It was the second day of our trip, and we still had yet to experience any attractions. To be fair, our Epcot visit was short-lived, especially for Sarah, but it still felt a little odd to visit the park and not do any attractions.
On the agenda for that morning was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We weren’t quite sure what the afternoon and evening would hold, but given that we visit fairly regularly, we often don’t plan our schedule in advance anymore.
We walked to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, arriving just after rope drop. Our first stop was Toy Story Mania, where the wait was only up to 40 minutes. This still was far too long for us, so we grabbed FastPasses. I don’t know how we ever managed to have so much fun on our New Year’s Eve trip, because we can’t tolerate much more than a 10 minute wait in line. We’re like restless children.
From there, it was off to Sunset Boulevard to (hopefully) beat the crowds to Rock ‛n’ Rollercoaster starring Aerosmith and Tower of Terror. Sarah and I decided to split up for our very first attraction because she doesn’t like Rock ‛n’ Rollercoaster and we knew the wait times for it would only get prohibitively longer as the day wore on. She went to Tower of Terror, instead. Rock ‛n’ Rollercoaster had a 30 minute wait, but the single rider line looked empty, so I went with that. There were only a few other people in this line, and I only waited about 10 minutes for the attraction.
As I exited, I called Sarah to see if she was done with Tower of Terror. She had just exited, so I asked if she wanted to do it again. Of course she did. We decided that there was no more fitting place to visit for a romantic Valentine’s Day trip than to the glamorous Hollywood Tower Hotel.
Tower of Terror never gets old, and I continue to find new details in the queue, pre-show, and gift shop. This was one of our shortest-ever waits for the attraction, as everyone in front of us went to the left at the breakpoint in the boiler room, and we went to the right.
In the gift shop, we played around with some of the cool Hollywood Tower Hotel themed merchandise (why can’t every attraction have the types of merchandise that Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror, and Splash Mountain have?!) before heading back onto Sunset Boulevard.
We wandered around for a bit, snapping some photos and enjoying the Streetmosphere characters before meandering over to Star Tours. Despite absolutely loving the new version of this attraction and committing ourselves to riding it as much as possible to see all the variations, I think had only experienced it three times since it opened. It was like a New Year’s Resolution for us. We made almost no effort to keep our commitment and sort of forgot about it as the weeks past after we first made it. Except in this case, experiencing all of the variations of Star Tours was actually something we wanted to do, not a chore like eating more vegetables or exercising more!
Our next stop was the Great Movie Ride. We once again had a female gangster who way over-acted her part, but I’m getting better at toning-out this portion of the ride. I don’t know how it could be done, but I really think it’s time to just axe this part of the storyline. As much as I love Great Movie Ride, I think it’s due for a big refresh. My only concern is that crap like National Treasure or Mars Needs Moms would be added in the name of synergy. I suppose I could deal with those, though, if they also added the brilliant “Buddies” films featuring those whimsical and timeless golden retriever pups. That line of videos has been coming out for what seems like the last ten years, yet those dogs never seem to age. I wonder what their secret is?! They’re like the Dick Clark of dogs.
After Great Movie Ride, it was time for lunch. Even though we had the incredibly nutritious breakfast of cupcakes, we were, for some reason, hungry at 11:00am. On our previous two consecutive trips, we had walked into the ABC Commissary only to walk right out and head someplace else. On both occasions, I think we made the right call, heading to the Hollywood Brown Derby and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater instead. This time we actually ate at ABC Commissary.
Before going into the restaurant itself, it must be said that this place gets major kudos based on its background music alone. Anyone who grew up in the 1980s and 90s will recognize a lot of their favorite theme songs in this loop, from Home Improvement to Doogie Howser.
The restaurant itself contains items from a lot of current ABC shows, including one of our favorites, Modern Family. Modern Family is probably our favorite show on TV, and given that, it seems far too popular. Our other favorite shows (like Arrested Development) always seem to be incredibly unpopular, causing them to be canceled.
I ordered the 1/3 lb Angus Cheeseburger & Fried Shrimp and Sarah got the Chicken Blue. I used to order nothing but burgers at Walt Disney World, but now I try to avoid them in favor of variety. In this case, though, the only other thing that sounded good to me was the Chicken Blue, and I didn’t want to order the same thing as Sarah.
I’m glad I ordered the burger, as it was delicious. I wasn’t quite sure whether I should put the shrimp on the burger, so I just went for it. Between the special sauce and shrimp on the burger, it was quite good and different than the ordinary burgers found in other places on property. Sarah’s Chicken Blue wasn’t quite as good, but it was still a decent sandwich.
Since the revised food pyramid calls for 7 servings of cupcakes per day, we also ordered the Valentine’s Day red velvet cupcake. It was pretty good, although that probably doesn’t help you unless you’re visiting next year around Valentine’s Day. If they still have it available this year, I probably wouldn’t order it. It’s likely a couple weeks old!
After lunch we were pretty much ready to leave the Studios, but we had some time to kill before our Toy Story Mania FastPasses window opened, so we wandered around some more. Sarah wanted to check out watches or something in a shop, so I set-up my tripod to take some photos with my neutral density filter. I took a number of photos all over Hollywood Boulevard and the Echo Lake area before meeting back up with Sarah again (only a few of these photos are here–look for others to be “Photo of the Day” in the future).
We still had a fair amount of time, so we headed to MuppetVision. This was one of our favorite attractions, but we hadn’t seen it in a while due to reports that it was in a state of disrepair (and not just at the end when the penguins battle Swedish Chef!). We figured it would be worth seeing for the pre-show alone, so we headed inside. Nothing seemed especially amiss with the show; it was good fun, as always.
After this, we slowly wandered back to Pixar Place to use our Toy Story Mania FastPasses. We took a few photos along the way, including ones of the Singin’ in the Rain umbrella. I’ve been meaning to photograph Sarah under this thing for the longest time, but I always forget. The shot here with the fisheye would have been much more awesome had I taken it first. Instead, I took the normal shot first. For whatever reason, much more water was released the first time Sarah hit the release than the second time. My idea with the fisheye shot was that the water would come splashing down onto the lens as I took the shot. Some water did, but not enough to convey what I was going for. Oh well, I probably didn’t need to get my camera all wet, anyway.
I’m not exactly sure what happened at Toy Story Mania. Well, I do know what happened: Sarah won. I’m not sure how she won. My two theories are that she cheated and/or I didn’t try. Either way, I brought great shame upon my people. Luckily we’ll be able to rematch soon, and I will not tolerate losing this time!
With Toy Story Mania down, we headed towards the exit. There were probably other attractions we would’ve liked to have seen, but on a short trip like this, not much time was allocated for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, we had big plans at a place we rarely visit…
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