Movin’ Right Along

Today we’ll be taking in Disney Hollywood Studios. Because of my meticulous (obsessive) planning, we arrived on a very low crowd day. While the streets were relatively clear, that doesn’t necessarily change the ride wait times. Using the Fastpass+ here is key if you want to experience the most popular attractions.


Crossroads of the World

Heading down to Pixar Place you can see how wide open it is. We could have organized a flag football game here, no problem.




We need more monkeys!

There was a legion of Green Army Men out today ready for photos. This was pretty funny. The soldier would position each person in a military fashion, even pulling down this young lady’s shirt to cover her bare midriff.


“Sir, yes Sir!”


Woody, in his product hawking days.

Our first Fastpass+ reservation was for Toy Story Midway Mania. This ride was introduced in 2008 and it’s popularity has never waned, probably because it is one of a very few attractions that appeals to all ages.  The wait here at about ten in the morning was well over an hour, and it doesn’t get any better. Three hour queues are a regular occurrence during the busy seasons.


Toy Story Entrance

As you walk through the queue, you’re meant to feel like you’ve been shrunk down to toy size. The details here are very cute. Unfortunately, my pictures just look like regular toys, because there’s nothing to compare them to.  You know, like members of my family.


Balsa Wood Plane. It was huge, trust me.


Ooh, look at the stroller, there’s some perspective!

Toy Story Mania is basically a series of 3D-midway carnival games that you ride through. Competition for the highest score is fierce. Even though I whiff at it, it’s really is a lot of fun. That being said, I wouldn’t wait more than a half hour in line. Get your Fastpasses and you’ll love it!

For Meghan, it ain’t a Disney trip until she’s had the popcorn. I think that they must put some sort of crack equivalent in there. People are crazy about it.


Disney popcorn, check it!

At the popcorn cart, they were selling these adorable Mickey Popcorn Buckets for Halloween.


Hatbox Ghost Mickey

I’ll take this opportunity to either up my Disney nerd cred or send you running for the hills. This popcorn bucket is Hatbox Ghost Mickey. Even my friends at the Disney Food Blog got this wrong by referring to it as a Hitchhiking Ghost (Sorry, AJ).  The cliff’s notes story goes like this: In 1969, when the Haunted Mansion opened in Disneyland California, an animatronic “Hatbox Ghost” was part of one of the many scenes of the attraction. Then very soon after, the ghost disappeared.


Hatbox Ghost Drawing



…and as it appeared in the Haunted Mansion.

So what happened?  Some speculated that the head swapping ghoul was just too scary for small children, but that was not the case. The real truth was that the disappearing/reappearing head effect just didn’t work well enough and the imagineers never achieved their desired result. Because of this, the Hatbox Ghost was taken out of the mansion for good. Because it’s run was so short, and the lack of video footage back then, the very existence of this animatronic became a mystery of legend. Recently, thanks to the surfacing of this very grainy Zapruder type film, I can confidently tell you that it did exist!

Are you still with me? Don’t go, please!

Jeff and I were in the market for a snack with a little more substance, so we headed over to Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner.


Min and Bill’s

While Jeff stood in line for our sustenance, I chronicled the details for you. Min and Bill’s is based on a 1931 film with the same name. The female lead, Marie Dressler, won an Academy Award for her role. Not sure how that ties into the sammiches, though.


The S.S. Down the Hatch












There’s a bunch of shipping crates stacked up with very interesting addresses stamped on them.







I’m sure it must have been close to noon.

I though that they sold Jalapeño Cream Cheese pretzels here, but I was wrong. I know, I couldn’t believe it either. We split and sausage roll instead. It looked rather ahem, ribald.


I can’t think of one thing to say about this.


 We took a stroll down Sunset on the way to Ride the Tower of Terror.


The coast was still pretty clear.

 There’s store fronts with  themed windows all along the way.


Director Type


Songstress Type


Seamstress Type

In the Planet Hollywood Superstore you’ll find  props from various films, including this one from Home Alone.


It’s hard to see but it’s a tire iron


This prop is essential to the best scene ever filmed in cinematic history:

 Ok, he uses the prop right after that, but the internet let me down. Continuing on…


Tower of Terror


This is my all time favorite attraction of any of the parks. For execution of theme, you can’t do any better.


A little closer.



The grounds are meant to look abandoned.



Ok, someone is watering these flowers though. Ghosts, perhaps? Spoooooky!

You may not know that theres dozens of places around the parks that you can rent out for private events, and not just humungo corporate stuff,  but intimate parties as well. A (Disney) friend of mine had her Anniversary Dinner right here, with just a party of four.


They’ve since upped the minimum to ten guests, but all things considered, it wouldn’t cost much more per person than a dinner party at a fine dining restaurant. Plus, you get to be in the park when it’s completely empty!  If you want to have a private ride on the Tower of Terror itself though, you’ll have to pony up another $6,500.




I wanted desperately to know what was written here, but I can’t make it out.

We survived that nefarious elevator, by the way.


Exit area.

Whomever decided that these reception desk bells should be on display in the gift shop deserves a fate worse than death, like having to ride the Teacups or even look at them as in my case.





The back of Tower is arguably more brilliant than the front.

 We traipsed on over to the Rock n’ Roller Coaster, as you do. Save your Fastpass and go single rider on this one.


Rockin’ Roller Coaster



I liked the transition here between the rustic stone and the California Stucco.


Our limo is waiting

After a heck of a ride through downtown Los Angeles, we were ready for snack number two, so we took a break at Starring Rolls Bakery Café. We would be having a majorly epic meal later in the day, so we just picked like little princesses until then.


Please, please don’t turn this into a Starbucks!

This is a tiny, charming little place. On busy days, it’s bananas in here, but not today.  This bakery is known for it’s outragously huge and rich cupcakes. I’m not a sweets person in particular, but I really want to try something fabulous here.


Pedestrian snacks. Skip these.


Heavens to Murgatroyd, these look amazing!


Butter Finger Cupcakes. These seem like a one and done.


Plenty of open seating.

I was saving myself for our next meal, but Jeff and Meghan weren’t gonna make it. They opted for this:


Sushi from a bakery. Not my first choice.

Honestly,  it seemed very fresh. Starring Rolls also features some gorgeous looking Focaccia Sandwiches not pictured. Two people could easily share one.

A portion of raw fish doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to leave you with, especially if you find such things icky. Shame on you though, sushi is delicious.  Let’s cruise on through the muppets area for a sec.





Epic Muppets Fountain.

Take your time and really examine this feature. There’s so much cutenss going on here. The star, of course is Miss Piggy herself in all her patriotic glory. Then there’s Fozzie Bear balancing with one leg on a barrel all the while filming AND protecting his camera with an umbrella!


It’s the folks behind the scenes that deserve the credit!

Gonzo is directing the scene, while Animal has inexplicably been put in charge of regulating water pressure.

gonzo 2


float 2

That’s a not-so-hidden Mickey pool float he’s balancing on.

Whoever designed this feature was well aware that people feel compelled to throw coins fountains. I thought that the rats in the rowboat were just fishing, but upon closer inspection I figured out that they are using a magnet to snag coins!


Entrepreneurial Rats



Guess there’s some bills down there too.

We’ve fooled around long enough, so it’s time to be moseying on back for dinner, but it will have to wait for our next moderately exciting installment.

Coming up: We are treated to a private dining experience at Hollywood Brown Derby, or are they trying to hide us?


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