DHS Here We Come!

We all struggled into wakefulness on our first park day at 7am. I had gotten about 8hrs of sleep, Bean maybe a half hour more, and Roxy and PumpkinGirl were somewhere in the 9 1/2hr neighborhood. So not too bad as far as hours go but still a struggle given the long day we had the day before, and that our west coast brains were trying to tell us it was 4am instead of 7am, and two of us being sick.

Speaking of sickies …or ironically not speaking of. Let me rephrase. PumpkinGirl woke up with no voice at all. The cold had brought on a case of laryngitis. This was to continue for the rest of the trip. We thought about how to deal with it and the cold meds were keeping her symptoms at bay and she could walk and such, just no voice.

So we ended up taking her luggage tag and flipping over the paper inside. On the paper we wrote “Sorry, I have lost my voice” with a smiley face. She wore it on her wrist and showed it to anyone we were interacting with and we did a sort of loose sign language for most communications. It made for some colorful experiences, especially with characters!

We had all taken showers the night before and had set out clothes and such so it was just a matter of getting dressed and getting everyone out the door. We were out of the room by 7:30am and after a quick stop thru the gift shop to check the Cast Member’s lanyards for pins; we were at the stop for Disney’s Hollywood Studios with a bus just pulling up.

Here we are in our early morning glory

It was a beautiful sunny morning and after a short drive we were at the entrance to DHS and saw their wonderful tree

We got in the Advanced Dining Reservation line for Hollywood and Vine and were let in just before 8am. We had 8:05am reservations so our names were called very quickly and were seated at a table right next to the beginning of the right-hand buffet line. We were there for the food and the early entry, not so much the characters. They made their rounds and we waved to them and they waved back and moved on.

I did get a couple of pics of Jake the Pirate while he was doing a song and dance with a couple of the CMs

The food was great, especially the cheezy spuds and the ham. The service was very good despite how hectic it was in there. We all ate our fill and were out the door by about 8:45am. We joined the flood of people that had just been lead in and made our way to TSM. I picked up FastPasses for it and we got in the stand-by line. It was at a 10 minute wait when we walked thru the entrance.

Bean took over photography duty for the ride queue:

As you can see some of the queue areas werent even being used yet

Who here wanted to knock over those dominos?

I loved that you could see scenes from Peter Pan thru the ViewMaster disk. I had one of those when I was a kid!

Yay, Tomorrowland!


Watch out, its a shark!

Andy was quite the artist

Hi Roxy!

I love the board game theming on the ceiling

The monkeys broke out of their barrel!

I think I’ve seen that hombre somewhere

I love the Pixar lamp reference

Bean found a hidden Mickey!

I see hand cactus

Faithful Bullseye

We were on the wheelchair side so we bypassed the upstairs queue and came out to a great view of Andy’s bed

At the foot of the bed is the Meeting Agenda from Toy Story 1 – I thought that was very cool

Here is the scene as we waited our turn to board. There are only certain cars that have built in accommodation so we had some time to soak up the scene.

I rode with Bean, which was generally the rule. Roxy and PumpkinGirl stayed together with their sickie-ickies and Bean and I rode in the ‘well but slightly crazy’ car. Bean was winning the whole way through but I managed to barely beat her out in the bonus round. She was not amused 😀

We made our way out of TSM and had meant to stop here next to see what Jack Sparrow was up to.

Unfortunately it didn’t open until 11am so at Bean’s suggestion we headed around the corner to the Great Movie Ride. Now I know there are two camps on this one, but my family really enjoys it. It is corny and some say outdated, but we love taking that slow ride down memory lane.

We made their way through the entrance queue of costumes. Again I let Bean do the camera work. She did good capturing them with the flash without glare by angling the shot – that’s my girl!

We came in to the big screen and caught most of it. Then we moved on to the ride itself. I had Bean put it on the action setting so the flash wouldn’t go off and told her just to shoot as much as she wanted.

Here we go!

Mary and Bert making mischief on the rooftops

We were on the ‘gangster’ track and were soon taken hostage by a gangster mol

We mosied on to the western area and found Clint and John

I was very impressed by her shot of Clint. I was never able to capture him given the low light on the porch where they have him standing.

