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July 13, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

Live Magic: You Ought To Be In Pictures

Ah, the golden age of film, when movies were silent and Hollywood was three syllables.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t around to see it.  Fortunately, Disney built a theme park that celebrated the movie industry through rides, films, and museum exhibits.  How convenient!  And that’s where we spent our second day in the land of the Mouse: Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  On with the show!  Lights!  Cameras!  Breakfast in a hotel room!

We were all really pumped to go to Hollywood Studios, given that it was a Star Wars Weekend, coupled with the new version of the simulator ride Star Tours.  Things were gearing up to be an out of this world day-as long as we could not show our annoyance of the four Epcot buses showing up before our ride too openly.  Finally, we were all raring and ready to go!  You know, in Hollywood Studios, the Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror is more prominent than the Mickey Sorcerer Hat, which is, oddly enough, the icon of the Studios.  DHS is separated into several different areas.  Once you enter the park, you enter Hollywood Boulevard, a lovely replica of a 1930s street, complete with life-size billboards.  The street ends with the Sorcerer Hat, which is massive (imagine this thing being too big for the Statue of Liberty), and holds its own gift shop.  Behind the iconic hat is a replica of the Grauman’s Chinese Theater, which contains one of the first things we did in the land of movie magic: the Great Movie Ride, a totally immersive ride through movie history, including climatic encounters with gangsters, Aliens (note the capitalization), and certain wicked witches.  All in all, it’s truly epic, and I loved every minute of it.

Hooray For Hollywood-Land!

Also, since it was a Star Wars Weekend, we went on the new version of the simulator ride Star Tours twice.  The first time, we screamed as we flew down Hoth mountainsides, and were attacked by Naboo sea creatures (one got stuck on our windshield, but I believe we electrocuted it).  The second time, we got stuck in a Tatooine Podrace and managed to nearly plummet into the streets of Coruscant.  It was probably the biggest thrill ride I went on at WDW, aside from the plane ride to get there.  Naturally, we saw the show Muppetvision 3D (wonder what dimension it’s in) twice, and I loved every minute of that, as well.  About then, we had our early dinner reservations at the Sci-Fi Dine In, located west of the Sorcerer’s Hat.  It’s designed to look like an old drive-in movie theater, with car-shaped tables, speakers, and a massive screen in front of us displaying montages from B-movies, trailers for B-movies, and stuff that looks like it came out of a B-movie.  And did I mention the B-movies?

Drivin', Watchin', And Eatin'

Later that day, we went on the show/tour through Disney movie history/special effects ride, the Studio Backlot Tour!  Basically, you start in a room where screens overhead display a “making of” bit about the film Pearl Harbor.  A Cast Member (the ultimate in theme park staff who generally cater to your every need and are some of the most fun people I’ll ever see), who plays a movie director, asks for action heroes (apparently, THESE action heroes need to be sixteen or older) to star in his new movie.  You then wind your way through a seemingly endless labyrinth of movie props, into a small amphitheater overlooking a set made up of a PT boat and what is, apparently, the interior of said PT boat.  Then, there’s a brief water and fire effects show that replicates gunfire, bombs, and flooding.  After that, you board a long, long tram that reminds me of tandem golf carts, and go on a slow ride through several classic props, as well as a Jurassic Park-esque costuming department.  But then, the tour heats up when you visit-dum dum dum-Catastrophe Canyon, where you see several fire effects, as well as a massive wave of water that narrowly misses your ride vehicle.  You may get soaked anyway.  After that, the tram goes through several more iconic movie vehicles, including none other than that love bug himself, Herbie!  Then, you stop at the American Film Institute’s on-site museum, featuring an exhibit about villains, including props and costumes belonging to Cutler Beckett from Pirates Of The Caribbean, the White Queen from The Chronicles Of Narnia, and the Alien.  There’s also a gift shop, where I purchased a fiction book that takes place in the World after dark.

After that, Dad and Eli went to Fastpass the Rockin’ Roller Coaster (starring Aerosmith), so me and Mom went on a “date” checking out Sunset Boulevard, the DHS hotspot for shopping and thrill rides.  We checked out the Villains Vogue place, which doubles as a candy and tea store, as well as Planet Hollywood.  Note to you: do not look at the Terminator display if you are squeamish.  After a couple more gift shops, we caught up with the other half of our family, and Mom and Dad went on the Coaster.  Me and Eli used a special Fastpass that sent us directly to the gift shop.  We went through the queue, though, and I have to say, G Force Records (the fake recording company where the ride starts out in) has good taste in music posters.  Not a Demi Levato fanatic, though.

Evening was dawning upon us, and so we had to go back “home”, which was sad, because I fell in love with the Studios.  Good thing we went a second time.  But that’s another story!  Cut!  That’s a wrap!  Tune in next time when we encounter the fierce, the enormous, the vicious-Ankole cattle?

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