I’m seeing some goofy behavior with my Firefox installation not displaying some of the pictures. If it seems like you’re missing half of the photos, please post a comment and I’ll see if I can get to the bottom of whatever is causing it. Clearing the cache would fix the problem and is probably a smart thing to do regardless.
Continuing from Part 1.
Jake from Jake and the Never Land Pirates continues to see short wait times in Animation Courtyard.
Samesies with Handy Manny. Not more than a dozen people in line.
Brave merchandise continues to permeate, this time outside of the entrance to Voyage of the Little Mermaid. A few Disney Store items:
“Brave” added another 35.5 million over the weekend to bring its domestic gross up to 132.2 million dollars. Or as Disney calls it, “About 12 John Carters.” Walt Disney Company stock closed at all time high of $48.50 on Friday, hitting $48.95 earlier in the day. Despite a somewhat tumultuous few weeks on Wall Street, Disney stock has held strong.
Wait times at 11:24am.
“Mom, instead of riding Toy Story Midway Mania, can we hula hoop while some teenagers blow bubbles in our faces?”
I’ve been messing around with Adobe Lightroom, which “provides a comprehensive set of digital photography tools, from powerfully simple one-click adjustments to cutting-edge advanced controls. Create images that inspire, inform, and delight:”
Any of those “effects” are from pressing one button.
This is my favorite though.
Dumbo “styled” to look like it’s from the movie “300.” 22 megapixels: http://i.minus.com/ibjZJB18gp9TgP.jpg.
Back to business. It’s 11:27am and FASTPASS return is at 12:20pm – 1:20pm.
A few queue pictures for no reason in particular:
THEY’RE OUT OF SCOTCH IN THE LIBRARY!!!! THIS ISN’T DECLINING BY DEGREES! IT’S A RACE TO THE !@#$ING BOTTOM!!!!!!!!
They weren’t out of scotch when I arrived.
ISO 12,800 using my 50mm F1.8 lens at F1.8.
Don’t Worry. Everything’s going to be fine.
I’m confident in saying this is a new shirt that I really like!
And in men’s.
Less sure on this one.
Back out front at 11:47am, for a total wait/ride time of around 20 minutes, which is the amount of time you’ll want to budget with FASTPASS. I walked right into the preshow room. FASTPASS is at 12:40pm – 1:40pm.
I think this is over exaggerated as well with FASTPASS up to 2:55pm – 3:55pm.
So you may be thinking, “This is a recommended day?” The answer is yes, it’s the reality of summer. Regardless of the day you visit, you’re going to see those triple digit waits at Toy Story and probably at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Considering crowd levels and how long the actual lines were, it seems like wait times at both are over exaggerated. It’s 11:50am and you could walk right up and order at Fairfax Fare, something that wouldn’t be possible at this time of day when Hollywood Studios isn’t recommended.
Same with Rosie’s All American Cafe. The shorter lines at the outdoor vendors also have something to do with the fact that they’re outdoor vendors in the summer heat. For air-conditioned quick service, your choices are ABC Commissary, Toy Story Pizza Planet, and Backlot Express. ABC Commissary typically has the most available tables indoors. Pizza Planet fills up faster and the outdoor tables aren’t particularly pleasant because they’re smack dab in the sun. Check upstairs where there may be availability. Most of Backlot Express’s outdoor seating is covered and a bit cooler, but indoor seating may be taken during peak meal times in the summer. Sci-Fi Dine-In, Mama Melrose’s Restaurante Italiano, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe aren’t particularly expensive if you’re looking for guaranteed air-conditioning at a table service restaurant. You can get out of any of those three fairly easily for less than $20/entree and Mama Melrose and Sci-Fi have several entrees at $14 or less. Add in the Tables in Wonderland discount and you’re not paying much more than you would for a burger and fries at a quick service.
Thank the ABC series “Once Upon A Time” for the resurgence of some of this villains merchandise over at Villains in Vogue on Sunset Boulevard.
This glass rose bottle topper almost makes it worth not finishing the bottle of wine. Almost.
This is a tea holder or some such? Something to do with tea?
Finally, a coffee mug:
Or another morning beverage of your choice. Not that I would recommend one…
The lineup at Sunset Treats:
Writer’s Stop is another good choice.
A look down Sunset Boulevard at 12:01pm.
If you want to discuss “unsung favorites” at the theme parks, I don’t think you have to look much further than Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner. Unlike something like Kona Cafe, which “literally” everyone praises, I don’t think you’ll ever see coverage of Min & Bill’s and few people know that it exists or what it serves.
Remember that you can order any of the entrees without the bagged chips for $2.00 less. I recommend doing so and putting that money to work elsewhere, since the bag is smaller than what you’d get at the $2.69 pricepoint.
Chicken Caesar Sandwich and bonus “milkshake.”
Italian Sausage with Peppers and Onions and a Half/Half Vanilla/Chocolate Shake.
