50’s Prime Time Diner Disaster – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

Disney World Vacations 2019 theme parks Hollywood Studios 50's Primetime Diner
And the rains came to Hollywood Studios, Disney World

We still had a lot to see and do at Hollywood Studios (Slinky dog ride, watch the Star Wars show and maybe sneak into the 50’s Prime Time Diner, then see the Fantasorgasmic Show.)

None of us napped back at our Disney World resort, but we did get off our feet for a few hours, me writing, the boyz watching YouTubes, and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World doing laundry.

The whole laundry thing became absolutely necessary due to us going through at least 2 sets of clothes a day. I mean, who wants to put on a sweaty, suntan-lotionie shirt, again? Or slip into a used pair of underwear after a shower?

With our clothes restocked, our bodies mostly rested, we bussed our way back to Hollywood Studios, again. About 5. We’d planned to eat at the resort, but the bus was right there! Right there!

So we lept on it.

For once, we’d be early. We’d get a chance to see the Star Wars show, grab some food at Hollywood Studios, hit up our fast pass ride, The Slinky Dog, and see the evening show.

It was a good plan.

But we missed the 5:30 Star Wars show by 15min. 15 min. Again.

So we decided to ask if my #1 Disney-World-Bucket-list restaurant could squeeze us in. The 50’s Prime Time Diner – A place where they made sure you had good table manners and called you out for not eating your veggies.

To my surprise, they had room!

I was super excited.

50’s Prime Time Diner. We watch old TV on an old TV

We wandered around in living rooms with old TVs, old kitchens, and stood near a 50’s bar serving drinks with flashing ice cubes. Each room had all sorts of 50’s memorabilia that I basically remembered from my childhood (though that was in the 60s, lots of our furniture and stuff was definitely from the 50s.)

We were called to our table by a woman with a mom-voice, you know the type – she could yell dinner and you heard her 4 blocks away in an underground bunker with music playing. She sat us down, gave us menus and told the kids to behave.

The table had a TV, a cool old toaster and was, of course, all chromie. Our waiter was called Uncle Chris. He reminded us not to put our elbows on the table. I had a very hard time with this as my elbows are no longer well-trained.

I ordered mom’s pot roast. I mean, it was mom’s! The Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ordered ribs, The-Youngest got a Caesar salad, and The-Oldest went with Cousin Megan’s Traditional Meatloaf.

I was so excited. So nostalgic. This was the height of white male dominance, a time when a house cost $8,400 and your salary was $3,200. A new corvette cost $1,500. A razor 25cents. Even though I hadn’t lived through the time, so much of what was on display was a part of my childhood.

We watched clips of I Love Lucy, of Reagan introducing Walt Disney, of the original Mouseketeers, and of Car 54 Where Are You? Just to name a few.

But then things started to go pear-shaped, in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Uncle Chris came by often to give the boys a hard time. “Don’t talk with your mouth full.” “Sit up straight.” “No phones at the table.” That kind of thing. All in good fun. Really.

He called The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World ‘Peggy Sue’, The-Youngest, “Spanky”, and The-Oldest, “Trouble.” All in fun.

The-Youngest, however, didn’t really like Uncle Chris much. The guy may have pushed the whole 50’s thing too far, and The-Youngest no longer had fun. In fact, the opposite of fun.

It took a while to calm The-Youngest down, but eventually, he did, and he made sure to clean his plate (and keep his elbows off the table). The-Oldest however, did not eat his beans, so when Uncle Chris came around, he took the plate and shouted for the whole restaurant, “Do we waste food?” “NO!” they all shouted back. The-Oldest laughed along with it all. He even laughed when Uncle Chris brought back the beans covered in whipped cream “for dessert”.

The-Youngest didn’t have as much fun at the 50’s Prime Time Diner as I did. I got to scowl like a dad in a 50’s TV show.

He didn’t eat them, though.

