Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Disney Trip 2014 - Day 5: Hollywood Studios, Part 1

This was the day we had all been waiting for.  Star Wars day!  My side of the family has been obsessed with Star Wars ever since it came out in 1979.  I was not even born yet, but I was a fan.  When I was little, my brother, sister and I used to have Star Wars night, where we would gather every blanket and pillow in the house, pile them in the center of the family room, then build a humongous fort of couch cushions and comforters and the even "scratchy" blankets you did not want to lay on.  Those became the roof of the fort.  The only openings were a small opening in the back to enter/exit to get more snacks or to make a run for the little Jedi's room and a large opening in the front towards the TV.  We would then watch all 3 original Star Wars movies in a row.  Typically my brother could stay up the longest and finish them.  I don't think I even saw the whole "Return of the Jedi" until I was 10 because it was always on so late and I never made it.  My parents loved Star Wars night too because we would try to strip their bed of all pillows and blankets as well.  Why have 1 blanket when you could have 15?  3 to lay on and 12 to pile on top of yourself.  It was like the trash compactor scene in Episode 4, A New Hope.  We would lay under a ton of blankets, then put a box fan in their with us because we got too hot.  It made sense at the time.  My mom also loved the next day clean-up when we would whine and complain about tearing down our "Echo Rebel Base."  I wanted to keep it up forever or at least till I saw my first AT-AT on Hoth, who you knew was going for our shield generator, if only you could hold them off long enough with snowspeeders and tow cables until the transports got away. 

Needless to say, my family was big into Star Wars and we passed this on to our children.  Well at least I have tried.  My brother, Uncle Mike's kids were singing and playing the Star Wars theme song and the cantina song on the piano when they were about 4.  My sister, Aunt Lynn's kids can literally answer any Star Wars trivia question about Star Wars known to man, giving even the palest 40 year old living in his mom's basement surviving on Mountain Dew and broken dreams fan-boy a run for his money.  And then there are my kids.  I have tried and tried to indoctrinate them with Star Wars and get them excited and interested.  You can imagine my joy when they would light saber battle and Zachary would refer to himself as "Star Wars guy" and "force" on you while he swung his "light saver."  Saver with a "v" not "b."  Darth Vader's red light saver was apparently cherry-flavored.  I bet Lynn's kids didn't know that.  We even tried to watch Episode 4 with the boys for the first time before this Disney trip to get them excited about Hollywood Studios.  Now I had envisioned this moment with my children ever since they were born.  We would gather together as a family, pop popcorn, snuggle under blankets, and I would watch as their eyes filled with imagination and wonder as life took on new meaning as if brighter somehow, like Christmas morning with a room over-flowing with presents, and they would come to me with joy in their hearts thanking me for this new life experience because their eyes have been opened to a beauty they never knew existed and how they will never be the same.  We made it 30 minutes into the movie and turned it off because they all lost interest.  Nate watched 5 minutes then found staring at his hand more interesting.  Drew made it 15 minutes until Nate's hand became more intriguing.  And Zachary made it 25 minutes, then wanted to wrestle with his brothers to see Nate's amazing hand in action.  I held out 5 more minutes after that, while my dreams died. 

But this was Star Wars day at Disney.  Hollywood Studios has the Star Tours ride and Jedi training.  They also have the Toy Story ride which is very popular and lines form quickly.  So we got there early but were about 50 people back in line...all 18 of us in a 6'x6' square with 3 strollers.  One big happy, smooshed family.

Luckily there was an open area to our right where the boys could run and play catch with their new Stitch stuffed animals.  Drew became immediately infatuated with the character Stitch while we were there and used his own money to buy a stuffed animal.  He had never seen or heard of Stitch before then but suddenly it became his favorite thing in the world.  And Nate, who can do nothing besides what he sees his brothers doing, had to get a matching Stitch stuffed animal.  Disney does not offer any buy 1 get 1 free deals.  Imagine that.

While standing in line, we found out from an employee that if we wanted to do the Jedi training, we needed to go there first because it fills up quickly.  So as the gate opened we ran to the building to sign up.  And as close to the front as we were, we were still about 100 kids back in the line.  It was unbelievable.  As we made it through the line, we were able to sign up all 10 boys for the 12:30 show out of the 15 spots available.  The hostess told us to please show up because our family is basically the entire show.  We were so excited!

From there we ran to Toy Story Mania and even though it was 10 minutes after the park opened, there was already a 60 minute wait.  The wait was not that bad because the boys paired up and enjoyed picking which cousin they would sit with.

On the way to Toy Story Mania on the floor of Andy's bedroom.

Will and Zachary paired up.  Drew and Josh paired up.

Mike and I took our 2 youngest; Me and Wes; Nate and Mike.

Ready for 3-D carnival action.

Everything went awesome in the Toy Story ride.  No complaints.  Nobody fell out.  No one lost $300 sunglasses.  I ended up scoring the most points with 150,000.  It was a great start to the day. I somehow knew it wouldn't last. 

The whole crew on the backlot.  (the background buildings are a mural.)

The boys had an awesome time meeting Phineas and Ferb, getting their autographs and taking their pictures.  They were the only characters we were willing to wait in line for.  I was surprised my boys hugged them and not punched them in the crotch.  Because that was what I was expecting.

Drew was fascinated how they could sign with those huge fingers.

Nate was apprehensive to say the least.

Where's Perry?

From there we went to Muppet Vision 3-D and then to Star Tours.  Drew was picked out to be the rebel spy and threw a hissy fit when everyone kept calling him that afterward.  I think he noticed everyone was enjoying themselves too much so decided to put an end to that, in his own way.  This kind of wore on Lindsey and I's nerves because it led into more complaining about nothing.  Typically this signifies that they are getting hungry, or better yet..hangry.  You know how a baby cries when they are hungry or need to poop?  It does not change when they are 6.  They are just more vocal about it but still can not tell you directly.  They end up complaining about everything else.  You must pick up on their "signs."  So it was time to get them a snack but it was also about time for Jedi training.  And if you show up late, your spot goes to the next person on the waiting list.  The other problem that morning was Lindsey did not get her morning caffeine.  She had run out of Spark and did not have time to get a coffee in between rides so like a baby needing a bottle, she too began to whine and sob.  Only her "signs" come out as anger and frustration at me.  I would rather change a poopy diaper.  We had 10 minutes until we had to be at Jedi Training and using my trusty iPhone app, I was trying to locate a snack stand.  Well, if you remember from Epcot, she gets super annoyed at me and my app, and storms off to find the boys a snack.  Only, I sent her in the wrong direction and I found the pretzel stand before she did.  I am lucky Disney did not have a Divorce Kiosk that day.  I don't think divorce was covered under our meal plan but the pretzel was.  We ended up meeting back together at the Jedi training in time and with enough extra pretzels to share with all the cousins.

Eating pretzels and watching cartoons as they wait for Jedi training to start.  Disney has waiting down to a science.

Still waiting.
We had finally arrived at Jedi Training.  All 10 boys ready to face the "Dark Side."  Or as I sometimes like to call it the "Nate side."  Stay tuned.

I wonder if Disney has a suggestion box?...the divorce kiosk,
The Joyful and Tired Dad

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