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Disney Hollywood Studios

Our first Disney park in Florida. I think people don’t realise that Disney World is so big, it is actually separated into four different parks. In this one, the theme is film…

We arrived fairly early on Monday morning, but it was hot and crowded early too. We watched the Indiana Jones stunt show – highly recommended, it was very clever the way the set was always changing from one scene to another and they demonstrated how special effects and stunts are done in films. Very entertaining.

The Star Wars Star Tours was a must as Chris is a huge fan. I enjoyed it, but it did give Rain and me a headache. It’s a motion simulator and I felt the movement of the seats was too jerky. Even if you’re not that fussed about Star Wars, there was never much of a queue, so worth going to. The shop at the end was disappointing – very little decent merchandise for Star Wars enthusiasts.

We queued for about 20 minutes for a special effects show (I can’t remember its proper name now) and there was a lot of standing about once you’re in, so my back was killing me. It was mainly about showing special effects with water. They chose members of the audience to act certain scenes and then you watched it on a screen afterwards with all the effects put together. Definitely one to miss out if you’re pushed for time. I found it all rather boring. We did a sort-of backlot tour on a bus, which was sadly quite feeble compared to the Universal studios tour in California, though gently entertaining seeing some props from past film. There was one impressive scene in which 1000s of gallons of water suddenly come gushing down; plus some clever fire effects. Then you walk through some props and costumes from films, which was interesting to see. It was 12:30 and stifling hot by then, so we left the park and came back later in the holiday.

We rode the Star Tours again – Chris and Jude did it twice more. Despite its re-vamp, I still managed to see the same sections more than once. It doesn’t have so many different rides as you’re led to believe – there are 3 sections of the ride and they interchange with others. Still, it’s fairly fun.

We watched the Lights, Cars, Action show, which was a big car stunt show. This was fantastic – I was really impressed with the stunts. Boys will love it. They also brought out a car from the Disney film Cars, which the younger kids loved. Definitely worth going to see. We watched the Beauty and the Beast live musical show, which was lovely and cheesy and lovely! Rain wants to watch the film again now.

We later watched the 8:30pm Fantasmic show. It’s a bit of a walk away, and the sign said we’d have to stand, so Chris was not pleased because his feet were killing him. We sat on the wall at the back, but were told to move, so we sat on the floor against the wall, but again, eventually we were told to move. We moved left and there was a tiered area where everyone seemed allowed to sit on the floor. Then we noticed that one of the stewards was shoving people along the seats making room for people, so we went and asked if there was room for 4, and he found us space! So there’s a tip for you. And the show is well worth seeing. Lots of clever lighting tricks, the fountain spray with film projected onto it – along with lots of Disney characters. Kids will absolutely love it.

We actually went back into the park a third time on the holiday. This time on a rainy day, so the crowds weren’t so bad. All 3 times they had run out of fast passes for the Toy Story ride. So the advice is true – get there early and get a fast pass straight away or expect to wait 2 hours. It is not so good that it’s worth waiting that long, but when we arrived the 3rd time, the ride had actually broken down. There was a small crowd of people hanging around waiting, but we sat on a bench nearby. We waited about 15 minutes, and were just about to give up when the ride opened again. We walked round without needing to queue at all. Result! It’s one of those rides when you go in a cart and shoot at targets while moving round a track, but this one is so much better than that; it was really good fun.

We did Star Tours 2 more times – I felt sick afterwards, but Chris and Jude were still loving it. And I think that’s all we did that time. You could do everything in one long day – just about. It wasn’t my favourite because it was more crowded than the others. Make sure you check the timetable for the shows as they were the best bits.

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