Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Disney 2021: A Day At Hollywood Studios

On our first full park day with friends, we planned to visit Hollywood Studios and hopefully obtain a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. We also had another Hollywood Studios day planned later in the week, just in case a Rise boarding group didn't work out that day. 

So, around 6:50 a.m. my little group met up in the courtyard outside of our rooms (near the Lady statue) to try our hand.

Sadly, the odds were NOT in our favor for the 7 a.m. boarding group round. It was ok though, because we could try again at 1 p.m. from inside Hollywood Studios and we were ok with that!

Since we were up and ready to go, we decided to join the Skyliner line and hit up Hollywood Studios early. We'd heard that they were letting people inside of the park before official park opening time and we wanted to experience that if so.

The Skyliner line was quite the orchestration at the Caribbean Beach hub, but those cast members knew exactly what they were doing and it all flowed very very well! (However, it looked like a hot mess to the outsider!) 

We had time to stop at Joffrey's for coffee, so we ordered toffee flights! With an incredibly short wait time at the hub, we were off to Hollywood Studios! (I'm pretty sure it was right at 7:45 a.m. when they started running - and HS wasn't set to open until 9 a.m.!)

After arriving at Hollywood Studios, we joined the line for temperature and security screening and by 8:25 a.m., we were inside of the park. It was SO strange seeing it so empty but also incredibly cool to be among the first to enter the park that day!

A new to all of us ride was Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, so we all headed straight there and it was a walk on! 

Runaway Railway is seriously the CUTEST ride EVER! We all loved it! Sadly, we only had the opportunity to ride it one time this trip but will definitely remedy that next time! I think this is Brayden's new favorite WDW ride!

After Runaway Railway, we walked over to Slinky Dog and waited maybe 10-15 minutes to ride. It wasn't long at all! 

So so cute!

After Slinky Dog, Brayden spotted Alien Swirling Saucers which was yet ANOTHER walk on!!

We felt like we had been transported in some kind of magic Disney bubble because this couldn't be real life!

By this point, it was officially 9 a.m. and "park opening time" and we'd already hit three rides - two of them being major headliners with little to no wait!

Next up was Star Wars Land and a ride on the Millenium Falcon. By this point, the lines were growing throughout the park and this one had about a 40 minute wait. Still not bad considering!

After flying the Falcon and crashing horribly, we all enjoyed a little blue milk treat. I've tried both and prefer blue over green. Anyone else?

We returned to Toy Story Land and Toy Story Mania. The posted time here was 75 minutes but we didn't end up waiting that long, thankfully!

He's not a toy but he sure is a cute little fella!

Before lunch, I had to take my traditional "Karen" photo at One Man's Dream. These date back all the way to 2007! On one trip, they changed the outfit to "Cubby" but it was back to Karen and has been ever since!

By this point, it was closer to noon and definitely time for lunch! We tried ABC Commissary and their new (to us) menu. I really really enjoyed the curry shrimp dish. This is totally something I would never order while out and about around home, but I like to try new foods and was pleasantly surprised!

We hung around ABC Commissary for a little while, waiting on 1 p.m. and the time to snag a Rise boarding group. I was also trying to get Brayden to take a nap, but he was not interested in any of that!

Thankfully, we were successful this time and were set to go! YAY!

While waiting for a boarding group, I sent Jason and our friends over to Rock n Roller Coaster while Brayden and I shopped around and again attempted a nap.

The runDisney merchandise inside of Hollywood Studios was by far the best selection I saw out of any and all of the parks! So, if you're headed there, be on the lookout - this store was on the road way headed to Tower of Terror.

This time, our nap time attempt was successful, and we hung out for a few minutes beyond our rise boarding group return time to give him a little time to sleep. People over on instagram were amazed that he still takes naps in the stroller and yes, he definitely does!

Rise was just as amazing as we remembered and Jason tried to get us all in trouble by attempting to convince the resistance that he actually belonged on Tatooine. They were quite funny in their banter back and forth! 

Our last quest of the day was the brand new Scenic Selfies challenge hosted by Disney Vacation Club. After scanning a QR code at a DVC desk, scavengers set out throughout the park to take selfies with the various landmarks/clues put out by the website.

After completing the challenge, you return to the DVC desk, show the guide your completion, and obtain your button! It was a lot of fun and we learned some trivia/facts about the parks we wouldn't have otherwise known!

Our plan for the evening was to return to Disney Springs for dinner. We wanted to try Chicken Guy as none of us had been there yet.

This salad was SO good!! I would definitely order it again!

We ended our evening with dessert at Ghirardelli and it was truly the perfect way to top off our day!

My plan for the next morning was to run the 5K around the lake at Pop Century prior to heading to EPCOT. I truly loved not being at the parks until midnight then waking up and doing it all over the following day. We actually had a chance to relax and get some sleep on this trip and it was perfect to me!

Up next: EPCOT and Festival of the Arts!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Disney 2021: Magic Kingdom & Disney Springs (Again!)

