Why we walked to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in that heat, rather than taking a Friendship Boat, was beyond me. Actually, I think it was my idea to walk, but never-the-less, it was a bad one.
The few decent photos I got as we walked didn’t justify walking in the still-hot weather, but at least it was beginning to get cooler. Within an hour of arriving at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the weather would be nice and mild, and actually a bit cool. It would never again get hot during our trip, so that’s the last you’ll read of me complaining about the heat. Quite a relief, right?
When we got to DHS, we headed directly to Great Movie Ride. As I mentioned in the last installment, we had done very few attractions that day, so Great Movie Ride, an attraction near the entrance that normally didn’t have long waits, seemed like a great option.
I was pleased to see that our Cast Member host (or whatever the position is called) was actually enthusiastic and wasn’t phoning it in. This made the first portion of the attraction quite enjoyable.
The gangster scene was less impressive. My first complain, the Cast Member host during this scene always goes to the same spot in the scene and simply stands there without taking any sort of cover. This spot happens to be right in the line of fire. If this were a real shootout, the Cast Member would be dead in like 3 seconds.
My second complaint, and this might ruffle some feathers, was that the gangster was played by a female. Now I am all for equality, but a female gangster strikes me as unauthentic. It would be like a man playing the part of Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (oh wait…), or Mary Poppins being played by a man on Broadway (well, I guess there is Mrs. Doubtfire). Still, my point stands. Historically, gangsters from this period of films were men (I’m sure someone is going to find some obscure film where this was not the case to “prove” me wrong). This is not to say women can’t be gangsters, I’m sure they can. Anyway, that’s my stubborn and possibly antiquated view on that. If I’m not progressive because of that, so be it. Maybe this was more pronounced to me because the female gangster also happened to be a terrible gangster with a thick fake accent.
The rest of Great Movie Ride was excellent. All of the effects were working, including the aliens in the Alien scene, and it was one of our best rides overall.
Next up, Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. We had a chance to experience a soft opening of this in May, and we were blown away. It was equally impressive this time, and I’m pretty sure our experience changed substantially. I say “pretty sure” because, and I suppose this might be my one complain about the attraction, it is so fast-paced that if you blink, you might miss an entire scene. On second thought, I don’t think that’s a complaint.
They’ve done a great job cramming a lot of action into a relatively short attraction, and making it feel like a long (distance-wise) tour. The fast-pace is pretty fun. It’s my own fault if I have the memory of an 97 year old and can’t remember what planets I experienced only a few months ago. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Disney’s Hollywood Studios this time, so we didn’t get to do a whole lot, but I really wish we would have done this a few more times. It’s not like it had long lines or anything (it was basically a walk-on, which is somewhat disappointing in its own right, as the queue is incredible).
After Star Tours, we decided it would be a good time to eat. We walked back to Studios Catering Company to get dinner. Along the way, Nick told us that it was probably closed, but I didn’t believe him. Turns out, he was right. Nick 1, Tom 0.
Since most of the other Counter Service at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is downright bad, we decided to see if we could get into Sci-Fi Dine-In as a walk-up. Surprisingly, we could! Until a day before the trip I thought we had an ADR for Sci-Fi. Unfortunately, it turned out that I made the ADR for the end of August, rather than the end of September. Something told me that, although you can show up 30 minutes late to your reservation, you couldn’t show up 30 days late. The sunset was shaping up to be very nice, so I asked Nick and Sarah if we could come back and eat there in like 45 minutes. They reluctantly agreed.
In the meantime, we stopped at the ABC Commissary to get water, and then headed off towards Hollywood and Sunset. As we passed the BAH, it dawned on me that the Hollywood Brown Derby might be an even better option than Sci-Fi. I mentioned it, and they seemed to agree. First, though, we’d go ride Tower of Terror. The wait time was listed as 25 minutes, but we walked right into the library. I don’t think Disney views it this way, but I consider that to be the start of the attraction. That pre-show video is so good and integral to the attraction itself that it’s more like a “show” video. It’s no wonder this attraction is universally loved by everyone and probably the best attraction at Walt Disney World.
While I am really excited to see Tokyo DisneySea’s Tower of Terror, the lack of Twilight Zone story framing it is somewhat disconcerting. I know it can be great even without that, but I am such a huge fan of the Twilight Zone that I don’t know if I can appreciate a version without that element as much. I guess time will tell!
When we exited the Tower of Terror, it was time for my big joke. I thought this joke up in California when we were there in May, but had forgotten to use it during our May Walt Disney World trip. So, I had been sitting on it since then. As we exited, I asked Sarah, “do you want to see the Disneyland Preview Center?” She responded, “they have one of those here?” “Yeah, C’mon, I’ll show you, it’s this way. It’s actually a Disney California Adventure Preview Center.”
As we walked to the “Preview Center” I talked it up, saying it was really cool. Finally, we arrived outside of the Carthay Circle Theatre, and I said, “Ta da!” She didn’t get my joke, so I said, “the Carthay Circle Theatre, like they’re building in Disney California Adventure.” I could tell she was not amused, and didn’t really find the joke funny. That’s probably because it wasn’t. The one (and only) plus about the joke was that neither Sarah, a huge Disney fan, nor Nick, a Cast Member, instantly said, “there is no Disneyland Preview Center in Walt Disney World.” Instead, they both followed me, curious to see the preview. Tom – 1, Nick – 1, Sarah – 0. Although I should lose like 15 points for the lame joke.
At that moment, it came to me. The views of female gangsters, the Star Tours memory thing, and the fact that I not only enjoyed a really corny joke, but that I had sat on and anticipated this corny joke for months. I really was becoming an old man!
I needed some alone time to reflect upon this stunning development, so while Sarah and Nick went to inquire about the Hollywood Brown Derby, I did some shooting. I figured Brown Derby would have a 5-10 minute wait, given that it was a 2-credit Signature Restaurant that wouldn’t appeal to a lot of Guests on the Disney Dining Plan, but that was far from the case. It actually had nearly an hour wait! Instead of waiting an hour, the Cast Member at the check-in desk allowed us to make reservations for forty-five minutes later.
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