Every long trip has it’s amazing days and those where you would just as soon hit the reset button. Today was the latter.
And, since I don’t like social media or blogs that only convey the shiny moments, I am going to provide an unfiltered depiction of today and my overall feelings about Hollywood Studios.
I was not a happy snowman.
Today began like our other Disney days. We were up at the crack of dawn to get to the Disney park of the day so that we could hit the high volume experiences before the crowds got overwhelming. This was especially important since 1) Disney’s fast pass system at Hollywood Studios is nearly useless and 2) there are very few exciting experiences at Hollywood Studios to disperse the crowds.
Libbie Woke Up Sick
We didn’t count on a kid who began throwing up just as we were trying to leave camp.
Given the price tag of a day at Disney, one of us hanging back to hang out with a sick kid wasn’t really an option we were ready to entertain. That means you have to adapt your tactics. And, that means we had barf bags in tow — which did get used on more than one occasion.
Her sickness put us behind schedule and completely hosed our strategy for the day.
Hollywood Studios Experience Scheduling — Ugh
With a park like Magic Kingdom, you can recover by gaming the FastPass+ system. With Hollywood Studios where there aren’t many ride experiences. If you aren’t lucky enough to get a fast pass for the Toy Story stuff and didn’t get at the front half of the crowd at the turnstiles during pre-open, you’d better count on waiting 90 minutes most of the day to get through something like Slinky Dog Dash. Those rides don’t pop up with fresh fast passes unless you have crazy luck.
Waiting that long for 90 second rides are one of the major reasons I hate theme parks. Too much friction for too little reward. I won’t ever stand in a line like that for so little pay off. So, there were a few rides that we simply chose to miss.
Watching Shows With a Sick Kid
Libbie was sick most of the morning, which impacted other things as well. It isn’t pleasant to gauge shows by your proximity to the exits. Still — we made the most of it and hit as many shows as we could since those were experiences where Libbie’s stomach could settle.
We did get in the Star Wars sim early with no wait, which was fun. Plus the girls got pics with Micky and Minnie with no wait, which they were pleased with.
Taking a Break
After doing everything we could under the circumstances, we took a break and returned to the camper to let Libbie rest and for me to take the two older kiddos to the pool.
Returning for the Evening
We returned later in the evening to pick up one of the remaining Toy Story rides and to use our FastPass+ for good seating at Fantasmic, since the closing shows have been consistently well produced.
The ride we chose (Toy Story Mania) was only suppose to be a 40 minute line. We got there at 7:10, plenty of time to ride it and still get across the park to the show by the time our FastPass+ at 8:20-8:35 was available.
We were stuck in the ride queue until 8:23. (I say stuck, because that ride is different than most others in how the line is setup — there wasn’t really a way to escape.) Then, they had technical difficulties, which slowed deboarding. By the time we got off the ride, it was 8:45, with the show beginning at 9:00, and our family needing to hoof it across the park just to make the show.
Of course, the show is in the ampitheater, which is literally the farthest northern point on the park map.
We got there just in time. But, it meant we had to sit at the complete far side of the bleachers. It didn’t affect our appreciation of the show, but it would prove important later.
This show was great. It was definitely worth going back to the park to check it out. In Libbie’s words, “That was amazing.”
Trying to Leave
When the show was over, our seating location proved a challenge. The ampitheater holds a few thousand people, and literally has 2 exits, both on the upper opposite end of the bleachers than where we were seated.
That led to a slow shuffle up and out of the fish bowl.
Then, it was a slow shuffle for a half mile, until we reached the mainstreet of Hollywood Studios.
Of course, Hollywood Studios has 2 shows that occur around the same time. They both adjourned at the same time. And both crowds converged on main street simultaneously to leave the park.
The slow shuffle continued another half mile until we were finally out of the park.
It was miserable.
I Hate Hollywood Studios
The Disney die hards should be prepared to unfriend me.
I did not like Hollywood Studios. It was so many of the things I loath about theme parks.
First and foremost, it has poor crowd flow. The streets are narrow. There aren’t alternate routes. And by the time the full crowds arrive, you feel like a car in a Los Angeles traffic jam. It’s like a small town that is growing, but they forgot that they need to add more lanes to the inbound roadways.
The ampitheater is even worse. With only 2 exits, the place is an extreme liability if an angry soul ever decided to make it a shooting gallery.
We felt like cattle being herded through cattle stalls from the top of the park to the bottom. There is absolutely no way you would be able to evacuate that park safely if a crisis occurred.
Back at the Camper
When we got back to the camper, Addie said, “Why does it stink out here?”
I asked if it was the trash can. She said “No, it smells like eggs.”
Sure enough the heat from the day apparently caused one of the hose connectors to fail on the propane adapter. So, all of the propane slowly leaked out. That means we don’t have heat for the stove in the morning. No heat means I won’t have coffee.
The early morning will be bleak.
What I Don’t Tell My Kids
Of course, I vent these things in a blog, because I think it’s important for people to know that some days simply stink.
We adapt. We still make memories.
I don’t share these thoughts with my children, because I think it is important that they be able to remember their own experiences, the magic, etc.
As for me — I don’t understand why people do Disney year-over-year. I keep looking for it. I keep trying to understand. I don’t get it.
Give me the mountains everyday.
One visit to Disney is enough to last ten lifetimes.