For the rest of the entire meal, The-Youngest lived in fear of Uncle Chris coming by and yelling at him. He realized how easy-going we are in this modern age and he vowed never to go in time to the 50s. Ever. I don’t know if Uncle Chris crossed a line, but it made the experience less fun for sure.

Full, the dinner almost spoiled by a little too much ribbing, we looked outside.

That weather forecast of showers, lightning, and thunder was coming true.

Doh!

We had one ride to do, one show to see, and the Fantasmic Light Show.

Embrace Your Inner Child – Hollywood Studios – Vacation Day 4

The best way to do Disney World is to abandon all pretense of being an adult.

No question about it, the best way to do Disney World is to embrace your inner child. A lot easier if you’re, you know, a child, but we all did it.

It took us until after the Rocking Rollercoaster to realize what kind of day we were going to have at Disney World. It was going to be a nerdy, goofy, silly day.

And that was awesome!

It really started with The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World LOVING the Muppet Show. It’s not an adult thing to be so excited by a show like that, but tapping into your inner kid, it’s totally fun. Seriously.

Then there was our quest to find a Kermit stuffy with a hole in his bum (where you stick your hand.)

Kinda goofy, sure, but it’s fun to embrace your inner child.

But when the boyz came out of the Rocking Rollercoaster looking like they’d seen war or grandpa’s naked butt, we decided to do something so goofy and silly, it would cement the day as a legendary goober day.

We had our faces photoshopped as Star Wars characters.

The-Youngest was the first to go forward and we laughed and laughed as his face replaced the emperor’s or Darth Vadar or Luke Skywalker. He even wanted to be Princess Leia, but The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World claimed that option.

Check us out as Star Wars characters!!! The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World at Padme, The-Youngest as a young, Anakin Skywalker, me as Obi Wan, and The-Oldest as Mace Windu. This is how you embrace your inner child!

See, at this moment, we really began to embrace the spirit of Disney World. Put aside being an adult and be a silly kid.

When it came time for The-Oldest, they photoshopped his face onto Mace Windu, changing his normally white skin to black. I laughed as he made evil faces for the evil characters, and weird, I-look-drunk faces for the good guys.

Then The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World went up and I have to say, rocked the whole Padme /Leia look. Like totally rocked it. I think I got a little excited in a very adult way.

And then I went up, and tried to look my most Jedi-ish. I ended up looking constipated but whatever. The family, watching me, laughed until they doubled over.

The picture we chose is here. See what I mean by a cool picture??? There’s a hot Padme, an amazing Mace Windu, a serious looking Obi and a slightly insane looking Anakin.

Totally nerdy fun! Best family photo EVER!

Embrace your inner child, right?

Giggling, we left, The-Youngest giving us a second by second recounting of the Rockin’ Rollercoaster. We tried to eat at the SciFi Restaurant, but by now, we were about 45 minutes behind schedule so we arrived at the peak lunch period. We settled for eating at the ABC commissary. Not good food, but filling.

Having embraced the day of silliness, we searched the app for a ride to do. Being out of sync with the day, we missed the Star Wars show, but I did manage to see Rey walk by and I’m pretty sure she smiled at me. Yes, just at me. Similarly, The-Youngest was pretty sure Darth Vadar pointed at him and called him to the Dark Side. Little did Vadar know, but The-Youngest had gone there long ago.

With lineups at the 120 min mark, the heat oppressive and no fast passes until 7:45, we returned to the bus. I offered to take The-Youngest to a Disney World waterpark, but after thinking about it for most of the morning, he declined. Even at 12, he knew he needed some rest.

In hindsight, that should have been a sign of things to come.

Disney World – Hollywood Studios – Day 4

hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.

Probably more than most places, Disney World can have some unpredictable moments. Day 4 would turn out to be filled with moments that we couldn’t have planned

I mean, first of all, who could have planned a bus would go to the wrong theme park? We missed the rope drop which meant that our plan to do the Twilight Tower of Terror failed. See, the keeners (and those with good bus drivers) were at the gate at 9 am, racing to the ride and line up. By 9:15, a ride can go from a 0 min wait to a 120 min wait.

