View Full Version : The 4F Trip Report - Day 07

08-07-2009, 08:44 AM
Trip Report Index is here (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2251058)

The 4F Trip Report

Day 07 - 03-Jul-2009 - Hollywood Studios and Spirit of Aloha

Today's trip report is not recommended for anyone on a dial-up link. There are going to be a lot of photographs here. When I started editing them I found that I took just over 1,200 today, and I have edited that down to 215 "good 'uns". We'll see how many of those make it into today's trippie!

Okay, this was Saturday 3rd of July, and it was down in the calendar as being mostly free. I say "mostly" because we had ADRs for the Spirit of Aloha dinner show in the evening.

Marie felt that she wanted to go to Hollywood Studios, and since nobody had any objections, that was where we went.
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We could see that the crowds were getting a little heavier, but I still feel that they are considerably lighter than they were three years ago when we were last in WDW. The recession, it seems, is real!

It was quiet enough that Marie had one of those "alone in the crowd" moments, though I think that this was probably just a fleeting moment!
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The first thing we really noticed was the High School Musical 3 show. This was performed just in front of Mickey's hat, and it was loud! Maybe too loud? Or is that just me?
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The kids didn't seem terribly interested in watching the show, which surprised me a little. Jenni, in particular, loves watching stage shows. But neither she nor Cameron wanted to stay for the rest of the performance, and so we went instead to the Indiana Jones show
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This was its usual excellent self, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. How these people manage to perform the show day in, day out, three or four times each day, and still remain so fresh, I don't know. Full credit to them for doing it, though!
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Jenni was very unconvinced about the show, however. She had taken a bit of a dislike to loud noises and anything else that could be considered remotely scarey. So this was just not for her, and she spent most of the time cuddling in to mummy. So when we came out and suggested going to Motors, Camera, Action! she "gracefully" declined.

Uncle John and the parents-in-law went to see the show anyway, and when I tried to persuade Jenni to go with them she got distinctly huffy. It was clear that mummy was the friend of the moment, and so when mummy took Jenni to the Honey I Shrunk The Kids playpark, I went to get Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania instead.

Well, that was the plan. There were no Fastpasses left for the day, so instead I went on Star Tours. Now, it may be a sign of how empty the parks were that I was able to do a walk-on without really pausing except to take the odd photograph:
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The theming is great, but what you end up in is a simulator ride - a kind of sub-Soarin' where you are given to feel that you are travelling in space and taking part in certain scenes from Star Wars. Which is good, but did tend to leave me feeling a little motion sick. Oh well, such is life.

I came out and watched a Jedi Academy session
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Cameron and the in-laws arrived, so I felt that I had to take a picture of him getting shot at by a Walker
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Jenni and Marie arrived, with Jenni opining that the play area wasn't up to much. Lunch seemed like a good distraction activity at this point, so we went to the Backlot Express, where we had a very nice meal. Towards the end of it, I asked if anyone cared to go on Tower of Terror with me. Silence. I was on my own. Okay, no problem - please excuse me while I go and get a Fastpass - you sit here and have coffee.

On the way, I heard the announcements that the Block Party Bash was about to start. A frantic phone call to get everyone out of the restaurant and to the parade route, and I completely forgot about my Fastpass.

I stopped to ask a Cast Member about the parade route, and she explained that it stops every so often throughout the route to do a little show, before moving on to the next location. Since I read on her badge that she was from China, I said "Xie xie" to her (pronounced sheeyah-sheeyah) - it's "thank you" in Mandarin. She seemed totally delighted that someone would know even that from Chinese, and was keenly trying to have a conversation with me. Which was lovely, and normally I'd have been delighted to converse with a pretty Chinese girl. Except that I needed to round up my family and get them to the right place for the parade now!

There were a lot of Chinese cast members this year. I hope that they are paid the same as cast members from anywhere else, and that this is truly internationalism and not something akin to outsourcing.

