Tuesday, November 24, 2009

day 2: hollywood studios

on thursday, we got up and made our way over to hollywood studios, formerly MGM studios. hollywood studios has the best rides out of all the parks, and i think some of the better shows, as well. everything focuses on movies and many of the shows that feature "behind the scenes" work are set up like everyone is filming.

again, a cool tree at the front with lots of stars and film reels.
we immediately hit the big rides--the rockin' roller coaster that features aerosmith and a great soundtrack that is timed perfectly with the ride.
and the hollywood tower of terror. each drop is uniquely programmed, so you never have the same ride twice (we rode this again at night and i got the most amazing view of the park and surrounding area--right before we dropped 13 stories...)
oh, and the star wars ride (which hasn't changed since i first visited the park in the early 90s) and the muppets 3-D show (which also hasn't changed) but both entertaining. we moved on to some of the stunt shows after that--like the indiana jones stunt spectacular.
and the impressive "lights, motors, action!" show that had crazy car stunts like jumps, explosions and some wild driving!
then it was time for one of my choices...
ahh, yes, the voyage of the little mermaid. some cool effects with lasers and a rainfall on stage that made it look like she was underwater (i liked shows that allowed photos without flash--they actually turn out well most times!)
then over to grauman's chinese theater and the great movie ride--one of our longest waits of the day, and possibly the whole trip.
i just thought this shot was cool--haven't edited it yet, but it has potential.
by that point, we were just doing a few last things until the sun went down. so we stopped by to visit lightening mcqueen and 'mater...
and listened to the musical stylings of mulch, sweat and shears while eating mickey mouse ice creams.
the classic ear watertowers--and a reminder that i need to clean my camera. see the dust spot on the sensor in the upper right corner?
once the sun went down, we went over to save our seats for fantasmic, the studios' big evening show. honestly, it was a random hodge podge of disney songs and characters, but the special effects using water, fireworks and huge puppets were really cool.
after fantasmic let out, we rushed across the park back over to the osbourne family's spectacle of lights. they had just turned on right before fantasmic started, and they were so amazing. every 15 minutes or so, they did a quick show where the lights were synchronized to the music. we have a video, but honestly, i don't feel like loading it up tonight. maybe later :)

we left from there and took a quick bus ride over to the polynesian resort, where we had reservations for the spirit of aloha luau. they greeted us with leis and gave us more food than we possibly could have eaten!
the dessert was a chocolate volcano with raspberry lava--mmmmm....

and the performances by the native dancers were amazing! again, click the collage to enlarge it. i tried to include a few pictures from each group.
(and the fire juggler at the bottom? whoa. so cool.)

afterward, we rode the monorail over to the magic kingdom to catch a bus back to our hotel. they were having mickey's very merry christmas party that evening, so we couldn't go inside. we did enjoy the outside of the park and were excited to see the peaks of the castle over the entrance. all to get us ready for saturday...

tomorrow? epcot! my favorite...

(this day's photos on flickr here)