We came into the western town and went thru the shootout

Does anyone know why they stopped having the bank catch on fire? I waited for it but it never lit up.

Next was a trip to space on the Nostromo. Bean got a shot of the Alien!

Then our adventure took us to lost treasures and Indiana Jones

Why did it have to be snakes?

We made it to the giant jewel and the mol couldn’t resist

Eeek, scary mummies!

Beyond them we find Cheetah and Jane

And then on to Munchkin Land and that Wicked Witch!

Next up – hark, the Emerald City!

We disembarked and made our way past the ABC Commissary and on to Star Tours

I’m sure there’s an Ewok peeking out from up there somewhere

R2 and C3PO set us on our way

It was cool to see it redone and I’m glad I rode it, but motion sims make we queasy if I ride them too many times. So I’m glad the ladies were happy with just one ride. Oh, the ride was basically walk-on.

The ladies wanted to go to Muppets 3-D but it was almost time for our Toy Story Mania FPs. Bean took the obligatory fountain shot along with what looks to be an ice cream sundae before we moved on

Who wants ice cream?

Since Bean got such great shots of the queue we only took one more – I wanted a pic of the balsawood airplane

Another fun ride and this time Bean came back with a vengeance – beating everyone else in the car with a score of around 175,000.

We headed out and checked times for events and saw that the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular was about to start. I stopped off to take a pic of the DHS sign in the hub

before catching up to the fam as they entered

Now I must warn you, this is one of them that I really wanted to capture the action of. Last time I was part of the extras so I missed much of the show. So I took a LOT of pictures of it. We were at the top of the stadium so I switched to my faster lens with a better zoom.

We settled in and soon enough Indy was crashing in thru the roof

Next up is his sequence dancing thru the spears – I decided to just collage those out

Up he goes…

…and DOWN he goes!

And back up again!

On past the choppers

He’s got the idol!

The ground rumbles!

…and the doors open!

Here comes the boulder – run Indy!!!!!!

When we last left Indy he had angered the gods and triggered their giant rolling ball of death – run Indy!

Uh-oh, its gonna get him!

It got him!

And end scene

We move on to the market scene …aaaannnddd, ACTION!

Queue the acrobats

It was odd having a blonde Marian. She was good in the role though.

The bad guy pays off one of them to make trouble

And trouble ensues!

I zoomed in to catch Indy in action

He runs over to help Marian

The heroes attempt to make their escape up into the scaffolding and the ladder chase ensues!

We return now to our intrepid adventurers as they try to escape the evil clutches of some Egyptian baddies by taking to the rooftops!

Marian is up the ladder with Indy close behind. Unfortunately there is a baddie nipping at his heels

Marian looks for another way out but they are trapped!

Indy pushes the baddie away!

But the henchman’s accomplice pushes him back

…only to swing out again!

Marian looks for the best fighting tool this side of Tangled

…but finds it a little too effective as Indy goes down from the backswing!

The baddies are closing in so there’s no choice but to jump!

Amazing how well his hat stays on!

They land safely and look for a good escape route

Unfortunately the swordsman in black has other ideas

Indy tries the whip

Uh oh, where’s Marian???

Time for the gun!

Indy takes out another baddie looking for Marian

Here comes the truck!

When we left off the truck had just rolled into view, supposedly with Marian on board. Unfortunately due to our seating we have a bit of an obstructed view thanks to a support column

Here comes the big ‘kaboom!’

Funny how it seems to burn out as it finishes the flip…

…only to burst back into flames

They put out the raging inferno and bring out the extras. An extra is chosen “at random” to show some hand to hand techniques. The volunteer jumps right into some Karate Kid moves while facing the big German

The director decided that maybe Marian’s character is more his size. He immediately move in close for a photo op, supposedly taken by his mom.

They then set him up for some fake punches

Oops, a bit too close

They get him back on his feet for the stomach punch …ouch!

And before he can recover, in comes the kick!

