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An evening at the Studos

#1 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 11:00 PM

This is when living in Orlando makes it all worth it. After a long day at work, myself, my fiancee and Mike (torg0 on the boards here) had dinner plans for Hollywood & Vine. I picked Mike up at the Hilton resort at DTD where he was staying and we were at the Studios by about 7:30pm. We went to H&V (our ADR was at 8:10) and were given one of those buzzers to wait with. We got as far as Echo Lake when it buzzed! (Why did I get one in the first place? :P )

We were seated in a rather empty restaurant, although I figured it was empty since it was so close to the first showing of Fantasmic! (8:30). Our server was a very nice older woman named Grace from Belgium and she is what you want from a waiter at WDW; fast, efficient and overly nice. I hadn't been to H&V since 2006 and hadn't had dinner here since 2003 so I was interested to see how things were. My first stop was the bread and salad bar. I grabbed a slice of sourdough bread that looked good and almost bypassed the salads before getting a nice spicy chicken pasta salad that was quite good.

The entree of the night and the dish to try is the pineapple chicken. Okay, I don't like pineapple but it looked good and it was amazing. One of the best chicken dishes I've had in years. It was so good I wanted to just go up and get another right away. The flavor was so rich..it was a real treat. There was another pasta dish that I got as well (I'm a sucker for pasta and rice), some mashed potatoes (usual Disney mashed potatoes with some skins in there).

For my second go around at the buffet, I got more pineapple chicken (duh) as well as a stop at the carving station. The turkey was the best turkey I've had in years; not dry at all and lots of flavor. If I hadn't filled up on chicken, I'd have gotten more of the turkey. The prime rib was average at best (it looked like it was towards the end of the prime rib so hardly a choice slice). The food was so good here that I really felt like I didn't save enough room to try everything I wanted.

For dessert, I had ice cream soft serve and mini-cheesecakes. I missed the hot fudge dispenser so I got back to the table with a boring helping of ice cream while everyone else had nice little sudaes.

After dinner we walked around Echo Lake and wanted to simply enjoy the evening. We got to the Sorcerer's Hat and wanted to show Marissa and Mike the new Sorcerer Mickey meet-n-greet along with the WallE stuff. We had to spend some time first in the Animation Gallery store with all of the fantastic art work. If I ever win the lottery, THIS is where I'm going first to splurge.

After seeing Walle & Sorcerer Mickey I suggested we do the Animation Academy once (we had all done it previously at least once). It's always fun and our character to draw was Pluto and let me tell you, this is the second time I've drawn Pluto here and I stink at Pluto. We got out, a good laugh from each of our excuses for a drawing and we went back to the Animation Gallery store to look around one more time and then leave. As we were going to leave, a cast member came up to us and pleaded (literally) with us to come to his animation academy session. He explained it was the last session of the day (it was about 10pm) and the Stuidios was basically closed but if we went there, we could spend some extra time in the park. The icing on the cake to get us to come was we were going to draw something no one has ever drawn in the Animation Academy before. We had no choice but to accept.

The Cast Member who dragged us to draw again, Timmy, was one of the most jovial and energetic cast members I've run into who wasn't a character or a manager or someone who has to be. He was genuinely happy with his job and he spent the first 10 minutes going around the room and asking where everyone was from and even had us all say hi to the people next to us. It really set the atmosphere for the drawing. He went on to explain he has been doing this for years and in April, is going to become an Imagineer with Disney and was clearly excited.

As he had mentioned before, we were going to draw something never done before. Usually you just draw a character smiling at you but tonight, Timmy was going to have us draw Winnie the Pooh looking up with a butter fly on his nose. I don't know if it was him or the atmosphere or perhaps I was struck with instant talent, but I did a pretty darn good job on it. Timmy was a lot of fun as well and made A LOT of Pooh puns and if you're in the parks before April rolls around, ask for his class!

After we walked through a fairly empty park on our way out and even looked through Mickey's of Hollywood. It was a great cap to our evening and its nights like this that make living in Orlando worth moving down here because I can truly appreciate having the parks so close and having the opportunity to have an evening like this.
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#2 User is offline   COH#1fan 

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:03 AM

The Animation Academy is not that bad. It's carrying your drawings out nice and neat that's the pain. I recommend taking a plastic bag that carries two pieces of heavy cardboard that roughly measure 11" x 17". Both times I was there, we all drew Donald Duck. Here is my efforts:

Posted Image

I'd say I did better on the first rather than the second try.
"In an age of fads, copycats, and rapidly changing trends, you have chosen to stand out from the rest and be an individual. We applaud your courage and self-expression. Thanks for being a part of our show today. Don't ever change. The world needs more people with your spirit." - The Citizens of Hollywood
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#3 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 09:07 AM

I agree Peter but Timmy was nice enough to offer everyone free rubber bands so we could roll our drawings up and not have to fold them. Very nice Donald :P
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#4 User is offline   kathyj0 

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 10:39 AM

Sounds like a great evening. I've never tried the Animation Academy - perhaps this is something I need to do. :P
Kathy
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Posted 22 March 2008 - 02:57 PM

QuickGold said:

I agree Peter but Timmy was nice enough to offer everyone free rubber bands so we could roll our drawings up and not have to fold them. Very nice Donald :P


Even when you roll your drawings up, it still takes on a folded appearance.
"In an age of fads, copycats, and rapidly changing trends, you have chosen to stand out from the rest and be an individual. We applaud your courage and self-expression. Thanks for being a part of our show today. Don't ever change. The world needs more people with your spirit." - The Citizens of Hollywood
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#6 User is offline   queenofthehouse 

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 10:36 PM

Matt, I loved your story. No packing, no planning, no saving up, and on and on. Your story was wonderful because it was like a casual evening just stopping by a friends house.