Okay, on to the parade. It was led by the soldiers from Toy Story and had lots of dancing, singing and a mobile trampoline on which a group of fit young men did acrobatics. Probably easier to let the pictures tell the story:
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08-07-2009, 08:44 AM
The soldiers wear a curious mesh uniform - not terribly clear in this photo, but noticeable when they are sillhouetted against the sky. I guess this is cooler than a thick fabric.
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Jenni was invited out to dance with one of the cast members
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As the parade moved away, we decided that we would follow their example. A couple of hours in the pool before the dinner show sounded like a good idea. However, we had promised Cameron that he could get an Indiana Jones gun, so we went out of the park via the little stall beside the Indiana Jones show. And it was here I made a terrible mistake.

Cameron chose the gun he wanted, and I let everyone else go ahead while I paid for it. And when the girl politely asked if I wanted the gun delivered to my hotel, I said "yes". Cameron had only been waiting for this since we last had been at WDW, three years before, and thought he was going to get it there and then. His crestfallen look when I told him that it would arrive in the hotel tomorrow made me feel really bad. Sorry, Cameron!

You could have cut the atmosphere in our hotel room with a knife for a little while - it was definitely a case of "Bad Daddy" - but eventually we went out to the pool. On the way I took a picture of this little fellow
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There were loads of these wee guys around the hotel, and the kids had a great time chasing them. They never caught one, of course. I can only assume that they were harmless, otherwise I am sure that Disney would have made sure there were none running around our hotel!

After a time spent splashing around the pool and showering afterwards, we left the hotel for the Polynesian resort and the Spirit Of Aloha show.

The journey was in two parts - the bus to the Magic Kingdom, and then the monorail to the Polynesian.

As we boarded the monorail, we found that the "front" - the driver's area - had two spaces, and so we sent the kids in. They had a great time there, learning all about the monorail from the driver. Marie, of course, spent most of her time panicking that they weren't in her sight, but they emerged happily when we got to the resort. In the light of things that happened the next day, I hope the kids remember that particular experience for a ling time to come.

We arrived at the Polynesian resort, which is beautiful, and walked through it to get to the Luau, where we were presented with our Lei
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We were also photographed as a group. Later in the show, the waiter tried to sell us the photographs for US$30. That seemed a little steep, given that we had just had photographs included in the price of the Akershus character breakfast, and we declined them.

We had a short wait before dinner was ready, so we took advantage of it to get a couple of photographs in the golden time just as the sun was settings
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and then we were shown in to our tables. We were lucky enough to get a front-row seat, and so were guaranteed a good view
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The starter was already on the table, and we had complimentary drinks through the evening. So even though the show cost us two DDP table service meal credits, it was pretty good value.

We had a Hawaiian style band to entertain us while we ate our starter
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and after we had eaten that, we met "Aunt Wilma" who was to be our master (mistress?) of ceremonies
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08-07-2009, 08:45 AM
She invited the children up to learn how to hula
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and then invited up anyone with a birthday that week. Poor granny didn't have a chance of avoiding going up with two children to clipe (Scottish word) on her
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Just before we ate our main course, the meagre story behind the show was explained - there was a girl returning to the island and there was to be a celebration for the event
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After the main course, something happened that I don't think is part of the normal run of the show. This was 3rd July, and so it was one of the nights that the special extended Indepdence Day Wishes is performed at Magic Kingdom. So we were all invited to leave our tables and go down to the beach to watch the show!

I got the family settled, then started to panic. I had brought tripod, Gorillapod, beanbag and remote control to WDW, and they were all sitting in the hotel room. All I had was my camera - where could I put it so that I could get good pictures? Frantically I walked the length of the beach and, just as I decided that there was a good location at the other end of the beach from where I was, the show started.

I have to say that I can't imagine anywhere having a better view than we did that night from the Polynesian. The show was astoundingly impressive, the music beautifully orchestrated, the fireworks hugely impressive and marvellously synchronised. The little barges I saw on the Day 02 (http://www.thedibb.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=323442) were being used to show the US flags, and the fireworks were breaking over Cinderella's Castle (which you can see in most of the pictures if you look closely). Absolutely marvellous!
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In this picture, I tried to expose to let you see something of the audience. Sitting or standing on the beach, relaxed and enjoying the view - a great sense of unspoken companionship.
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The finalé
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There was something slightly other-worldly about being a British tourist, using a Japanese camera to shoot a celebration that used Chinese-invented techniques to celebrate American independence!

