Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Orlando, Florida

What is the difference between Disney, Orlando and Universal, Orlando? Disney ALWAYS has people. During a 2 week holiday where James and I had avoided the crowds Disney was a step back into the world of queuing. We didn’t help ourselves by going to Disney for the first time on Veterans’ Day. But despite the people the euphoria of Disney was in the air.

Even James could feel it. He admitted he wasn’t that excitied about Disney before we arrived. But ten minutes through the Disney doors and we were planning on going to Epcot on Tuesday, as well as Magic Kingdom we’d already planned for Monday.

The Disney streets had a similar feel to Univseral, all the shops lining the streets and the elaborate building designs and colours. Being close to Christmas we had the extra treat of seeing the decoartions and the lights. I especially liked the dancing Minnie baubals in one shop window. Again we let our feet lead the way and initially came across a teen pop music show based on one of the Disney TV music shows. The stage literally danced off down the street when they were finished.

There were plenty of shows to see. We started off at Indiana Jones. (After James stopped to ask an assistant what the Jedi school was and his face fell when he found out it was for under 12s.) We were advised to get in early as the seats fill up, and they did indeed. We had good seats too. At first it seemed to be a reenactment of the scene where Indi gets the golden goblet thing by replacing it with a bag of coins. Then offstage a loud “CUT” bellowed and Indi became an actor working on stunts. He went through the different action shots with us and even called upon audience members to take part as ‘extras’ in scenes.

We made time to see the ‘Lights, Motors, Action’ car stunt show. Again this was on the premise that we were watching a director film stunts to be used in a film. There were car tricks, stunts on jet skis (JET SKI JET SKI JET SKI) and even a guy on fire. For the action car fan this is a must, for me it was a little long.

Rides! All sorts of rides! Star Wars simulator ride! I wish we’d had time to ride it twice. I’m not a huge Star Wars fan but I still enjoyed seeing the robots while queuing, and seeing them interact with the riders and each other. Click, click, click, camera going off everywhere. The set up for the simulator is rather funny too. It’s based on C3PO and R2D2 flying the spaceship to avoid Darth Vader. Wasn’t the best simulator but a lot of fun none the less. We spent a fair amount of time in the shop too. I saw a camera and a green screen where riders could have their faces superimposed onto the characters. I tried my hardest to get out before James saw it but I was not successful. James was Han Solo, I was Leia. *Cringe* If there is one thing I don’t like it’s being in front of people. And it is not a private room. Everyone is watching and you can’t escape as your face is plastered up on a massive screen above the counter. I didn’t know what to do with my face but James was a natural. He got into character a pouted like a pro. I would upload the photo but I’ve had enough humiliation for one galaxy.

For big rides there was Rock n Roller Coaster and Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Don’t get your hopes up, Tower of Terror has nothing to do with ‘Twilight’ and its teams. It is a drop ride based on a spooky hotel. It is good for setting the atmosphere. You queue through a deserted hotel decorated with its own cobwebs. You know the ride is a drop ride in a broken lift, so when the queue leads you to pack into a lift surrounded by people and no harnesses in sight it is a little unnerving. But then you go through the story of the hotel told through the old TV and then enter your cart. I had a bag of popcorn with me (not for the movie but some we had during the day) and was waiting for somewhere to safely leave it. No such place. You either hold it in your hands (and not hold on?!?) or, as I did, grasp it between your ankles to stop it flying up in the air! It has it’s own suprises too. And hopefully a great actor to lead you into the car.

And Disney’s big rollarcoaster is based on Areosmith :-/ is nothing safe from sponsoring these days? I like some good rock music but areosmith… meh. But the ride is great (the problem with our car starting added to the fear factor) but for an indoor rollarcoaster this is a goodun if you can get past the cheesy Areosmith story.

First Disney parade of the holiday. We stumbled upon it by accident too. All our favourite pixar characters – headlined by Toy Story of course – came through to kick start our mid day party.

The other top ride was the Toy Story Mania shooting ride. As your cart moves through the ride you compete against your partner in various shooting games. Buzz, Woody and the rest of the gang will you along. But to be honest, the queue area was more interesting. Its a giant toy box. There was a giant scene veiwer card with scenes from Peter Pan hanging at one point – brought back memories of my own little red machine. There were Andy’s drawings around the wall of Buzz and Woody on their missions together. And the highlight was the giant talking Mr. Potato Head. (Especially when the robot took out his own ear, failed to put it back, the ear dropping to the floor and then the girl walking out from round the back to slot it for him!)

Fantasia. This was epic, but possibly made better because I didn’t know what to expect. All I will say is that it brought back those childhood memories of some epic stories. (Get there early for a central seat!)

Finally the best way to end a day at Christmas Disney. We had seen the lights were up during the day but when we went back in the evening to see them it was a shock. It is the most incredible light show I have ever seen. The houses are covered in lights. Light Angels decoarte the sky. A giant tree covered in lights. One street even had lights above our heads. Then the music started, the lights danced and the ‘snow’ fell. No one does Christmas like Disney. (Except Jesus but that’s understandable.)

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