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June 1st, 2003
May 31st 2003, Day Two: Up at 6:00-6:30 AM and down to breakfast at the hotel restaurant (only thing available for a long ways). GREAT breakfast buffet, but is a bit expensive at $14 a person. Cool to "bill it to the room". On the free shuttle by 8:30 AM to the same ticket/transportation center where we take a free Disney bus to MGM-Studios which has "Star Wars Weekends" going on. As we are entering the park's turnstiles, Stormtroopers are being funny, making fun of the tourists snapping photos Seeing the troopers makes me excited and now I am expecting to see more characters. My agenda, thanks to the forewarning of a phone call from a Disney Rep before I left, I know that I must get an armband to get an autograph. So the only thing I planned this day was to get to the park when it opened and get through the gate and get that armband. I arrive and we make it there.
We have to get in line to get an armband and you can only do one because after about the first hundred people, there will be no more. Dividing and conquering, I go for Silas Carson, the more elusive of the two celebs and Scott gets Mike Quinn. This way, I can have the set of autographs for the day. I am number 57 and I think Scott is 40 something for Mike, but for the AFTERNOON signing! If I get my band and go to Mike's line and Scott in Silas' line, and I probably will be on what they call "standby". That's just if some of the people don't show on time because they are in lines on rides or something, I can get one then by waiting and hoping. They give you a number for that as well and unless you are like 1-10, you might as well forget it. Signings are twice a day for ONE hour. So we are content to just get one of each. They pass out at that time a limited supply of pre-printed and auto-penned sigs. So if you see these on Ebay, please inquire if the person got the sig in person or if it was signed in marker or pen. If they say pen, then that's the autopen. The differences are obvious, but only when seen in person; not online!
Now, while we wait to come back for our 2:45 given time, we head out and visit the Drew Carey event entitled, "Sounds Dangerous". Here, you sit in a theatre with headphone on. It's a sound experience, where surround sound supposedly makes you think you are actually watching Drew solve a crime "live". In actuality, this was the weakest thing of the day for both of us. I wasn't too impressed. I next head to the Star Tours ride, which is what everyone keeps talking about. Hearing they may remove this, I came for this reason. I like the ride and though not supposed to take photos inside, I do snap a couple. This is a 3D Adventure where you are in a shuttle and it moves, but mostly the big screen and movement makes you feel like you are going through an asteroid field etc. It was a lot of fun. Pee Wee Herman is the voice of Rex, the "tour operator droid" who is inept and why you go on the scary adventure. We leave and spend time snapping photos of Star Wars characters and things in the park.
I decide I had enough of Star Wars for a bit and we head to "Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie set adventure" This is not a ride, but a park where kids can climb and explore. And Scott is told they are giving out free Star Wars card games and goes to get me one. From the playground we spied the entrance to the MGM-Studios Backlot Tour. While going on that tour (see other page), we see some props outside and inside the building we passed through before getting on the train or whatever it was. On the tour, you see some large vehicles too large to store and that won't be used again (Terminator Tanker truck, a couple Star Wars vehicles, some stuff from Pearl Harbor and other films. Buildings included half a dozen house facades that were used to make opening shots of TV shows like "Golden Girls" and the Richard Mulligan show "Empty Nest".
After this, we break for eating (Cheeseburgers and fries) and get a fast pass for the "Who Wants to be a Millionaire Show". While waiting for the fast pass to take effect, we are tired and sit for a long period, where I spy Mini Mouse and Pluto signing autographs and taking photos with the wee ones. But we couldn't find Mickey until we realized, the star got to be in air conditioning...and I snapped a quick photo of him. Finally, we are inside and we realize it's the size of an actual set and it's a duplicate set with fast finger rounds and audience participation pads. You can poll the audience. Alas, I'd been hearing reports of a Star Wars Who Wants to be a millionaire, but not this day at this time anyway! I was mad till I realized I got all but the very last question right and even so, never made it to the top ten. I am not fast enough! The host is probably going to be on a sitcom or in a couple mediocre films. He's the personality for it. I snap two photos from the who wants to be a millionaire set, which you were not allowed to take. An actual contestant from the audience even got to "Phone a complete Stranger" who just so happened to be someone outside the in the park! And the two contestants we saw won both 32,000 level (points not dollars) and got a set of collectible 10 Disney Pins and a hat.
We then head to "The Great Movie Ride" which looks cool, but it's closed. We get some drinks and realize it's about 2:15 PM and signing is at 3 and we need to be there by 2:45... so we head there and wait. While waiting, they are begging us to take another card game (they can't get rid of them fast enough) so we get another. I realize my Park Hopper pass (which is good for two more days and costs about $200, is GONE!!!!). Scott takes my ID and at the urging of one Star Wars fan and a park worker, that I should go to guest services. Scott, not wanting me to miss Silas and feeling bad because I am sweaty and blistered on my feet, takes my ID and goes. The park just gave him another after looking in the computer to see that we've been using these passes in sequence on fast pass rides! It is using the fast pass service that gets me a free replacement pass! I STRONGLY urge people to use fast pass for this reason if nothing else. So take your receipt and use the fast pass just in case! (Kudos to Disney personnel, which I found through the trip are GREAT). Even in 90 plus degree heat and humidity. While waiting, I meet some interesting fans. 90% are adults. I get in line with the camera and Scott goes to Mike's line. I get up to Mr. Carson (the cutie that he is), shake his hand, a girl takes our photo with my camera and I tell him I love his accent and he says I am the one with the accent. He's very nice to people before and after me. Done with that, we head to "The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular". I miss an opportunity to obtain Harrison Ford's stunt double's autograph. Actually, some movie people actually do run this little adventure, which shows a few scenes from Raider's of the Lost Ark. It's really good! It shows how they do the stunts and there are three sets, which unfold. First the temple scene where the boulder comes down, then the market scene where Indy and the girl are chased by a bunch of bandits and finally, the plane sequence which is stuff blowing up and gunfire, plane is moving! I loved it.
