Day 3: Disney Hollywood Studios — The Empire’s Lines of Death Strike Back!

Day 3 saw us checking out Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Traveling here in June fortunately saw us here in time for Star Wars Weekends and Jedis and StormTroopers abounded in the park for sure!  More on that later though. First a few introductory notes…

Disney Hollywood Studios

Parking at the park runs $14.00 and the lot is HUGANGOUS! It’s so huge in fact that there are trams to take you from the parking lot to the park entrance.

Disney Hollywood Studios

Like at Universal, many of the rides and attractions have a “FastPass” that allows you to bypass the loooooong lines. I got one for the Star Tours ride. Sadly, no FastPasses for the picture taking lines…(though I wish there were!)

To be honest, our legs were pretty gassed today so I had little tolerance for lines and was just content walking around taking in the sights. I would have LOVED to have gotten photo ops with the tons of Jedi, Rebels and Imperial soldiers abounding in the park but one look at the long lines for each photo op and the heinous hot sun and I was having none of it. Here are photo highlights of the costumed awesomeness in the park today featuring random folks and myself (when I was lucky to catch a short line).

Ewok!

Disney Hollywood Studios

Chewbacca!

Disney Hollywood Studios

Jedi Master (Mistress?) What’s Her Name…

Disney Hollywood Studios

Jedi Master What’s His Name’s @$$…

Disney Hollywood Studios

Master Windu and Anakin

Disney Hollywood Studios

Jedi Master Mickey and Mick2D2

Disney Hollywood Studios

Me and a StormTrooper

Disney Hollywood Studios

So our adventure in the park opened up with checking out the Star Tours ride. This is basically a simulated ride where you go for a ride with C3PO on a travel tour through the galaxy. The cool thing about this ride is that the adventures you go on are randomized so if you don’t mind enduring the lines you can keep going on it and experience a different thing each time. Reputedly, there are 52 combinations of adventures you can go on. I got the FastPass for this one. Of course you can’t take pics during the ride itself but enjoy some shots from when I entered the line and made my way to the SIM. The whole set is set-up to resemble a spaceport which is pretty bad @$$.

Disney Hollywood Studios

C3PO and R2D2 greeting you in the lobby.

Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue

Departure Information in Galatic

Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue

Departure Information in English (the OTHER Universal Language…)

Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue

Spaceport Clerk who admonishes you before you go on the ride

Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue

Boarding Gate door right before you enter the SIM

Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue

Overall I totally dug the ride! If you have motion sickness you definitely want to skip it or dope yourself on dramamine or something (better off skipping). The SIM though totally rocks! Some of the adventures I got to go on included: a pod race, being chased by Boba Fett through an asteroid field, being chased by Darth Vader around the Death Star, etc.

Right outside of the Star Tours ride was the Jedi Training Academy show where some kids got to train as Padawan and be swayed to join the Dark Side 🙂

Jedi Training Academy

Jedi Training Academy

Our next stop on our tour was the Muppet*Vision 3D show.

Muppet Vision 3D

Having watched the Muppet Show as a kid I TOTALLY DUG this show which took place in an old school theatre like the show used to. My personal highlight of the show? Those two old geezer hecklers up in the balcony who kept hassling Kermit and Fozzie. It was classic Muppets with some 3D tricks thrown in including sprayed water from the ceiling when Fozzie did a water squirt joke, snow falling when Miss Piggy sang, etc.

Muppet Vision 3D

After the Muppet show it was off to the American Idol Experience for us. You have no idea how incredibly tempted I was to audition for this as it was an audience participation show.

American Idol Experience

One thing I can say is that it was a REALLY COOL show to watch live as the production values of the show are a dead-on simulation of the live show, or at least what a live studio show looks like (I’ve never been to an actual Idol taping so can’t say that for 100% certain). The way the show works is 3 contestants who are park guests perform on stage after auditioning. There are three judges who give feedback and the audience votes for the winner who goes on to compete at the Finals in the evening against the other finalists of the day. The winning Finalist at the end of the day earns a Golden Pass to the front of the real audition lines of any Idol tryout in the country. Not a bad deal huh?

In the show I attended were two female contestants and one male contestant. Contestant 1 (young woman) sang “The Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” The second (older guy) sang some country song and the third contestant (young woman who just graduated from high school) sang a song that escapes me at the moment. It’s a really good and popular song for female vocalists but I can’t remember it! Darn it’s gonna bug me all night now…

The production work of the show is awesome. There are huge JumboTrons on stage and a giant teleprompter in the back. Cameramen work the show filming the contestants which is in turn switched up on the JumboTrons as if you were watching a professional show at home. It’s bad @$$!

Like on the real Idol film packages roll  between each singer. Before contestant one sang a Carrie Underwood package aired with Carrie giving some quick advice to Contestant 1. Before Contestant 2 came out a “getting to know Contestant 2” package aired of him being interview introducing himself interspersed with clips of him auditioning before the judges, earning his contestant ticket and hugging his family. Prior to Contestant 3 singing the show host did a quick sitdown interview with her where we learned she is in fact auditioning for the real Idol and hoped to win the Golden Ticket to the front of the audition lines. From there a video package aired of folks in the crowds outside the arena cheering her name and wishing her well and a little girl telling her that SHE was her American Idol. (Awwwwe).

The judges were hilarious! There were two female judges and one male judge. The male judge of course was known for his “brutal honesty.” The two female judges tended to give uplifting and practical advice to the contestants while the third judge would normally hurl insults inciting boos from the crowd 🙂 Some of the gems:

To Contestant 1 who sang “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”:
“‘No, no!  No, no!  You’re not the one for me.’ is right!”

To Contestant 2 who sang the country song:
“You sing absolutely perfect for country. Waaaaay out in the country where you belong.”

Oddly enough, no insult for Contestant 3 (the girl who plans to audition for real), just tons of praise. Hmmmm…

After the contestants finished singing Jordan Sparks appears on screen and leads the whole audience through a song.

Finally, the final vote and results. Prior to voting we get a quick highlights package of each contestant singing again and we cast our votes (voting machine on the armrest). The host recaps the judges comments for each contestant v e r y s l o w l y but thankfully with no commercial break. The winner? Contestant 3 who plans to audition. Shocking no? A video package rolls of Carrie, Jordan, Seacrest and some other Season 9 contestants (I stopped watching the show after Season 6, sorry) congratulating the winner and wishing her good luck.  The girl was good but I personally liked Contestant 1 better. Oh well. Good luck to Contestant 3!

Our final stop at Disney Hollywood Studios was Animation Alley and Pixar Place. Line was too long to go in the Toy Story Midway Mania so we just contented ourselves with walking through the place. To my pleasant surprise I got a photo op with this Green Army Man!

Pixar Place

Our day ended with the Pixar Parade as we made our way to the exits. Some highlights of the parade (we missed the first half, we think):

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Pixar Parade

Full photo set of our day at Disney Hollywood Studios is here.

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2 responses to “Day 3: Disney Hollywood Studios — The Empire’s Lines of Death Strike Back!

  1. This sounds awesome. American Idol Experience seems pretty interesting. I can’t wait to experience it!

  2. Pingback: Day 7: Disney’s Animal Kingdom |

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