Day 205- Hollywood Studios

Today it is mostly sunny with bellowing clouds rolling in. Some are beginning to look like rain clouds, so we take our rain jackets. It is hot and humid today; it is going to be 90 degrees this afternoon as we head for Hollywood Studios. Even though it is hot, there is a little breeze to help cool off the afternoon, which is nice.

Once we park, we walk to the front gates. We get our bags checked and scan our MagicBands. It is busy as we enter onto Hollywood Boulevard at Hollywood Studios. I love the excitement as people walk into the park and down Hollywood Boulevard. As you look down the street you can see the Chinese Theater, which houses The Great Movie Ride.

There are so many things to do here. If you are coming to Hollywood Studios, be sure to check out all of the different rides and various shows. There is even a Disney Junior show for the little ones!

Our first stop is going to be at the Trolley Car Café, where I order an iced green tea lemonade with peach syrup. We get our Starbucks drinks and find a place to sit while Twinkie’s tea finishes brewing. As I step up to a table, I hear two of the Citizens of Hollywood performing on Sunset Boulevard. There they are! It’s Sonny Burbank and Evie Starlight! They are so fun to watch, so we join the huge group of people watching their performance. There are so many people watching that the circle of people gathering around crosses the entire street. People are still joining over the next few minutes. While Sonny is talking about the extravagant date he plans to take Evie on, Evie comes over trying to find a way to escape, and Twinkie gets a fun picture of her as her Coffee View of the Day. (Twinkie has started documenting her “Coffee View of the Day” on Instagram, you can find more of them

The crowd is laughing and enjoying this amazing show! I see a dad in plaid pants bending over because he is laughing so hard. Others are laughing so hard that they can hardly stand it. It is so funny! This is one of their best shows ever! I wish you could hear this funny list of places, foods, animals, and activities that Sonny has lined up for the date (all of which are audience suggestions!). Sonny is remembering a list of about 20 things and repeating them back to the audience; each person laughs as he calls out their suggestion.

As Evie and Sonny finish their skit, there is a huge round of applause! The crowd is so happy and still chuckling over this funny skit! I love watching the Citizens of Hollywood and seeing how much fun the visitors have watching and participating in the skit.

Wow, I had no idea how hot it is in the sun. I was laughing with the kids when I crossed my arm across the metal decoration on my shirt and it is burning hot! Oh, I think I am going to find some shade and cool back down with my iced tea.

After a short beak, we walk around for a bit, and then head for the front gates. We see plenty of cast members trading pins, so we trade a couple with them. They are so gracious and kind.

There are many groups coming in, and it is busy as we are leaving. I see a couple of the cute cars carrying the Citizens of Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard. These little trucks and the cars are so cute! There is a cool breeze blowing and the clouds look like there could be rain soon. We get out to our car and it begins to rain right after we exit the parking lot.

It has been a fun day, and it is always fun to see the Citizens of Hollywood. I had a really fun afternoon at Hollywood Studios!

Day 152- Hollywood Studios

Today is absolutely beautiful! We are off to enjoy the weather and Hollywood Studios! We get to the parking lot and park close enough to walk to the front entrance. There is a soft, lightly busy bustle as people are coming and going. We get our bags checked and our MagicBands scanned. The security guard mentions to us that when the sun goes down, it will get chilly fast. What a nice tip for later!

The sunshine is so pretty bouncing off of the Art Deco-inspired buildings on Hollywood Boulevard. The beautiful buildings on this street are so amazing. It is like you are transported back in time!

We get pictures of the progress as Mickey’s Sorcerer’s hat is being dismantled. I am excited to see the changes coming to Hollywood Studios, and it will be nice to be able to see The Great Movie Ride from down the street!

Now, time for coffee at the Trolley Car Café! It is so nice to have Starbucks Coffee here in such a fun and amazing building. It is worth stopping in for a moment to see the interior of the building; it is full of so much detail of that era and decorated like a trolley station! I love the display full of cupcakes, sandwiches, and other goodies! We meet the mom and daughter in front of us. They are on a mother/daughter trip and are having a wonderful time! The mom asked us if we were on a mother/daughters trip. I smiled and said that we were having a great time here at Disney, it is so much fun!

