Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Check Out Steven Tyler's Hat!" aka My Trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios

I was looking forward to yesterday's Disney trip for ages (you may recall a post from long ago detailing the shanty town created as we waited in line for free tickets in the student building), I was writing papers, making presentations, and just generally being miserable as I floundered around in all my work like a zombie in a swimming pool. Disney was my light at the end of the tunnel of work-related hell. Turns out Disney is actually it's own tunnel, which is not to say I didn't have fun there, but...well, it's easier to just explain, which I shall do with a detailed attraction breakdown (also, we were confined to Hollywood Studios, arguably the lamest Disney park that isn't Epcot):

1. The Tower of Terror. Some people genuinely enjoy plummeting, Ashley is one of them. In the picture they take of you on the ride, I have a look of sheer unadulterated terror on my face, Akiva and Zeke look bored, and Ashley is just smiling serenely like she's a character in a Jane Austen novel:

"Ah, the bit where we drop to our supposed deaths. I do so enjoy this part"

2. The Rockin' Roller coaster. It's a fun if kind of short coaster that plays Aerosmith songs which totally justifies screaming the lyrics to "Dude looks like a lady" whilst you ride. (Aside: to the big Spanish guy who I shared a car with when me and my friends did single riders, sorry for screaming the lyrics to "Dude looks like a lady" during the ride). However, there's just one thing that bothers me. As you may have guessed, it has something to do with the title of this post. When you're seated in the cars, getting ready to go, a voice in the speakers on the car gets you revved up by saying "It's time to get to the concert, are you ready to go? Check out Steven Tyler's hat!" Now, I would like to state that

A. Steven Tyler or any pictures of Steven Tyler are conspicuously absent when he says this.

B. In the opening part of the ride when Aerosmith invites you to ride to the concert with them, Steven Tyler is not wearing a hat.

C. Neither Val or I could recall a time when Steven Tyler ever did wear any special hat as a sort of trademark look of his.

So what the hell is up with that line? Where is Steven Tyler? When did he get a hat? How are we supposed to see it? Thanks Disney for making my brain leak from my ears in a way unrelated to roller coaster awesomeness.

3. The Beauty and the Beast show. What you would expect from a movie condensed into twenty-five minutes and performed by people in giant foam costumes. However, the guy playing Gaston looked and sounded like Bruce Campbell, which made me giggle insanely because Bruce Campbell would actually make a great Gaston:

"Kill the Beast! But first, gimmee some sugar, baby"

4. Drew Carey's "Sounds Dangerous". Do you like Drew Carey? Do you also like being confined in a pitch black room wearing cheap headphones and listening to Drew Carey pretending to be a cop in wacky situations? Then you're probably an easily amused chimpanzee, and in that case you'll love Sounds Dangerous.

5. Toy Story Midway. This is Disney's newest attraction, so it was pretty crowded. We waited in line for approximately eight years, with only an animatronic Mr. Potato-Head for company. I have a theory that the line, not the ride, is the point, and Disney is actually conducting some kind of study where they try to figure out the best ways to induce madness in the average human. They're doing well. The ride itself is a lot of fun, think Universal's Men In Black ride but with 3D glasses and effects that happen when you shoot the targets. Still, it wasn't worth standing in the torture chamber they called a line to do it again.

Oh those eyes, those squinty, judging eyes that see every french fry and baked potato I've ever had.

6. The Chronicles of Narnia "behind the movie". I need new expletives to properly describe the waste of time this was. It wasn't just incredibly shitty, it wasn't just mind-blowingly fucking stupid, it was Holy Fuckshittastically awful. You stand in a room, a TV tells you all the neat stuff they did to bring the Prince Caspian movie to life. They take you inside a replica of Aslan's cave and then THEY SUMMARIZE THE MOVIE. Seriously, you stand there while scenes from the movie are projected onto the walls and a narrator summarizes the whole movie. They focus a little longer on the bit that takes place in the cave you're in but that's it. It's over, here are some props, now go. So unless you really get a kick out of having someone synopsize a movie while standing in a fake cave, it's best to give this exercise in dumb-assery a miss.

7. Muppet-vision 3D. I have fond memories of visiting the Muppet Show part of the park back when it was MGM and I was knee-high to a, well to small things. So this was kind of a nice way to keep the Muppets around. The show is cute and fun, they even have the old guys Waldorf and Statler mocking it. There's a great line from Sam the Eagle claiming his finale for the show is "a moving tribute to all countries...but mostly America" So what ruins it? This little irritance:

Waldo C. Graphic, the "spirit of 3D" and patron saint of Fucking Annoying. I looked him up and he was in fact a legitimate Muppet character on the show, so he wasn't just created for this show, but he sticks out like he was, he doesn't mesh with the rest of the humor, he's obtrusive and obnoxious (just like real 3D!) I was ecstatic when the Swedish Chef shot him with a cannon only to be bitterly disappointed when he survived.

