This series was almost over before it even got off the ground. Last week I made a commitment to visit a different Disney World park each week and seek out some random place which I had never before set foot in. I started in Magic Kingdom, took a tour of the Speedway Grandstand, threw up a little in my mouth, and checked one park off the list.
This week I went hunting in Hollywood Studios, and the whole plan nearly fell apart.
You may not be aware of this, but Hollywood Studios is a tiny park. It also happens to have the least immersive environment. There are very few secluded areas or hidden nooks. There are however, boatloads of giant soundstages which take up half the acreage. And these really can’t be used in my quest, because they are offlimits to guests.
|Technically, if one possesses the right gear, the roof of Tower of Terror is “guest accessible.” But also grounds for removal from the park.|
Which means I circled the park twice looking for something — anything — to use. One of our readers last week (shout out, Jonmar03!) had a brilliant idea regarding the lockers as a possible location, and I even snapped some pictures of the Hollywood Studios lockers. But I ultimately ruled them out, because a) the locker room at the Studios is abysmally ugly, and b) I’m 95% sure I’ve been in there before. I could have lied and you would never know the difference, but I am nothing if not honest. And devastatingly good looking.
Which means I seriously contemplated going into the Baby Care center, sans infant, to snap a few pictures. I’m 100% sure I’ve never been in there. I’m also 100% sure there is nothing creepier than some random dude strolling into the Baby Care center and snapping pictures. Fortunately, I finally found some place to bail me out.
It’s another attraction waiting area, I guess, though it’s kind of a weird one. It’s a vine-tangled portico outside of Tower of Terror, consisting of nothing more than benches and a series of trestles. Very haunting in its way. A soft, rose-covered hallway opposite the exit to the Tower gift shop.
|You are about to discover what lies beyond the Gift Shop. Beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the espresso stand. In the Hallway of Terror.|
I actually found it pretty odd, since all it does is wrap behind the espresso stand. There doesn’t seem to be much logical reason for it to be there, other than as a waiting zone for people not riding. The opening starts at one end of the espresso stand, goes behind it, and exits on the other side. It had never even occurred to me that someone would go back there. It doesn’t even lead to a backstage access point, so there’s no operational reason for it. But nevertheless, there were a few waiters lounging on the benches. I even used the drinking fountain that’s back there.
I don’t think it’s much good as a waiting area, since anyone sitting back there is literally hidden from the attraction exit. Hard to rejoin your party when you can’t see them. And I’m now curious to return at night, especially during off season, as I imagine it can be quite secluded and spooky.
|The flowering vines filter the afternoon sun in mysterious ways. And there is absolutely no purpose to this thing.|
So there you have it! Just like that, we’re halfway home. Only Epcot and Animal Kingdom left. Will we succeed?