Friday, July 22, 2016

Hollywood Studios, June 2016

To continue through our June 2016 vacation, we head to Hollywood Studios for our third day in the park.  My planned fastpasses were for  Star Tours at 10-11, Toy Story Mania at 11:40-12:40, and Tower of Terror at 1:25-2:25.  If you've been following along, you will also remember that we gained an extra fastpass from the night before when the Jungle Book show got cancelled.  If you missed that post, you can read about it here. (Animal Kingdom) On this day, Hollywood Studios was open from 9-9.

As always, if staying on property, I recommend trying to be at the bus stop an hour before the park opens.  Like at Animal Kingdom, even though there is no welcome show here, there will be plenty of people waiting to get in when the park opens and you want to be among those early few.

Even though we always rush to get there early, we still always stop for that first picture of the park's iconic location.

If you've seen my post of Littlecjc's 2nd birthday (found here) you know that she is a huge Toy Story fan, so our first stop today was to meet Woody and Buzz.  Therefore, we went straight to Pixar Place to meet Woody and Buzz, characters 1 & 2.  

Later we decided that we should have also jumped in the line for the Toy Story Mania, because Littlecjc loved that ride.  However, we knew we would come back later when our fastpass time came around.  Instead, Littlecjc decided to start a Disney World pressed penny collection thanks to the machine with Toy Story characters in Pixar Place.

From here, we moved to The Great Movie Ride, attraction #1.  This attraction has become very popular lately, and although I do enjoy this attraction, I do not want to wait an hour to ride it.  Hence, it became our first ride of the day and we walked right on.  Before Littlecjc, we would always run to Rock N Rollercoaster first, but I would have felt too guilty starting the day with a ride that she could not ride.  So, this is how our plans changed this year.  As we exited The Great Movie Ride, we saw Character #3, Max, right out front of the theater.

I don't know if he is still here on a normal basis, but this is a popular spot for character greetings.  When we went to get our stroller from the parking area here, we spotted these stormtroopers out on patrol.

Littlecjc was so cute.  She was really concerned for Patrick and she yelled out for him to watch out, behind him, and she pointed them out for him.

I honestly don't remember why we started walking down Commissary Lane, but we did and we were rewarded.  We happened to come across Chip and Dale, characters 4 & 5.  

If you look in the background of the above picture, you can see the red sign of Mickey and Minnie's new meet and greet location, which was our next stop.  This was a very new location for them at the time and I guess it was early still, but there literally was no line at all to meet them.  So, we met Sorcerer Mickey and Red Carpet Minnie, characters 6 & 7.

After this meet and greet we went to use our fastpass and ride Star Tours.  Now, our first group of riders must have actually entered the line before 10.  Normally, if you're 5 minutes early it's no big deal and they let  you in anyway.  We didn't realize it at the time, but since we had the free pass from the day before, it picked up this pass instead of our Star Tours pass.  To be honest, we didn't even double check the time or anything before we walked in, but we realized later that this is what must have happened.  Regardless of fastpasses, Star Tours - The Adventures Continue became attraction #2 & 3.  We attempted to watch some Jedi Training while not riding, but that ended early when the rain poured in.  When both groups were done with the ride, we found Olaf's new area.  He had a bit of a line, but really not too bad.  I'm really just not used to waiting to see characters, because they have never been a big interest for us before Littlecjc.  So, it was maybe a 30 minute wait.  Either way, we met Olaf, character 8.

After meeting Olaf, we walked next door and had lunch at the ABC Commissary.  

When we finished with lunch, we went back to Pixar Place to use our second fastpass at Toy Story Mania, attraction #4.  Littlecjc loved this ride!

At this point, we walked over to Sunset Boulevard to try to get a seat for the Beauty and the Beast show.  Of course, you can't go down Sunset Boulevard without getting a picture.

We made it in time for the 1:00 show so for touring purposes, I'm counting shows as attractions.  Therefore, we saw Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage, attraction #5.  This is a great show, but Littlecjc could not make it through this one.  However, when the show ended, and the rest of our party joined us, we headed to The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, attraction #6 & 7.

