Day 8 –Florida
Christmas Day, Merry Christmas everyone.
Two park day today, we headed off to Disney’s Hollywood Studios first thing. The last of the Disney parks that are in Florida. It was a chilly Christmas day but as true Brits on tour shorts and footie shirts were the order of the day.
This park for us it was a little of a disappointment. It is relatively small and many of the rides were older ones that we had ridden in other parks. That said the number of bearded, fat men in Darth Vadar helmets who all really resembled Comic Guy made me smile all day!
The rides, we startd with Star Tours, the Star Wars based motion simulator driven very poorly by C3PO. Noe for my confession, I have never watched a Star Wars film, I know, I know but they are on ITV and I refuse to watch a film or as the Americans say “movie” with adverts. But I did see an Ewok which Wiki tells me is a fictional race of small, mammaloid bipeds that appear in the Star Wars universe. They are hunter-gatherers resembling teddy bears that inhabit the forest moon of Endor and live in various arboreal huts and other simple dwellings.
Also came face to face with the big man Darth Vadar, who I even know is a baddie (growing up on cowboy films I know that when they are dressed in black they are baddies) and was played by the Green Cross Code Man. The ship we were being piloted in was also jumped on by (I had to look this one up) Chewbacca, who is Han Solo’s co-pilot, he (Wikipedia tells me) is a Wookie, a tall and hairy being native to the planet of Kashyyyk.
We were also given a task by a hologram of Princess Leila and all this was wrapped by a ride through space being chased by space ships (that I am sure some of the other riders could have told me the crew and displacement figures. I bet there was a Top Trumps set!
After this trip into deep space (think that is Star Trek) we when to breakfast with some characters from the Mickey Mouse club. I have no idea who they were. One was a pirate, another a doctor and @colsonsmith danced and sang with a Princess! (We have the video).
Full of food we headed off to the Twilight Tower of Terror. You enter the lobby of the Hollywood Towers Hotel, it if dusty and a little spooky. After a bolt of lightening the Twilight Zone music starts and an episode of the program begins. The lift (the Americans call these, elevators) The elevator doors close and the car continues its ascent. When it stops next time the car moves forward into a work area as the opening scenes of the Twilight Zone play at this point you are told “You are about to discover what lies beyond the fifth dimension, beyond the deepest, darkest corner of the imagination, in the Tower of Terror”. At this point I am glad I put the lap belt on! The elevator plummets towards the ground lifting me out of the seat. Before going up again and then dropping. As one point the doors open to reveal a view of the park. Evidently the ride is different every time with drops and rises door openings. Well worth the Q.
From this we headed over to the Aerosmith ride or as it is really known the Rock ‘n’ Roll Coaster staring Aerosmith. This is the second fastest coaster in Disney, and after the Tower of Terror Jane joined us again! We were taken to a recoding studio at G Force records and the band all invited us to a gig. But to get there we had to take a limo ride. Now this limo accelerates from 0 to 57 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, you have your photo taken right at the start and you then zoom off on a Limo ride from hell to the gig. The limo takes you upside down where you experience 4.5 G, which they tell you is more than a shuttle launch! This ride is great and well worth a fastpass.
We went over an watched the Lights, Motors Action stunt show just boys in souped up cars having fun! Well worth a watch though the TV expert told us “it’s not like the real thing” This is Florida boy nothing is real!”
Muppets in 3D – This is the same as it was when I visited last time Fossie still has no new material!
Enough with the mouse we want excitement so off we went to Univerals the park for big kids. We went to Universal Studios, we have yet to visit the park in day light and I think this makes the park seem more exciting.
On the advice of several people the first ride we hit was Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit– First you climb 17 floor (167 feet high) on your back, then in not time at all you are a 65mph. All this whilst listening to (in my case ZZ Top) and being videoed by the camera built into the ride. The 60 minute wait for a 1 minute 37 second ride was totally worth it. This is one we will do again and again. Brilliant, the best ride so far!
Buzzing we headed to Springfield to ride the Simpsons Ride another 3D simulator this one while not as good as the Spiderman ride was great fun and at times exciting. The Q is made tolerable by showing a special episode of the Simpsons and Itchy and Scratchy before you enter the “Fun house” for another short in which Maggie and Grandpa are not allowed on the ride due to the height and health issues! Before you ride the ride itself you will meet Maggie later in a very intimate way! To tell anymore will spoil the ride.
We head then in to Diagon Alley – What an experience if you thought the Star Wars nerds were bad! In Diagon Alley you come head to head with people (many of them are Japanese) in full Hogwarts School uniform and I mean FULL. Robe, Shirt, Tie, Headband, Scarf, Wand, Magical creature, Quidich uniform and I even saw someone with Colin Creevey’s camera. I sent much of the evening shouting out the house to them, “Hi Griffendor”, “Watcha Hufflepuff”, “Rock on Ravenclaw”, “Boo Slitherin”. Made me smile!
In Diagon Alley there are plenty of places to visit the one with the longest wait is Gringotts, the goblin-run bank. Let me just say this after 70 minutes waiting the ride was a disappointment. Presented as a pulse-pounding adventure, groundbreaking, multi-dimensional thrill ride that puts you right in the middle of the action as you navigate your way through the perils of the Gringotts vaults. Well I was a little disappointed. The ride was not as good as the ride round Hogwarts in Islands of adventure.
We finished off the evening by eating in Bob Marley’s house listening to live reggae music, again another place with really great food.