We got our coffee and were off to find a place to sit for a few minutes. We chose to go to tables near the vintage looking ship at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner. Today is a bit chilly, so hot coffees and chai teas are perfect.

After a few minutes, we finish our coffee, and stop in to Keystone Clothiers to check on a Minnie Mouse scarf. We see the beautiful Minnie Mouse items they are carrying this season. There are so many cute purses, clothes, and scarves, but not the particular one that I am thinking of getting. While we are in the store, the kids do some pin trading.

I think we are going to call it a fast trip. The sun is beginning to set, and the wind is picking up, so it is getting cold quickly. We walk out to our car and enjoy the last bit of sunlight for the day. We had a blast at Hollywood Studios today!

Day 88- Hollywood Studios and Sci-fi Diner (Picnic Burger!)

What a sunny day! It is cold enough to wear our Mickey sweaters. It is very breezy and a fun day to go to Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios is always so exciting to visit! You never know who you will see today; they have so many fun skits that go on down the streets of Hollywood Studios!

When we arrive, it is busy as we get our bags checked, but there is only a short line to scan our MagicBands. I love looking up and seeing the entrance, it is beautiful and there are so many things to see. The Stroller Rental is in a gas station on the right. Too cute!

Baymax is a must find today! Well, we are looking for several things, but the Baymax souvenir mug is at the top of our list. So, we are off to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater and we find Baymax at the popcorn stand to the left of the giant hat! The kids stop to get one, and I go on to Sci-Fi to check-in. The line to check in at Sci-Fi is usually pretty long, so I wait in line until they can join me, just about the same time I step up to the check-in station. The attendant was very nice when he told us that allergies are of the utmost importance to the chefs and they will take great care to make sure you are taken care of. I like that he was so concerned and made sure that we were comfortable with eating here. It made me feel like they were truly looking out for us.

We check in and go to sit outside until our buzzer goes off. It is a beautiful day to sit with Baymax in hand. A girl came up to us and asked where we got our Baymax. We told her, and she was off to find him! Soon, she came back with her very own Baymax. Yay!

We are called to be seated, and we will be on the second row of cars in our very own 50s car. The waitress is quick to get our drinks and soon the Chef comes out to help us with our order. We are going to get burgers today! I am getting a gluten free cheeseburger, and Tooti and Twinkie are splitting the Picnic Burger.

The movies they play are vintage sci-fi clips, and I remember many of them from my childhood. We watch as we wait a few minutes… and our burgers arrive! OMGoodness, they are out of this world! The buns are toasted and the meat is seared nicely! The french fries are perfect and all of this is gluten free! We didn’t talk much at all as we totally enjoyed the burgers. The Picnic Burger includes the classic burger patty, sauerkraut, grilled onions, and even a hotdog. It is one of the most delicious burgers that the girls have ever had. The Picnic Burger definitely made it onto our favorite dishes list.

After our meal, we are looking for a particular Olaf pin, so we turn down Sunset Boulevard and we see one of the Citizens of Hollywood, hiding behind a map. Twinkie sneaks over and asks if she can take a picture with him. He agrees, so we snap a pic and say, “Thank you!” We check the shops for the pin and head back down Sunset Boulevard. I can hear the Citizens of Hollywood doing one of the street shows, singing the 12 days of Christmas. Paige Turner is singing, “8 handsome men [Lords a leaping], 8 men, oh, I want 8 men, I love men! (Giggle, giggle, snort, giggle!)” The crowd roars with laughter, it is so funny!

We turn the corner and step onto Hollywood Boulevard. I love the Art Deco buildings. Of course, we have to step into a few shops to look for pins on the way to the entrance. It is a beautiful day, a little chilly, but just warm enough with the beautiful sunshine! We are soon on the tram and on our way out to our car. What a wonderful day it has been, very relaxed and fun.

Day 84- Hollywood Studios & Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights

Happy Sunday Morning! We are heading for Hollywood Studios today. It was a warm afternoon, but it is cooling off really quickly as it nears 4pm. I am glad we brought warm jackets!