And I don't like pineapple either, but you made me very hungry for that Pineapple chicken. I haven't been to Hollywood and Vine in awhile, bu I'll have to give it a try again.
Maureen
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#7 User is offline   ADP 

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:24 AM

Great report and info Matt. Thanks for sharing it with us. Your report made me hungry for a Dole Whip for some reason :?: :lol:

I'm super happy you guys are enjoying living so close to the parks. Definately enjoy every minute of it!
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#8 User is offline   Casey 

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:04 PM

That sounds like fun! I wonder if Dan (Mouse Guest Weekly) ever tried that before? I'd love to try it but my drawings would look more like the pun-Pooh than Pooh-bear. Matt, are you going to post your pictures?

I did the Fantasmic dinner package at H&V once in 2005. I'm not really a fan of buffets but was pleasantly surprised at how much variety there was. Do they still have that huge dragon ? display when you first walk in? It's carved from chocolate. If anyone ever does the Fantasmic Dining package, H&V is probably your best value.

Snuggie's Pal - great Donald!
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#9 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 09:24 PM

queenofthehouse said:

Matt, I loved your story. No packing, no planning, no saving up, and on and on. Your story was wonderful because it was like a casual evening just stopping by a friends house.
Thanks! :lol:

Casey said:

That sounds like fun! I wonder if Dan (Mouse Guest Weekly) ever tried that before? I'd love to try it but my drawings would look more like the pun-Pooh than Pooh-bear. Matt, are you going to post your pictures?

I did the Fantasmic dinner package at H&V once in 2005. I'm not really a fan of buffets but was pleasantly surprised at how much variety there was. Do they still have that huge dragon ? display when you first walk in? It's carved from chocolate. If anyone ever does the Fantasmic Dining package, H&V is probably your best value.
That's a great question if Dan! has ever done the animation academy...will have to ask him or maybe send in a question to their show :idea:

There was not a display when you first walk in when I was there but that doesn't mean it's gone, perhaps just gone for my day.
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#10 User is offline   queenofthehouse 

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Posted 23 March 2008 - 11:12 PM

The first time I went to Hollywood and Vine, it was for lunch. We were welcomed by the big band sounds; Minnie and Goofy were dressed in their 40's costumes and really swinging. I don't remember how the food was because we were having to much fun.
Maureen
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#11 User is offline   Eric 

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 09:55 AM

Sounds like a great time! Makes me want to move down there all the more.

As far as the Animation Academy goes, I don't think Dan! has done the one at the Studios, but I think on DCL he attended a similar event. He has a trip coming up though, so maybe we'll have to pester him into going and showing off his mad skills.
Eric
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#12 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 11:01 AM

Eric said:

Sounds like a great time! Makes me want to move down there all the more.

As far as the Animation Academy goes, I don't think Dan! has done the one at the Studios, but I think on DCL he attended a similar event. He has a trip coming up though, so maybe we'll have to pester him into going and showing off his mad skills.
I like the idea of seeing Dan! draw...perhaps that will be my MGE event that I've been searching for. :idea:
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#13 User is offline   COH#1fan 

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 05:56 PM

Casey said:

Snuggie's Pal - great Donald!


Thanks, Casey. I have had a talent for producing neat artwork as well as neat video.
"In an age of fads, copycats, and rapidly changing trends, you have chosen to stand out from the rest and be an individual. We applaud your courage and self-expression. Thanks for being a part of our show today. Don't ever change. The world needs more people with your spirit." - The Citizens of Hollywood
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#14 User is offline   queenofthehouse 

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 09:37 PM

I love the Animation Gallery, but I've never been to the Animation Academy. It sounds like I should give it a try. I'm sure Lowell will do great, and then he can just laugh at my drawing.
Maureen
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#15 User is offline   MickeyMaz 

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Posted 24 March 2008 - 10:29 PM

I agree this is something we need to try our next time down. And if I had a dime for every-time one of my clan had been asked, demanded, joked, embarassed, cajoled, or pleaded into doing something we would not ordinarily have done in WDW, I'd be $1.50 or so richer. The point is, the cast members go through such extra efforts to get you invloved. I have never seen this kind of enthusisim anywhere else. It keeps us happily coming back.
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#16 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 25 March 2008 - 11:10 AM

MickeyMaz said:

I agree this is something we need to try our next time down. And if I had a dime for every-time one of my clan had been asked, demanded, joked, embarassed, cajoled, or pleaded into doing something we would not ordinarily have done in WDW, I'd be $1.50 or so richer. The point is, the cast members go through such extra efforts to get you invloved. I have never seen this kind of enthusisim anywhere else. It keeps us happily coming back.
The enthusiasm from the CM is what drew us in and it's why Disney's employees are so good because that kind of enthusiasm is something you just don't find in similar guest-level roles at other companies
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#17 User is offline   Rinjo 

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 02:33 AM

Sounds like a great time! The more often you go the more chances you have of something special happening. I can't wait untill my next trip. Should be may 24/25. Interested in meeting up again?
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#18 User is offline   QuickGold 

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:02 AM

Rinjo said:

Sounds like a great time! The more often you go the more chances you have of something special happening. I can't wait untill my next trip. Should be may 24/25. Interested in meeting up again?
Sure, I always enjoy meeting folks from this site when they're in the parks :(
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