There goes his hat

I think he needs a little rest

The director is worried about him and asks Marian to help him up

…it doesn’t work

He is of course the planted stunt man, who does some acrobatics and takes a bow

When we went in 2011 and Roxy helped me get picked as an extra I was chosen in the same group with the stuntman and knew who he was from having seen the show in 2008. It was cool to see him ham it up and get beat up right in front of me.

The extras filed out and the director set things up for the big finale – queue the actors and the plane!

I love the bit with the little pilot ordering the big mechanic around

Here comes our intrepid heroes!

Uh oh, spotted already!

Indy takes a swing

…and another

But then it’s the big guy’s turn

Watch out for those blades!

Indy tries to help Marian

…but the big guy has other ideas

That looks like it’s going to hurt

Yup, that’s gotta hurt

But now things are starting to heat up …I just can’t figure out why Indy and the mechanic are suddenly dancing to “Y-M-C-A!”

Indy goes back to try and help Marian

…but is caught by the big guy again

That’s a big foot to be kicked in the gut with!

The bad guy has him in his clutches!

Oh no, soldiers are training their weapons on him!

Nice shooting Marian :-]

Unfortunately Indy is still taking a pounding

But then Marian circles back around and takes him out too

Now Indy is free to scramble up on the plane and set her free

The lock is stuck and the flames are approaching the gas truck

Time to shoot that lock!

Hurray, she’s free!

Lets get out of here!

Wait, wheres the flames?

Oh, there we go!!!!

It was a great show, one I’m happy to see again and again. We got stuck in the exit crowd when Roxy accidentally turned her scooter into the flow of traffic. It took some maneuvering and me playing blocker to get her turned around and got us on our way out.

We left the Indy stunt show and let the crowd thin out to get pictures of the gear at the exit.

Ye ole truck

And the tank

And with it we get one of my first “my how they’ve grown” shots. When Bean and I had our “daddy/daughter” day in 2008 I snapped a picture of her in front of that big rusty beast. She was all of 8 years old

But now I have a teen on my hands, here’s 13yr old Bean at the same spot. Notice not only how much she’s changed, but how much the tank setting itself has in the past 5 years

We headed down the ramp and I snapped a quick picture of the directors chair setup in the foliage

We had a little bit of time to kill before our lunch reses so we wandered down the Streets of America

&and ran into Mulch, Sweat, and Shears  they were fun and very interactive

We had to leave before their set was over because it was lunch time! We checked in at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. While we waited the girls traded pins with the CMs in the area. Soon enough our name was called and we were taken to our car.

We got a good car just right of center about half way back. The food was good burger fare and the waitress was great. It was our girl’s first time eating there and they enjoyed the campy movie clips and commercials. Overall it was a very nice break in our day.

When we were done the ladies wanted to do MuppetVision 3D. I needed to walk off some food so I decided to go get Rock “N” Roller Coaster FPs while they watched the show. As I headed down the street I stopped to watch some of the performers

I picked up the FPs and started back. On the way back I ran into another set of performers who did a fun bit with a guy they pulled in from the crowd

I walked back to the exit of MuppetVision and found that the show still had a few more minutes. So I walked on around past the streets of San Francisco

And took a pic of the nativity scene across from it

Then it was on back to the Muppets, where Statler and Waldorf were joking around

At the exit there were some hanging lamps and Bean noticed a hidden Mickey near the top on one pane. When they came out she grabbed the camera and snapped a picture of it

We then headed around the corner back towards the manger and found that Lightning and Mater were out saying “howdy”

After our visit with the guys we moved on and found a PP photographer at the street I had just been at

Look, Stitch!

We walked around the corner from Frisco and tried the Singing in the Rain umbrella. Bean had really been looking forward to trying it since she had been to light to trigger it when we were there in ’08.

Unfortunately they had the water turned off so the pressure plate didn’t do anything. I imagine it was due to all of the LED lights adjacent to it on the building as part of the Osborne Lights. She was not amused.