I’m not sure we could have made the Tower of Terror in time anyway, me being less likely to, you know, actually sprint to the ride, but certainly by 9:15, we were too late.

No worries, though, The-Youngest was kind of iffy on the whole falling elevator ride, so we marched to Star Tours where we had a 9:15 Fastpass.

Sadly, I marched us completely in the wrong direction.

Sigh.

It was one of those days.

When we arrived at Star Tours, we were 30 min behind schedule, but the way Fastpasses work meant we could arrive from 9:10 to 10:10, and still bypass the lines, so it wasn’t critical.

Hollywood Studios’ Star Tours remains one of my favourites and the only ride The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World had wanted booked. It’s really an earlier version of Avatar: Flight of Passage, just with less high-tech graphics and sphincter clenching moments.

But it didn’t disappoint. It’s a story ride where even waiting in line is fun or at least as fun as waiting in line can be. I have a neat video link here.

We dodged Imperial fighters, zipped through asteroid fields, and made it past Darth Vader without him killing us. Then, after spending a little too much time in the shop designing my very own lightsaber (and looking longingly at Star Wars T-shirts, we checked our Disney app to see what was available.

Right beside us, the Muppet Show had no line-up.

Uncharacteristically, The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World became super excited about seeing the show, so off we went. As we sat down, I think she had her ‘being-a-kid’ moment, as she shifted expectantly in her seat. She was excited to be in the Muppet theater, to glimpse the old men in the balcony, and watch Kermit the frog try to keep order in the face of muppet chaos.

The 3D show was amazing, even though it was not a new show. Sure the seats are a little worn, but the show remains strong. We laughed, got misted with water, had bubbles fall on our heads and to The-Oldest’s horror, watched as the musical finale failed in a comically way that only the Muppets can fail.

Me, I had the horrible realization that I’ve become the old men in the balcony! Gosh!

By the time we left, it was time to race to our next Fastpass ride, the Rocking Rollercoaster. But first, we had tried to find a real Kermit in one of the shops, one with a hole in his bum where you could stick a hand. For some reason I never asked about, it was the dream of The-Oldest to have such a Kermit.

However, we failed to find one with a hand hole. Maybe it was considered too rude to stick your hand up his bum.

By the time we reached The Rocking Rollercoaster, we were already past the Fastpass start time. Luckily The-Youngest led us there because if I had led us, we may have ended up in Wisconsin or something.

Neither The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World or I had any desire to do this ride so we let the boyz get into line, and we scoped out the gift shop. By the time the boyz came out, their faces white, walking on unstable legs, looking like they’d either come close to death or had a lot of fun, we decided to fully embrace the Disney experience: We decided to do something super goofy.

Hollywood Studios – Disney World – Vacation Day 4 Start

hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
hollywood studios disney world orlando florida theme parks
Disney World’s Hollywood Studios.

Yesterday at Disney World had been a huge success, so the plan was to repeat the strategy – Get out to Hollywood Studios for rope drop, race back to the resort when it got all hot and icky, then return to the park for more awesomeness.

I won’t lie. I was super excited to see Hollywood Studios. I mean, I’m a total movie buff/nerd and seeing Star Wars displays, Toy Story characters, Indie Jones…oh-boy-oh-boy-oh-boy!

Today’s FastpassesStar Tours at 9:10. The Rocking Rollercoaster at 10:30, then the surprisingly, super popular Slinky Dog Dash Rollercoaster at 7:45. Other attractions: Tower of Terror, Muppets 3D, Indiana Jones live show, the Barnstormer and whatever else we could get on in less than 30 min. A cool list is here.

If you recall, we had booked our Fastpass rides 60 days in advance, (and those times totally fit into our newly discovered plan.)

