With the car in apparently good working condition, we set off on day 3 to the first of our theme parks: Disney MGM Studios. After checking the map to make sure where we were going, we pulled out of the driveway. As we came to the stop sign at the entrance of the trailer park, we noticed a grinding noise whenever I put on the brakes. We wouldn't let a little old problem with brakes stop us though. After the previous night, we were ready for anything. Well, almost anything. We decided to gas up and get some water, just in case, while we were at the local Shell station. As we pulled away from the pump, the car lost power steering. I used all my strength to turn into a parking space in front of the store. I popped the hood, and Wes and I surveyed the damage. There was steering fluid everywhere. It was slowly all baking onto my engine, and putting off a strangely sweet sickly smell. It was the smell of a badly wounded car. I put the hood down, got in the car and slowly drove it back to the trailer. Now this is why Roscoe is such a great guy: he gave Wes the keys to HIS car and let us take it out the next TWO full days! I don't think I've ever gone 2 days without driving somewhere. We arrived at the park an hour later than we planned, but we made it. The first real event of our vacation had begun. Oh, and by the way...we saw the mini golf place on the way, about a half mile from the exit we'd taken. Oh well.
The park was great. It didn't have many rides; its emphasis is mainly on tours and sit-down attractions. There are famous movie props sprinkled throughout the park. I won't mention much about the rides on this page, but you can click here to see a breakdown of all the attractions we visited and my own personal ratings system. I'll just give a few highlights.
Most people circle a park counter-clockwise. I have no idea why. I prefer to go clockwise, and usually you get to some of the coolest stuff first. If you go clockwise from the entrance in Disney MGM Studios, this is the first real attraction you come to:
If you don't recognize that as an Imperial AT-AT, you probably won't enjoy the ride as much as I did. It's the entrance to Star Tours, a hydraulic movie ride that is supposed to give you a tour of Endor. It features some sweet animatronics while you wait in line for the ride. There wasn't much of a line while we were there, so I probably missed a lot of cool stuff walking along the catwalks.
The studio tours are the main attraction at the park. You can take a ride through the backlot on the backlot tour, you can walk through the sets for Home Improvement and 102 Dalmatians, and you can tour the animation studios on the premises. They are all real working studios, which adds to some pretty recognizable stuff. And some pretty obscure cool stuff too. The backlot tour gives you wonderful sites like one of the Space Shuttles from Armageddon, and the Dipmobile from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Also on the tour is the pool where they filmed the underwater nightmare sequences for The House On Haunted Hill, a fairly underrated film. As we passed this I nudged Wes and whispered, "There were NAKED CHICKS in there man!" He didn't seem to care too much. Then again he hadn't seen the movie. I don't think he realizes that if it weren't for that movie, we wouldn't have ended up in Florida. But more on that a couple of pages down the road.
The TV Soundstage Tour is pretty good, but they plug the series they tape there (Sheena. On syndicated TV late late at night. Check your local listings. PLEASE! WE NEED YOU TOO WATCH OUR SHOW) a little too much. By the way, check out the show's website. Gena Lee Nolin is a hottie. And do them a favor and watch the show. If it's a huge hit, maybe they'll stop begging the people on the tour to watch it (I've never seen it).
Another notable attraction at the Studios is Muppetvision 3-D. I had never seen a 3-D movie before and I dig the Muppets, so it was a good time. Everything was fairly impressive. The mix of live action and the movie was great.
Amusement park food is really expensive. But it's generally good. Unless they screw your order up, pack your burger with things you hate, and you're attacked by scores of birds right out of a Hitchcock movie. Eat at Rosie's. It's an experience you won't forget.
Now onto the rides: there are only a few things that qualify as 'rides' at Disney/MGM Studios. Among them are the Aerosmith Rockin' Roller Coaster, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and The Great American Movie Ride. Those first two alone are worth the price of admission to the park. Words cannot describe how cool the Rockin' Roller Coaster is. I think the closest I can come is Space Mountain on <insert illegal stimulant drug here>. I can't do it justice by writing about it, but I give it a 10 on the Matt scale for amusement park rides. The Tower of Terror is your average drop ride, only crossed with The Haunted Mansion. It is excellently themed, and before the drop there are some amazing effects. It will surprise you.
I was pretty disappointed by The Great American Movie Ride. The only thing I can really remember about it is that it's got a lot of animatronics around that are supposed to look like movie stars and end up generally being creepy. I can't stand animatronics that look like people. They give me nightmares. Have since I first visited Disneyland at age 7. They come for me at night. They want to hollow me out and replace my innards with cables and screws....errrr...I didn't appreciate The Great American Movie Ride. And that's all I have to say about that.
We left the park when it closed and drove back to see who played who in the NCAA tournament in the first round.
Click here to head to the Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom on Day 4.
Click here to see what Matt thought of all the attractions he visited at Disney MGM Studios.
Click here to go absolutely nowhere!
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