We decided as a group to skip Lights Motor Action Stunt Show, having done the Indy stunt show was enough for one day. We continued on towards the Backlot Tour and took a quick stop for my second “my how she’s grown” pic. This time under the ACME ton of bricks:

Both pics are cute, but her expression on when she was smaller wins out I think. I noticed that they had moved the ton ‘o bricks more to the right. I wonder why?

We headed past the fountain and the giant Coke display to the entrance of the Backlot tour. We were in the line closest to the USS Arizona model so I snapped some obligatory pics.

I had never been this close to it so I hadnt noticed they had a broken piece of the model sitting below the main model

The other half

A good head-on view of the same

We went around the corner and settled in to watch the Harbor Attack sequence. I decided to concentrate on the big splash and the shots/explosions. Looks like somebody’s gonna get wet!

Bucket #1 release

I wonder whats going through his head right here

Ohhh, thats right  WATER!

Just as the water starts to die down&

&the second bucket starts to hit

Cool and refreshing I hope!

There he is!

One last little splash

It must be safe; the MC of the show has stood back up

The PT boat crew goes about their business until machine guns streak across towards them

Here comes a torpedo!

Great reactions from the crew 😀

Now Im particularly proud of this shot

I caught one of the explosions just as the air cannon fired …here is a close-up

And away it went!

And the second torpedo hit on the PT boat

At this point there is water literally raining down over the whole set

And now we see the fuel drum start to spark off

I like the mix of fire, watery explosions, and the mist on the water in this one

We watched the finished film and then moved on to the warehouse. Before we went in we took time for a pit stop. Those bathrooms located outside the warehouse are a good one for those traveling with small kids so they don’t have to go in Catastrophe Canyon ;-]

Inside I took some random shots

You never know when you might need a good suit of armor

I had never noticed these horses at MK until I started playing Kinect Disneyland – you can get points for waving your wand at them ;-]

For some reason I always have to snap a shot of the frozen Narnia guy

Rocketeer jet packs and a sliver of his helmet

Ye old ball and chain multiplied

We headed outside and hopped into the first car. Our tour guide was pretty good.

Most times we are in the middle or towards the back so it was nice to take the ride from a slightly different viewpoint.

I did struggle getting a good shot of the two DHS towers

Look, ancient artifacts!

I would like to take the little truck for a spin

The obligatory shot of the P40 replica from Pearl Harbor

Topiary Mickey says “action!”

Those are some big cones!

And on into the studios production bungalows

There be Pirates!

We came out the other side in time to see the Mulch, Sweat, and Shears crew clock out

Another stab at the water towers shot

Look, it’s a wee little car – anyone know what movie it is from?

Herbie of course

Walt’s plane, I’d love to take a peek inside that one

It is funny the little things that pop back into your mind when you’re doing a Trip Report. I was thinking about our Backlot Tour and suddenly remembered two things. First was that Bean got bent out of shape because of the seating arrangement, basically that PumpkinGirl got in first so had a front row. We offered to shift around so she would be right next to her and would have a great view herself but she didn’t want to sit next to PumpkinGirl because of the situation. Ahhh, the joys of siblings.

The other thing was that the sun was shining down on us while we were waiting for the tram to get started. I almost started complaining about it being a bit uncomfortably hot when I had a thought. I opened up my phone and went to my weather app and saw that it was currently 39 degrees and raining at home. I then thought much better about sitting with my family on vacation in shorts and a t-shirt on a 79 degree day with low humidity. Yay Florida in December!!!

Back to our journey we were just entering Catastrophe Canyon. There be the plane with the oil derricks on its side. Does that mean that it did battle with them and won against five of them? If so, was it the derricks that rallied together to bring the evil plane down?

Some mysteries may never be solved. We moved on into the canyon and as I said we usually sit in the middle or towards the back so it was interesting to see the catastrophe take place from so far forward.

I thought it was funny that it was still dripping water from the last show

Here comes the kaboom!

Cue the water!

I must remark that we’ve got a bit to go on day 2 of our intrepid journey and I’m already posting pic number 400 on this TR – lol

Here comes the overhead waterfall!

We made it through with very minor soakage from the deluge. We circled around the back of the canyon and all of its inner-workings and on back past Walt’s plane to the rest of the boneyard.

