Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Walt Disney World Trip 2016- Day 3 and Day 4- Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom!

Day 3 was Monday, February 29th and I had plans for us to go to Hollywood Studios

We were up at 8am due to campground noise. Our site backed up to the main road so we heard a lot of noise from the bus stop, work trucks, regular traffic, etc. If we had been running the air in the camper we would have been fine. We ate breakfast, cleaned up and ran to the Meadows Trading Post (small general store at the Fort Wilderness Resort) to buy an autograph book (when you meet a character, it's a great way for little ones to interact with them and have a souvenir to take home) and drive the golf cart around a little more.

After the Dinosaur ride, we had a fast pass for the Safari so we headed over there. We got there with 40 minutes to hang out, so we decided to relax and take a break at the Dawa Bar and listen to the traditional African live music. 
When it was time, we headed to the Safari Ride. It's a slow-moving outdoor ride on a big truck through the "safari". We saw the traditional African safari animals. 
After that ride we took the train to Rafiki's conservation station and looked at a bunch of bugs, snakes, and of course met Rafiki. We also got to pet some goats. After the petting zoo it was time for our character lunch. It was an all-you-can eat buffet with a lot of traditional African dishes. It was pretty good. Of course the best part was meeting Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy.
After lunch we could have gone to see a few more animals, but we decided the weather was awesome for some pool time so we went back to the Fort. The Fort has a decent pool with a pretty big slide, but it's nothing spectacular. It's not crowded, so that's really all that matters to me. It's also heated to 84 degrees which is nice. After the pool we decided to do a dry run of the trip over to Magic Kingdom. 
We didn't go in, but decided to check out the monorail and took it over to the Polynesian and had dinner on the deck at Captain Cooks. It was a very casual eatery with the right prices (Brian and I split the Hawaiian Pulled Pork Nachos and Thai Meatballs). It was ok, but we had a glass of wine and we were outside, so it was nice enough. After that, we took the monorail back to the Contemporary to catch the boat back to the Fort. We stopped by the Meadows Trading post for a toy for Jack and a bag of ice, and back to the camper for relaxing and prepping for an early morning breakfast and a day at Magic Kingdom.

Our first fast pass (ride reservation) for Hollywood Studios was at noon, so we had a little time. We drove to Hollywood Studios at 10 A.M. and got to the parking lot about 20 minutes later and took a tram to the entrance. Security backs things up a bit, so it took about 15 minutes to get through (they have to look in every nook and cranny of every bag, so avoid bringing a bag if at all possible), but we had plenty of time before our first fast pass. It was perfect weather- upper 70s and partly cloudy. We walked around the park to check things out, and happened to get our picture with Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

After that we had our first experience with Disney's stroller-parking "system". Somehow I never came across anything about how strollers were dealt with in the Disney parks. When you get in line, you are supposed to park your cart in designated stroller parking areas, along with hundreds of other strollers. As strollers are taken out, cast members will move strollers around to take up the empty space, sometimes even moving them 50 yards away! So anyways, we go to get our stroller, and it's gone, and we thought it'd been stolen! So we're frantically looking for our stroller, seriously running around angry for 10 minutes, only to find it in the middle of the stroller parking area. After that crisis was over, we went back to Star Tours for our first fast pass. It was a Star Wars themed 3D motion simulator ride. We all loved it! 

After that we went to the Muppet 3D Movie, which was also cute and a lot of fun. It was then time for lunch so we ate at Backlot Express and had Grilled Chicken Salads for us, chicken and waffles for Jack and a drink called the After Burner (hard apple cider with fireball- pretty good). Next up was the Indiana Jones stunt spectacular. The stunts were really good, but a 5 year old gets bored with the explanations of how they stage the stunts. It was short enough though, so it was enjoyable.

After that it was time for another margarita because we had a few minutes to kill before our Toy Story Midway Mania fast pass. We walked around with our drinks and then got on the ride. The ride was a blast- you rode a twirling, fast moving car while wearing 3D glasses and it would stop every few feet and you would use a "gun" to shoot at different targets in different games. It's no wonder those fast passes are sold out weeks in advance. After that we went to check out the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play set, and Jack had a blast but it was packed with kids and hard to keep track of Jack, so we didn't stay long. After that we went to the Lights, Motors, Action Stunt Show. It was awesome! A little more entertaining for Jack than the Indiana Jones show. Even the Cars characters made an appearance.

By that point I had on my plan to go on the Great Movie Ride, but it was a 25 minute wait and I don't think Jack would have cared, so we headed for our last fast pass- Tower of Terror. Jack had been looking forward to this ride, but was also nervous. The set up for the ride is really cool (the queues for all the rides were very detailed with tons of stuff to distract you while you wait)- scary twilight zone stuff. The ride is this: you get into a seat in an elevator that takes you through a hotel and then the elevator "breaks" and you get thrown up and down (sort of like the Detonator) all while the doors to the outside open and shut. Jack was freaked out, but it was awesome and he ended up loving it.

That was it for the day, so we left. We got on the tram and got back to our car. The park looked crowded, but there were definitely areas that were open. Most people seemed to congregate around the Tower of Terror/Rock n Rollercoaster and the Star Wars ride. We got back to the camper and had to drive around in the golf cart. There were loops we hadn't explored! We finally headed back to the camper and cooked dinner, relaxed, got Jack bathed, drove the golf cart around again and came back to relax before bed.

Day 4 was Tuesday, March 1st and we were headed to Animal Kingdom

The day started with a semi-restless night of sleep. It rained pretty good and at one point Brian had to mess with the awning due to the rain, so our 7:30 alarm came a little earlier than we wanted on vacation. Our first fast pass was Expedition Everest at 9:30 AM, so we left the camper at 9:00. Again, we drove to the park and took the tram to the main entrance. There were a lot of people again, but it didn't feel oppressively crowded (I think the beautiful, partly-cloudy, upper 70s with a slight breeze weather helped). Expedition Everest is the "big" roller coaster at Animal Kingdom. You have to be 44 inches and I made a tough call to use up a fast pass for this because at the time I made the reservations, Jack was only 43 inches, but today he's 45 so we made it! Jack was scared at first, but he ended up loving it. It goes backwards and forwards and through the dark. 

After Everest was an indoor, slow, but exciting, Dinosaur ride. It was awesome. Jack was so scared before it even started he was tearing up, but he ended up loving it, of course. 

We took the boat to the Contemporary Resort and then walked over to the entrance to Magic Kingdom. 

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