Wednesday, August 6, 2014


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Admit it when you saw the word Hollywood your mind burst into the old song from the black and white movies (and from the Great MovieRide) and now you have the chorus singing “Hollywood” in your mind.

What’s not to love about Disney’s Hollywood Studios? This park has it all, thrill rides, kiddy areas, lots of variety in food sources, shows, street performers and a wonderful night time show that includes all the best of fireworks, lasers, and showmanship.

That was our destination for this day six of our trip.  But first there were some minor camp chores to take care of.

Beds to make, sewer to dump (yech!  So glad that is dh’s job) and a campsite to enjoy a bit. I'll write more about this in another post.   Oh yeah and one other very important thing for our family.  Potato Heads to set up.  Another TRADITION! (Okay, so now I’ve segued to “Fiddler on the Roof” what can I say I love musicals!) 
This tradition started years and years ago when we discovered the Potato Heads to purchase at “Once Upon a Toy” at Downtown Disney.  Never checked them out?  Oh that can be an adventure in itself.  
When we purchased our first one it was a set price for all you can stuff in the box and still close the box.  I think it is the same way now.  We worked HARD at it and with some tips from a helpful cast member we came home with a LOT of Potato Head parts and one body.
The next trip we did even better and got Mr. Potato Head a mate.  
Here are a few helpful hints on getting the most for your money on this deal:
Start by filling the Potato Head body as tightly as you can, fill every nook and cranny with everything that will fit.  We tend to put in one or two larger pieces and then work things like eyes, ears, earrings etc in around the larger pieces until Mr. /Mrs. Potato Head is one overstuffed potato. 
 Then put the feet on the body and put on flat parts like eyes and lips, but nothing that will stick out very far.  
Fill in the gap below the Potato Head body and the bottom of the box that is caused by the feet with small flat things.  
Run larger pieces in the corners of the box and then once again use the smaller pieces to fill in all the small spaces left.  
After our initial purchase of Mr. Potato Head my son’s friend started adding to my son’s enormous toy collection with specialty Star Wars Potato Head figures.  After a while ds sold off most of his toy collection, but he hung on to the Star Wars characters.
Since we would be visiting Star Wars weekend later on in the trip he gave those Potato Heads to me for the camper as well.
Every trip we take somewhere the Potato Heads are dressed according to what our main theme of the location we are at.  Ie: Bluegrass festival will find the guitars, bolo hats and such brought out.
Since this trip would include the Star Wars weekend they got done up like “aliens”.

What can I say we are a little weird at our house.  
Once all the daily “chores” were done , the sunblocker applied and sunhats gathered  we were off to the Studios.  
This time I putt putted my little ECV down to the bus stop to wait for “Outpost Yellow” and when the bus arrived I had dh load the chair while I boarded with ds.
You have probably noticed by now I keep mentioning bus names.  This is how transportation is handled internally at the Ft. Wilderness Campground.  

 Each area is assigned a color, site 1616 is in the yellow group,  and it depends if you are going toward the marina and the settlement trading post (Settlement Yellow in our case) or to the outpost to grab a main transport bus (Outpost Yellow).  It’s a very simple procedure and quite frankly it’s easier than the flags they use to have on the buses eons ago.
At the outpost we boarded a bus that took us directly to Disney Hollywood Studios. 

Because we had made no Fastpass+ for the day, and didn’t really want them, we decided to just “go with the flow” and see how it went.  On our way to a late lunch we swung by StarTours.  The sign said it was a 25 minute wait so we joined the queue.  The wait turned out to be about 10 minutes. 
In this line ECV’s queue with everyone else and they are split off at the last minute for boarding purposes.  Because I could easily transfer this wasn’t a problem for us at all.  