The random renewal of our annual passes meant we had the potential for an "extra" park day prior to the arrival of our friends. The third day of our trip was Wednesday and our originally planned arrival day. So, Jason checked the park reservation system and when he saw a Magic Kingdom day available, he snagged it! We were so excited and planned to let Brayden guide us on his wishes!

We attempted to get out of our resort room early and to the bus stop but we definitely did not beat the MK crowd. Although the line seemed long, everyone was social distanced and in reality, it was basically the amount of people they used to shove on one bus! :) 

It took four buses before we were on and seated, but they were very prompt and came one right after the other. I LOVED the efficiency! 

Bonus: We landed the Wanda Vision bus!!

We'd hoped to arrive inside the park early and with enough time to skip a long wait for 7 Dwarfs Mine Train. Although we arrived just at park opening, the line was already at 60 minutes and we decided to skip it. We later discovered that they are actually opening the parks a bit earlier than the posted park opening time, so we remembered this fact and used it to our benefit later in the trip!

Instead of Mine Train, Brayden spotted the Mad Tea Party and told us he wanted it to be the first ride of the trip!

We also practiced our line standing skills while waiting for the Tomorrowland Speedway!

Can you smell this photo? :)

Dumbo was next followed by Pooh! We literally spanned all of these rides in the course of maybe an hour! It was awesome!!

The Carousel is always a favorite, too!

For breakfast, we walked over to Sleepy Hollow for the nutella waffle since it's been on my "to try" list. Well, we got in line around 10:30 a.m. and although we were in line before 11 a.m., we were told that the menu would switch over to the "lunch" menu at 11, no matter if we were already in line before then or not. I'll admit I was a little disappointed but I've also wanted to try the chicken and waffle, so we stayed in line anyway. 

I'm not kidding when I say that my disappointment faded away when I tasted this beauty! Y'all, this thing is so good! If you haven't tried this before, you need to!! I'll definitely be going back. I also knew we had two additional MK days, so I would have another chance to try the breakfast waffle on another day. Problem solved!

Right as we finished eating, we heard the music change and I knew that meant a cavalcade was about to pass by. So, I positioned Brayden and I where we could see the characters. Look at what this little turkey did when Tink passed by! 

He covered his eyes! I thought he was just being shy but no...he then informed me that he "only waves at Mickey and Minnie"!, y'all! They are hilarious!

On the other hand, I didn't care who was passing by, I waved away!

Before leaving MK for the day, we met up with Jason's cousin and her husband who were randomly in the Magic Kingdom that day. Isn't it funny how we weren't even supposed to be there yet but all ended up in the same park on the same day?! Crazy how stuff like that happens some times!

Back to our friends who were traveling that day - we kept tabs on them all morning, from their arrival to the airport, to the crazy security lines, getting on the plane, and actually taking off! I could NOT believe the ice and snow thawed out enough for them to fly and they actually MADE it on time as planned!

YAY they are here!!

Our original plan for the day was to hang out at Disney Springs with an early afternoon/late lunch reservation at Homecomin'. This was my first experience here and I was curious to see what all the hype was about!

I also loved reading about Chef Art Smith's "Disney story"! It's located along the wall on the way to the restrooms and it was neat to read how his early days at Disney began!

We ordered Deviled Eggs to share and I ordered the fried chicken, biscuit, and fries. Brayden had their mac and cheese and YUM! The mac and cheese was amazing!

I'm going to have an incredibly unpopular opinion here, so please don't hate me....

I wasn't a huge fan. The fried chicken tasted funny and to be honest, I've had better fried chicken back home. I was kind of bummed too because I've heard such amazing things about their food! The deviled eggs were good but they were just ok to us (we both agreed that Jason's grandmother's deviled eggs are the best we've ever had). Honestly the best thing I ate there was the biscuit and the mac and cheese. Whomp whomp.... Oh well. I'd be willing to give it another shot and order something different next time!

After lunch, we shopped around for a while and enjoyed catching up with our friends!

Brayden also kept asking for a balloon and I told him he had to "earn" it. He was so good at dinner and we decided that was it! Yay for his first Disney balloon!!

For dessert, I wanted to try Everglazed. The line wasn't long and we really enjoyed being able to watch the donut making process through the window!

I had the Reeses Nitro which was a Peanut Butter Explosion donut on top of a Nitro cold brew with peanut butter and vanilla syrups. 

This. Was. By. Far. The. Best. Thing. I. Had. The. Entire. Trip.

So I still dream about this combo? Yes, yes I do. Do I plan to return to Everlgazed on our next trip? Yep...and if I have the chance to return multiple times, I will! 

Y'all....this is seriously what dreams are made of!!

Another very unpopular opinion - I liked Everglazed better than Gideons! Also, the peanut butter cold brew at Everlgazed was much better than the one at Gideon's. 

I'm just unpopular opinioning it up here! :)

To end the evening, we decided to take a bus from Springs over to Riviera since our friends hadn't visited the resort yet. With staying at Pop, we were able to take the Skyliner back to our resort and it all worked out perfectly in the end! It was truly a fabulous way to end our evening! 

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