On a Friday.
For the second time now, Disney has removed the stage in front of Great Movie Ride and canceled performances of “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” without any notice.
Disney was supposedly trying to replace the “permanent” temporary stage with a mobile stage that could be removed prior to the start of the new projection show, Disney Movie Magic.
But those plans evidently fell through as the stage doesn’t work and there is no set date for the show’s return. On the plus side, several of the characters that appear during the show are rummaging around the Center Stage area taking pictures with guests, which may even be preferable to the show. I’d much rather take home a photo with Boba Fett than watch him grace a far away stage for all of 12 seconds.
The March of the First Order with Captain Disappointing leading stormtroopers down Hollywood Boulevard is still scheduled throughout the morning and afternoon.
Cruz Ramirez began “greeting” guests this past Friday.
I saw Cars 3 last Thursday and enjoyed it, for whatever that’s worth.
Box office reception has been relatively lackluster with the film pulling in “just” 53.6 million over the weekend.
Finding Dory did 135 million over the same weekend last year.
Cruz otherwise meets at the end of Pixar Place near the construction walls blocking access to what used to be The Backlot. She just sits there un-animated with a recorded phrase playing every minute or two.
Waits should be short to nonexistent throughout the day, making this a low priority. You might stop by after using a late afternoon Toy Story Mania FastPass+ or something.
Disney probably makes more money from cupcake sales than they did on The Good Dinosaur.
You’ll find the Cars cupcake at a variety of quick service outlets, including Trolley Car Starbucks, where you can pick out a particularly photogenic creation. I like picking the cupcakes up at ABC Commissary, which is currently offering 20% off to Annual Passholders. Every blogger buck counts.
As a reminder, the “Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cupcake” is the same as the “Butterfinger Cupcake” of Starring Rolls fame and is about 600,000% tastier than Lightning McQueen, in cupcake form or otherwise.
A photo shoot that’s certain to double the number of followers I have on Instagram:
This one tasted like Strawberry Quik made into a cupcake – very artificial and with a crumbly, dry base. Another option is probably the way to go. That is an edible white chocolate piece that is kind of fun, but I would probably not eat the checkered flag. You’re still a winner in my book.
Crowds have been incredibly light this summer just about everywhere other than Magic Kingdom. This is Sunset Boulevard just after 10am.
Toy Story Mania is unable to break 30 minutes an hour after open.
A look at wait times over the course of the day:
This is not the best example of low waits as Hollywood Studios has the five rides, several of which can operate at variable capacities that can seriously increase waits even given fewer people in line. But it seems more than manageable for the most part.
At 10:15am, there are a few more people.
Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster was posted at 80 minutes, which seems a little cynical given the relatively short length of the standby line and the lack of downtime. On the other hand, if there were no FP+ returners, the wait would be around 35 minutes from this spot. So 80 may not be far off.
We got in line with FastPass+ at 11am and were back out front at 11:22am. According to the attraction page, we were expecting the experience to take 25 minutes, so that’s just about right. If you mouse over the names of the Parks above and click “Attractions,” you’ll be taken to some handy pages that tell you all sorts of information about a ride, including expected wait times, how long the attraction should take with FastPass+, and what you miss when using FP+, among other things. This is Hollywood Studios, for example.
More information on the Express Bus is available here, but Disney added a summer option for Annual Passholders that includes unlimited access to said Express Bus through August 10th for $59. Characterpalooza is also located through the same doors with 15 minute sets that currently begin at 4:35pm, 5:35pm, and 6:35pm. Typically six to eight characters come out.
Disney is posting the Express Bus times, which is helpful. In addition to operating on a set schedule with buses that typically only carry a handful of respectful riders, you won’t have to go through security a second time after arriving at the next Park. While we were headed to Magic Kingdom after our brief visit to the Studios, we still elected to drive over, since we would need to take the bus back over to Hollywood Studios to get the car after anyway. It doesn’t seem terribly convenient to do First Park -> Second Park -> First Park, but there are scenarios when it could save time.
Without much trouble, I acquired a Tower of Terror FastPass+ while in line for Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. If you’re not satisfied with the time, keep refreshing and a better time should eventually become available. As always, smaller parties see more availability. You can also try refreshing for a sooner return time on your next FastPass+ as soon as you scan for your current FastPass+. In other words, let’s say you have the following FP+ experiences booked:
- Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: 11am – 12pm
- Tower of Terror: 12:15pm – 1:15pm
- Star Tours: 1:25pm – 2:25pm
And let’s say you scan your Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster FastPass+ at 11:03am. Immediately after doing so, you can try to modify the Tower of Terror FastPass+ to as early as 11:05am if it’s available. Before scanning, you wouldn’t be able to overlap the return times. Obviously, higher capacity/lower priority rides will have more availability, but you might be surprised with what you can get when people change or cancel experiences. I routinely pull day-of FP+ for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Frozen Ever After, etc. It’s just one more perk of having no friends.
A 50-minute posted wait for Tower of Terror at 11:25am:
And back out front to a 30-minute posted wait at 11:48am for a total experience time of 23 minutes.
Crowds are picking up a bit as people search for lunch and stream into Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, among other things.
As in past updates, not much of the Toy Story Land and Star Wars construction is visible from inside the Park.
This view from Tower of Terror is about as good as it gets.
But this scrim remains around the building next to One Man’s Dream.
This should be the main entrance into Toy Story Land around this time next year.
Just a bit of Slinky Dog Coaster track is visible. Here’s the current state of construction from the air.
And a reminder of what the finished product should look like.
Star-Wars-wise, this is basically all that can be seen.
The buildings that once made up the beginning of the walk through the Streets of America are being painted, which certainly makes it seem like they’ll be part of whatever the “final” product of the Studios looks like.
We’re still in Muppets Courtyard territory here, so it should work.
While we wait to see if Mama Melrose finally gets that Swedish Chef treatment.
Here’s what the massive Star Wars project looks like from the air.
That’s how close Star Wars is going to get to the Muppet Vision exit.
A reminder that PizzeRizzo stops serving at 4pm. And while the rat pizza might not be stellar, it remains the most relaxing, air-conditioned spot for a quick service lunch at the Studios. You want to head upstairs. If you’re bringing your own food or looking for a spot to enjoy a cupcake in relative peace, it also makes a good stop. The doors remain open after 4pm too.
In late-breaking snack news, you’ll see some precious updated packaging on a number of items. Note the wink on the smaller bag.
An example of the older green bag in between all of the newer bags.
The description sounds like it was written by Dorky, the dwarf they never talk about, who also happens to be the author of this website.
Beauty and the Beast merchandise remains prominent as the live-action version is currently the highest-grossing film of 2017.
Cars is all about that merchandise.
The Disney Tails line has expanded – better pictures are available from Disney here.
The poison apple mug down there is fun though I’m not sure how gifting it to someone would go.
Smartphone manufacturers invest billions into shrinking devices by mere millimeters only for people to attach these cases with stuff jutting an inch out the back.
The Jack Skellington is even more ridiculous.
Some sun, which is a rarity here in Lake Buena Vista these days:
And some more Gertie:
You might be on the lookout for an assortment of water dispensers around the theme parks.
I’d make a list and charge a subscription fee to access it, but the dispenser locations are not that consistent. Not that you have to provide an accurate service to charge for it, of course. But when they do pop up, the water is typically ice cold and quicker than waiting in a long line to bug the cast member about a couple small cups.
Trolley Car Cafe typically has at least one dispenser available and is a reliable spot.
And there’s always the fountain, where you can not only grab a quick cup of water, but pull out enough change to buy a bottle of Dasani 50 times over.
We’ll see what’s next.