Hollywood Studios Update: October 2018
Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the next stop in our ongoing October 2018 Walt Disney World construction updates, and as the park with the most ongoing work, it stands to reason that this update should be the most exciting, right?!
In this DHS update, we’ll cover the latest on PizzeRizzo, the bus stop death march, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Toy Story Land, and other areas of the park. Also, we’ll get to the bottom of the mysterious case of the disappearing stage.
You might have caught a notable omission: Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge. Unfortunately, without riding Slinky Dog Dash–and we didn’t have a FastPass+ for it (womp womp)–it’s tough to ascertain any changes as compared to our September Disney’s Hollywood Studios Construction Update. It’ll still be an exciting update, though. Eh, hopefully…
We’ll start with the death march from the bus stops at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the front entrance of the park.
This time, I did this walk during the middle of the day when temperatures were over 90 degrees, with a ‘feels like’ of ~120. It was absolutely miserable–to the point that I was beat by the time I got into the park, and not really in the mood to do the rest of this update. (The only reason I was there.)
In our last update, I joked about this walk: “Due to all of this construction/demolition, it’s now a 13.1 mile walk from the bus stop to the front entrance. (Half marathon ‘I Did It’ shirts coming soon.)”
I found this to be an amusing quip, and while reasonable minds may differ on its degree of humorousness, I didn’t expect it to be taken seriously. However, multiple people questioned whether it’s really a 13.1 mile walk. I understand that not everyone is a runner, but even if you didn’t know that’s the distance of a half marathon–and ignored the parenthetical informing the joke–that’s such a high number that it should be patently obvious hyperbole.
The distance between Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios Florida is 12.7 miles, so even if you parked at the wrong studios theme park, you wouldn’t have a 13.1 mile walk to the front entrance of DHS. Just so we’re clear.
Not much progress is visible on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, which isn’t too surprising as most of the work is occurring inside the building. The only noteworthy change is that anchors have been added to the building facade, which will presumably be for the attraction marquee.
The most interesting “development” has been the appearance of a new website called Backdoor Disney, which has some interesting construction photos taken in May and June. Great Movie Ride fans might not want to look…
After transforming from Toy Story Pizza Planet less than two years ago, PizzeRizzo will go seasonal on October 20, 2018.
It remains to be seen what this means for the future of the Muppets themed counter service pizza restaurant, but we do not assume “seasonal” is a code word for Disney silently killing PizzeRizzo, as is often the case.
While seasonal status is frequently the kiss of death for Walt Disney World attractions or restaurants, in this case, it makes perfect sense. (In fact, what didn’t make sense was opening PizzeRizzo two years ago instead of just shuttering it for a few years.)
PizzeRizzo is at the end of a dead-end that’s “anchored” by MuppetVision 3D. As much as we love that attraction, the general public does not share our good taste.
A little over a year from now, this no longer will be dead-end. It’ll be the chaotic entrance area for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Not only will that bring a ton more foot traffic, but it’ll also mean a lot of guests waiting for their FastPasses (either for attractions or to enter the land itself).
In the long term, we think PizzeRizzo is totally fine. Well, not totally fine. The food will still be awful, but that’s correctable with a menu change.
One thing I wasn’t able to do while visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios was get photos of the interior work at Tatooine Traders. The store was simply too crowded and I didn’t want to wait out the crowds.
Based on what I could see, the redesign is pretty utilitarian, and I’m guessing the idea is to open up more floor space. Presumably, Tatooine Traders will be a spillover gift shop for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If entry to the land is timed or otherwise limited, having a second, high capacity outpost for that land’s merchandise makes sense.
Speaking of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, I also didn’t get new construction photos of it. Toy Story Land was utter chaos, and I was already losing my patience from the heat and crowds.
You can see a couple of the rock spires above this photo of Slinky Dog Dash. What I could see looked about the same as progress last month, but most of the work is done at a lower level, so you really need to ride the coaster to get a good look at progress.
You might’ve noticed the stage wasn’t in our top photo of Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away, which is because the show is currently down for refurbishment.
This used to occur on occasion because the stage was permitted as a temporary structure, meaning it would need to be disassembled and reassembled every so often to comply with that technicality. However, Disney switched to a rolling stage about a year ago. This time, the show is going dark for concrete work.
Very soon, we should start seeing the prep and installation work occurring for Sunset Season’s Greetings and Echo Lake Christmas.
