Day 8 – the last theme park touring day of our vacation – was a split day (in more ways than one). The plan was to spend the morning at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, transfer our stuff from the Polynesian Resort to the Swan, take a nice long nap, and then go to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. With so many things that could have gone wrong to mess up our plans, it all went amazingly smoothly.
We got almost all of our things packed up the night before, so when we woke up in the morning, it wasn’t too much of a scramble to finish getting packed up. We went ahead and put all of our things in the rental car trunk, checked out at the Polynesian, and drove over to Hollywood Studios. We arrived just minutes before rope drop. I positioned myself to join the mad dash for Toy Story Midway Mania FastPasses, while Miriam and the kids followed behind at a somewhat more leisurely pace. What a madhouse! FastPasses in hand for a return time around lunchtime, we went ahead and got into the TSMM standby line (with about a 30 minute wait). The Green Army Men do a great job entertaining the crowd, especially during the morning rush. They were also just about the only characters (other than Stitch) that Jonathan was willing to interact with the whole trip.
Though the standby line at TSMM was long, the oversized toys in the queue line provided fun distractions while we were waiting. After our ride (which was very cool – essentially a totally immersive video game experience), we headed across the street to the other side of Pixar Place for the Toy Story character meet and greet. Jonathan insisted that he wanted to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody. Of course, after waiting in the VERY slow-moving line for another half-hour or so, Jonathan refused to get close enough to either Buzz or Woody to take pictures. Mikaela did get a few photos with Buzz and Woody. But Jonathan was content with a few photos with the “set pieces” that are situated at various points along the queue line.
Unfortunately, while we were in line for photos, I found out that Rockin’ Roller Coaster was down (thanks to the Lines smartphone application from TouringPlans.com). With Rockin’ Roller Coaster down, and Star Tours already down for a refurbishment, that meant the one remaining “big” ride at Hollywood Studios, Tower of Terror, was swamped. And we couldn’t stay at DHS too long if we were going to get enough of a nap in to be awake for the late parade at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. So after pictures, we headed to our only remaining Hollywood Studios “must-see” attraction – MuppetVision 3-D (just back online from a refurbishment itself). MuppetVision was awesome – as good as TSMM is, I really think MuppetVision was our favorite attraction in Hollywood Studios. It’s a terrific 3-D movie, the humor works on multiple levels (like all good Muppet humor) and there is so much going on all over the theater that even antsy Jonathan was caught up in the show.
We wrapped up our too-short day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a quick lunch (one note: we were ready for lunch by about 11:00 a.m., but most DHS counter-service restaurants don’t open until 11:30 a.m. We wasted energy not being prepared for that, and wandering around looking for a place we could eat), and then used our FastPasses from the morning for one last ride on Toy Story Midway Mania. It had been a hot day, so by the time we got back to the car shortly after Noon, we were all ready for the nap that awaited us at the Swan. More on the Swan (and MNSSHP) in the next post.