Headed out to Hollywood Studios today for no reason in particular. The original plan was to visit Animal Kingdom, but having been there yesterday and not unearthing anything of any particular interest, decided to switch things up a bit. I noticed that the Studios was one of two “Recommended Parks” here and the only “Park to Avoid” on TouringPlans.com, so I thought it would be interesting to see what it looked like. Since we’re in between yesterday’s morning Extra Magic Hour/Double Fantasmic and tomorrow’s evening Extra Magic Hours/Double Fantasmic, it shouldn’t be bad today, even with two Fantasmic shows and slightly longer hours than other days this week.
Here we are arriving at 2:20pm. There was a light drizzle that was passing overhead, so I decided to grab a quick lunch at our favorite quick service (I say this as sarcastically as possible), ABC Commissary. Of course we have a longer wait than we would like at Toy Story Midway Mania, but there’s no way around that at this time of day. As we all know, Toy Story Mania is a “must do” at rope drop or your top FASTPASS priority. Otherwise, nominal waits considering the time of day.
This is the Chicken Curry ($8.49) from ABC Commissary. While it might seem like a gutsy (and pretty random) choice at first glance, it’s actually pretty good and by far the best item on the menu. Full menu, building pictures, seating pictures, and condiment pictures here: https://www.easywdw.com/menus-and-seating/abc-commissary-menu-commissary-lane-major-quick-service/. The fish is a lot of food for the money, but pretty terrible with a plastic texture and little flavor that isn’t fried oil. It’s not your Yorkshire County Fish Shop fish. The Burger is pretty silly with three fried shrimp stuck to the top of it – otherwise it’s your standard Disney burger. The Chicken Blue Sandwich is okay, but the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich at Studio Catering Company is much better. The curry here is served piping hot, which always makes the food better, and it does have a bit of a kick to it. It’s not overwhelmingly spicy by any means, but does have a very nice flavor. Unfortunately, the rice leaves something to be desired. It’s dry and often undercooked. You might be able to time it so the rice is “fresh,” but you never know. Disney would be better served purchasing some of those industrial rice cookers that your local Chinese/Thai joint uses. There isn’t a ton if chicken floating in there either. Overall, the Chicken Curry is the best item on the menu and a nice change of pace from your usual hamburgers and pizzas. With few good quick service choices at the Studios, it’s actually not a bad choice.
You may remember the Power Pack from a couple of days ago, which was previously only available at Fairfax Fare. It’s now offered at the other quick service locations at the Studios, including ABC Commissary, Toy Story Pizza Planet, and Backlot Express. Disney also continues to sell these R2-D2 dessert containers and the R2-D2 popcorn buckets are still available as well.
There were still openings for the American Idol Experience. Apparently it wasn’t a talented bunch today. You’ll see sign up people all around the American Idol building. Should you wish to audition, you’ll be sent/walked to the back of the building as pictured here.
The Star Tours area is a bit of a hassle just before the Pixar Pals Parade starts. It’s just before 3pm and this is a popular spot to see the Parade.
Yoda with a Santa hat and candy cane – $14.95.
Some other choices, including a Stormtrooper head, Jedi Mickey, and Darth Goofy.
Cute! Also $14.95.
Build Your Own Lightsaber is a popular activity in the Tatooine Traders store attached to Star Tours. Because everyone that rides Star Tours exits through it and it’s cramped to begin with, Tatooine Traders is a somewhat unpleasant store to shop in. Luckily, the Build Your Own Lightsaber assembly line is near the front of the store.
There are about eight steps and a few choices within each step. Basically, you move down the assembly line, choosing which style you would like from each bin. It’s usually a pretty quick process.
Can I give you a little bit of advice? Yes? Thank you. Don’t get a tattoo on your face. With that said, a temporary tattoo would be okay. This is the “Magic Ink Artisans” temporary tattoo kiosk, which is located across from the entrance to Muppet Vision 3D.
All things considered, the prices are reasonable.
I’ll get better pictures the next I’m there. They have a ton of choices – like 100 or more. Or 50. Or something in that vicinity. The bigger the tattoo, the more expensive it is.
Here’s the Power Pack in Toy Story Pizza Planet along with the souvenir cup.
It’s about 3pm, which means Phineas and Ferb are on break (which began at 2pm and continues until 3:10pm). During that break, no one is allowed in the queue, so you just have a bunch of people hanging out around it.
They now appear beginning at 9:30am. When they began appearing at 10:30am, it was easy to hit the major attractions before making it over to Phineas and Ferb. When they began appearing at 10am, you could still get through Toy Story, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, and possibly Tower of Terror before high tailing it over here. Now that they begin appearing at 9:30am, you would have to ride Toy Story and then head straight here if you want to arrive before they begin appearing in order to find the shortest line possible. On the positive side, if you have a child who is interested in Phineas and Ferb, but the other members of your party aren’t interested, you can send them over to Sunset Boulevard for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror while the other group meets Phineas and Ferb.
Luckily these guys don’t need breaks. Lines are slightly longer now than they used to be, but you’ll very rarely find a line longer than this, which is about ten minutes.
A closer look at the Osborne Lights installation and Streets of America decorations:
I’m not sure why…but the lights creep me out a little bit.
Pretzel Garden, the small kiosk on the Streets of America, was open:
Exciting, I know.
Youse Guys Moychindice is stocked for the holidays and ready for “Jersey Week” crowds. The only other time it’s really open is during Star Wars Weekends, when it’s stocked with Star Wars merchandise.
I feel like this nativity scene is missing something. I just can’t put my finger on what.
The Holiday shirt in youth sizes:
Everything is cuter shrunk down for some reason.
Heading over to Pixar Place. We see a bit of holiday cheer over here (in the form of gold stars anyway).
Toy Story Midway Mania:
With an hourly capacity south of 1,000 people an hour, long wait times are inevitable here. Compare that to around 2,500 people an hour at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, 2,000 people at Expedition Everest, 1,800 at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, or 700 at Primeval Whirl. In other words, if you had 1,000 people in line at the various attractions, you would have a 70 minute wait at Toy Story, 25 minute wait at Big Thunder, 30 minute wait at Expedition Everest, 35 minute wait at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and 90 minute wait at Primeval Whirl. Over a ten hour day, Big Thunder Mountain sees around 25,000 riders while Toy Story Mania only sees about 9,000.
If you’re planning to see Phineas and Ferb after their break, you’ll want to get there before 3pm. The problem is that so many people are watching the Parade near Star Tours and then inevitably head in this direction. This is about as long as the line gets during the day.
Muppet Vision 3D gets into the act as well, since it’s technically a “Streets of America” attraction.
Not much to it, but it does add a bit of flair.
Fozzie Bear getting into the action as well. Where are the Muppet Meet and Greets!
A 20 minute wait at Star Tours with FASTPASS return times 40 minutes out. If you can avoid Star Tours for about an hour after the Parade, you’ll be in good shape.
Power Packs at Backlot Express.
A few decorations on the back of the wait times board building.
And Information Center.
Stars down both sides of Hollywood Studios.
And Sunset Boulevard.
No wait at Tower of Terror. I walked right into a preshow room and then waited six minutes to board an elevator.
30 minute wait at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with FASTPASS return times all the way out to 7pm – 8pm.
The Citizens of Hollywood performing on Sunset Boulevard.
Leaving the Studios…very slowly…in a very small car.
Kind of boring…but they can’t all be exciting, right!