Monday, May 04, 2015

A Taste of Hollywood (Day Four)

Monday was the day we chose to do Disney's Hollywood Studios.  Perhaps not our best decision, because it landed on May 4th - the day those who adore "Star Wars" lovingly title, "May the 4th be with you".  Since Hollywood Studios has the most to do with Star Wars of any of the parks, it was extra packed.  I did not figure this out until it was nearly time to times, I can be kind of dense.  

As we did with the "Seven Dwarves Mine" the day before, our main objective at this park was to beat feet as fast we could to "Toy Story Midway Mania".  This was also a nearly impossible Fast Pass to secure - and even five years after we visited it the first time, has the longest lines in that park.  But, it is SO worth it...

John and I rode together...I was ready to kick his butt.  =)

Mom and Dad did some damage with their shooting cannons.

However, I don't think you could say that either Steph or Travis achieved their high scores with Whitley sitting between them.  =)

As soon as the ride was over, we gathered up, hoping to hop in line again - only to realize the wait time was 60 minutes.  Nope, too much to do for that!  Mom and Dad took off in their own direction to do a "The Great Movie Ride" before we were able to tell them we'd like to try for another group photo.  They don't need to worry that they missed out, as we still didn't have everyone focused on the camera. 

That Whitley - it's like she's TWO or something!  ;)

The big kids and Michael all decided to try their luck at walk ons of the "Rockin' Rollercoaster" (no go) and "Tower of Terror", while the rest of us killed a little time in the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playground". 

Oh my goodness, how I wish we had one of these in Eugene.  This place was awesome.  It was lit up with a kind of pexiglass ceiling, so it was rain-proof, but still felt light and airy.  And, so many slides, cubby holes, tunnels, and netting to climb in and through - not to mention some pretty cool spraying fountains that we didn't really explore on this round.

In the theme of the title of the playground, there was a giant ant you could sit on.  It also made little talking noises.  It took Whitley a little coaxing to be near it, but once she decided it was safe, they became fast friends.

With a little time killed before the "Frozen Sing-Along Show", we decided to round the corner and get in our Fast Pass line for that event.  Along the way we saw the most recent "Cinderella" movie's carriage on display.

And, then, we arrived.  Cushy seats, air conditioning - really, I think Michele, John, and myself were feeling like we'd made a nice choice in joining the Whites on this one.

Whitley was all over the place before the show started - pretty much whoever had the best treats to offer was her best friend.

And, then, the show began - and I'd say, she was enraptured.

The show was actually VERY entertaining.  They had two hilarious actors who served as the "historians" to retell the story of "Frozen" and then, of course, pause and sing-along when each song portion came on the screen with the words to go with it.  There was a lot of witty banter between the two, with Disney's ability to throw classic adult (appropriate) humor thrown in, so those of us over the age of 12 would still be very interested in following along. 

At the end, Anna and Elsa took the stage, and that's when things got especially magical. 

It started to "snow" in the auditorium.  The "Wow Factor" definitely escalated with that move. 

Given the opportunity to see "Elsa and Anna" were the quickest Fast Passes to liquidate in all of Disneyworld, I was really happy for Whitley to be able to "see them" in this forum.  Shoot, I was happy for myself too!

Meanwhile - back with the "big kids" - they betrayed me and rode on "Tower of Terror" (my favorite 'thrill' ride) before me....  (Mikayla actually texted to ask, what a sweetheart...and of course I didn't really mind....)

Following "Frozen" - we all made our way across the park towards lunch.  Along the way, we caught sight of these two guys.  I'd suspect both Brayden and Traig were very thankful they weren't with us at the time as I don't think we'd have been able to resist throwing them in a picture with their Camp Harlow alias'/namesakes.

We also passed by this adorable shop.  We didn't have time to go in, but talk about putting everything I love in one place...and even the title....

Whitley and Steph took some time checking out the "snow"...

Finally, it was lunch time.  And we picked a place new to us - the "50's PrimeTime Cafe".  I'd heard so much good stuff about this place, but in 2010, we were determined to make the "Sci Fi Diner" our Hollywood Studios dining choice, and therefore bypassed this restaurant.

As you can see by the decor, each table group area is meant to simulate a typical family table in the 50's - complete with mounted black and white tvs displaying television shows you'd see during "Prime Time" (hence the cafe's name). 

While all that's charming, the real draw (or so we'd heard and read about) was the personality of the servers.  Their whole shtick was to treat you "like 'Mama' would" - make sure you clean your plate, use your manners, eat your vegetables...etc.

I think we were therefore expecting a female waitress, but when Tim came on the scene, SO FULL of snark and personality, we knew we were in for a fun ride!

