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Trip Report Elephants Have the Best Memory in the Jungle -- An October F&W Trip with a 50th Anniversary Chaser

Since I got my first TR under my belt, I figured now would be a good time to start my first Pre-Trip Report in advance of my upcoming trip in a few weeks.

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Who: My usual gang. Me (Bryan) on the right, my mom D, and my friend A.
When: October 15th-22nd
Where: One of A's parents' timeshares off property (not sure which one)
Why: Um, do we really need a reason...?

Flight Info:
We are flying down on AA from PHL to MCO at 8:45am on 10/15. We actually lucked out on this flight. The prices going down were fairly high and we were hesitant to pull the trigger but could see that the flight was filling up. A was going to book it at work one night but never got around to it and when he checked again the next day the flight dropped to $64 from over $200!

Coming home we are flying Frontier (wish me luck!) at 9:44pm on 10/22. This flight was also dirt cheap and gave us the most park time on our last day so it was a no brainer. I am not the biggest fan of Frontier but the price was very hard to pass up.

Park Reservations:
Friday 10/15 -- Epcot
Saturday 10/16 -- AK
Sunday 10/17 -- MK
Monday 10/18 -- HS
Tuesday 10/19 -- MK
Wednesday 10/20 -- AK
Thursday 10/21-- HS
Friday 10/22 -- MK

These are all subject to change. We are planning on trying to get a boarding group for Ratatouille on 10/15 while we are waiting to board our flight and then hope it doesn't get called until after we get to the park. If we miss out on Ratatouille, I am sure we will try to change one of our other days. We only have one Epcot day booked because it opens so much later than the other parks. The plan is to park hop to Epcot multiple days to hit up F&W booths.

You might be wondering how we have 8 days of park reservations without staying in the park. We had to cheat the system again by booking a Disney Springs hotel for two nights that we have no intention of staying in. We originally had 4 nights booked in a different hotel but when they made the change to allow APs to have 5 park reservations at a time we were able to change our plans and save some money. I love staying in the parks but even with the addition of an empty hotel room and the rental car, it still works out to be cheaper than staying in the bubble. I still wish that Disney would be more accommodating for out of state passholders but this is a step in the right direction.

ADRs:
As of right now, we have waaaay too many ADRs booked than humanly possible but it is nice to have options.

Friday 10/15
La Hacienda Dinner at 9:30pm

Saturday 10/16
Homecomin' Lunch at 3:05pm
Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner at 6:25pm
Be Our Guest Dinner at 8:40pm

Sunday 10/17
Wine Bar George Brunch at 1pm
Ale & Compass Dinner at 6:20pm

Monday 10/18
Via Napoli Lunch at 2:45pm
Frontera Dinner at 9:15pm

Tuesday 10/19
Plaza Restaurant Lunch at 12:05pm
Chefs de France Dinner at 8:40pm

Wednesday 10/20
Steakhouse 71 Breakfast at 8:55am
Space 220 Lunch at 3pm
Steakhouse 71 Dinner at 8:25pm
Jaleo Dinner at 9:35pm

Thursday 10/21
Steakhouse 71 Lunch at 12:25pm
Rose & Crown Lunch at 3:20pm

Friday 10/22
Steakhouse 71 Lunch at 12:25pm

We are all excited that we were able to get an ADR at Space 220 even though it is super expensive. It will probably be a one and done just for the experience but who knows. Clearly, we also liked the look of the menu at Steakhouse 71. I am thinking we will probably keep either breakfast or one of the lunches. We are all checking everyday to try to move our Homecomin' ADR to brunch but so far nothing has been available. I would love if anyone has any other recommendations on places to try or places to avoid.

I am going to try to make a better effort at taking more pictures this trip and we will definitely be making use of the PPPs while we still have Memory Maker before we lose it in the name of greed when we have to renew next year....thanks Bob...

