Edit: Disney announced that the “Taste of Hollywood to Go” will be available for March 25th – April 4th. I recommend doing it as it guarantees a seat for Fantasmic. It sounds like they’ve reworked the food options as well.
Though it may not be apparent from this picture, spring break crowds have descended on Walt Disney World.
Hopefully these turnstiles are operational sooner rather than later.
It’s only going to get worse as these are the shortest waits you’ll see this week at 4:45pm.
Spring break means more hot dogs.
If there’s one thing international visitors love, it’s a Chili-Cheese Dog. Also, Stitch.
One of these days I will get the courage to go into Disney Junior Live on Stage by myself. It has recently added Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins.
With the first Fantasmic now beginning at 8:30pm, thanks to Sunday’s “spring foward,” Characterpalooza starts back up again.
A Palooza reminder:
Characterpalooza is an unadvertised character meet and greet session that usually features
six to ten characters inside the Animation Building. The timing and number of characters depend on when Fantasmic begins.
If Fantasmic isn’t scheduled, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 6:50pm (or Park close).
- If the first Fantasmic begins before 7:30pm, then Characterpalooza will not occur because the characters will be getting ready for Fantasmic.
- If the first Fantasmic begins at 7:30pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:10pm.
- If the first Fantasmic begins at 8:00pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:50pm.
- If the first Fantasmic begins at 8:30pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 5:50pm.
- If the first Fantasmic begins at 9:00pm, characters will appear from 4:50pm to 6:30pm.
In the past, Characterpalooza has been located here in the Animation building. Before it went on hiatus, Disney tested Characterpalooza outside at Echo Lake and the Streets of America.
At least for now, Characterpalooza is happening on the Streets of America.
The characters all meet closer to Star Tours, away from Lights, Motors, Action and Studio Catering Company. That’s the Queen of Hearts on the left.
Speaking of Lights, Motors, the afternoon show lets out around 5pm, and most of those watching will make the trek down the Streets of America toward Characterpalooza. That makes Characterpalooza out here a lot more hectic than it is in the Animation Building. In the Animation Building, there are well defined lines and just a few people in attendance. You either have to know Characterpalooza exists or be one of the few people exiting the Animation Tour or in line for Mickey, The Incredibles, or Vanellope/Ralph. Outside, character attendants let guests know that there were no lines for most characters. In addition, several characters randomly moved from place to place. Pocahontas greeted guests on the left side of the street and then inexplicably moved to the other side of the street in the middle of her set.
This added to the atmosphere that the characters were mingling with guests, but it was probably frustrating if you were next “in line” for Mary Poppins, only to find that she decided to cross the street, where a new crowd gathered.
The first set, from 4:50pm to 5:20pm, was Belle, Pocahontas, Jasmine, Mary Poppins, and Evil Queen:
Belle and Evil Queen stayed out for most of the two sets.
Despite several thousand people strolling up the Streets at 5pm, crowds around the characters remained mostly light.
I was surprised by the number of characters that came out at 5:20pm:
Goofy, Minnie, Stitch, Captain Hook, Smee, Pinocchio, Gepetto, Two Penguins, Chip, Dale, Queen of Hearts, Pluto, and an Army Man. Characterpalooza usually has five or six characters per set – not 14.
And then at 5:50pm, it’s over. I don’t know how long Characterpalooza will be out on the Streets of America. My estimation is that it’s going to be too hot and too wet over the summer to have it out here. On one hand, it allows more people access to the characters with so many people exiting Lights, Motors at 5pm. On the other hand, things are a lot more hectic with the addition of so many more people and the meandering characters.
Characterpalooza is a must do though – you could reasonably expect to see/meet 10 to 20 characters in an hour, which is roughly the amount of time it would take to meet just Tinker Bell or Rapunzel over at Magic Kingdom.
There are not a whole lot of opportunities to walk hand in hand with Minnie or shake hands with Mr. Smee.
Or have Jafar sneak up on you.
Youse Guys Moychindice probably has the best name of any Disney store on property.
Pretzel Garden is also located down here if you’re looking for a snack.
The tolerable Sloppy Joe remains at Studio Catering Company, though another sandwich hasn’t been added (yet) for spring break. Catering Company closed annoyingly early considering the heavy crowds.
I noticed that a “Mini Chicken Sub” replaced the Mini Meatball Sub on the Kids’ menu at Pizza Planet.
And a couple of the eateries had added a St. Patrick’s Day Cupcake. For whatever reason, Studios is where you find the holiday cupcakes. I don’t think I’ve really ever seen them at the other Park quick services. I would guess it’s tasty – everything is better with a hat.
There was a bizarre cheerleading competition for seven year olds going on at the Studios. I felt even creepier than usual carrying my camera around and pointing it in people’s faces. I elected to have dinner at Backlot Express. While it was slated to close at 5:30pm, it remained open past 6pm. Studio Catering Company was completely shut down by 5:40pm. Anyway, the weather was nice, so I decided to sit outside. I then realized that I was sitting across from the back entrance to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which is where the cheerleading competition was taking place. Hordes of seven year olds in mini-skirts and exposed midsections were trotting by. I’m basically the creepiest person in the world, even when I don’t try to be.
Backlot Express added several entrees this past September. I had been wanting to try the Buffalo Chicken Breast Nuggets – $9.19.
The cast member working the register noted that they were “spicy” and asked if that would be okay. Knowing this was ridiculous, I smiled and asked, “Like a two or three out of ten?” She confided in me that it was a three or four.
I’m inclined to agree. They are a little spicy, but we’re not talking ghost peppers here. They dipped nicely into the Ken’s ranch dressing bucket.
You can also elect to sit with a view of Jedi Training Academy.
In merchandise land, I think a couple of these shirts are new:
But most of the Muppet merchandise was the same as last time.
Just a five minute wait for Phineas and Ferb after 6pm. Remember when Phineas and Ferb didn’t have any merchandise? Yeah, me neither:
It’s available all over now.
More hot dogs outside of Pixar Place.
The wait will probably be twice that in two weeks.
Disney has built additional queue for The Legend of Jack Sparrow. As you may recall from the last update, you want to do this before 9:30am or as late in the evening as possible. Otherwise, it’s a 25 to 60 minute wait.
Nobody outside of Voyage of the Little Mermaid. You’d be looking at a 20 to 30 minute wait today.
Merida’s dress has changed.
This is the old version.
Cinderella’s dress is new too.
The old version. The others looked to be the same as before:
But I’m no expert. I would expect the other dresses to change soon as well.
This car has appeared in the Great Movie Ride’s courtyard.
I am not sure who it belongs to.
If it’s yours, I’d appreciate it if you’d move it. You can’t just park in the middle of a theme park.
Also, someone should remove this tree. It’s blocking my view of the theater.
Oz ended up doing well at the theaters and there’s a limited amount of merchandise in stores. Walt Disney Company stock hit another all-time high today as it approaches $58/share.
Probably the worst Disney shirt I’ve ever seen. More retro:
That’s what’s going on at Hollywood Studios. Characterpalooza’s shifting location may be frustrating moving forward, especially because the Streets of America and Animation Building are on opposite sides of the Park. Until we hear otherwise, I would expect Characterpalooza to continue on the Streets of America, potentially unless it’s raining. I’ll update if things change.