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  1. Disney's Hollywood Studios https://www.parkz.com.au/search/photos/location/disneys-hollywood-studios (For more pics) Last but not least from my November trip. I ended up here on a couple of the days through park hopping. For the thrill seekers, the park probably has the best lineup at Walt Disney World. Plenty of new stuff to see here. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance An amazing attraction. I don't think there is much that comes close in terms of being a true start to finish immersive experience with a strong storyline. Haunted mansion is great for instance, but they still whack you on an escalator at the end of the ride for example. Big Thunder is pretty, but no story right? Harry Potter is a great ride, just make sure you stay looking straight ahead! But this, its so well thought out from start to finish. You begin in a reistance base, carved out in some caverns on the edge of the settlement, full of supplies and munitions. The first preshow tells you that you have to get off the planet since your current location is no longer safe. A cute BB-8 Animatronic whirls around in a concerned manner. You then head outside and board a transport ship. It's like a mild simulator ride, (not too strong since everyone is standing up), anyhow your craft is intercepted by the first order in a space battle, and you are dragged into the shuttle bay of a star destroyer. The doors open, and you are in a completely different location, the massive void of the shuttle bay! It's real wow moment, up there with that moment on POTC where you turn the corner into that huge battle. And you turn around and there your ship is, parked against the wall. From there you are taken into custody hustled down into holding cells and locked inside. Kylo Ren and General Hux try to interrogate you, but are distracted and wander off to deal with other issues. In that moment, some unseen allies come to your rescue, and burn a hole in the wall to bust you out. From here its into your next ride vehicle, a trackless transporter. From then on, the fun really starts. You start sneaking off through the corridors of the star destroyer, but within about the 30 seconds you are spotted by some storm troopers and they open fire. This is where the Disney magic really shines, with actual laser shots ricocheting around you, holes being blown in walls etc. From then on its several minutes of running for your life through different battle scenes. At one point you are darting around like mice under the legs of an AT-AT, at another point Kylo ren sticks a lightsaber through the roof and tries to cut you up. The only real downer was that on all my rides the last couple of scenes were running in B mode. None of the huge moving laser guns were working, so your vehicle sort of just moves back and forth erratically, seemingly dodging ghosts. The final scene had no Kylo Ren animatronic, so you just see him hovering outside in his spaceship before getting shot down, and you head to the escape pods without the rushing air effect of being sucked out into space. And then of course its a wild finale where your vehicle drives into a simulator pod meets freefall ride and evacuates out of the star destroyer, crash landing on the planet. What makes this cool is the unload area is actually outdoors, so the whole thing is wrapped up in a neat little package and you are back to where you started. Did this 3 times. Ah well, maybe when i return to one of the parks it'll all be going. Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run I've done this back at Disneyland when the 'soft' opened their version of Galaxy's Edge and Rise wasn't ready yet, and then Covid happened and here I am finally seeing the rest of it in 2023. A huge recreation of the Milennium Falcon sits out front And you make your way through a well themed, but some what lifeless workshop themed queue. IMO they should have made it more like star tours with more things moving, though the soundtrack is quite humorous in this area if you listen in. And then after walking through a gangway, you board the faclon. On one ride, just before closing i had the most odd experience where I had an entire pod to myself. The ride is an on the rails shooter, with a bit of steering ability, and of course all your motion simulator fun, as you go off flying to steal some coaxium from another planet. A couple of of players shoot, a couple shoot and a couple do mostly nothing except hit one button at the right moment. So I got to take on the pilots position, with everything else being done on auto for you. Slinky Dog Dash Possibly the gentlest LSM launch in existence? The theming is quite fun, they have actually got this whole sub narrative that what you are riding on is a roller coaster kit owned by Andy, so the queue is scattered with spare bits of track and supports, as well as a lot of oversized toys. The first launch goes into a horseshoe turn and helix. Stops at the 2nd launch, which is themed a bit like a launcher on a hotwheels set. From there is a floater hill, a bunch of very mild