Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 257: Why I Hated Hollywood Studios

I said last night that this was going to be today's topic so here it is, a story that is actually kind of interesting if you ask me. I think really the proper title would be "How Star Wars Changed my Life" but I like this title too, so we'll just roll with it. I did honestly go back through all my posts tagged Star Wars though, just to make sure I didn't already tell this story, which is odd that I haven't because...well yeah. I suppose this time it will be the enlarged version of the story though, so here we go:

Once Upon a Time (I couldn't help myself), when I was a little girl, I absolutely hated MGM Studios. I hated just about everything about it. I thought it was ridiculous. The entire thing. There wasn't anything that I liked there, after all. I mean, the Great Movie Ride scared me (Alien...still can't handle it), Tower of Terror was the last thing I wanted to do, I didn't especially like Indy yet (I think that probably counted as my favorite thing there though), Rock'n Roller Coaster made me sick, as did Star Tours (plus I didn't like Star Wars), the Backlot Tour also scared me (I didn't like loud noises), Toy Story Mania didn't exist yet, and I wasn't a fan of the Princesses (something that you now know I regret). I guess there was the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Playarea, but that was probably also counted as my favorite thing in the park...until One Man's Dream probably. I've loved that since it opened in what, 2001 or something? Gosh that's old already. Oh yeah, I also loved the backlot area of Residential Street, but we all know what happened to that.

So in other words, I just really didn't like going to Hollywood (or MGM) Studios. I always loved Epcot more, by a lot. Epcot's the home of my favorite attraction, and great food and is basically my home, so it easily won out over Hollywood Studios. I just remember my entire childhood not wanting to go there like, at all. I hated it, plain and simple.

I stayed that way for a long time, through the change to Hollywood Studios (in 2009?), through the redo of Star Tours (yes, it was open months before I actually watched Star Wars for the first time), past the time my brother went on Tower of Terror for the first time, through the Millennium Celebration and Year of a Million Dreams. Yep, all the way through until, specifically, January 2012.

I would have been 16 at the time actually, not yet the owner of a car or a driver's license, but close, when I finally came around to see Hollywood Studios in a new light. But the question is why? Why the sudden turn around. Well, you see, the previous August I made a decision that would pretty much change my life.

I decided to watch Star Wars.

And so, we have the story (which I'm pretty certain I haven't told you on this blog). A story as old as time...wait, wrong thing. That's Illuminations. Ahem, THE story of how I came to love Star Wars, and, in the process, Hollywood Studios.

As a kid, I watched a bunch of Indiana Jones. I remember it pretty clearly actually, watching what was my favorite, "Temple of Doom," (Apparently I was a strange child). I watched it all the time in my bedroom at night or after doing homework. Whenever. I had the VHS copy so it was pretty easy to do. Actually I'm not sure where that VHS is, even though I have the other two, but that's beside the point. So in other words, I knew Indiana Jones and I knew some about Harrison Ford. I didn't think too much of it though. The Indy films are great movies, so it's logical, right? Right.

And then in 2011 I went with my family on our first trip to Disneyland. It was a great experience, and I absolutely loved it. But two things kind of changed within me there. I went on the Indy ride and realized, "Hey! I should rewatch the Indy movies!" And so I made that decision. And my family went on Star Tours, but I just pulled a "Walk through the StarSpeeder and not actually go on the attraction." It was a simulator and I didn't have motion sickness medicine yet, so I wasn't about to ride. Again, didn't think much of it. Then, one of the next few days we were sitting in Tomorrowland eating lunch when the Jedi Training Academy began. I watched, interested because, even though I had been to WDW how many times, I had never actually seen the Training Academy. And then Darth Vader came out of the ground and it was awesome and yeah...that was when something clicked.

