ParkSpotting at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – May 9, 2010: Lots o’ Hugs and Keepin’ Cool

in Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, ParkSpotting, Theme Parks, Walt Disney World

Our latest ParkSpotting adventure takes you to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on May 9, 2010…

The goal of this trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios was to see the introduction of Lots-o’-Huggin’ Bear (Lotso) from the upcoming Toy Story 3 film. His meet-and-greets with guests debuted on Sunday and also appeared in the Block Party Bash parade. But amidst all the Lotso fun, I spotted plenty of other interesting and amusing sights around the park:

Empty entrance to Disney's Hollywood Studios
Approaching the entrance turnstiles, it occurred to me that Disney's Hollywood Studios almost never has a line to get into the park. I almost always have to wait at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Disney's Animal Kingdom, but very rarely at this park.

Mother's Day roses being handed out
Cast members were handing out free red and white carnations to moms who entered the park for Mother's Day. I brought one home to my wife who is the proud mother of our cat. (No, we don't have kids.)


A rose at Disney's Hollywood Studios
This trip to Hollywood Studios gave me many more reasons why I need to invest in a new digital camera soon. Here's Reason #1: I tried to take a lovely photo with the red flower in the foreground and the Sorcerer Mickey hat out of focus in the background. Instead, I got an out-of-focus flower and a poor shot of the hat. Keep scrolling to find a few more photos-gone-bad.

Lotso with Ricky Brigante
Over at the The Magic of Disney Animation, I met Lotso. I previously posted the Disney PhotoPass shot of us, so here's the same picture taken from another angle. (Thanks to Jeff Lange for taking this picture!)
Long line to meet Mickey
Mickey Mouse's meet-and-greet is across from Lotso's, but Mickey's line was much larger. He is Mickey Mouse after all. This photo is also Reason #2 for why I need a new camera: It took me several minutes to fire off this single, poor shot due to my slow-to-respond flash.
Sunnyside Daycare student class photos
The queue to meet Lotso is made to look like Sunnyside Daycare, a prominent location in Toy Story 3. The walls are lined with daycare-style imagery, like this board filled with group "photos" of children. Nice work, Pixar! (Oh and this is needing-new-camera Reason #3: blurry, low-light photos.)
The Princess and the Frog upright bass
Disney and the GRAMMY Foundation will soon be auctioning a few stringed basses to benefit music education, including this one with a design inspired by The Princess and the Frog.

Sorcerer Mickey hat
Around 10 minutes before Block Party Bash parade time (3 p.m.), I grabbed a spot near the Sorcerer Mickey hat. Note all the other guests waiting. I was there only to see Lotso's first appearance in the parade, as I don't care for Block Party Bash at all. But clearly it's popular judging from all the other guests waiting too.
Not in the shade
The 10-minute wait for the parade felt like an eternity due to the hot, overhead sun. I couldn't believe these girls (and many other guests) were sitting directly on the hot pavement - Ouch!
In the shade
Next to me, these guests had the right idea. Waiting for the parade seated on shaded bench is definitely the way to go. Unfortunately, there are only so many benches to go around.
Lotso from Toy Story 3 in Block Party Bash
Finally, after baking in the sun for a while, the parade began and Lotso made his dancing debut. Unfortunately, my spot was around 100 feet away from his position so I battled the crowd to get this clear view. (Watch the video of him dancing here.)
Vinylmation invasion
As Block Party Bash wrapped up, I took a trip into the Twilight Zone on the Tower of Terror. On the way out, I noticed that the Vinylmation craze has taken over this corner of the Tower gift shop (along with the buy-us-because-we're-cute Pook-a-Looz on the endcap).
MuppetVision 3D
MuppetVision 3D is currently closed for refurbishment. I always feel sorry for the cast members who have to stand at a closed attraction's entrance turning away guests all day. It's definitely a thankless job.
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker restrict you from entering the exit of MuppetVision 3D
While circling around behind MuppetVision 3D, I spotted this amusing sign posted at the attraction's exit. I normally don't try to enter via the exit, so I had never noticed it before. Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew are always good for a laugh!
Bubbles
In my previous ParkSpotting adventure to Magic Kingdom, I included a photo of a cast member blowing bubbles at guests entering that park. At Hollywood Studios, this cast member was adding bubbles to the area outside of MuppetVision 3D.
Jessie the Cowgirl meet and greet
While I didn't see Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear giving too many hugs, I did spot this man happy to embrace Jessie the Cowgirl from Toy Story 2. Also note the look of happiness on the boy's face in the foreground after getting Jessie's autograph. I didn't mean to capture him in this shot but the juxtaposition of the character hug and smiling child really show what Disney magic is all about.
Jessie the Cowgirl meet and greet
Here's the same guy proudly posing with Jessie.
Pizza Planet
Here's a test of your sensory memory. Look at this photo. Do you smell anything? Yep, that's the recognizable smell of Disney pizza from Pizza Planet. It's not the greatest pizza in the world, but it does hit the spot.
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: The TV Show...?
Some parts of Disney's Hollywood Studios are still trapped in the late-'80s / early-'90s. While the Honey, I ____ the ____ movie series is still fun to watch, I don't even remember there being a Honey, I Shrunk the Kids television show. And that's probably a good thing.
Cooling off at Disney's Hollywood Studios
As I mentioned above, it was another hot Orlando day, but this guy found a great way to cool off. If you get too close to this truck parked outside the Backlot Tour, it spouts mist at you (and makes some beeping noises).
Ice cream break
Getting ice cream is always a great way to cool off, though finding somewhere to comfortably eat it in the parks can be challenging...
Ice cream break
...but this family did find their own shady seating area to enjoy their treats in peace. I had never thought to sit and eat dessert among the busts of media legends but I'll have to remember this spot for the future.
IMG_5659
While MuppetVision 3D is closed for refurbishment, Sounds Dangerous with Drew Carey has reopened...
Sounds Dangerous... in 3-D (Sound)
...and it's in 3-D! But don't think this is like Avatar. Sounds Dangerous features 3-D binaural sound in a nearly pitch-black room accompanied occasionally by a 2-D movie starring Drew Carey. You probably don't want to see Drew Carey in 3-D anyway.
Star Tours cast member with light saber
Star Tours cast member costumes are quite unique and recognizable, but this cast member has gone the extra mile by adding a light saber to her belt.
Disney's Vacation Club information area
After walking around a theme park for hours, the last thing most guests want to do is stand on their aching feet and listen to a sales pitch about Disney's Vacation Club time shares...
Cushy floor
...which is why Disney cleverly adds extra-cushy ground (disguised to match the hard pavement nearby) to their Vacation Club information areas. One step onto this squishy material makes you want to stand there for a few minutes - which gives the cast member a chance to tell you a bit about Disney's timeshares. They don't hard sell you, but they will give you all the information you didn't know you needed.

