Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day Three - Hollywood Studios

Our morning on Wednesday began with an early stop at the resort gift shop.  Fiona had elected to wait on purchasing a souvenir after Splash Mountain, so she wanted to buy something to bring with her to Hollywood Studios.  We got there before the shop opened, and when they finally lifted the gate, the Cast Member asked Colwyn if he'd like to be the one to offically open the store.  He got to pick the movie that played all day (101 Dalmations) and he got a nifty certificate that says he was Director for the Day.  Pretty cool!  Fiona chose Baby Minnie as her souvenir.

We got to Hollywood Studios after the initial rope drop but during the 'opening ceremony' at the sorcerer's hat.  I have to say, I really disliked that whole process.  Before, they would start letting people in 10-15 minutes prior to the offical opening time, which really took the pressure off Toy Story Mania.  There was no mad dash, it was just a nice easy 'trickle' of guests into the park.  Well, the new way involves gathering everyone in front of the sorcerer's hat while they do an unimpressive opening show.  Then a huge mass of people makes its way to Toy Story Mania, resulting in an enormous line right at opening.  It was incredibly frustrating.  We were able to ride it once, but by the time we were done the line was already up to 40 minutes.  Compare this to our last trip when we were able to ride it three times right at rope drop with minimal wait.

The next thing on our list was meeting Buzz and Woody, but that also had a 30 minute wait, probably thanks to the people who took one look at the Toy Story Mania line extending down the street and opted to do something else instead.  So we skipped Buzz and Woody and went to meet Mike and Sully.  They were fun, we did a little dance as Fiona tried to hide behind me.  We had a little more time to spare before our breakfast reservation, so we took some photos at the 'Singing in the Rain' umbrella, then met Phineas and Ferb.  They had a short line, so that was a relief.

Hollywood & Vine was fun - Fiona was so excited to meet Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First!  Niall refused to interact with any of the characters until Handy Manny came by (he was last).  I was looking at his autograph page with Niall and pointing out his tools, giving them the wrong names while we waited for Manny.  Niall thought it was hysterical, of course, and when Manny showed up, he jumped right into the game.  It was very cute, and I was relieved Niall had fun with him because he used to really love Handy Manny.  The food was typical breakfast buffet stuff, but the kids loved it.  We even let them get soft serve after they'd eaten a 'healthy' breakfast.

After breakfast was Star Tours, which Fiona and Niall had never ridden before.  Fiona thought it was good, but Niall really loved it.  He was so cute.  We spent a little bit of time checking out the gift shop, then went to meet Lightning McQueen and Mater.  It was a short line, but there was enough time to have a fun chat with the Cast Member about our Magic Bands and working for Disney.

The Frozen Sing-Along was next, and I have to say, it was way better than I expected.  I knew there was a live action element, but I hadn't watched any videos or anything, so it really impressed me.  I'm pretty sure the hosts are the former hosts of Hyperspace Hoopla from Star Wars Weekends - they were very fun and energetic, and had great timing.  Colwyn and Lachlann had been moaning and rolling their eyes about doing the sing-along, but I caught them laughing at several jokes, and even saw Colwyn singing at one point.  Fiona, obviously, thought it was fantastic.  We had an unexpectedly annoying/hysterical moment afterwards when I tried to get a video of Niall saying he loved the show:  he punched the camera and it fell to the ground, and Colwyn just laughed like a maniac.  I was annoyed at Niall, but Colwyn's reaction was so funny we couldn't help joining in.

We had to go to 50's Prime Time Cafe for lunch after the show.  I say 'had to' because even though we were really looking forward to trying this restaurant out, we were all still full from breakfast.  I didn't have too many (read: any) choices when booking the reservation, so it wasn't totally my fault.  It was really fun, though - the decor was awesome and the waitress was nice, thankfully not scaring Fiona (who was very nervous about being 'shamed').  We all LOVED the peanut butter and jelly shake.  We managed to eat enough of our meals to not get in trouble, but we had to get fruit and brownies to go, we were so stuffed.