We have a FastPass+ for Toy Story Mania today. We arrive in plenty of time. We catch the tram as it fills up quickly and heads for the front gate. As we get close to the front gates our cast member says, “We’re taking you back to Hollywood, California!’” It is so nice to be in Hollywood, California! Yay! We are in Hollywood, California! We get our bags checked, scan our MagicBands, and step into the park.

Our first stop is the Stroller Rental to look at the pin trading board! Next is the Package Pickup pin trading board. OK, this is going to be a fun day for pin trading. Going down Hollywood Boulevard, it is very busy, but I can hear the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular as we turn towards Echo Lake. I love that show! It is great way to learn about how stunts in shows and movies work, which also makes it very educational. Plus, it’s super fun to watch!

We have fun walking and seeing the park. It is fun today. People are everywhere, but there is plenty of room to stroll. We decide we will find coffee and the Writer’s Stop is a possibility, but we decide to find a Joffrey’s Coffee Stand. So we walk down the Streets of America and around past the Frozen Sing-a-long just as they are roping it off. We just made it, and there is a coffee stand right up ahead. As Twinkie gets her coffee, I peek around the corner and see Mater and Lightning McQueen! I have to see them! I love Mater; he is my favorite.

I saw a place with hot chocolate in a Disney mug on the Streets of America, so we backtracked and Tooti and I got our hot chocolate. The cast member asked if we would like gingerbread, hazelnut, or her favorite, the toasted marshmallow. I said that I would love to have that one! Oh my goodness, it is so yummy! I suggest we find a place to sit and enjoy our hot drinks. I see a bench with a seat open and ask the ladies who were sitting on it if this spot was taken; they offered to scoot over for one of the kids. I thanked them and the kids said they were fine sitting on the curbside.

These ladies were so interesting and so much fun to visit with. I wasn’t going to sit very long, but we had a lot of fun talking and even chatted with another fun family close by. So, I sat with them for a while… suddenly, it begins to snow on the Streets of America, and then, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights begins. This nice lady’s friend was visiting and it was her friend’s first time to ever see them. I watched her friend’s face as the lights came on and then began to dance; she was beautiful with her big eyes aglow and her mouth dropped open. Oh, yes, this is overwhelming! She commented that she thought there were going to be a few lights, and she smiled to big as she tried to comment on how beautiful they are. I love these moments.

After the lights dance, we say goodbye and head for Toy Story Mania, but the third round of music began, so we found a spot to stand and watch them. They are so amazing, so beautiful, and so massively unique. This is a definite must see if you are here anytime during the holidays. Plan to spend at least several minutes watching, though if you can stay a long while, it is so worth it. There are so many different things to see on each building, it can take a while to see everything, including the many hidden Mickeys, and the annually hidden purple cat. It’s so much fun to try finding the cat!

Now, we work our way through the crowd and back around to Toy Story Mania. I love this ride. It’s one of my favorites! Yay! The FastPass+ line is moving quickly tonight.

After we get off of Toy Story Mania, we are done for the night. We have walked around most of the park and seen the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, which is incredible. So, we head for the entrance. It is a beautiful, chilly night in Hollywood Studios. It has been a wonderful Sunday evening, and as we get to our car in the parking lot, we can see the tops of the Fantasmic fireworks. What a wonderful ending to a wonderful day! I am thankful that Walt Disney dreamed this dream of building a wonderful place like Disney World. I am forever grateful.

Day 72- Hollywood Studios and Star Tours

Today we took our pups to school and it was pouring. I mean, it was raining buckets and the lightning was almost blinding. We decided to ride the storm out and go home until it settles. Once we got home, we found out that there was a tornado warning and over 600 lightning strikes in that storm. The rains were pelting our car windows. I felt for those who were already at Disney and hoped they had a good raincoats! We got about 2.75 inches of rain by 3pm, and it is still raining tonight.

In the late afternoon, we regrouped, and went to Hollywood Studios. The rain has stopped, but when we got off the tram, checked our bags, were scanning our Magic Bands, I overheard two of the cast members reading the 90-100% probability of rain! I didn’t worry; we had our lightweight raincoats for this 78-degree day.

