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Old 08-27-2011, 09:40 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by thecapells View Post
So we were stuck getting to turnstiles around 8:30 for a 9:00 opening.
And since we're not thrill riders, I figured there were really only 2 attractions that we really wanted to do.
Speak for yourself, bucko. THIS one is a thrill rider, but thankfully that was on tap for later, unencumbered by the rest of the family, much as I love you guys.

And, while I'm getting ahead of myself here, and can't do justice to Yoda in print - "There... is... another."
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J’s mission was to follow the crowd right and grab us all fastpasses for Toy Story Mania.
We arrived late enough compared to so many other people and chose the oh-so-wrong line (isn't it always, though?), that we were VERY far back in the pack when we finally got through the turnstiles.

But, once everyone got through the turnstiles, I took all 6 of our passes in hand and started to slowly creep my way through the crowd. When you just have one person wending his way through the crowd, frequently people will actually shift aside -- after all, they don't know if you merely got cut off from the rest of your party.

But, unfortunately, there was a point where I just couldn't go any further. People were packed in so tightly, it was unreasonable to expect anyone to move, and there just wasn't a path I could find to make it still closer to the rope. Progress was made, but I knew I needed to be further up if I was to have a prayer of succeeding, given what Mike had told me of how insane the line is for TSM.

The bit that was done before rope drop was kinda cute, definitely getting people into the feel of Hollywood. (I worked in movies long enough to be able to appreciate it more than the average moviegoer.)

And then THE moment came. They repeated several times that we were to WALK, not run. Once rope drop happened, there was enough space for me to walk like the New Yorker I am, fast (while not running) and weaving in and through people, getting pretty close to the front. While I wanted to take a look around, if I took any time for that before getting the tickets, I'd be s.o.l. and then never hear the end of it from the gang.

People were rather well-behaved on the brisk walk up. And we finally arrived to the FP lanes for TSM. I was reasonably close to the front (I thought), but I think there must have been several of those Brazilians with about 20 or 50 tickets each that they needed to get. So, by the time I was within a few people of the machines, they were already slowing things down, seeing that there were few tickets left. (The CMs were taking people's tickets and working the machines. And me having been trained on how to use the FP machines the prior day. ) I was one of the last few who got tickets, a very long line of expectant and disappointed people behind as the CMs started to close down the FP kiosks.

I was happy to be able to make my way back to H&V relatively quickly, passes in hand. Breakfast beckoned, and I, too, was hungry. I was definitely looking forward to what the day - and evening - had in store.
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Old 08-27-2011, 10:24 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by boxmaster View Post
I was one of the last few who got tickets, a very long line of expectant and disappointed people behind as the CMs started to close down the FP kiosks.
Close down?
I don't think I've heard this part of the story.
You snagged us pretty good fastpasses for about 10:00 AM or so.
What was closing down?
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:19 AM   #108
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We've never been to Hollywood and Vine. It looks like fun for the little ones. When Caitlin was little the DHS character meal was in the building that now holds the Playhouse Disney show. Ah memories...

Anyway, so glad that your son got signed up for the Jedi Academy! I can't wait to hear all about it!

Poor Jared having to brave the crazy TSM herd! That stampede is probably my least favorite thing in all of Disney
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Old 08-28-2011, 05:24 AM   #109
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Thank you for posting all those wonderful ELP pictures. I did not see it in May, but I definitely have it on the schedule for December. I am looking forward to seeing it in real life.

What a lovely character breakfast Hollywood & Vine is. The kids look like they are having a blast. How was the food? Did you enjoy it?

Looks like a great start to the morning!
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Old 08-28-2011, 07:21 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by thecapells View Post
Close down?
I don't think I've heard this part of the story.
You snagged us pretty good fastpasses for about 10:00 AM or so.
What was closing down?

I may be confusing that first time with a subsequent one for TSM FPs, but didn't think I was solo trying to get those for the 6 of us at this particular attraction any other time. But if they were morning tix that I got (I couldn't remember the time on them), it wouldn't make any sense for them to close down.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:54 AM   #111
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Originally Posted by dawnbu40 View Post
We've never been to Hollywood and Vine. It looks like fun for the little ones. When Caitlin was little the DHS character meal was in the building that now holds the Playhouse Disney show. Ah memories...

