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Daffy Does Disney – Highlights from Hollywood Studios!

With four of us already convened at the cabin, we decided to go ahead and take a bus over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and let the local member of the group meet us there. As you’ll see in the video, the big Mickey hat was no longer blocking the Chinese theater and we structured our day around a late afternoon reservation at 50’s Prime time Cafe (a mild disappointment despite the excellent PB&J shake) and the new Star Wars themed nighttime spectacular which was a big highlight of the weekend. I got in what could be my last rides on both the Great Movie Ride and the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, we saw the low-overhead but funny Frozensing-along, played with the toys from Toy Story and rocked out with Aerosmith. We were lucky to be there on a day when the film about Walt Disney was playing at ‘One Man’s Dream’ instead of previews for new movies and I grabbed one of my favorite snacks, the vaunted carrot cake cookie, at a different spot.

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Posted on October 7, 2016, in Daffy Does Disney, Hollywood Studios, theme parks, travel, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you missed the weather Florida is having this weekend. Hope everyone down there for Hurricane Matthew stays safe.

    I’m very critical of the current state of Hollywood Studios. To me, with so many closures in a park that has traditionally been light on attractions to begin with, this park isn’t worth the price of admission unless you’re burning a day on a multi-day pass of 5 days or more. However, your video reminded me how beautiful the park is. Especially if, like me, you have a lot of nostalgia for the Hollywood that never was. Those will always be the most aesthetically pleasing parts of the park and I hope they remain in the new incarnation. Thje removal of the BAH (big-ass hat) did wonders for the view.

    You mentioned in the description that 50’s was mildly disappointing, but didn’t elaborate on the video. What was the deal? PTC has been a regular stop for us on every trip, but I found the last visit mildly disappointing as well. I have never had a bad meal there, but the speed with which our food was brought out indicated that it had to be sitting under a heat lamp when we ordered it. I think that’s pretty much the norm there these days.

    I haven’t seen the Frozen singalong. It looks cheap, but cute for the target audience. My girls are out of the stage where that would be considered a must-do, but I’m sure the room was filled with lots of appreciative girls in Elsa costumes. I’m all for a Frozen show, but they could have put in something that didn’t look so temporary.

    I was impressed with the footage you were able to get in the GMR. Your camera (I assume you’re using an iProduct) has a pretty good low light setting. I’m gonna miss that ride when it’s gone. I hope the replacement is worthy. Although I did hear one of the GMR’s greatest weaknesses – a bored narrator.

    I’m still not of the mind to want to go back, but your videos do remind me what I like about the place. Looking forward to what’s next.

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    • I think the elements you are referring to are what led me to label 50sPTC as a mild disappointment. The service was slow and the food, while decent, wasn’t great outside of the PB&J shake. A really engaged and fun server who commits to the theme can help mitigate those problems, but I got the feeling our waitress was too busy for anything but the most cursory reference to the “cousin” schtick. She openly mentioned that it was really busy, which I guess it was, even though we were eating at an off-peak time and the crowds in the park seemed just a little busier than average. That’s what happens when a park has extra magic hours that keep it open later.

      I’m actually surprised at how well some of the dark stuff came out. While I was shooting I kept feeling like I wasn’t getting much. At times I just kept shooting anyway, but as the weekend went on I did that less and less. I’m using my iPhone’s camera, which did yeoman’s work overall. If I decide I really like doing this I might invest in something else that I can both keep running longer and will give me better overall shots in a variety of light. My own shaky camera work and being slow on the draw after shutting down for a while led to some odd shots and to missing some stuff. Hopefully the final product only shows a little evidence of this.

      Funnily enough, we all agreed that the GMR spielers we had were both pretty good, but it sure doesn’t come across in her line readings in this video.

      The Frozen sing-along had really engaging host characters that kept the crowd laughing, and the apex of the show which I showed that had fake snow coming down on the audience while “Let it Go” played was a moment you just had to give yourself over to, I was a little disappointed that the songs weren’t actually being sung live by the performers, but were just shown to us straight from the movie on a big screen. Maybe it was naive of me to expect an actual musical show.

      The parts of the park we saw still had the qualities that make DHS an appealing park and I agree with you in hoping that they stay mostly intact. Honestly, if I had had a couple more days on the trip I may have gone back and done a few more things. We spent a lot of time looking at fireworks and parades this time around, which was fun, but I could have easily stayed busy with 2 more days.

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      • One of the things about the 50’s shtick is that your server’s commitment to the act makes the experience wildly different. Each time we have visited, we enjoyed the interactions with the server. We never had one go too far or drop it entirely. But on our last visit, the Magic Bands were relatively new and had only recently been integrated into the dining plan. Several servers at several restaurants struggled with it, but the server at 50’s was defeated by it. He spent several minutes trying to figure it out and ultimately ended up charging us for someone else’s meal. Since they had one more kid than we did, I ended up having to get dining plan credits refunded at the hotel front desk. It wasn’t a major inconvenience, but it was an inconvenience all the same.