It is beautiful to see all of the art deco style buildings as we walk down Hollywood Boulevard. The backdrop of dark clouds makes the buildings pop with color! The streets are wonderfully busy as we go toward Star Tours.

As we are in line to check into our FastPass at Star Tours, we see the Jedi Training Academy show. After we scan our MagicBands, as we walk up the walkway, we are stopped. We didn’t know why at the moment, but then we saw the Storm Troopers cross in front of us to walk onto the stage! It was so cool to be that close to them. They take the stage and we begin to walk by just as Darth Vader enters the stage! Cool! We got a glimpse of Darth Vader up close!

We have quite a bit of catching up to do as we walk and enter the winding line. Soon, we have made it to the final check in and are directed to line 3, where we listen to the instruction video before the doors open. We get seated and the cast member tells us to put on our 3D glasses. Here we go!

This 3D ride is so much fun. The ride changes for each ride, so you never know exactly where you’re going to fly! This time, there are some of the most interactive people and kids on board. It is so fun to hear them squeal as we dive and soar through space, and finally come to a landing.

I love when you disembark and go into the Tatooine Traders shop. I am amazed at how many new things we see each day! Today there is a young boy trying to get his face lined up for a picture looking like young Obi Wan Kenobi. It is fun to see a cast member quickly help the boy, and soon the picture is done.

As we exited, I thought, “I want a Cherry Coca Cola!” I turn ask Tooti and Twinkie, “Where would I ever find a Cherry Coke? I just got thirsty for a Cherry Cola!” They pondered that for a moment and said there was a place, Tune In Lounge, in the 50s Prime Time Diner. Oh sure, let’s go!

We see a couple of chairs open, so they let me grab one. I ask if they have Cherry Cokes and the bartender says that they do! They were the best Cherry Cokes! I had forgotten how wonderful it is when they make it right there in front of you! They were awesome! Tooti drank hers down and it was refilled instantly! It is a fun place to grab a Cherry Cola! Also, it is a really cute place with the retro design. They have vintage televisions running with old timey shows from the 50s. It looks like you stepped back into the 50s, even the décor and furniture matches the theme!

We walk around Echo Lake to Hollywood Boulevard and see all of the decorated windows. I decide that the skies look like they are going to rain again. We walk through a couple of the shops and see the new things they have this season. There are some really cute scarves, blouses, and Christmas decorations! We have fun looking at the new merchandise on our way to the front entrance.

It is a warm night and we are off to our car before the rain. It was a fun afternoon and this evening is warm, with a nice breeze!

Day 62- Beauty and the Beast- Live on Stage at Hollywood Studios

We are enjoying this gorgeous day, and Hollywood Studios is our destination! It is a truly beautiful afternoon. We arrive about 4:15pm and cars are just flowing into the parking lot. The trams are filling up quickly and heading out! The next one pulls up quickly, fills again, and is off to the front gates. The Christmas tree is up in front of the gates; it is absolutely beautiful and so very tall.

We looked at all of the Christmas decorations on the streets and in the stores. They are beautiful. I love the Christmas window decor and how fun it is to already have Christmas music and decorations on Hollywood Boulevard.

Today we came to see Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage! I saw this play at the beginning of summer and fell in love with it. It is spectacular. I get so caught up into the song Belle sings (“Belle”) and you can feel the passion in her voice. It is like the movie comes to life. The dancing is fabulous and I love the characters. Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, and Clogsworth are larger than life. The Beast? He is great and I love the way he is introduced! Gaston? He is robustly himself.

I would highly suggest that you see this, and listen to your family react as you watch this magnificent play. Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is more than I could have dreamed, and more than just a play. The colors of the costumes are so beautiful, spunky, and dreamy.

It was very full, and we were able to get a great seat in the middle, near the front. If you plan to see the show, come early to get a good seat. You can plan ahead and get your FastPass+, too.

After the play we went toward The Magic of Disney Animation building to see if Baymax is still there, and found out that they close the line for him and Hiro at 6pm. We’ll get to see them another day! So, we walked around for a while and enjoyed the cool evening.

We are heading out to catch the tram and there is still a good flow of people arriving, even though there is only about an hour and fifteen minutes left before Hollywood Studios closes for the evening. As we are waiting in line for the tram, we start talking to the family beside us. They were from New York and such a great family.