Anyway, so glad that your son got signed up for the Jedi Academy! I can't wait to hear all about it!

Poor Jared having to brave the crazy TSM herd! That stampede is probably my least favorite thing in all of Disney
Lots of Jedi coming up.
And as for J, it was fun trying to teach him the fastpass system the night before and giving him all the tricks to get there.
It was a good indoctrination by fire.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MEK View Post
Thank you for posting all those wonderful ELP pictures. I did not see it in May, but I definitely have it on the schedule for December. I am looking forward to seeing it in real life.

What a lovely character breakfast Hollywood & Vine is. The kids look like they are having a blast. How was the food? Did you enjoy it?

Looks like a great start to the morning!
We love the Main Street Electrical Parade (as I'm sure you can gather from my text).
As for Hollywood 'N' Vine, the food is actually pretty good.
For the kids, it's one of the only places they can get tater tots which is a nice change.
For the adults, there's your standard breakfast fare (bacon, eggs, sausage, potatoes, waffles) plus some stuff not often found in Disney.
For example, I had a breakfast burrito (they have tortillas, cheese, salsa, and other toppings so you can make one yourself)

But the main attraction (for us) is getting into the park an hour early and getting a jump on the crowds.
If you leave at 9AM, you can enter the park alongside the rope drop crowd.
If you're heading to Star Tours, it's great as you're closer.
If you're heading to Toy Story Mania, you'll have to cross the courtyard and merge with the sea of people but you're still close to the front.

Quote:
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I may be confusing that first time with a subsequent one for TSM FPs, but didn't think I was solo trying to get those for the 6 of us at this particular attraction any other time. But if they were morning tix that I got (I couldn't remember the time on them), it wouldn't make any sense for them to close down.
Yeah, I think you were thinking of later in the day.
That morning you should've just grabbed the passes and headed back to us.
The more interesting story is how fun it was trying to get back to Hollywood 'N' Vine against traffic.
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Old 08-28-2011, 06:02 PM   #112
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The more interesting story is how fun it was trying to get back to Hollywood 'N' Vine against traffic.
That's not so special, IMO. It's just a simple matter of dodging the onrushing horde and weaving around people standing still (or going so slowly in the same direction as I am that I consider them to be standing still). Every day I've ever been in NYC or DC I'm doing that, so no biggie.
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Old 08-28-2011, 11:34 PM   #113
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The TSM Stampede is CRAZY! Last time I did it, I was alone with my 4yo pushing her stroller . We got the FPs but by the time we did standby was already 30 mins. It is a great ride tho...
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:57 PM   #114
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so glad the kids got to see MSEP! Elliot is my favorite part too
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:45 PM   #115
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Mom would be heading straight to Hollywood ‘N’ Vine and getting X and the Princess settled.
Upon arrival, we all had our assignments and were ready to go.

Mom was pushing the double stroller and she can tell you about the horror stories she faced trying to make it to Hollywood ‘N’ Vine amidst the swarm of bodies.
Sounds like I had the easiest job- right??? HA!

With DD & X in the double-wide stroller, I did my best to weave my way up towards the turn off for Hollywood & Vine.
Of course, pushing 2 heavy, wiggly, bouncy, hungry, troublemakers in a stroller is difficult on an empty road.
With all the people/things at Studios, it was a nightmare!

DD kept complaining because all she could see was the "butts" of the people in front of us.
Once she heard the Streetmosphere performers, and realized she couldn’t see their show at all, she was even more whiney.

X kept trying to turn around and tell me he was hungry-- which of course, I already knew.
To emphasize his point, he kicked his sister, pulled her hair, and threw off his shoe. TWICE.
The second time I nearly got trampled trying to pick it up!

Ok- for those of you who know the layout of Studios, I managed to get up Hollywood Blvd. to the intersection of the first road on the left where I would need to turn to head to Hollywood & Vine.
There were a few rows of people in front of me but CM's had the road roped off so all we could do was wait.