Still not sure what movie this one is from

Snowspeeder from Empire Strikes Back

The sub Deep Search and Helicopter from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

A beat-up Herbie

And lastly the escape pod from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

We came out of the ride area and toured the costumes and props area and then moved on to the gift shop. PumpkinGirl was enamored with some of the Nightmare before Christmas stuff they had there and I almost bought an Indiana Jones hat. But we started looking around and realized that Bean was gone. We left the store to find that she was peeking in on some Monster friends.

We abandoned our purchasing ideas and got in the short line for Mike and Sully. I like the little details they do like the message boards for a working Monstropolous

Soon enough it was our turn and we got a good family shot

And then with Roxys gentle prodding I got one of just me with them

That has gotta be one short Cast Member in the Mike Wazowski costume!

We rolled on into shockingly, another gift shop! PumpkinGirl tried on some Christmas-themed Mickey ears but decided not to buy them

Bean however saw a Stitch stuffy that she had to have. She was really catching Stitch fever and had us all looking for Stitch pins the rest of the trip. I looked at the time and saw our RnRC FPs were coming up soon so we strolled back towards the front of the park.

On the way we caught a good photo op at the archway (note the brand new Stitch in Bean’s arms)

As we walked back to the front of the park I was pleased at the overall low crowd levels. Other than a couple of “choke points” of narrow walkways and intersections we could move pretty freely. Soon enough we were at RnRC.

Smile ladies! Well, two smiles and a grumble from PumpkinGirl.

Our FPs put us right into the crush waiting for the doors to open into the band’s sound studio. We are all big fans of the front car so once we made it to the front we asked for the front car line and Bean and I went first – I like to drive the limo

Followed by Roxy and PumpkinGirl – I love their expressions, especially Roxy’s!

We headed over to ToT from our limo ride. Hello nice lady

That would be one gritty tea service

Who does this stuff belong to?

What was riding that horse?

The main lobby

Do I have any messages?

We were sent to the far room so I was able to get a shot of a side I usually don’t see

She looked very contemplative

We moved into the room and before Mr. Serling came on I got a couple of shots.

I love the marks from all of the people trying to pick up the room key and the magnifying glass

Cool globe

Great job on the spiderwebs there

Bean liked the Chinese dragons

Mr. Serling did his spiel and we were on our way through the boiler room to the service elevator. Once there I asked Bean if she wanted to have a picture in front of the elevator and she said yes. I told her to look scared …not sure that she pulled that off. But even better was the unintentional photobomb by the elevator operator.

He did a good deadpan apology for being in the shot but I said it was a great shot so he came over and took a look and broke out of character a bit to smile and agree 😀

Now we go for our ride and start the trial of the “where is Bean?” ride photos.

Ride #1 – her own bag came up and perfectly covered her face – oops!

Ride #2 – we got back row and just the sheer number of hands up guaranteed that we were in bad shape. Still a good shot of PumpkinGirl and I, I was doing my contemplative ride pose

Bean was very frustrated after than one, but the ride wait was only about 10 minutes by that time so the ladies went to ride one more time. While they queued and rode I wrote some notes for this here TR and got myself a smoothie from the stand outside the gift shop.

Smartly Roxy asked for front row and we finally get a good shot of Bean, plus cute ones of PumpkinGirl and Roxy with a heart :-]

Bean was happy and we all talked about what we wanted to do next. We had already decided to give ‘Fantasmic!’ a pass since we had all seen it a couple of times and didn’t want to fight the crowds/sit on the uncomfortable stadium seats. We decided to hit up the Jack Sparrow Pirate thing and then go see the Osborne Lights.

Since we were skipping ‘Fantasmic!’ our goal was now to see what they had done to make over the former sad little Narnia walkthrough they had next to Toy Story Mania. We hadn’t heard much about the Piratey makeover so we had no idea what we were going to get.

We left the exit area of ToT and started to walk back up Sunset Boulevard. As you can see the majority of the traffice was heading towards ‘Fantasmic!’.