As we disembark and walk to our car, there are still a lot of cars coming to Hollywood Studios, going to enjoy the last hour of the park tonight. It is a great night!

Day 46- Hollywood Studios

It is a spectacular day! The weather is warm during the afternoon, going up to the mid-80s. As soon as the sun begins to set around 5pm, it cools to below 80 degrees. Hollywood Studios is perfectly busy, and so many people enjoying getting here later in the day!

I check with The Hollywood Brown Derby to see if there is walk-up availability. There will be in about an hour, so I thank them and walk outside to see if there is availability at The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge on the patio. Yes, there is a table! I get to enjoy a fun lunch and the beautiful weather. The waitress is super nice and she helps me order a gluten free cobb salad. It is fun watching all of the people go by and seeing all of the families! I love eating outdoors here.

Soon, I am back on Hollywood Boulevard. Oh, wait! I hear the Film Team! They are set up just a short walk down Sunset Boulevard, so I stop to watch. It is so fun watching and hearing them interact with the guests. In the second skit, they pull a man from the audience and say, “Look! It is The Captain on Gilligan’s Island!” Applause erupts and soon they find “Mary Ann” and “Gilligan”. I am standing close to the family of “Gilligan.” The son of “Gilligan” is beaming as his dad is picked to stand on the red carpet. I look again, and he is grinning ear to ear as he is eating his ice cream cone! Then, the Film Team finds “The Rock!”  “The Rock’s” sons are a little dismayed that their dad is being asked to stand on the red carpet. Soon, the older son starts laughing as he hears the Film Team talking to his dad; the boy is about 5, his younger brother, about 3, never loses his frowning eyebrows until his dad is returned to him! The dad? He had a blast being “The Rock!”

Now, I watch a couple more people get chosen to be celebrities, and the funniest was “Colonel Sanders”. It was a very funny and nice moment. I love seeing the interaction of the cast and guests at Disney! Seems the adults were having the most fun, maybe even a little more than the kids!

Well, Hollywood Studios is closing at 7:00pm tonight. It is beautiful, and the sunsets? Please, don’t forget to look at the skies in the evenings. The sunsets are absolutely amazing and vibrant in sunny Florida!

Day 44- Hollywood Studios

The parking lot is filling up and the trams are running like clockwork! There is a steady stream of people still arriving this afternoon, and the park is perfectly crowded!

Our first stop is to check the pin board at the stroller rental. If you have kids that are tired and you need a way to distract them, pin trading is a fun way! There are cast members all around Disney who have pins to trade! We found that the kids become more excited about finding the perfect pin to trade, and are totally distracted from being tired.

We enjoy our walk down Hollywood Boulevard, with the Public Works street show on the corner. They are really funny and yell a lot! We realize that we have not eaten lunch and the 50’s Prime Time Café is close. The line is really long and they do not have any walk-up reservations. This restaurant is usually full, but sometimes they have availability.

As we get close to Star Tours, we can hear Darth Vader and the young Jedis in the Jedi Training Academy. The kids really get into the training and the Jedi Training Academy is really fun to watch.

There are several quick service restaurants at Hollywood Studios, but we are going to see if Sci-Fi Dine-in Theater Restaurant has walk-up availability. While we are waiting, I hear the Mulch, Sweat, and Shears band playing on the Streets of America! There is a good crowd gathering as they begin to play. Oh, that is fun! They recruited a dad to dance with the music, pretty funny!

Yay! Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater does have walk-up availability today, and we are soon seated. This is one of our favorite places to eat. I love seeing the vintage drive-in theater.

Today? Today there is a happy feeling in the air and smiles everywhere!

Day 40- Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at Hollywood Studios

Today, I am heading to Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream – From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdom! It tells of Walt Disney’s life and you can see so many facets of his walk to become the one man who I feel changed the world by believing, “Dreams do come true.” I wish I could convey the power of One Man’s Dream.

We enjoy the pictures; they tell such a wonderful story as they outline the timeline of Walt Disney’s life and accomplishments.

Walt was born in 1901. Main Street USA is fashioned after the town he lived in for four years of his childhood (Marceline, Missouri).

