Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wandering Disney - Part 2

Our first full day at Disney World was going to be spent at Disney Hollywood Studios.  Despite our long day the day before, we awoke early and made the bus ride to the theme park.  The park was offering extended early hours for those staying on resorts so we wanted to get there early to avoid some lines without having to use our fast passes.  I guess with that you have my first tip in this entry.  Check which parks have those extended hours and implement those in your planning.  My wife nailed all these through out the week and maximized our enjoyment.
We made sure to spend some down time relaxing in the shade.

By taking advantage of the early opening for us at Hollywood Studios we were able to get on "Star Tours" without waiting in line, not once but twice.  The second time, my daughters photo was used to mimic a Jedi spy on this Star Wars themed ride.  We had a blast with the electronically generated screen and simulator ride that made you feel like you were a passenger in a star freighter.  I honestly think that was Michelle's favorite ride of the week. By the end of the day we had enjoyed this ride a total of 4 times and we came back another day and rode it once more.

Throughout the day we saw Disney characters throughout the park.  To Michelle's disappointment our kids were not really into getting their pictures with the characters....well almost.  Chewbacca was a different story.  Everyone wanted to hang out with the oversized wookiee so we waited a few minutes in line to shake his hairy hand and have our pics taken.  Seeing my 6 year old daughter gaze in awe and wonder made the wait worth it.

As we left Chewie behind we had some time to kill before our next fast pass window opened.  We strolled leisurely through the main part of the park (don't forget to get your park maps), and I took in the landscaping, trees, and structures.  I was amazed at how everything seemed to be placed with a purpose.  A tree to block the unsightly power panel, and false wall to cover a girder that supported a ride or a shrub filled garden to cover a staff entry into a restaurant.  Every park seemed so well planned and I couldn't help but be impressed, despite my inclinations against the extreme commercialism.  So to that I have to say, while there I never once felt like I was being sold anything I didn't want.  Not once did a vendor holler at me and ask me to buy a trinket or toy.  Not once did a cashier try to up sell me.  Walt I was impressed and you won me over.

The weather was hot at Disney but not as hot as the action at the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.
We wandered towards the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular and as they prepared the crowd and the stage for the show we chatted and smiled broadly.  This cool show gave you an insight into how action films use stunt men and choreography to make the movies look real.  Both guys and girls can take and give punches.  It was really cool to watch as they explained the stunts in a movie I watched tens of times growing up.  Indy is just as cool now as ever, just ask my son who was blown away by the explosions and stunts.

From the fast paced action at the stunt show we slowed the pace and checked out the dining before taking in the Muppets 3D show.  This would be my first cartoon show and when I left the show I felt like a kid.  Growing up I loved the Muppets, especially Fozie, and this show made them come alive.  The 3D stage animation made Gonzo's nose tangible and Miss Piggy never looked so fine...I mean for a pig.

After that it was off to the "Rockin Roller Coaster" and the ride of our life.  I am a country music fan for the most part but in my younger days, I was into the hair bands and this included Aerosmith, which formed the basis of this ride.  As we approached the loading area for the ride we watched as a group in front of us took off.  I suddenly feel a bit of apprehension as the speed at which the ride took off was scary.  My fear wasn't for myself but more for the kids.  I was worried they would chicken out.  Do I feel silly.  The kids climbed in and the ride took off like a rocket.  Oh and I forgot to mention, you go upside down in this ride over to the Aerosmith show.  Both kids screamed in a high pitched, excited tone through the whole ride and Michelle and I were both right there with them.
One of my favorite Disney characters is "Lightning McQueen"

Before leaving for the night we watched the "Lights Motors Action" stunt show.  The impressive theater held lots of people who all sat on the edge of their seats as a number of stunt car drivers maneuvered cars at a high speed through a small staged villa.  The star of the show for the kids though was Lightning McQueen...that was until one of the stunt cars jumped across a gap between two trucks.  It was a great show and a great way to end our day.

We made our way back to the resort and spent some time at the pool.  The ability of kids to make friends was easily visible here as our kids quickly made a friend from Minnesota.  The young boy and my son quickly bonded and they would meet up a couple more times.  After over an hour in the pool the kids were tired and we crashed with high expectations for the next day.
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