Day 11: So Long, MGM – Hello, Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Today was Monday… probably… They all blend together at Walt Disney World! It was my first time at MGM Studios, except it wasn’t MGM anymore, it was DHS (which sounds like a discount shoe warehouse). We did the whole get-up-early-and-wait-at-the turnstiles thing, and there were two other brides in the crowd! One turned out to be DISer Melissa, and the other turned out to be some lucky so-and-so who, along with her groom, got called up to help open the park with the Streetmosphere characters. Secretly, Melissa and I seethed… well, OK, at least I seethed…. After they let us in up to the rope for the stooped opening ceremony that I dinnit want to be a part of anyway, Melissa and I introduced ourselves, and  Patrick took a picture of this historic Meeting of the Brides:

Me 'n' Meli

When the rope hit the pavement, Patrick and I were off doing the Disney Speed Walk to Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster. It was exciting to get on another rollercoaster I hadn’t been on yet. I was also excited to see a guy from my all-time favorite sketch comedy group, The State, in the pre-show film with Aerosmith, running the sound board. The ride was, of course, fun. We really liked the take-off into those first loops, but it kinda seemed front-loaded – like it fizzled out at the end.

Next we dashed over to Tower of Terror and ended up in line with Meli & Shaun again! This was cool because she told us which line was shorter, and we ended up going in that line every time we rode it for the rest of the trip. But I have to ask – is the ride different if you go in the other line?

We only have the lame-o version at California Adventure that doesn’t have the fifth dimension room, but it’s still the only ride left at the Disneyland Resort that can surprise me enough to make me stop breathing (this is a good thing!). So I was excited to try this superior version, and it didn’t disappoint. The up-and-down effect didn’t seem as scary, but the theming was fabulous, and I liked how much longer the ride is.

The exterior of TOT is so pretty, I almost wish we’d done our in-park bridal portrait session at MGM!

OK, everyone always says the Great Movie Ride is lame, but I’d never been on it, and I loved the idea of seeing all these great animatronics and scenes from movies. Well… everyone is RIGHT! Oh my goodness – what is up with the actors getting in and out of your car and how slow everything is and just, well, boring? It coulda been so good… At least we got to walk right up to Grauman’s Chinese Theater without beating a path through tourists and people in ratty superhero costumes selling autographs…

Patrick & His Idol

We also had to take a picture of the Carthay Circle Theater cuz we live in the Carthay Circle area of LA, but the theater was torn down long before we moved there. Actually, that was kind of the theme of our trip to DHS – visiting replicas of sites that no longer exist in LA. I love all our old, historic buildings, and it makes me sad that LA doesn’t protect them better. Eating at the Brown Derby in DHS let me experience for a moment a place I’ll never get to see because it’s now a strip mall.

Next up was the Backlot Tour – also a big disappointment. Most of the first part (with the water) was them explaining all the stuff we weren’t going to see because it was too cold or windy or something. Whoopee! It was neat to see Walt’s private plane, though!

I was really looking forward to SciFi Dine-in, and it didn’t disappoint. I love that you get to sit in little cars eating burgers and fries and watching scf-fi trailers – I even saw a few that were spoofed on Mystery Science Theater 3000! We sat in the back of a car with a family in the first two rows, so they called us the hitchhikers. We took advantage of our back-seat location to neck…

On our way back to the Lights, Motors Action show we stopped in MuppetLand to look for unique merchandise. Being a puppeteer, Patrick is of course a huge Muppet fan, and he’d heard that the shop near MuppetVision 3D had stuff you can’t get elsewhere. That turned out not to be entirely true, but it did have the all-time WORST rendering of Animal we’d ever seen:

We didn’t plan very well, so we ended up dashing into LMA right before the show started and getting not-so-great seats. Then we had to run like crazy to make the next showing of the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

We are not big on scheduled shows cuz it’s so hard to figure out how to see everything you want to see and we don’t feel like we can play anything by ear – maybe that’s why we were kinda underwhelmed by MGM/DHS. Also, it just felt hot and bare (not enough shade!) and …common. I mean sets and soundstages are just big boxes, after all – it’s not like a jungle river or a fairytale village.

But the Star Wars area was fun! We think they should build an entire Star Wars theme park to counter Universal’s Harry Potter land. Just think of all the lands you could have: Tatooine, Hoth, Coruscant… mmmmmmm… Star Warsland…..!

We checked out the Walt Disney Story exhibit. It was neat to see Walt’s “working” office – we have his “show” office at Disneyland (we lent the working office to Walt Disney World a few years ago).

Also, the models of the various theme park attractions were very cool. It was telling to see the difference in the level of detail between California Adventure’s Grizzly River Run model and that of Tokyo DisneySea’s Fortress Explorations:

On our way out, we tried to take a picture of the replica of Pixar headquarters they were building next door:

We rode R‘n’R and TOT again, and finally it was time for dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby – what a treat! I felt like I was stepping back in time. And even better, the food was way better than I expected. I’d say it’s on a par with California Grill, Citrico’s, and even Jiko, for less money. We had the pork belly appetizer and the pork loin – whoops! I wasn’t paying attention when I ordered! No pix – we were so hungry we forgot!

The private Bamboo Room can be used for wedding receptions/dinners… but only tiny ones!

The plan was for an early dinner (4:30!) followed by Fantasmic!, but we’re not huge Fantasmic! fans (and I’d heard it’s not as good at DHS as at Disneyland…?) so we blew it off to go get sundaes at Ghirardelli and dip our feet in the Jacuzzi back at AKV – fun!


Let’s move that hand up a little higher, eh Buzz?


While we were in the Jacuzzi we had some more laundry going (I know! It’s like a sickness!), and afterward we went looking for animals on the main savannah and heard Fantasmic’s fireworks! Then we talked to a nice man at the front desk about getting a map to Celebration for the next day, and then we went to sleep!

Do you know how many times you have to call housekeeping to get this many pillows?!

Day 12: Celebration, Mini Golf + Touring the Resorts

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