He began taking drawing lessons at the age of 14 years old. He was such an innovator, constantly coming up with new ideas and inventions.

As I see the picture that shows, “Walt Comes To Your Living Room,” I remember seeing this program on TV growing up. I didn’t get to watch it very often since it was aired on Sunday evenings.

The Mickey Mouse Club influenced so many kids when I was growing up! Did you know that when Mickey Ear Hats were first released, they sold about 24,000 pair per day?

At the end of the hallway is of the story of Walt’s life, inside the theater that shows a short movie in which Walt tells his story in his own words.

If you have not been to Disney World, it is a magical place. I said that I feel Walt Disney has changed the world. If you have never been to Disney World, you can see many people that have traveled from all over the world to see and enjoy the result of, as this attraction calls it, “One Man’s Dream.” I love seeing “First Visit” buttons on little Grandmas, children, and adults alike, all laughing and enjoying Walt’s dream.

You see, it was at Disney World that I could begin to see life from a very different perspective. For me, it was in January 2012; we came and as I hugged Eeyore at the Crystal Palace, I found that I could laugh again. I could feel my heart smile again after losing my husband to cancer 2 years earlier. For that, I am forever grateful that one man, Walt Disney, dared to dream.

Day 38- Hollywood Studios

Today started early as we dropped the pups off for school. Since we were out, we decided to stop by Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort French Quarter to pick up some gluten free breakfast. Chef Raphael came out of the kitchen, and was happy to see us, as we got to meet him at a gluten free venue a few weeks ago! He took our order of gluten free Mickey waffles, and reminded us that they also have gluten free beignets… we had to order some beignets too! These are probably the best gluten free waffles I have ever had on Disney property, and I love the beignets! Yummy!

The weather is cooler today and we are off to Hollywood Studios! It is 85 degrees here in Florida and it is beautiful. There are blue skies and a soft wisp of clouds as you look through the palm trees.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is nice, and the crowd is light today. Yes, there are still a lot of people, but there is room to enjoy walking and looking around during the day! Toy Story Midway Mania is our first stop! The FastPass+ line is really long; a family of 16 is in front of us. I love this ride!

At Toy Story Midway Mania, I met a really nice lady and her husband. The lady was sharing about her kids and grandkids. She said that one of her daughters stayed home until she got married at age 30. The lady shared that she loved those years with her daughter being home. I had to hug her neck; she is so sweet and shared a special love for her daughters! I love meeting people and hearing their stories!

We walk towards the Brown Derby and see the Mulch, Sweat, and Shears band driving by and setting up for their concert! The other evening we got to see them play! This is a fun show to watch. However, we remember it is dinnertime, and a quick place to grab a bite to eat is Backlot Express. We go up the indoor ramp and find a nice table by the windows. I didn’t know we could see the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy through the windows! This is a great place for your kids to participate in the activities and get to be a part of the show. (Note: There is an area nearby to sign up for the show early in the day if your kids want to participate. If you ask a cast member, they can help point you in the right direction.) It is so much fun to watch!

QUESTION!!! How many miles will you, or can you, walk in a day at a Disney Park?

One of the cast members at Backlot Express checked to see if we were doing fine, and we got to talk for a couple of minutes. I mentioned that a little girl was asking about how far we would walk today. I told her about 2 to 4 miles! The cast member smiled, chuckled, said that you can easily walk 7 to 10 miles a day! I totally agreed with him and said that I know we have walked at least that many miles in a day before. When you start your day at a Disney resort, you can easily walk half a mile to the restaurant for coffee, and half a mile back to your room. Then, half a mile to the catch the bus, then a quarter to a half a mile from the bus to the park gate. Before you even begin to enjoy the park, you could have easily walked 1-2 miles. If your children are not used to walking 8 to 10 hours a day, a stroller might be a good choice. My good friend and her family came with children, 5 and 10 years old, and by the end of the day, the 10 year old was in the stroller and the little 5 year old was being carried to the car. If your daughter isn’t a fan of strollers, maybe call it a carriage like Cinderella uses! If you have a little boy, maybe a chariot. It works.

There’s a beautiful sunset as we leave the park!