We went to Downtown Disney, the shopping area, first, and got what look like great seats for the Cirque du Soleil show La Nouba for Thursday night. Krissi's friend Lauri, who's local in Orlando, will join us there and for several other days during the week. We got sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich for lunch, then went to the pin trading store where Krissi finally got me into this activity. I'll do a separate pin-trading post later, if I remember...
I eventually left Krissi to pins and went to the LEGO store, where I found stocking stuffers and a couple of Christmas and Hannukah gifts. We both then headed to the big Disney store and did more shopping--I found one more gift, anyway. K. found several gifts as well.
Then it was out to the bus station to go to Hollywood Studios, where we discovered that you can't go directly from Downtown Disney to any of the parks, just to the resorts. We went to the closest Epcot area resort, the Swan, and caught a water taxi to Hollywood Studios. (Boat captain: "We'll be heading up the Disney channel to Hollywood Studios...") Got into the park around 5 and headed straight to the ampitheather for Fantasmic!, the signature show. It was fantastic--the plot is that Mickey is dreaming (lots of pleasant scenes and characters from Disney features appear) and then a nightmare takes over and just about every Disney villain you can think of shows up. Mickey eventually triumphs, of course.
The technical aspects are really impressive. Lots of the show involves clips from anmimated features which are projections on water mist screens shot up in front of two areas of the 'stage'. Peridically jets of water go towards the audience possibly wetting the first few rows, such as when Sorcerer Mickey throws his hands out towards the audience trying to work a spell. The stage is fronted by a moat of sorts, and fireworks and gouts of fire are staged there or from there. The moat also becomes part of the action when boats with characters move across it--Pocahontas characters 'paddling' canoes, barges with romantic pairs from animated features waltzing on them, a 2-level steamboat-style barge with a mix of 'face' and costumed cast members.
After the show we had dinner at Hollywood and Vine, where we had to wait a short while for a table despite our reservation because they had gotten slammed. It's a buffet, which I'd class as good quality food, nothing really outstanding, and not a broad selection. It was especially limited in the green vegetable line, something also noticeable (but more expected) at the Biergarten buffet yesterday. Hollywood and Vine was our 3rd choice, and we had had to take a time that was risky given the show time. Yes, one really does need advance reservations for the better restaurants even in low-visitation weeks.
It was the 'extra Magic Hours' evening for this park, so we as resort guests could stay late. We did the Great Movie Ride without having a tremendously long line, then wandered through the Osborne Family of Lights. Quite a show, but I'm afraid I would have been in the group of neighbors saying 'enough is enough', had this been happening in my home town.
The day was quite cold for central Florida--temp in 40's. I wore a Polarfleece jacket all day, added gloves when the sun went down, and was cold. Krissi had on a T-shirt all day and felt great, though she did buy a sweatshirt after dinner for a little cover. We are really on the opposite ends of the temperature spectrum. I finally declared the end of the evening because I was frozen--but it was really about the end of the park hours anyway. The poor cast members were often dancing in the streets to keep warm. I should have bought a hat, under the old camping adage that if your feet are cold, put on a hat. For the cold expected at the end of the week, that's my plan.