        I think you have a future as a YouTube producer. I have been impressed with the overall quality of your videos. Obviously, there’s technical limitations, but I feel like you are diminishing their impact with editing. I also think you’re hitting the right length at 5-7 minutes.

        We saw a different version of the Star Wars fireworks at the SW Weekends. This was pre-TFA which to my mind made for a preferable show. I like my Star Wars to draw from the original trilogy exclusively. But I’m sure the intrusion of a weaker SW sequel didn’t detract too much from the overall experience. I will disagree with your friend’s assessment that Star Wars Weekends were all that great. It was like holding a convention in a theme park. In order to really get the most out of it, you have to be the kind of person who enjoys conventions. If standing in long lines to buy exclusive merchandise isn’t your thing, it’s mostly just an extra busy day at the Studios. I’m glad I experienced it once, but I wouldn’t have done it a second time even if they had continued.

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        • You probably couldn’t tell, but Elizabeth was sort of parodying the very positive line she sometimes has to tow as a Disney-specializing travel agent. With Star Wars Weekends a thing of the past, she really doesn’t have to pretend they were great, but she made a point of playing that part for the camera a couple of times with stuff. It was intended as humor most of the time. While she tends to be more pixie-duster than I am, she will tell you if something isn’t as good as it could be.

          I was happy with the length the first video turned out at and the interviews were purposefully bite-sized, so I was interested to see how much I would feel compelled to include once we hit a park. Friday was a shorter park day, but I did find that I was able to trim seconds here and there as I went and it helped the flow of the video. Laying down the music helped cue me for this. I was initially going to include a little of the music from the Frozen show (the lines leading up to Let it Go’s refrain then interrupted by another scene of us walking), but I was nervous about how picky YouTube has gotten about this stuff and I don’t want a mark on my record this early in trying my hand at vlogging. It’s hard to figure out what they’re looking for. Obviously there are LOTS of videos on YouTube that break copyright law and hang out there for a long time, while other videos apparently never manage to get posted at all due to the new more efficient software they use to find copywritten material. I’m being very conservative with music right now.

          Our next day was a very long one at both Epcot and the MK, so I’ll have to break them up as much by topic as by location and it will probably come out as three or four separate videos. I’m sitting here at work really looking forward to putting them together when I get home.

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        • I have always enjoyed the process of editing. It can be tedious, but small changes can make a huge difference. I used to do video editing on these giant tapes. Much bigger than the tapes you would use on a VHS or Beta player. I had access to very sophisticated editing equipment for the time and it was such a great creative outlet for me. Most of the video we produced was utter crap because we were just a bunch of high school kids goofing around. And no one wanted to do any kind of preparation. But in the editing suite, I could usually salvage something watchable out of the footage. I keep meaning to get more involved in the YouTube thing, but time is a constant constraint. As someone pointed out, I really need to get to work updating/overhauling that Kim Basinger WTHH article. Someone should really subsidize my blogging so I can focus on that instead of working a full time job. 😉

          I have been told more than once that I should be a Disney travel agent. I even looked into it a bit. I was surprised to find that with a trip to Disneyland, I would meet the qualifications required by most Disney travel agencies. All you really have to do is spend a lot of time and money at Disney. Were it not for the need for financial stability as a dad of two, I’d probably consider it more strongly. But it never crossed my mind that I’d have to put on a pixie dust act. That would be a challenge. I try never to dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for an upcoming trip, but I’d have a hard time selling someone on something like Star Wars Weekends. Not that they were bad, but my preference would be to give an objective description and let the customer decide if the extent to which that appeals to them. I’d hate to be in a position where I was expected to play a part!

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        • I’m not sure how much sales experience you have, but going overly positive is one thing that happens. Sometimes it’s the decision of the individual salesperson and sometimes it’s in reaction to what’s coming down from the top. It’s part of why I never enjoyed the sales positions I held. I really respect people who do it well and are happy in it. Of course if you genuinely love something it becomes a lot easier to sell it enthusiastically.

          I’ve had similar thoughts about traveling and blogging full time. If only somebody would pay me enough to live on to do that. My movie puzzle and cheesetastic series are in hiatus right now, but once I’ve got this vlogging thing exhausted I’ll get back to them.

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        • I have avoided sales positions like the plague. It’s just not who I am. I’m kind of like Judge Reinhold’s character in Ruthless People in that respect.

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  2. I just realized that the words on the video image at the top are frozen at the point where they say “Highlights From Hollywood Stu.” Thankfully the “d” hadn’t come up yet, but I am a little curious about who this Hollywood Stu character is.

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