After nine months of pass-holding and three failed attempts, I finally managed to get myself to Disney's Hollywood Studios. And man, oh man, it was…
… kind of underwhelming?
I have never held a burning desire to visit the park, which-- let's face it-- has a bit of a reputation for needing a serious facelift. Honestly, the only attractions that ever grabbed my attention were Star Tours and Fantasmic!, and there have always seemed to be numerous more interesting things to do at Walt Disney World. Still, when my sister (who had also never been) suggested that we give it a shot, I couldn't refuse!
Unfortunately, we found out the hard way that the park's "half day" status is sort of deserved. After running through our three Fastpasses (The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours, and Toy Story Midway Mania… thanks, tier system), we grabbed a bite at the ABC Commissary, then took advantage of the park hopping option my sister thankfully added to her ticket. After arriving at Epcot, the two of us knew we had made the right decision. Bonus: Somebody got herself some delicious school bread! (Spoiler Alert: "Someone" was me.)
The Great Movie Ride was a fun Fastpass pick. We got the Western scene!
I think my main beef with Hollywood Studios was its (in my opinion) senseless layout. For someone who is so accustomed to the "hub-and-spoke" system, I was utterly baffled by the park's cluster-y setup. My sister and I found ourselves constantly wandering in circles and never ending up where we wanted to be. For instance,we were considering making our way over to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, but we quickly abandoned the thought when we discovered that it was as far from us as anything could possibly be. Yes, the difficult navigation definitely occurred in part to it being my first visit, but there was little to differentiate one section from the other and nondescript buildings do not lend themselves to successful navigation. Of course, I'm not ruined for visiting Hollywood Studios ever again-- I mean, there's literally an entire side of the park I've yet to see! I may not be in love, but we can still be friends, right?
Lest we forget that this is a "Take 5" report, here are my top picks from the day!
1) Toy Story Midway Mania
I am the sharp-shooting loser on the red side!
Everyone knows of the hype that surrounds this arcade-style attraction, and I have always wondered if the cult-like devotion it commands is truly warranted. Now that I've actually experienced the ride, I can say that it totally is.
For someone who is across-the-board awful at shooting games (seriously, no aim whatsoever), I had a blast competing in the toy-box carnival in spite of my less-than-impressive score.
2) Park Hopping
Judging by the crowd on the tram, our sentiments weren't necessarily shared!
Like I said, the general consensus re: Hollywood Studios could be summed up in one word: "meh." Luckily, we prepared for this situation by opening the option to switch parks midday.
To say that park hopping saved the day would be a massive understatement. While the two of us had fun at the Studios, the day really took off when we crossed the Epcot entry gate. What ensued was a lovely, leisurely afternoon of strolling through the World Showcase and enjoying its many spoils. Which brings me to...
3) Tasty Treats on the Promenade
I think I speak for most everyone when I say that the World Showcase is the most amazing spot for snacks. Naturally, I couldn't pass by my beloved Norway for a date with this deliciousness...
One does not simply "stop to take a picture" when this kind of scrumptiousness is involved.
We also stopped by Les Artisans des Glaces in the France pavilion, where my sister picked up a couple scoops of mint chocolate chip. Oh my goodness, this stuff was by far the best ice cream to ever pass my lips. I was too full to grab a cone for myself, but I was more than happy to polish off the last of my companion's!
I am still kicking myself for not snapping a photo of the glorious nachos we feasted upon at dinnertime, but a visual aid is still necessary to convey this monstrous mountain of tastiness. Get these. They are massive and probably awful for you, but they are so yummy.
4) Sister Time
Sissy selfies all around!
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it (or really had occasion to), but I have two sisters! Yippee! Since the three of us have grown up and begun to go our separate ways, the times that we're able to spend together are all the more precious. I so treasured the hours I spent with my big sissy on our Disney day, especially since we were able to share experiences at my favorite place in the world. As much as I love touring the parks by myself, it was awesome to have someone to chat with, ride with, and (most importantly) share the aforementioned snacks with!
5) This guy:
Didn't you hear? Dumbo pillow pets make the best blogging assistants!
Best belated birthday gift? I think so.
How do you guys feel about Hollywood Studios? I feel like I should give it another shot… but there are so many other things to do!
Love and Pixie Dust,
P.S.- If you'd like to come along on my in-park adventures, hop on over to Twitter and check out @PixieDustBecca!