Here are a few updates that didn’t work themselves into yesterday’s walkthrough. The Studios’ towering tree has been installed outside the entrance. It is not exactly straight, but who are we to judge.
Hollywood Scoops is the ice-cream arm of Sunset Ranch Market, which is the collection of quick services near Tower of Terror.
Brownie Sundae with Cookies and Cream ice cream.
The brownie is served warm, but ours seemed to be overcooked and more crunchy than chewy and gooey. Still yummy, but be prepared for the ice cream to melt quickly.
Toluca Legs Turkey Company, another facet of Sunset Ranch, is rarely open these days. The turkey legs are available at Fairax Fare when Toluca is closed. But next week they should serve the same pork shanks as Gaston’s Tavern.
Brown Derby menu:
The lunch menu is still available should you be paying out of pocket and looking for a less expensive lunch. Entrees in the $16 – $20 range put in the same range as Sci-Fi and 50’s Prime Time.
The new first-come, first-served lounge remains popular. It was reviewed in this post.
Starring Rolls’ hours have been cut an hour to 3pm. Not sure if that will continue next week when crowds are much heavier for Thanksgiving.
Santa Goofy greets on the Streets of America close to Studio Catering Co.
Last year, he only greeted during Osborne Lights from 6:15pm – about 9pm. This year, he meets constantly from 1pm to 5pm with short two-minute breaks every 20 minutes or so. Just about every single area in every single Disney World theme park has a name. This is apparently Tri-City Square, a thing I couldn’t even have told you. And I’m basically the blogger king of arrows.
Lines are much shorter during the day and you won’t be wasting time in line during the Lights should you get in line early. If you can swing it, getting in line at 12:50pm would minimize waits as much as possible. We got in line at 4pm and waited exactly 20 minutes. Try to avoid getting in line between 2pm and 3pm because Lights, Motors, Action letting out in the same area will increase waits.
More and more FastPass+ kiosks are being installed in the theme parks. These are near the wait times board and are themed to luggage. If you don’t have a smartphone and need to make modifications to your FastPass+ reservations, these kiosks are your best friend. The website will pinpoint their exact locations as more are installed.
Sid Cahuenga’s Antiques and Curious quietly transformed into the Studios’ central MyMagic+ headquarters earlier in the week. It’s located on the left just inside the main entrance.
The merchandise that used to be housed there has moved to the AFI Showcase store, which is located at the exit to Backlot Tour.
It’s almost all simple autographed pictures for $75 – $1000.
But there are a few more interesting things. This would set you back two grand.
The AFI Showcase has some neat newer items, including the whip from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
And a bat suit.
Pretty neat stuff.
The throw on the Buy More…Buy More promotion is new.
These should be available at all of the major stores and resort shops.
Nothing really of note on the Backlot Tour. The “Planes’ eyes” are still glued onto the aircraft.
The website covered Sci-Fi in depth in this post, so I will spare you a lengthy re-introduction.
Sci-Fi is one of five sit-down restaurants at the Studios. Disney describes it well:
Watch campy clips as you picnic under the stars in a classic car-shaped booth or table.
It’s always nighttime at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, and there’s always something savory—and spooky—headed your way: attacking aliens, marauding mummies, rampaging robots and more!
Enter the Hollywood-style soundstage as a classic car hop guides you to your very own automo-booth or table. Kitschy vintage memorabilia, the illuminated tail lights of your fellow drive-in diners and a sky full of twinkling stars set the mood as you place your order.
Sci-Fi is generally the cheapest of the sit-down restaurants and I think the atmosphere is the most unique. You can get out of there for around $13 – $16 per person and the Dining Plan brings the $30 steak and more expensive pasta options. The menu is the same all day, so you may want to plan a less expensive and faster quick service lunch elsewhere and a sit-down dinner.
Interestingly, they had laminated pictures of the seating options. Those without reservations had a separate leaflet with a picture of the picnic tables in back as their only option. Like any restaurant, you want a reservation. Reservations are typically more difficult to secure here than the other Studios’ restaurants.
I ordered the Salmon BLT served on crusty French Roll with Arugula, Vine-ripened Tomatoes, Bacon, Red Onion, and Chili-Chive Aïoli served with a choice of Cucumber Salad or French Fries – $15.99.
It was surprisingly good on a fresh, crunchy French roll with a nice slice of tomato, arugula, grilled bacon, and red onion. I’m not sure the advertised aioli added much to the flavor profile. The salmon was assuredly one of those frozen filets reheated, but it was flaky and had a natural flavor. For 16 bucks, I’m not going to complain. It was far better than most quick service options for about $6 more than average.
The cucumbers tasted like cucumbers.
Lisa ordered the Build-Your-Own Angus Chuck Burger – Flame-broiled Beef Patty with Cheddar or Swiss, crispy Bacon, Lettuce, and Vine-ripened Tomatoes with a choice of Cucumber Salad or French Fries – $15.99.
It was also surprisingly good. Disney burgers tend to be cooked to death and bone dry, but this was juicy and perfectly broiled. The vegetables were crunchy and fresh and the bacon was freshly grilled and crispy. Along with the better steak fries, I think the burger was worth the $6 up-charge over the standard quick service fare, even without consideration for the service or atmosphere.
Sci-Fi is a lot of fun and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of our entrees. I don’t think I would rock the more expensive steak, pasta, etc. items anytime soon, but for sandwich fare it was quite good.
The January and February Crowd Calendars were updated with the changes listed a few days ago. March is up next.