Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever February 11, 2016: Kylo Ren & Construction Walls at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Kylo Ren Disney's Hollywood Studios
Visit Kylo Ren and check out DHS construction with Best Week Ever! (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

Ed – Sorry to break in right at the start, but I would like to announce that this will be Seth’s last Best Week Ever for the time being. While Seth is focusing his considerable talent on other things, we will have some new Best Week Ever authors. Look for the first new Best Week Ever later today…that’s right, double Best Week Ever week! Now, on to Seth’s wonderful week.

It’s been a little while since Best Week Ever took a look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, so I stopped by the park several times in recent days for an update on this in-transition attraction. Construction walls may be rising on a daily basis, but that doesn’t seem to be stopping the crowds from coming! We’ll look at some of the changes around DHS, culminating in an encounter with the newest patricidal Star Wars star, Kylo Ren.


First, let’s take a look around Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the first week of February. This is a typically moderate time of year according to our Crowd Calendar, but I encountered some long lines around DHS, especially on February 8th:


Here’s a healthy standby line stretching outside the Tower of Terror:


Toy Story Midway Mania‘s standby queue approached 2 1/2 hours, with the line for FastPass+ returns stretching outside Pixar Place. The Green Army Men were deployed to keep the throngs entertained.


Now, let’s continue to some of the recent changes I spotted around Disney’s Hollywood Studios:



Zootopia Preview in One Man’s Dream


A 15 minute preview of the upcoming film Zootopia has preempted the Walt Disney documentary at the end of the One Man’s Dream walk-through attraction.


The rest of One Man’s Dream is still open as usual. If you haven’t visited it in a while, the exhibit of Walt’s original office has been relocated back to California, and a few newer nods to Disney’s international parks have been installed.





Premiere Theater Construction Walls


The arrival of Star Wars Land has already put its stamp on one corner of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where new construction walls have been erected around the Premiere Theater. The walls extend from Mama Melrose to the Streets of America, and have swallowed up the Cars meet & greet and Joffrey’s coffee stand as well.




Pizza Planet Refurbishment


Right around the corner, Pizza Planet is also behind wall for an extended refurbishment. Rumor on the street is that it will reopen with a Muppet theme to match the MuppetVision 3D attraction across the courtyard, a prediction that seems to be supported by the pun-filled gags plastered on the construction wall.




DHS Merchandise Finds


Tailors to the Stars on Hollywood Boulevard is now stocking items from the Twenty Eight and Main collection, which was previously exclusive to the Marketplace Co-Op store in Disney Springs.



There are some fun retro phone cases now available in iPhone 6+ size.



Love the details hidden in the doodles on this shirt!



Laurel pointed out this shirt to me, which easily wins my weekly prize for “cutest character apparel.”



Adventure Happens Here Dance Party


The holidays may be long over, but the DHS seasonal dance party in front of the iconic Chinese Theater still lingers on. Now retitled “Adventure Happens Here,” this party now appears to be pumping out dance beats in the heart of the park on a daily basis.



Even if you aren’t a fan of theme park dance parties (personally, I’d almost rather have the giant hat back) they do offer an amazing opportunity to see — and even boogie with — some truly obscure characters:




Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground


Knowing that it may be my last chance, I took time in my recent visits to reacquaint myself with some of the areas at Disney’s Hollywood Studios that will be permanently closing in early April. The Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground was packed to the gills when I popped in; hopefully an equivalent playground is in the plans for Star Wars Land to provide preschoolers with a place to blow off steam.




Streets of America


Right outside the HISTK playground, I also paid my respects to the Streets of America, which also soon face extinction.




Behind the Streets of America, the Studio Catering Company is also on its way out, along with the Monsters Inc meet & greet.





Maybe the biggest loss in this area will be the High Octane bar, which was one of the few watering holes on property that didn’t serve the same standard drink menu.



High Octane also had awesome bartenders, like Kellie:


Kellie expertly mixed me High Octane’s namesake cocktail, which was a blue margarita. Made nearly entirely of liquor, the mix was so well balanced (with just enough sour mix to make it tart without puckering your mouth) that I hardly knew I was drinking alcohol until I was nearly finished!




Lights, Motors, Action!


That cocktail was a medical necessity in order to face my probably-final viewing of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show.



While it makes a solid first impression, after all these years LMA has little rewatchability for me, thanks to it’s glacial pace. However, it still features some pretty spiffy ‘splosions!



If you like the stunts in Lights Motor Actions but can’t stand the slow parts (and who doesn’t?) I’ve edited together this highlights reel, showing only the exciting high-speed sequences from the show with none of the talky transitions. You can thank me later!



Kylo Ren Meet and Greet at Star Wars Launch Bay


The big Disney’s Hollywood Studios happening last week was the arrival of Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay. The emo evildoer displaced (SPOILER ALERT!) his grandfather Darth Vader, joining everyone’s favorite Wookie Chewbacca doing daily meet & greets.



