Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Merry Christmouse! Disney World Christmas Trip Post Day 5: Hollywood Studios!

Day five of our trips is always bittersweet. A whole day stretches ahead of us, but since our trips are usually six days long, we have the phantom of the trip's end right around the corner. On day five, we went to Hollywood Studios!

My outfit for the day was a Sorcerer Mickey Disneybound. I love how 80% of this ensemble turned out: the only thing I want to change is the dress itself. I picked it up at Goodwill before the trip, and the silhouette just isn't as flattering as I want it to be. So I think the next time I do this Disneybound, which I'm sure I will, I'll find another red dress to use as the base for it.

First off, before anything else, I wanted to get in to meet Sorcerer Mickey in my Disneybound, before I got all sweaty and gross. Meeting Mickey is a package deal with glam Minnie, so we met her first.

Next was Sorcerer Mickey's meet and greet. I asked him for advice on how to get my sorcerer hat to behave.

He kept gesturing that my hat was tiny, so it should be easier to make it behave.

My favorite shot of the two of us together:

Next we had a fast pass for Toy Story: Midway Mania. Tom kept the lead throughout the game, but in the end I won, mostly because of the lightning round in the end.

We got in line to meet Moana, even though we haven't seen her story yet, because I know we WILL be seeing it. This, honestly, was the most awkward meet of our trip. We got up to her and thunder started sounding, and she just went off on her pre-planned story. "Do you hear that? What is...ohhh it's Maui, I bet. Sometimes he likes to sound loud like thunder. Should we get our photo together?" We were in and out as fast as we could blink. And there's some awkwardness going on with Tom's side of this photo...it looks like he's grabbing her inappropriately, but really she was holding her arm behind his weirdly. Not...the best meet and greet ever. But I include the photo because we love meeting characters.

To clear our heads from that strangeness, we walked over to Star Wars: Launch Bay. As we walked in, two Stormtroopers came into the room and got into frozen positions. Tom knew what was up: the exit for the theater was right there, and a showing was about to let out. We waited to see how many people they would scare by "coming to life." The answer was, about four.

Our last experience meeting Chewbacca was so incredibly phenomenal, we both know it will never be matched. So we skipped meeting him, and had no interest in meeting Kylo either. We walked straight over to the cantina area and met the Jawas again, always a joy.

We had brought a three pack of metal cars from the Dollar Tree again. I gave one to a Jawa, and got a droid part in return. I don't think anything will beat the chain I got the first time I traded with a Jawa, which was the start of my charm bracelet.

We gave the other two cars to a couple of kids who were hanging out with their family there and hadn't brought anything to trade. The lovely thing was, then just a few minutes later, when we wanted to get a photo with a Jawa, they offered to take the photo for us. One good turn deserves another!

Our next fast pass was for the best ride at Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror. Tom got the lucky red card this time!

An awesome experience as always. This time was possibly the best ride combo I've had on there: because they psyched us out by starting the video you see at the very end, and then starting the ride for one more trip up and down! Genius move.

We got a few photos in front of the Launch Bay area.

That morning, we let a couple go ahead of us in line for Sorcerer  Mickey because their kid was already late for Jedi training. The sweet couple, as a thank you, gave us paper fast passes to ride Tower of Terror. Don't mind if we do. Once again, one good turn deserves another.

In confirmation of how sneaky our first ride was, this one didn't have that "psych out" at the end...the video started and the ride was done, as it usually goes.

By this point, we'd used all three of our fast passes (the third was for Star Tours), so I started peeking on the app to see if we could get more. We decided to ride the Great Movie Ride, because it's a classic.

In line, they had the ark from Raiders of the Lost Ark, so I posed as if my face was melting off. Yes, I'm a dork.

The Great Movie Ride was actually pretty fun this time around. The Cast Members can get so bored on that ride, it's rare to get a good experience. But our CM was enthusiastic, there were several people in our vehicle who hadn't been on the ride before and their enthusiasm was catching. The "switch-out" CM was the gangster, and he actually did a pretty good gangster accent he maintained throughout his portion of the ride. So I'm glad we went on it. Probably the most fun ride we've had on there.

