We were met by a warmer day, weather-wise, yet still not as bad as Japan. When you look up in Orlando, here's what you see:
As mentioned in our last post, on deck for today was a trip to Disney Hollywood Studios (formerly Disney MGM Studios, but we won't delve into the mess that is the ownership of MGM these days).
Right off the bat, we made our way to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, which was a fun recreation of moments from Raiders of the Lost Ark, from a behind-the-scenes perspective. A short wait and seats in the second row were indicators that going ANYWHERE other than where the new Harry Potter attraction was located was the right idea.
We followed that up with a stop at Star Tours, which will soon be decommissioned and updated (surely with high-def video and an all new ride experience exploring locations from the prequel trilogy as well).
They're having a "Last Tour to Endor" event while the Star Wars show is underway next week, but we were perfectly fine enjoying our last trip without the added lines and chaos that only several thousand Star Wars fans can bring... of course it would be interesting for those traveling with costumed Stormtroopers and Jedi and the like.
Here's a last look inside the old Starspeeder 3000...
We enjoyed the air-conditioned confines of a theater for MuppetVision 3-D.
We then hit the backlot tour, similar to (but shorter than) Universal Studio's classic tour. On our way through the backlot sets we saw San Francisco up the street...
The tour started off with some Pearl Harbor-like reenactments in a water tank, a brisk walk through a prop storage room, and then on to a tram where we witnessed a scene of flooding and explosions in a man-made canyon set, followed by a drive-by of numerous vehicles cast aside for future use. I can only assume the Star Wars Skiff and Snowspeeder were once used at Star Tours of their Jedi training show...
The best part of the tour came at the end, with a walkthrough of an exhibit featuring the AFI greatest villains, including costumes and props from Star Wars, Pirates of the Carribean and more.
A favorite was Davy Jones' organ from Pirates of the Carribean (no, not the Monkees).
The next area was a Pixar studios street where we saw an interesting live character of Mike from Monster's Inc., along with numerous (barrel of) monkeys and Green Army Men on the rooftops.
We also watched a short film on Walt Disney (One Man's Dream), saw a lot of really cool original production art from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, sat through a too-long short presentation on developing animated characters and got to see some designs for the new Disney film Tangled. We then found ourselves in a meet-and-greet character area, but Vonna could not be convinced to wait in line to see if Lotso really smelled like strawberries.
The last stop on our Hollywood Studios adventure was the Great Movie Ride. As Raiders of the Lost Ark was represented with a decent recreation of the Well of the Souls, the attraction name can't be considered false advertising. Photos were tough to capture in here, but to give you another idea of a worthy sequence, does anyone recognize what set we were on based on this clue?
The ride included classic musicals, westerns, and a 40s gangster street (with a live Bugsy Malone who took over driving our tram until he decided to try and steal a jewel from an Egyptian set). Some of the anamatronic characters were better than others - one of the best was saved for last:
The ride wrapped up with an oddly assembled montage of film scenes (where Star Wars was briefly represented, as it wasn't recreated elsewhere in the ride).
It was a long day, but a good time. Plenty of interesting things to see and do. We hit our favorite Publix grocery store on the way back to get some dishes to cook in and food for the next several day's meals. We'll turn over to Vonna once again for a description of the menu:
Chicken breasts stuffed with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, with sides of pasta, veggies & salad - followed up with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies.
The plan for Saturday is a little more subdued. Stan will be celebrating the NFL Hall of Fame induction of Jerry Rice. John and Vonna are thinking of celebrating in the true Florida fashion - a trip to Gatorland. We're all considering a trip to Downtown Disney later tonight for some shopping and perhaps to catch a movie.
We're looking forward to our trip to Kennedy Space Center and our friends are joining us from England on Sunday, so we thought it might be good to have a more relaxing day scheduled.
P.S. We've added a few more photos to our prior posts, so even if you've read those you might want to check them out again... Until next time, like the sign says, keep your hands and feet in the ride at all times!