Monday, November 18, 2013

Disney: Day 4

Hollywood Studios, as promised! Due to our hardy-partying (hearty-partying? I'm never sure which one applies in that phrase...) we didn't quite get the up-at-dawn start to the day that I was aiming for. It is even possible that I slept through my alarm entirely and didn't get up till after 7:30. SEVEN-THIRTY!! Travesty. But we did in fact get up, and caught the bus to make the five minute ride to the park (if my feet weren't so sad at this point, it might have been as fast to walk. But that's for seasons that allow for socks and sensible shoes.) We had a 9:00 FastPass+ for The Toy Story Ride, because I had been reading horror stories about the wait times. Even with the FP, and even at 9:05 in the am, we still waited. (In a truly wonderful queue, though, so it was delightful waiting. Tinker Toy trusses!!) We got packed into our little midway car, and off to the races! Or the video games, as the case was. We had a great time (and I redeemed myself, at least somewhat, in my defeat of Kate - hehhehheh), but I'm going to go ahead and say it: I felt a little oversold. Please, please don't misunderstand: it was fun. It was pretty and fancy and filled with 3D. But, umm, it's pretty much the same as the Buzz ride over in MK, right? Only with a pull string and less Zurg? I mean, I wasn't missing out on some intrinsic experience that everyone else has felt? I just don't see the motivation for the people waiting in the already 65 minute wait line...after we ate (the world's most delicious) blueberry muffins across the way, we spoke to the very sweet - and very new - CM helping manage all the strollers. She told us that one of her roommates worked the ride the previous Christmas, and there were 240 minute waits and a paper fast pass line that stretched all the way back to the sorcerer's hat. I don't get that.

Tin Toy!

Setting aside my mystification, we soldiered on. To the One Man's Dream museum display and movie - where it was cool and quiet and dark and air conditioned and wonderful. And had Walt's gloriously period office!

Honestly, I could reupholster some of this in Jonathan Adler-esque colors, I'd be set for life.

We watched the movie (and, not gonna lie, got a little verklempt) and went out to the next indoor area (have I mentioned that it was just after ten and already scaldingly hot? Because it was) which was the Animation Courtyard, but we were late for the drawing class (Kate has both interest and talent in that regard, so I knew we had to go!) so we decided to walk down a little further and wait for our Rock 'n' Roller Coaster FP.

Very much in love with this boulevard...

RNR was SO MUCH FUN. It requires all those caps, because of the fun level and because I would have had to shout to be heard. (There was a shirt in the gift shop that read "If it's too loud, you're too old." Guilty as charged. Your hearing is a GIFT, young people.) But it was super fast and lots of fun and next time I'll bring my ear plugs!

We walked back to the Animation Courtyard for that drawing class and MEETING FROZONE AND MR. INCREDIBLE. You may ask, Heather, that's odd - conventions being what they are, why wouldn't you list the title character first? To which I would respond, because this Frozone was freaking awesome, that's why. And flirted with me. And really, that latter reason would be enough. (Although, troublesome: I did point out that he was married, and he responded by waving his gloved left hand at me, as if to say, no ring, no problem...I expect better from you, Lucius.) But he was super fun. (Heh - accidental pun! And it stays.) I think Mr. Incredible was new/in training - he had some wardrobe malfunctions, and didn't seem really sure about how to interact with people. But he looked great...? (I was going to share a funny picture with you to demonstrate, but it would have required an incredibly lengthy caption - longer than this parenthetical, in fact - and I look dreadful in it, so, you'll just have to take my word on it.)

Okay, from one line to the next - we crossed the lobby and got to sit (!) while we waited on the next class. The UberCast Member (okay, he may not have been the first, but, he was for sure the most...) was doing a trivia game to pass the time - YES, PLEASE. There were some seriously deep cuts in the cards he was reading, and I was trying not to show out, but we got to some Wind in the Willows questions and I couldn't wait anymore - THE WIND AND THE WILLOWS!! Such a great movie. And those weasels were so creepy...

At any rate: got to go sit in the class, and bless that poor lady teaching it. We had a set of three delightful 8-13ish sisters who, when the teacher polled to see who had done what character, raised their hand every single time. They were ridiculous. She finally just made us vote between Daisy (not Donald, but close!) and Pluto (who's not even close to Donald, but we love him anyway). Pluto won, and so we learned how to draw Pluto! It was very neat, and made me very aware of my inadequacies.

You can't really see the badness from this angle. And it's at least identifiable. You can tell it's Pluto, which is better than I ever did in Drawing 1 with Warren...

We sidled into a gift shop to start really considering souvenirs - it was never part of my plan to take things back, because I don't love buying stuff that I know I'm just going to purge a few years down the line, but it was all so wonderful! Some many wonderful THINGS to remind me of this wonderful time...anyway, Kate got a great shirt for her dad, and had it sent back the hotel, which allowed our drawings to tag along as well, because the lady working the counter was wonderfully accommodating (and evidently used to people asking about it, because she definitely had some opinions on that class).

Next up: TOWER OF TERROR. Which earns its caps-lock for sheer fun level. I LOVED it. I'm not usually one for the drop rides (I believe I've mentioned that heights are not my favorite) but - if you're not aware - the heights are inside. So smart. I promise you, I came fully off of my seat at least twice - the backs of my knees were the only things touching the chair and there's a picture that will never see the light of day where I look/have my hands out exactly like my mother. See, it's scary on a number of levels.

Doesn't look it, though...

By this time it was nearly two, and we were starving nigh unto death. Nigh unto. We decided to roll the dice and see if we could get a table at 50's Prime Time Cafe - I had read great things, and I was in the mood for some real food after that (delicious, but c'mon) blueberry muffin for breakfast that morning.

People. You must go. You must go and you must talk to the wait staff and you must eat the fried cheese appetizer and eavesdrop on the tables next to you and talk to other diners who have a sense of fun about such things and - above all - you must eat the roast beef. Stars, but it was good. I had two pictures on my camera of this most delicious lunch; this one:

I know it looks good, but it can't even come close...

And then another of that same plate all but licked clean. It was SO GOOD. The best roast beef I've ever had, including my mother's. Spectacular comfort food. Mmm. Getting hungry just thinking about it.

So moving on: we hung out for just a minute or two at the Academy Plaza, where I got a picture with Bea Arthur's bust:

She's my spirit animal.

And we got a great shot of Kate with one of her favorites, Dr. Huxtable, himself:

Looking out in the middle distance, contemplating that sweater...

Next up was The Great Movie Ride, which had some amazing costume pieces out in the queue - really, really neat stuff. I keep feeling like this ride should have been one of the Magic Moments for me, but it really wasn't - I guess my association is that is more the Studio Backlot Tour, which we did not do (nor did we do Star Tours - next time). I don't mean to be nitpicky, and especially because as you well know, I have nothing to which I can compare it, but it seemed like it needed a little bit of an update. Just...I don't know, tightened up a bit, a fresh coat of paint, the lighting adjusted (okay, I actually know some of which I speak on that one - the lighting definitely needed adjusting). I kept thinking, wow, this must have been amazing when it opened, and then I realized, wait, the park is younger than just needed a little zip. Oh, and of note: our tour guide looked like a female version of Steve Valentine. I couldn't look away.

I know it's blurry and awful, but it really adds to her ineffableness.

I was completely done in at this point - it was hot, I was stuffed and achy and in need of a nap. But we had said we'd return to meet Buzz and Woody. So we shall! This holds the record for the longest wait of the trip (narrowly beating out Test Track at Epcot), but it was worth it. First, because it allowed me to find evidence to support my How Old Children Should Be to Enjoy Disney theory. Older than most of the ones in that echo chamber, I'll tell ya. Bless 'em, there were so many babies in that room who just wanted to so home for their naps. Poor upset babies. And second, it allowed me to take the following picture:


By way of explanation, aside from the fact that the Toy Story movies are amazing and require no explanation for the love thereof, my family tends to call the dog Stinky Pete. Because he's sometimes stinky. Aren't you glad you stayed for that? But seriously, I love that picture.

We got to meet Woody and Buzz (Woody was so tall...) and while the Buzz here wasn't as awesome as Buzz from MK, it was still great. (And really, that's an impossibly high bar to set, so it's not fair for me to compare the two.)

Wandering around outside, we discovered some of the green Army men! Who were just out there, being wonderful. The best, though, was this one, who latched on to this gentleman, who clearly had not seen any of the movies or did not care if he had, because he was having zero reaction to the green Army guy following him around, and sitting with him, and being chill on this bench with I took a picture of it. Friends, presenting: apathy.

Some people will never believe in magic.

We went home to crash after this - it was our longest day in the parks for sure. After recuperating, we were trying to decide where to spend our evening (okay, where we were having dinner. We eat together - it's our thing, okay?) and decided on Downtown Disney, to have dinner and pick out some souvenirs, too.

It was PACKED. Shoulder to shoulder solid masses of humanity. Due to my not-knowing anything, we kind of got off the bus at the wrong end for dinner, so we strolled through the Christmas store in search of an ornament for Kate's mom (she has a very specifically themed tree), and it was wonderful, despite the both of us being not-Christmas people (PS - I want to do a Disney-themed Hanukkah tree). We pinballed our way down through the stores, though that does suggest we were moving much faster than we were really able. Decided on Raglan Road for dinner, because it was delightfully rowdy in there, and we had absolutely amazing food - again, I'll try and save the majority of my food ramblings for separate posts for people who actually care about such things (KATE). But it was delicious and had amazing energy and there were handsome firefighters everywhere you looked. It was the fulfillment of someone's very specific fantasy...and I was just happy to be a witness to it.

Before we turned in for the night, we stopped at the World of Disney store - holy Moses, folks. Talk about being overwhelmed. We had absolutely no idea where to start. It was so huge, and there were so many people in there, and such an air of HAVE-TO about the place with it being so close to closing time...but we put our game faces on and did some Shopping. I came out with all but two people done, and I think Kate got all but one of hers finished. Power shopping.

Worn clear through, we went home, limped down to our room, and turned in. Next up: Animal Kingdom! Animals, "African" food and more characters!