All very good and not available elsewhere. At $5.59 without the chips, the Pretzel Roll in particular is a compelling value. It’s only about a $1 more than your standard soft pretzel and has a lot more heft with the dog inside. It’s located right across the way from American Idol Experience. Keep it in mind if something sounds good. My only complaints are that the “milkshakes” are more like soft serve ice cream and there isn’t a lot of chicken in the Chicken Caesar Sandwich. On the plus side, all three items are easily portable, especially the cold Chicken Caesar Sandwich. A nice choice to bring with you to Fantasmic.
But I’m interested in air-conditioning and checking another salad off the list.
Always plenty of outdoor seating. As you’re looking at Star Tours, Backlot Express is located directly to the left.
Main menu. Bigger: https://www.easywdw.com/reports4/backlotmenu.jpg.
This is another location where you get “unlimited refills” with your fountain beverage purchase. The machines are freely accessible for anyone to use.
A few boring options in the Kids and Desserts categories.
Stealing a picture of someone’s dessert.
A quick look around:
The view from my table.
At least we don’t have to go far to wash our hands.
I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the more elaborately themed, air-conditioned quick services also offer the most generic menus and fountain beverages with the machines publicly accessible? Backlot Express is very nicely themed, but the menu certainly isn’t imaginative. Electric Umbrella at Epcot isn’t necessarily themed well, but it also offers vast air-conditioned seating, unlimited beverage refills, and a boring menu. The same is true at Restaurantosaurus at Animal Kingdom – self-serve beverages, air-conditioning, great theming, boring menu.
I oped for the Southwest Salad – Mixed Greens, Crisp Corn Tortilla, Black Bean Relish, Avocado, and Cilantro Vinaigrette – $8.29.
I don’t know if I had bad luck or what, but this was the worst salad I’ve ever had at Walt Disney World. There’s virtually no chicken in it. Maybe three bites. The salad dressing was either tasteless or nonexistent. I ended up dumping two ranch dressing containers on it, which probably means the Cheeseburger would have been healthier. The lettuce wasn’t particularly crisp and the small bits of avocado only added to the mushy texture. I think this is supposed to be similar to the Fairfax Salad or Dig Site Salad, but it just wasn’t working. If you’ve had a better experience, please post! Hopefully it was just a salad creating noob behind the wheel or something. At present, not recommended at all.
We’ll return for another look at Backlot Express sometime when it isn’t so crowded. It’s really neatly themed.
It’s 12:33pm. I’ve managed to ride all of the major attractions that now have long waits – Toy Story Mania twice, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Star Tours, and eaten lunch. I could hop back on Star Tours now with an actual wait of less than ten minutes. I got bogged down a bit after Toy Story because I didn’t arrive early enough. I really wanted to be at Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster by 9:20am or so, which would allow me to virtually walk on and then head to Tower of Terror for a walk-on there. The slightly later return time for Toy Story also meant I couldn’t collect FASTPASSes for Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster when it was convenient. But all things told, this wasn’t a bad morning. It probably would have been smarter to wait at Tower of Terror in the morning and then collect FASTPASSes for it or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster afterwards. While I didn’t have to wait at Tower of Terror at all with my FASTPASS, it was a lot of walking to and from it.
Now, you’d probably want to catch a show or two and then take a sizable afternoon break until around 6pm. Return in the evening and hit Backlot Tour, Great Movie Ride, Muppet Vision 3D, Animation Academy, or whatever else you have on your itinerary. The 10:30pm Fantasmic is preferable if you can swing it because it’s so much less crowded and you’ll get good seats arriving at 10pm. Don’t forget Characterpalooza that runs from 4:50pm to 6:30pm in the Animation Building. More Characterpalooza info here.
We’ll take one last circle around to see what wait times look like after lunch. You could walk right into Muppet Vision 3D, which is why we had no interest in doing it earlier.
Long lines for Phineas and Ferb, which is why they’re second on the Studios’ Character Prioritization list.
Five or so minutes for the Cars characters next door.
I enjoy the Osborne Lights as much as the next bro, but you’re going to have trouble convincing me that the Streets of America/Backlot Tour/Lights, Motors, Action! stage is the best use of space out here at a theme park that is woefully short on attractions, especially ones aimed at the younger set.
Getting back to why this is a recommended day, you could walk right on to the next Backlot Tour preshow/tram.
On a non-recommended day, you can look forward to being a member of this extended queue.
Considering there’s no one in the extended queue out here, the actual wait is closer to half of the posted 100 minutes here at 12:45pm.
With FASTPASS out to 7:35pm.
Over at Tower of Terror, the posted wait is up to 50 minutes at 12:53pm with FASTPASS out to 1:45pm – 1:55pm.
At Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, FASTPASS is three full hours further into the future than Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the posted wait is still 100 minutes, though that seems about twice as long as the actual wait would be.
The reason for the exaggerated wait times is probably to push people to other less popular/high capacity attractions and keep actual wait times lower. Remember one of Disney’s biggest goals is to have you somewhere other than in line. Obviously, it’s impossible for you to buy a Mickey Bar or t-shirt in the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster queue, though it isn’t unheard of to see a cast member slinging beers and sodas. By putting up the 100 minute wait, Disney is pushing people to collect FASTPASSes and head to another attraction, passing by multiple stores/kiosks/etc. on the way.
I guess the length of this one got away from me a little bit. And the day is only half over! On to a scrim-less Magic Kingdom!