Moving forward on the thoughts I had during the course of our vacation, I bring you the day with very little to philosophize about, but plenty to nerd over. . . Day 5 brought us to Disney’s Hollywood Studios during their special event called Star Wars Weekends.
I have to admit that I was slightly less excited for this experience than I felt I should be. As has been made fairly clear on this site, I’m a pretty big fan of the original trilogy (and the Clone Wars cartoon is growing on me), but the idea of this park being filled to the brim with more things to do than would be possible in the one day we were going to have to spend there, well. . . it felt a bit overwhelming. Especially since the main differences in place were that there would be opportunities to stand in lines to get our pictures taken with Star Wars characters, and to see the Hyperspace Hoopla live, which is fun, but easily seen on youtube.
And although I’ll admit that I’m somewhat saddened that several of my favorite things to do in this park fell by the wayside, it was totally worth getting to hang out in a park where you could suddenly come across a Tusken Raider or a squad of Storm Troopers keeping you from your intended destination (albeit only shortly and amusingly).
But, before I get into all of that, I feel I should note a moment of pride for my daughter. This trip was a bit of a new experience for her as she had just reached the 40 inch mark, meaning that several rides were suddenly opened for her experience. Things like Splash Mountain were now in her domain (on which I successfully convinced her to raise her arms during the big drop #pride). However, one ride that she was now tall enough to ride that my wife and I debated even giving her the option for was the Tower of Terror. For the uninitiated, this is a ride that is based on The Twilight Zone (albeit loosely) which takes you up in an elevator and then drops you 13 stories. . . and then brings you up and does it again. . . and again. . . and again. It changes every time, so the number of drops in this ride is always different, but you get the idea.
Anyways, I finally convinced my wife that we should allow our fearless daughter to test her fear limits. And after explaining to her in great detail what would be going on, as well as explaining how my wife still gets horribly frightened by this ride, she stated that she still wanted to try it out. So, as one of the first activities of the day, me and my daughter walked up the path to the Hollywood Hotel (the name given to the building this attraction is housed in). I expected the increasingly creepy decor to dampen her spirits, but as we got closer and closer to the end of the line, this kid just got more and more excited, jumping and screaming and overall having an amazing time. I’ve seen kids around her age (always a year or so older) act the same way, but then have their bravado shrink as the elevator doors open to allow the riders to get in their seats. Not so for my little Hal Jordan.
In fact, the entirety of the ride leading up to the drop was filled with excitement for her, although confusion at the odd imagery within, which is made to mimic the opening sequence of the old television show. Then everything went dark. . .
My daughter did not scream, but the look on her face was one of such intense terror that I immediately became concerned that her heart was going to give out on her. In fact, the photo they took of that moment, well, you couldn’t see her because of how short she is, but showed me bent over attempting to console her. I was certain that we had far surpassed her limits for fear.
Then the bouncing stopped. She was silent with an odd look across her face. I allowed her the moment to collect herself which she followed up by simply stating, “That was scary.”
We talked about the ride for a few more moments as we awaited the ability to exit the ride vehicle and by the time we were walking through the gift shop at the end she was expressing her love for the ride and the need to ride it again as she bounded her way back out into the real world. She was, of course, feeling the adrenaline rush that such rides provide, but that same feeling of excitement stuck with her for quite some time. We grabbed some new fastpasses to allow her to ride again later.
Now. . . of course, when the time came to ride again, she did end up chickening out, but she did claim that she would have ridden again if she were with me, instead of her mother. The fact that she claims Tower of Terror as her favorite ride at Disney World may show that her fear is something that she does truly enjoy as well. . . who knows. We’ll see if her daring continues. Perhaps I’ll have to get her on some rollercoasters soon.
Anyways, back to the Star Wars Weekends (quickly, because I’m already nearly out of time). We didn’t actually stand in line to meet too many characters, the lines were just too darn long. But getting to see them as we walked past was incredibly exciting for all of us. My son got super-pissed at me for not allowing him to go up and hug Chewbacca as we passed him (and the 50-person long line in front of him), but talked about the fact that he saw Chewie for the rest of the day. There was, quite simply, just so much to see, even if we didn’t get to do all that much, that the day felt like a success to all of us. And my daughter is still saying how she plans to live at the Hollywood Studios and work on the Star Tours ride for all of her life, in between working as a teacher.
And the Hyperspace Hoopla (a humorous dance show involving characters from the Star Wars Universe). . . we got there late and due to the way things are set up, had a horrible view of the stage, but I get the feeling that there are very few spots to get a really good view of it. It was fun, but in the future, I’d probably skip it and choose to watch it at home instead.
Anyways, gotta get back to work. Have a good one!