It’s only been about three weeks since the last Hollywood Studios update, but enough has happened that it’s probably worth visiting again.
These pictures are from April 20, 2017.
Over at Star Wars Launch Bay in Animation Courtyard, BB-8 has joined Kylo Ren and Chewbacca.
Each character meets separately.
Looking over wait times since the astromech droid officially debuted during regular hours on the 14th:
Actual wait times have been 10-20 minutes for most of the day with the 20-minute posted overall average.
Upon entering the Launch Bay, the first meet and greet you’ll see is for Chewbacca, who typically sees the longest waits. Here’s April:
The 21-minute posted average wait is pretty reasonable with peak waits typically around 35 minutes.
Kylo Ren continues to meet to Chewie’s right with what are typically short waits. The Disney Visa meet and greet continues operating from 11am-4pm and will cut that 15-minute wait down to two or three minutes. The entrance for that is around the corner.
Here’s Kylo wait times for April:
The 13-minute overall average is basically nothing as you can easily meet him all day with a short wait.
BB-8 meets on the top floor of Launch Bay in the same area as the jawas have historically met.
The queue is short and basic.
Grey and orange.
I have a tough time believing anything in Hollywood Studios would quality as an “area of refuge.” But that’s show business, folks.
At least the My Disney Experience app has buttons that say what they’re supposed to do, even if they rarely work.
BB-8 meets on a pedestal in a small room with a cast member and PhotoPass photographer there with you. Only one group at a time is let in, so the meet “feels” intimate without much concern that a blogger will put your family on blast in a YouTube video.
The cast member will translate BB-8’s beeps – apparently poorly – and the droid’s head swivels about as he “talks” to the various people in the room. It’s a fun photo-op and with waits typically around 15 minutes, not a huge time-suck.
For most itineraries, visiting the Launch Bay sometime in the late afternoon or early evening probably makes the most sense. It’s dark and nicely air-conditioned, so waiting 15 minutes for each of the various meets is far from the worst place to be at the Studios. Most people will have higher character and ride priorities first and last thing.
In the store, a limited number of signed bottles of Skywalker Vineyards wines are available.
The Pinot Noir will set you back $100 while the Chardonnay is $50. Retail is $70 on the red and $42 on the white, so the upcharge isn’t horrific considering what it would cost to get a bottle shipped.
The second generation of MagicBands with the “puck” are now customizable at the various kiosks; this one is in the store attached to Launch Bay.
In the previous update, I neglected to mention that “The Darkroom,” which is sponsored by a company that I’ve never heard of, has reopened along with “Cover Story.” Both were closed for a refurbishment/rearranging that lasted about three months.
The lineup of merchandise is pretty generic, but you’ll find pins, lanyards, autograph books, MagicBands, and phone cases, among other things.
The stores are otherwise situated on the right side of Hollywood Boulevard just inside the entrance.
In related store news, there are a couple new lightsaber pieces to choose from at the Build-Your-Own-Lightsaber kiosk at Tatooine Traders connected to the Star Tours exit.
You now have an opportunity to “Build & Name Your Own Protocol Droid Action Figure.” The R2-size units have moved to the back of the store.
If I had a droid, it would be the one that delivers cocktails.
This guy apparently appears behind Princess Leia at the end of The Force Awakens.
Chewie Candy. SO FUNNY I FORGOT TO LAUGH.
Elsewhere in stuff, I got a kick out of this Little Green Men Bowling Set WITH LIGHTS AND SOUNDS for $25. And it includes the batteries.
More and more Cars 3 merchandise is coming out.
When purchasing items at the theme park stores, you may want to pay attention to which items are “Disney Parks Authentic” and which are “Disney Store” branded. The Authentic stuff is the sort of thing that you can’t pick up in the mall stores.
But with the Shop Disney Parks app, a lot of the theme park merchandise is also available for shipping.
April 20th happened to be one of the precious few days where the “One Man’s Dream” show was actually playing at the conclusion of the exhibit.
The following day, the Pirates of the Caribbean preview started.
