7/28 - Hollywood Studios + Epcot
This day. It caused me grief during my entire planning process. Does that ever happen to y’all?? That ONE day you can’t quite get right. Ugh. I had originally planned to hit HS for EMH, take a break around noon, pick up a SDFP for Soarin’ and tour WS East before a dinner at La Hacienda (DD8’s fave from February).
Well, FP day came and ToT totally jacked up my day. It had zero FP availability until late afternoon - like, 4:30. So I chose my other two FPs around that one and decided to sleep in that day and tour HS for a few hours before heading to Epcot in the evening.
And THEN a sweet liner on chat was cancelling an AP res for 6 for that evening at 6:50. I had been able to secure a 4:30ish dinner through res finder a while back but the date we had snagged it on wasn’t ideal with our other plans so I decided to swap La Hacienda for AP.
And back to the drawing board on this dumb day. I decided we’d just go back to our original plan to RD EMH at HS and focus on ToT then and piecemeal the rest of the morning around BatB, TSM and Indiana Jones. We had EMM at TSL coming up in a few days so I’m not super stressed about getting tons done at HS. My hope was then to bribe the kids with L’Artisan des Glaces and head to Epcot around noon for a couple hours of WS touring and hopefully head back to AKL around 4 for a shower and quick break before dinner.
Let’s see how this mess plays out…
I figured out that if I got myself up an hour before I wanted to leave for the parks and woke the kids up 30 minutes before we were usually in good shape. Which meant I woke up at 5:45 and got the kids up at 6:15. They were not pleased. But hey kids! You start school in two weeks so you gotta get reconditioned to this stuff anyway right?!?
We grabbed a Lyft to HS around 6:45 (I told you. I’m ruined. Sorry Disney buses) and were in line waiting for bag check to open at 7:05. DD8 was looking at me like WTH is this?!? I had packed some bagels, fruit and breakfast bars and we munched on those until bag check opened up. By 7:30 we had gotten through bag check and taps and were amongst the first in line at the ToT/RnRC rope!!! Yay me!! Also, so freaking thankful I decided not to attempt Slinky at RD. That mass of people looked awful.
As we stood there and waited DS (while staring up at ToT) said “uhhhh mama?? Iiiiiiii…don’t…think I want to ride it today.” What?!? I knew it was just going to be him and DNiece riding because DD8 and DD5 gave a firm “hell no” look my way when I tried to convince them. I had just planned to ride with RS at some point in the day if time allowed. But ok, no big deal. DNiece can still ride. Well, around 7:45 she said “uuummmm Aunt Erin??? I don’t think I can ride that by myself.” I couldn’t believe it! Of course I totally get my niece not wanting to ride without knowing anyone else and I wish I could somehow ride with her but I can’t leave the other three by themselves. Such a bummer! And honestly, I would’ve just planned the day a lot differently had I have known we would end up straight up skipping ToT. My Niece did offer to hang with the kids so I could ride but I opted out too. Having us do that and RnRC with a swap is a lot of dead time with nothing to do for DD8 and DD5.
When the ropes finally dropped at 8:00 on the dot we headed to RnRC, I let DS and DNiece ride while I grabbed a RS to use later. By the time we made it over there (DD8 and DNiece are the SLOWEST walkers on the face of the earth. We dubbed them the “dawdlers”. Sloth level slow.), rode and decided to hop in line for TSM it was 8:30 and it was posted at a 60 minute wait. Blah. Feeling like a floundering Liner at this point but we hop in line anyway. Wasn’t too bad in the end. That queue is nice and in the A/C and wonderfully themed. We enjoyed looking at all of the details and played a rousing game of “Eye Spy” which made it go by quickly. We ended up waiting closer to 30 minutes and made it off around 9:15. Grabbed a FP for Star Tours at 9:30 and made a bathroom stop on the way over there. I snagged a FP for TSM at the 9:31 drop while we were in line.
I can’t remember what time it was when we got off but it was getting realllly hot. We grabbed a spot in the shade and snacked on the rest of the food I brought with us. I had planned on us going to the 11:00 BatB but gave the kids a choice to opt out for Launch Bay and A/C. They chose the later. We started walking that way and then I remembered MuppetVision! We hadn’t ever done it and (unbeknownst to me before this trip) DNiece LOVES Kermit!! So we sidetracked for that. It was funny and fun and cute. We all enjoyed it.
We headed back to TSM to use our FP and then moved on to Launch Bay and hopefully a meet and greet or two. We explored a bit but it didn’t take us terribly long to get through it. We aren’t avid SW buffs so a lot of the vehicles and stuff that’s specific to one or a few of the movies kind of gets lost on us. By this time Chewy and Kylo Ren had sizable wait times posted but BB-8s was low - around 15 I think. We decided to meet him and it was delightful! Honestly, when we first walked in the room he didn’t move or speak and at first I thought it was essentially a M&G with a statue and was heading straight towards disappointment. But it ended up being a really fun Meet! The PhotoPass photographers translated his Droid talk and he spun his head around and beeped at us a lot. So fun!
When we got done it was around 11:45. We had hoped to make it to the 12:00 Indiana Jones show before leaving the park to head to Epcot so we started moving that way. I was nervous it’d be full. We were in view and hearing of the CMs saying “if you’re heading to Indiana Jones you need to come in right now!!” but couldn’t make it before they closed off the show. Bummer!! Hopefully we can make it on our HS evening touring day.
While we had been waiting for BB-8 I snagged a FP for TT at the 11:31 drop. I thought this would help the kids get excited to head to Epcot. It didn’t. They were hot and were begging to go back to the hotel to rest. I consented. I had a grumbling headache (either from the heat or no coffee that morning) and as much as I didn’t want to admit it…I needed some rest too.
We popped into The Trolley Car Cafe for coffee (oh man I am SO glad I had stainless steel straws for my coffee!!) and grabbed a Lyft and were back in the room around 12:50 or so.
I let the kids relax and play on their Kindles and got ready to try again for a SDFP - FOP this time. I hadn’t had luck with drops and FOP the other day and wasn’t feeling optimistic BUT I GOT ONE!!! I got all 5 of us at once with a 3:00 return time. Sweet!!
We grabbed a Lyft to AK around 3. Had a PhotoPass pic snapped with the banshee in Pandora and headed to the FP line! This was going to be DD5 and DNiece’s first time riding. I was pumped!! We all kind of held our breath with each height check for DD5 but she passed each one!! We all loved it!!! I think DD5 was a little scared because some of those drops feel so real so I held onto her hand. After, we checked out the Rookery and I decided I needed a snack so we Mobile Ordered at Satuli. First time we’ve been able to pop in here. The kids said they weren’t hungry so I just ordered them the cakes…what are they called? They liked them ok. I thought the cheeseburger pod was super tasty as were the chips!! I had looked a the non-magic shot we got of the Pandora mountains and it was terrible so we decided to wait in line to get it taken again. Much better this time!!
We then decided to head back so we could shower before our dinner at AP. It was 95 with a heat index of 103 and we were sweating. Everywhere. We made it to the head of the Oasis Trails (neatest the exit) before I realized I had left my HydroFlask at Satuli!!! Dang it!! DNiece was cool hanging with the kids near the restrooms so I power walked it back, snagged my water bottle and we were good to go.
Got showered (yay! I feel human!!) and Lyfted to WL. When we got to the check in we were told they were running behind so we went outside to explore the grounds a bit and got our table ready text around 7:10 (ADR time was 6:50). I love this meal. The kids love this meal. It’s fun and bright and the food is pretty tasty. The appetizers were changed up a bit since February and were pretty tasty. I don’t love the shrimp but enjoyed the soup and the sausage plate. I let DS order off of the adult menu. He prefers to order this way at home and DNiece prefers to order off of the kids’ menu so I let him since I was having to pay for her as an adult anyway.
The kids all LOVED the dwarfs and the queen. So much laughter. One of my favorite nights of the trip.
While we ate it started pouring. Like, raining sideways kind of storm. I checked my map. So many rides down in MK! I kept my fingers crossed it’d keep up for the last park hour of the day (9-10). We got home just before 9 and guess what?!? Rides still down!! Woohoo!!! I booked Dumbo at 9:00. It immediately converted to an anytime FP for any park good through the end of operating hours the next day (7/29)! Win!! Booked a 9:15 for Dumbo. Converted! Booked a 9:30 for Dumbo. Converted!!! After that my luck was over but I was so pumped to have 3 anytime FPs for our Animal Kingdom day the next day!
What started as quite a mess of a day ended up being pretty awesome. Got everyone settled down and in bed by 10. Animal Kingdom and HDDR on deck for tomorrow!