Day 9: May The Force Be With You | Back To The Magic 2013

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Back to the Magic Report Index (and here’s the Pre-Trip Report!)
[Today’s photographs can be found on my Flickr and the whole collection of days can be found here.]

Hollywood Studios + Miller’s Orlando Ale House
August 22nd, 2013

I know it’s been a while since I wrote about day 8 of our 2013 trip, but I hope to be able to finish them off in the new year and definitely before we go back again to Dine Around Disney in 2014! Especially since I need to start writing a pre-trippie for that as well >_<

Today is Disney Hollywood Studios (DHS), we got there early despite the stupid sat-nav misdirecting us (again, and a recurring theme on this holiday) and us having to drive around to the other entrance (yes, there are two entrances to DHS!)

No harm done and we were soon parked up and on the tram towards the entrance. The busy day guide said that this was the best park to visit today, but it felt very busy. There was a huge queue at bag check, which Steve waited in whilst I took photos of the Monsters University hedge display.

You could have a photograph taken in front of said display, but the line for the photopass photographer was long, and we couldn’t be bothered to wait!

Finally, Steve was through bag check and we walked in. There was a huge Monsters University stage set up in front of the Sorcerer’s Hat which I thought was a real shame – especially if you are a first time visitor! It covers a lot of the hat at the front, but you can view it from the side still, but it’s not quite the same. I love how this feature dominates as you walk into the park and it just didn’t feel right to see a fugly stage in front!

Steve walked ahead and picked up some Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania – for 6:15pm! Can’t believe that the line is still so long for this ride, and considering the time must have been around 9:30am when he picked them up, it’s insane!

With the important Fastpasses safely tucked away, we made our way towards Star Tours which is one of our favourite rides at DHS. The wait time was only 10 minutes – score!

There are 50+ combinations of the Star Tours ride, and we quickly walked around again to have another go while the queue was still short ^_^ I think we’ve ridden this ride about 10 times in total now, and so far haven’t got the same tour twice!

We walked back around to Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular which was just about to start and was standing room only, but wanting to get things done today, we decided to stand and watch. It’s a good show and we were fine with standing – if it wasn’t for people invading your personal space *grump*

Lots of amazing stunt co-ordination, sword fights and fire and of course the big rolling boulder! Worth a watch if you’re an Indy fan!

We fought the crowds to get out of the arena and decided it was time for a late breakfast/early lunch. We made our way to the nearest eatery, stopping of course for some photographs – these trip reports are probably more heavy on the photos than my last one. I didn’t keep as thorough a diary as our first trip, and my memories of the details are wearing thing…I hope my photos make up for that!

I also discovered that the old Pixar parade was no longer on – we were so gutted! It was the first parade we ever saw at Walt Disney World on our first trip, and was so much fun to watch. It was the parade that confirmed that I had made the right decision in a trip to WDW, even though I thought my boy would be a bit old for all the Disney lark – he just loved this parade! Like I said, all gutted it has been cancelled!

Food port of call was The Backlot Express Restaurant, a counter service place. The waiting time was just shocking I’m afraid to say. We always seem to get stuck in the wrong line, and it doesn’t help when there are two queues for one till where they alternate between both the lines. We were behind a woman who was ordering a huge amount of food using the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) and then when she didn’t have enough credits for it all, but knew that and wanted to pay the rest in cash, the cashier had no clue how to do this and had to start over. We quickly switched to another line as we knew we’d be waiting a while if we continued in the line we were in!

When you’re waiting in line, my top tip is to scan the menu and make your decision before you get to the till! There is often plenty of time to make a decision before you get there and it saves hanging around…I’m going to be doing my best to be an efficient customer when it comes to us using the DDP next year!

A quick run down of what we all had – Steve had a grilled vegetable panini with fries. Was surprisingly good – kinda wish I had got that instead of the chicken salad that I ordered! I was clearly in a wingey mood on this visit as I will now grump about the size of the pieces of chicken in their salad! They’re way too big – I want to be able to eat out of that bowl of salad with a fork without having to worry about trying to cut up pieces of chicken! That said, it was a nice salad and there was no more complaints other than chicken slice size >_>

Liam got, surprise, surprise, a burger and chips! Looks like it had bacon in it :P

I also bought a strawberry cupcake. It was a special at the time and it looked lush – it didn’t disappoint!

The sponge of the cake was lovely and soft, and it was a huge cupcake – enough for two to share and have a sweet treat. I wonder how long the cupcakes last? I kinda want to go on a cupcake buying spree across Disney and bring them home to my family!

Lights, Motors, Action: Extreme Stunt Show as next on the agenda, so we walked to the huge stadium to take a seat. We got there a lot earlier than our first visit in 2011, so was able to get a place no problem.

As the show started, there was a smattering of rain, but the crew said that the show would go on…

…however, after the Lightening McQueen section of the show, they had to pause as the rain was coming down really heavily, and then came the thunder. It meant that they cancelled the show – with a lot of boos from the crowd! A real shame as we all love this stunt show and we never did make it back to watch it again in full.