It's going to be a crazy couple of weeks leading up to this trip at work. I recently got a promotion so I am learning the ropes of my new position and we are getting ready for inventory which is the day before I leave so I will very much need a vacation by then. Wish me luck that I survive until then!
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
ADR Update

A and I made some cuts to our slew of ADRs last night and here is the updated list:

Friday 10/15
La Hacienda Dinner at 9:30pm

Saturday 10/16
Homecomin' Lunch at 3:05pm
Grand Floridian Cafe Dinner at 6:25pm
Be Our Guest Dinner at 8:40pm


Sunday 10/17
Wine Bar George Brunch at 1pm
Ale & Compass Dinner at 6:20pm

Monday 10/18
Via Napoli Lunch at 2:45pm
Frontera Dinner at 9:15pm

Tuesday 10/19
Plaza Restaurant Lunch at 12:05pm
Chefs de France Dinner at 8:40pm

Wednesday 10/20
Steakhouse 71 Breakfast at 8:55am
Space 220 Lunch at 3pm
Steakhouse 71 Dinner at 8:25pm
Jaleo Dinner at 9:35pm

Thursday 10/21
Steakhouse 71 Lunch at 12:25pm
Rose & Crown Lunch at 3:20pm

Friday 10/22
Steakhouse 71 Lunch at 12:25pm

We pretty much decided that we are going to do lunch at Steakhouse 71 just not sure which day. We were thinking that our Frontera and Jaleo ADRs might just be for apps and drinks after the parks but could easily be cut. We are still praying to the ADR Gods that we can snag a Homecomin' brunch. If not, we are losing the Homecomin' lunch just because it eats up (no pun intended) too much park time in the middle of the day.

My other main goal is to resist the temptation to watch the new nighttime shows before we get there so I can experience them live.

i made this rejoice GIF
 

macefamily

Well-Known Member
Homecomin' brunch :p
Just did it two weeks ago; that was our fourth time. There's nothing better. I have to stop ordering the Southern Mary because that drink is too filling. Need to leave room for all the good stuff.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
LESS THAN A WEEK AWAY!

Disney Food Blog posted about the fireworks dining package at Rose and Crown recently and all three of us perked up at the idea of unlimited beer included in the price. And not just one or two types. The entire beer menu including all of the blends!

Yes. Unlimited. Beer.

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Never has there been two words that are more meant to be together than unlimited and beer.

Unfortunately, there were no available times for our trip when we all checked independently of each other. I was resigned to dream about unlimited beer but my mom was able to snag a reservation for us on Monday night (10/18)!!!

This means that we will lose our Frontera reservation which was really just for the $5 margarita night and we will likely move our Via Napoli lunch to another day.

The other update that will have an effect on our trip is the start date for Genie+/Lightning Lane aka CashPass was announced for 10/19. I will be sure to update you on the impact that this horrible, horrible change (no judgement here...lol) has on wait times on the beginning of our trip versus the end of the trip. I expect the opening day to be crowded with bloggers and media but I am hoping that CashPass is a huge flop and that no one actually uses it.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I've been back for a couple of days and figured it was time to start this TR.

DAY 1 -- OCTOBER 15TH

Leading up to this trip was the most stressful time of the year at work...inventory. This year was a little more stressful for me because about a month ago I received a promotion so in addition to learning a new job and having more responsibilities, we had to get the store ready for inventory. The actual day of inventory was 10/14, the day before we left. Part of my responsibilities in my new role is being the closing manager on duty every night which meant that I had to pack that morning because I knew I was not going to want to do it after getting done work at 10:30pm. Thankfully, things went smoothly with inventory and the night was pretty uneventful. I am never able to go right to sleep when I get home from work so I watched some TV and finally forced myself to go to sleep just before midnight. Not the brightest idea when my alarm was set for 5am the next morning to catch our flight. Who needs sleep to tackle a week at WDW?

