Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day Six: Disney Hollywood Studios

Itinerary for the day

Park:  Hollywood Studios
ADR:  Dinner at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater, 5:40 PM
Must do:  Tower of Terror (maybe!)
                Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage
                Voyage of The Little Mermaid

In researching slower times at Disney that would fit into our schedule, I noted how several members of the disboards said that the last week of August was "their week," meaning that they usually vacationed at Disney that same week every year.  I knew that it was going to be hot and humid.  I also knew that it was hurricane season.  We often experience hot and humid weather here in New England and it typically doesn't bother me.  (It doesn't!)  It is also hurricane season for us here too.

Now that our vacation is over, it is safe to say that the last week of August will never be "our week."  Just as the month of August will never be "our month."  You can add the months of June, July and September to that list as well.  It wasn't just hot and humid; it was hotter than the face of the sun.  What made the heat so much worse for me was the physical labor involved in carting three young kids around.  Rich and I estimate that the double stroller with two kids in it weighed 80 pounds.  And unfortunately, it's not one of those easy to push strollers.

I did ask, "Am I on vacation or at boot camp?" more than once.  In their normal environment, the girls are fairly independent and not as clingy as their younger selves.  At Disney, they were hot and a bit tired and Allie didn't feel well.  This meant that when we couldn't use the strollers, I was usually carrying someone.  This was partly our fault in that we failed to obtain a Guest Assistance Card (GAC) for Anna which would have allowed us to use a stroller as a wheelchair in lines.  If it's been a long day, standing in line can be too difficult for her to do.  

After breakfast in our rooms, we walked to Hollywood Studios from the Beach Club.  The 'real feel' temperature was 105 degrees.  I had read that the walk would take approximately 15 to 20 minutes.  The alternative to walking is riding the boat, which in theory seems more pleasant than walking in the heat, but I had read that you had to fold strollers and our jogging stroller doesn't fold.  We discovered that the boats don't run very frequently either.  On our walk that morning, we didn't see any boats going to or coming from Hollywood Studios.  We are fairly quick walkers and it took us 23 minutes door to gate.  (On the way back, we cut through the pool area at the Boardwalk Hotel, which shaved about 7 minutes off of our walk time.)


Allie and Emily wanted to ride Tower of Terror.  (Anna wasn't tall enough and didn't really seem to mind that she couldn't participate.)  When we arrived, the stand-by time was only 10 minutes.  But Rich had to go to the bathroom and we all missed the fact that there was a bathroom right there.  By the time he returned, the wait time was up to 20 minutes.  We warned Allie and Emily that it would be scary but they still wanted to ride.  Rich and I downplayed the scary queue, especially the video that they show you.  I reminded them that we were at Disney, not in a scary hotel and that it was just a ride.

So were they scared?  Let's just say that their mouths were open but they couldn't scream.

While waiting in line for TOT, we realized that we would exit in time to catch the next scheduled Beauty and the Beast show, which was right next door.  I sent a text message to Grammy asking her to find seats.  The girls really enjoyed this performance.  It's very professional and kept their attention.  If you have a little princess, I highly recommend it.

After the show, we ate lunch across the way at the outdoor quick service area.  We then had time to walk over to the theater and join the line for the next Little Mermaid show.  Again, the girls really enjoyed the performance.  Six thumbs up.

No park visit would be complete without at least one (or five) character meet and greet but I needed to cath Anna first.  The changing area in the bathroom outside of the animation building was ridiculously short so Anna and I quickly made our way to the Baby Center at the front of the park while everyone else stood in line to meet "Magic Mickey."


Emily brought Ginger, her baby moose (no Disney relation), with her that day.  Thankfully, the swelling in Allie's face had gone down some but she still did not look like herself.         

After "Magic Mickey," we brought the girls over to the Winnie the Pooh meet because there was no line.  (No pictures.)  Anna and I had spotted a Jake meet and greet outside of the building on our way to the Baby Center so we all headed there next.


I have no idea why Anna was the only one to pose for pictures but she cracks me up. 



Hollywood Studios is our least favorite park.  I admit that there is more to do there than we did but, meh, we really weren't into it.  Because it was so hot, we purchased frozen lemonades, visited a gift shop and then walked back to the resort to spend some time at the pool.  Allie was feeling better and a bit upset that she hadn't been able to swim as much as sissies.

After swimming, we timed our return back to Hollywood Studios so that we would arrive shortly before our dining reservation, which was at 5:40.  We checked in at 5:30.  There were a ton of people waiting for tables and when you check in, they never tell you how long it will be.  So we waited and waited.


And waited some more.


It was almost 6:00 and Allie was miserable.  She had been hanging in there all day, dealing with the side effects of an antihistamine and the allergic reaction.  And now she was done.  I went back up to the  hostess to see how much longer our wait would be.  I understand customer service is difficult so I wasn't an angry, mean person but let me tell you, these people are well trained.  The hostess calmly repeated the same thing over and over again and wouldn't give me a direct answer.  Saying that the people who had a reservation at 5:30 checked in before us doesn't really explain why it is 6:00 and we still don't have a table.  Another woman walked up and said, "Can I join in on this conversation because we are in the same situation.  We had a 5:40 ADR and we checked in at 5:30 too.  How much longer do we have to wait?"

