We’re in the midst of the most crowded weekend in May according to the Crowd Calendar and Hollywood Studios is listed as the “least recommended Park” today. It’s the second Star Wars Weekend, the first day of the new Phineas and Ferb meet and greet, and tomorrow’s Memorial Day. Did we have it right or are these crowd levels and recommended Parks just hocus pocus?
Here we are arriving at 8:40am. Crowds are already looking to be heavier than our other walkabouts.
The FASTPASS return time at 8:50am was already around noon. Note that this is before the Studios even officially opens!
Please don’t go to Backlot Tour first like these poor souls.
I lined up for a picture with Darth Vader at about 8:55am and was the last person taken before Darth “had a meeting with the Emperor.” It took about 20 minutes to get through the line and I was off to check on Toy Story Mania, which had already hit 70 minutes with a FASTPASS return time of nearly 4pm by 9:22am. Pretty ridiculous.
Disney decided to mess with the Star Tours queue this weekend. As you may recall, they had constructed that ridiculous six-hour queue all along the Streets of America last week. When that didn’t work out, they changed things up a bit. This week, you couldn’t walk by Tatooine Traders up to the entrance to Star Tours. This path only served as an exit from Star Tours and a walkway into the Star Wars merchandise store attached to it. It was confusing for a lot of people and I could tell the cast member on duty was already tired of repeating himself and explaining the situation at 9:30am.
The usual bottleneck around Star Tours, not helped much by Disney’s rearrangement of the queue and pathways around it. Waits at Star Tours were about 60-70 minutes all morning and afternoon, which is about twice as long as they were over this past week.
I spent the next hour or so checking out the new Phineas and Ferb meet and greet area. You can read up on that experience here: https://www.easywdw.com/news/phineas-and-ferb-meet-and-greet-at-hollywood-studios-pictures-info-and-review/
One of my favorites places in Hollywood Studios is the Tune-In Lounge, located adjacent to 50’s Prime Time Cafe. You can see the entrance directly to the left of the usual 50’s entrance. Here, you can enjoy anything on the 50’s Prime Time menu and one of many delicious alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. Check it out if you’re not in the mood for quick service and don’t have a reservation elsewhere.
The wait times board at 10:55am.
The Studios’ wait times board is notoriously inaccurate, so I decided to check out Sunset Boulevard. It does indeed look crowded.
And the wait time is listed at 70 minutes.
The crowds seemed even larger walking back toward Hollywood Boulevard.
I needed some shots of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, so I headed in that direction. It was playing to a near capacity crowd at 11am, which is pretty rare. Usually there are plenty of open seats when only two shows are scheduled at 1:20pm and 4:30pm.
Since we’re friends, I’ll go ahead and admit something to you. Lights, Motors, Action! is my least favorite stage show at Disney World. The two major reasons being the extremely uncomfortable bench seating and the sun. The stadium isn’t covered well and it’s extremely hot.
The beginning of the show is fun and the end is mildly exciting, but the middle 70% is somehow boring. Just in my opinion.
Looks like we pick things back up at Toy Story Pizza Planet. I’ve always enjoyed Pizza Planet. Though I realize the pizza isn’t “amazing” or “authentic,” they’re always served hot with plenty of cheese and toppings. One other thing to note is that you can substitute potato chips for salad. Don’t worry – I won’t tell the kids, even though the chips are probably healthier considering the fat content of most caesar dressings…
For the sake of being a bit different, I ordered the Italian Meatball Sub with side Caesar Salad. I realize it sort of looks gross from the pictures, but it tasted okay. I wouldn’t put it down as a “must try” or on a list of “most recommended entrees.” If you don’t care for the pizza then you probably won’t care for the sandwich either. I probably wouldn’t order it again. The side salad is about what you would expect. It’s pre-dressed, which makes it a little soggier than it would be otherwise. All in all, I wasn’t thrilled with the meal overall and would probably return to the pizza next time.
Here we are headed back down Sunset Boulevard at precisely 12pm. Crowds are thick and the wait time at Tower of Terror is 45 minutes and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster is at 70 minutes.
There were still some spots you could squeeze into at 12pm for the 12:40pm Parade. The long wait times and heat probably helped a bit.
This is what the turnstile area looked like as I was leaving at 12:10pm. This many people entering the Studios in the afternoon is almost unheard of on a recommended day. Waits at Toy Story Mania hit upwards of 150 minutes in the early evening and Tower of Terror was at 40-60 minutes for most of the day.
All in all it was a fun, but very crowded day at Hollywood Studios. That’s what we should have expected from a well above average overall crowd level at the “least recommended” theme park to visit.