Sunday, May 29, 2011

Disney 2011 - Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios
Wednesday, February 16th
We spent our third day in the parks (fourth day of vacation) at Hollywood Studios.  We opted against Hollywood Studios during last year's trip, so this was a first for everyone.  We had beautiful weather again and unlike the day before, no electrical problems.

The Iconic Sorcerer's Hat

There were several character greetings set-up in the Sorcerer's Hat area and the line for Minnie was minimal.  We quickly hopped in line to meet Emerson's favorite Mickey's Clubhouse character.

After meeting Minnie, we took a stroll through Walt Disney: One Man's Dream, a museum devoted to Walt Disney's life and vision for his parks.  Then it was time for Voyage of the Little Mermaid, a 15-minute live indoor show that puts you underwater with Ariel and re-creates the classic Disney movie.  We had a character lunch scheduled, but had some time to kill before the lunch.  According to the daily Hollywood Studios schedule, we had just enough time to take in the Live Beauty and the Beast show, a stage production of the movie replicated in 25 minutes.  Emerson loved seeing Belle and Beast live and in-person.
Beauty and the Beast

I took a quick picture of the Hollywood Tower of Terror from the entrance to the Beauty and the Beast show.  No one in our group was brave enough to take the 13-story drop.

After the show and our amazement of the Hollywood Tower, we made our way over to the Hollywood and Vine restaurant for our Disney Junior Play n' Dine character meal.  Emerson couldn't wait to eat lunch and play with Handy Manny, Special Agent Oso, and June and Leo from Little Einsteins.  There was a lunch buffet filled with delicious treats and every 15-20 minutes, all the characters gathered at the front of the room for singing and dancing from some of Disney's greatest hits from Imagination Movers, Handy Manny and Little Einsteins.  The food was great and the characters spent a lot of time with each child.  I would recommend this character meal to anyone....we had a blast!!!
Disney Junior Play 'n Dine at Hollywood and Vine
June from Little Einsteins

The first "dance party" notice who's leading the group...she decided she was going to be part of the show!!
Special Agent OSO
Handy Manny, Emerson's favorite!!  I think she has a crush on him!!
Leo from Little Einsteins
The second "dance party" and someone's still at the front.  Emerson loved June and wanted to be right next to her the whole time!!

After lunch, we walked off all the good food and ventured back towards the Sorcerer's Hat and decided to see the American Idol Experience before the afternoon parade.  The American Idol Experience is a 30-minute show that puts you in the audience of a taping for American Idol with three contestants who are also Hollywood Studios visitors.  Early in the day, they try-out and if they make the cut, they perform for an audience and compete against two other performers (who also tried out).  The audience votes to pick the winner.  All the winners from the day then perform in the last showtime of the day to be picked as the daily winner.  It's a really cool show and you do feel like you are right there in the action.  After Idol, we rode The Great Movie Ride.  This ride takes you through a series of classic movies and puts you in the middle of all the action like you're part of the movie.  Classics like The Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, Mary Poppins, Raiders of the Lost Arc, Alien, and so many more.  This was a great ride, except for the Alien part that scared Emerson a little.  After our movie going experience, we headed to the parade route and took our spot.  Since Emerson didn't eat much for lunch (due to excitement), I gave her a snack and let her have a rest.  Danny and my dad ran over to ride the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster complete with Aerosmith music blaring in their ears.  They made it back just in time for the parade.  
The American Idol Experience

Waiting for the parade to begin.

Some shots of the Sorcerer's Hat...

Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade

After the parade, we headed into the Pixar and Studio sections of Hollywood Studios.  We strolled down the Streets of America which was impressive and amazing how much it felt like you were on a city street of New York or San Francisco (depending which direction you looked).  We also rode the Studio Backlot Tour, which is a tour that showcases the art of making movies and special effects.  When the rode the infamous and always crowded 4D Toy Story Mania ride.  I fell in love with this ride; you are basically in a huge video game competing against your ride partner for points.  It was so much fun!!!  

The Streets of America

The Studio Backlot Tour

The Backlot Tour takes you into a mini-movie set called Catastrophe Canyon where an earthquake rocks the tram and also causes the truck on the set to catch on fire.  Then a flash flood comes streaming at the tram.  It was all very real and put you right in the middle of the action.  

Waiting for Toy Story Mania

We were getting tired and it was getting late in the afternoon so we decided to head out for the day.  My Mom and Dad wanted to see the movie about Walt Disney that we weren't able to see earlier.  While they went in to watch the 10 minute video, Danny and I took Emerson to pick out her surprise for the day.  When we got to the area where we could do some shopping, there were a few character greetings and we got side tracked.  
More Handy Manny....(I'm telling you, it's her first crush!!)
June and Quincy
Leo and Annie

While we were standing in line for the greetings, another mom told us about the "secret" character greetings taking place in the Magic of Disney Animation building.  My parents were still watching the movie, so Danny and I headed into the building for some more photo opps.  Just as we were getting ready to go in the door, Emerson declared, "Hey Mommy, that's Salem from new school."  Sure enough, when I turned around, Salem was standing right there.  We had no idea her family was going to be in Disney World the same time as us; it was such a shock to see them.  Salem and Emerson became fast friends at school, so it was nice to see a familiar face.  We let them run around and play for 15 minutes or so while we caught up with her parents and traded Disney stories and secrets.  Such a small world (pun intended)!!!

Then we were off to character greetings for the rest of our time at Hollywood Studios.  I've never seen so many characters in one place.  We didn't even get pictures with all of them, but Emerson got to see her favorites and play some great animation games.  
 Mickey, as the Sorcerer
Animation Games
Lots-O-Huggin' Bear from Toy Story
Minnie and Pluto
What a great day we had at Hollywood Studios.  The perfect ending to a great day, walking through the studio arches!!  I can't wait until we can come back!!

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