Thursday, January 19, 2006

Day Two PM - MGM Studios

Refreshed from our naps, we stepped outside our rooms at 3:00 PM and were again assaulted by the heat and humidity. After a 15 minute wait, we boarded the bus for the eight minute ride to MGM Studios. The park was amazing. It very much resembled Hollywood in its early days. It was fun to stroll down the street looking at all the shops. At the end of the street is the park icon, a gigantic Sorcerer’s Mickey hat. Our first stop was to pick up FP’s for Rock-n-Roller (RNR) Coaster, which we ended up not using. Then we had our pictures taken in front of the RNR building with our PhotoPass cards.

Without warning it began to rain and everyone took cover under the nearest shelter. It rained pretty much every day during our visit, but it was usually just a quick shower that was over in 5-10 minutes. When the rain subsided, it was time to head over to The Hollywood Brown Derby for our dinner reservation. The inside of the restaurant was an exact replica of the original restaurant in Hollywood, complete with the caricatures of celebrities on the walls. This dinner was part of the Fantasmic! Dinner Package. For a fixed price of $36.99, you have your choice of an appetizer, entrée and dessert, plus VIP seating for the Fantasmic! show later that evening. Fantasmic! is very popular at WDW and people begin lining up as early as 90-120 minutes before the show. With the special seating, we were able to enter the stadium 30 minutes before the show and sit in a section roped off from the general audience.

Dinner was delicious. For an appetizer, I had the Chilled Gazpacho Soup and Jason had the Portobello Tortellini. Jason chose the Tanglewood Chicken for his entrée and I had the Char-Grilled Filet Minon. We both had the Grapefruit Cake, a Brown Derby classic, for dessert. While eating we reminisced about one of our favorite I Love Lucy episodes where Lucy, Ethel and Fred eat lunch at the Brown Derby and Lucy gets starstruck when she sees William Holden in the next booth. William Holden decides to turn the tables on her and begins staring at her as she eats her spaghetti. She becomes extremely nervous and ends up with too big of a mouthful. Trying to be helpful, Ethel takes a pair of scissors from her purse and nonchalantly reaches over to cut off the excess spaghetti. We agreed that if spaghetti had been on the menu, we both would have ordered it.

After dinner we picked up our wristbands for the Extra Magic Hours (EMH). EMH is a perk for guests staying at one of the WDW resorts. Each of the parks will open one hour early or stay open three hours late once during the week. We found the morning EMH was definitely worth it and we were able to get a lot accomplished in that hour, while the evening EMH was usually very crowded, with line lines and no FP’s for the more popular rides. In future visit, we’ll avoid the parks that are having the evening EMH’s.

We had a little time to spare so we browsed through some of the shops before heading over to the stadium for Fantasmic!. Our seats were great and while we waited we entertained ourselves by participating in the wave that was going around the stadium. The threat of rain left us with the possibility of delay or cancellation of the show, but finally it began and it was wonderful.

After fighting our way through the crowds exiting the Fantasmic! stadium, we joined the line for The Great Movie Ride. On this ride, you sit in a large vehicle that looks similar to a section of a movie theater and move through scenes from famous movies. One of the scenes featured the Wizard of Oz and it really felt like we were in Munchkinland. Surprisingly, the ride also includes some live-action interactive parts that were fun. This was definitely one of our favorite rides at MGM.

Our schedule called for us to go to Downtown Disney this evening, but we were too tired to make the trip so we went back to the resort, stopping to use a snack credit on a Mickey ice cream bar before returning to our rooms for the evening.


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