Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday: Hollywood Studios and Pin Trading

And, we come to the end. Friday was a lovely day. We could have gotten up early to get into Hollywood Studios early, but we decided against it. First off, we had gotten so much checked off the list on Wednesday that we didn't need to see the whole park. Secondly, it was the end of the week, and we had gotten up early every day and gone to bed late every night. We just could not keep up that pace for one more day.

Hollywood Studios is a tricky park to navigate because so much of it is shows. So you are basically going from one show to another, which limits your schedule. We managed to take in Beauty and the Beast (a must see), Indiana Jones, the Little Mermaid, and the Disney Junior show. We enjoyed them all, but it makes for a long day of just...watching shows. My family loved Indiana Jones, which is odd because the girls have never seen it. The Disney Junior show was my least favorite because they make you sit on the floor and then they use rather small puppets, which seems silly since they use huge, life size characters for litterally everything else.

We had fastpasses for the cool rides-the Tower of Terror, the Rock 'n Rollercoaster, and Toy Story Mania. Just Betsy and I rode the first two and we had such fun. I am so lucky to have been with her on her first ride on an upside down rollercoaster. And the Tower of Terror is just one of my most favorite rides ever, so it was fun to share that with her.

Toy Story Mania we rode with April's family-Mallory and Betsy rode together, Nick and Felicity, Jeremy and Natalie, and April and me. We had such fun and I won! (April had me beat until the last bit, and then I beat her!) This ride is the best ride at Hollywood Studios and possibly the entire park.

That said, Hollywood Studios is in need of something. It does have cool rides-Tower of Terror, Rock 'n Rollercoaster, Toy Story Mania!, and Star Tours-and it does have some great shows-Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, Fantasmic. However, lots of space is wasted, lots of shows are lacking, lots of rides (like the Backstage Studio tour and the Art of Animation) have lost their entire purpose since it is not longer a working backlot and studio.

My suggestion would be for them to turn some of the park into a look at vintage Disney movies. I love, love, love learning about how movies like my favorite The Parent Trap were made. No, this is not how movies are made now, but what they managed to do at the time was amazing. Especially with the animation.

And then I would amp up the Pixar connection. Toy Story Mania is so cool, and it's just all alone, drifting. Add some more interactive rides, and keep the Pixar theme.

We had lunch at the Sci-Fi Drive In Diner, which is so cool. We ate in a car, watching old previews for monster movies. We did have to pay for that ourselves, as it was not included in the quick service dining, but it was much enjoyed.

We also took a lot of time to do pin trading. I have promised to explain it, so here goes: remember back when I said that we bought a lot of pins (50 of them) from ebay. And we bought each girl a lanyard. Okay, so if you are wanting to pin trade, you put the lanyard on and start walking. Almost every Disney cast member is wearing pins, and a lot of them will beckon you over if your are wearing a lanyard. Simply look at their pins and select the one you want. Offer them any pin from your own lanyard and they will trade. I was worried that they wouldn't want some of our junkier pins, but they will take anything. We had a fabulous time trying to find cooler and cooler pins. Nick had a blast hunting down Eeyore pins.

Nick is going to make a shadow box of our pins. If we ever return, we will spend lots of time pin trading. It was such a fun memory-one that I would never have managed on my own, because I'm just too shy, but luckily the others I travel with are braver.

Another fun part of our trip that somehow I can't seem to remember to add in here is that the girls also enjoyed finding hidden Mickeys on all of the rides. We would have such a blast when we got off of rides, saying, "Did you see this hidden Mickey?" Sometimes we had a heads up and knew to look for them, but mostly we found them on our own.

Friday evening we returned to our hotel and the girls went swimming. They had been wanting to do that all week. I enjoyed being off my feet (I have managed to avoid going into too much detail about my ordeal with my knee-all you need know is that I was in a great deal of pain all week, and being at a huge, never ending amusement park is not the best place to heal-but I still had the best vacation of my life, in spite of it).

This vacation was amazing. It did not rain once all week, we had glorious Florida sunshine the whole week. We managed to do almost everything on my itinerary, and we did not argue to near the extent that I worried we might. As I'm pretty sure I've mentioned repeatedly, I can never thank my parents enough for all that they do for us. I am blessed.