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Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a mecca for Art Deco architecture. It also seems to be a magnet for storms in the summer.

Once again, it’s the time of year when Star Wars Weekends invades Orlando and more specifically, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Despite the fact that this occurs at a time when it’s hot & muggy, I typically enjoy getting out to visit once or twice because of the characters and the show at the end of the evening: Snig and Oppla’s Hyperspace Hoopla.

Not sure who named this show.

Snig and Oopla are pure vaudeville hosts. It’s over the top, which is part of its charm. The show changes a little bit each year, but the breakdown is the same. Emperor Palpatine interrupts the show, makes some threats, which then get countered by Snig and Oopla in for form of a dance competition – The Good Guys vs. The Bad Guys.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

This show is the wrap-up event for each day of Star Wars Weekends and it’s very popular. People line up early for it. Extremely early. This past Saturday, the first guy who shows up front and center of the stage arrived at 3:00pm in the hot sun. The show starts at 8:00pm. Five hours of waiting in the burning Florida sun.

I wasn’t going to wait for five hours, so I decided to go grab a bit to eat. By the time I returned, the front row was full and the second row of people camping out in front of the stage started for form. So, I plopped down in the center of the second row at 4:30pm and proceeded to get fried by the sun while waiting for the show to start. My face and arms are definitely showing the sunburn today.

Here’s how the weather pattern works during a Florida summer. The temperature gets progressively hotter. It’s humid and there’s moisture in the air. Those high temps kick up storms. It’s a natural cycle, which means the afternoon of sitting in the hot sun lead to a late afternoon of incredibly threatening skies. I expected rain, but it held off much longer than I would have anticipated.

Instead of soaking me as I waited for the show, it started up halfway through the show. In fact, Disney cancelled the show after 28 minutes. All that time, waiting and burning in the sun, and I didn’t even get to watch the entire show. There’s only one more weekend, and the whole cycle will be the same. Early lines, burning in the sun, chance of rain and may not see the entire show.

That’s the way it goes.

Here’s the thing. If you want to get a shot, you have to do what it takes. Many times, that means patience. Patience in unpleasant circumstances, too. Some of my friends also came to shoot the show much later than I got there. They ended up way off to the side or in the back with hundreds of heads in front of them. I know because the same thing happened to me on my first time trying to shoot the show. Since we’re all effectively part of the audience, we don’t get a photographer’s pit or any other special treatment. You show up, pick your spot, and expect that some damn tourist will still try to elbow his way in front of you.

He tried. He failed.

It comes down to a decision. How much do you value the opportunity of a shot? There’s no wrong answer. I planned my day around photography of different characters at Star Wars Weekends, so it was worth my time to sit and wait for the premier show. Where else do you get to see a Wookie dance with a gold chain while surrounded by Star Wars chicks? For others, it was a family day and photography was secondary. We both did what we wanted and the rain fell on us equally.

Sometimes that patience is the difference between getting “a shot” and “the shot.” Hot sun, threatening storms, long waits. Those can be part of outdoor and event photography. Sometimes, It’s enough to make you want switch to table-top photography of dolls.

American Idol Art Deco

You can see the storm rolling up behind the American Idol theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I took this shot while waiting for the Hyperspace Hoopla show at the end of Star Wars Weekends. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is full of art deco architecture and posters. It’s a nice throw-back atmosphere to the 20’s and 30’s era of Hollywood.

Art Deco

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