Photo-Centric Solo Trip Report (3/5-3/12)

Actually, they are just $5 peel-and-stick ones from Walmart! (How classy is that? :see_no_evil: :joy:)

They were pretty easy to put on and I loved how cute and “springy” they were. But they were very difficult to remove (you take then off with nail polish remover) and my poor nails were pretty beat up by the time it was all over. Not sure I’ll do them again, but they were fun for the Flower & Garden Festival!


Haha… Yeah, probably not the wisest idea! I’m usually very conscientious about that kind of thing when I’m traveling solo. But I was soooo sleepy from my early morning at AK that it seemed safer to take a quick catnap than to drive! :wink: Plus I was pretty near the walkway to DS (where there are security guards patrolling) and it was still daylight. But still, I don’t recommend it!

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Day Four (3/8): Hollywood Studios

This day didn’t exactly go as planned, at least at first, but it ended up being wonderfully relaxing and refreshing! My original plan had been to sleep in a little bit (at least in comparison to RD at AK the day before!) and arrive at HS around 10am. Then hop the boat to Epcot, have breakfast at Les Halles, enjoy a leisurely stroll around France and UK, and take some nice, people-free pictures before WS officially opened. Then hop the boat back to HS around noon or so and spend the rest of the day at HS.

I arrived at HS on schedule (though I definitely could have slept a lot later) but the boat did not. I’m not sure what the holdup was, but there was a huge mass of people waiting for a boat and everyone seemed confused as to why one wasn’t showing up. I waited for about 20 minutes and finally gave up, as I realized that with such a crowd, I wouldn’t get on the next boat, or even the one after that. I had already been standing in the direct sun longer than is wise (I have lupus and have to be careful about sun exposure) . . . I was very hot and very hungry (I had saved my appetite for Les Halles and hadn’t eaten breakfast yet! :weary:) so I decided to ditch my morning in WS and just go to HS.

I usually love this view and the vibe when you enter HS, but at this particular moment all I could think was “it’s busy, it’s hot, and I’m hungry-verging-on-hangry.”

I made a beeline for Starbucks. Let me just say that I felt soooo much better about life in general after a breakfast sandwich and a frappucino! :joy:

Now I was ready to actually enjoy myself! I explored the grounds around the Chinese theater . . .

. . . and took the obligatory “aqua-croc selfie.” :wink:

I checked the time and realized that if I scrurried, I might be able to snag a great seat just before the start of Indy.

I’m not actually a huge fan of the movies (like, not at all, really), but I love this show!

After Indy, I caught the end of “A Galaxy Far, Far Away” . . .

. . . and then saw “For the First Time in Forever” (for the actual first time in, well . . . ever! :wink:)

I was getting hungry for a small smackerel at this point. I had plans to have an early dinner at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge, so I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for that. But I also knew that I needed something now, to keep the hangry at bay. So I did the only logical thing: I ordered some good ole chicken strips and fries off of the kid’s menu at Backlot Express!

Probably the least photogenic meal of my entire trip! :joy: But it hit the spot.

I snagged a FP+ for Star Tours while I ate, but I made sure to leave a little bit of time to digest before riding (that ride can push my buttons sometimes, depending on where I sit and how recently I’ve eaten). So I walked through Walt Disney Presents.

I call this one “The Smolder” :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Anyone else adore the Silly Symphonies? I couldn’t get enough of them when I was a kid.

After a nice, cool 20 minutes indoors, I was ready to head back across the park for my Star Tours FP. (BTW, this is one of my favorite things about HS . . . the park is tiny in comparison to the others, and it takes almost no time or energy to crisscross several times in a single day. Plus, there are so many shows that I end up sitting a lot more here than at other parks. This is why I like to schedule my HS day near the middle of my trip, right around the time when my body is in desperate need of a break but my brain is still saying “go! go! you can’t stop now, you’re at Disney!”)

More wandering, some shopping, and a bit of general lazy time-wasting, then I was ready for HBD. I had been looking forward to this for a long time!

Started off with a Gin Mule (like a Moscow Mule, but made with gin instead of vodka). First time having gin, and I’m sorry to say I was not a fan. (This is going to sound really weird, but does anyone else think that gin has an odd, vaguely “old man” flavor to it? :laughing:)

But THIS Cobb Salad made up for it!

