Our attention turns to a number of projects currently underway at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. A word of warning to anyone that read last month’s update – the content is exactly the same with slightly different words and pictures. easywdw.com is basically the new Madden only without the microtransactions. Maybe I will start to offer a darker blog theme for $50/year.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the focus and what most people’s eyes are turned towards when it comes to the future of Walt Disney World, not that I’m sure we’re all excited for Reflections: A Rehab Facility coming to Bay Lake in 2k22. I wish I was making that up.
Substantial progress is being made in what continues to be a monster of a project. I think there’s more scaffolding and steel beams visible in this frame than there are people impressed with Toy Story Land since it opened. The level of detail in Galaxy’s Edge looks to be an example of what the Walt Disney Company is capable of producing when they open up their wallet. Of course, we’re still getting just two new rides when it could have been six or seven or thirty. Check out recent aerial photos here, here, and here.
We’ve spent a lot of time focused on the Studios in recent memory. If you’re interested in effectively touring the Park then you might check out this post with Part 2 following here. Above is a 75-minute posted wait for Slinky exactly eleven minutes before the Park even officially opens, but we can still get there before everyone else with an earlier arrival.
You don’t want to be late, after all.
If arriving an hour before the Park is officially scheduled to open sounds a little too stressful or a little too time-consuming or you’re not exactly sure what that means, then you might consider the Disney After Hours event, where you can basically walk-on every open attraction for three full hours. The review for that is available here.
If food is more of what you’re interested in, then this post covers all of the current table service menus with new reviews of 50’s Prime Time Cafe and Sci-Fi Dine-In.
Other than Galaxy’s Edge, the biggest continuing project is the Disney Skyliner gondola system, which will officially open in “Fall 2019.”
Here’s a video of Sir Bob Chapek unveiling the non-air-conditioned units at last month’s D23 presentation. I think the feeling you’ll get when the lightning strikes the gondola is similar to what I feel when I see a new quick service entree at ABC Commissary. But at least ABC Commissary is temperature-controlled.
Some of the cables that will eventually carry the containers of calamity through the system are installed.
As pictured here, heading into the station, with or without you.
I’m not sure if there’s a better name for these than pylons, but here’s a closeup of the mechanics.
And there it goes as far away from Hollywood Studios as we can get.
Work continues at the old bus stops, where I’m assuming they’re flattening everything and repaving.
This parking lot has reopened as expanded handicap parking.
In addition to the pickup area for taxis, Minnie Vans, and Golden Oak residents.
Speaking of the bus stops, that has turned out to be a massive project.
The furthest stops from the main entrance back up right against the current, temporary stops.
That should be the end of it all the way back there. At least the stops look to be entirely covered, which is something that I don’t think the Studios could previously say.
One more look. Gondola cabins have been spotted here at the Studios and over at Caribbean Beach with lighter vehicles already being carried by the cables. With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening in “Late Fall,” you’d have to think that the Skyliner would begin operation a couple of months ahead of the new Land opening so as to work out any kinks and/or scare off the majority of people from riding them after the doors open and then don’t open and then do open exactly when they’re not supposed to. One wonders what the shelf life of a gondola system like this is, though perhaps Disney can play up the nostalgia factor in 30 years. “Remember when we visited in July and the temperature inside the cabin was 115 degrees and lightning struck us a dozen times and then we finally got back to Reflections: A Rehab Facility and none of our MagicBands opened the door?” *good times*
Work continues on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, an attraction that will almost certainly see a reduction in capacity compared to The Great Movie Ride.
What was the entrance to The Great Movie Ride has been closed off and turned into more queue, which means the new entrance will likely be elsewhere. Riveting, I know.
A number of dance parties, interactive games, and character meet and greets will open in the old Pixar Place area on January 18th of next year.
Any additions will certainly be happily received, though it’s a bit surprising that Disney would invest in a temporary set of experiences like this with no clear increase in revenue. As much as we complain about Disney cutting this or that, the money does seem to be reallocated at some point.
Some other sort of structure is going in in front of Tatooine Traders.
It looks like some kind of crow’s nest to me, perhaps as a way for cast members to oversee the tens of thousands of people waiting to get into Galaxy’s Edge and then spray them down after they’ve been in line for more than three days. Hygiene is important. Ask any blogger.
