Friday, September 14, 2007

Walt Disney World Day 06.....But Ma Do we have to go

It was decided before my wife went to bed that today would be a "sleeping in" day. So, when I laid down after publishing yesterday's trip report, I set the alarm for 9AM. We ultimately didn't get to the park until around 10:30-11:00AM.

It was decided that today would be the day that we mark Disney-MGM Studios (aka Disney's Hollywood Studios) as complete.

What we didn't count on was that it would be today's place to be. When we got of the bus, we were faced with a huge line to get through the bag check and the ticket gate.

We knew that the first thing that we needed to get done today was Light, Motor Action. According to the Times Guide, that wasn't scheduled until 1PM, so we had some time to kill.

So, we made a bee line to the Great Movie Ride. When we got there, it was a 60 minute wait to get on, so we just kept on moving. It was my turn to pick next.

DSC_6133 So, I decided that we should take a trip to the moon of Endor courtesy of Star Tours. I knew that George would not let me live it down if I skipped it two years in a row. It was a posted 10 minute wait and it took no time for us to get on our Star Tours vehicle and under way. This is a very, very bumpy and quick moving simulator ride. If you are prone to motion sickness, this may not be a ride for you. To me, it just doesn't get me as "involved" as does Soarin' or Mission: Space. But, I have to get the win to Walt Disney World for having the better themed queue. Disneyland has the same ride, but their queue is very boring. The Disney Geeks did a really good post about Star Tours a few months ago that does DSC_6151sum up my feeling about this ride quite a bit. I'm not a mondo Star Wars geek, but I am a fan of the series. That being said, I hope the rumors of a Star Tours 2.0 are that it will be a more all encompassing ride than the current one giving us more perspectives of the movie than just the forward facing screen.

After getting off the ride, we ducked into the Tatoonie Traders post-show shop. I loved this store. Any Star Wars geek would love this store as well. My wife saw a shirt that she felt I just had to have. It involved a Yoda short joke.

DSC_6187 After Star Tours, we decided to try The Great Movie ride again, but we routed back via the Indiana Jones area of the park. The wait was still extremely long (~45 minutes). So, we kept on walking toward The Little Mermaid attraction. This was my wife's request. I am not a very big fan of this show. The main reason is that it "rains" on you during the performance and if you've been reading these trip reports you know how much I enjoy being wet or rained upon.

I also think they kept us waiting in the pre-show area longer than the show actually took to perform. But, my wife loves this show and it's nice to watch her sing along with the actors on the stage. I really didn't have much luck taking pictures of this one. I didn't have enough time to change lenses before the show and I wasn't going to risk it with all the water vapor in the room.

When this show was over, we decided to go to the Backlot Tour but we had to go there via the Streets of America and that meant going by the Chinese Theater again. This time the wait was 35 minutes. It's still over our 20 minutes rule so we kept on going toward the Backlot Tour.

By this time the heat is really getting to us. For you see, shade is a luxury at the Studios and when you find it, you get yourself into it.

I noticed that they were doing a Kim Possible character meet on the Streets of America but I couldn't get a clear shot due to all the little girls and boys who were standing around her with their parents. I did notice a lot of dads armed with cameras though.

DSC_6249 We made our way to the backlot tour. On our way in, we were asked if we'd like to volunteer to be an "extra" in the show. I knew that meant getting soaked and I didn't want to deal with it considering all my camera equipment and my dislike for being wet in the parks. I know I turned down a great opportunity to report something via my blog, but that is life. After watching the representation of how action DSC_6242sequences are performed you go on a tram tour of a "working" movie stage. Those of us who know anything about Disney MGM Studios knows that there hasn't been anything real filmed there in a long time and their calls for you to keep your cameras out because "you never know who you might see", really isn't a valid statement since you will not see anyone of importance.

My overall impression of the backlot tour was that it was lame and cheesy and a cheap knockoff of the backlot tour I recall doing at Universal Studios back in the 70's in Hollywood, California. But, if you need some rest for your feet and a respite from the direct sunlight beating down on your head, this will do it for you. I also feel that if you haven't done this bit of the park, then you should try and get it accomplished. I'd be surprised if it survives the major overhauls that are going to happen after the park changes names in the beginning of 2008.

The backlot tour drops you off at the entrance to an AFI tribute to villains. We kind of quickly blew through that so we could attempt to make it to Lights, Motor, Action before they closed the gate at 1:00PM.

DSC_6294 It took a bit of walking to get to the stadium, but we were able to get some seats out of the sun's reach. We knew taking these seats meant that we'd be in a huge line to get out of the stadium, but 30+ minutes in direct sun didn't appeal to me at this point.