I had never seen all of Star Wars. So I decided to watch them! Right then and there in the middle of Tomorrowland at Disneyland, I decided that I was going to watch Star Wars. But that's not where the story ends. A couple of months later, sometime in October actually, I remembered what I had decided, and pulled out a VHS copy of Episode 1 (our DVD didn't work). Now, I'm going to say it flat out...starting with Episode 1 was a mistake. I struggled through the first three episodes thinking "Who watches this? This is crazy." Luckily I had enough self control not to throw something at the TV or stop watching, so I eventually got to Episode 4, in which in initial reaction was "WHAT IN THE WORLD HAPPENED!?!" I knew that they had filmed it what, twenty years or so earlier, so it was expected to be lower quality, but it just confused my mind.

So we're following Luke and Obi-Wan around and I'm all "This is stupid" and then they go into the Cantina and BOOM. My life changed right then and there. I was sitting in our living room watching Episode 4, and Han Solo walked on the screen and I was like " that Indiana Jones?" and he was all "Yeah, that's Harrison Ford. He plays Indiana Jones too." And so, I liked Star Wars and quickly watched the other two episodes. That's all the more there was to it.

But what does this all have to do with Hollywood Studios? Well, let's fast forward a bit to January 2012, only months after (two actually) I had seen all of Star Wars for the first time. In between my trip to Disneyland and my trip to WDW that January, I happened to read a book about hidden secrets at Walt Disney World, and of course, many of them in there talked about Star Wars. I was like "WHAT!?!" when I read about the Speeder Bike across from Star Tours, and the little hidden secrets in the area. And then there was Star Tours itself, something I decided I needed to do after reading up on it a little. So I found some motion sickness medicine, and planned to go on Star Tours with three missions in mind: Find Han, Find Leia and Find Yoda.

I did all three during that first trip in which I went on Star Tours. I found the Millennium Falcon and had transmissions from both Yoda and Leia. It was great. And so, I started to open up a bit more. It came to my attention some time later that the soundtrack from Star Wars can also be found at the end of the Great Movie Ride, and that there's a whole section for Star Wars in that montage, and how Han is legitly one of the last things you see.

I rewatched Indiana Jones and came to love the stunt show. And, in November 2012, I got my very own Indiana Jones hat from the Indiana Jones store there. I search every trip for a Harrison Ford signed picture of, specifically Han Solo, but Indiana Jones too. I found Harrison Ford's handprints this past July, and actually, in November, I spent more time at Disney's Hollywood Studios than I ever have in my life. I went on Star Tours 9 times that trip, in the search for Han Solo for real (whom you can see for a brief few moments during one of the beginning sequences).

Now I love going on Toy Story Mania, and I love the Backlot Tour and go on it specifically to see the Star Wars props in the Junkyard. I still really miss the Residential Area, but other things branched off of this too, like Singin' in the Rain, and the umbrella you can find in that backlot area. Or my will to watch all the movies in the Great Movie Ride. Looking at the handprints instead of walking over them. Deciding to watch the Muppet Show, a decision I would never have made if I hadn't spent more time there at the Studios. I still hate Tower of Terror and I swear you will never get me on it. But I love Star Tours, and I can't wait to take my friends to Hollywood Studios if that is, indeed, the last park we choose for on the band trip.

And so, that is the story of why I hated Hollywood Studios, and how I came to actually love it because of Star Wars. It's honestly amazing how much of a difference one little decision like that can make. It did, after all, also introduce me to the wonderful YouTube community of, specifically, ApprenticeEh, and it got me to like something I always hated, and then to introduce all my friends to it as well. It's the reason I have a Han Solo in carbonate Bank on my desk and a Minnie Princess Leia Vinylmation as well. It's all just kind of crazy.

Today's Frumpstagram post brings us back to Magic Kingdom, with the prompt "nighttime." I had a picture in mind this time, and you can see it here! One of the castle pictures I took at the end of my last trip. There's no filter on this one either, because I just love how it is originally!

Here's today's Disney History: 2012: Finding Nemo 3D is released to theaters for a limited time.

Have a magical day!