Spending the Day on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood Studios
“Down time” is not a commonly used phrase in discussions about vacations to Walt Disney World Resort. If you want to experience as many attractions, photo opportunities, restaurants, and shows as humanly possible, early alarms and late bedtimes are guaranteed. Unless you plan it into your schedule (you should!), it’s tough to find yourself with free time to kill. I’m always in the mindset to GO when I’m visiting WDW; hey I don’t want to miss out on anything! But on my most recent visit I found myself in need of a little R&R in the more traditional sense. It sounds funny to say, but I planned an afternoon of nothing at Hollywood Studios, and I recommend you do the same on your next trip!
The No Plan Plan
So, you’re on vacation at Walt Disney World Resort, and by the fourth day your legs are tired from all the walking, your arms are tired from pushing a stroller around, and your back is getting sore from lugging a backpack everywhere. Pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion is easy to do when you’re at WDW, but having an afternoon to spend itinerary-free is just the remedy I needed on my last go-round.
I showed up to Hollywood Studios without a plan. I didn’t have any Fastpass+ reservations, I didn’t have a dinner reservation, I just…showed up. I strolled through the park and found myself a nice little shaded table on Sunset Boulevard where I decided to park myself and set up camp for the afternoon. The day I visited the park, it was hot! Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining- I’m back in freezing weather as I write- but I needed a little something to cool me down.
It’s Hot in Hollywood!
I took a walk to the end of the street and hopped in the queue for Hollywood Scoops. Hollywood Studios’ only stop for hand-scooped hard ice cream, Hollywood Scoops is one of the most popular spots along Sunset Boulevard. They have a whole menu of sweet treats to offer like cups and cones, brownie sundaes, cookie sandwiches, and so much more.
I chose a kids’ cone for one reason and one reason only: chocolate Mickey ears! The ice cream was both firm and creamy, so thankfully it didn’t melt too quickly and was able to take my time enjoying it.
*TIP: If you’re traveling with children in your party, the hard ice cream from here is a great option, as it doesn’t melt nearly as quickly as soft serve or Mickey bars.
After I enjoyed my ice cream in the shade, I decided to catch the next performance of Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage. Since this show runs multiple performances each day, I knew I wouldn’t need a Fastpass+ reservation to guarantee me a seat in the large amphitheatre. After walking through the queue without having to wait, I secured myself a seat and was ready for the show! The 25 minute performance features live performers and singers retelling the ‘tale as old as time’ in a paired down version of the beloved movie. It’s great for kids as all of the film’s famous characters are featured, and the 25 minute run time allots for all of the songs and leaves no room for filler!
While the Theatre of the Stars where Beauty and the Beast plays is under cover, the sun somehow found a way to beat down on the audience through the screens, and I was again feeling like I needed to cool off!
Luckily I didn’t have to walk more than a few paces down Sunset Boulevard to find the remedy I needed. Anaheim Produce is a small snack cart that sells fruit, churros and Mickey pretzels, making it a perfect place to use a snack credit or two! For once, I didn’t come for the snacks, and looked for the sign with the season’s featured cocktail. The Beso Del Sol Sangria Slushy is what they’re currently offering, and a frozen drink was exactly what I needed! The drink was very fruity and sweet with a texture more similar to shave ice than your traditional frozen mixed drink. Served with a lime wedge to counteract some of the sweet, the drink was the refreshing drink I needed!
Into the Night
The sun began to set and I knew my free afternoon was all but over. I took a spin through some of the shops featuring Fantasmic! merchandise before I started to get hungry. I didn’t have a dinner reservation and since I hadn’t had my usual afternoon Disney snack, I was hungry! I picked up a quick burger and fries from Catalina Eddie’s. I’d had this meal in the past and I came back knowing the burger would be big enough to fill me up, especially since I ordered it with a (very generous) side of fries.
For me, any evening spent on Sunset Boulevard simply must include Fantasmic! I arrived about 30 minutes prior to showtime and got myself a great seat! After the final fireworks exploded, I exited the amphitheatre and started the walk back down Sunset Boulevard to exit the park. I saw the Sweet Spells sign off in the distance, and as I continued to approach the dessert shop, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist stopping in for a quick snack. Known for specialty apples made on the premises, Sweet Spells is a popular choice for dessert seeking park goers. I chose a carrot cake cookie. Two unbelievably soft cookies sandwich dense and rich cream cheese frosting for a twist on this American classic. The cookie was the perfect ending to my perfectly unplanned day.
Sunset Boulevard delivered a perfectly relaxing afternoon. I enjoyed shopping, snacks, great entertainment, and a pretty strong cocktail all without making one single reservation. While you should definitely plan the majority of your time at WDW, a little wiggle room might be just what the doctor ordered mid-week. In the future, I plan to not plan a few more afternoons and see where WDW takes me. What do you like to do in your Disney downtime? Let me know in the comments below!
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Special thanks to Maria Salerno for writing this article: Hiya pal! I am a NYC-based writer/musician thrilled to be bringing you all things Disney! I’m a WDW Annual Passholder, so you can find me in the parks regularly throughout the year. In addition to being a Disney Parks loving girl, I’m also a Disney toy and merchandise collector, a runDisney enthusiast, and Disney music and movie aficionado. You can follow me on Instagram: NYCtoAP and find me on YouTube: NYCtoAP. Thanks for reading, hope to see ya real soon!