But if I had to do it all over again, or for anyone looking for advice, I’d book the Fastpasses for 11:00-1:00, that way we can hit up rides at rope drop when smarter people are sleeping, the weather isn’t as hot so you can stand in line and not feel like a slowly roasting chicken, and you can still get the BEST rides at a busy time.

However, the day began well enough even though we were about 15 min behind yesterday. Not a big deal, but being 15 min behind would haunt us for the entire day, like being out of step to the music (something I do so well.)

The boys ate healthy food for breakfast, which should have been sign of how weird the day would get, then we marched towards the buses.

The weather, again, was perfect, though the forecast called for, yes again, thundershowers. Seems like that was just a default setting for the weathermen, like rain is for Vancouver. They all go on vacation and simply post ‘chance of lightning and thundershowers.’

We got on the bus quickly, a good sign.

We got a seat. This was a great sign.

I didn’t have to get up my seat to a mom with a little baby, an old woman with a wonky eye or a little girl who with tearful eyes just wanted to sit by her mom. A great sign.

This was a day where nothing would go wrong. Everything was going sooo well…

Then the bus went to the wrong park.

It’s kinda what happens when too much starts going your way.

At first, (in my partially caffeinated state), shoot, we’d gotten on the wrong bus.

disney world hollywood studios buses transportation epcot florida orlando
The buses pick up passengers to take them to the theme parks, but not always, it seems, the RIGHT theme park.

But The-Youngest (and by FAR the smartest in the morning), said, no we were in the right line. Then the bus driver came on the intercom. She apologized. She had gone to the wrong park. Epcot. She would get us back to Hollywood as soon as possible.

That left us 15 min behind schedule to hit the park at rope drop.

It was how the whole day would play out.

Magic Kingdom – 10 Fails on the First day

Fastpass for disney world

In the Magic Kingdom, we made 10 mistakes. I hope you can learn from us.

orlando florida hot and humid sun at disney world's Magic Kingdom
Knowing it would be hot and humid is COMPLETELY different from experiencing hot and humid. We underestimated the effect
  1. We underestimated the effect heat AND humidity would have on us in the Magic Kingdom . After 8 hours, we were done. Like completely done.
  2. I didn’t get any writing done. I brought my laptop to the Magic Kingdom, but didn’t have any time to get any writing done. This stems from #10.
  3. I didn’t take enough pictures. I mean, I’ve come back from a week’s vacation with over a thousand pictures. And that’s just camping.
  4. The ‘early arrival’ thing didn’t work out as planned. I thought that being at a resort would allow us to be in the park an hour early, but it turns out, that only happens on certain days, like Magic Kingdom opening for Pop Century guests only on Fridays at 8am. Doh!
  5. I didn’t have a hat. What was I thinking? I had enough Kleenex to choke a horse, but no hat. I guess I could have made a hat out of Kleenex…
  6. We used our Fastpasses for early rides. There were no line-ups early in the morning. We’d have been better off using them for rides from 11am-5pm.
  7. We didn’t take advantage of reusing Fastpasses. See, when you’ve done all your Fastpasses for the day, you can rebook a Fastpass. Sure, the super popular rides will be booked, but the fun, goofy ones like the Mad Tea Party ride, CAN be booked, which will still save you an hour in line.
  8. Waiting in line for 2 hours, (sweating, hot, and grumpy), is NOT the way to do Disney World. They don’t have any A/C, fans or cast members waving big palm leaves to keep you cool. We thought they would understand they live in a tropical climate and take steps to ensure people remained cool, and I don’t mean, Hawaiian-shirt-cool, but cool-air cool. We were very wrong.
  9. We didn’t eat in the off times. Eating at 1, you’re eating with a billion other people in the park. Eating lunch at 10:30, you basically have the choice of seats and no one sitting beside you with a parent asking themselves, why did I do this, why did I do this?
  10. We rushed too much and didn’t stop to enjoy it all. We didn’t do badly, like when we took the Peoplemover, or stopped every so often to take a picture, but sore feet, heat exhaustion and jet lag and massive crowds made us want to leave earlier than we should have left.
Fastpass for disney world
Getting a Fastpass for the most popular rides is a MUST. Staying at a Disney Resort allows you to reserve rides 60 days in advance

Honestly, if I had to do it all over, again, I would say spend 2 days in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to do it justice. That way it’s not all one mad rush from one ride to another, fighting your way through massive crowds.

