Welcome to the first edition of The State of the Studios weekly update, your one stop source for everything Disney fans need to know this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Looking first at the arrival traffic work, vehicles now have a new entrance pattern when entering off Lake Buena Vista Drive. This is a temporary traffic entrance lane that will eventually transform into an exit only after Stars Wars Galaxy Edge opens next year. Disney is also switching all of the street lights in the parking lots to a new LED energy efficient lighting for greater safety and visibility. However, this bright idea results in one section out of the four main sections of the parking lot closed at a time for the near future. Fans plan accordingly and perhaps arrive early for a parking spot. Looking skyward, columns are appearing for the gondola skyway system constructed near the entrance of the park. Most noticeable is this construction activity at the end of the parking lot where the skyway system will connect guests to Caribbean Beach Resort.
Moving on to Sunset Blvd, an old friend awaits guests. The old red trolley car of the past that had been located on Sunset Blvd from 2011 to 2014 has made its return. The trolley welcomes back guests with an assortment of hats, popcorn, soda and other treats.
Off by echo lake, thanks to higher temperatures, we have a new flower display near Vine Street and Keystone Street. It has an Easter feel to it. Right next door Peevy’s is now open for frozen drinks for kids and adults alike.
We had two rare character sightings in the park this week! Max, Goofy’s son and Stitch were spotted on Commissary Lane. They were meeting guests all afternoon. I will let you know if they returned unless that was just an awesome rare extra magic kind of day for those two!
Hollywood’s biggest night of the year is coming up soon (March 4) for The Oscars and you can now feel like you are a part of the 90th Academy Awards celebration. Stop by Walt Disney’s Presents attraction to walk the red carpet and receive your award. Have your photo taken with an Oscar statute this week at the Studios. Expect this photo offering up through March 4 when the annual Academy Awards will air live on ABC. Click here for a video of the photo op. Also brand new, A Wrinkle in Time is the preview in the Walt Disney Theater. You can still meet Star Lord and Groot from the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. I expect them to hang around until their dance party starts in May over at Epcot.
Heading over to Pixar Place, the construction walls for Toy Story Land has been pushed back to allow a better crowd flow heading to Toy Story Midway Mania. Speaking of which, for the past several weeks the whole inside que area has been under construction. The main part of the regular stand by line and fastpass line is outside. They merge together and enter an exit only entrance where you can see the main que behind construction walls. Something to keep in mind…. from April 9th through May 7th there will be no fastpass available for this attraction due to construction of Toy Story Land.
At the end of Pixar Place more trees have been added behind the construction wall to avoid guests peaking in on Batuu’s construction. I have also noticed there is some space between the construction wall and the actual building effort which adds more likelihood that Grand Avenue will continue through the two big gate doors by Harmony’s Music shop and proceed all the way to Toy Story Land.
While you can still buy muppet merchandise at Company One Store next to Muppet Vision 3D, take note that Kermit, Miss Piggy and Animal plush are available for purchase when you order your food at PizzaRizzos. Speaking of Company One Store, half of the store is still under construction and behind walls since last fall. Stay tuned to these weekly updates for the latest on this renovation.
Our look at Batuu this week doesn’t disappoint. Imagineers and construction crews are working hard both day and night. The mountain range is coming along nicely. Unlike last year, during the day you can actually view work activity amidst the sound of construction equipment and cranes delivering materials to the buildings.
Thank you friends for joining me for the inaugural State of the Studios Address. Right below is the podcast version of this update.