We arrived at Disney World around noon on the 2nd, and shortly after met up with my mother who had flown in. After getting everyone settled and unpacked, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat at the hotel before heading over to Hollywood Studios. My main reason for choosing to do Hollywood Studios as our first park was because I wanted to take Drake to see the Fantasmic show at night and the Frozen fireworks afterwards. I thought of all the parks Hollywood would have the least to offer him -- it lacks rides and the few that are popular (Tower of Terror, Aerosmith roller coaster) are too large for Drake to participate in -- so if we squeezed it in on our first night it would save us the need to have to go back. We never went back to Hollywood after this night, so I think it was the best choice.
Before we left for Disney I had a detailed outline of rides and shows (and times) of things I thought would interest Drake. My list for Hollywood consisted of these things:
Fantasmic - Fantasmic is a night time light/firework show done over a water lagoon. The seating is stadium style with the audience around a lagoon. The premise of the show is Mickey's imagination and how powerful it can be, creating both wonderful thoughts as well as dark ones too. There are characters, special effects with moving pieces like boats that sail by, staged puppetry (the best way I can describe the large snake and dragon ), movie stills projected on water and fireworks. Before we left I showed Drake the video of the show (I actually did that for quite a few rides as well just to let him see what we were going to do and to gauge his reaction and interest) because it does have some darker, possibly scary elements as the villains of Disney try to corrupt Mickey's dreams and create a nightmare situation. I would say the scariest parts are when Maleficent turns into a towering dragon that spits fire onto the lagoon and the snake that Jafar turns into to try to trap Mickey. Drake didn't have any trouble with the show (maybe because he saw it already on video), but I don't think he fully understood the story line either. When I asked him what he thought of the show, he just talked about how he saw Mickey. The show has two seatings, 8:30pm and 10pm. The 10pm show is less crowded so if your party can hang out that late it's better to go to that one, but clearly with young kids it might not be possible. There is Fast pass for this show as well as a dining package at 3 different restaurants (Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood & Vine, and Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano) that will get you priority seating in a roped off area (with the best front and center seats). We were late and were off to the very left side, and still got a pretty decent view I thought.
Toy Story Mania - Of all the parks Hollywood is my least favorite as an adult, and even moreso with small kids. Hollywood did just come out with a new Toy Story ride, but because of how new the ride is the wait is unbearably long unless you get Fast Pass. As it was late in the day all the Fast Passes were already gone, so we had to skip the ride and its 90 minute wait. If you ever did the Buzz Lightyear ride at Magic Kingdom, this is very similar in that it's a shooting gallery game ride which moves you around as you play the game and tallies up scores for you and your partner. I love the Buzz Lightyear one myself, but the wait time was just too long for two young kids so hopefully we get to try it next time.
First time experiencing 3D glasses
MuppetVision 3D - Drake doesn't really know the Muppets except for Kermit, but I thought he would enjoy this one. Drake loved the 3D glasses and that entertained him while we waited. Once seated, the setting is a lovely opera house like theater, and the Muppets show is projected on the large screen. Drake was immediately amazed by the 3D effects. He would watch the screen with the glasses on, remove them quickly to see what everything looked like without them, and then place them back on. They had a small bit character named Bean the Rabbit that Drake fell in love with unexpectedly (for the rest of the trip he would ask if we remembered Bean the Rabbit). There is some live interaction besides the movie with some animatronic puppets in the balcony seats (one is Bean), mock explosions that show in the theater walls, Sweetums the huge ogre-like creature walks out twice (I say this because that frightened quite a few kids in the audience... not Drake but I heard screams and crying after he showed up), and bubbles fill the theater at the end, which Juliet took particular joy in. Overall I think this one made Drake's night even more than Fantasmic.
Beauty & the Beast Live Stage Show - I put this one on my list but we never made it in time. I think if you have a princess lover in your group, this might be a must see. I wasn't sure if Drake would sit through this one as he doesn't know the story. I have seen this in past visits and enjoyed it, but I like Broadway shows as well. Mr. Chocolate can take or leave this one.
Disney Jr On Stage - I was so sad that we never made this one as it's geared for his age set and I think Drake would have enjoyed it. From what I have read and seen from online videos, it's a small stage show with Disney Jr characters (Doc McStuffins, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, etc.) with songs and dancing. Before coming to Disney Drake didn't watch much Disney Jr shows and wouldn't have known the characters, but he often watched a show or two with breakfast at the hotel while we got ready so he learned them pretty quickly. This show would have been good for him if we had come back to Hollywood.
Voyage of the Little Mermaid - Like Beauty & the Beast this is stage show of the Little Mermaid. Like Beauty if you have a princess fan, this might be a must see for you. Drake knows the Little Mermaid, but I'm not sure if he would have followed the storyline well enough to stay interested long enough as well.
Right now is the summer of Frozen at Disney so they had some additional Frozen events including a parade in the morning with Anna & Elsa, a Frozen sing a long ,fireworks at night done to the soundtrack of the movie, and Wandering Oaken's Trading Post which is a little gift shop as well as a play area for kids with ice skating (for an additional fee). I wanted to do the ice skating with Drake but the line for this was close to an hour and I figured it wouldn't be worth it.
There is also a play area in the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set. The premise is like the movie where there are gigantic sculpture like figures for your child to climb and burn energy off.
Hollywood didn't offer a lot for us in Drake's age range and interest level, which is why I choose to only do the half day there. I think when Drake gets older he might enjoy trying out the Star Wars Jedi Training Academy, the Indiana Stunt Show, and Lights Motors Action! An Extreme Stunt Show as well as Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Aerosmith Roller coaster.
We only managed to do a few things while at Hollywood but did catch the Frozen fireworks as we were leaving.
Even though we only spent a few hours there Drake had a great first day, the highlights being Bean at the Muppet show.