Saturday, January 27, 2007

Disney World Pics Of The Day--Day 4

Ah, the movies. Who doesn’t love ‘em? Ked and I do. We have a whole collection at home of classic and not-so-classic films that we have watched over and over again. We have the same taste, too, which is a good thing, because our taste doesn’t necessarily match up with the rest of the world, and without each other we would be alone in our quirkiness. With some of our favorites we can quote entire sections verbatim, and certain phrases from these oft-seen gems have eased their way into our everyday conversation at points both appropriate and completely out of left field. If one of us says, “And Joe, I want those catalogues,” the other is sure to respond with, “Well then, please order them.” (Joe Versus the Volcano—one of the most underrated films ever.) It doesn’t matter that not another soul on the planet would understand what triggered the quotation. Nine times out of ten both our minds will have gone there at the same time, so the responding phrase is automatic.

Because we love movies, you’d think that one of the parts of our Florida adventure we’d like the best would be the day we just spent at Disney-MGM Studios. We would possibly have thought so too if it weren’t for the couple times that we have gone to the Universal Studios Theme Park in California and had it just fall flat for us. There were a few things we really enjoyed. The Backdraft tour and the Jurassic Park rides were both a lot of fun. The Water World show was really entertaining, and the Terminator was, well, the Terminator, but the rest of what we saw left us underwhelmed, to put it politely. While we love movies, what we really love are the tales they tell, and the places they take us in our minds, not the glamour of the business, or the mystique of the people who tell those tales. We’ve never cared who was dating whom, or what star was seen at what restaurant, or what they wore, or what they drove. We’ve never been impressed with the limousines and fancy clothes, and awards shows. We do admire the skill it takes to make films, though, and so we thought it was worth heading to the park today to catch a glimpse of how that’s done. This was still Disney, after all, so we thought maybe the magic would make the Studio experience a little more to our taste than the one at Universal.

Unfortunately, we found it to be pretty much the same experience as the times we spent on the other studio tours. There were some high points, but a lot of Ho Hum, and we ended up leaving rather early, without the desire to go back and have another go at anything we had already done once. We didn’t take too many pictures, either. We just didn’t get inspired. With a few exceptions, the things in the brochure didn’t live up to their promise, so we didn’t bother recording them. The best part of the day was that it finally got warm, and our streak of days gone without standing in any long lines continues unabated. It's not as much as we would have liked, but you gotta focus on the positive (eventually anyway.) We’re heading to the Animal Kingdom tomorrow, and I suspect it will be more to our liking. Oh, I almost forgot; the day did hold a fun surprise or two. As a highlight to our time at the Studio, we were walking along minding our own business when the Disney magic sparked a little--we got chosen as Disney's "family of the hour" (or something like that), and got pins declaring us "Honorary Citizens" and free buckets of popcorn!!

I'll tell you about a couple of the more memorable bits of the day. One of the first things we did today was head off on the backlot tour. It had a few interesting moments, but one in particular was (we’re pretty sure) probably unintentional. On the tour, they take you into a staging area where they recreate some of the action from the movie Pearl Harbor. It was amusing enough, but what really made us chuckle was the MC. This kid clearly has acting aspirations beyond the Disney backlot tour. We were sure that after his shift he was probably heading off to audition for a role in the next teen TV melodrama. We pictured him as the selfish and arrogant football jerk, “Rock Tenderheart,” who is transformed into a good guy by the love of the really-beautiful-but-considered-ugly-for-the-sake-of-television girl, “Sarah Plain and Sexy.” That provided us with as much amusement as most of the rest of the tour. They sailed by the detail stuff about how movies are made, and spent a lot of time pointing out “this is the car so-and-so drove in such-and-such movie.” We got to see some explosions, flooding and fire. Yawn. Moving on. Here's what we found...

One of the more fun parts of the day was the stunt driving demonstration, called Lights, Motors, Action! First thing we noticed—it was LOUD. There was lots of spinning, revving, jumping, and occasionally burning and driving backwards. The thing that made this fun, though, was that they stopped after each set of stunts and showed how they did it. For example, there was an awful lot of driving backwards very fast—stuff that would get normal humans killed rather quickly. So, we thought, “Wow, those stunt guys are amazing.” However, what was really happening was a little more “sleight of hand” than “incredible skill and daring.” Turns out the car that looks like it’s going backwards has its innards reversed, so that backward is actually forward to the stunt driver. Pretty sneaky, huh? They also explained that on some of their cars there is a second set of gears. A car that has four gears going forward has a little trick handle that can be flipped to engage the four gears the car also has for going in reverse—which explains how “Tom Cruise” can do things the rest of us would find Impossible. There’s lots of other stuff we learned from the show, like how the cars in the stunt show had motorcycle engines instead of car engines, carry only twenty minutes worth of gas for fire safety, and have water pumps sending liquid through the drivers’ clothing to keep them cool as they’re working. They never did explain, though, why random things kept bursting into flame for no reason. I guess they want to keep some of the mystery alive, eh?

I just can't resist a really bad old sci fi flick. The worse, the better. So, naturally, I was drawn to the Sci-fi Dine-In Theater. Would you like some tentacles with your fries?

The inside of the restaurant was row after row of fifties-looking cars, complete with TV trays and old sci fi movie clips on the big screen.

We were looking forward to the "Journey Into Narnia: Creating The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." It was billed as a "15-minute walking tour." We pictured ourselves walking through sets and costume departments, makeup rooms and editing rooms, learning about how they put the movie together. Imagine our disappointment when the "walking tour" turned out to be "Walk into a fake forest. Stand there and watch an extended trailer for the movie. Walk out. The end." Okay, to be fair, we walked by a few display items, like the White Witch's costume and sleigh, but "a walking tour" it wasn't. Gripe. Grumble. Whine. That's almost as bad as weather reporters promising snow and not delivering. There are just certain things civilised people shouldn't do.

The stage shows of Disney movies are almost always good--and very colorful!!

Of course, after seeing the Sci-fi Dine-In Theater, we couldn't help wondering what Beauty and the Beast would look like with a few alien elements thrown in. What can I say. We left the park early and had "play-time" on our hands.

Doesn't Kedley look cute? However, if you look closely, you'll see that the temperature is in the seventies and he's still wearing his jacket. He actually unzipped it, though, so clearly we're having a heat wave!!

Well, that's it for today--I know this one was a long one. Kind of sad that I have the most to say on the day we have had the least fun, but it's only because I didn't drag myself back to the hotel late in the evening, all tired and fuzzy, not because I want to complain. We're still having a ball, and, on the very positive side, we'll probably get a really good night's sleep. "So we got that going for us, ...." (anyone?)