I’d also advise going in the off-season, something we couldn’t do ourselves.

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Lessons

Magic Kindom's Cinderella Castle, up close and personal, disney world, orlando, florida
Magic Kindom's Cinderella Castle, up close and personal, disney world, orlando, florida
Cinderella’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World.

I won’t lie. Despite all the planning and research, there are times when you’re going to do something you’re going to regret. In Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, at around 2:30, we made our worst decision.

Much to our surprise, the weather remained spectacularly nice, if hot and humid. The forecast for thundershowers and lightning had been wrong.

So, we decided to do the Big Thunder Mountain Railway.

Ok, it made sense on paper.

We had a Fastpass for Splash Mountain at 2:45, but we could arrive as late as 3:45 (or 4, since the app told us we could be 15 min late and STILL be fine), it looked like a lot of fun, and the line-up would be inside, out of the sun.

Sure, the wait time was 90 min, but that meant that we’d finish it about 3:30.

Plenty of time to walk 3 min to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, right? Plenty of time.

So we got into the line.

The reality was slightly different. Yes, the line-up was out of the sun, but not quite indoors as the heat filled the open-sided building, making it feel like I was having menopausal hot flashes for a full 90 min. No fans rattled inside. No A/C. It was hot. Humid. We went through all our water.

Like cattle, we shuffled along, and it didn’t matter that Disney World had a ton of neat things to look at in the line. It was hell. People smelled. Likely I smelled.  Very few people, including us, looked all happy and full of love for this experience.

Plus, it took more than 90 min, so as the time ticked past 3:30, and we still had a ways to go, I began to stress. We were in danger of missing Splash Mountain.

But what do we do now?

I mean, we’d waited and suffered 90 min in line, but do we leave to go to our Fastpass ride? Do we make our way back THROUGH the line (the wrong way) to leave?

Or do we hope the line moves fast enough for us to get through in time?

We chose the latter, and as the line slowly snaked forward, I really began to worry. 3:40. 3:45. 3:50! But then, we got on the ride.

It was fast, exciting and fun, but I actually willed it to be faster – We needed to get off and get to our next ride.

Luckily, we did. Despite sore feet and heat exhaustion, we made it to Splash Mountain. With our Fastpass, we raced past the sweaty, hot, angry people waiting 2 hours in line for this ride, and got on.

We’d done it!

Splash Mountain didn’t disappoint, (though The-Youngest didn’t get wet as much as he had wanted to).

But the Big Thunder Mountain Railway had cost us more than a ton of time, about 30lbs of sweat, and all our water – It had sapped our love for Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. The magic was gone.

thunder mountain railroad in magic kingdom, disney world, florida
This is what menopause feels like? Hot, sweaty and angry? For 90 min? Fun times at the Thunder Mountain Railroad

As we made our way through the massive crowds back to our resort, we vowed that we’d do better.

Here’s what we learned.

  • Morning was good. Less crowds in the morning meant less time in line-ups.
  • Heat was bad. No, really bad. We’re from the West Coast of Canada so we’re not used to that heat and humidity. It saps your will to live. It saps the fun. We had to find a way to avoid that heat.
  • Going from 8am to about 6pm had totally exhausted us. Sure, the heat and crowds played their part, but even The-Youngest, our energizer bunny, chose to go back to the resort rather than go on other rides in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. That’s gotta tell you something.

So, after lying on our beds in an air-conditioned room, we came up with a new plan for day 3, The Animal Kingdom, a plan so cunning, it couldn’t possibly fail, right?

