Started off the morning eating breakfast at the Mill then stopping back by the room before boarding a bus to the Studios. Walked down Hollywood Blvd and out to Pixar Place. Decided to wait for Toy Story and after about 30 minutes we were just about to get our glasses and the attraction went down and we had to exit. Circled back toward Hollywood Blvd and some went to Rockin Roller Coaster and I went to get Star Tours Fastpasses then we spent some time in the Backlot and Streets of America areas. Circled back to Star Tours to use our Fastpasses then some went to use their Rockin Roller Coaster ones. Walked through the Animation Building and took a look at the Wreck it Ralph exhibit. Followed by a stop in One Mans Dream to see the Fantasyland Model. Decided to stop and see Indiana Jones then somehow decided to visit the Backlot Tour. Once back went for a spin on Toy Story then headed for the Sci Fi and lunch. After lunch grabbed a bus to the TTC and ferry boat across to the Magic Kingdom. Wandered down Main Street and into Tomorrowland. Went for a spin on the People Mover then hung out in Tomorrowland for a while. Walked along the Railroad trail to the Storybook Circus. Spent some time walking around and taking more pictures then roamed through Fantasyland and around to Liberty Square. Took the Liberty Belle around the River then walked through Adventureland. Walked onto Pirates before heading to EPCOT to meet up with the rest of my traveling group (by way of the Boardwalk and International Gateway) . Caught up to them near the American Adventure and completed the World Showcase loop before finding a spot to watch Illuminations. After the show joined the masses heading for the exit and decided to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning started slightly later than others and made a stop by at the room before heading to the bus so decided to try the North Depot which was closest to our room. That was a mistake. We arrived at the bus stop just after 9:00am and arrived at the Studios security gate at about 9:50am. Almost an hour. Our bus luck really ran out this morning.
- We decided to give Toy Story a try since we were there early and seemed that there should not be that many Fastpass Returns yet. The line was moving well and we were on pace for probably a 45 minute wait and then the attraction broke down right as we were about to pick up our 3D glasses. They decided to clear the queue and asked us all to reverse course and leave. We asked about return passes since we had invested nearly 30 minutes in line. The CM said only those who were on the steps or the the attraction would get a return pass. This was a bit disappointing to us. Wonder if they have the same policy when the line stretches over the 100 minute mark and those guests had been in line well over an hour when they reached where we were.
- While taking some pictures of the crew working on the Pirates mural and waiting for some of my group who were in the rest room a couple cast members came by to talk. They saw my USC gear and were talking about the park and made a comment I thought was interesting. They said you would not see the type of attraction that was going in there in Anaheim now a days. They said the new Pirates attraction would follow the Narnia example of a brief clip then a walk through featuring some set pieces/props/costumes. The more interesting thing to me is how far after the film and before the next one they are doing this. Wonder if it is a placeholder till the next film then they can quickly update it to promote the new film?
- Walked through the Animation Building (which still is a little sad for me.. I really enjoyed seeing the animators working) and worked my way to the Wreck-It Ralph exhibit. Spent some time photographing it and enjoying the peace and quite. I stopped by between shows letting out so had the room to myself for a good five minutes, probably longer. Still glad to see they are updating the space with upcoming films.
- Next stopped by One Man's Dream to check out how the Fantasyland model is displayed. It is the same one we saw at the D23 Expo last year. You can only get to one side and its slightly elevated. I thought it worked, but felt a little cramped in the space. Great to see and I talked a couple of our group through it as well as some other guests in the area that had no idea what they were looking at.
- Stopped by the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! which was anything but epic in our opinion. The third scene, the airplane/finale scene was not performed. How long has the show been this way? Since the incident/accident where a performer was hurt several months ago?? I had not kept up and was surprised that the show all of a sudden ended after the second scene. I have always enjoyed Indy but with this truncated show it really showed its age and seemed subpar to me. Seems like it is time for a new stunt show or just something new. Maybe a Pirates of the Caribbean stunt show or something.
- After leaving the Indy show depressed a bit we somehow ended up visiting the Backlot tour which was even more disappointing. I would almost go as far as to say a disappointment. It has been a shell of itself for years but when we went on they were not playing the pre-show video and no guest participation in the water tank. Instead the cast members said they were going to test some effects and they sequenced through them and we moved on. It took only a couple minutes. Then we boarded the tram and did the sorry loop. Several people exited the tram and I could overhear them asking each other if that was it. They were really expecting more and I have to agree. It seems to really be a sub par effort now a days. Add in the pre recorded spiel and you do not even have an opportunity for a lively cast member to make a difference.
- We had lunch at the Sci-Fi Diner since some of the group had never eaten there and were looking for something different. I ended up with their All-American burger, which was a hamburger served on top of a hot dog. It sounded interesting. I was really surprised when it came that it was in fact two hotdogs split open on the bottom then the burger. The hot dogs tasted a bit odd to me and there was way too much and not enough bun to overcome it in my mind, so I pulled the hot dogs off and ate the burger. Which was also disappointing.. especially compared to the one I had the other night at Big River Grille or the ones I am used to at Beaches and Cream or ESPN Zone. This I would say was worse than the ones you get at the counter service places... The others said their meals were ok, but nothing stellar to report.
- After lunch spent the afternoon roaming the Magic Kingdom. I decided to throw in the towel on the Studios. The crowds were light so we were able to basically walk on to several attractions and then take some daylight (and non rainy photos) that I could not yesterday. Nothing too interesting to report though.
- The rains held off till after dark again and by that time some of the group had left for the room and the others were at EPCOT so I made my way over there to join them, just in time for them to call it a night due to the rain. So I spent an hour or so roaming EPCOT and watched Illuminations before heading back to call it a night myself.
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