Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Disney World 2011: Day 3

We were able to actually get into Hollywood Studios pretty much when they opened the next day. We scheduled only 1 day to get to everything here and we were able to hit just about everything this park had to offer. When we first got into the park, we booked it over to Toy Story Mania to get fast passes. I've been wanting to ride this ride since its debut and we never were able to make it to the one in California Adventure, so this was pretty much the biggest thing for me to do that day since I've been reading that the Fast Passes for this go pretty quickly. We went to get them an hour or so after the park opened and our time to come back wasn't until 4:30 PM which means they were going quickly. After that, we were able to wander around the park and explore a little bit while we decided what we wanted to do first.

Hollywood Studios is primarily full of shows. There are a couple of extreme rides, but other than that, it's mostly pretty relaxed and easy going here. Of course there were crowds, but a lot of the shows were indoors and the waits were all very minimal. I think this was the perfect escape for us in the middle of our vacation.

The Studio Backlot Tour was the first attraction we went to. We didn't really know much about this ride, but it was pretty cool to see the behind-the-scenes stuff. We got to see special effects sets and props from movies. The kids didn't enjoy the loud effects that much, but they were pretty good throughout the ride. Jadon was curious about the water works and what was happening. Isabelle did get a little bored though and Andrew had to pull out his phone for her to play with. Andrew and I thought it was pretty interesting and it was something Andrew said was a favorite of the day. I thought it was pretty cool to see all the props and especially the plane that Walt Disney used to fly back and forth between California and Florida.

Next up was the Indiana Jones show. Andrew remembered this show pretty well, but I could only remember the first part of the show. I had no idea how in depth it was and how many cool stunts it showed. Jadon enjoyed it too. We arrived maybe 20 minutes early and were able to get seats in the huge amphitheater, but we could have easily not gotten seats if we were any later in getting there. It was already pretty full when we arrived and it continued to fill up as we waited for the show to start. It wouldn't have been a very enjoyable show if we had to stand in the back for the 30 minutes it goes for. This was definitely an awesome show and I would definitely go back to this one. Andrew is a fan of Indiana Jones so I think he had fun watching it and introducing the coolness of Indiana Jones to Jadon.

We saw the Playhouse Disney show in Disneyland and Jadon loved it so much. He wanted to go back multiple times, which says something since he didn't want to do anything in Disneyland. Now Playhouse Disney has been changed to Disney Junior and the show in Disney World was very much like the one in Disneyland, but they changed one of the stories so Jadon wasn't getting a complete repeat of the show. The Disney Junior Show was a pretty short wait. We came in maybe 10 minutes before they started and we were able to get seated in the middle section and we had a pretty good view of the stage. It's all a pretty good view, but if you're too far back, you don't get any of the special features like the bubbles blowing towards you. We were just barely where we were able to enjoy them. Jadon was so excited to see that it was like the Disneyland one. He was so excited for the show to begin. The first time in Disneyland, he joined in and called out when they wanted him to, but he didn't this time. I think it's because he was already aware of what was going on. The show is centered around Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but they look at 3 stories from other Disney shows to solve their problems. We saw the same stories from Disneyland like Handy Manny and Little Einsteins, but the last story was different this time. Instead of My Friends Tigger and Pooh, they had their newest show Jake and the Neverland Pirates. With this story, Jadon joined in and used his hands as a telescope and was very interested in what was going to happen. They dropped gold coins in the form of paper circles from the ceiling and Jadon gathered up as many as he could and stuck it under his cap. It was super cute and I'm sad Andrew was out walking a sleeping Isabelle and that they both missed out.

Isabelle woke up just in time for us to see the Little Mermaid show. Andrew and I aren't huge fans of The Little Mermaid, but we were thoroughly impressed with the show. It combined live actors with puppets and it was all a really good overview of the movie. It was a bit dark and spooky in spots, but it was so good that I'm a little more interested in watching that movie again. Jadon and Isabelle liked it too. Isabelle clapped when she was supposed to and she really did well considering the fact that she just barely woke up from a short nap.

