We’ll stop in at Hollywood Studios. I am not real sure why.
Here at 4pm there’s nobody waiting for bag check. While each bag check takes a little longer than it used to, Disney typically makes up for it with additional cast. There’s at least 20 people working here with only a handful of people arriving.
Disney’s “Twenty Eight & Main Collection For Discerning Gentlemen” debuted a couple of months ago over at the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs.
A lot of the pieces have some ummmmmmm… “aggressive” price points. This bag will set you back a particularly discerning $328. And it looks like plastic.
You’d be liable to get pegged as a Disney blogger if you showed up somewhere wearing one of these $70 atrocities.
Basically, if Disney Twitter cries about something, you can buy a screenprinted shirt of it for $42.
A pint glass is also available.
Don’t worry ladies, there is plenty for you too.
This polyester shirt will set you back $298. On the plus side, you might be able to charge tourists $10 for a mobile eye test.
Min & Bill’s has seen yet another round of changes to its menu.
These meals are reminiscent of what the quick service outlet sold as “Taste of Hollywood to Go” during the holidays as recently as 2014. Basically, you paid a set price for the meal with the idea that you’d take it along with you to Fantasmic, where you’d have a seat in a reserved section. The cost of those meals at the time was $16.99. The beef is now $15, the fried chicken is $13, and the sushi is $14, which seems kind of absurd. The significantly better Pot Roast would set you back $20 at 50’s Prime Time Cafe. $5 more expensive, sure, but you’d certainly get more than $5 more value out of it. Brown Derby will serve you an excellent chicken sandwich with fries for $18. On the other hand, Studios has already lost Pizza Planet for at least nine months and Studio Catering Co. is going to close forever in early April, so those of you with quick service credits to spare might be interested. The meals do at least come with old chocolate cake.
To give the kitchen a little more room to microwave the meals up for you fresh, the cash registers have moved outside of the boat.
The Frozen Sing-Along is still showing in the Hyperion Theater to the right here, of course. As I’ve mentioned before, I think you’ll enjoy the show even if you have little interest in the movie. It’s legitimately funny.
I point this out again only because shows have moved to the half hour.
Path of the Jedi is still showing in the old Sounds Dangerous building. I covered all of the current Star Wars additions last month in this post if you’re unfamiliar with what it is.
To the left of that building you’ll find walls that are likely hiding construction on a new meet and greet area.
During the now defunct Star Wars Weekends, Queen Amidala greeted here.
There’s some concrete work going on across from the Jedi Training inside this box.
A busy scene here just after 3pm on a national holiday.
Star Tours was posted at 60 minutes with a lot of the extended queue full.
Somewhat unexpectedly, Backlot Express debuted a new “Star-Wars-inspired” menu on the same day that Star Wars Launch Bay debuted in early December.
I did not have a tremendous amount of luck previously with the $12.49 Royal Guard burger or BB-8 Cupcake, as precious as it might be.
Lisa and I attended the after-hours party at Hollywood Studios that included a ticket to the premier of The Force Awakens and a preview of the Star Wars fireworks, in addition to a couple of surprises. The biggest surprise, that Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster would feature Star Wars music for one night only, turned out to be the biggest dud. I think you’d be better off putting The Imperial March on your iPhone and listening to the song while you ride with your eyes closed on any other day. Anyway, I mention this mostly because these are first generation Android phone pictures of food. With limited options available, I went with the $10.99 Dark Side Chicken & Waffles – Chicken and Vader Waffles with Barbecue Sauce and Maple Syrup. These are your standard Disney chicken nuggets, which are probably above average on the overall chicken chunk spectrum, served alongside two small imprinted waffles that will assuredly no longer be hot by the time you get them back to your table. The waffles are potentially a little more interesting than the fries and with the syrup, the sweetness contrasts nicely with what is probably three days worth of sodium in the nuggets. Overall, they’re not worth going out of your way for, but they are a very safe bet in a Park that’s seeing fewer and fewer options. I do miss the buffalo version.
Lisa went with the $9.99 Galactic Chicken Salad – Mixed Greens with Chicken, Crisp Corn Tortilla, and Black Bean Relish with Avocado and Cilantro Vinaigrette. It might have been a time-of-night thing, but this was the worst quick service salad that we’ve encountered in some time.
I’m not sure if it’s a one-off event as I deemed one of Backlot Express’s previous salads as the worst ever:
Anyway, on the salad we were served it was obvious that just about everything had been poorly defrosted with limp greens and a weak dressing. I’m not cilantro adverse, but Disney does seem to rely on it an awful lot.
Lisa also tried the $4.99 Corellian Spice Fries – Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley-seasoned Fries Tossed-to-Order. This is a large portion of Disney’s standard fries fancied up a little (with an emphasis on little) and served on top of Star-Wars-themed paper that is a surprising hit. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people trying to save fast food packaging before. When these are served hot and fresh, they’re arguably better than the usual and the portion is easily about three times what you’d get with a standard $2.99 side. It would make for a filling mid-day snack or perhaps a shareable side with another entree.
Muppet Vision is not going anywhere anytime soon.
It was Pizza Planet’s last day of operation. It seems unlikely that it would reopen with a Pixar theme given the centralization of everything Toy Story behind the current Pixar Place.
