December 7, 2012 Hollywood Studios

Friday, December 7, 2012 we flew from Philadelphia to Orlando International Airport at 7:00 AM. Arriving shortly after 9:00 AM we made our way to the Magical Express which, surprisingly, was almost empty. We literally walked through our line and right on to the bus with no wait. Our time of arrival at Saratoga Springs was approximately 10:30 AM and while I was happy to hear that our room was going to be located in the “Springs” section of the resort, we were told that the room was not ready yet. Deciding to spend the time wisely we went to gift shop and within minutes I had begun pin trading, acquiring a gold pin with Mickey’s name on it. I had also purchased a few Christmas pins that are not currently in our collection.

At 12:30 PM, and after having grabbed some lunch at the Artist’s Palette, we still had not been assigned our room. When we inquired we were told the latest update was that the room wouldn’t be ready until around 2:00 PM. Therefore, we put our bags in storage and decided to head to the parks. We waited at the bus stop for about 15 minutes and were literally about to board the bus at 1:00 PM when the text message came through that our room was ready!

So instead of hopping on the bus we headed to the lobby and got our room number, etc. We weren’t in the room more than 15 minutes when the Magic Express delivered our luggage which was perfect. Since we had just flown in from Philadelphia we were wearing jeans and it was pretty warm down here in Disney. So we were able to change into clothing that more fit the weather and after unpacking we went to Hollywood Studios.

The first stop at DHS was “Mickey’s of Hollywood”. I was so careful in planning this trip down the smallest detail including Magical Express, Dining Plan, Online Check-In, Park and Ride based hotel in Philadelphia, etc. etc. and I had reviewed my bags multiple times....and what did I forget: sun glasses! So I now am the owner of a pair of shades that have Mickey ears on the corner of the lenses. At the store I also found a Mickey and Pals themed iPhone 5 case. Since my iPhone 5 is brand new, I don’t have any case for it yet so I picked this up.

The first attraction of the day was The Legend of Jack Sparrow which had just opened the day before. Upon entering the line we were told that the wait time was an hour. In reality it was only slightly longer than 30 minutes. This attraction, which is located where Prince Caspian and the Chronicles of Narnia attraction used to be, starts off with attendees walking into a room where they are greeted by an animatronic skull that heads warnings. Guests are then ushered into a room that is a cave with Captain Jack’s riches and a pirate ship. The skull appears again and leads guests through some quests such as growling at the Kraken, stomping your feet so you aren’t hypnotized by mermaids, etc. Then Captain Jack comes out because we are under attack and after it is over Captain Jack deems all who attend to be pirates. To be honest, I found it a bit hokey and couldn’t believe I waited that long for the attraction. I’m sure kids liked it but, it isn’t going to be at the top of any of my lists.

The Studio Backlot Tour was next up and the line was huge. The line moves fast and we got into the first part of the attraction quickly. They didn’t have members of the audience take part in the special effects scene this time but instead just demonstrated the effects. The tram tour was basically the same but the American Film Institute (AFI) area is completely different. All of the Star Wars and other props that were there are gone and they have been replaced with props from generally more older or classic movies.

After the Backlot Tour we walked around the Streets of America and looked at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights in the day time. One thing that is different this year is that Santa Goofy has a space where the Nativity Scene used to be and the Nativity has been moved to the area where the two streets bisect just down from Star Tours.

Speaking of Star Tours, that is where we went next and the wait was less than five minutes. We walked right on the attraction and the sequence we saw was: 1) Millennium Falcon 2) Hoth 3) Yoda 4) Coruscant.

By this time it was 5:00 PM and we were hungry. We looked at the menu at the Backlot Express as we haven’t been there in a while but nothing struck our fancy so we headed back to our more frequent quick service stop in DHS, the ABC Commissary. After dinner it was dusk and so we walked through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights which was mobbed with people but this attraction is so moving and so much fun to participate in especially when they have the snow coming down.

After seeing most of the lights we went to The Great Movie Ride and, once again, walked right on to the ride. The tour guide and the “Mugsy” character were both good and I got some nice pictures.

At the pin store at the Sorcerer’s Hat I found several of the limited edition Christmas pins including the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights pins, of which one is a DVC member exclusive. We then headed back to the resort as it was close to 8:00 PM and the park was about to close.