DSC_6304 I think I got some really good action shots of this attraction. I bumped up my ISO settings to 1600 (the fastest film setting) and then cranked up the shutter speed as fast as it would go. The images I was seeing on the little LCD screen seemed to indicate some good time stoppage.

My opinion of this show was that I was pleasantly surprised. I thought I'd hate it but it was really the direct opposite. This could've been due to the added photography factor. It gave me something to do besides sitting there and just being a passive observer. I can saw with assurance that you'd need to see this a few times to get good photo captures of all the things that make great shots.

It took a long, long time to get out of this attraction after it was done. We decided that it was time to head back to Saratoga Springs. It was too feakin' hot and too freakin' crowded. If I didn't know any better, I would've sworn that it was still that time of year when the kids are out of school.

DSC_6324 As we were getting ready to leave, we remembered that we needed to spend $30 in pins so we could get the $1 limited edition MGM-Studios themed Pin Traders pin. We found out that you had to make the purchase at "the hat" to get the $1 pin. There is one or two locations in each park where you can make this transaction.

The importance of getting this pin was that the name of the park was changing in January 2008, so there is a good chance that this pin would be worth something in the pin trader community in the future. So we ended up deciding to get the set of 7 Limited Edition Mount Everest pins that dropped today. This was a bit more then we planned on spending, but we both liked them all. We couldn't justify spending the $250 to get the framed pin set that came with the Yeti completer pin.

Just so you know, we aren't pin traders. We just like to get pins that have something to do with our trips or are associated with our favorite rides, resorts and characters. This is a good chunk of where our souvenir dollars are spent. I have quite a memory board growing in size of these pins. My wife is going to have to come up with a new way to display them now. Maybe we'll do our own framed sets.

DSC_6339 Well, after getting done with our purchase, we noticed that the Great Movie Ride was now down to a 10 minute wait so we had to do it now. I tried to take some pictures of this ride, but I was tired and starting to get apathetic so I didn't even try to change lenses or care. All I cared was that I was in air conditioning, I wasn't on my feet and for a few moments I was doing nothing.

The Great Movie ride is another attraction at "The Studios" that may DSC_6371 or may not survive the new vision for this park in the future. I must say that I enjoy the Wizard of Oz scene and in fact I did a Devine Inspiration on it. I attempted to get my own capture of the witch but I don't think I got anything close to what Tim did.

Overall, this is not an exciting ride, but if you are a movie nut, you'll enjoy this tribute to some great movies. Plus, there is a bit of live acting involved. We got the gangster, but I heard there is another live character that sometimes takes your car hostage.

If you haven't done this ride or haven't done it in awhile, you might want to get it into your schedule because as I said, it may go away in the future.

After getting off the Great Movie Ride, my wife realized that she cannot wait until we get back to Saratoga Springs Resort to eat. So we tried to go to the counter service restaurant near the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. The main menu was great, but we didn't like the dessert options and since we are on the dining plan, that was important.

DSC_6375 So, instead we went to the ABC Commissary. The food was just OK and I'm being generous. But, I'm not an overall fan of counter-service fare at Disney World. I am pretty much a food snob and I'm not afraid to admit it. I am eating the counter service because my meal plan says I have to but I'm not enjoying it.

Needless to say, our tummies were full now and it was time to go home.

They were setup for the Stars and Cars Motor Parade when we got out DSC_6377 of the ABC Commissary. So we had to go the long way around to get out of the park. But, I was able to shoot a few pictures of the MGM Studios sign and the topiaries outside of the Brown Derby.

At this point, my wife and I are calling Disney's MGM-Studios done. We may go back just to pick up another one of those Yoda shirts for my nephew Collin.

This was a good bus day. The bus to Saratoga Springs pulled up as we were walking to our stop. We also had the same thing happen when we headed out this morning.

When we got back to the room, my wife decided that she wanted to check out the main pool at the resort. She got suited up and headed out and I was to join her after I got the PC extracting the pictures off my cards. I also needed to get my battery charging.

I ended up going out and meeting her at the pool. Man it was hot, hot, hot. I have an allergy to chlorine in water so I tend to not get into pools or hot tubs unless I'm prepared to itch like crazy. It doesn't always happen, but I have to be mentally prepared for it in case it happens. So, I just sat in the chair while my wife lounged in the pool.

After a bit by the pool, we headed back to the room to shower and get ready for the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We were meeting Michael from Explore The Magic there with his wife and kids.

That will be another blog entry in and of itself because I'm writing this after getting back from the hard ticketed event and it's 2:00 AM and I have only gotten this far in the trip report. I want to get some sleep and I feel this is a good stopping point since the Halloween Party is a beast in and of itself.

Hopefully, you all can forgive me for not providing a complete report today.

Keep it Grumptastic Folks and I ask you, "Have you hugged a Grump today?"

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