And so did the Mini Dessert Trio! I went with the warm blueberry cobbler, the grapefruit cake, and dark chocolate cremeux with apricot marmalade. :yum:

The winner. Hands. Down.

Feeling sufficiently stuffed and happy, I strolled over to Toy Story Land. I love this land in the evening. Not only are the lights and colors so fun after dusk, but it’s also much more pleasant in that part of the park when the sun goes down. There is basically ZERO shade, so I pretty much avoid that land during the day.

Love this ride! (and no, I didn’t wait SB for 60 minutes . . . I had a FP and pretty much walked on!)

Inexplicably, I next thought that it would be a brilliant idea to take a blurry and oddly-proportioned selfie that would demonstrate how closely my face resembles the size and shape of the giant Pixar ball. I blame the old-man gin.

This next photo may get me banned from this forum, but guys. I really see a giant Hidden Mickey here (or at least a partial Mickey). And I don’t think that’s just the gin talking.

I ended the evening with Fantasmic (only the second time I’ve seen it) and I think I’ve officially decided that it’s my least favorite nighttime show. I don’t dislike it, I just like the others a lot more!

But I sure do love walking down Sunset Blvd at night.

Even though I got a late start, I really managed to do just about everything on my HS wish list (except Slinky Dog, which is not the end-all for me, and Beauty and the Beast, which was not showing on this day). I think it’s actually a good thing I didn’t end up doing two parks today . . . My pace was super relaxed, I sat a lot, and walked very little. All in all, a very good way to spend my third full day in the parks!

Next up: MK, AK, same-day-FP-wins, and a glow-in-the-dark drink!


I don’t think that word means what you think it means :smile:

But amazing trip report. Thanks! A+

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I loved your report and photos! I have never had the Cobb salad- thanks for the picture! The warm blueberry cobbler was different in years past! I had the same version as you recently and I don’t think I will order it again.

Thanks again!

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Great pics and report, @ChooseJoy. Thanks for sharing with us.

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loved the photos. thanks so much for sharing your trip report! all the solo trip reports inspire me to take one of my own! :grinning:


Ha! I don’t know about “old man” flavor, but I do love the unique smell of gin. I think it’s the juniper berries. It is so distinct. I have a weird desire to have perfume that smells like gin. :blush:


Great report and beautiful photos! Did you use your phone for all the photos?

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“Stylish: A word which here refers to any type of reasonably-priced footwear that successfully prevents blisters, does not absorb sudden Florida downpours like a sponge, and comes in a wide array of playful colors suitable for vacationing in a place where grown-ups routinely wear hats resembling oversized mouse ears.”


Yeah, I don’t think I would get it again either. It needed something… Orange or lemon zest maybe, for a bit of acid? It was just rather bland.
And honestly, I wasn’t impressed with the grapefruit cake either. :disappointed: The texture was strangely soggy and the flavor was quite bitter. I wonder if they would let me just order a trio of chocolate next time! :joy:

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Yes, I did! I got a new phone right before my trip (a Google Pixel 3XL) and I specifically choose it because the camera had excellent reviews. So far, I’m pretty happy with it!


Well. It’s been 3 months to the day since I last posted on this thread but (contrary to appearances) I have not forgotten about it! A few days after my last update, I went to England with my family for 12 days, and then summer arrived with all its delightful busy-ness! But since I am now only a few short weeks away from my next solo trip (insert happy dance here) I figured it was time to actually finish up my trip report from last time! :joy:

So we’ll pick up where I left off with . . .

Day Five (3/9/19): Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom

This was a day of “firsts” . . .

First time eating Mickey Waffles (how has it taken me so long???) :waffle: :white_check_mark:
First time successfully working the FP system to snag a total of 8 FPs in a single day :muscle: :white_check_mark:
First time getting yelled at by a complete stranger (for walking too closely behind her…on a crowded sidewalk…in a throng of people…:woman_shrugging:) :white_check_mark:
First time splurging on a drink with a groovy floating light-up lotus flower :rosette: :white_check_mark:

So all in all, not a bad day! :smile:

Arrived bright and early for my PPO ADR at Plaza Inn and stopped for a pic on the way.

I had some time to kill before my ADR (did I mention I got there super-duper early?) so I wandered the plaza and took some pictures. I love this place in the quiet light of early morning.

Breakfast at Plaza Inn was wonderful! I thought it was a great value (no dining plan, I paid out of pocket) especially compared with the breakfast I had at Kona on my last day. Ahem.

