Because we'd been out late at MNSSHP the night before, we opted to sleep in a bit before heading out to Hollywood Studios on Friday, October 23rd. We knew we wanted to do Fantasmic that evening and the show didn't start until 7 or 7:30 so that would make for a LATE night and it would be ok if we got a later start in the morning.
I think we arrived and got parked and into the gates before 11. I have to admit that our first few "tries" here were busts. We tried to go to Beauty and the Beast and it was almost full and had already started. Then we tried to do a few other things. We finally settled on the Disney Junior show first. The boys LOVED this and it was fun. If you've seen one of the traveling Disney Junior shows, this is similar. It was fun!
Our second stop of the day miiiiight just get me thrown in jail for child abuse. I made my children ride the Tower of Terror. And I also may have to pay for therapy because of it when they're older. I HONESTLY didn't remember how scary it is. Whoops! #badparenting. Our boys are AWESOME. Y'all, they are up to ride ANYTHING. They rode every. single. ride. they were tall enough to attempt. EVERYthing. I didn't ride half of these rides until I was a teenager. Tower of Terror, just in case you don't know, is a ride that takes you up 13 stories in an elevator shaft and then drops you - over and over and over. And the first part is dark and a lot of the dropping is dark. Suffice it to say, I apologized profusely and hated that I'd done that to them. BUT...they are champs! Neither cried, but they said they would NEVER ride it again until they are 8 years old. HAHAHAHA! We are all on the front row below and I am encouraging them and trying not to let them know that I realized what a HUGE mistake we'd made.
By now it was time for our lunch at Hollywood and Vine with the Disney Junior characters. This was my least favorite character meal while we were there. I made the reservation because Handy Manny is one of the four characters that meets there - along with Princess Sofia, Doc McStuffins, and Jake - and the boys LOVE him. However, been there, done that. I wouldn't schedule this one again. All of the character meals have parades or special "dance party" moments for the kids at some point during the meal. This one, though, had at least FOUR breaks like that while we were there. I think that it slowed down the process because this meal took for.e.ver. The boys liked it, though, and that's what mattered.
After lunch we tried to find something else to do but we were out of luck. There are so many shows and so few rides at HS that it is hard (to me) to work things out where you can see and do everything easily. We had a FastPass+ for Indiana Jones at 3pm and we just didn't have the time to do anything else before it was time to line up for that.
Indiana Jones and the Epic Stunt Spectacular was the reason for our time at Hollywood Studios. James went to a friend's Indiana Jones birthday party in the spring and then we bought the DVDs. They've enjoyed the first two movies over and over. James LOVED it. The explosions, the stunts, etc. He loved the whole show and I loved watching him. Will was more frightened by it (which surprised us because he's not typically our nervous kid). It was
a great show and if they do close it for the new Star Wars land, I'll be sad.
I did my research and discovered that if you're patient enough you might be able to meet Indy after the show. We did NOT know, but learned while we were there, that this typically only happens after a show that doesn't have another immediately after. We saw the 3pm show and there isn't another until 5pm. We waited until everyone else had exited and then slowly made our way over to the gate that leads onto the floor where the show takes place. There was a producer standing there and Eddie just casually walked over and asked if Indiana and Marion Ravenwood would come back out. At first he said no and then he looked at his watch and said, "Oh, yes they will!" That's what made me think that this probably only happens when there's a gap between shows. The two actors were actually standing just off to the side but they were sort of hiding out behind a prop so that you could barely see them. The producer waved to them and they came over and immediately spoke to the boys. We asked if they would take a picture and they happily obliged. Y'all, this is James' favorite memory of all at Disney. Completely worth it!
After meeting Indy and Marion we made our way down to the spot where Phineas and Ferb do meet-and-greets. This was also high on the list for the boys. They are completely obsessed with the show. I've actually never even seen it, but I have heard enough about it. They were happy to meet these two.
