My kids are out of school on January 17th and I’m off work, so let’s go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! You’ve heard me say many times that effective park touring begins with arriving at least 30 minutes before park opening (45 minutes or more during the busy seasons). Here’s the line as we walked up at 8:32 am. And here’s the line at 8:45 am. The park opened about 8:45 and the line was already beyond the ticket booths. Why would that matter? The new Mickey Touchpoints move people through much faster than previously. Well, it’s because we want to be among the first to go straight to Toy Story Midway Mania for a short wait. Mr. Iger…tear down this hat! We walked to Toy Story Midway Mania and arrived at 8:53 am. We were beaten there by about 50 to 100 people because we weren’t interested in doing the Toy Story Trot. Many people were lining up for the paper Fastpasses. Those don’t exist any longer, so you won’t have to bother with trying to get a “Legacy” Fastpass. If you wish to ride twice, just reserve a FP+ and ride this at rope drop. I didn’t realize when I uploaded a video of the Etch o Sketch a while back that I was among the first to see that feature. That’s what I get for not reading the 1.7 bazillion blogs and listening to the 2 trillion podcasts on the planet that deal with Walt Disney World! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNw0fVPPocI Mr. Potatohead was working nicely, but the first guests of the day are in a HUGE hurry, so if you stop for a few seconds you’ll be passed by 62 people who need to ride this immediately. My daughter is ready to try to defeat me in the game. The champion prevails! Did you know that she and I once teamed up to win a Disney Cruise playing this game? It was at the Disboards Disapalooza event. We ended up with 4 of the top 5 scores too :) I was a little off this morning. We were in the line at 8:53am and out at 9:04am. It usually takes the average guest 6 times longer just to damage the queue line. After playing TSMM, we headed across the way to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody. I would so trade the Buzz n Woody meet for a Stinky Pete meet and greet! I would even wait in a line as long as Anna/Elsa or Oogie Boogie.Having tourists means we can’t have too many nice things. You can see that a Cast Member tried to make a quick repair on the damaged wall with some black tape. Then someone came along and tore it again. Uggh! Despite the damage, Buzz n Woody were in good spirits. I think the sheriff should guard the queue line so Stinky Pete can move in. Hey, I would even settle for a Bo Peep meet and greet. To infinity and Sofia the First meet and greet! We were in the line at 9:05am and out at 9:14am. A 9 minute wait for these guys is great. You’ll see posted waits for them in the 30-45 minute range. I rarely find the posted wait to be accurate though. You might want to add 10 minutes to the posted wait. So, at 9:15 the line is out the door for Toy Story Midway Mania and clueless guests are already using FP+. Don’t schedule your FP+ for a time that you can actually ride things with little or no wait. 90% of the rides in the park are at 20 minute wait or less within the first hour of operation. If we waited until 9:15 to arrive at the Buzz n Woody meet and greet, we would find a 30+ minute wait. See, Disney isn’t the only one that can use the +. Arrive early if meet and greets are important to you! If you sleep in and relax and take advantage of your vacation and all that stuff, you’ll be waiting in character lines that can reach 30 minutes to 4 or more hours in Walt Disney World. Early bird gets the meet. It’s 9:20am and this is the line for Sofia the First. She begins appearing in 10 minutes and 5 families would be in front of you. We’ll come back later and check on this again. My kids wanted to ride Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror over and over and over, so we didn’t meet her today. Unnecessary dedication to Jake. His line may build quickly at 9:30 am, but it’s pretty much empty in the afternoon. Goofy and Pluto meet over here on the left side of the hat. Early in the morning this can be an absolutely terrible photo location. The sun is right behind the characters. If you don’t like the shot, you can ask the character politely to change positions a bit to avoid that bright sun blowing out your picture. The waits were in the typical 10-15 minute range. That may not seem like a big deal, but there are 6 different meet and greets near the hat, so you may be dedicating one hour or more to these meets. My daughter was excited that we found that paper Fastpass (now extinct) was spitting out Fastpasses for immediate return at Rock n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror. Some of them were for times that were BEFORE the current time. My son had done his job as Fastpass runner (also extinct) and acquired Fastpasses for both rides. We were going to head over to Star Tours, but my daughter realized we could walk right on. We started by riding Rock n Roller Coaster with the immediate Fastpass. What What! My son looks excited to ride. They position the lighting to intentionally mess up your photo of the on-ride snapshot. They want you to spend the money to purchase their photo. I’ll just take the red dots. We were done with Rock n Roller Coaster at 9:47am On to my #1 most favorite ride in the interplanetary system. I haven’t traveled through the whole universe yet though. We had a fist full of “ride now” Fastpasses. We had so many we couldn’t