Our park reservation for this day was for Epcot and since we were already up this early we figured it was worth a shot to try to get a boarding group for Remy. I loaded up our party on the app and refreshed right at 7am and we were able to get Group 21! It was great that we got a boarding group but I was hoping for a higher group number because our flight was at 8:45am so we would not be getting to Epcot until close to noon after landing, getting our luggage, and picking up the rental car. We shall see how this turns out...

My dad dropped my mom and I off at PHL and A arrived literally right after we did. Perfect timing. We made our way inside and the check in process for our flight was surprisingly quick despite the crowds. It helps that we are experienced travelers and know what we are doing at an airport. We parted ways again because A has TSA Pre-Check and we do not. We used to get it because A books our flights and because we were on the same reservation we would also get that benefit. Not any more. We were shocked when we got the security checkpoint and saw that the line stretched all the way down the tunnel that connects the airport to the Marriott across the street. Now I was getting worried that we might miss our flight. An airport employee even came down and took a group of people that were in line behind us down to the next terminal because the lines were shorter down there. We contemplated going with them but thought that by the time we walked all the way down to the next terminal, got through security, and walked all the way back that it wouldn't really save us too much time. Thankfully, things moved pretty quickly, a rarity at PHL, and we made it through security in about 25-30 minutes. This gave us time to grab some breakfast from Auntie Anne's. I wish non-airport Auntie Anne's would serve breakfast because my sandwich on a pretzel bun was really good. My biggest pet peeve with a pretzel bun is that they almost never have salt on them and this one had just the right amount of salt.

While my mom and I were getting the food, A managed to finally switch our Homecomin' ADR for Saturday from lunch to brunch! I love me some Homecomin' brunch!

We boarded the plane on time without incident but for some reason we sat on the runway for a long time and ended up leaving late. I decided to join the masses and I started watching Squid Game on the flight down. My earbuds died with about 15 minutes left in the third episode. I was not happy since we had about 15-20 minutes left before we landed and the timing would have been perfect. I am really liking the show so far. I haven't been able to watch much more of it because now that I am home, I have a DVR full of shows from the past week to try to catch up on. But, I will definitely finish it soon.

When we landed, I checked MDE and saw that our boarding group was already called and we had about 15 minutes to make it to Epcot. Not gonna happen. Especially, since our bags took an unusually long time to come out. We got our car with no troubles this time unlike last trip and hit the road. It wasn't too long until we saw this sight and we were back home...

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BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 1 -- OCTOBER 15TH CONTINUED

It was a little after 1pm when we arrived at Epcot and the line for Spaceship Earth was a little too long for our liking so we decided to head past it and to the right side of the maze of walls. Nemo was posted at a 20 minute wait but we decided to risk it because our PA bodies were still adjusting to the Florida heat and Nemo has great AC. We made our way through the queue and basically walked onto the ride without stopping. After our journey through the Big Blue World, my mom always loves to explore the aquariums. We stopped by to check in on the manatees.

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If I remember correctly, this is Lou. I just love how calm and mellow these guys are and I could stand and watch them glide around for a long time. After our visit with the majestic sea cows, we moved towards the main section of The Seas. Much to my mom's chagrin, only one of the dolphins was out and there must have been some kind of training session going on above the water because he spent most of his time up by the platform and not really swimming around much. We continued around and saw two of the sea turtles swimming together which made the kids in the crowd squeal with joy. Then, those sea turtles appeared to try to make a third turtle and there was a lot of moms shuffling their kids along while stifling their giggles.

bill hader snl GIF by Saturday Night Live


After our lesson in the birds and the bees aquatic style, we headed for dryer land, The Land, to be more specific. We joined a short line for Living with the Land and in a few minutes we were on our blissfully plastic wrap free boat and on our way through one of the most underrated attractions in WDW. I love seeing all of the things being grown in the greenhouse and love that much of it is actually used in the park. I think I have mentioned it before but if you are a LWTL fan like I am, it is well worth it to do the Behind the Seeds tour. I am not sure if it is running right now. There was never anyone at the desk at the end of the ride. But, it is a great value and you get a real up close and personal look at the greenhouse and even get to sample the goods without getting banned from Epcot.