Phineas & Ferb and the Cars made it two days longer than expected, thanks to an extension of the Osborne Lights earlier this month. The whole area is now behind a long wall.
My estimation is that the entire Streets of America area will be walled off come April, so it seems to make sense that a wall would go up where the red line is.
In the opposite direction.
While you probably couldn’t build a particularly strong case arguing that the Streets of America isn’t/aren’t a colossal waste of space, losing a lot of these little touches is unfortunate. There are probably well over a million people with pictures in front of this backdrop.
You’ll have to wait for the 3pm rain shower to get that singin’ in the rain shot after this photo op is removed.
Disney sort of announced everything that’s going to close a couple of weeks ago by stating that, “In order to bring our new lands to life, the first steps of the expansion will be happening soon. We wanted to let you know that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show and nearby locations around Streets of America will be closing on April 2, 2016.” That is, of course, somewhat ambiguous. You could make a pretty strong argument that something like Tower of Terror is a “nearby location” compared to say…Istanbul.
But this is probably what we’re looking at on the demolition front:
- That Coca Cola Snack Stand Thing
- Herbie’s Drive In
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure playground
- Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show
- Monsters Inc. meet and greet
- Pretzel Garden
- Streets of America
- Studio Catering Co.
- Studio Catering Co. High Octane Refreshments
- Watto’s Grotto
- Writer’s Stop
- Youze Guys Moychondise
and whatever else is back here.
It’s going to be “interesting” to see what happens over the next few years.
The Studios already “feels” small and congested. While there aren’t tons and tons of things to do back here, fast forward a little over two months and everyone here will be taking up space somewhere else.
I don’t personally have a lot of use for Darkness, Prius, Silence! Feigning Exhaust Ordinance, but thousands of people sit in this theater every day of the year and they’re all going to have to find something else to do. We’ve been looking at wait times at the Studios daily for the last couple of weeks, and average waits from 10am-7pm are typically very long even given relatively few people in the Park.
Otherwise, Pretzel Garden is probably the biggest loss over here. It would be prudent to pick one up and thank cast for their dedicated service over the years. #waltlovedpretzelgarden #pretzelgardenokay #occupypretzelgarden #wouldsomebodyjustthinkaboutthepretzels
Disney’s version of Diagon Alley with the Movie Set Adventure hiding behind this facade. #disneydiditfirst
A fun name at least.
Watto’s Grotto is out. Hopefully Yoda’s Bodega is in.
Let’s just take another moment.
I guess the sky will be just as pretty over Jakku.
This store does surprisingly good business with the Mike and Sulley Meet and Greet also closing behind it.
All of Studio Catering glowing away.
Studio Catering was long my favorite quick service here with some very good unique offerings.
Maybe if we start a collection I can afford to buy this fountain for the website’s atrium.
So if the last day for all of this is April 2nd, it will have been 553 days since Backlot Tour closed all the way back in September 2014.
It’s just past 3:30pm and Toy Story Mania is sporting a 135-minute wait with the FastPass+ line backed up outside farther than the eye can see. We took a lengthy look at how wait times stacked up on this particular day in this post and you may remember that the ride was down for 45+ minutes earlier in the morning.
This is not even the end of the FP+ return line. The standby line would not budge in this situation, which is the reason for the 2+ hour wait. You’d probably wait 30ish in FP+.
You may remember that I pointed out the nonexistent waits for Sorcerer Mickey in his newish location in the old Legend of Jack Sparrow space in between Toy Story and One Man’s Dream. A couple more signs have gone up since then, but the wait at the moment would be under 15 minutes.
This was the last day before Disney was again switching out the usual film about Walt’s Life to a preview for Zootopia, which looks to be Disney’s attempt at out-Dreamworksing Dreamworks.
Here in Animation Courtyard, waits to head directly into Star Wars Launch Bay should be nonexistent most of the time.
You may need to wait up to about ten minutes for the video in the “Launch Bay Theater.” I have a full 130+ picture look at what’s inside the Launch Bay in this post in case you missed it.
Otherwise, Disney has added posted waits for the characters on the exterior. Both Chewbacca and Vader are currently posted at 40, which is about as long as they get. Kylo Ren is expected to replace Darth Vader in a couple of weeks.
Great Movie Ride with its extended queue in service.
A quick trip down Sunset Boulevard towards Sunset Showcase.
I think this is new packaging on this monorail stuff.
Walls still surround part of Sunset Ranch Market’s seating section.
More tables have been moved behind Fairfax Fare and Hollywood Scoops to accommodate those dining here.
Fairfax Fare has dropped the BBQ Pork & Colseslaw Hot Dog and the Macaroni & Cheese with Bacon and Truffle Oil Hot Dog.
More signage has been added around the Park for Sunset Showcase, which is located in a relatively obscure location behind Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.
Some additional art is visible through the entryway.
The various characters meet and greet outside in the courtyard in an effort to drum up business.
New outfits as well.
Club Disney’s hours have shortened a bit, here operating from 11am-5pm. The “party” moves to Center Stage in front of Great Movie Ride from 5pm through 7:30pm with different character dancing.
As a reminder, this is a good restroom stop and they have chargers for your phone, in addition to dancing and interactive games for the kids.
At least we’ve got some dates for when the Streets of America stuff is closing, but it’s going to be a long 3+ years.