I Want to Bang on the Drums All Day

I Want to Bang on the Drums All Day

I hope no one finds these personal interludes too boring. While I don’t treat this blog as my personal journal, I do like to keep track of interesting things happening in my life. A trip to Disney with a best friend I haven’t seen in awhile is certainly a major event.

This was my first visit to MGM since it became ‘Hollywood Studios’. I’m told the transformation happened overnight – the employees left the park one day when it was MGM and came back the next day to Hollywood Studios. That’s quite the feat. But I digress. Hollywood Studios is one of my favorite parks, both because it interests me and because it houses some of my all-time favorite rides.

Rowena, the friend who took me to Disney, also made the trip to visit a friend of hers, by the name of Sandy, who worked at the park at the time. The day we spent at Hollywood Studios was the first time I got to spend a whole day with her. I was a little nervous. Honestly, sometimes hooking up with friends’ friends doesn’t go so well for me. I don’t think I’m particularly hard to get along with, but I can be a bit eccentric (in case you hadn’t noticed ;). I don’t tend to care so much what other people think of me, but I didn’t want to ruin Rowena’s visit with her friend. Luckily, Sandy and I hit it off. She’s an amazing person, I’m glad I got to spend so much time with her.

We grabbed fast passes for the new Toy Story ride at the start of our day. Apparently, if you don’t grab passes first thing in the morning, it’s nearly impossible to get on the ride (protip!) as the line hits a 2 hour wait pretty much instantly. Then we hopped in line for the Backlot tour. I imagine we were the first, maybe second, tour of the morning which meant we had great spots. I’d never been on the tour before and I found it interesting. I’ve done a lot of research in recent years into the movie making process. There’s a lot of time and effort between writing the script and airing the final cut on the big screen. I’m always intrigued and impressed by the creativity that goes into bringing ideas to life, and Disney has always overflowed with creativity.

After hitting the staple rides; Tower of Terror, the upgraded Star Tours and the Aerosmith roller-coaster, we decided to break for lunch. We ate at a 50’s style diner that turned out to be the highlight of the day. All the restaurant workers were in character. The restaurant itself was set up like a giant house (Mom’s house) and all the servers were aunts and uncles while the host was a cousin and so on. We only waited about 10 minutes to get seats (not bad considering how hard it can be to get into a restaurant in a Disney park) and they called us by announcing “Mom is looking for -” and our names. Some of the servers would call the name and then say “It’s time to eat kids!” Our waitress introduced herself as our favorite aunt. She was great. When Rowena didn’t finish all her food at the end of the meal, our ‘favorite aunt’ scooped up a huge portion with the fork and announced “I want you to eat just one more baby bite!” Unique experiences like that really make a visit memorable. Out of all the places we ate while on vacation, that diner is tied for my favorite. On top of that, the food was delicious!

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It’s interesting how visiting the same place with different people can change the experience. When my husband and I went to Hollywood Studios (then MGM) on our honeymoon, we spent most of our time on rides and in shows. Rowena and Sandy took me a few places I’d never been before. There’s an art gallery, for instance, which displays background cell art from many of the old movies. We arrived just in time to wait out an afternoon downpour. It turned out to be a lucky stroke since it meant we got into an animation class! We learned to draw Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey (my favorite Mickey!). I’m not the best artist in the world, but Rowena’s Mickey was fabulous.

It was hot the entire time we were in Florida, even with the regular afternoon showers the state is known for. We kept ducking into the well-cooled gift shops. Sandy knew how to navigate much of the park by passing through cooler places (which was fantastic). On one such cool-down we caught them closing the road and got front-row seats for a parade of Pixar animation characters (incidentally playing the song from which the title of this blog comes).

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We came full circle, rounding out the day with the new Toy Story ride (our fast passes weren’t until the afternoon despite getting them just after the park opened). I have to say, it was totally worth it. It’s an interactive ride where you fling different digital things at the screen. You shoot rings, darts, ect and it tracks your score. A wonderful day all around, the kind that still makes me smile months later.

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(I was the red player)

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