Disney on a Budget, Part 7: Day 2 at Hollywood Studios

Two weeks ago I wrote about our family’s first day at Hollywood Studios. And the return bus ride. This week I will cover the second day spent at Hollywood Studios.

As you probably read in one of the earlier posts about our trip to Florida, we traveled in two groups. Jocelyn and I flew to Florida while everyone else rode the dance school bus. As a result, we stayed an additional day at the end of the trip. This gave Jocelyn and I an extra day of excitement in the parks. We spent our day at Hollywood Studios seeing the things she wanted to that our older daughters did not. Below is a list of the highlights of our father daughter day at Disney.

The single most exciting event of the day was the Frozen Sing-a-Long. This was the one Disney experience we Fast Passed a few days before. Then we would be guaranteed to get in. The rest of the day was scheduled around this event. Our day started a little later than the others because we wanted to see the rest of the family climb on the bus for their long drive home. After the sendoff, it was time for the fun to begin.

We got to the park and headed straight for the Disney Junior area. The little one wanted to see the performance and I saw on the app that there were several characters signing autographs outside the theater. By looking at the lines I figured we had plenty of time to catch two or three characters before the show. We could wait for the others afterwards. All in all, we got autographs and pictures with Sophia the First, Jake (without the Neverland Pirates), Doc McStuffins, and Pluto. Sophia was the first line we stood in. I was a little worried Jocelyn might lose her mind during the 10 minute wait. She was extremely excited.

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The show was everything she had hoped for and more. She danced and sang along with many of the characters she just met, and with Mickey and friends. There were even paper “gold doubloons” raining from the sky after the kids all helped Jake and the Neverland Pirates find their treasure chest. The show had been updated significantly since I last sat through one. The updates were greatly appreciated as the last time we saw one of these shows it was getting tired. The one update still lacking is the fact that you still have to sit on the floor for the show. These old bones don’t really like that anymore.

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After we finished up with the show and characters, we went across the park to meet Olaf since the line appeared short (on the Disney app). As it turns out, the line was indeed short, so we only waited a few minutes to see the jolly snowman relaxing on a beach. After several hand/stick shakes, an autograph, and a few pictures it was off to our next destination. Lunch. By this time I was pretty sure Jocelyn would surely burst with excitement by the end of the day.

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After lunch it was time to line up for the Frozen Sing-a-Long. Due to the anticipation level I was pretty sure the small one should use the restroom before we passed the point of no return. That was a good thing, but I think the excitement got to her anyway. After we got through the gate we waited in the waiting area for about 25 minutes for the show to start. She made it about 20 minutes through before she reported that another restroom stop was in order. I reminded her that if we left now we would miss the show and probably would not get to see it later since all the Fast Passes were gone for the day. She decided she could wait until the show was done.

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Finally the doors opened. The big moment had arrived. The sing-a-long was finally happening. We walked to our seats and waited for the excitement. I expected a fabulous show given the popularity of the attraction. It turns out it was a huge karaoke party in front of a movie screen. ARGH! I waited all day for karaoke? Hollywood Studios has a way of putting me in these situations (bus ride from day one). I don’t like to sing, but am forced to anyway. There were a couple of clever emcees that kept it lively. There were also visits from many of the main characters from Frozen. Mostly though, it was hundreds of small girls shouting song lyrics in a theater. Jocelyn loved it. Especially when the bubbles rained down at the end. She also made it all the way through without a bathroom emergency.

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Afterwards, while Jocelyn was visiting the little girls’ room, I opened the Disney app and Fast Passed the Toy Story Mania ride. Then it was off to enjoy more awesomeness. We went and watched Muppets 3D. Jocelyn was not familiar with 3D movies and tried to grab everything that came out of the screen. The show was as fun as ever. Watching her watch it was even better. On the way back across the park we stopped to watch some Jedi training in action. We found a nice spot in the shade and sat and relaxed a little. Then it was off to find another restroom. What we didn’t know at the time is that we ended up finding a hidden gem of a location to watch Darth Vader walk out with the storm troopers. Other people crowded and huddled in the courtyard outside the Star Wars autograph building. We found a quiet path just to the left of the building (near the bathrooms) and sat and watched. There was nobody else around us so we got to see the entire walk. We aren’t big Star Wars fans, but for those of you who are, the corridor by the bathrooms is the place to watch from.

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After Darth had passed we ate a quick snack before heading over to Pixar Street. We wanted to get there in time to meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody before our Fast Pass time for the Toy Story ride. The line for these characters was the longest line we stood in all day. Thankfully it was inside and out of the sun. After waiting our turn we got the pictures and autographs we were looking for. Then we walked across the street at almost the exact time our Fast Pass started. We waited in line for a few minutes behind an interesting group of people. At least it gave Jocelyn something to stare at in line.

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The ride was similar in many ways to the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom. The setting was different. But the point was the same. The Toy Story ride is set in what appears to be a carnival/county fair midway. As you pass through each stage you try to shoot the various targets with an arcade style pop gun. It is simple to operate and fun to play. Even the six year old figured out how the ride worked pretty quickly. She was able to master the necessary skills to rack up some points by the time ride was over.

When we walked outside the ride we discovered it was still very hot. So we stopped for some frozen lemonade on our way to the last destination for the day. The Voyage of the Little Mermaid stage show. By the time we got to the stage we were both getting tired of being on our feet. We waited, not so patiently, in line for 15 minutes and then found a good seat right near the front for the show. The singing was well done. The laser special effects were neat. But the show was mostly average. Perhaps it was because it was the end of the day. Maybe it was because we have seen the Little Mermaid somewhere close to 1 million times before. I don’t know what it was exactly, but the show just didn’t sparkle like so many of the Disney productions. At least the actors were good and it was air conditioned.

When we finally got back on the bus for the short ride back to the hotel we were exhausted. It was a wonderful day spent with my youngest daughter. Sending a full day alone with her is not something that happens very often. It was extremely special. We even came home with inside jokes that the rest of the family failed to understand. Jocelyn had a blast and so did I. Time spent with your kids is something that can never be replaced. No matter how hard you try.

Do you have any fond memories of special time spent with your kids or parents? We would love to hear about them!