8. The Stunt Car Show. It freaking RULED. The drivers were awesome, barely missing each other as they executed balletic moves and gave Javi some very bad ideas about driving backwards on two wheels. They also were flashing trivia questions on this jumbo-tron screen beforehand about cars used in movies, movies with epic chase scenes and...Brawny paper towels. Yeah. I know they sponsored it but still, that's stupid. I'd been answering these questions in a typical brain-dead fashion and annoying Val:

What car was used in by Nicholas Cage in Gone In 60 Seconds?


Val: Don't start this

Me: ok...The Buttsex GT!

Val: (shakes her head in despair)

What is the name of the Brawny Mascot?

Me: Buttsex!

Val: That's not even a name!

Me: Buttsex McGee!

Val: I hate you

(It was The Brawny Man. That is a terrible name for a mascot. Even Mr. Clean is a step above The Brawny Man. I vote we start calling him Lumber-Jeff, because it's better and also sounds like it could be a euphemism for a penis)

9. The Indiana Jones Stunt Show. This one was also really cool, showing how stunts are set up in movies from explosions to fights. It was really cool and they let audience members get up and be extras, and even though I jumped and yelled and waved like I had some kind of severe mental disorder, I didn't get picked. :( But Amanda did, and so I was happy for her. And by happy I mean intensely jealous and filled loathing (just kidding, Amanda...mostly).

10. The Great Movie Ride. For every cool thing at Hollywood Studios, there are five more things that are in desperate need of either update or eradication. The Great Movie Ride is one of these things. A tour guide (in our case a captain Kirk-impersonator reject from the Star Trek Experience) takes you on a big boat through a nasty-smelling canal past some out-dated but still damned creepy animatronics reenacting scenes from famous old movies (excluding ones by Universal *wink*) and tells you random trivia and fun facts about them.

Fun Fact: The actual ride is far more disappointing than this poster leads you to believe!

11. Star Tours. A ride that literally has not been altered since THE YEAR I WAS BORN. Star Tours takes you on a Star Wars shuttle tour that goes awry. Translation: you get in a big box that shakes violently while you watch a screen that shows you flying through space. It's got more entertaining cheese factor than the Great Movie Ride, but the most fun we got from it was listening to Johnny laugh his ass off for no real reason. Johnny's one was those loud laughers too, so everyone else on the ride, the attendants and probably people in the Magic Kingdom all knew that Johnny at least enjoyed the ride.

And finally, the big nighttime Disney show extravaganza: Fantasmic! (the exclamation point isn't to imply any sort of excitement, it's literally part of the title)

First, the name. I picture a bunch of execs in the meeting about the show. One of them finishes detailing the show and says: "So what's the first thing that pops into your head?"

Exec 1: Fantastic!

Exec 2 (who's off his meds): Orgasmic!

And so Fantasmic! was born.

The show starts with guy-in-a-Mickey-suit making fountains go up and down while a crappy pop song goes on about the vague power of "Imagination" then these giant mist fans appear and animated scenes are projected onto them, which is pretty cool. There's also actors running around in costume, reenacting stuff from Disney movies. Then the villains appear in the mist fans and in horribly dubbed voices talk about how they're going to destroy Mickey through his imagination...which is kind of dark for a family show like this. Especially when the demon thing from Fantasia that used to give me nightmares appears and summons skeletons to do...something. Then there's the Jafar snake, the Maleficent dragon and then Mickey grabs a sword from the a stone and with the power of imagination...kills all the villains with lightning. Like you watch them all get murdered on the giant mist fans. Like they scream in agony as lightning enshrouds them. And then to cap it off Mickey giggles and quips "Some imagination, huh?" and you're meant to be distracted from this murderous horror by a barrage of fireworks...for kids!

And that concludes my trip to Disney World's Hollywood Studios. Now that I've relived it I think I'm gonna go lie down and not think for awhile. I'll be back in a bit for this week's Sean Connery movie but til then this is Sugary Cynic saying Check out Steven Tyler's hat!


  1. Fantasia is scary, I don't care what my therapist says.

  2. but but but...IT HAS PRETTY COLORS!!

  3. I expressed that hat-confusion to Mom earlier today, and she said "think Cat in the Hat, but without the stripes." I can only assume she meant this, I guess:

    BUT, while I was looking for that, I found that Steven Tyler was also known (much more widely, by the looks of it) for sporting this stylish chapeau:

    as well as other variations of it. And then, there was also this:

    Which I'm not entirely sure I want to see on his head ever again lol.

    Also, while I have to agree with Ashley about the pretty colors in conjunction with snobbery-inducing music.....I always decided that the movie was over once that part came on, I'm not gonna lie lol

  4. Simon: I can't even watch it to this day

    Ashley: I hope everytime you think of fantasmic you'll think orgasms and lightning murder, then my work will be done

    val: this still does not explain HOW we were supposed to check out Steven Tyler's hat. I remain unsatisfied

  5. That song about imagination didn't go like this, did it?:


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