There aren’t any early Extra Magic Hours on Sunday so we slept in a bit before taking the bus from the Wilderness Lodge over to Hollywood Studios this morning. We didn’t make it in time, unfortunately, for our Tower of Terror FastPass+ reservation, but did see the Frozen Summer Fun parade (complete with “snow”) as we were entering the park.
We also hadn’t been able to get FastPasses for the Rock-n-Roller Coaster ahead of time so we went through the single-rider line before it got too long. The Great Movie Ride had been revamped since our last visit (and it had been a while since we had gone on it) so we took the relatively quick standby line for that attraction. I was still distressed to see that the Alien hidden in the right wall in the Nostromo part of the ride doesn’t jump out at you anymore (the one in the ceiling still works, though). Also, another part was either broken or changed as the car of gangsters didn’t rush out of the alley and there was no exchange of tommygun fire. I thought maybe Disney had removed the guns altogether, but the western sequence still had the shootout. At the Indiana Jones Stunt show that afternoon (where they didn’t bother to scan our FastPasses), my wife got selected out of the audience to be an extra so that added an extra (no pun intended) element of fun to the show watching her “act” in the streets of the bazaar as Indiana Jones and Marion were pursued by the bad guys.
We were distressed to learn that the Magic of Disney Animation attraction has closed (apparently permanently) which meant no learning to draw a Disney character at the Animation Studio this trip. The backlot area is still closed too. All of these changes are supposedly making way for the new Pixar and Star Wars-themed areas in the future.
Mid-afternoon as the rain clouds were threatening we left Hollywood Studios and took the Friendship boat over to the back entrance of Epcot. We stopped in France for a sweet treat at L’Artisan des Glaces, our new favorite ice cream parlor at Epcot. The rain was threatening so we ducked into The American Adventure. It had been a long time since I’d last seen that show, I really didn’t remember it at all (more Disney animatronics, very cool and patriotic). Unfortunately, our plan to ride out the storms indoors didn’t work as it was still pouring as we left the American pavilion. We tried to take shelter under the roof at the music ampitheater across the way but Disney cast members were shooing people away saying it “wasn’t safe” (I guess it’s safer to be walking around not under shelter during a rainstorm, hmm). We had our ponchos, though, so we trudged around the countries in the rain.
The rain did eventually taper off a bit, enough that we saw Test Track was running again. Here’s our secret to getting on Test Track without a FastPass: the single rider line. Yes, you say, everyone knows about that. BUT! Our extra secret is to first go into the building through the exit (the gift shop) into the showroom where the cars and games are. In there, you can take your time designing your custom vehicle and save it on your MagicBand. In the single rider line, you only get to pick from a few pre-built cars but doing this you can skip that part and “ride” with your custom car as a single rider. And most of the time, at least two of us can end up in the same car anyway.
We had late dinner reservations at Spice Road Table, the new Mediterranean (Morrocan, Turkish, Spanish, Lebanese, etc.) table-service restaurant. Our reservation specified a preference for a table near the water so we could watch the fireworks during dinner. Rather than put us outside on the patio, however, we ended up inside, watching the fireworks through a window. This wasn’t bad (at least it was dry, but it was freezing with the AC!) but not exactly what we had planned. The food was very good though (try the hummus fries!).
After dinner and the fireworks, the park was closed so we walked out to the front of the park and took the bus back to the Wilderness Lodge.