Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Disney 2009, Day 1: The Studios, Round 1

Despite our best intentions of packing during the week, I spent much of Friday packing in between phone calls and emails. We also left about 30 minutes later than we thought we would, but traffic was somewhat light, all things considered. We made great time to Jonesboro, ate dinner, then got back on the road. Luke stayed awake longer than we expected but still got in a good 2 hours before we arrived at my parents. It was well after 11 PM by the time we got him in bed, and nearly 1 AM by the time the adults climbed in.

I had hoped to leave before 8 AM on Saturday. I even got up at 6 AM, but everyone was tired, and Mom was sleeping on the couch, so I just got back in bed. (Hey, I was tired, too!) Got back up just before 7 and started loading the car. Luke got up just before 7:30 (I really thought it would be earlier than that, even with the late night), and we were officially underway around 8:30. Stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel just north of the I-95/I-4 interchange.

And what trip to Cracker Barrel is complete without playing checkers outside and pretending the peg game is a "stroyer stroyer" (star destroyer) full of (peg) robots? LOL Plus, Luke loves their shrimp. As in, he ate all of a child's shrimp plus all but 4 of the adult shrimp that my husband ordered. We got an additional kid's shrimp for DH, poor guy. Luke ate almost twice as much shrimp as DH! But DH had side dishes, and we still haven't found one that Luke really likes, so it's shrimp or nothing.

Got back on the road, and Luke didn't make it 30 minutes before he was asleep. We pulled in to the entrance of our hotel around 2 PM. It was our first time staying at Pop Century, and our first time staying on property in 4 years.

Check in took longer than I felt it should. The lobby was loud with people and music, and our cast member had a speech impediment. One or the other would have been okay, but both together meant he had to repeat a lot of what he said. We were assigned to the 90s building in adjacent but not connecting rooms. We walked out right at 2:30.

By this point, I was starting to fret that my plan was not going to work. The plan was to catch the 4:30 auto stunt show at Disney Hollywood Studios, which meant that we had to be there before 4. The trunk was stuffed full. How on earth could we get all of that stuff unloaded so quickly? Enter Bo, the Wonder Porter! Bo was standing on the third floor delivering some bags and saw me staring at the room numbers to try and determine *where* our room was. "What room are you looking for?" he called down. 316, I replied. "That's on the back side. I have some bags to deliver to 317, right next door. Let me drop these off and I'll be right down." In a single trip, we had an entire trunk full of stuff loaded on the dolly and heading up to our third floor room. All right! We'll be there in no time. But of course, things are never that simple.

As we approached the elevator, Luke was wildly excited. He loves staying in hotels (formerly "ho-towels"), and we were ready to go to Disney. What's not to be excited about? So there was much wiggling and jumping that, for my naturally accident-prone child, led to tripping and falling. And scraping of knees, and many tears. Bo was doing his utmost best to make him smile and get the tears to stop, but nothing was working, not even Buzz Lightyear stickers. Please note, there was no blood. It wasn't even pink, just scraped. But the tears did not stop until we promised a bandaid (which is odd, since he is usually the one screaming that he doesn't want/need one). DH and Bo got the dolly unloaded while Mom and I found the bandaids. We even went with the special Cars tattoo bandaids, which were pretty cool. One on each knee, and we're good to go. (BTW, they call them tattoo bandaids for a reason. You will notice them in pictures for the next few days because we couldn't get them off!) We even got a smile when we handed him his "key to the world." Okay, can we please go now? After all that, I'd hate for him to miss the show.

We were inside the park by 3:20. Perfect! Just head straight to the back of the park. We can even take our time. Except there is a parade right in the middle of everything, between us and the stunt show. (Can someone please explain why they think it is a good idea to bisect every park with a parade in the middle of the day and prevent anyone from getting across the way for 30 minutes?!) It was the tail end of it, though, and it passed quickly. We even had some time to kill on the Streets of America. I had made a commitment to try and take a picture of the four of us every day, since we always seem to end our Disney trips with few (or no) pictures of all of us together. May as well do it on the way.

The stunt show was brought over from Disneyland Paris, and the set is designed to look like a small French town.

But there was one particular item that was distinctly out of place:

LOL! It used to be right next to the AT-AT over at Star Tours, but they had to take it out when they put up the Jedi Training Academy stage, and they moved it to the backlot ride (which is now closed). And hey, anyone remember this? It used to be the symbol of the Studios park, but now it is hard to see from anywhere. Shame, really; I miss it.

Anyway, I knew Luke would love the stunt show, and I was right. There were some oohs and aahs, but my favorite was him throwing his hands up and cheering for the motorcycles. Here are a few shots from the show (there will be more later; we saw it on two different days). Thank you, Dad, for letting me take the DSLR with the 55-200 zoom!

After that, it was definitely time to eat (show is over 30 minutes long). We weren't sure if we wanted to eat at the Backlot or the Commissary. We decided to start at the Backlot, but there is no way to get there without passing Star Tours. There was no wait as we passed, so we went on and let Luke do it. Here are a couple of shots.

I can't ride the simulator (roller coasters are fine, but simulators make me sick; go figure), so I had nothing better to do than go back through the queue and take some pictures. The C-3PO picture was taken with a fixed focal length manual focus lens, which works very well in low light situations. Not bad, I don't think! This was the best shot. The others weren't quite in focus. I just need some practice. Met up with DH, Luke, and Mom in the shop and bought a few things, then on to the Backlot.

OMG, how could I forget?!! The annual speeder bike picture. Click to see the same shot (more or less) from 2007 and 2008.

After dinner, we headed across the park, destined for something new! But on the way, we got a little sidetracked. As we passed The Little Mermaid show, we noticed there was no wait. Now, this thing usually has fast passes, so for there to be zero wait with less than 10 minutes to go, it seemed silly not to pop in. I wonder how many people know what this thing on the wall is in the waiting room?

None of the rest of my pictures of The Little Mermaid show turned out. Not enough light plus too much movement makes blurry pictures. Not a surprise, but still disappointing. The video turned out okay, though.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

This black light puppetry performance of Under the Sea is the best part of the whole show. The rest is really really lame. But Luke loves Under the Sea, so I knew he would enjoy that part.

Then it was on to our real target: Toy Story Midway Mania, the newest ride at the park. I was really looking forward to trying it, but it had an hour wait by this point, and no one had gotten much sleep the previous night (Luke in bed after 11, grown-ups around 1 AM). I knew we had our first full park day the next day, and a long week ahead including two consecutive days without nap time, so we headed out, knowing we would be coming back later. Surely we can do better than an hour wait, right? Unfortunately, this is as close as we ever got to it (more on that later). Made a couple of very brief shopping stops, and I took a couple of (what I think are) cool pictures, and we called it a night.

Next up, Disney Day 2: The Magic Kingdom, Round 1.

Currently feeling: this recap stuff is hard work! LOL


  1. I appreciate your recaps. I feel like I get to visit all over again. =)

  2. I know they're hard work, but I love reading your recaps!

  3. They are hard work, that is why it always takes me so long to do my own! :)

    We really have to do LMA Show next time we go. Seems everytime we are there it is sooo hot to sit out in the sun for it though. It looks like something my DS and DH would really enjoy though. And the cure for the really hot day is the Little Mermaid show with the cool "sea breeze" effect. :)

  4. WOW! Those are INCREDIBLE pictures of the Stunt Show!!!

    And I am amazed to hear you say there's usually a wait for TLM show...there's never been one when we have gone. Maybe we are just crowd repellent, LOL!!

    I agree the recaps are a lot of work...yeah, that's why mine from the end of February is still not up...*whistling*


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