Friday, 4 September 2015

Adventures in the USA part 7 - Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney World Florida

Day number 8 (Thursday) of our 10 days in Florida actually started with my observation that my bow-drawing arm (my right arm, seeing as I'm right-handed) hurt.  To actually see if it was still aching at various points during the day, I actually positioned my arms as if I was holding a bow and drew my right arm back as if preparing to shoot an arrow at an imaginary target.  You can probably see how excited I was already to start properly going to archery at uni in September!  Anyway, although I didn't encounter any Disney character who was experienced in archery (such as Merida, Robin Hood or even Mulan) while I was there, my day at Disney Hollywood Studios was actually the first day that I'd really encountered characters in the parks (although I'd briefly seen Pluto while entering Epcot on Monday).  This was the day of many Frozen sing-alongs as various areas of the park were struck by Frozen fever!  In light of this, Frozen attractions will appear in my top 5 for Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Top 5

  • For the First Time in Forever: A "Frozen" Sing-Along Celebration - Before seeing this show, my brother had managed to avoid seeing Frozen or really hearing the story of it.  Obviously, he'd heard Let It Go and Do You Want To Build A Snowman multiple times (like on the radio or from my iPod or from me just singing them), but for the times I'd seen it, he'd been a) at school when I first saw it in cinema (I saw it the day after finishing my first set of uni assessments in 1st year), at home while I saw it at my uni's student cinema with my friends, or just in another place in the house when I'd watched it on DVD at home.  He has now watched Frozen since coming home from Florida, but this 30 minute abridged version of the most recent film in the Disney Princess franchise was actually his first experience with it.  This version told the story of Frozen in 30 minutes using two narrators, the newly appointed historians of Arendelle, actors playing Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Elsa, and was punctuated with a screen that showed clips from the movie for each song and had the lyrics of the songs for the audience to sing along.  Of course, my brother was not happy to have me sitting next to him as I excitedly sang along to Let It Go, Love Is An Open Door and the other songs.  In the evening was "Coolest Summer Ever" Dance Party, a DJ-led mini disco which included Uptown Funk and YMCA, followed by the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular accompanied by even more singing along to the songs from Frozen!
Grass sculptures of Elsa and Anna.
  • Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular - This show based on Raiders of the Lost Ark invited volunteers from the audience to learn a few low-level stunts and participate in an Indiana Jones stunt show that included falling from building into soft beds, acrobatics from a Cairo marketplace set, staged fight sequences, a giant boulder chasing Indiana Jones, explosions, and fires.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show - There are little changes to this ride between times of seeing it, but the premise stays the same - cars do stunts including flying through the air off a ramp, driving across the roof of a "fruit stand", high-speed car chases, cars changing behind the scenes (ssshhhh), motorbikes driving through a line of fire and the cyclist being extinguished, and a remote control being handed to a member of the audience so that they "control" a seemingly empty car.  On a previous visit, the well-known Disney car that visited in this show was Herbie (The Love Bug, Herbie Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, and Herbie Fully Loaded), but this time it was Lightning McQueen of the Disney Pixar film Cars.
  • Walt Disney: One Man's Dream - I think this is a new attraction in the past 5 years, because I don't recall having seen it before.  It's an exhibition of both original and replica artefacts used by Walt Disney himself (including a school desk) or clips and items used in landmark Disney films, short films and television shows, including new camera and motion techniques, the development of Mickey Mouse from an earlier version of his appearance to the appearance that we know and love today, merchandise, the Mickey Mouse Club, and the promotional programmes surrounding the opening of the Disneyland Park in California (which celebrated its 60th birthday on 17th July 2015, while I was at the Magic Kingdom park in Florida instead).  The exhibition actually charts most of Walt Disney's life, as well as plans for the developments of the parks after his death (including the different parks at Disney World Florida, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney Resort, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and Shanghai Disney Resort (due to open in 2016).
  • Fantasmic! - This fireworks display is a story told through the colourful imagination of Mickey Mouse as the Sorceror's Apprentice (as seen in Fantasia).  The audience sees scenes from Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid through Mickey's imagination, but when Mickey encounters Disney villains including Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Cruella De Vil and Scar, his dreams quickly turn into a nightmare.  Disney's animations projected onto walls of water, fireworks and laser lights bring this show-stopping performance to life as Mickey fights against the villains of Disney films past.

It's very dark, but a statue of a 1930s movie director
 using the viewing scope on his camera.  More information here.

Long have I heard about smoothies or homemade juices with carrots in them, but I've not tried it in person before.  This may be about to change.  In the past year, you've probably seen me go from only drinking water (and the irregular cup of coffee or tea) to really getting into my smoothie recipes, which is thanks to Ally Sheehan and the smoothie bike at uni.  This time, I have found a smoothie recipe on the Disney Mickey Check website that I found while in Florida, and it's probably sure to leave you with plenty of orange energy as it has both carrots and oranges!

Ingredients (serves 2, but may only serve 1)

1 cup orange juice
2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup carrots
1 orange, peeled
1 medium banana


  1. Cut up strawberries, carrots, orange and banana.
  2. Pour orange juice into the blender and then add the cut up fruit.
  3. Blend until the smoothie reaches your desired consistency.

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