Both of us were seated within three minutes and I was a bit surprised at all the empty tables around us.  I understand that a reservation does mean that you will be seated at that time but at least give people an idea of how long it will be.  The food there is okay and while the whole concept of the drive-in is pretty cool, the movies became a bit annoying.  Our server was super awesome and placed our order before he picked up our drinks so we had our food without having to wait too long.  I ended up stuffing my face as quickly as possible so that I could leave early with Allie.    

We were going to check out a few attractions before walking back to the resort but I had stupidly not taken in enough fluids throughout the day and wasn't feeling up to it.  Allie was pretty much done as well.


We had promised the girls that they could stay up to see the fireworks that night.  After showers for the kids and some downtime, we found a spot to hang out on the bridge.  The girls were really excited and I felt bad that we hadn't been able to plan to see a "real" fireworks show.  Hopefully, maybe next time.

Balcony view.  Finally, a blue sky.


(A good update!  Our health insurance provider reimbursed us for all but $20 of that not-so-urgent care center visit.)


Sarah said...

YES! Glad that you were reimbursed for that "medical care" visit!!!!

Sarah said...

I like to go to Disney beginning of December, Mid to end January or February before crowds get nuts, temp is nice and the pools are still wonderful.

Looks like your family had a fabulous vacation.

Jilly said...

Late October to February. I say that someone who grew up in FL (and who still knows cast members). And honestly, if there's any way you can take the girls for a week off from school to do it during the school year (though it seems schools are stricter about that sort of thing nowadays) DO IT. It is so much less crowded when it's not summer or holiday vacation.

Jilly said...

The downside of that, though, is that it might be too cold to swim. I never really thought about that as a FL resident, because the whole resort/hotel pool thing was never really part of the deal.

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Cindy said...

I can not get over all the dresses you made for this trip. You and grammy are so awesome. You really made this special. And woo-hoo on getting reimbursed. Also - love the pic of the girls in the car waiting.

Marion said...

We've gone in September three times, May once, and April once. I much prefer September due to lower crowds. Although this September was busier than I had ever seen it! The weather in April was PERFECT. Mid 80's every day, no rain, and low humidity, but the crowds were insane.

Glad Allie started feeling a bit better. Loving these reports :)

Jess said...

Whoever is in that first picture with the sunglasses on her head looks ridiculously cute! Sunglasses on little one's heads makes me giggle.

Also, does Anna get embarrassed when you have to cath her in a public bathroom? Or is she not at that age yet to care? Do people ask you questions? Do you have a way of keeping it private or it doesn't really matter yet?

laura said...

The middle of March was 'our time' at Disney. The longest we waited for a ride was 10 minutes. And the weather was warm but not humid. Like a perfect May day in New England.

Granted, I've only been to Disney twice but we had great weather and park experiences both times.

Teej said...

The dresses ARE fabulous!

Wendy said...

Did you get a chance to see the Disney Jr. Live show while you were there at Hollywood Studios? Zoe loved it so much. We saw it twice the first day we went and then a 3rd time on our last day in Florida.

Glad to hear that they reimbursed you for most of what you spent.

Sara said...

Please get/use a guest assistance pass next time. Disney will be a whole new experience for you.

I have a pass that I use for my chronic health condition. When you go to guest assistance you have to be somewhat specific about how Anna's condition affects her to get what you want. Explain how waiting in line would affect her, the chances of having to get out of line to take care of her, how the heat might affect her. There are different things they can stamp your pass with - provide a shaded area to wait, use an alternate entrance, etc. One pass will work in all parks and you can have up to 6 people in your party.

Chantel said...

I have been following your Disney trip report since before we left for Disneyland on the 24th! (I did a little recap herehttp://ourversionofafamily.blogspot.com/ )I was so fearful of one of my kids getting sick like Allie. Poor kid.

I love their kindergarten pictures too.

Chantel said...

Oh, and FYI, Disneyland in September was hotter than face of the sun too. NOT what I expected!

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Stacey L. said...

My parents took us to Disneyworld when I was 12(I'm way older now)in July and I have still never been that hot in my life.

So glad you got your money from the insurance. That is one thing I hate, dealing with insurance companies.

And as always, the girls looks so cute and I love their dresses.

Stacey L. said...

Oh and I agree, you should get a GAC next time. I have to get one for my daughter because she can't go up or down stairs and it has made our Disney trips much easier on her and my back since I don't have to carry her on the stairs anymore.

Sarah said...

ok - this is weird. I typed up this huge comment last night and now it is gone. Arg. I'll have to respond when I get a break at work.

Sarah said...

Next time, we will definitely get a GAC (thank you Sara and Stacey for sharing your experiences.)

Jess - That's Allie with the sunglasses. Anna doesn't know the difference/doesn't matter where I cath her. I think the only time I have cathed her in public over the past 2 years has been at Disney. Anywhere else, we return to the van and do it there. No one stared at us or asked questions. I positioned her a certain way and stood over her so it wasn't really obvious.

Chantel - I'm excited to read your trip report!

Wendy - We did not see the Disney Jr live show. It was on the maybe list and we never got to it. I'll have to keep it mind for next time. Thanks for letting me know that Zoe loved it.

Thank you for the comments regarding the dresses. And, yes, next trip will be between the months of Oct and April!

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