We filed out of the stadium and trudged through the rain to take shelter. With all the rain, the indoor ride wait times shot right up! The Great Movie Ride was well over an hour, and as much as we know you have to queue up for a lot of your Walt Disney World holiday, we just wasn’t in the mood!

From my photos (because, that’s all I really can go on now – I only have a list of the rides we did!) it looks like we walked through Pixar Place towards the Backlot Tour. Saw one of the Green Army Men signing autographs. I have to confess, he kinda freaked me out!

The best bit of the Backlot Tour is the bit when you’re in the tram and go through the canyon ^_^ It’s cool to see film props and stuff too.

We then queued to meet the Monsters University crew, what a shambles that line was! People pushing all over the place and the CMs really not caring too much. A shame.

As we got closer to the front of the line to meet Mike and Sully I could see why the CMs were in a care not mood. Having to deal with some fairly rowdy tourists whos kids just were not paying attention and I even saw Mike have to walk away when the kids wouldn’t listen when asked not to poke him! Shocking behaviour from the children and parents.

But finally, it was our chance to meet the monsters and have our photos done.

We then walked back to Star Tours and on the way we saw that Jedi Training was going on, so stopped to watch that. Liam would loved to have had a go at this, but sadly, he’s now too old. My friend’s kids had a go and said that they loved it! After watching younglings fight Darth Vader, we went back onto Star Tours for go number 3 of the day.

We then wandered around a bit, not really doing much!…

We then joined a much shorter queue for The Great Movie Ride, which really does need updating! Whilst us older folk might remember some of the movies, the ride is probably lost on the younger generation…it’s a good ride, especially to get out of the heat of the Florida sun and have a sit down for a while, but I imagine it to be a snooze fest for a lot of people!

After that, we decided (oh God why?) to join the line for the new The Legend of Jack Sparrow…ride? You can hardly call it that! Because only a certain number of visitors can go in at one time, you have to wait FOR-EV-ER in this queue. And, it really isn’t worth the wait! Sure, the Captain Jack Sparrow hologram is amazeballs, and the scenery is fab, but it’s more like a pre-show for something else! What a waste!

As we exited you could hear people muttering ‘was that it?!’ Sadly, yes, yes it was.

It was soon time for our Toy Story Mania Fastpass return, so off we trotted to have our turn.

Steve just about beat my score…but I think Liam beat us both! A really fun ride, just wish the waiting times weren’t so darn long!

This time around, we’d bought and brought a camcorder – I’ve yet to even begin looking through them properly to share on my YouTube channel…

…but I’m sure I will one day! And it has been fab to be able to watch some of the videos back now that the holiday is long over – as well as not doubling up on photographs like we did on our first trip!

With the weather still being suspect, we decided to call it a day. We didn’t want to line up for Fantasmic only for it to be cancelled due to the weather…especially after the earlier cancellation at Lights, Camera, Action.

We decided to try out Millers Orlando Ale House for dinner as had heard good things about the place.

We didn’t have to wait for a table and was sat in a booth and greeted by our very friendly waiter who took drinks orders whilst we looked at the menu. Hubs had a local beer that was recommended, and I had an iced tea. Liam, as usual had a coke (guess what his food was?!)

They do love a big menu over in the USA! Trying to figure out what to have after looking through a couple of pages of meal choices can be tricky! But eventually decisions were made and we ordered a couple of appetizers to share.

Potstickers – pork dumplings with a plum sauce which were very good, and the most humungous mozzarella sticks I’ve ever seen in my life!

They were very cheesy as you can see!

Liam had a burger – I think he was trying to eat his weight in burgers on this trip! There is a build your own option on the menu, and that’s what he did. He also got a huge side of onions rings.

Steve had steak fajitas which he enjoyed and I had the Philly Cheese Steak which is a steak sandwich with onions and cheese. It came with fries and pickles. I also ordered a salad on the side. I’m glad I did as I wasn’t very keen on the sandwich. The waiter looked upset when he saw that I hadn’t eaten all of mine and asked if there was a problem…I felt bad so asked if I could just take it to go because I wasn’t that hungry after all. I think, rather than the food being bad, it was just my taste buds did not enjoy the taste of Philly cheese steak! But it was something on my list of foods to try, so I can check that off the list!

Millers did not disappoint – despite me not liking my sandwich, everything else tasted really good. We did plan on a return visit on this trip, but didn’t actually get there again, but would highly recommend a meal there – our waiter was friendly and the portions were generous!

We didn’t bother with desserts – too full (not sure where we put all that food on our first trip to Orlando, because we couldn’t manage as much on this trip! ) and just went back to the villa. Tomorrow is a quiet day with a bit of shopping and not much else! It will probably the shortest trip report for this holiday!

Read about the previous day: Day 8 – A Swim on the Wildside: Aquatica + Banana Beach Cook Out + Wildside Bar & Grill

Read about the next day: Day 10 – Confessions of a Shopaholic: Houlihans + Shopping

Read ALL the days! Back to the Magic Trip Report Index 2013

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