Hooray for Hollywood…Hooray for Hollywood…
We started our week of Disney park magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on a blustery Sunday morning (January 7th) and quickly realized that because Hollywood Studios is in the middle of more than one building/expansion project – there were exactly FOUR rides open in the entire park! Thank goodness for shows – am I right?
We had fast passes for Star Tours, Rockin Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror; three of the four, so we went straight to Toy Story Mania once the park opened. I’ve never been at Hollywood Studios and not seen a wait time of less than 100 minutes at Toy Story Mania, so with no fast pass for the ride – getting on first seemed like the obvious choice. I had’t had my coffee yet but I was obviously still pretty sharp – because I was the winner between myself and my sister!
I promise I didn’t lord my victory over her for the entire day…
We grabbed coffee and breakfast from Starbucks (and a You Are Here mug) and watched the Disney marathon runners making their way through the park – they were on about miles 22-24 at this point and everyone was cheering them on.
We popped into a showing of the Frozen Ever After – Sing-Along (I’m sure this was my Dad’s favorite part of the day) and of course, Elsa made it snow. Indoors. Because that’s a very easy thing to do with ice powers and what not… The main show was lead by two “Arendelle Historians” who were essentially comic relief and were honestly pretty hilarious.
When that was all said and done – it was time to use our fast passes for Star Tours, so we hopped into line and onto a Star Speeder for a quick journey to a galaxy far, far away. Our star speeder was accosted by Kylo Ren, got involved in a battle between the First Order and the Millenium Falcon on Jakku and ended up smack dab in the midst of the battle on Crait between the First Order and Resistiance – R2 even fired a few parting shots before we jumped to light speed and the safety of the planet Batuu…the location of the soon to open Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
Lest you ever wonder – I’m a big ol nerd when it comes to all things Star Wars and I trained my little sister to be just like me (in that aspect)…and I learned from my Dad. So all chances for super nerdy pictures were taken advantage of and that shirt my Dad is wearing definitely says “I Am Their Father” – a Christmas gift from me; as are the shirts we are all wearing that are Star Wars themed.
Hollywood Studios was the only park we saw decorated for Christmas – all the decorations came down after the 7th, so it was our only glimpse into what the magic of a Disney Christmas might be like. My Mom and younger sister took advantage of my dislike of all things roller coaster and my Dad’s stomach feeling unsettled from Star Tours and used our fast passes to ride Rockin Roller Coaster twice in a row…adrenaline junkies, for sure.
We popped over to the main stage to watch a Star Wars themed show called A Galaxy Far, Far Away that was essentially a huge character introduction cut together with scenes from the movies – but my sister and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
We were in the perfect spot to watch all the characters walk by as the show ended and I snapped close-up photos of each one as they passed! Of course I want to share those with you, ha-ha!
We had lunch at the Hollywood Brown Derby – a favorite at Hollywood Studios (at least for me) – and a nice chance to sit down, eat some delicious food and just relax for a little while. I had an absolutely delicious chicken dish and everyone got the dessert trio; you have the option to mix and match three of the six mini desserts offered, it gives you the perfect amount to finish off your meal!
We made our way across the streets of “Hollywood” en route to the Hollywood Tower Hotel and stopped along the way to snap a “magical” picture with one of the numerous Disney Photo Pass photographers.
As I may have mentioned – I am not much for thrill rides and I am definitely not up for a ride that simulates an elevator dropping me thirteen stories. My Dad and I passed the time while my Mom and sister (the adrenaline junkies, remember?) rode Tower of Terror twice in a row… The only thing(s) I find amusing about the Tower of Terror is the attention to detail that Disney puts into all the theme-ing of the attractions at their parks and well…a little Stitch wearing his bellhop hat, ha-ha!
We used a large portion of the afternoon watching shows – we’d already conquered all four rides that the park had to offer, remember? We watched my personal favorite, Beauty & the Beast on Stage and also made sure to catch the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular – my little sister lived out a dream when she was chosen as an audience participant and got to witness the action up close.
We wandered through an exhibit that my Mom swears she has always wanted to see but never had the chance to – there was always too much to do – the exhibit was all about the life of Walt Disney and included fascinating information about the man behind the mouse, including a short video… but the thing I found most fascinating were the scale models used in designing the parks, all on display! They even had models of the soon to open Toy Story Land and Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge!
The late afternoon was all things Star Wars – we found ourselves with front row seating for the March of the First Order and I took tons of pictures! I’ve only shared a few here because perhaps you don’t love Star Wars quite as much as I do, ha-ha!
Lindsey and I also spotted that the wait time for Star Tours was under twenty minutes and so raced back across the park to ride another time – because why not?
My parents picked up hot tea and snacks while we were cruising through the galaxy and we all made our way over to the amphitheater for the 7:00 showing of Fantasmic – one of my favorite shows at Disney! We had Mickey & Minnie cake pops, a cookie the size of my sister’s head and a carrot cake whoopie pie that was to die for…and I don’t even like carrot cake.
The park(s) close much earlier in the winter months than they do in the summer and so when Fantasmic ended around 7:30, there were only thirty minutes left in the park’s day. We knew we’d be watching the 8:00 fireworks show at Hollywood Studios on Friday evening, so we decided to grab a couple more pictures and head back to our hotel – no sense in overdoing it on the very first day, you know?
It was a great way to start the week – a day that was full but not filled to the point of bursting. The weather was nice, if a little cooler than I think we all expected but that would change as the week progressed. We were back to our resort right around 8:00 and grabbed a pizza to snack on from the food court – my Dad joked it was the cheapest meal all week! 😉 And if you’re wondering what my sweatshirt says…
I don’t need therapy – I just need to go to Disney World