiskey, in addition to about six popup bars found around the Park. You’ll know why once you step through the entrance.
The Green Army Men popup show continues in Pixar Place sporadically throughout the day. It can be a highlight with the kids that enjoy participating in shows like Jedi Training Academy.
The Beauty and the Beast cupcake, available at the majority of quick services at the Studios, is one of the better entries in recent memory. The buttercream icing on top is quite good and the design is more inspired than your typical outing. Olaf is really good too .
We didn’t get a quick service kiosk in place of the celebrity busts next to Hyperion Theater as some of us were expecting. There probably isn’t space for it.
You’ll now find “Ticket Central” here on Sunset Boulevard – for when you need to upgrade your tickets or have questions and don’t want to venture the two minutes to Guest Services at the front of the Park. You might remember that we saw a similar installation at the Space Mountain gift shop, though they moved it to Heritage House underneath the Muppets Present show, which is kind of awkward during show times.
I’ll see about running some merchandise updates here in the next couple of days. There’s a lot of stuff.
“Unique Craft Beers.”
Kona is actually being sued because their beer sold outside of Hawaii is not brewed in Hawaii as is implied by the marketing.
There’s little happening on the quick service front.
I reviewed the “Latin-inspired” entrees at Fairfax Fare relatively positively here. The El Pastor Pulled Pork Sandwich is actually really good imo.
Note the Hard Root Beer Float, in addition to the sundaes that are all offered for a snack credit.
A room with a view.
The incredibly unpopular Express Bus Service continues at each of the four major theme parks with the Studios’ stop located through the doors next to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The price is up to $19/single day or $29 for seven consecutive days.
It can be quite beneficial for those park hopping as buses run on a set schedule and you don’t have to pass through security at the Park you’re hopping to, in addition to the fact that buses typically have two or three other people on them. With seven park hops over seven days, each trip would cost about $4/person to save about an hour of transportation time, in addition to more comfortable rides. It’s not unreasonable for those that can take advantage of it.
There’s been an uptick in Beauty and the Beast merchandise with the success of the live action film, but it’s far from overwhelming. Unless you count the fact that there’s like 50 “limited edition” MagicBands.
So much Stitch stuff.
I’m a moderate fan of the outdoor Brown Derby Lounge – I think I like the idea more than the typical execution.
An updated menu:
The Specialty Flights are really fun and the small plates pack a lot of flavor into what are typically small portions.
The Derby Sliders remain a great value and it should be enough food to satisfy most appetites for lunch or dinner for only about $5 more than a quick service burger.
The Lounge offers the full Brown Derby menu should you want to pick something up from the restaurant side. The two entrees circled in a square on the bottom are available for seatings through 3:25pm and are among the best values in the Park.
The Andouille-crusted Chicken Breast on the Kaiser Roll obliterates just about anything you’re going to find elsewhere. It’s also less money than 50’s Prime Time’s Fried Chicken ($21).
The burger is also much better than the quality of the picture. If you’re ordering solely off the restaurant menu, I’d suggest making a reservation to eat inside. The outdoor area offers some fun views of the people passing by, but it’s typically cramped and service is often lacking due to the servers being overwhelmed with the number of tables assigned to them.
I had dinner at Brown Derby a few months ago and took some lousy pictures of food that’s no longer on the menu that I thought I would share. You’re welcome. This is the Belle and Evans Chicken Breast with Creamy Gruyere, Bacon Mac & Cheese, Tomato Compote, Curly Spinach, and Mushrooms. At $32, pricing is rough for a chicken entree, but it’s easily 50% better than 50’s $21 Fried Chicken if you’re looking for haute cuisine over comfort food.
Pork Three Ways – Pan-seared Pork Tenderloin, Pork Rilette, and Crispy Pork Belly, Sweet Corn-Chilli Spoonbread, and Chimichurri Sauces – $37.
The Derby’s food is easily the best in the Park and those with larger budgets may want to consider a meal here as a way to relax in the middle of the day. The lunch entrees are a fantastic way to experience all that the restaurant offers atmospherically, while at the same time spending less than you might at Sci-Fi or 50’s, both of which would generally be considered “less expensive.” That chicken sandwich is really fantastic.
It’s been a while since I’ve walked you through the Launch Bay, so we’ll take some time to check out the Rogue One stuff about four months after it debuted. BB-8 is expected to join the characters here beginning April 14th in a separate, mildly interactive meet and greet. Chewbacca otherwise continues to see 20-30 minute waits for most of the day while Kylo is far less popular with 10-20 minute waits common.
Here we go:
I liked Rogue One a lot for whatever that’s worth.
A few nighttime pictures to close things out:
That’s what’s going on at the Studios. We’ll check back in when something happens or 2018. Whichever comes first.