Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hollywood Studios - Lights Camera Action

After checking out of our hotel our first order of business was to drive to Hollywood Studios. Since we stayed on property, we didn't have to pay to park. We got there about 8:25am. The published time for opening is 9am; however for the last month or so, the Studios has been quietly opening up anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes earlier depending upon the crowds waiting outside. We made it to the gate by 8:30 and there were already well over 100 people waiting. When the park opened 5 minutes later, Mommy took the boys to sign up for spots at the Jedi Training Academy and Daddy headed off to the back of the park to pickup fastpasses for the Toy Story Midway Mania ride.

After securing spots in the second Jedi show of the day, we raced over to catch up with Daddy at the Toy Story ride. The standby line was low, so we just jumped in there and saved our fastpasses for later.

We came back early enough to catch the end of the first Jedi show (outside the Star Tours ride) in an effort to calm Wesley's fears about fighting Darth Vader. Then we caught up with the rest of the kids signed up for the second show. There were 30 of them and they ended up being divided into two groups of 15 - one group for the stage area and one group for the ground in front of the stage. Thankfully Parker and Wesley ended up in the same group and were near each other on the ground in front of us. The Jedi master came out and showed a few moves and introduced his assistant. Then they handed out lightsabers to all the kids. The kids learned how to activate them and then practiced a series of moves over and over.

Then the real fun began! Darth Vader showed up along with Darth Maul. Each child got a turn to battle one of these villains in one-on-one combat using their routine they had learned earlier. Wesley was the third child to go from his group and did quite well.

Parker was the second to last child in the group to go and he really got into it and had fun!

Afterwards the kids got to hear the voice of Yoda congratulating them and then each one received a diploma for their experience - promoted from younglings to padawans. As soon as the show was done we headed past the Muppets plaza over to the Lights Motor Action set. This is Parker's favorite show in the parks (he has a pin on his lanyard for it). Mommy had heard that Herbie had been replaced with Lightning McQueen and she knew the boys would be really excited.

As we left the stadium, we hopped in line to meet Phineas and Ferb. They have their own TV show and Parker and Wesley are both big fans. They did something really cool here - they had a show involving audience members out front that helped pass the time in the meet and greet line. Parker was chosen to be the "T" placard in the Aglet song (an aglet is the little plastic thing that covers the end of a shoelace). Then both boys were selected to play tambourines in another song.

Finally it was our turn to meet P and F. The boys were excited - except one of them kept messing with Wesley's hat. When we had our family picture taken, Ferb was a huge flirt with Mommy.

Next up was a new ride for us. Last March, Star Tours was closed for an upgrade. We'd never ridden the original either so we didn't have anything to compare it to. It's a motion ride - and the storylines are randomly chosen so you could ride it back to back several times and never get the same destinations on your tour. It was pretty awesome!!!!!

Then in the gift shop it was time to try on some hats - Wesley was being very brave because he is really scared of Chewbacca because he "screams" all the time. Then the boys made their own lightsabers to take home as souvenirs of their Jedi Training Academy experience.

Lunch was next at Pizza Planet. It's a pizza and arcade restaurant designed like the Pizza Planet in the first Toy Story movie. The boys thought that was super cool! We finished out our half day in Hollywood Studios with one last ride on Toy Story Midway Mania before catching a Disney bus over to EPCOT.

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