The real fun started when a crazy lady right behind me started shouting that she had an 8:30 reservation for breakfast and everybody needed to move so she could get through.
I tried to explain to her that there were CM's holding us back. I also told her that Hollywood & Vine didn't open until 9 that day.
Her response was to shout twice as loud that we all need to move and let her huge family through!

I was determined to ignore her until she tried actually driving her elderly Mother's ECV into my backside.
The old lady said something like "Be careful! You'll hit her!" and the nasty witch loudly replied "Well, maybe that will make these s#*t-heads move."

Needless to say, I was furious, but not very anxious to get into a fist fight on vacation.
I could see that the people around me were also angry.

Well, somebody must have reported the lady because a big, burly CM squeezed through the crowd and politely asked her “Excuse me, what seems to be the problem?”

The nasty lady ranted at him for a few minutes- and the CM pretty much just nodded his head and let her vent until he could get a word in.
Then he asked her name, radioed over to Hollywood & Vine, and proceeded to tell her that her reservation was actually for 9:30 NOT 8:30.
I noticed he said this rather loudly so the rest of the crowd could hear.

When she called him a liar & cursed him out, the CM calmly said something like:
“Mam, I need you to calm down and stop cussing. There are children present.
You can come with me RIGHT NOW to discuss this situation in the Guest Services Office or I can escort you out of the park.
Which would you prefer?”

…and that’s when the ropes dropped and I was free to walk over to the restaurant.

Honestly, I was SO tempted to stay and just watch the drama for a few more minutes but I knew the fellas were counting on me to do my job!
Which I did- checked in at H&V, got a table near the door so I could see the guys come in, and ordered all the drinks before they arrived.

On a side note, I just have to mention that I love Disney.
That CM was obviously well trained in how to handle lunatics and he kept his cool through the whole crazy incident.
Also, I noticed on my way to H& V that there were a team of other big, burly looking CM’s just hanging back a bit and watching to see if they would need to step in.

The whole thing was such an unDisney start to my day but after just a few minutes of singing and dancing with my kids, I was back in my “happy place.”
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:47 PM   #116
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Yikes!

Bravo to you for keeping your cool--I don't know if I would've been able to do the same. (Who am I kidding?! If I would've listened to that ridiculousness, followed by getting rammed in the rear end with an ECV... nope, coolness gone!) It was a good thing you had a mission to distract you!

Bravo, also, to that fabulous CM. Disney hires some fabulous people.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:48 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by shan23877 View Post
The TSM Stampede is CRAZY! Last time I did it, I was alone with my 4yo pushing her stroller . We got the FPs but by the time we did standby was already 30 mins. It is a great ride tho...
This is why we sent the only one of us WITHOUT kids.

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so glad the kids got to see MSEP! Elliot is my favorite part too
We LOVED MSEP!!
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:37 PM   #118
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Hey! Howdy! Hey!

About 9:45 or so, we headed out from Hollywood ‘N’ Vine en route to Toy Story Midway Mania.
But since this is us, we have to take some shots along the way to set the tone of course.
Lights! Camera! Action!


On our way to Pixar Place, we passed some billboards for other studios here on the MGM – I mean Hollywood Studios – lot.
Here’s one for Maroon Studios where those famous Baby Herman and Roger Rabbit Maroon Cartoons are made!
And remember folks, she’s not bad – she’s just drawn that way…


We reached the crossroads of Mickey Lane and Minnie Avenue.
We were nearing our destination indeed.


We also past what must be the Walden Media Studios as we saw signs for The Chronicles of Narnia.
Prince Caspian is their latest feature in the 7-book series and we hoped we’d have time to swing by later.


Finally, we saw the entrance to the studios we were looking for.
This backlot sure was full of lots of sound stages.


First thing we passed was the Hey, Howdy, Hey! Shop.
So we had to take a quick pic of this giant Woody Cookie Jar.


Then it was on to the main attraction for the morning – Toy Story Midway Mania.
Once inside, we were shrunk down to the size of toys.
You can see the scale here with Andy’s signature.


Everybody ready for some fun?