But while it seems like a shame to switch out the story of Walt’s life for a movie preview, the feature films push a lot more people to at least walk through the exhibit. Here at 3:45pm, there’s “literally” three other people in the entire exhibit and they were looking for a “Hidden Donald” in the Epcot plans.
Moana is no longer meeting at Hollywood Studios with the possibility that the character will appear at Adventureland in Magic Kingdom at some point in the future. A Guardians of the Galaxy meet, potentially with Star-Lord and Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy, could begin as early as the first week in May.
This was also the last day for Madonna’s dress.
You’ll find some Pirates of the Caribbean costumes now.
Very little of the current construction is visible from inside the Park. Toy Story Land will be located behind this wall.
At the end of Pixar Place, it’s still sky and dirt:
And from the PizzeRizzo area:
It looks like they’re putting up a wall to block the view further back. No word on if it will be tall enough to guard against the helicopter photographers. Maybe Disney will build some kind of electrified fence. I’ve always maintained that bloggers should have to wear bells around our necks so you know we’re coming.
Oasis Canteen is the kiosk located to the right of the entrance to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. Historically, it’s been the home of the funnel cake, but for a time last year was serving chicken nuggets. It’s somewhat amusing that they thought they were going to have such a hard time meeting quick service demand, only to build the gigantic PizzeRizzo and close it at 4pm every day.
It’s still home to the $8.19 Funnel Cake, which should still be the most expensive snack credit on the Disney Dining Plan. But it recently added Stoli Vanilla Vodka to the Root Beer Float and whatever a “Dreamsicle Float” is.
I ordered one sight-unseen because they don’t give me a choice in these matters.
It turns out that it’s sort of like an Adult Citrus Swirl situation with a mixture of orange juice, ice cream, and the Stoli. While it’s not advertised, this is available non-alcoholic as well, I would think for around $5. And I was really impressed. The tart orange juice contrasted really nicely with the sweet vanilla soft serve along with about an ounce of vodka that is easily lost in the creaminess of the melting ice cream and bright citrus flavor of the juice. It was incredibly refreshing and might be a more interesting way to get a shot of alcohol than the various frozen drinks served elsewhere with your choice of liquor.
Like the “KRNR The Rock Station,” where you can pick up the “Frozen Lemonade Cooler” with a shot of Bacardi Rum or Three Olives Cherry Vodka for $10.50. I’m semi-surprised that they’re advertising straight-up Jack & Cokes. And that Chili-Cheese Dog picture is pretty unfortunate even if it is probably accurate.
While I don’t often discuss personal struggles on the website, I would admit under duress that artistically, it can be difficult to crop menu pictures and eliminate all of the spicy bokeh in the back.
But while we can all agree that tilted is always artsy but artsy isn’t always tilted, sometimes you just want to be able to read the menu. Food-wise, nothing here is new, though the prices are higher and the picture of the Pulled Pork Sliders is “new.”
I reviewed most of this stuff back in October in this post.
Anyway, the alcoholic drinks are new.
This is the $12 Kahlúa and Cream Milkshake with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream (choice of Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream). This was really good and quite refreshing in its own right, though the Kahlua has a much more pronounced coffee flavor than the vodka in the Dreamsicle.
I’m wondering if the vanilla would have offered more of a contrast. I preferred the Dreamsicle, but if you’re looking for something cold and chocolate-y, then this may make more sense.
A walk through the third track area at Toy Story Mania:
20 minutes with FastPass+.
We got in line for Star Tours at 5:48pm with FastPass+ in-hand with the line backed up here and a 40-minute posted wait.
And wasn’t back out front until 6:14pm for a total experience time of 26 minutes. That’s six minutes longer than expected according to the attraction page due to some simulator downtime and cast members searching high and low for a lost item inside the StarSpeeder before we boarded.
Spice. Not even once.
While not a lot of what’s going on at the Studios is visible from inside the Park, we’ll continue to visit just in case there are any incremental price increases on hamburgers or fountain beverages.