bunny hops that would be right at home on a Japanese jet coaster, finished off with an S bend. When you are waiting on the brakes, squeaky penguin sings to you with his microphone, which was a nice surprise you dont see from the queue. This thing can get painful queues, but I tended to try and ride it later in the day and waited like 30-40 mins on both rides. Alien Swirling Saucers This is the same ride as Maters Junkyard Jamboree, several turntables interconnected so you move in a double figure 8 pattern, with some mechanism below the floor allowing your car to move from one turntable to the next. What is also cool is that your car is connected to the turntable by a springloaded tow bar, so your car drifts and swings wildly from side to side, not unlike the classic whip rides. Good fun. The "pizza planet" in the middle of the ride is a nice detail. Now why dont they have an ACTUAL pizza planet at Disney, it would be a license to print money Lightning McQueen's Racing Academy Fine for kids, but its Disney so its still decent. Imagine an animatronic Lighting mcqueen with a projection mapped eyes and mouth. Hey greets the crowd, moving about on his podium. He then demonstrates his speed, with a panoramic racing simulator on a giant screen behind. But his arch rival hacks in to try and beat him, but of course McQueen prevails. Tower of Terror Still excellent. As the prototype, this one actually has a section where your vehicle moves from one lift to another through a brief dark ride scene, with some cool optical illusions. Paris still wins out in terms of sheer intensity of the ride programme, and probably Tokyo has the best preshow. Rock n Roller Coaster Some embuggerance with this one, as it kept bloody breaking down. Surprisingly, one of my favourite things about this is how the whole loading area is themed. The preshow has you watching Aerosmith recording in their studio, and they invite you to join them at their concert via stretch limousine. When you step out the back door of the studio, you are in an alleyway, and your limousine is waiting in a multi level car park, but the theming is so immersive, eg the operators booth is inside the cashiers office, the secondary control panel is on the call box, there’s all sorts of other details like a motorbike being fixed, and even a low clearance height bar above the track where it leaves the station. The launch is powerful, and its a smooth, frantic layout full of positive gs, with a sea serpent roll, a lot of helices, and then a surprise corkscrew at the end. Mickey and Minnies Runaway Railway This one is fantastic. You head into the chinese theatre, ready to watch a short film featuring Mickey and Minnie on a road trip, (Hmm reminds me of how the gremlins ride started out). On the way, they meet goofy driving a train, and an explosion on the train in the cartoon creates a real explosion in the theatre, creating a smoking hole in the wall that leads to the cartoon realm. You are invited to pass through, and inside, everything is done in the art style of the cartoon, with scribbled details on the walls, 2d props etc. The ride vehicles are a train of trackless pods behind a locomotive driven by goofy. Shortly into the ride your cars become detached from the loco, spinning out of control through a number of projection mapped scenes, often taking different routes. On the way you keep encountering Mickey and Minnie in peril. One scene had you caught up in a tornado, with very strong winds. Another was in a big city, where a jackhammering worker causes everything to shake. An impressive moment is where a room has faux rockwork and looks like a jungle, but when you return to it, it has transformed into an underwater environment. There’s also a nice moment where you end up in a dance studio run by daisy duck, and all the vehicles waltz side to side in unison. But, the quality of the graphics was something else, it just looks so bright and crisp, like a blacklight painting come to life, and they have managed to incorporate other moving props into it seamlessly. Did this a couple of times. I ended up timing it to try a few of the food items at the park. The Totchos from Woody's Lunchbox are a big ole bowl of carbs. Chilli con carne with corn chips and potato gems. But i think the 'blandness' of the corn chips overpowers everything. And i was sure to have booked in a drink at Oga's Cantina. I was recommended to try a Fuzzy Tauntan, which was rum and a few other sour flavours, but the foam on top actually made your lips go numb, like as if it had Lignocaine in it or something. The other drink i had was like a juice blend with coloured boba balls floating in it. They had a theatre showing newer Mickey Mouse shorts. Since when did it become like Ren and Stimpy? Overall, I think the park has one of the best ride lineups at Disney, and a mixed bag in terms of Immersive theming. Star Wars and Toy Story are great, but the rest of it is generic city streets and backlot theming, with a fair bit of the latter being under renovation. *****************************
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