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Monday, March 23, 2020

revisiting hollywood studios

normally, given a chance to visit one of the disney world parks i'd go with epcot.  test track is a really fun ride and so is the super cheesetastic attraction in the big silver ball (maybe the latter is more of a nostalgic thing than anything), and i've mentioned my love for the world showcase before.

this time, though, we decided to hit up hollywood studios for our one shot at a park day.  i managed to talk the bean into planning to get up early so that we could get there when the park opened and attempt to get boarding passes for rise of the resistance.  she still hadn't gotten to experience it, and since we were staying on property it seemed like the perfect opportunity.  plus we wanted to check out their version of galaxy's edge and toy story land and have lunch in one of the fun restaurants in the park.

getting her up on time was a little tricky, but somehow we found ourselves in a lyft at 7:50:

our driver dropped us off right at the front gate, which was pretty awesome.  we just had to get through security and then scan our passes before opening the app to try for those boarding passes.  the  number one ride we wanted to do was the slinky dog dash in toy story land, so while i fumbled through the boarding pass process on the app we tried to figure out how to get there.  disneyland we know like the backs of our hands, but this park was pretty foreign to us, so it was a little tricky.  but somehow i managed to score this:

right as we found ourselves joining the line here.

there was a cast member holding an "end of line" sign, and the quoted time was already at 90 minutes.  yikes.  but we were prepared for it, so we got in the line and looked around at our surroundings.

as with most disney lines, this one was long but moved at a pretty good pace.  we rarely stood still in one spot for very long, and then we were entering the queue.  there were lots of really cute decorations throughout the waiting area.

60 minutes after we got in line, we found ourselves finally at the front.

well, not exactly the front, because we were seated here:

the ride was super fun and full of surprises, and then it was over.

as we headed back out and wandered through toy story land, we ran into one of the bean's cheer sisters.

we passed by woody's lunch box, a quick service spot for food, which was super cute.

we didn't ride it, but we did eye the alien swirling saucers as we walked past.

still unfamiliar with the layout of the park, we just kind of wandered around aimlessly.  we never did go inside the launch bay:

and stopped for a photo at the "fancy nancy" photo op.

i always love the references to old hollywood here, like their tribute to the long-gone brown derby restaurant.

the sunset theater looks like something right out of l.a.:

and their version of the carthay circle theater - here, instead of a restaurant like at california adventure, it's one of many souvenir shops.

they still have the twilight zone-themed hollywood tower of terror ride here, so we took this to send to the old lady.

it was next on our list, but we needed to put something in our bellies first and we found it at one of the kiosks just outside the entrance to the ride.  this freshly baked cinnamon roll with orange glaze was perfect for us to share and tide us over until we could get some real food.

by the time we finished and headed over to get in line, the quoted time was 40 minutes.  no biggie - we weren't in a hurry and had nothing but time.  we loved seeing the familiar theming and decorations that we miss so much back at home.

 i didn't really care enough to pay for the ride photo, so this is the best we got.

i'd managed to score us a table at the sci-fi dine-in theater restaurant, which we've been to before but it was so long ago that the bean was too little to remember.

it's really cute in there, and we were seated in our own "car" in front of the movie screen.

it was nice and cool in there, and because of how dark it was in there i didn't get any decent food photos.  oh well.

the bean rolled her eyes as i got her to take this for me in front of the "abc commissary" restaurant:

star tours was right outside, and with only a 15-minute standby line we headed on in.

after that we went over to the muppet 3D movie, which we hadn't seen since it left california adventure a few years ago.

the entrance to their version of galaxy's edge was right outside, so we decided to head on in even though we were still hours away from our boarding group being called up.

we found that it was pretty much identical to what we have at home.

from there we circled back into toy story land, where we got in line to ride "toy story mania."  at home the line for this ride is always a minimum of 45 minutes.  here, it was quoted at just 25.  and their decor throughout the queue is so much better.

 we found some "incredibles" themed stuff just around the corner.

and then we went in here not knowing what to expect.

it turned out to be our chance to meet edna mode herself, who pointed excitedly at my outfit and motioned her approval.

a quick peek at the app told me that we were still about 25 boarding groups away for our turn at "rise of the resistance."  after taking a popcorn break, we decided to brave the line for the park's newest ride, which had taken over the old "great movie ride" inside their version of the chinese theater.

as we made our way through the long, long line we gazed at the hand and footprints in the cement blocks outside the theater.

i don't even remember how long we ended up waiting before we finally entered the building.

the ride was really cute, and worth waiting for.  i believe this ride is also being built inside toontown at disneyland, which is why i hadn't rushed to get in line earlier.  but it was super cute and we both enjoyed it a lot.

and then finally...our boarding group number was called.  we headed back into galaxy's edge, scanned in our passes and got in line.  it was warm and these huge fans offered some relief.

this, too, was exactly the same as at home right down to the decorations throughout the queue.

she was really excited, and i was so happy she was finally getting to experience the ride.

she loved it, as i'd expected.  and by then it was 5:30 and we were pretty much done.  as we headed towards the bus stop to see if maybe we could catch one back to our hotel, we caught sight of this:

we didn't really have a destination in mind, so we just hopped in line and managed to be seated in our own skyline car almost right away.

we actually rode it three times before we finally got out and called a lyft to take us back.

our original plan had us flying home on monday morning, but with the rapidly growing concerns over the spread of the coronavirus the hub was anxious to get us home sooner.  with the recent announcement flights to/from europe being halted aside from americans returning home, he'd run into some difficulty in trying to reschedule our flights.  but then finally he was able to get us on a flight leaving sunday morning, and so we spent the evening preparing for the trip home.  we'd wanted to get back to disney springs to do some shopping and enjoy one more nice dinner together, but we were so tired from our long day in the heat and humidity that we settled for a final meal from the food court and shopped in the hotel gift shop for souvenirs to take home.

we went back upstairs to get our bags packed and take showers, and that was the end of our disney world experience...for now.

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