While the kids hung out for a bit, Andrew and Jason went on the Tower of Terror. It was their first time on the ride and I'm sad I wasn't there to see their reactions. Andrew is slightly afraid of heights so he said that he did have an "Oh no! I'm going to die!" moment when the doors opened at the top of the building and he looked out over everything just before dropping. He says the picture was of his freak out and Jason looking over at him to see his reaction. Too bad he didn't take a pic of it. It would've been nice to have to look back and mock at.

When they got back, it was getting pretty hot outside so Andrew took Jadon to the Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground while I got some lunch for Isabelle. There's a lot of shade in certain parts of the park and it was very nice to eat outside under the shade. Jadon didn't get to spend much time at the playground since he wasn't behaving, but he was able to eat some lunch too and then it was finally time to go back to Toy Story Mania.

Andrew thought it was hilarious that I was so excited for Toy Story Mania, but come on! I'm a Toy Story fan and the whole ride just looked awesome. I thought Jadon would really like it too since you get to play carnival games and use a "shooter gun" as Jadon calls it. Jadon definitely was getting excited as we went through the queue and he saw all the different toy elements and was able to recognize the Toy Story stuff. We did have to wait a little bit, but it wasn't too bad. Andrew played with Isabelle on his lap which meant he could only turn the gun so far with Isabelle hanging off the other end of it. Jadon and I played next to each other and it was seriously awesome. I'm glad it met my expectations. Jadon loved it too and wanted to come back to this ride, but that wasn't going to happen considering how long it took for us to get on and we were definitely not going to come back to this park just to ride this ride. I'm glad we were able to ride this one without a massive wait. I don't think it would've been as much fun if we had to wait over an hour to get in.

We went on The Great Movie Ride next. It didn't have a very high rating in my book, but Andrew and I thought it was enjoyable. It was definitely unexpected and entertaining throughout. This ride is a good example of how Disney turns everything into a show. It was more than just a tour through classic films. Characters literally came to life and we were all pulled into the story.

Afterward, it was about time for our Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Fast Passes. Isabelle fell asleep in the stroller while we walked over and we were able to rest a little bit before Heather and Jason got there. Andrew actually did nod off for a little bit while we sat down. This was the first time Andrew and Jason were going to ride this ride too. I remembered loving this ride from the first time I rode it and it was just as good this time around. Andrew was ready for the initial fast start and so his face in the picture is of him closing his eyes while I looked like I thought I was going to die. Basically, I looked the exact same as I did on my first time there.

We left just before the park closed to get to our dinner reservations at Paradiso 37 in Downtown Disney. One thing that we thought was annoying about the bus shuttle system was that there was no direct way to get to Downtown Disney from any of the parks. You can only get a bus to Downtown Disney from your hotel. A cast member told us that the bus drivers told him that the best way to get to Downtown Disney from Hollywood Studios was to take a bus to Saratoga Springs Resort and then take the Downtown Disney bus from there since it was the closest. It was a bit of a pain, but we made it there to see that it was incredibly crowded. We had a hard time walking anywhere and it took us awhile, but we finally found the restaurant.

Paradiso 37 stands for the 37 countries in the Americas and features food inspired by these countries. We were seated out on the patio was definitely nice to see the view of the water even though it was a bit windy and chilly. They had live music every night and one act had just finished when we entered and another one was setting up. I can't remember their name, but they were pretty good. I enjoyed the music even though it was really loud to talk over dinner. Even without the band, the restaurant's music was dance music and it was practically blaring. We had a hard time doing any talking across the table. The food was pretty good. I ordered the seafood platter which was a good mix of everything. I finished it all except the ceviche which I didn't like all that much. Andrew ordered the fish tacos which he said were okay. Nothing too spectacular about them.

It was pretty late after we finished dinner and Andrew wasn't feeling too good so we didn't wander around Downtown Disney at all. We wanted to get back to our hotel as quickly as we could to get the kids to bed but this was probably the worst night for buses. We saw two of our hotel buses leave as we got there and then we ended up waiting for 30+ minutes for the next one to arrive. It was definitely not a fun night for us waiting for a bus, but thank goodness we got seats on the bus back to the hotel. Again, everyone pretty much fell asleep immediately upon laying down in bed.
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