ride with them all before they would expire. Those other people were waiting 45 minutes or more while we walked right on :) Hey, I didn’t make the machines spit out FP like that. I tweeted the info out and within an hour the system was back to normal. Disney doesn’t follow bloggers on Twitter though. Should we take this dilapidated elevator? Looks kinda sketch. Peace. We used another round of FP to ride Tower again. The wait had climbed to 60 minutes. Someone really needs to ask the Hotel Impossible guy to come review this place. Hello! Is this Mr. Iger? Bob, do you remember meeting me at the grand opening for Cars Land? Awesome! Well, I just wanted to ask if you could tear down the big, ugly, eyesore hat? The world famous Backside of Letters! Creepy Bellhops are the best bellhops. Can you tell we were having a blast this day? We rode Rockin Roller Coaster 3 times, Tower of Terror 2 times, Toy Story Midway Mania 2 times, met Buzz and Woody, rode Star Tours, ate lunch at Sci Fi and we were gone by 2:00. We completed most of our rides by 12:00. My little girl used to hate roller coasters and thrill rides, but she’s a big girl now and she loves them. It took some time and patience to get her to overcome her fear. After taking a tour through Hoth and Naboo with Yoda, I stopped to check out the Darth Donald hat. I like it except the little dangly things on the sides. What do you think? It was 12:00 and we went to check-in for our reservation at Sci Fi Dine in Theater. I love the theming of this place, but the food isn’t very high on my list. Don’t tell a 50 foot woman she can’t go shopping! I need to get a copy of all these old B movies so I can watch them all. Anyone have any laying around the house? I have two of these in my home and one who likes to think she’s there already… OMG it’s an Eva Bartuk film. I just love her work. Nope, 50 years into the future we had Michael J. Fox, a Delorean and a fake hover board. Oh, we can meet Doc Brown at Universal Studios too. Please obey the posted speed limits. It’s a high-end, reservation-only restaurant because it offers free ice water. It would be ultra high-end if they put lemons in the water though. As a child, my father used to take us the local drive-in movie theater. I remember seeing Smokey and the Bandit as a first run movie there. We would grab some tacos from Speedy Gonzalez and visit the movies by the car load. It was a great childhood memory. I have taken my kids to a couple of drive-in movies and we even stayed in a teepee once too! I want one of these for my living room :) They keep you entertained with clips from these old B movies and some of the little intermission snack clips. We always get a shake when we visit here. My daughter had the Oreo shake and she really liked it. My son went vanilla and I was chocolate. My favorite shake is the PBJ shake at 50′s Prime Time. I have people ask me from time to time why I don’t do food reviews. It’s because I eat burgers and chicken nuggets mostly. I could do a compare and contrast review of those if you prefer. I didn’t bother taking any of those artsy photos of my food either. My daughter and I split a Bacon Cheeseburger. It arrived with one little limp piece of bacon and no cheese. No cheese on the CHEESEburger? I politely told the carhop and she took it back to repair it. She returned and told us they were going to comp one of the shakes. That was nice of her. I was satisfied with cheese though. A little later she asked if the manager had stopped by. We hadn’t requested a manager visit. She said he wanted to offer us a Fastpass for any attraction for the lonely bacon no cheeseburger. They really went out of their way to make us happy. It’s nice to see the Disney spirit alive and well. Our group chose to head back to Toy Story Mania. Those other chumps were waiting 65 minutes, but our cheeselessburger got us right on the ride :) Dueled my son this time and came out ahead again. This ride makes my shoulder sore though. On our way out we noticed that The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction had no line, which was really odd for this attraction. It’s not the greatest attraction in the world, but it usually has 30-45 minute waits. The sign informs us that they are special Fastpasses available. So Disney spent 2 bazillion dollars to create this whole digital experience thing they call MyMagic+, Fastpass+, DoesntWorkHalfTheTime+ and ImOnMyPhoneTooMuch+ and they are handing out a piece of paper that doesn’t even have a date on it? I could come back next Thursday at 2:30 and walk right in. At least there is a cool photo to document the event! We had to leave the park by 2:00 because my son had a basketball game, so we took this photo of the line for Sofia the First. Remember that 5 person 10 minute wait at 9:20am? Well, it’s a little worse right now and you will not want to be standing in this line pouring sweat between April and September! I’ve gotten a lot of emails and questions concerning Character Palooza and people saying it doesn’t happen and junk like that. It happens and it is very close to the times I’ve posted. It may not happen EXACTLY at that time because it’s at the Cast Members discretion and weather. I haven’t been to visit lately because I’ve been busy with work and my son’s basketball games are far more important to me. I’ve received numerous reports that Character Palooza is alive and well just as I reported early this month. Things could change, but drop in Streets of America sometime to visit a few characters for a few minutes.