This one caught my attention.
Anyone out there know who Scooter the Squirrel is?
I have no idea but its placement here suggests it’s a famous kids thing…


Life. Battleship.
Now, these I know…


And we’ve all played Candyland before.
Not to mention used all those Crayola crayons…


Then our Princess saw a block with her letter on it so we had to stop for a picture.
Sure enough, I found a block with DS’ letter as well…




Then we stumbled across the Viewmaster reels.
I used to love those!
This one is Peter Pan.
We even tried to give you a glimpse of one of the cells…




Around the corner is the packaging for that amazing Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear!
It looks like there’s an “Attack on Zurg” game – I’ll have to look for that one!


Oh, and pick up those puzzle pieces.
You might lose one…


Next along our path, we located the Sherriff’s office.
Not a very sturdy structure.


And we definitely did not want to end up in jail.
Especially wearing 3-D glasses!




When in this queue, look all around you.
Including up.
Someone just might be riding a chute down on top of you!


Right when the fastpass lane reaches the regular queue, Andy left his mark.
A preview of what we might be facing during our game play.


But alas, the line from this point was fairly long.
We still had to go up the stairs, down the hall, down the stairs, and ride the ride.
And it was already 10:20.
DS and I had to be at the Jedi Academy at 10:30.
So I made a calculated decision and bailed.
I begged the CM to get 2 fastpasses back so we can use them later.
It was a bit of a struggle and this was highly unprecedented.
But I’m a solid debater and made my case.
We left the gang there and headed back through the line going the wrong direction.
Back out in the sunlight, we hightailed it across the park to get to the Jedi Academy in time for our show.
In fact, DS was first on line and I was able to secure a great spot to watch and take pictures.
But that’s jumping ahead – let’s hear what happened back in line.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:04 PM   #119
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We love TSM! Your pictures from the queue are great! I especially like the viewmaster pics. I had a talking viewmaster back in the day

I can't wait to hear about the Jedi Academy and see all the pictures
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:17 PM   #120
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Toy Story Mania, here we come... eventually

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But alas, the line from this point was fairly long.
We still had to go up the stairs, down the hall, down the stairs, and ride the ride.
And it was already 10:20.
DS and I had to be at the Jedi Academy at 10:30.
So I made a calculated decision and bailed.
I begged the CM to get 2 fastpasses back so we can use them later.
It was a bit of a struggle and this was highly unprecedented.
But I’m a solid debater and made my case.
We left the gang there and headed back through the line going the wrong direction.
Back out in the sunlight, we hightailed it across the park to get to the Jedi Academy in time for our show.
In fact, DS was first on line and I was able to secure a great spot to watch and take pictures.
But that’s jumping ahead – let’s hear what happened back in line.
Mike's not kidding when he says the line was long. Even for FP, this was kinda nuts. But I didn't mind so much -- this was my first time in this attraction, as it didn't exist the last time I was down in this neck of the woods, over 15 years ago.

So, the four of us remaining plodded along slowly but surely. Up the stairs, one slow step at a time. (How many stairs are there? Surely I shouldn't lose count, but it was slow enough, I did. )

We finally make it to the top of the staircase and I can finally see my first glimpse of what we have in store for this ride!





We still had a little way to go, though, as we needed to wind our way up and back a relatively small hallway before coming to the stop of the stairs to descend into the attraction's area.





Then I finally see one of my favorite TS characters: the LGMs!



We finally get through the inefficiently loaded ride (there's GOT to be a better way for them to load this thing!), and we have our pairings: I'm with DD, and X is with Stacey.





I was way too busy playing the game and enjoying the ride, that there was no chance of my taking pictures in here. After being whipped around the first 1 or 2 times, I figured out the pacing, but that didn't matter. It always started up a little too fast for me to take a picture.

So, we enjoy the game and, all too fast, it came to a close.



I *think* this was X and Stacey's read-out:



And this was DD's and my scores:



But, not only were the results not favorable, even worse, the ride was over.



X is NOT a happy camper when the rides end. He just wants to stay on. (Can you blame him? And this is one cool ride! Can I swing back on it again? Can I, can I, huh? )







And, the ubiquitous glimpsing of the ball that's in all Pixar movies, is present here, too:



And with one last picture to snap on the way out:



We had to get going pretty quickly, for we had to watch a certain padawan at the Academy.
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