Speaking of Tatooine Traders, the store’s refurbishment looks to be complete with Build-A-Lightsaber now planted against the back wall. One wonders if Disney ruined a good thing by moving what was a popular activity away from the main drag where kids will have less of an opportunity to goad their parental units into springing for the $28 cost. I haven’t seen anyone in line or piecing a light sword together since the move, though it’s possible that they’re selling the same number or more given increased efficiency.
“But Josh, they had to move Build-A-Lightsaber because it was creating such a major bottleneck!” I wouldn’t disagree with you, friend, but at the same time that they moved the activity to the back, they’ve moved in other racks of plush and other merchandise that take up just as much room, if not more. Fortunately, it’s the sort of thing that can be moved if it does prove to be a problem.
What had changed to seasonal operation continues to be seasonal with Path of the Jedi closed. We’re about ten days away from the busiest ten-ish day period of the year from December 22nd through January 2nd.
PizzeRizzo doesn’t currently show any operating hours over that period, but you’d think that the Studios would need all the help it can get on the quick service front.
Rat Pizza was never very popular, finding itself situated in the back of Grand Avenue, which isn’t exactly driving significant foot traffic these days. But every person that chose to eat lunch or dinner there was one fewer person at Backlot Express, Sunset Ranch Market, etc. Since PizzeRizzo closed in its entirety, Sunset Ranch Market in particular has seen an incredible increase in the number of people choosing to eat there. Even on busy days, I don’t remember having “literally” nowhere to sit in the expansive outdoor seating area as recently as six months ago. Now, even on less crowded days, the area is typically packed.
A few years ago, this sign would have included Backlot Tour and Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, in addition to Studio Catering Co. and Toy Story Pizza Planet.
In a year’s time, I don’t think we’ll need an arrow to find Galaxy’s Edge.
Disney Junior Dance Party! will open on December 22nd in the old Disney Junior Live on Stage space.
What was apparently a temporary lenticular photo opportunity is now gone at the Tower of Terror.
This desk was set up for a few months, but apparently never caught on.
The Alien Santa Popcorn Buckets temporarily went out of stock, but have since returned.
As lucrative as Disney World blogging has turned out to be, I often lament the fact that I did not enter the $250 sunglasses market. But it’s possible that the real money is in $25 popcorn buckets served up by the thousand. Imagine not being able to keep these things in stock. For twenty-five dollars.
After the Great Hamm Cookie Debacle of 2k18, I’ll admit that the Studios’ decorations have not been at the top of my list of talking points. But since our first look at the holiday decorations, a few more have been installed, including this Angel Kitty ornament in Toy Story Land. So intricate – I can definitely see why it wasn’t delivered on time, particularly with Christmas changing which months it’s in every year.
We still haven’t seen the installation of this “holiday card ‘selfie” and while the list promises “more,” I think we’ve only received the three other decorations on the list. Maybe next year the rundown of items will increase from four to five. Or even six.
Gertie is again rocking the Santa hat and a snack, along with a couple more details:
One underappreciated aspect of the holidays at Disney is all of the individual trees and decorations inside the restaurants. Above is what you’ll see greeting you at 50’s Prime Time. I’m guessing the Hot Dog Special is better than the majority of the entrees on the menu and if not, at least there’s a rotary phone to call up Domino’s.
When you open up the my Disney Experience app while at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll probably see a number of notifications.
Surprisingly, the advice isn’t terrible, as a number of the Flurry of Fun snacks and treats are actually among the better options available.
It may or may not be creepy that Disney will send you a notification immediately after you pass one of the restaurants they’re pushing. Remember, the My Disney Experience app tracks your every move.
But again, the advice ain’t bad as Brown Derby’s lunch is one of the best values on property.
We enjoy a rare opportunity to see One Man’s Dream at Walt Disney Presents now that the Wreck-It Ralph preview has cleared out.
Some art and models remain on display.
While I enjoy the idea of the previews, they certainly seem to give a lot of key plot points away in just a couple of minutes.
A couple of the previews, including the latest Pirates of the Caribbean and Beauty and the Beast, were just seven or eight minute clips from the movie, which may hype the movie without ruining key plot points.
It may be surprising that Disney isn’t using the space to promote the new Mary Poppins or whatever Star Wars movie was recently canceled.
But there’s still some props from Saving Mr. Banks:
I still wish Disney kept more of these sorts of items on display. They must have tens of thousands of interesting pieces in storage somewhere. If people are willing to spend $30+ per person on a traveling Star Wars exhibit, certainly Disney could add some value by offering a similar display in its “studio park.”
I think that about does it for this update.
We’ll move on to quick service.