Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Rides at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Last week I hit Disney with the family.  This year we decided to go with Hollywood Studios.  We had gone to this park about eight years ago when it was still "MGM Studios."  Now the park seems to have grown a little and didn't feel so empty.  We rode several rides and saw some shows.  This is the Disney Park to go to if you feel like watching shows, and also evidently if you like seeing fire in your face (which I do).

Star Tours: After taking a couple of pictures with Tigger and Eeyore, we made a beeline for Star Tours.  You see, unlike eight years ago, now the ride is in 3-D, and the sequences are randomized, so you shouldn't get the same show twice.  Also, I think they have more "shuttles" so the line moves faster.

And waiting in line is hilarious.  You get to see C3PO and R2D2 playing up their antics.  Some funny robot checks baggage, and there are other funny surprises.

The first show we watched actually made us sick, though it was pretty entertaining.  When we were done with the first go around, the fast passes we had gotten kicked in, so we went right back in for a second time.  That time was even funnier, and not so sickening.  Several hours later, we went for a third time.  And get this!  It was exactly the same as our second time through.  What are the chances of that happening?

We asked one of the workers about it.  The ride gives you some opening (there's only 3 or 4 of those).  Then you get some second piece (we got the Wookie planet each time).  Then the "transmission."  There are several of those, each one featuring a specific character.  They only do Jar Jar Binks once a day, so if you see his transmission, consider yourself lucky.  Then the ride chooses an ending.  So you get 4 random pieces that together give you from 50 to 72 different combinations.

Oh, and my son was the Rebel Spy in one of the shows.  Awesome!

While waiting in line, we also saw some of the Jedi Training with the kids.  That was cute.

Muppet Vision 3D: I just love the Muppets.  My wife still married me.  My kids wonder what's wrong with me.  But they all seemed to enjoy this 3D show.  Mee mee mee mee!

My only complaint is that the "Spirit of 3D" creature thing was very annoying, and didn't really fit the spirit and feel of the Muppets.  But everything else was pure Muppet mayhem, and I highly recommend it. 

If you saw the show eight years ago, though, I believe it's exactly the same as it was before.  That's not going to stop you from watching it again.  Is it!

Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!: I think this show is basically the same as it was eight years ago.  But still just as enjoyable.  They play out a few scenes similar to what happens in the movies.  And they explain how some of the stunts work.  The props are amazing, and that fire in the face gets pretty hot.  I can't say much else without spoilers.

Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show: You should have seen the look on my 7-year old girl's face.  I know what it's like to be in a out-of-control spinning car on wet pavement.  So when those cars came spinning out at the very beginning, I just about screamed.  They get so close to each other without wrecking.  The precision was amazing.  (I did see two cars touch one time, but not even a dent--not sure if it was intentional.)

Imagine car chases, cars jumping, motors revving up, motorcycles, jet skis, stunt explainings, and ... you know what I say next ... fire in your face.  Good testosterone fun for the whole family!

Studio Backlot Tour: That was fun.  I love how they pretend that they have a fully functioning movie studio there and how we get the privilege of going backstage to see some of the action.  Well, they do have some real stuff there, including some actual famous props used in real movies.  There's a particular scene in that tour that practically floored me.  It was one of those "How did they do that?" moments.  It was also fun listening to a couple of kids screaming.  Heh heh heh.  Oh, and did I mention? ... Fire in the face!

My only complaint: did they really have to play up Michael Bay as God's directing gift on earth?  Have they looked at Rotten Tomatoes to see what scores Pearl Harbor got?

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster: Awesome ride.  I'm not a big Aerosmith fan, but I liked the song they chose for me: "Walk This Way."  My sons says he had a friend who got "Dude Looks Like a Lady."  Funny.

When you stand in line, you can see the launch of the coaster.  They employ the alternating electromagnets that speeds you up from 0 to 60 in just a couple of seconds.  But what you don't see is that the coaster goes even faster through that first dark tunnel.  Just when I thought the ride couldn't possibly go faster, it KEPT ON GOING!  I really couldn't breath.  And then came the neon twists.


My only complaint: it needs to be longer.

The Great Movie Ride: My little kid went on that ride with her mom, so I missed that one.  I remember it from eight years ago.  It shows famous scenes from different movies, and kept my interest back then.  There was even some interplay with the guides.  My wife said they changed up the interplay a little this time.

Toy Story Midway Mania!: This is a new ride, so be prepared for very long lines.  But I'll tell you what we learned.  My wife got this secret information talking to one of the workers.  (I don't know how she does this.  She's one of those "pushing" Alphas, I guess.)  The best time to catch the ride is 9PM when half the park goes to see the first showing of Fantasmic.  The wait time at the front of the line may say 120 or 90 minutes, but the wait is actually much shorter during that hour.  If you do have to wait more than an hour, they will still let you ride the ride even though the park closes at 10PM.

Well, we got in line at 9PM.  The wait time said 90 minutes.  We only waited 30-40 minutes.  And we had plenty of time to go see Fantasmic.

The Toy Story ride itself was pretty fun.  You get to wear 3D glasses, and shoot things on a screen.  The precision is amazing that it seems like you're shooting real balls or hoops, or whatever it is.  Sometimes when you pop a bubble, real water splashes on you.  Funny!

Fantasmic!: I'm glad we went to the 10:30PM show.  That worker I mentioned earlier told us that the 10:30PM showing never fills up.  So if you do Toy Story first and then go to the show, you can relax, knowing that you won't be turned away.

We had to sit all the way near the side, but we got to sit near the front.  We all did the wave in the stands while we waited for the show to start.  And hardly anyone seemed to mind that dude with the butt crack up front.

The show was slightly different than what I remembered from eight years ago.  It's been upgraded with better special effects.  It has Mickey and every other Disney character you can think of.  It also has ... fire in your face.  It felt like a magical experience, and when it was over, we didn't want to leave.

Oh, my favorite part was when one of the witches quoted from Sleeping Beauty--almost.  "Now you shall deal with me and all the powers of ... my imagination."  Hah!  Copout!!  Not allowed to say that word?  Oh well.  Mickey's still cool and awesome!

I didn't get to ride The Twilight Zone Tower of Tower.  We just ran out of time.  My kid also didn't get to play in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure.  The first time we passed by there, they had it closed down because of rain, and the second time we went past, it was closed.  They close it down at 7PM.  Mee mee mee mee mee!  And somehow we missed the Disney Junior--Live on Stage.  It's in the back off to the right (looking from the front gate).

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