Wednesday my fiance Kim and I headed to Hollywood Studios for some themed walking as it is overall my favorite park for a stroll. I was off on Wednesday, so we got a little bit of an earlier start. We got out to the park around 7:00 pm. It was pretty busy, but the way the park works there is always something to do. We planned to walk, listen to some music and maybe browse through some stores as we hit all our favorite spots. The park usually is open till about 9 pm and, especially during weeknights, its slow enough for a relaxed experience.
After entering, we headed to the right down Sunset Blvd to listen to some peppy 1940s classics and take in the beautiful retro building designs and art. There is a lot in this area, but the street is wide enough, so there is usually not too much of a traffic jam. There are plenty of benches and ledges, so there’s often a place to sit and take it all in. Recently the Sunshine Day Bar, opened by Anaheim Produce and the Disney vacation stand. The new bar is an excellent spot to grab a drink to carry with you on a walk or wherever you find a nice seat. They serve can and draft beer, along with canned wine. There are a few specialty day-drinking themed mixed drinks available for order off of their signage as well. We usually grab a Terrapin Hopsecutioner IPA here for $10. We continue down until the end of Sunset Blvd and head to the right past the Tower of Terror. Here there’s a great spot by the exit area for Tower of Terror, but for whatever reason, it’s usually pretty quiet. There is a Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea to grab a cold brew or frosted donut while you’re here. Don’t forget Joffrey’s also carries liquor for mixed drinks and mix-ins for your coffee. This area is complete with overgrown foliage and architecture of the Hollywood Hotel. There are a few seats here as well, and if you need a break from the heat, the Tower of Terror store entrance is across from Joffrey’s. Sunset Blvd is an area with a great atmosphere to sip and stroll through with lots of options.
We then headed over to the Star Wars Hanger Bay, another entertaining and laid back area. The Hanger Bay is located in the Animation Courtyard between the meet and greet area and The Little Mermaid show building. Before you enter the Animation Courtyard, there are drink and popcorn stands. These are the last stops if you want to grab a treat to take with you into the Hangar Bay. There is a stand that serves only can and draft beer and mixed drinks that rarely has a line. Inside the Hangar Bay is a great spot to escape from the heat. The first area you step into is the retail store. There are some fun things to see and purchase here, but if you continue further into the building, there is even more. Inside the Hangar, there are Star Wars props, a cantina backdrop for pictures and model ships from the movies. It is air-conditioned inside, and there are several benches if you want to sit and listen to Star Wars themes. The lighting is low, so there is an overall calm vibe. I’m not advising it, but this is probably an excellent place for a nap. We like to look at the Star Wars ship models and take an AC break from the sun. The Hanger Bay is a fun area for Star Wars fans, movie fans and anyone looking for a break from the heat.
Our next stop, Baseline Taphouse, is my favorite place to sit back and relax inside Hollywood Studios. Its located right by the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant and has a door that connects the two. Baseline is a California themed bar that also serves some snacks. The inside is relatively small, but there is a lot of seating squeezed into the space that they do have. Outside there are plenty more tables for standing or sitting. Most of these have umbrellas for some protection from the sun. At night the string lights above the outdoor seating area add to the fun casual vibe. The music at Baseline is always soothing bossa nova cover songs. It’s in an ideal spot for meeting after or waiting for Star Tours, MuppetVision 3D or the Sci-Fi Dine-In. The bar serves California craft beer, cider and wine on tap. There is a flight available to sample several beers at a time. They also have liquor available for mixed drinks. There are a few snacks that are good on their own, but even better with a cold draft beer such as the savory Coffee-Rubbed Ribeye Steak Puff with Olive Salad for $11. The prices seem a little high for appetizers, but they are sized to be shared. I’m partial to Baseline because they serve my favorite beer, Stone Delicious, but it is also a great place to pause for a minute and take in some of the welcoming music and atmosphere.
Not far from Baseline is The Muppet Store, which is another area I enjoy walking around. The Muppet Store is located right near the exit of MuppetVision 3D. Aside from when a full show is getting out, the whole area outside the store is reasonably quiet. A small Christmas shop and Mama Melrose, which is an indoor full-service restaurant, are the closest attractions. Consequently, the benches outside the Muppet Store are usually unoccupied. They are hidden away from the rest of the park too. The Muppet area music plays outside here, and the scenery is the playfully decorated Muppets Store exterior. It’s a cheerful spot to take a break with some positivity. The store itself is a welcome break from the sun or rain. There is Muppet merchandise, art, scenery, and even some of the Muppets themselves are around the store. The soundtrack, while we shopped, was Kermit and the gang’s hits from the Muppet movies. Attached to the Muppet Store is a Disney art store. There is plenty of art to browse through and kill some extra time on. It’s a perfect extension of the creative and colorful world of the Muppets. The fun decor and lighthearted music make the Muppet store an excellent place for an indoor break that’ll put a smile on your face.
On the way out we always have to make a stop by The Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost store, It is in a secluded corner of the park near the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and the attached Tune-In Lounge. It is a small shop, but it’s indoors, and it’s Indiana Jones themed. The store is to the left of the Indiana Jones Stunt Show theater. There are benches across from Prime Time and nearby ledges if you need a seat. Its location provides the opportunity to grab a drink to go at the often crowded Tune-In Lounge and stroll over to the Jones shop. It doesn’t get much better than enjoying a refreshing drink while the Indiana Jones theme plays around you. Inside the store, there is Indiana Jones merchandise along with some movie posters and themed decor. Outside of the side entrance of the store, there is a usually empty area where the show exits. There is a wooden fence along here to lean on away from the crowds, and behind them, there are some old war vehicles and props to check out. The Indiana Jones store area is a great stop if you’re a movie fan, looking for a break away from the crowds, or need a place to enjoy your drink from Tune-In.
Echo lake where Dockside Diner is is the ultimate spot to stroll around in the park. There are multiple opportunities for snacks and drinks as you make your way around. Aside from the already mentioned Tune-In, there’s Gertie’s Ice cream, Epic Eats, Peavey’s, and a beer and liquor cart near the entrance to the Indiana Jones show in the area around the circle. It usually isn’t very crowded, there’s room to walk, and there’s always a place to lean. The view is of the water and the S.S. Down the Hatch. During the holidays, there are even decorations in the water. Echo Lake is another beautiful spot to slow down, take in the sights, and listen to 40s music.
These areas aren’t what make Hollywood Studios a great park, but they do add to the experience and make it more well rounded. These are the spots to head to after a stressful day or for a nice walk. If the theme park atmosphere is a little too hectic, these spots can provide a brief reprieve without having to exit the park. These areas can be entertaining and energizing since there is room to breathe and well-themed atmospheres to take in. I recommend Hollywood Studios for multiple Escapes & Strolls that combine to make an overall laid back and enjoyable experience for adults as well as kids.
A word of warning though in regards to everything I just said. The escapes and strolls mentioned above are all pre-Galaxy’s Edge’s opening on 8/29/19. If you want to enjoy these hidden treasures, I advise visiting them in the next month. Once Galaxy’s Edge opens, everything will be much busier and not so quiet. Hopefully, some of the magic in these spots remains after 8/29.
I forgot the chaos ensues this month. I’ll have to check it out after the hype dwindles.
Whenever I get in in any capacity, I’ll be posting about my experience. Maybe I’ll find out some tips for avoiding some of the craziness.