That wraps up another edition of ParkSpotting. So far we’ve visited Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, so I bet you can guess which theme park we’ll hit next!

10 Comments

  1. Peter

    As always, very nice! I love ParkSpotting!

    And by the way, awesome Honydew and Beaker shirt, Ricky! 😉

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Thanks. I wore it in honor of MuppetVision 3D being closed temporarily.

      1. Peter

        On what special occasion! 😉 Very nice.

  2. Emma

    Thank you for sharing all the photos of Hollywood Studios.. it makes me really want to be there; never mind, only 30 weeks til my next trip! 🙂

  3. Alan

    Hey Ricky. I appreciate that you want a new camera, but:

    Reason #1. Your red flower photo being out-of-focus isn’t necessarily the fault of your Canon SD500. Did you lock the focus on the flower? Did you use macro mode? The SD500 can definitely focus on a flower with the background out-of-focus. Even my iPhone 3GS can do that 🙂

    Reason #2. You shouldn’t need to use a flash when taking a wide-shot indoors. If you set your ISO to 400 or 800 you should be able to take a really clear photo without any flash. I don’t know what the low light performance of the SD500 is like, but it may be pretty crappy given it’s 5 years old.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      #1: Yes, I did use the macro mode and lock the focus on the flower. In fact, I took the shot 4 or 5 times. My point was that the shot I intended was difficult to achieve given that the bright sun was washing out the small screen on my camera and I couldn’t see what I was doing very well. Plus my camera has a problem where when I press the button, it doesn’t always take the picture. It only works properly every once in a while. It has issues. 😉

      #2: You’re right. This camera has terrible low light performance. Even on ISO 400 (which is the highest it can do), the resulting image has a lot of noise. And, again, I often have to try to take a picture numerous times before it actually works.

  4. The effect you tried for with the rose and the hat is easy to do on the iPhone 3GS. Just tap the section of the picture you want to focus on.

    1. Ricky Brigante

      Alan pointed that out above as well. And that pretty much sums up why I need a new camera. I can easily achieve that shot on my iPhone but not so easily on my point-and-shoot. Something’s wrong there. 🙂 The focus on my point-and-shoot is just too finicky.

      1. Alan

        Thanks for replying Ricky. Right, I didn’t understand that your camera was faulty/broken.

        One of the biggest advantages of “today’s” cameras is having a much larger, brighter, higher-resolution LCD. That is, if you prefer using an LCD to an optical viewfinder. Personally I love LCDs. I’ve tried the optical viewfinders on a lot of Canon DSLRs and hated them.

        You said somewhere that you were considering the Canon S90, which is the camera I have (I bought mine a couple of months ago). The S90 is excellent, but I’m not sure it’s the fastest camera out there. I mean, to get the most out of it you really need to set it manually, which slows you down from shot-to-shot. The results you can get with it are almost DSLR quality, you’ll just be spending a while dialling in the ISO setting, and adjusting the exposure compensation.

        I don’t know if you saw, but Canon just released a brand new compact camera, the IXUS 300HS. It’s essentially a cheaper more automated version of the S90, in that it has a bright f/2.0 wide-angle lens, but also has 720p HD video recording:

        http://www.dpreview.com/news/1005/10051101canonixus300hs.asp

        1. Ricky Brigante

          I didn’t know that but thanks for pointing it out. Hopefully a local store will get one soon so I can try it out. I was almost sold on the S90 but that sounds like a great camera too. I’d like to think that the manual settings on the S90 are what I want, but most of the time when I’m shooting I don’t have time to be messing with settings.

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