How is Hollywood Studios these days?
The first park we visited was Hollywood Studios. I think the thought process was that we could go there on the day we arrived, try to do as much as possible, and, since we had park hopper passes, maybe go back later in the trip if we really needed to.
Last time I went to Disney’s Hollywood Studio was some time around 1995. Back then, it was called MGM Studios, and I don’t really remember much else, to be honest. [My two cents: A 16 year old adolescent male doesn’t appreciate Disney the same way a kid or an adult does, not this 16 year old adolescent male, at least.]
Our first stop was to grab a bite to eat. One thing I noticed was that it took a fair amount of walking before we started seeing any attractions. We saw lots of shops, though. That’s the thing about Disney, they take every opportunity to sell you branded merchandise that they can.
One thing that I really wanted to do was Star Tours.
I think it was the first attraction we did, and it had the longest wait for anything else we did that day. I thought it was a lot of fun, but it literally was three minutes. Three fun minutes, but only three minutes. Being that it was the first attraction and that I hadn’t been in an amusement park in 18 years, it was a bit of a surprise that the exit of the ride led to the Star Wars gift shop.
There were so many things in that gift shop that I wanted. There was a station where you could build your own lightsaber. Thankfully for my wallet, I couldn’t figure it out. I bought two things in the store; one Star Wars/Disney crossover figure for me and one for my brother. Hey, all the nerds got to complain when Disney acquired the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas, why not rub it in their faces by owning a Mickey Mouse as Anakin Skywalker action figure?
The crossovers reached an all new level when I saw the Muppets/Star Wars action figures.
That was actually the next attraction we saw: MuppetVision 3D. Hey, I had to make my puppet buddy, Wally Wackiman proud somehow.
That was a really fun show. I’m happy that the Muppets are making a bit of a comeback. Somewhere around there, they had a f*cking Jedi training academy.
One thing I really wanted to do but looked like a ghost town was the American Idol Experience. Ohh well. Maybe next time.
There was this really fun stretch with some busts of famous actors and stuff. I took a few minutes to pose with Bill Cosby and the man, Walt Disney, himself.
After that, we went to our hotel to hopefully check in and get everything straightened out. But we were going back to Hollywood Studios that night. We had plans for dinner and to see the show, Fantasmic.
Fantasmic was really fun, but it was also frustrating. So you need to get there a little earlier because it fills up. I didn’t believe it would, but it actually did. About 30 minutes before the show, they put on a cheesy performance with audience participation to get the crowd going. Honestly, I think it just about ruins the awesome spectacle that people are about to see, but maybe that’s just me. Anyway, that pre-show is bad. The weather was a little iffy. It was just starting to drizzle and you could see some lightning in the distance. Every time the announcer would say something over the loud speaker, I was sure they were going to cancel the show. The show started, and Mickey dressed as the sorcerer’s apprentice shooting off fireworks and doing other awesome stuff. Then, all of a sudden, the production went dark. I thought it was part of the act. Apparently, it wasn’t. They halted the show because of the weather. Within 10 minutes, the show resumed, and it was great. Seriously, this is the one thing that you have to see in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (I wish there was a way to see it without having to bear with that dumb pre-show.)
Getting out of the park was a bit of a story.
So there’s only one entrance and exit to Fantasmic. When the show ends, ten thousand people are trying to get out of there. So there’s a lot of pushing, running, and being jerks. We made it through most of the park without a hitch, but just about when you can see the entrance gates to the park, something caught my attention to my left. I have no idea what it was, but you can bet it probably had something to do with Star Wars merchandise. Up to this point, Cassie was walking to my left but I was a step ahead of her for some reason. While I was distracted, I guess she switched over to my right side to avoid some annoying person. Next thing we knew, we were both looking for each other in a sea of people. The second I realized I was lost, I started looking around frantically in circular motions. I think it would have been funny to see the panic in my face. I tried calling Cassie’s cell, but I guess she powered it down to save battery. Once she realized I was lost, she turned it on and called me. She had made it about 100 yards further than I before she realized I wasn’t there. Looking back, it was pretty funny, but I was horrified for a good minute there. Gotta love theme parks!
We had a fairly productive day in the park and, from looking at the maps, there wasn’t much else we wanted to do, so we didn’t go back to Hollywood Studios for the rest of the trip.