Right?

Disney World Vacation – Day 2 – Magic Kingdom Fun

Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Main street in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. We’re about to learn a valuable lesson of how NOT to do Disney

The first part of the day at Magic Kingdom had gone so well, but by 11am the crowds at Disney World had begun to grow.

In a big way.

Wait-times shown on our Disney World App went from 20 min to a minimum of 30min, and 2 hours for the super popular rides.

On the Tomorrowland’s Peoplemover, we had decided to try and do the park in a circle. Tomorrowland to Fantasyland to Adventureland (where we’d get lunch) to Frontierland, then home.

We had tons of rides we could do, but we wanted to avoid all the huge line-ups. Nothing could be worse than standing under the sun in 100% humidity for 2 hours for a ride.

Plus, it was 11am and the park closed at 9pm, so we had 10 hours. 1 each for lunch and supper, which left 8 hours. So 2 hours waiting for each ride meant we could only do 4 rides (which doesn’t include time for picture taking, walking and eating Mickey balls), and that would suck.

So we’d hit up the MUST-DO rides. At 11:30, we had a Fastpass to the famous Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train. At 2:45 we had another Fastpass for Splash Mountain. Fastpasses meant no lines. Plus, we’d learned that we had a window of 1 hour to use the Fastpass. So we didn’t have to rush, we could be there from 2:45 – 3:45.

Lots of breathing room.

Right?

First up, though, was the famous Mad Tea Cup Party, which had only a 20 min line, but after waiting for about 10, the darned thing broke down.

We didn’t wait for it to be fixed, we dodged through the crowds to the Enchanted Grotto (the Little Mermaid clamshell ride). The-Youngest, able to do the most terrifying rollercoasters, couldn’t face princess animatronics, so we waited for The-Oldest and The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World to do the ride.

The sun beat down on us, the sweaty crowds moving in front of us like human rivers, mostly in two directions, but every so often the river would dam up and slow everyone up. Kids shrieked with excitement or temper tantrums. Rides roared and beeped. The air smelled of suntan lotion and fast food. 

This, my friends, is the reality of Disney World in the summer.

Watching the crowds, baking in the sun with me, I realized two things. 1. Disney World in summer is hell. 2. I needed a hat. Badly! Or I risked sunstroke. Luckily, in Adventureland, while the family rode the Barnstormer, I found a good hat that was cool and not goofy at all, not goofy at all, I say.

The day was saved for me. We had super fun on the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train, got lunch at the Boat House but I was so hot, so sweaty, my feet so sore, that I ate only a bowl of clam chowder. That was it. No epic princess cupcakes. No fruit-filled waffles. No cookies the size of my head. The chowder was all I could handle.

I wasn’t the only one. The-Prettiest-Girl-in-the-World needed a rest. That heat and humidity and constant walking took it out of everyone. So, while she and The-Youngest rested in the air-conditioned, but smelly restaurant, The-Oldest and I went off to see the Haunted House.

The Haunted Mansion line up in the Magic Kingdom, Disney World
There is always something to look at in the Disney World lines. In this case, the spooky family from the Haunted Mansion

I don’t often get a chance to have a real chat with the-Oldest, but for the hour we stood in line IN THE SUN, we had a great talk about life, about his desire to create something musical that would last, his desire to be on his own, his fear of never being good enough, and why he loved certain composers. Now, the latter is usually what he talks about, but I treasured the openness that he discussed his desires and fears.

I told him I worried he’d lose his love of music if he pursued success over creativity. Money was needed to live, of course, but what powered his soul was his love of music, of playing the piano, of composing. It would break my heart to see that love die. He had a gift, something he still denied, and I couldn’t wait to see what amazing things he’d do with that gift.

It was a great moment for me. The Haunted House? Meh. Amazing visuals, sure, but I get more scared watching an ‘It’ trailer.

The-Oldest and I returned to the restaurant where, as a family, we made our worst decision.