Now that we have conquered the sea and the land, the next logical thing would be to take to the skies and hop in line for Soarin'. This was the longest that we waited for Soarin' for the whole trip. This was the only time that we were stopped before getting split into one of the Concourses. All that considered, we only waited about 20 minutes tops. This was the first in a series of rides from row 3. We were in C, but we were the last ones in the row so we were fairly close to center with minimal distortion.

Our stomachs were starting to growl at this point, so we decided to make our first of many laps around World Showcase to sample our way around the world. I have to get ready for work so I will pick up on the rest of our Day 1 adventures which conclude with our first viewing of Harmonious.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 1 CONTINUED -- OCTOBER 15TH

Sorry for the delay but here we go...

We made our way to World Showcase down the side path past Figment. Nothing appealed to us at Earth Eats or the Noodle Exchange so we pressed on and made a right towards Canada. It was a little too warm out for soup at the Canada booth so we decided to go see Canada Far and Wide...er, I mean, go eat something at the Appleseed Orchard booth. I went with the Apple Crumble Tart and the beer flight.

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The tart was very tasty but it was a little hard to get through the crust with a spoon because they were out of forks. The only thing that would have made this better would have been a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I was a little disappointed by the beer flight. I could not really taste the apple flavor in the first two beers and the apple flavor in the sour beer was that very artificial green apple flavor. It reminded me of a green Jolly Rancher.

We continued our loop around the world and eventually made our way to France so of course we had to stop at the booth. This booth always seems to have one of the longest lines but if you go around to the back side of the booth they usually have another set of registers on the other side with a much shorter line.

My mom and I both decided on the Beignet aux Trois Fromages: Warm Beignet filled with Three Cheeses. Because...cheese!

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I wanted to really love this dish but I only liked it. It was basically a warm, savory donut filled with cheese sauce with more cheese melted on top. The cheese inside had a kinda grainy texture to it which was a little off putting and the beignet itself was a bit too greasy.

A went with the Coq Au Vin which he seemed to enjoy but I did not get a picture of it.

We meandered around through some more countries. We took a look around the shop in Japan but nothing jumped out at me to buy. Our timing was pretty good and we got to America just in time for a showing of The American Experience nap. This is by no means a diss on the show which I do like but it had been a long day and it is hard to resist a semi-comfortable seat, AC, and darkness.

Refreshed from our power nap, we soldiered on and finished our first lap around the world of the week. We were still a little hungry and our dinner ADR was not until late so we decided to check out the Brew-Wing booth inside the Odyssey building. I opted to go spicy and get the Mango Habanero wings.

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These were very good and very spicy especially by Disney standards and I didn't even eat the sliced peppers that were on top. I was also happy that almost all of my wings were flats and not drums. I am definitely #TeamFlat when it comes to wings. A got the Teriyaki-Sesame wings which he also enjoyed. My mom got the Brussel Sprouts but did not like them because the buffalo sauce on them was too spicy for her liking. I paired my wings with the Central 28 Beer Company Groveland Road Blood Orange IPA. It was a nice refreshing beer with a slight citrus flavor. Not the best beer, but a solid choice.

After sitting and sucking up some more AC, we navigated through the maze of walls to take a ride on Spaceship Earth. It was basically a walk on at this point. For the first time in a while, it actually successfully took my picture and didn't chop my face up into an unrecognizable mess.

We returned from our trip through time and still had time to kill before our ADR at La Hacienda de San Angel so naturally we took another leisurely stroll through WS. My mom wasn't hungry but we stopped in America for a little appetizer before our dinner.

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I had the New England Lobster Roll: Lobster with Herb Mayonnaise on a Griddled Roll from Hops and Barley along with the beer flight which included:

81Bay Brewing Co. Strawberry and Lime
SweetWater Brewing Company Hazy IPA
Lord Hobo Brewing Boom Sauce DIPA

The lobstah roll that I got was packed with lobster and was a great deal for the price. This is typically one of my favorite festival dishes and it did not disappoint.