 It did,  however,  put me in the “Rebel Spy” seat.  Which was fun in itself and gave my family a good chuckle when I pulled my floppy straw hat down over my face pretending to be a sneaky spy that showed up on the monitor.
The “ride” was just as I had remembered it, well maybe it shook me up more than I remember, but then I am older and rounder than I was last trip.
By this time hunger was setting in so we made our way to the area that looks like a big open air market where there is a variety of small food stands and a variety of foods. 
We ended up eating food from Rosie’s All American CafĂ©.  Dh of course had the Angus Cheeseburger, while I opted for the kiddy meal of chicken nuggets with apple juice, apple sauce and carrots.  
The nuggets hit the spot and I was very happy to say they were great, as far as processed chicken nuggets go.  They had a panko bread crumb coating on them.  
After we returned home dh was doing the weekly grocery shopping and noticed Tyson now had a panko bread crumb coated nugget, so he picked up a bag, remembering how much I liked the ones with that coating at the parks.  If they weren’t the same nuggets they were real close to the ones I ate while at WDW.  
Every trip I ride Tower of Terror with ds, this time was no exception.  Dh does not care for the ride so we left the ECV with him and went in the stand-by line for TOT.
The sign said it would be a 35 minute wait, but we entered our seats in less than 20 minutes. 
Okay, WHY do I ride this ride?  It scares the bejeebis out of me every time.  WHY?
It dropped us so many times ds and I both lost count.  It was like “let’s hear the fat lady scream!” time for the computer.  Cheez! 
Needless to say my very next stop was the little girl’s room to recover my dignity!
I will normally ride every ride ONCE just to say I did, when a new ride is added, there are a few exceptions and Rock ‘n Roller Coaster is one of them.  I have no plans on ever riding that thing!  Call me a wus all you want, it’s just a little too daring for me. So while ds joined the single passenger line to ride it I joined Gary in some window shopping. 
We were looking for the perfect thank you gift for our critter sitter’s three small children.  The most challenging turned out to be Elsa from Frozen.  We made the mistake of not picking up an Elsa doll when we first saw it and by the time we were ready to buy they were out of EVERYTHING Elsa.  More on this later.  Let’s just say if you are at a park looking for a character from a recent Disney movie, buy the item the minute you see it!
We’d planned on watching the Beauty and the Beast show, but it wasn’t scheduled to start for 30 minutes and Sean would be back to join us before then, so window shopping and a street show it was,during the 20 minutes it took ds to ride RNRC.  He caught up with us at the villains candy shop. 
We were all amazed I didn’t find something in there I couldn’t live without.  After all it’s candy, it’s the great Disney villains, and it was easy to navigate in the ECV. But I didn’t find a single item I truly wanted.  Maybe I’m getting old, or maybe it’s because of the five years on the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover plan I’ve became less of an impulse buyer.
As we left there we caught the street show that was a competition of joke telling by the Disney street performers.  Some of the jokes were pretty good.  It was nice to sit in the shade and enjoy their performance. 
We went toward the Indiana Jones show, but decided we really weren’t in the mood for that same old story that day.  I’ll be frank, with my family this is one show they could replace with a Cars land or something.  It’s just not that interesting to us any more.  When the kids were young it was fun, but now…
After a bit we realized we were getting hungry so we decided to try our traditional favorite full service meal for this park and headed for the Sci-Fi Diner.  While there were people with Advanced DiningReservations aka: ADR standing around outside waiting for their turn in the diner we were given a seat within 10 minutes because we were a smaller party. 
Because of the ECV we were seated at the “picnic tables” at the back.  Luckily it was right next to an electrical outlet so I sat in a chair at the table to eat while my scooter refueled. 
I was pleased to see they had a Salmon BLT Salad sandwich on the menu because I love Salmon and who doesn’t love BLT.  I was less than thrilled with the sandwich though.  It did not have the tomato spread on it that the menu said it would have, instead it have a single slice of mushy tomato, there was in fact little to no dressing or anything on the OVERCOOKED salmon sandwich.  Dry, dry, dry.
By this time I was beginning to think it was really me that was the problem on the various meal dryness so I had ds take a bite of the salmon.  He said one word “over cooked.” 
We are foodies and we love good food, these meals did not fill the bill. 
It was so dry I ended up taking the salmon off the sandwich and trying it with ketchup on it to manage to even eat any of it. I gave up less than half way through the sandwich and picked at the sides that came with it. 
Dh had, you guessed it, the Picnic Burger, he said it was over cooked too.  Ds had the chicken pasta and yep, over done.  So none of us were pleased with our meal.
When it came time to pay I mentioned we had an annual Pass, for those of you who were planning on using your AP at Sci-Fi Diner, forget about it.  They no longer take it!
Based on the changes to their menu, which were numerous from our last trip to WDW, the quality of our meal and the lack of an AP discount this will probably be our last trip to dine at Sci-Fi.  I’m sad to say that because we love watching the old B grade sci-fi movies while we eat and eating in the drive-in cars has always been fun, but there are too many other places to eat at the parks where we would be happier. 
After such a disappointing meal we wandered around a bit until we found an ice cream cart and had Mickey Ears ice cream to console ourselves with the loss of a favorite eating spot.  
By now all the street shows had wound down for the day and it was heading toward Fantasmic time.  Since we didn’t have a Fastpass+ for this we decided to head over there a little early in hopes of getting in.
No problem, we were placed dead center of the stage in the handicapped area with me in the ECV and the guys sitting on seats nearby. 

 By the time the show got started I was thankful for two things.  My Brita water bottle, because I was very thirsty and the beach towel I had been sitting on all day.  It magically morphed from being a seat liner to being a blanket as the temperature dropped with the approaching nightfall.
The show was wonderful, did I expect anything less?  NOPE!  But still it was great to have such perfect seats where we could see all the action as the show went on.  The weather, albeit cool, was perfect.
While we waited for the crowd to clear we discussed Extra Magic hours at another park again, and once again decided we were tired (I actually think that because of my health both men claimed to be tired more than they were to give me a pleasant way to say “Let’s go back to the camper.” ) so camper bound we were. 
Once again we boarded the direct bus, and once again we had little to no wait in boarding.  This was the pattern for our whole trip.  Our timing seemed to be just perfect both going into and out of the parks nearly every trip.  Either that or they are running far more buses than they use to!
Back at the camper it was milk and cookies and a check of email to see if the critter sitter had seen any of the six cats yet.  Up to that point she had only seen Gypsy who was very loving and demanding of her time.  Nope, but we were certain all were safe, just not use to someone other than us in their domain.

The next day she verified this because she went on a massive cat hunt and found all but Sir Oliver Inkwell, who is extremely shy and with his dark color is very hard to see even when he knows you.  Basically two glowing yellow eyes only. So the fact that Gypsy was frantic about her “kitten” (we adopted him as a playmate for her when she was a year old) being missing made us certain Ollie was safe, just hiding. While he has grown into a large cat (as witnessed by the photo below, no it is not an optical illusion he is that much bigger than Gypsy) he is also terrified of strangers.

I know it seems like we don’t do much in each of the parks, but we’ve been there so often and have annual passes, not to mention 11-12 days in the park this trip there was no need to rush or stand in long lines.  We had plenty of time and definitely have plans to go back at least twice between June 2014 and May 2015.  So the more leisurely pace worked very well for us.
Jan who really enjoys the slower pace in OK

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