I enjoyed it so much that it was one of the first ADRs I booked when I made the decision to go back to WDW at the end of August! This time, I won’t do a PPO, though. I felt rushed (self-imposed…the wait staff did not rush me at all) because I was anxious to get in line for RD. This time I’ll be doing a late morning breakfast after EMH, so I will be ready for a break and a more leisurely breakfast. :slightly_smiling_face:

After breakfast, I headed to 7DMT with the rest of the RD crowd. I had a FP for Pooh that converted to an anytime FP while I was in line for 7DMT. By the time I had finished the train, Pooh was back up, so I hopped into the standby line. (Current FP status: 1 anytime and 2 pre-booked - Haunted Mansion + Big Thunder)

Pooh had just come back online, so the standby line was super short. Within literally 30 seconds of getting in line, however, it went down again. I decided to stick it out, but it was not meant to be. They informed everyone that it would be a long wait, so they closed the line to new guests and scanned our bands, giving everyone currently in line an anytime FP. (Current FP status: two anytime FPs, plus HM and BTMR still unused!).

I made my way to IASM, hoping for a short SB line since it was still a bit before 10am at this point. It was a walk-on, so walk on I did!

(not the greatest picture here, but I love this hippo! :joy:)

I was able to modify my HM FP up a bit, so I headed there next.

Now it was time for some decisions. I chose to use my first anytime FP for Jungle Cruise, which was already posting a 70-minute wait at this point (about 10:30am). Then I used my second for Splash, which had a 65-minute posted wait. Both were basically walk-ons with FP.

I wasn’t able to modify my FP for BTMR no matter how much I tried, so after Splash I had a bit of a wait until my 12:05 FP. I took my time exiting Splash, took some pictures, then found a cool-ish, shady spot to wait before walking onto BTMR using my final FP.

This next pic is actually a gif my phone created… no idea if it will work here, but I’ll give it a whirl! :upside_down_face:

At this point, I had a very, very serious decision to make. I knew I wanted to hop to AK in the evening and I knew that I wanted to try to snag a FP for FOP at the 1:01 drop. It was 12:27 when I got off BTMR. The “safe” choice would have been to find something boring to do for the next 34 minutes and keep an eagle eye on the clock. Instead, I booked a FP for Under the Sea, modified the heck out of that thing as I walked with purpose across the park, and was able to get it up to 12:45. I arrived at Under the Sea at 12:38 (within the grace period) and rode with no wait. My phone gets terrible reception on this ride, so I had my fingers crossed the whole time that the ride wouldn’t break down with me on it and cause me to miss the 1:01 drop! (#firstworldproblems :joy:)

I did not get stuck on the ride. I was off with several minutes to spare and waited in the shade of the exit area for the clock to strike 1:01. I was genuinely shocked when, at 1:01 precisely, there was a FP for FOP late in the evening! I was even more thrilled that was able to modify it a couple times before the magic minute ended and got it up to 4:50. I then sauntered and swaggered my oh-so-pleased-with-myself self on over to Be Out Guest, arriving early for my 1:20pm ADR and getting in immediately.

Word on the street is that this bowl of bacon-y, pork-y, sacue-y yumminess has been taken off the BOG menu. :sob: But the new coq-au-vin-style chicken that appears to have replaced it seems to be a similar concept, so maybe I’ll love that just as much as the pork.

After a leisurely lunch and a slow stroll towards the front of the park, I decided to stake out a spot for the 3pm parade. After finding the perfect bench (complete with shade and an almost-cool breeze), the thought occurred to me that the only thing that could make the parade viewing any better would be if I was sipping a cold drink at the same time. Maybe I was overly confident after my morning of FP victories…

And, as we all know, pride goeth before the fall.

I chose to give up my perfect, shady, almost-cool-breezy viewing spot (first mistake) and scurried over to Starbucks. I figured the line, which was practically out the door when I arrived, would move quickly (second mistake). Surely 25 minutes would be plenty of time to order, get my frappuccino, and find a new-and-maybe-even-improved parade viewing spot, right?


35 minutes later, I finally scurried out of that madhouse, clutching my already-melting, $6 frappucino, right as the parade began to pass the doorway. I tried to make my way quickly along the sidewalk towards the entrance, so that I could get ahead of the parade and find a shaded spot under the trees in front of Tony’s.

The CMs had done a decent job of keeping the sidewalk mostly clear. At some point, however, I caught up to a mom and her teenage daughter, who were walking side by side veeeerrrryyyy sllooooowwwwlllyyyy, and managing to take up the entire walkway with just the two of them. I guess I came up behind them too quickly and/or closely for their liking, because before I could even take a breath to say “excuse me” the mom turned right around and yelled “JUST GO THEN!!” right in my face.

I was mortified.

I wanted to apologize for whatever it was that I did that made her so angry (still not exactly sure what that was) but I was so shocked that all I could do was put my head down in a whipped-puppy sort of way, walk quickly past her as she glared at me as only a Hot-and-Hangry-Disney-Mom can, and quickly found a spot that (I hoped) would keep me out of her path of fury.

Maybe I should have offered her my melty frappuccino as a peace offering.

BTW, Disney security caught the whole unfortunate exchange on one of their many surveillance cameras. I have managed to procure this still shot of my face at the exact moment the yelling started:

I’m a little embarrassed to admit how sad I actually felt after this incident and how long it took me to shake off the blues. I was so distracted by the whole kerfuffle that I got exactly zero decent pics of the parade, which is a shame because I was excited to see the dragon back in action. Oh well. Next time!

After this disappointing end to my MK day, I was definitely ready to hop to a new park and “start fresh.” So off to my favorite park I went!

A peaceful stroll through the Oasis and a friendly chat with a Roseate Spoonbill (who did not shout at me) were the perfect antidote to the previous hour.

I made my way over to Pandora and tapped in for my FOP FP. It was 4:59 and I thought “huh… wonder if I can manage to grab another at the 5:01 drop?” So I stepped off to the side to let people pass me in line and pulled out my phone. Sure enough, I snagged another FP for FOP! But then I realized that I would actually rather ride NRJ instead of FOP a second time (I hadn’t gotten to ride NRJ yet on this trip) so I tried modifying it. And it worked! I got NRJ for late that evening (maybe 8pm?) but modified it up to 6:05. This is FP #7 for the day, for those who are still counting! :wink:

After FOP, I strolled around and just enjoyed the alien beauty of Pandora while I waited for my NRJ window to open.

After Navi, I stopped in at Nomad Lounge for a nibble and a magic drink.

I gotta say, this glowing lotus flower made me far happier than it really should have. :laughing:

I was pretty tuckered by this point, but I really wanted to stay for Rivers of Light (for which I had snagged FP #8 after tapping into Navi). As you can probably guess from my profile pic, I love this show. :blush: So my pet lotus and I made our slow, tired way across the park for a perfect end to what was an almost-perfect day.

Next up: A slow, lazy Sunday morning and Flower & Garden Part 2! :grinning:


Your photos are fantastic and are great quality! I love your lists of Firsts :rofl: Isn’t the FPP strategy awesome? I’ve rarely waited in a standby line since trying it. We’ll be there at the end of Aug too! Crowd levels look really favorable right now, but we’ll see if that holds.

(Love the security cam footage :joy:)


Have I told you lately how much I love your photos? That gif! Just WOW!


Sorry, I somehow lost track of this thread and missed the updates :frowning:

Nuh-uh. This wasn’t your fault and you have NOTHING to apologize for. I was going to list a bunch of hypothetical situations about why could be rushing, but your real reason is just as valid so I’m not going to.

People moving slow and then blocking a path is one of the biggest pet peeves I have at Disney. You want to move slow or can’t move fast as me, sure I get that (hell, I almost expect the latter). BUT you should make room for those who do need to or can speed.

You handled this just fine. Take heart in the thinking you were out of their mind 30 seconds after you passed them.


So glad your continuing! Love your trip report. Agree with Randall, she didn’t deserve an apology. But I’m like you something like that would really sour my day/ make me feel bad. Glad your day turned around! Looking forward to the next!


I am also going to agree with @Randall1028. I walk fast- always. I understand many people walk at a pace much, much slower. Please do not get mad at me because I want to pass your group blocking the way for all other guests. I know you are not trying to be rude but dictating that I must go at a pace that slow is rude to me.


Fun! I’m not looking forward to the heat, but otherwise I can’t wait to be back! :sweat_smile:

Aww. Thanks! :blush: That makes me so happy.


Great photos! My photos literally turn out the opposite of yours…Haha…will be there the end of August…looking forward to it…have fun!