Next, we fast passed the Rock n Roller Coaster. We aren't big fans of this ride, but what the heck....for a ten minute wait, we'll go on there.

After Rock n Roller Coaster, we walked over to Launch Bay again, and Tom decided to buy the voice activated R2-D2. Since this was our second to the last day, that meant no delivery to the resort, so we carried him around. But before we went into the Launch Bay, I heard someone shout "Grace!" across the courtyard. Figuring it was a mom shouting at a kid, I ignored it until I heard it again. Turning around, I saw my friend Sarah Zizi who I've known online for ages. She works in an office at Hollywood Studios, and was just on her break grabbing a coffee at Starbucks when she saw my red hair across the courtyard. She introduced me to her two coworkers and we chatted for a bit. What a surprise to finally get to meet her in person!!!

Dinner that night was at the newly opened Pizzerizzo, formerly the Pizza Planet. The theming in here was pretty awesome: we ate in a room that was made to resemble a family Italian eatery's wedding room from the 80s. 80s wedding music played while we were in there, there was a disco ball, and the walls had latticework on them with fake greenery. Tom grew up in Youngstown, Ohio, which is a very Italian community. He's not Italian, but many of his memories are. He said the room was totally authentic family-owned Italian style, as was the whole restaurant.

The sign is hilarious. It says "The City's Top Rated Pizza" and every now and then half the sign fizzles out so that instead it says "It's Rat Pizza."

The theming was on-point, and I'm happy we went in if only to see all the little details.

The pizza itself was nothing to write home about. One of the less impressive meals of our trip. Truth be told, I have yet to find a good dining place at Hollywood Studios. We went to SciFi Dine-in the first trip, and we hated the narrow table in the dark, with strangers sitting right in front of or behind you. The loop of old sci fi footage is amusing, but if you take any length of time to eat, it cycles through enough times to make you sick of it.

Then we tried 50s Prime Time, and the food was ok, just ok...and the "gimmick of the restaurant is that your server acts like a mom or dad and tells you how to behave at the table. But both times we went (we went back this spring), our servers were lackluster and unenthusiastic. So we decided this trip to try Pizzerizzo, and that was unimpressive either. I still want to try Mama Melrose...there were no reservations left for this trip...and Brown Derby is just too expensive for us. So I don't know what to do about eating at Hollywood Studios. :/ Maybe when Star Wars Land opens there will be a SW theme restaurant that will be our new default. All I know is...all the parks at Disney World have restaurants we know we like and enjoy except Hollywood Studios.

After dinner, we went on Star Tours one more time, then we had fast passes for Fantasmic. Normally the fast passes will get you into a section near the center of the stadium, but this time, they were routing the fast pass people to the second to the furthest away section in the entire stadium. They were terrible seats, and it meant getting out of there even later than normal. I have no idea what the issue was, but this was disappointing, as Fantasmic is our favorite nighttime show of all the parks.

Still...we were determined to enjoy it. I recorded my favorite part of the show.

After Fantasmic, at about 8:40, the park closes. But this was our last night at Disney World, I had comfy shoes for the trip and wasn't in pain, and I didn't want to go home and go to bed yet. So we hopped on a bus to Epcot. (I make it sound so easy...the line for a bus from HS to Epcot was huge and chaotic and we almost gave up before we got on one) Epcot would be closing in about an hour, but I just wanted to sip a little more Beverly, visit Mousegear one more time, and delay the inevitable final night of our trip.

We got our Spaceship Earth photo...we'd forgotten to get one on our Epcot day.

And we stopped by the art store near the front of the park. I thought these Dapper Jack and Dapper Sally statues were lovely, but I'm not a big enough fan to want them.

And of course as the photo you saw earlier indicated, we stopped by Mousegear one more time. I think we picked up a few more last minute purchases.

And so we went back to our room to pack, and get ready for the last day of our trip.

Tomorrow: One more day in a wet and rainy Magic Kingdom!

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