Orlando Day 4 – Hollywood Studios

December 20, 2010 at 9:54 pm | Posted in Travel, Travelogues | Leave a comment

After the late arrival at Animal Kingdom the day before I was determined to get to Hollywood Studios early.  This is a park with a lot of popular rides so a late morning arrival would be disastrous unless we were prepared to stay there all day and into the night and not take an afternoon break.

We arrived about 20 min or so after opening — not ideal but better than an hour after opening. My original plan was to head to Rockin Roll Rollercoaster and get a Fast Pass and ride it but someone in an Internet forum had recommended getting the Fast Pass first for the Toy Story Mania ride as it was the most popular ride in the park.  So I rushed over to Toy Story and would meet everyone else at Rockin Rollercoaster.  To my astonishment, there was a HUGE LONG line of people not to get in the ride but to get a Fast Pass.  I estimate it was probably a 20-30 min wait just to get the Fast Pass.  No way I was going to waste time waiting in a line to get a Fast Pass.

We ended up following the original plan riding Rockin and getting a Fast Pass.  The kids loved Rockin Rollercoaster as it was their first time riding a coaster that catapults you.  It is essentially an amped up version of Space Mountain but the ride is shorter than Space Mountain.  Worth about a 30 min wait but not much more.  We had to wait about 10 min.  But by the time we were done the wait for the nearby Tower of Terror grew from a posted 5 min to more closer to 20-30 min.  Had we arrived at the park shortly before opening, we could have done both these rides with virtually no wait.  Rides grow fast, especially during busy season so it is crucial to get there in time for opening if you want to minimize the wait times.

Tower of Terror is one of my top 5 favorite Disney rides and the Florida version is considerably better than the California one in that the elevator goes into the building and there are more drops.  I love the theme of this ride and it is especially cool to go on at night.

Next we headed to The Great Movie ride.  This is a sleeper of a ride that is something most people don’t ride until later in the day when either they’ve done all the more popular rides or they are desperately looking for something that doesn’t have an hour or more wait.  It is pretty cheezy but if you like old movies you will find it enjoyable and in the morning there will be virtually no wait.

After the movie I was able to secure a Fast Pass for Toy Story mania (about 10:45) and the return time was already 7:10 PM!  The wait for Toy Story Mania from early morning started at about an hour and grew to over two hours at its peak.  The ride is essentially a 3D video game.  It just amazes me anyone would wait more than 45 min to ride this ride.  Who in their right mind would wait 90 min or two hours???  I determined the reason is this ride is super popular due to the fact it appeals to ALL age groups.  Kids have as much fun as adults.  Most rides appeal more to one group or the other.  I also think a lot of the rides popular amongst the kids get such long waits because typically families with small children find it difficult getting ready in time to get to a park before opening.  Most arrive a little later and by that time all the good rides have lines and even some groups don’t even know what a Fast Pass is.  Even if they do get a Fast Pass they are stuck trying to figure out what to do until the return time so they either have to ride a lesser ride or wait in line.  Most families realize their kids are going to get hungry and/or eventually tired so their time is limited so they go ahead and wait long waits to try to ride the main rides.  This is why it is so important to get to the parks early and secure as many Fast Passes as possible as quickly as possible for the most popular rides first.

After this we headed to the nearby Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream.  This is a newly renovated attraction about the history of Walt Disney and the parks.  It has a very interesting walk-thru followed by a short biographical film.  True Disney Enthusiasts will really enjoy this attraction and I think anyone that has every enjoyed his movies or parks should do it at least once to learn a little history. It is another ride most people will walk past for most of the day instead of doing it when there is virtually no wait.

After Walt, our Fast Passes for Rockin Rollercoaster were ready to use so we headed over and rode that again with only a 5 min wait walking past all the people waiting an hour to ride it.  We then headed out of the park at about 1 PM for lunch and a nice long afternoon break being able to secure a Fast Pass for Tower of Terror to ride when we come back in the evening.

We returned in the evening around 7:30 after a nice break at the pool.  Instead of going to the late 8 PM show of Fantasmic (have to line up at least half an hour early), we decided to go to the Indiana Jones Stunt Show.  The kids were so young when we saw it last they didn’t remember it.  They really enjoyed it, probably more than the would have enjoyed Fantasmic.

We then headed to Toy Story Mania and used our Fast Passes.  The Stand By Line wait an hour.  The ride is good but not an hour wait good!  I bet Jordan he couldn’t beat my score and he did! 135k! to 138k!  We then headed over to Tower of Terror and there was no wait so we didn’t even need to use our Fast Passes!  We rode it twice.  There was a family on the second ride that never rode it before and had no idea what they were getting themselves into.  It was quite entertaining to watch/hear them.

All in all a very good day.  Did everything worth doing for our group and never waited more than 15 or 20 min.  The only thing we would have done had we had more time was the Car Chase Stunt Show.  Hollywood studios has a lot to do there.

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