Last year, Echo Lake was drained for ~2 months for repainting and cleanup, plus the installation of support structures for Christmas decorations. With that already accomplished, it should be a much quicker set-up process this year.
That does it for this Disney’s Hollywood Studios update. I know that I missed a couple things, but the weather and crowds were a one-two punch for which I was not prepared. I debated going back to rope drop Slinky Dog Dash for a glimpse of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, but I didn’t want to hassle with it. I’ll probably hold off on another update from DHS until the bus/parking situation improves–or the weather cools considerably. While my “13.1 mile” comment was hyperbole, the unpleasantness of that experience really cannot be understated. I guess whoever is in charge of the projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios right now really hates shade.
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Have you done the “13.1 mile” death march from the buses to Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Do you agree or disagree with our take on its unpleasantness? Thoughts on PizzeRizzo going seasonal? Did you look at the carnage inside Great Movie Ride? Anything else we covered in this update? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Tom – any idea what happened to Backdoor Disney? Their posts were few, but always…ahem…interesting. Just curious. Thank you!
So are the storm troopers still doing the march?
We were there sept 24th-oct 1st. That walk is horrible. If some of our favorite rides weren’t there we wouldn’t have even bothered going back the second time, but we ended up taking the boat back to Epcot the last time. I didn’t care how long the wait was lol when we go back in March we’ll still go but maybe will try to skip bus transport and do the boat again. This is just temporary, right?!
This is buy far my favorite post you have done. I sent it to my family right away. We were in disney this September and the heat at hs is brutal. The ‘death march’ was painful. I was totally shocked by Disney’s bad planning. Thanks for your great posts as always.
Thanks so much for your articles and for your blog! I have a question about Toy Story Land strategy. I’ll be at HS with extended family Dec 10th. We’ve got FP+ for Toy Story Mania at 1:30pm (that’s the earliest time I could get for any Toy Story Land attraction). Would you recommend rope dropping Slinky Dog and/or Alien Saucers (even though all of the other people in the park will undoubtedly be doing the same thing)? We’ll have lots of little kiddos in our group, so I doubt we’ll be there at park closing. What are your thoughts?
You nailed the “Death March” experience. It was no fun at all. My daughters commented on how unattractive the whole arriving to HS was. Disney usually does a great job of estectically covering up construction zones. Not this time. I see why the park was a ghost town.
We quickly did our fast pass rides and left the park. It use to be a favorite park, but has quickly lost its appeal for my family as a result of this trip.
We did come back for the Star Wars fireworks, which was excellent. Arrived 5 minutes before show and got a seat in the very front. Not crowded at all.
My family and I were only able to take the heat on Friday for about 2 hours at HS. We had two drinks, visited two attractions, then we were done. The walk from the buses to the park is nothing compared to standing in direct sunlight waiting on the buses to take us back to the resort. Two umbrellas per resort bus queue is not sufficient by any means. Even with the new attractions, HS will probably be my “skip-able” park for years to come.
I love that you called it the Death March! It truly is especially in the summer’s heat. I sure hope this gets changed because we were frustrated and tired by the time we got inside the park.
Are the trams still running from the parking lots to the entrance or can they not deliver that close and thus you’re stuck with the death march like the bus stop?
The trams run by you still have quite the hike. Watch where you come in at. That’s where my husband and I went awry. We didn’t pay attention and missed the turn going back to catch tram to parking lot! There’s a little offshoot that we missed seeing It’s a ridiculously long walk and should be marked more clearly
Ah, yes…the “Death March”. We were there Sep 23rd. I am a bit mobility-impaired and walk with a cane. We did park in the handicapped parking lot, but it was STILL a horribly long walk to what is not my favorite park in the first place (my husband loves it). We met a cast member going towards the parking lot…he looked at me and said, “Unbelievable, right?” and I had to agree with him. At least at EPCOT and at Animal Kingdom, there are racks of wheelchairs to help people to the front gate and back out to the parking lot, but I saw no such amenity here. As the cast member said, unbelievable. It doesn’t much matter to me…I’ve pretty much determined that this last visit to Hollywood Studios is MY last visit to Hollywood Studios, unless they come up with something pretty darn spectacular in the future! And no, Star Wars doesn’t count, at least for me. I saw the first three movies that came out, and that’s that. I’ll leave the Star Wars excitement to my son-in-law and grandson! Peace out!