Sunday, 22 May 2016

Disney's Hollywood Studios

Saturday 23 April 2016. Our first visit to Disney's Hollywood Studios park. The park opened as Disney-MGM Studios in 1989 and it changed to the current name in 2008.

We have arranged to meet the EGGs there at 12:30 for another character meal at lunchtime. There is time for a quick look round first.

Hollywood Boulevard is the park's equivalent of the Magic Kingdom's Main Street U.S.A. It leads from the entrance to the central point of the park in front of The Great Movie Ride which is housed in a reproduction of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

The park has some iconic buildings and is another park designed with distant views in mind. Whilst having more of a city feel, there is still plenty of greenery about.

A massive arch within the park. Back in 1993 the last time we were here, this led to the Backlot Tour, a part walking and part tram ride tour. This closed in 2014 and made way for two areas devoted to Star Wars and Pixar.

We went to our agreed meeting place and waited for a while, then finally asked the desk whether Eddie, Gill and Grace had already gone in. When they checked we were an hour early - we should have met them at 1:30pm... So another 45 minutes to kill...

We had been anticipating something to eat and drink and in the end we needed the drink and got one at a fast-food outlet. The area before The Great Movie Ride had been filled with a large stage and movie screen behind. Every two hours a Star Wars themed show was given there with snatches from the latest Star Wars - The Force Awakens on the screen and characters appearing live. They included Darth Vader, C-3PO, Storm Troopers, Kylo Ren, Boba Fett and Chewbacca. There is a good mix of screen action, music and sound effects, pyrotechnics. Even the Storm Troopers fire their weapons, shooting roman candle lights out, bringing a huge cry of surprise and approval from the crowd. We'll see some Storm Troopers another day.

1:30pm. We head back to the Hollywood and Vine restaurant, meet up with the family and then wait ages again. Our name hasn't been called, our vibrating gizmo has not vibrated, but somehow they have ticked us off as having been seated. The manager is pretty good though and gives us five Fast Pass entry forms for any ride, in any park, at any time to make up for our wait.

Today's characters are from the Disney Junior TV channel. This is Handy Manny who together with his walking talking tools can fix anything.

I am coerced into having a photo taken as the family always say I look like Manny's friend Mr Lopart (inset).

This is Princess Sofia whose village girl background changes when her mother marries the King of Enchancia in the TV programme Sofia the First. She has an amulet that gives her the power to talk to animals and has a flying horse. As you do...

Much more rooted in normality is Doc McStuffins. The daughter of a doctor, she acts as a doctor to broken toys. They come to life magically whenever she puts on her stethoscope. Oh... wait a minute... Doc's programme is the one that Grace's beloved Lambie comes from. Doc writes in the autograph book "Thank you for looking after Lambie".

Jake the boy pirate stars in Jake and The Neverland Pirates. Captain Hook is a regular antagonist in the series, but is much more of a bumbling buffoon in this show than in the film Peter Pan. Peter himself puts in a rare occasional appearance.

Jake leads all the children in the restaurant on a procession around the tables and then to a sing-song of pirate songs from the show in the centre of the restaurant.

This brave soul in the middle comes out at intervals to lead the faithful in songs from the TV shows. Grace loved singing with them and was all set to follow them back into the cast-only area at the end...

Jake comes back out to come round the tables and sign the all-important autograph book.

In the next holiday article we will be returning to EPCOT and seeing more of the World Showcase and inevitably more characters!

Disney World Holiday Index

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