Monday, September 28, 2009

The Green Organic Family Visits Walt Disney World - Part 4 - Disney's Hollywood Studios

We had such an amazing time the previous day at the Magic Kingdom.  Really, we could have spent another whole day there.  We didn't even make it over to the other side of the park.  With so much to see and so much walking around, we were certainly open to a slower pace the next day. We were headed off to Disney's Hollywood Studios, with plenty of opportunity for sit-down shows in the air conditioning.

Now, overall, I do have to say that this park is probably more geared toward older children.  There just didn't seem to be all that much that would appeal to the elementary-school (and younger) crowd, unless they watch a lot of Playhouse Disney (which we don't).

We did, however, enjoy another fun-filled (and also very noisy) character buffet lunch; this time at Hollywood & Vine.  The wait and crowd weren't anywhere near as crazy as those for the Crystal Palace Pooh and Friends buffet in the Magic Kingdom, but we were still in for a good time.  The characters at this restaurant were those from The Little Einsteins, and JoJo's Circus; not as popular as Pooh and Friends, but still lots of fun to have lunch with.  The food was sort-of the same as the Crystal Palace, with equally dried-out overcooked roast chicken.  The servers seemed much more frantic and overworked at this restaurant though, and did not give us the same amount of attention as those at the Crystal Palace.  For one thing, I immediately asked for a booster seat for the princess when we sat down.  Our drinks came and still no booster.  I then tried to watch for our server again, to remind her one more time.  She never did come back until our meal was almost over.  Our Crystal Palace server was always around when we needed her.  Our H&V server didn't explain the "walking path" of the characters to us either, so we had to figure that one out on our own.  We did get our pictures taken with each of the four characters, and enjoyed a few song-and-dance numbers, including Green Organic Girl's favorite song; the "Bear Cha-Cha-Cha" from "Bear in the Big Blue House".  All in all, I would definitely recommend The Crystal Palace, over Hollywood & Vine.  No doubt about it.

After lunch we made our way over to Jim Henson's Muppetvision 3-D.  Our guidebook stated that this attraction had a "Fear Factor" of "None".  WRONG!  Hubby and I are Muppet Show fans from years ago, but the poor little one wasn't familiar with the big brown yellow-eyed monster.  Umm... let's just say he makes a couple "unexpected" appearances, and I had a distraught child to calm down after this show was over.  Be forewarned.

After that fiasco, I was afraid to sit the little one down to another show.  The next one we had planned was The Voyage of The Little Mermaid.  I wasn't sure how scary this stage-version of Ursula would be.  But actually, this turned out to be one of our favorite sit-down shows, and now that Green Organic Girl has seen this shortened version, I can maybe try to sit her through the full-length DVD again.

We spent the rest of the day wandering the park; taking pictures with more Playhouse Disney characters (which are much more accessible than any of the other Character "Meet & Greets").   We also had a brief stop at the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" playground.  Mostly, we were just waiting for the next showing of Playhouse Disney - Live on Stage.  When we finally got in, it was definitely worth the wait.  Our daughter loved the puppet versions of the Little Einsteins, Pooh Bear, Handy Manny, and Mickey and Friends.  It's a very entertaining show; for both grown-ups and the little ones.  A word of warning though: you have to sit on the thinly carpeted floor. 

Now hubby won't forgive me if I don't mention just how awesome he thought the Aerosmith Rockin' Rollercoaster was, which he rode by himself, while the girls went shopping.  It was awesome.  There, I said it.  LOL!  He's pining for a T-shirt themed with that ride, which he never did buy.  Next time, dear... next time.

By late afternoon, we were all pretty tired, and decided to call it a day.  We headed back to the Old Key West resort, changed into our swimsuits, and headed over to the main pools at Hospitality House.  We had a fun time there; although I did clunk the back of my head going down the very twisty NOT-KID-FRIENDLY light house water slide.  Ouch.  My head hurt for three days after that.  Stick to the kiddie pool or the main pool with the little ones.  There are plenty of floating "noodles" to play with.  We also enjoyed a dip in the  very large hot tub (which is a nice comfortable level of warm). 

By then, we were getting a bit hungry.  We had planned to eat right there at one of the resort restaurants, just steps from the pool.  There was a sit-down restaurant (Olivia's) and another burger shack.  Ugh... more burgers...  no thanks.  As I peered around, I noticed the dock to the shuttle boats right by us.  There was one boat to Downtown Disney every 20 minutes.  So that was our new plan -- take the shuttle boat to Downtown Disney and have dinner there.  We headed to the nearby change rooms and showered (thank you to the guest who left her complimentary bottles of H2O shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in our shower stall).  [BTW, all the resort guest rooms are stocked with H2O products! Complete with soaps stamped with mouse ears!].  Then we packed up our things and boarded the next boat.

Downtown Disney is so pretty at night; all lit up.  Even the giant helium balloon gets lit up at night, and passengers can enjoy a view of all the lights from 400 feet up in the air.  We had dinner at the express window at Bongo's Cuban restaurant, enjoying epanadas and Cuban steak sandwiches.  Then we made our way back to the boat docks, and enjoyed a scenic ride back to Old Key West, back to our room, and off to bed.

We were off to another exciting adventure and full day the next morning at Epcot!!

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