I always feel as though there is this time period in the afternoon between 1-4 when the parks seem extra crowded and all those park goers are extra grouchy.  Today, we really felt the toll of this.  Thankfully, when we left Tower of Terror, we put Littlecjc in her stroller and she crashed to take an afternoon nap.  I say thankfully, because we then headed to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, attraction #8 and 9.  Patrick waited in the single rider line, but it did not move.  He actually might have been better off waiting in the regular line.  When he finally did get on and then off, Littlecjc was still asleep so we left her with Mamaw and Papaw and Patrick and I went through the fastpass line with our rider swap ticket and got to ride it together.

We decided to take this silly sleeping ride photo since that's what our Littlecjc was doing on the outside.

When we finally left this area, we headed over to the Animation Courtyard and the new Star Wars Launch Bay in particular.  This is another iconic location for this park.  So of course, we needed another picture.

There were about 45 minutes wait time to meet both Chewbacca and Kylo Ren, so we decided to pass on those thinking that we might make it back later in the day.  We did find the Star Wars meet and greet exclusive for the Disney Visa Cardholders where we walked right in to meet Kylo Ren, character 9.  

While wandering around the Star Wars Launch Bay we also ran into a Jawa, character 10.  

This was not an actual meet and greet, but instead he was wandering around the crowd, probably looking for things to trade.  Therefore, keep in mind that this character does not have a photopass castmember with them, but they will pose for pictures.

We stayed in this area, and attempted to meet the Disney Jr. characters at this time.  First, we met Jake, character 11.

After Jake, we went to Sofia's line.  While waiting to see Sofia, the rain blew in yet again.  This time, it was a true downpour.  At the time we were waiting under the awning out of the rain, so we just stayed put for a while, waiting it out to see what was going to happen. 

When we were standing there, we picked up a new fastpass for the Disney Jr. Live show at 4:50. Littlecjc decided that she needed to use the restroom, so we did that and then headed to Disney Jr. Live.  A little advice, there's no need to arrive early.  In fact, the line for stand-by entrance was under a covered awning, while those of us standing in the fastpass line got completely drenched.  I'm always one to take advantage of the rain while at Disney, but this is the one time we all stood in a circle with our heads down and just had to take the beating.  Eventually, they opened the doors and we were able to enter and watch Disney Junior Live on Stage, attraction #10.

This was the first time we watched this show and it wasn't at all what I expected, but it was really enjoyable.  Fair warning though, you sit on the floor.  

When we got out of the theater, the rain had let up enough that the characters had come back out to meet everyone.  The characters here are under cover from the rain, so they will meet when it is a light rain.  We started again with Sofia the First, character 12.

We then stepped next door to meet with Doc McStuffins, character 13.

After using our fastpass for the Disney Junior Live show, we picked up another additional fastpass, this time for the Voyage of the Little Mermaid, so we now needed to walk across the courtyard.

We easily made it before showtime, so attraction #11 became Voyage of the Little Mermaid.  When the show ended, we made our way to the Backlot Express for another quick-service dinner.

After taking our time with dinner, we walked over to the Muppet Courtyard to watch Muppet*Vision 3D, attraction #12.  If you remember from the beginning of our day, Patrick still hadn't used his free fastpass from the day before.  So, he used it now, taking Littlecjc on her favorite ride again, Toy Story Mania, attraction #13.  

She still talks about this ride, and I can't wait to take her on it again.

It was after 8 by time Patrick and Littlecjc joined us outside of Toy Story Mania, and we needed to make our way to the Fantasmic theater.  Even with a fastpass, you still need to arrive early for this show.  In fact, our fastpass arrival time was 8:25 - 8:45.  I don't remember at what time we actually walked in, but we were seated on the side of the theater, actually the furthest from the center I've ever been.  Thank goodness every seat in this theater is still a good one, because this show is probably my favorite.  I don't ever mind getting here early to get a seat, because this is not a show I'm willing to miss.

At 9:00 we watched Fantasmic which is the perfect ending to any day.

Yes, it's true that Hollywood Studios is undergoing a major overhaul right now, but that doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of things to still do here.  In fact, we had a filled day here, but there are still things that we didn't get in such as the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, the Frozen Sing-a-long, and the current Star Wars show.  We did see 13 attractions though, and 13 characters which I think is still great, especially considering all the rain.

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