We got right onto a bus and headed to Hollywood Studios. They opened the gates at 7:35am and we were one of the first people into the park. Actually, we were the first people through the turnstile we were in line for. We've gotten into a park quickly before at "rope drop", but this was the quickest for sure! Walking into a nearly empty park is so different than the way it looks 2 hours later.
I'll say it again. Get to the parks at rope drop. You get the opportunity to do so many things in a short amount of time. Keep in mind, rope drop is usually about 15-30 minutes before the park officially "opens". Be there! If you try it once, you will be convinced.
We grabbed Fastpasses for Toy Story Mania and then walked right onto Rock n' Roller Coaster. Then we headed to Tower of Terror where we pretty much walked on without a wait TWICE! Yep, back to back Tower of Terror. Love this ride! At that point it was 8:20am and we had ridden THREE thrill rides and gotten a Fastpass for Toy Story.
We got in line to ride Rock n' Roller Coaster again and had a 30 minute wait. By the time we stepped off the ride we were able to get another Fastpass so we picked one up for another ride on Rock n' Roller Coaster.
Next we got in line to use our Fastpass for Toy Story Mania at a few minutes after 9:00am and were off the ride at 9:15am.
Next we got in line to see the Little Mermaid performance. Remember on Day 1 when I mentioned we saw a little boy get sick right by us as we entered the park? We were able to relive that experience up close and personal for a second time when a little girl got sick in line. The group of people had to be re-routed so we could avoid the "area". Gag. I have seriously never had that happen on a vacation in an amusement park before, and I've been on a lot of trips to amusements parks from childhood through now, and here we were lucky enough to have that happen twice on the same trip. Yuck.
At this point we were able to get another Fastpass so we got one for Tower of Terror this time and then went to use our Rock n' Roller Coaster Fastpass. It was perfect timing, because as soon as we got off the roller coaster a Beauty and the Beast show was about the begin. I love that show. ♥
It was still realllly cold, so we grabbed a cup of hot chocolate and went to get in line to use our Fastpass for Tower of Terror. At this point it was just after 11:30am and we decided to see if any Fastpasses were still available for Toy Story Mania. They were already all gone! I can't believe how quickly they go for Toy Story and the same goes for Soarin' at Epcot. It's nuts.
We waited in line for about 30 minutes to see the new(ish) Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. It's in the same location that the Prince Caspian attraction was. It was very cool with all the animatronics and such but I did not care for the way guests are squished together through the entire show. It's dark and I was so focused on not bumping into anyone with my bag or stepping one someone's toes that I couldn't even focus on the attraction. My suggestion would have been to make some sort of theater seating for guests. At the very least, benches to sit on. Crowding in the dark with complete strangers is just awkward. It's too bad, because the attraction itself is pretty cool.
At this point we were pretty hungry since we'd only had a bowl of cereal in the room at 6:30am. We did eat a snack of beef jerkey that I had in our bag but by 1:00pm we were starving for lunch. We went to Fairfax Fair for a quick service meal. Maya had a chili dog and I had a chicken and ribs combo with baked beans. We both saved our dessert for later.
We were back at our bus stop at 1:30pm.
Let me do a quick recap of the day and all that we did:
Tower of Terror THREE TIMES
Rock n' Roller Coaster THREE TIMES
Toy Story Mania
Beauty and the Beast
Pirates of the Caribbean
.... All before 1:30pm
If that doesn't convince you that getting to the parks early will help you to get the most out of your trip, nothing will.
|Special thanks to the photobomber|
Maya decided she wanted to do some more shopping at Downtown Disney and she wanted to get some more ice cream from Ghiardelli's. I wasn't up for shopping or ice cream and she was kind of excited about going to Downtown Disney solo, so I let her go. I figured she was almost 18 years old and would be fine. And she was. :)
Around 6pm we headed back to Hollywood Studios for dinner at Pizza Planet. We were also planning to see Fantasmic. Somehow, that's a show that I have never seen before! It was awesome, just as I expected! I did not capture any great shots of the show though. I was tinkering with the settings and nothing was turning out right so I decided to just sit back and enjoy the show instead of wasting my time staring at the camera. I think I said this in another recap, but I did that a lot on this trip. Yeah, I did take a lot of photos. But there were a lot of times I just sat back and took in the moment instead of trying to capture it.
By 10:30pm we were tucked in bed and feeling kind of sad about getting up to pack the next morning. Vacation was officially over. :( But we had SUCH a wonderful time! On one hand, I missed Todd and Evan and part of me really was ready to go home. Doing Disney is exhausting! ha But Maya and I had so much fun together with no stress from every day life. It's a trip I will truly cherish like none other.
On our final morning (day 8) we were out of our room around 8:30am after having another bowl of cereal in our room. This is the last picture we took on our trip.
There was a little snafu with Magical Express that caused us to have to check in our own luggage at the airport. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was certainly inconvenient to have to drag all of our luggage to the check in counter ourselves. #firstworldproblems Obviously, we survived the traumatic event without any lasting, lifelong damage.
The Magical Express ride back to the airport is always so sad. It's funny how you can ride that bus on the way to your resort and feel so excited and happy. But on the way back to the airport it's a whole different experience.
Our flight home was mostly uneventful. There was a little ray of sunshine who was at least 5 years old that cried and threw a tantrum throughout most of the time we waited at the gate and throughout most of the 2-1/2 hour flight. I try not to judge children with behavior problems because I know there are a lot of different reasons that a child can't handle stress or they have some sort medical condition that they can not control and then there are times where the parent just doesn't teach their children how to behave. Regardless of what it was, let me tell you, it was trying my patience. Good thing I had been stress free for a week! haha We had gotten lunch at the airport and ate it on the plane. With our headphones in our ears to block out the background noise. :)
I called for the hotel shuttle to pick us up and by the time we got our luggage they were there waiting for us. Perfect timing! It was a beautiful day and the snow around home had mostly melted away. I couldn't believe how quickly all that snow had disappeared. But I WAS grateful! I was over that cold and snow long before I left home.
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