I took a quick snap of the entrance area of RnRC as we walked by

And turned back to catch the ToT

By the time I caught up to the ladies I found that they hand fallen to the siren call of cotton candy. I took a slightly longer exposure shot to catch the glow of the ToT at night

…and then another shot with a flash as they all took a big bite!

We strolled up the boulevard and took the right down into the Animation Courtyard. We saw that The Little Mermaid would be starting soon so we actually went into the waiting area and sat there for a couple of minutes. But we all discussed it and decided not to see it after all. We had been at the studios for around 11hrs and hadn’t had dinner yet so were ready to wrap things up.

On to see Jack and his pirate show! If you haven’t seen it yet you are greeted by a talking skull over the main entrance.

He does a bit about having what it takes to be a pirate and eventually lets you into the main set area

They Imagineers put some good detail into the set pieces

After a minute we were greeted by that same skull

He flitted around the set, which had a full-sized replica of the bow of the Black Pearl

…and appeared on the sail

There was much talk about pirate hijinks and that Jack would be there soon to do the swearing in. But first we had a visit from a skeletal pirate army

Ghost ships sailed the skies

And finally we were attacked by the Kraken!

More skeletal pirate dialogue as we rode out the attack

Next mermaids made an appearance to try and enchant us

Jack finally made his appearance on the arms of a woman whom he might or might not have deserved to have been slapped by

He moved around constantly so it was pretty impossible to get a clear shot of him. He swore us in and ‘Huzzah!’, we were part of the pirate league. Overall a cool enough show and a HUGE improvement over what it replaced.

We came out of the Pirate experience and with some prodding I got the ladies to head up to the Osborne Lights. We were tired and hungry but once we actually got out there they all lightened up and agreed that it was worth seeing. We strolled down the Streets of America and stayed for about 4 songs.

I tried to take pics to make a panorama but my angle was just too low and I was too close to all of it so I just ended up shaving it down to my favorite individual shots. Think of some good holiday music and enjoy the show!

The ladies enjoyed the lights and music and the snow falling in the streets.

I got one more shot looking back up the street while we waited in line for the Photopass photographer.

We really liked the way this one turned out could be a future Christmas card 


 well, it actually was one on FB 😉

We headed back towards the hat and I took a pic of it from an angle that didnt show that big ugly stage

Next we headed over to the DHS sign

I handed Bean the camera to Bean to take a shot of Roxy and I

Unfortunately I had forgotten to take it off the manual setting to capture the sorcerers hat and we were kind of lost in the glow of the sign. Luckily my budding photographer Bean looked at it and saw the issue and switched over to the auto setting so the flash would kick in.

There we are!

We headed back up Hollywood Boulevard and did a bit of shopping, getting some popcorn and finding a couple of smaller items for both girls including some earrings for PumpkinGirl set with her birthstone and a Stitch-themed lanyard for Bean. From the shops we headed towards the entrance and I stopped to take a couple of pics before going through the turnstiles

We stopped at the big tree for a family pic

And then started heading towards the busses. We were about to turn the corner and head down to the end of the row where the POP busses are when one of the girls realized she had to use the bathroom. Roxy took her back while I sat with the other DD and caught a nice pic of the tree

And a cool pic of the tree and a palm tree with the ToT just visible in the distance

The ladies returned and we made our way to the bus stop. We ended up next to a family who we had seen at POP that had a dog with them that a gentleman had there as a certified mental health animal. Bean had a great time playing with him and feeding him a couple of pieces of popcorn.

Soon enough we were loaded up and back at the resort very quickly (DHS is the closest park to POP for the uninitiated). It was around 9pm when we got back.

We picked up some food and brought it back to the room to snack. The ladies grabbed showers and headed to bed while I planned out the next day with the daily cash envelope, my quick itinerary, and fresh pins for everyone’s lanyards. I then grabbed my shower and was still in bed by 10pm.

Tomorrow would be another early start thanks to my stupidity in booking breakfast ADRs in park two days in a row. But it was going to be EPCOT, which is Roxy’s and PumpkinGirl’s favorite park.

Tune in soon for the beginning of day 3 of our Holiday adventure!