He immediately dumped a stack of "Melmac" plates, along with silverware on the table and told Brayden to make himself useful and start passing it out.  And, then the banter just started going - with our kids - particularly Nati, Brayden, and Mikayla - and then between Michele and I as twins.  He was hilarious with his dry wit and fast comebacks.  It was EVERYTHING we'd hoped for.

In this picture, Mikayla is trying to give Tim her order (an order she was sharing with Brayden), but could not get the words out and was just flubbing it up. 

She ended up laughing so hard, that Tim asked if Brayden could handle giving the order. 

Hey!  We got almost everyone looking at the camera, or at least you can see (most of) their face. 

Somebody was trying to photobomb us....

Whitley was getting a little tired of being confined at the table, but perked up when she got to hang on her mommy....

(And, maybe Michael was tickling her a bit too...)

While the kids tell us that they probably would have switched up their orders as they weren't thrilled with what they'd picked (my fried chicken was superb!), that was about the only negative thing we could say in any derogatory way about this experience.  It was absolutely a vacation highlight.  =) 

After lunch, it was time for some "ride highlights". 

First up, we utilized our Fast Passes and Ride Swaps for "Rockin Rollercoaster".  John had never gone and I had forgotten the G-Force pull right from the start (much less going upside down).  It was super fun - more fun than I remembered, but a little risky for my neck posture, so I was content at calling it good at one time. 


Instead, I was eager to go here.

My reason for loving this ride has nothing to do with the story behind it, the whole "haunted hotel" thing - it's all about the sensation of free falling - and coming as close to floating (if not flying) than I probably ever will in my life.  It literally makes me GIDDY every time I ride it. 

We were way in the back on the first round.  No, I wasn't pointing like Travis, I was just relishing in the sensation of my arms floating up on their own.... 

Fortunately, as John had NO desire to to go on it, I selfishly called dibs on his Magic Band and was able to ride it a second time.  The rest won the opportunity from a generous Stephie and Ride Swap. 

While I look just about as ecstatic as you'll ever see me - the kids in the back of this ride, were not happy.  There was some kids wailing at the was sad, but also kind of funny. 

Following those rides, (and some ice cream) we departed Hollywood Studios.   Naps were taken and pool time was enjoyed back at the hotel.

Around 5:00 or so, the Schillings decided they wanted to return to Magic Kingdom.  John nearly jumped on board, but in the end, opted to support Travis in his run to Walmart than go back to the park.  I could spend some time analyzing that decision (and which place he values more!), but ultimately, it was all about him being pretty worn out and happy to just chill with his buddy.  I SOOOOO get that and supported his decision 100%.  =)

So, it was me with my kiddos squeezing in to the Schilling's van - ready to tackle MK again.

Mikayla and Brayden are back there...they just got obscured by Nati's hair. 

I figured, as we weren't in any sort of race at this point of time, it might be kind of nice to offer to take a Schilling Family pic.  They nailed it.  =)

We secured some Fast Passes for "Space Mountain" and then killed a little time at "Buzz" again. 

Since I knew that Michael was not a fan of "Space" (the dark messes with his equilibrium), I opted to bypass my ride and just kill time at "Buzz" with him.

We were literally just whizzing through the stand-by line - virtually no wait.  So, by my request, Michael used our frequency of runs to teach me his "Jedi ways" in maxing out his score (getting to 999,999).  

And, I DID IT!!!!!  Seriously, this achievement still brings way too much joy to me than it really ought to, but I was so happy!

After the rest of the group did "Space", they joined us and we rode some more. 

Do you see this grin?  It's the grin of beating Michele.  And, oh did it feel good.  I'm pretty sure she topped me in every "Toy Story" and "Buzz" score in 2010 and I was delighted to reverse the rolls.  She may have the "guns" in her arms (how toned they are), but clearly, I knew how to use my guns the best.  ;)

We had some time after that, and as Michael and I's trigger fingers were going numb, we decided to hop on the "People Mover" that was a slow moving monorail kind of ride that took you through the perimeter of Tomorrow Land.  It was actually a great find.  Relaxing, and it gave you something to do and some amazing views to look at.

Of course I chose to sit next to my "Buzz" champion. 

Finally, as darkness fell, and folks lined the sidewalks for the parade and fireworks show, we all tore across the park to Frontier Land for more rides on "Splash" and "Thunder Mountain Railroad".  Clearly, we were a happy bunch as we concluded Day Four of our Disneyworld adventures.


- Our encounter with Tim at the "50's PrimeTime Cafe".  At the end of the meal, Mom and him had a quick conversation in which she took responsibility for bringing this crazy crew together as being the "matriarch".  He leaned in and told her, "You have a VERY special family".  It was one of those heartfelt sentiments from a guy that sees hundreds of people every day - and it totally touched not only my heart, but our whole crew - as of course, we kind of feel like what we all have together is very special too.  

- Did I mention I maxed out the score at the "Buzz Lightyear" ride?  Yeah, there's that.  ;)

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