Kylo Ren also replaced Vader in the private Chase Disney Visa meet & greet found inside the Launch Bay. Thanks to my credit card, I got to encounter The Artist Formerly Known as Ben Solo inside the Chase M&G with only a 5 minute wait, as opposed to the 40 minute posted wait for the public Kylo confab.



Another bonus is that the Chase Disney Visa meet & greet photos are all automatically added to your PhotoPass for free, even if you didn’t purchase a Memory Maker package.



Here’s a video of my meeting with Kylo Ren. As you can see, bringing up the subject of Matt the Radar Tech may be hazardous to your health!



Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party


Finally, no visit to DHS is complete these days without a viewing of the Star Wars-themed Symphony in the Stars fireworks. To capitalize on this popular spectacle, Disney is now selling a Symphony in the Stars dessert party with snacks, drinks, and an exclusive viewing area right in on Hollywood Boulevard.


Here’s a look at the Symphony in the Stars Dessert Party setup.




The dessert party looks delish, but you can also enjoy “dinner and a show” at DHS without spending quite as much dinero. For example, directly across from the dessert party entrance is Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner, which recently started serving TV dinner-esque hot boxed meals that make for a perfect picnic.

I tried Min & Bill’s fried chicken platter. The three pieces of chicken one breast, one thigh, one leg) weren’t exactly up to Mrs. Knotts’ high standards — or Publix’s, for that matter — but I did prefer them to KFC, and the mashed potatoes and corn side dishes were satisfyingly substantial. I enjoyed the dessert’s chocolate cake base, but the cherry topping had the unpleasant flavor of cough medicine.



After eating (big thanks to the readers who offered to share their table with me!), I easily slid into a viewing spot just to the right of the reserved dessert party section. The key is to stand as close as possible to the crosswalk directly in front of the dessert party, so that no one will be allowed to stand still in front of me. If you can find a patch of pavement, you’ll have the same perspective (or even a bit more centered) as those who paid for the party!



Thanks to everyone for following along on all of my adventures. This will be my last installment of Best Week Ever for the foreseeable future, but I deeply appreciate everyone who has supported my attempt to fill Daisy Lauren’s shoes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading Best Week Ever, and be sure to say “Hi” if you bump into me around the parks!

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Seth Kubersky

Author of The Unofficial Guide to Universal Orlando. Co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland and Beyond Disney. Contributor to Unofficial Guides to WDW and Las Vegas. Live Active Cultures columnist for the Orlando Weekly. Travel and arts journalist. Theatrical director and producer.

12 thoughts on “Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever February 11, 2016: Kylo Ren & Construction Walls at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • February 11, 2016 at 10:46 am

    It’s a shame you won’t be doing “Best Week Ever” for the foreseeable. I really look forward to your posts! Good luck with your other endeavours.

  • February 11, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    It humors me that they are selling iphone cases for attractions that don’t exist anymore. In fact, didn’t those attractions disappear before the iphone 6 was invented?

  • February 11, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Seth, Thanks for all your Best Week Ever posts, they were great! Looking forward to seeing other posts from you.

  • February 11, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Cherry flavored cough medicine is the reason I don’t eat cherries. Or cough medicine.

    Blessings on you and your family!

  • February 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    I sure enjoyed following along with you on your adventures – sad you’re not continuing but understand there is much to do in the Land of Touring Plans. Thanks for all your hard work Seth!

  • February 11, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    Seth, Thanks for all the posts. I have enjoyed them a lot!

  • February 11, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    That “CONTROL YOURSELF” line was hilarious!! Seth you totally frustrated Kylo Ren AND lived to tell about it, unlike his co-workers at Starbase.

  • February 12, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Thank you for all your posts! They help me get thru the blues I always feel between visits. Thank you for being so nice in person too – even when this crazy lady approached you while you were eating dinner! I’m so glad to have met you – but didn’t realize it would be for your last blog. And you’re welcome – you can share our table anytime!

  • February 14, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I really liked your best week ever posts and am sad to see them go. I wish you success in your next venture.

  • February 14, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    Seth, you’ll be missed!

    We were at HS the 3rd week of Jan. Glad now that we skipped One Man’s Dream this time. Walt’s office was my absolute favorite part of he exhibit. I would have been visibly upset if I went in and it wasn’t there.
    Also happy to say we visited the Honey playset one last time too. Our daughter is 10 and it may have been her last time there anyway, but we’ve enjoyed it for years.

    Thanks for all the great blogs and hope to read more from you!

  • February 18, 2016 at 11:07 am

    I’m so sad you won’t be continuing with “Best Week Ever”. I’ve really enjoyed reading about your adventures, especially when I was in Disney withdrawal. I wish you best in your future endeavors! Looking forward to your other blog posts and maybe some periscopes!


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