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Special Report by Guest Writer Loren Javier - Walt Disney World Trip Report Sept 2010 Part Two
DisneyDan  Thursday, October 21, 2010 11:56:15 AM

Hi all,

In this second part of his WDW Trip Report, Loren talks about his first full day in the Parks, at Disney‘s Hollywood Studios.

I have decided to provide some notes and commentary along the way as I see appropriate, and will make a closing comment at the end.

Like Jon and I, Loren documents all his Disney adventures on Flickr, and his WDW set can be found here.

Part one of Loren’s report can be found here.

So here is part two! I hand over now to Loren…

We chose Disney's Hollywood Studios for our first full day because of the Extra Magic Hours (EMH) at the end of the day. We were told by half a thousand people to hit Toy Story Mania! first. Since I wanted to compare it to the one at Disney California Adventure, we decided to take people's advice. So we made our way into Pixar Place. It was fun to be greeted by the Green Army Men who drilled us into the queue area, and the queue area itself was very cute (the giant viewmaster reels were very cool). The ride itself was identical to the one here in California, though.

After Toy Story Mania! we saw that there was no wait for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and went to see the show. I remember seeing this the last time I was here and loving it - and I loved it again. Cute idea with the puppets and frankly it’s hard for me to not enjoy something that features the music from The Little Mermaid. The only thing that was a little strange was that they cut out so much to keep the program short that the storyline didn't make any sense with the prince suddenly just showing up at the end. But nevertheless, I loved it. Then we decided to get a Fastpass for Rock n' Roller Coaster and then ride Tower of Terror. The last time I rode Tower of Terror in Florida I took my glasses off and couldn't see what was going on and everything looked like big blue blurs. So this time I rode it with my glasses on. The ride itself got mixed reviews from the group with some favouring this over California's and others liking California's.  I fell in the Florida camp in terms of queue and attraction, although California has much better cast members operating the ride. I don't know why, but the cast members in Florida didn't seem to be as big into playing into character.

Next it was off to Rock n' Roller Coaster. I had very little expectations of this ride other than it was Hollywood Studios' big roller coaster. I have to say that I LOVED it. It was like California Screamin' and Space Mountain combined. The pre-show featuring Aerosmith seemed a little strange, but you could have made the pre-show featuring anybody or anything and the attraction would be awesome. Then it was off to Beauty and the Beast Live! which was a very nice performance. Like Voyage of the Little Mermaid, they seemed to cut a bunch of things out to keep the show time shorter, but also like Voyage, anything featuring the music of this film would be highly enjoyable to me. (Just an interesting fact here for all you Disney Geeks out there. Beauty and the Beast is the only show that has ever been produced based on an actual movie and has debuted before the movie is released! The show in FL premiered on the same day, but before the actual time the movie was screened! - Dan)

After the show we ate lunch and then headed over to the Great Movie Ride. First of all, when did they put that giant Sorcerer Mickey hat up in front of the Chinese Theater?  Last time I was here it was the Chinese Theater, which was this park's "castle," that you'd see at the end of Hollywood Boulevard. I did not understand the hat at all, especially since the Chinese Theater was such a nice re-creation of the original. The ride itself had a lot of charm as I remember it, although the animatronics are in need of an update. (The Sorcerer’s Hat was placed for the 100 Years of Magic celebration in September 2001 and has remained ever since. EPCOT had a similarly tragic “icon” - the wand on Spaceship Earth, but thankfully that was finally removed a couple of years ago - Dan)

After the ride we split off from some of the group as I wanted to go character hunting. We headed over to the Animation Building where they had a meet-and-greet with Lotso from Toy Story 3. While we can see Lotso in the Pixar Play Parade at Disney California Adventure, we can't pose for pictures with him. So I was excited to meet him. The last time I went to Walt Disney World the Animation Building was still a working animation building. Now it is similar to the one we have here in California, with the exception of the meet-and-greet areas (which I wish we had). On the way out we saw Leo and Annie from The Little Einsteins posing outside of Playhouse Disney Live! and took some pictures with them. Next it was off to find Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. I was told he was in the Streets of America section, but it took us a while to find him. The Streets of America were left over from the old Backlot Tour and frankly, seemed like a waste of space at times. They really needed to make some of these areas into useable areas. But we finally found the meet-and-greet area and took our pictures. (The meet ‘n’ greet area has moved since it’s initial opening. It used to be on Mickey Avenue I believe. As for the waste of space, WDW suffers this fate all over the Resort, and DHS is no exception. No real rhyme or reason, just a tragic case that seems to be increasingly occurring across the WDW Parks. Magic Kingdom has it’s fair share of wasted space too, that’s for sure! - Dan)

We then met up with the rest of our group at the Backlot Tour. This was one of the big disappointments of the park. I remember loving the Backlot Tour when I was younger, but they've cut out so much of it that it doesn't even make sense to have a backlot tour. Catastrophe Canyon is not enough of a draw and, while the several stages of Herbie the Love Bug are fun to see, it seemed like a waste of time. From there we went to the next waste of time - The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian promotional. Now while a cute little show, it made no sense that they're still promoting a movie that is two years old. (The Tram Tour is old and irritating. The scene with the water thing at the beginning is enough to deter me from ever riding it until they update it, which is not likely to happen any time soon! As for Narnia, I agree it is weird how it is still there, but for those who do not know, Prince Caspian used to meet at the Narnia attraction, which used to make the whole experience a lot more worth while! - Dan)

After that Kurt and I decided to take a break and have some appetizers and drinks as well as the grapefruit cake at the Brown Derby. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to take all that time to sit down and eat like that.  But I was so glad we did. The food was absolutely delicious and the drinks were great. Sitting in the restaurant felt so special and you really wanted to look around to see if you could spot celebrities like you could in the original Brown Derby. We have nothing like this in California and it almost made me feel embarrassed that even the least popular park in Walt Disney World could have something 20 times better than anything in at Disneyland. (I find this really strange. I have no real suggestion as to why, but I thought I would just say that the places we have eaten in at California all seemed ok to us, but then our dining experience there has been quite limited. Actually you would think that WDW would have the “worse” food seeing as it is a lot bigger and busier - mass production would be more commonplace, leading to lower quality food - Dan)

From the Brown Derby we walked around a bit more, rode the Rock n' Roller Coaster and Great Movie Ride again and did some shopping and then we got dinner at the Steak and Shake just outside of Walt Disney World.

In Loren’s next report he will be talking about day three of his trip, which was spent at EPCOT’s Future World and visiting some of the Resort Hotels on the Monorail.


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