Now we are hungry, but everything is closing! WARNING... they close food services on lots of restaurants and stands close at 5-6 PM. So we find one stand selling pretzels and Nachos and we both end up with Nachos because real dinners can't seem to be had. On the bright side, they were great nachos though. After eating, we don't have much time left (bus leaves at 8:30 and next bus is 11:30 and so we need to leave by 8:00 PM to get to the bus area). So I buy what I need to for friends and me (lol) at the Star Wars shop. A couple insanely priced photos, a couple figures, a stuffed Ewok and 4 postcards. I want a T-Shirt, but we already got Jeremy a T-Shirt and $20 is a bit expensive... We still have some time left as we are headed out, so we do the Jim Henson's Muppet Vision 3-D show. It's cute and the kids will like it. The Muppets dance and sing while you wear 3-D Glasses and a couple animatronics puppets up in the balcony just like on the old TV show. Sorry, I forgot to take photos (you weren't allow to inside anyway).
I want to go to Tower of Terror on the way out, but worry about the packages I am carrying (plus I admit I am scared) so we hit one more thing on the way out... and I see two things that interest me: Walt Disney; One Man's Dream and The Magic of Disney Animation. I pick the latter. You walk into a theatre and see clips of animated movies etc and hear some interviews and Robin Williams becomes an animated character while Walter Cronkite narrates. From there, you get to see where the Disney animators work (their actual desks and equipment, and see how they work. You also see examples of storyboards and learn how the animation process comes to life. Finally, you walk into an area and sit on the floor to watch one of the animators at work. He draws a character that's new to Disney and will be coming out this fall called "Koda". While he draws, you can watch on an overhead screen and he talks about how long it takes to make a film, how many animators they use, how it goes from a rough drawing to moving and how they color it. It was interesting. We miss an autograph opportunity due to two people who know this man and crowd him after the talk. We have to leave and can't get a sig. I don't know if he'd sign anyway because later on we learn at Epcot there are drawings for sale. You'd not of gotten a drawing of "Koda" anyway because it's not out yet. We come out of that to a Disney animation gallery. We are told NOT to photograph any part of this tour because of the secrecy. I didn't know that earlier when we were waiting to go in, I spied and open door and went in and saw some Oscars and took a photo. I was fascinated. It turns out that was the gallery we came out. So I have a photo of one of the many Oscars Disney won...(they didn't come out well due to the glare, so they are doctored and in one you can't see the head because of the glare and in the other you can't see the plaque, so I give you both (use your mind to piece them together). With that, we leave the park (Scott buys himself a Home Improvement Hat on the way out) and head to the buses. Then back to the hotel and ready for day three.
Rides/Shows Missed: The Great Movie Ride (closed). Walt Disney One Man's Dream (think just a theatre presentation/talk). Voyage of the Little Mermaid (Under the water show), Playhouse Disney-Live on Stage (dancing playing Bear from Big Blue House and Pooh I think), Beauty and the Beast-Live on Stage (Stage show); Rock and Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith (I don't "do" roller coasters), Tower of Terror and finally, the thing everyone told me was the best thing about the park.... Fantasmic, a laser/water/character/light/fireworks show. We also missed the parade (but caught glimpses of it). My recommendation is allow 1 and a half days for two younger - middle aged adults or two full days for seeing everything in it's entirety if you have slower moving people or kids with you. I wished I could have done the Tower or Terror and seen Fantasmic at least. However, of all the rides/shows we did see, my favorite was the Star Tours for fun, and the Indy Epic Stunt show, followed by the Animation tour.
Left to Right: 1) Stormtrooper greets guests 2) Star Tours Entrance 3) Stormtrooper 4) AT-AT Star Tours 5) R2-D2 inside the Star Tours Ride.
Left to Right: 1) Admiral Ackbar 2) C-3PO 3) C-3PO inside Star Tours 4) Close-up of AT-AT 5) Ewok Village
Left to right: 1) Droid Lift in Star Tours 2) Droids in Star Tours 3) Gamorean Guard 4) Han Solo 5) Star Wars speeder
Left to right: 1) Jedi Training stage 2) Jedi Training closer view 3) Mace Windu and Kit Fisto 4) Scott in the Jedi Arena 5) Silas Carson's line
Left to right: 1) MGM Entrance 2) Sue and Silas Carson 3) R2-D2 4) MGM Street 5) Another MGM Street
Left to right: 1) MGM NY Street 2) Harrison Ford Stunt Double 3) Indiana Jones Stunt Show 4) Indiana Jones Stunt Show sign 5) MGM's boat
Left to right: 1) Honey I Shrunk the Kids Giant Battery 2) Giant Bee 3) Giant Play-DOH 4) Giant Dump Truck 5) Giant Super Soaker
Left to right: 1) Honey I Shrunk the Kids Scott is small 2) MGM Hat in center of park 3) Planet Hollywood Gremlins 4) Planet Hollywood Terminator Suit 5) Mini Mouse & Pluto
Left to Right: 1) Minnie Mouse and Pluto 2) Toy Story 3) Tower of Terror 4) Mickey Mouse and 5) Toy Story again
Left to right: 1) Oscar for Fantasia 2) Set of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" 3) More of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and 4) Oscar
Sites other than Disney you might like to visit: