Day 4: Hollywood Studios (part 2)

It’s still Thursday, Day 4, at Hollywood Studios, Downtown Disney and The Magic Kingdom.  We had warned the kids that Thursday was the last night in the Magical World of Disney, and they had many plans.

Our waitress at breakfast offered several suggestions for rides and attractions in the park, beginning with Jedi training.  She warned us that signing up for the training sessions that prepared children for a later show filled up fast.  She was right!  We could have signed up for a late-afternoon training, but would have to return after 8:00 PM for our Jedi children to show their stuff.

The kids were bummed – they have recently discovered Uncle Jason’s Star Wars collections and really wanted to spar with light sabers.  Instead, we did the next best thing…the Star Wars ride!  The ride didn’t actually propel down tracks or fly through the air, but paired with 3D glasses, outstanding graphics, and flight simulating seats, we felt like we were flying through a galaxy far, far, away.  Aedan’s thick hair qualified him for the height requirement, but I think he would have rather stayed outside – the ride was very realistic as C3PO guided our vessel away from firing Storm Troopers.

After Star Wars, we played in the land of Honey I Shrunk the Kids-this was the kids’ favorite attraction.  We were shrunk to smaller-than-ant size, allowing us to slide down 35mm filmstrips, look up to towering tubs of playdoh, and be shaded be monstrous blades of grass.  We actually played there twice on Thursday!

We scored a fastpass to the Voyage of the Little Mermaid on our way through Pixar land – the line for the Toy Story characters was ridiculously long, and the line for the ride was even longer.

Somehow we came across a line of people just an attraction was opening, and followed them inside.  (We tended to just hop in lines and see where they went a lot…)  There were interactive stations for children to investigate the art of movie-making, and there were several character meet and greets.  We hopped in the Mickey line, thinking it looked quite short.  Unfortunately, we found out while we were in line that most of the parents in line had let some of their children go play instead of waiting in line.  Waiting for those kids to respond to their beckoning mothers coupled with the number of families that decided to take senior portraits, quinceanera photos, first communion photos, family Christmas shots and individual shots of every family member really stretched the line.  Can you tell that I was really excited about that..?

 

We made it out just in time to see the Ariel show – it was a twenty minute version of her story, with puppets for the sea creatures, 4D and light effects, and beautiful vocals from a human Ariel.

Aedan (and Emma) requested a pit stop to see McQueen and Mater, and took advantage of the shady line to munch on granola bars for snack.  After another visit at Honey I Shrunk the Kids land, we redeemed our daily snack allotment.  The iced coffees at the snack shops are superb!

Joel really wanted to see the Indiana Jones show – we weren’t sure what it was, but it looked interesting.  It was a behind the scenes look at how stunts are performed.  People were chosen from the audience to participate, and the audience discovers at the end of the show that one of the men that is (allegedly) hurt and beaten is actually a stunt man himself.  There were falling boulders, gunshots, explosions and fist fights – just like an Indiana Jones movie.

The afternoon Pixar parade was the last item on our to-do list.  Joel and Emma joined a flash mob rehearsal while Mommy held down our awesome front-row parade seats and Aedan ate his apple from breakfast.  The flash mob footage will allegedly be on some movie or Disney advertisement somewhere.

Emma was dressed in her Jessie outfit, and was tickled when Jessie pointed her out and came over for a huge high five, just as the clouds opened in a 5-minute rain shower.

High fives!

After the park, we headed for Downtown Disney.  We waited at the bus stop for several minutes, and when the same bus driver passed us twice he asked us where we were headed.  Apparently, busses don’t actually go to/from Downtown Disney because it opens an opportunity for people to cheat at parking.  At his friendly suggestion, we took a bus to a nearby Disney resort, then hopped on their bus to Downtown Disney instead.

We browsed at a couple stores before heading to our supper reservation at Cap’n Jack’s Restaurant.  When you book any dining reservation through Disney, either online or via phone, you are given the opportunity to mention what you are celebrating.  On this reservation, Joel mentioned that we were celebrating our 10th Wedding Annniversary.  As our greeter seated us, she congratulated us on our anniversary and asked some basic, friendly questions about our married life.  After we had ordered drinks and were settled in with our appetizer, she returned with two “Happy Anniversary” buttons for Joel and me to wear and two “We are Celebrating!” buttons for the kids.  She had also taken the time to fill out an anniversary card for us, complete with a large crayoned heart.  It was really sweet!

As we attempted to order dessert (grownups have to get dessert – it’s part of the meal plan!), the neighboring table stopped by to wish us a happy anniversary and complement us on the behavior and etiquette of our children – coming from parents of four very well-behaved children, that was quite a compliment!

After walking the plank at Cap’n Jack’s, we caught a bus to a nearby resort and hopped another bus to the Magic Kingdom.  We arrived in time to ride a couple rides, watch a high school band from Ames, Iowa perform in the street, see the fireworks and Tinkerbell’s flight, ride even more rides after the crowds dispersed, and purchase Emma’s pirate puppy dog.

 

We also found an empty corral for Mickey on our way out, and wove our way through (no waiting!) hoping to see his sweetheart Minnie as well.  Aedan ran right up to Mickey and planted a big kiss on his nose; his way of telling Mom and Dad and Mickey “thank you!” for such a magical day!  Both kids fell asleep on the bus ride home, sleeping soundly until our last morning.