{Disney World} Part 5: Hollywood Studios

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The Chronicles of America: Our Itinerary | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 |

Oh wow we’ve come to the end of the Disney World section of my trip diary; writing about my trip has only made me miss America even more, and I can’t wait for the day I get to return there. :’)

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On our last day at Disney, we visited Hollywood Studios, the smallest of the 4 parks, as a huge section was undergoing renovation for Toy Story Land (summer 2018) and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge (summer 2019).

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Apart from 2 thrill rides (Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster), most of the attractions in this park are shows, which was a welcome change from running from ride to ride, since our legs were exhausted from 4 days of long-distance walking.

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The gates opened early, so we explored the entrance area (Hollywood Boulevard) and gift shops for a while before they opened the attractions at 9am. The theming of Hollywood Studios really makes you feel like you’ve time-travelled back to LA in the 60’s, with pastel shades on buildings and very retro architecture.

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Once they opened the park officially, we rushed to Toy Story Mania, since FastPasses+ were not available due to renovations being done at the FP+ entrance. After taking a longer detour to the attraction, the queue had already ballooned to 90 minutes. Since we hadn’t been able to ride it during our 2009 trip, we decided to just brave the queue.

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the entrance of the upcoming Toy Story Land was boarded off, but it looks exciting!

We were herded into a makeshift outdoor queue area, since the indoor queue area was closed in preparation for Toy Story Land’s opening. Near the queue area was the construction site for Galaxy’s Edge, the new and highly anticipated Star Wars themed land.

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Star Wars fans rejoice! (I’m not a fan though)

We finally reached the ride, with the loading area resembling a kid’s room (if we’d been shrunken down to a toy’s size). It was a really fun arcade-style ride, where you had to shoot at 3D screens to earn points while the ride spun you from scene to scene.

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We went to the Walt Disney Presents exhibit which was located near the ride exit, and it was a really eye-opening and inspiring exhibition of Walt Disney’s belongings, sketches and artefacts from his film production company.

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scale model of Cinderella’s Castle

There were also scale models of numerous Disney attractions, as well as plans for the upcoming Star Wars and Toy Story lands. There was a short film on Walt Disney’s life and how he breathed the magic in his films into the Disney parks that we know and love today. I admit I shed a few tears because I was so inspired at how hard he fought to reach his dreams, and it really resonated with me (you can read my series on chasing dreams here).

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a sneak peek of what Galaxy’s Edge will look like

Upon exiting the theatre, we heard the Star Wars theme being played and saw a crowd gathered around the main stage. Exactly on the hour, the March of the First Order commenced, with Captain Phasma leading a group of stormtroopers on a march down Hollywood Boulevard to the main stage. They would stop to interact with guests by asking them if they were with the Resistance or pointing their guns at them.

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By the time the show ended, it was almost almost noon, so we went for an early lunch at ABC Commissary, a reasonably cheap but everything in Disney is expensive restaurant that sold a decent variety of Western cuisine.

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my favourite now-defunct attraction, The Great Movie Ride, used to be housed inside this Oriental building
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more Star Wars teasers

After lunch, we headed to Muppet-Vision 3D, a comedic Muppets show which had a really amusing pre-show as well. it was a great way to escape the heat

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It’s the Statue of Liberty…wait I mean Miss Piggy

My dad had a FastPass+ so he went on Star Tours, a 3D motion simulator ride that takes you through various Star Wars scenes. He said it was slightly nauseating (especially since he sat on it after lunch), and more intense than the Iron Man Experience in Hong Kong Disneyland.

We then watched the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, an interactive stunt show where the stunt directors and actors would explain how stunt sequences are filmed to the audience. A group of park guests were cast as extras, togged out in full costume; I’m not sure how the extras are chosen, but I’m guessing you have to be one of the earliest to arrive. It was filled with action, jokes and no-expenses-spared special effects (think huge fireballs), making it a thrilling and great show to watch…maybe not so great for little kids cos the effects can be rather startling.

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The shows in Hollywood Studios generally begin on the hour, so by the time the stunt show had ended, we decided to be early for the Frozen singalong show. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration was essentially a karaoke session for the youngsters in attendance, but the hosts’ jokes and witty punchlines were targeted at the adults (probably so the parents wouldn’t doze off during the 30-minute long show). I enjoyed it more than someone my age should have, and I confess to knowing almost all the lyrics… :’)

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By midday, we were almost done with all the attractions, so we were just exploring the remainder of the park and darting in and out of gift shops to beat the heat.

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Located on the extreme end of the park was the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, which was temporarily closed due to a ride malfunction. The wait time was around 90 minutes for most of the day, plus it’s an intense roller coaster, so thankfully I had no intention of riding it anyway.

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The Tower of Terror was nearby too, with a near-constant wait time of over 2 hours over the whole day. The line was closed when we reached there, because they had to clear the existing crowd. We explored the ride exit area, which was themed as a spooky hotel lobby, and the gift shop which sold exclusive merchandise.

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The amphitheatre for Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage was a stone’s throw from the Tower of Terror, so we watched the musical, which was a mix of dancing and fanciful costume changes.

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After dinner at the ABC Commissary (once again), we watched a special-effects filled musical – Voyage of the Little Mermaid – which was rather whimsical and lovely.

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one of the many exhibits

The Star Wars Launch Bay Theatre was just a 5-minute long advertisement for the upcoming Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge, with an exhibition of props & costumes from the movies as well. There was a special merchandise shop inside too, selling everything from collectibles and art prints to customisable name tags (written in an alien language). Just outside the attraction, a pair of Stormtroopers stopped a little girl in Rey’s costume and questioned her allegiance to the First Order; she fearlessly whipped out her custom Star Wars name tag that proved she was part of the First Order and not a rebel. It was an utterly adorable moment!

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Stormtroopers checking a little girl’s ID

It was our longest day in any of the theme parks, since we were determined to stay for the nighttime spectacular: Fantasmic, an outdoor musical set on a stage which was in the middle of a lake. The show only started at 8.30pm, with the gates opening at 7pm. The crowd fills up fairly fast for this show, so be sure to get a FastPass+ (which grants you access to a relatively central section of the amphitheatre) or show up an hour in advance to snag the best seats. Since the show accounts for the audience being seated in the round, all the seats have a decent view of the stage and all the characters.

We deliberately chose to sit further back and to the right side of the amphitheatre since we knew of a special shortcut that would take us to the park’s exit within 5 minutes of the show ending (so we could catch the 9pm shuttle back to our hotel).

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Fantasmic is partially a water show, with special effects like movie clips being projected on a water screen (think huge sprinklers), as well as bursts of water shooting up randomly. We were sitting a few rows from the back, and we still got misted by water.

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I filmed a bit of the show on my phone (pardon the quality), you can watch the video below to see how dramatic their water effects and fireworks are. It was such a magical experience; Disney is the only place in the world where magic truly feels real.

For the finale, a steamboat captained by Steamboat Willie made its way around the lake, giving audiences a view of many beloved Disney characters.

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We exited after the show and made a mad dash to the bus stop, catching the 9pm bus as planned. We were able to see Epcot’s fireworks as we pulled out of the park (since Epcot is next to Hollywood Studios), which ended our 5 days at Disney on a high, albeit tired, note.

This is the last part in my Disney World series, and I’ll be covering the rest of my trip in the subsequent posts, everything from shopping to sightseeing, so be sure to follow my Insta or Facebook page to get notified when I post new stuff. 🙂

The Chronicles of America: Our Itinerary | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 |

xoxo,
Faith

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