There was also a short wait for Lightning McQueen and Tow-Mater next so we made our way there for a quick picture. Just a heads up - these are not "real" characters. It's just a photo op. The line moves quickly and there is a PhotoPass photographer there, though!
Next, we had a FastPass+ for Toy Story. As we parked our stroller we met a Green Army Man. He was really neat. There was NO line to see him and he was just sort of wandering around outside of Toy Story. The boys stood in front of him and he posed them. :) It was cute! He doesn't talk and as far as I know he doesn't sign autographs. The Toy Story FastPass+ line was LONG. I asked about it and the cast member said it had been down earlier but that it would move quickly. It did move fairly quickly but we still waited around 20 minutes for our FastPass+. The ride was GREAT, though. It completely puts the Buzz Lightyear ride to shame. I thought it was so fun!
One of the things that I wanted to do while we were at HS was to ride The Great Movie Ride. We were out of FastPasses at this point so we stopped by the FastPass kiosk to add another for The Great Movie Ride. BUT while we were there I realized we could add a FastPass+ for Fantasmic. I added that instead and we opted to ride The Great Movie Ride standby. It was about a 30 minute wait. I enjoyed it! Even the boys seemed to like it. It's a slow-moving ride through the movies over the past century.
After we left The Great Movie Ride we hurried over to ABC Commissary for a quick supper so that we could eat and RUN to Fantasmic. Supper was good, but we swallowed everything whole because we were in a hurry.
Fantasmic was FANTASTIC. The last time we saw it I was in college and Sonny tried to convince us that we needed to go. None of us were interested (we wanted to RIDE), but he insisted and we wound up being some of the last people into the show. It is phenomenal. The lights and music are just wonderful. Plus, you see a ton of characters all at once. James enjoyed it and Will sort of enjoyed it, but it does have some scary elements (welcome to Disney!) so he was happy to sit in our laps through the show.
As soon as it was over the park was closing, but we headed back to the back where they were showing previews of The Good Dinosaur. Eddie had wanted to try to do this all day so we hurried through the museum about Walt Disney and back to the theater. James decided RIGHT THEN that he had to potty so he and I RAN out and to the closest bathroom. When we returned they didn't want to let us in, but thankfully we were able to get through for the final showing of the preview. It looks like a CUTE movie. The boys will love it!
We headed out of the park and to our car after that was over. When we returned to The Contemporary we decided to let the boys go out to the dock to watch the electrical water parade. I joined them after Magic Kingdom's fireworks to watch as well. We also got a fun treat! A pirate cruise was coming in and Peter Pan jumps out and scares them at the end of the dock so he came out a few minutes early and we got to see him while he hid. We were actually walking back to the hotel at the same time as the pirate cruise kids and Peter Pan accidentally ran right over Will. He scooped Will up and talked to him for a minute before continuing on his way. Neat surprise! James has decided he wants to play Peter Pan when he gets older. :)
It was time for bed (LATE!) after that. We had a fun day in the park and we had more fun planned for Saturday!
So here's my takeaway from Hollywood Studios. It is currently LAME. With the exception of Indiana Jones, Toy Story, and Fantasmic, it doesn't offer a lot. If you look back, we rode 3 rides TOTAL. We saw 3 shows TOTAL. And we met 10 characters (sort of...) TOTAL. That equals LAME to me. If you are planning a trip to Disney soon and you can't decide between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom - WE SUPER PUFFY HEART ANIMAL KINGDOM. If you only have one day at Magic Kingdom, skip HS and take two days! It's just not great right now. That said, there is a TON coming so the next time we visit Disney it might be more worthwhile. :) Just my two cents! Also, I haaaaate the way this park is laid out. I love a "hub" in a park and spokes that go off of the hub. Cinderella's Castle? A hub. The Tree of Life? A hub. It just makes more sense. There used to be a Sorcerer's Hat at Hollywood Studios, but it just wasn't a hub because they laid this park out like Hollywood with streets. I just am not a huge fan.