Okay, back to the dinner where dessert had been served. The show resumed!
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08-07-2009, 08:46 AM
The final part of the show was a fire-dancer. Any risk of Cameron dozing off was immediately lost as he stood amazed by the danger that this fellow was facing
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And that was it! A great evening's entertainment, and it was now time to go home to our hotel and sleep.

Except that there was an Extra agic Hour going on at the Magic Kingdom, and the monorail took us right there, and... Marie, the kids and I decided it was too good an opportunity to miss
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We were in time to catch some of the Spectromagic parade
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08-07-2009, 08:48 AM
but the truth was that the kids really wanted to do some of the Fantasyland rides. We made our way up Main St USA and eventually got to Fantasyland, with the castle beautifully illuminated behind us
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and went on... the Tea Cups
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After that, we went on a few other rides. The kids had a go at the Sword In The Stone
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2604/3755479227_4787ea6334_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/atp/3755479227/)

and as the clock tolled midnight, we went on Small World
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Hey, we'd just seen these girls in real life!
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And then it really was time to leave
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Truly an excellent day, with a few unexpected pleasures!

08-07-2009, 09:23 AM
1,200 photos in one day. :eek: They are great though.

08-07-2009, 10:06 AM
excellent day :thumbsup2

08-07-2009, 12:10 PM
your firework photo's are the best i have seen esp. with the barges below - magical - what a fab day :thumbsup2

08-07-2009, 05:24 PM
What an awesome way to view the fireworks, no waiting and no crowds.
Love your photos of the fireworks.

08-08-2009, 04:48 PM
Fantastic photos!!! :worship:

Do you have any tips for photographing fireworks & spectromagic? I have a Canon EOS 20d (will have a tripod & remote control with us) but have never really attempted fireworks with it.

08-08-2009, 07:22 PM
What a great day - your pics are amazing! :thumbsup2

08-09-2009, 02:06 PM
yes great pics and great reports it makes me want to go back again this year.

08-09-2009, 02:46 PM
Another lovely day, we will be there for the 4th of July next year so looking forward to seeing some of the celebrations.

After reading Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keeper's Book 1, those dolls and the sun in It's A Small World take on a whole new light.:scared1:

08-09-2009, 03:25 PM
Wow! Where to start today? I need to go back over it and make a list!

1) Excellent shots of the Indi show. :thumbsup2

2) If rumour is to believed, expect much needed changes to that tired Star Tours footage.

3) Those spots just outside the Backlot Express are, without question, the best from which to watch the parade. (Btw, amongst those 1200 photos, do you have any of the Backlot Express to share? Such cool theming there).

4) Gorgeous sunset shots of Marie and Jenni. :thumbsup2

5) I've never seen photographs of the Luau. It's never really appealed, so maybe I've not looked that hard, but your photos have forced me to have a re-think

6) Incredible fireworks shots considering you had neither tripod nor remote. And how considerate of the Electrical Water Pageant to park its floats right there!

08-10-2009, 07:14 AM
Hi Alan,
well I was planning to just read the report straight through and comment at the end but I have to now stop with my jaw open and say "WOW!!" those fireworks shots absolutely blew me away! The Nemo show ones were incredible but you managed to capture a moment, a night so incredibly right there that i am truly stunned by them.
apart from your incredible photos I am so enjoying your reports and living your holiday with you. I must dash though..i have some more reports to read;)

08-10-2009, 06:28 PM
Doh I have just realised we were at WDW the same time as yourself. This was our Animal Kingdom day.

Think I will just bury my photos :worship:

DW loved the look of the Polynesian and despite the price tag your photos have sold this place even further :)

08-15-2009, 11:05 AM
A brilliant day with awesome photos:goodvibes

08-19-2009, 09:24 AM
Excellent day and some wonderful pictures