Day 2 – Hollywood Studios and IllumiNations Fireworks

 

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios

After an excellent buffet breakfast with our lucky crew of 13 at the Wave resort, we headed over for our first experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  There are 8 different sections to this park, and even with our best efforts, we were not able to see everything in this park.  This park offers several attractions that are 20 – 40 minutes in length, making it difficult to see everything.  But the shows we did attend, were excellent.

Each Disney park has a ‘signature’ building/attraction, such as Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom, or the sphere at Epcot.  The Studios used to be the Sorcerer’s hat, but this is all that remains of the hat.

a disappearing hat

a disappearing hat

I have no idea what will go up in its place, or why it is being removed.  If anyone knows, please feel free to add a comment.  The map of the park does not even mention this display, and simply has a blank spot on the map in its place. There is a topiary design outside of the park that shows Mickey with his hat.  Since I never saw the movie, I am not really sure what the broom thing is next to him.

Mickey the Scorcerer

Mickey the Sorcerer

The first section of the park is a recreation of the shops along Hollywood Boulevard.

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard

We ventured over to see the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which is a 30 minute live action show to demonstrate how movies are made and stunts are performed.  You can do a FastPass for this attraction, but the show seats several thousand people, so it is not always necessary.

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stage set

stage set

The show begins with Indiana Jones rappelling down a rope, and running across while dodging stakes jutting up from the stage.

ouch!

ouch!

After this scene is complete, we can see how they clear out the set, with the next stage set brought in by tractors for the next shoot.

removing the walls

removing the walls

The next scene is put in place and there is a fighting scene that goes across the top of the buildings.

scene # 2

scene # 2

The final scene has a lot of pyrotechnics.  It was a very enjoyable show.

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After Indiana Jones, we headed over to the Pixar Studios area, to ride the Toy Story Midway Mania.  We had FastPass reservations for this ride, and I would highly recommend using one of your three choices on this attraction.  It was a blast!  You go through a 4D arcade game, shooting at toy story characters. This is a great ride for all ages and abilities.   Here is Karen and her friend Patty, all set for the game.

ready, set, shoot!

ready, set, shoot!

Waiting in line for the ride is fun as well, just looking at how they have decorated the walls, with our favorite board games growing up!  Candyland on the wall, and a checkerboard on the ceiling.

remember these games?

remember these games?

And the giant Etch-a-Sketch was doodling out puzzles.

I had one of these

I had one of these

Outside, the Pixar area continued the theme of the popular games we played as kids.

DSC01743 (1)And who can forget the plastic green army men?  They even have the melted shoes on this guy. (if you played with these army toys, you will understand that!)  Karen and I had to stop for a photo.

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Next up, we headed over to The Great Movie Ride, which is an easy 22 minute tram that takes you through the sets of various movies.  It was very enjoyable, but I’m still trying to figure out why they have a disclaimer that it may be frightening to children.

And speaking of frightening rides, we headed over to the very popular (use your fastpass) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, where you go up in an elevator, and it randomly drops you down, then shoots you back up, and drops you down again.  The ride is always a different experience, because you never know how many floors you will drop or shoot back up (it is all in the dark).  And when it shoots you back up, the doors open, and you are just staring out into the park.  That is the part I had a problem with!  I would go on this again, now that I know it’s is not “that bad”!

a fun ride

a fun ride

They also have the Rock N Roller Coaster at this park, but you can’t do both with the FastPass.  That coaster apparently goes upside down, and bangs you around a lot, according to Al and his cousins.  If you like roller coasters, then you would probably like that one instead of the Tower ride.

We headed back across the park to get in line for the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, which is currently performed twice a day.  You get a behind the scenes look at how they perform and film car and motorcycle chase scenes.  The outdoor stage for this attraction seats 5,000 people, so you probably won’t need to use your FastPass for this.  The show is about 40 minutes long, and was very interesting to watch the great stunts.

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After the stunt show, we wandered through a street set of New York City, and a painted wall of San Francisco.

New York City set

New York City set

San Francisco

San Francisco

Our final FastPass reservation of the day was on Star Tours – The Adventure Continues which is a fun 3-D motion-simulated space flight with characters from Star Wars.  Disney also has this ride set so that each ride is a different experience, so you never know what to expect.  This way you can go on this ride multiple times, and still have a different experience each time.  It was certainly a fun for all ages ride.

After a full day where we still did not get to see or do half the things in the park, we headed back to the campground to feed and play with the dogs.  Al and Karen then took us  to Disney’s Boardwalk by Epcot where we ate dinner, and walked over to Epcot to view the nightly IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth show. This is a laser light show, along with fireworks that you can view anywhere along the World Showcase.  Here are a few photos that turned out from the show.

glowing globe of Earth

glowing globe of Earth

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Quote for the day:  “Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater.”  – Roman Polanski

 

 

 

 

 

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