Thursday, May 17, 2012

These ARE the Droids We Were Looking For!

Last week, Perfect Wifey and I happened to find ourselves touring Disney's Hollywood Studios, at the magnificent Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The DHS is a wonderful theme park, full of thrilling attractions, fun shows, marvelous decor and wonderfully themed restaurants that serve barely edible food. All of these elements make this a really great place to be (except for the food).

The highlight for me, though, is the "Star Tours: The Adventure Continues" attraction. This 3-D simulator ride takes you to many of the various hang-outs seen in the Star Wars films, and includes appearances by familiar (and beloved!) characters from the films. For those of you Star Wars fans out there that haven't experienced this attraction, all I can say is, put it on your bucket list. The ride technology really makes it feel like you are soaring through space in a galaxy far, far away, and since there are 57 different scenarios you can experience, you can ride it again and again and never get tired of it (PW disagrees with this opinion). Believe me, when Boba Fett, flying his ship, Slave I, started talkin' trash and fired on our ship, my lil' heart leaped, and when we engaged AT-AT's on Hoth, I had tears of joy streaming down my face.

Excuse me, I need a moment to pull myself together...

Okay, where was I? Oh yes! As thrilling as the Star Tours attraction was, I was even more excited to find out that the day of our visit, May 10th, was a special day. It was the day that the "Build-a-Droid Factory" was debuting at the "Tatooine Traders" gift shop, which is conveniently located at the exit of the ST attraction!

At the B-A-D Factory, you can choose from a multitude of droid parts, and assemble your very own personalized action figure! Allegedly, there are 71 different parts, and the possibilities for building your own unique droid are endless! Each figure costs about $12 each, or you can put together a 2 pack for $19. A bargain! (Again, PW begs to differ.) You also get a clam shell package to store your bounty in, and a sheet of  letter/number stickers that you can apply to the package to proclaim your  droid's "name".

I was thrilled to be able to be one of the first geeks on Earth to experience this, but of course, there were a few challenges to enjoying this experience to the fullest.

A fat guy stands on the head of a child he cut in front of,
and builds himself yet another droid.
For one thing it's a very small space, and there is only room for two people to assemble a droid at a time. For another, a lot of people want to build one.  The kids are delightful to watch: the look on their little faces as they assemble their own personal droid is priceless. Less-than-priceless, however, is the behavior of the adult Star Wars geeks with their massive sense of self-entitlement and their OCD need to build hundreds of  droids, oblivious to those patiently waiting behind them to build just one. As I was putting mine together, I asked one of the Cast Members if she had seen many adult geeks. She rolled her eyes and said, "You wouldn't believe it". Oh yes I would! Of course, she may have been including me in that group.

When I finally got a chance to build my droid, I was aware of the crowd behind me semi-patiently awaiting their turn. Consequently, I made some hasty decisions, but the result is something that I'm sure even George Lucas is kicking himself over for not thinking of first. I present: R2-PW:

All in all it was a great experience, and I can't wait to do go back and do it again.


And geeks, if you go to  this, give the  kids a chance, and don't make a greedy ass of yourself!

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Anonymous Newton said...

That build a droid idea is awesome. Very clever idea on the Disney/SW front. I assume they're made up of Hasbro parts?

Shame about the fat SW nerds though. They'll probably end up ruining the whole thing to the point that Disney will either remove that part of the store or gimp it down to where it's no fun.

May 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Newton- Yup, they are identical to the Hasbro parts, but the package has no Hasbro logo on it. Only the Disney Theme Park Merchandise info. I wonder what the relationship with Hasbro and Disney Merchandise is, since several of the parks' "exclusive" action figure sets and toys are obviously Hasbro products, but don't have their brand on the package.

One particular item, exclusive to the parks, is an awesome replica of the Starspeeder 1000 ship, which is a Disney Park exclusive. This is an awesome toy, and would make a perfect birthday or anniversary gift for your husband if he was the SW geek that writes this blog, and you were known as Perfect Wifey...

May 18, 2012 at 2:08 PM  
Blogger eeTeeD said...

it sounds like a wonderful vacation! i'm glad that y'all had a great time!

(coincidentally my best friend and his wife are on vacation in florida)

it has been many MANY years since i've been to disney world, but i remember the food being quite good. i remember having prime rib in a 50's themed restaurant one night, and it was excellent.

May 18, 2012 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger Bill White said...

eeTeeD- We found the food at the resort to be wildly uneven when it came to quality. Some places were great, others left us pining for McDonald's®.

The restaurant that I believe you are referring to is "The 50's Prime-Time Cafe". PW and I stopped in to check out the decor, and it is really wonderful. We were tempted to eat there, but having been burned by our other Disney dining experiences, we decided not to.

Based on your recommendation though, the next time we are there, we will give it a try!

May 19, 2012 at 11:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great review! Shame we here in southern California don't get this, or anything "Star Wars Days" at all, even though we're only an hour from the real Hollywood (and our Tomorrowland is otherwise crap).

ps For eats in that park (what's the name again? I keep calling it by the old "Disney-MGM") you can't beat the Sci-Fi Dine In Theater. You sit in a booth shaped like a car, in a fake indoor drive-in theater, with fake stars overhead, and the food was decent carhop burgers & such, but the looping vintage sci-fi movie teasers, newsreels & cartoons were coolsville. Plus I got a glow-in-the-dark souvenir mug, and everything GITD is awesome. :)

May 21, 2012 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger Bill White said...

Anonymous- I feel your pain about Disneyland not offering more Star Wars stuff, but the B-A-D Factory will be there soon, I'm sure. Also, you have access to DL 24/7, so no complaints!

I have dined at the Sci-Fi Dine In, and while it is one of the coolest themed restaurants on Earth, the meal I had there was pretty bad. They do have great specialty drinks, though! The "Lunar Landing" (with a glow-in-the-dark ice cube, not a mug, but still...) is a tasty treat. Don't have one before you go to the Build-A-Droid Factory, though. It may severely hamper your decision-making process. Dang! Mickey makes his drinks, STRONG!

May 21, 2012 at 11:13 AM  

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