Tag Archives: Hollywood Studios

USA ’18 – #RetroDisney

We first came to Florida in 2001 when the boys would have been about six and eight. When we came the first time Helen and I were, shall we say, circumspect about it but did it for the boys. However, we all loved the experience and so since then we have managed to come a further seven times! And I blogged about it in 2009, 2011, 2014 and, of course, 2018.

Inevitably over the years we have taken thousands of pictures of the four of us enjoying the sun and the parks. This year we thought that it would be fun to pick some of our favourites from our first trip and recreate them this year. As it turned out that wasn’t possible for all of them due to the locations no longer being there but as you will see we did do pretty well.

I had expected some push back from the boys on this but they were both incredibly tolerant and indulgent of my quest to get them in the same locations and poses.

The first picture was taken in Magic Kingdom at the Sword in the Stone. When we saw this the first time they ran a shown around it where they would get people (adults) out of the audience and they would try to get the sword out without success. Then they would choose a kid who would manage it straight away of course.

I thought that I knew roughly where this was but in the end after much searching I had to ask someone for directions. I was beginning to get concerned that it had gone but no there it was, tucked away by the carousel.  As you can see since the original was taken the hedge has been removed but apart from that it is much as before.

This was the first we took but I think it is also one of the best.

The Sword in the Stone, Magic Kingdom

One thing I quickly discovered was that a number of things affected whether I could exactly recreate the shot. Firstly it was difficult because the camera was different. Back then I had an early digital camera and now I was using my smartphone, which was vastly superior. Secondly, the lighting conditions made a big difference too, as you can see from this one below. I think that is is probably my least favourite of the lot. Finally, it was very hard to get the picture in exactly the same way and without people but on the whole I think we managed pretty well.

Canada, World Showcase, EPCOT

The next three were all taken in EPCOT and the first one took us ages to locate exactly which position it was taken from. As you can see the sign is no longer there (unless it is under that very nice flowering bush!). Also the wall is no longer tiled but rendered. This all threw us a bit and, in fact, it took two visits to be reasonably certain that we were in the right place. Looking at it now makes me chuckle though.


The next two were both taken inside the Inca temple in the Mexico pavilion in EPCOT’s World Showcase. One thing that hasn’t changed much over the years are how Mat’s eyes respond to a camera’s flash. Red in the first and a ghostly white in the second.

Mexico, World Showcase, EPCOT
Mexico, World Showcase, EPCOT
Winnie the Pooh Seat, Disney Springs (neé Downtown Disney)

Initially I thought that this one had been taken inside Magic Kingdom next to the Winnie the Pooh ride but an intensive search and asking around showed that not to be the case. In the end we did some research on Google and some images came up that showed that it was actually in Disney Springs.

There has been so much work done and change at Disney Springs (including a name change) that I wasn’t hopeful that the bench would still be there so I was delighted to find it, albeit in a new location. It also looks as if it has been faded by the sun over the years.

This is another picture that I think has worked particularly well.

Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon

This final picture is a bit of a cheat as the original was taken in Blizzard Beach which we didn’t visit this year. While I was keen to recreate them all as closely as I possibly could that wasn’t going to change our plans which, in this case, included a trip to Typhoon Lagoon.

This picture also works well but for the fact that Alex’s has the wrong hand raised. Alex says it was the wrong way round in the first picture which I suppose makes sense given that he is left handed after all.

We had great fun reproducing these and I’m really glad that we put in a bit of effort to get as many as possible. You’ll note that there are none from Hollywood Studios which shows just how much that has changed over the years.

The next time we do these it will be with the grandchildren replacing the boys, assuming of course that we get any and their parents invite us along!

If you are interested I spliced the pictures together using Instagram’s Layout app, which also explains why they are all square!

USA ’18 – Day 9 – A last hurrah for Hollywood Studios

We weren’t quite so lucky down the US 192 this morning only managing to get 12 out of the 15 lights green but it was still pretty swift. Here’s the journey from villa to the parks in two minutes (with the drive under the WDW sign in normal speed).

Once again we were up and out early in order to hopefully get a jump on the other guests and, in this case, get into Hollywood Studios early and into Toy story Mania before the hoards. Sadly it was not to be as when we arrived there was already a massive queue and a wait time shown of 135 minutes. This was at just after 9am!

The reason is that Disney hotel guests get to enter the park an hour earlier than the great unwashed. I guess the more you spend better the access. So it looks like there won’t be any Mania for the Thompsons this trip.

We split up again today with the boys doing the Rock n’ Roller coaster a few times while Helen and I went for the slightly less scary “have your picture taken with Kylo Ren”! We came back together to go on Star Tours once again and were rewarded with a scene that we had never seen before and must be pretty new as it included visuals from the latest film and an appearance from Poe Dameron. I wonder when actors sign on for film series such as Star Wars and Harry Potter they agree to do x films and as well as recorded segments for theme park rides. I guess that they must as nobody does that for nothing.

Post park we made a stop at the local Walmart on the way back to the villa. This was to stock up on essentials such as milk and cider and also because they have a large selection of Disney related clothing and other stuff. Not only that but it is official and much cheaper than the parks. A tee shirt in disney will cost you $20 and upwards where as a Star Wars logo tee shirt in Walmart is only $7.50.

My one gripe with Walmart, well my main gripe, is that they are incredibly profligate with carrier bags – they can’t wait to give them away. Pretty much every single item is lovingly put into a bag. Mind you these aren’t any “bags for life”, more like “bags for 20 minutes until you get home” but still. If we wanted to reduce plastic usage this would be a perfect place to start. Can’t see Trump signing up for that!


USA ’18 – Day 5 – A Pale Shadow of its Former Self

There was a time when Disney’s Hollywood Studios would have ranked as our favourite park but based on today’s visit it won’t be getting top spot in 2018. The park is currently undergoing a huge amount of building work creating the new Star Wars land and for this a number of rides have been levelled. Add to this that the all new Toy Story land is there but isn’t due to open until 30th June. They whole place feels small with not as much to do as before.

That said there are still enough rides to keep the boys entertained. They went on the Rock n’ Roller coaster a number of times. I’m afraid that I didn’t make it as far as the cars this year as I bottle it before getting on. The thought of doing it was making me feel physically sick and I decided that wasn’t a way to feel on holiday.

Dotted around the Disney parks are official photographers who will take your picture in iconic locations. Previously, if you had wanted to download these you had to pay for the privilege and we never bothered. This year that has been rolled into the ticket price so now we can get some pictures taken of all the family without my arm stretched out. It’s a great addition and brings terrific value. They photographers are good and the pictures are usually available on the Disney app within minutes. Brilliant!

Our gas guzzling 4×4 was ready for a top up today and so we popped into a garage. I won’t bore you again with the trials and tribulations of trying to pay for petrol in the US with a UK credit card but, in short, it’s a pain. Having filled the tank for about £20 (TWENTY POUNDS FOR A FULL TANK!!!) I went to start the car and nothing happened. There then followed a frantic couple of minutes while I tried to restart the car and interpret the dashboard warning lights. In the end it transpired that I had left the car in drive and you can only start the car when in park position. Doh!

On a happier note the 7/11 stocked bottles of Fanta Pineapple which is just the best thing ever and the sooner we can get this in the UK the better!