 From there we headed across to the Animation Courtyard (stopping for a family photo on the way) to meet some characters.  Ralph and Vanellope were up first, though it was a little anticlimactic after our awesome experience last trip when Fiona dressed up like Vanellope.  They were nice enough, though.  We spent a few minutes fooling around with the different games in there before heading to the Incredibles area so we could be first in line to meet Mr. Incredible and Frozone.  We had all dressed in Incredibles t-shirts (more on that later), so this was a big deal.  Niall pretty much idolizes Mr. Incredible and Dash.  We got some fun photos in front of the backdrop before the characters came out, and when they did, we had a great time with them!  They were very high energy and fun, and after the first group shot, Frozone moved out of the way so we could get just an Incredibles photo (it didn't even occur to me to ask for that, I prefer him in the photo!).  Once we were done there, we spent some time in the Animation gift shop, which we all thought was really cool.

We elected to do Wandering Oaken's Trading Post instead of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area, mainly for the AC.  Playing in the snow was fun and we got a Magic Shot, but the Aurasma photos were mostly a pain in the ass.  We didn't do too much else in there - no room for food, and no real interested in ice skating. 

Characterpalooza was supposed to happen around that time, so we headed over to the Streets of America, but it ended up being canceled due to very ominous looking skies (though it ended up not raining at all, ugh!).  I was rather disappointed.  Doug got a photo San Francisco Street and a Magic Shot while I pouted.

We just made it in time to see the Indiana Jones show.  The boys (including Doug) thought it was awesome, of course, but I was still nursing my disappointment over Characterpalooza (poor me!).  By then our Fastpass window for Toy Story Mania was open so we did our second ride on that, then hung around waiting for the Green Army Man to come out so we could meet him.  He was fun and I even got Colwyn to salute him.

Next up was Tower of Terror.  Fiona flat out refused to ride it, but Niall was excited going in.  After the preshow he started to get a bit nervous, but I thought he'd do okay.  He was quiet on the actual ride and didn't seem too scared, but after I unbuckled them, he covered his mouth with his hands and just broke down.  It was kind of funny, but he just looked so sad, it was pretty heart-breaking.  He cried all the way out and into the gift shop, not really calming down until he was back in the stroller.  I felt terrible.

Colwyn and Lachlann really wanted to try Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, so Doug agreed to take them on it.  We were all hanging out in the area in front of the ride for a bit, listening to the music, when Lachlann says, "Do you like this music, Mom?"  When I said yeah, he said, "Have you heard it before?"  Major oversight on our part regarding their music education, oops!  The boys really liked the ride, though, and were so proud of themselves for going on it.

While they were doing that, I took Fiona and Niall over to ride Star Tours again.  They loved it, of course, and I was just happy that they were willing to go on, since they can be kind of unpredictable about rides.  We met up with the boys and headed out of the park as it was about 8pm or so.

Fiona sat next to a three year old girl on the way home and they chatted and giggled the entire way – Fiona told her about how her mommy likes to tickle her, how she likes to eat belly pie, lifts up her shirt, pretends to eat her belly, tickles her to get giggles to eat, etc.  I was worried I'd get some weird looks, but the little girl's father was on the phone, and I guess nobody else heard.  Fiona let her hold baby Minnie and said next time we ride the Disney bus together, I can give you a piece of paper with my name on it.  She also said at one point, "I just had a hilarious thought, what about a hotel playdate?"  The other little girl mainly just laughed, but Fiona was happy to have a few minutes with a 'friend'.  I'm not a huge fan of Hollywood Studios, so this was probably the highlight of my day.

About the Incredibles shirts we were wearing:  that was brilliant on our part!  We got so many comments from CMs about them, ranging from:  “Hey, it's the Incredibles!” “Incredible Family, right this way” to “OMG, the Incredibles are here, I'm so excited to meet you!” “What's your super power? Super fast? Super strength? Super shy?” and “Seen Syndrome anywhere?” “Is our park in danger? Are you keeping us safe?”  It was so much fun, we all really loved the attention.  The kids especially thought it was neat, and didn't seem embarrassed at all that Doug and I totally played along with the CMs.

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