The beer flight was solid as well. The Strawberry and Lime was nice and refreshing. The IPAs were both good offerings as well. I have had the Lord Hobo in the past at home and enjoyed it and SweetWater is always a solid brewery.

We hung out for a little bit and listened the end of the band's performance for the night before continuing around the lagoon towards our dinner ADR. (I almost typed ressie and then I threw up a little in my mouth and changed my mind). If memory serves me correctly, we took a ride through Mexico to kill some time before being able to check into our ADR at La Hacienda.

This has been our go-to dinner on the first night for years now but I don't know if it will keep that status. First, the best thing on the menu, and arguably on any menu in WDW, is the Crema de Elote soup which was currently not available. I seriously could eat a gallon of this amazing soup on a 95 degree day in 200% humidity and be the happiest man on Earth. Second, they only are offering one of the two platters that they have offered in the past. Typically, we would order one of the meat platters for 2 that included chicken, steak and chorizo and one of the seafood platters that included fish, shrimp, and scallops. Both platters come with veggies and corn as well as tortillas.

Right now, they are only offering the seafood platter, which my mom and I split. A ordered a steak dish for himself which he was not entirely pleased with. I don't have any pictures of the food because just as it came, they dimmed the lights in the restaurant for Harmonious. The view from inside the restaurant from our table wasn't the best view but we were able to get a taste of the new show.

I know it is not the most popular opinion but I was not the biggest fan of Illuminations. I thought that the new show was entertaining enough and I enjoyed the familiar songs in other languages. The technology used in the show is great but I think they could have easily found a way to pull off this show without having the eye sore barges in the lagoon all day long. Honestly, the smaller barges could have been kept off site like Illuminations and brought in later in the day and the huge Stargate ring could have been designed to fold down flat or something to keep it from ruining all the sight lines. Later in the week, we would see the barges acting as fountains but, spoiler alert, this did not help.

We finished up our meal and shuffled our way towards the front of the park to the car. I have to say that the new lighting on Spaceship Earth was spectacular and it was the best Beacon of Magic throughout all four parks in my opinion.

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Ain't she a beauty?

We made is to the car and out of the parking lot eventually. No thanks to the d-bag that didn't think that he needed to take turns at the end of the row of the lot. We arrived at the timeshare and had a bit of a scare. The security guard on duty told A that he did not see the reservation. A doesn't handle stress very well and lost his cool a bit but the security guard called the front desk and they were finally able to pull up the reservation. We got to the room and the key cards would not open our doors. Luckily, A ran into a different security guard who was able to fix the problem quickly thanks to his speedy golf cart. We then discovered that A's mom did not book things correctly and there was one area with a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom with a king bed and then the other room had a bedroom, kitchenette, and bathroom but only had a king bed for my mom and I. We were so exhausted that it wasn't worth fighting so my mom and I ended up sharing the king bed for the week which wasn't ideal but it got the job done. We all were just glad to be in a room and all hit the bed and slept as much as possible. Originally, we were going to go to AK for a little before our brunch at Homecomin', but after this long day we decided to sleep in a little and just head to DS to start the day.
 

erstwo

Well-Known Member
Enjoying the Trip Report! Can't believe you fit that all into one day! Looking forward to the review of the fireworks Rose and Crown 'unlimited beer!' on day 3. ;)
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 -- OCTOBER 16TH

After sleeping in for a bit, we drove over to DS for our brunch at Homecomin'. I look forward to this meal every trip and think about it often when I'm at home. I always get the same thing every time because it is just that good.

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For your drooling pleasure, I present the Hallelujah Biscuit. It is a cheddar biscuit topped with pimento cheese, fried chicken, bacon, country gravy, and two fried eggs. I went with the grits as a side and they were topped with a solid quarter inch of melted cheese. All of the flavors on this dish just melt together so nicely when you break into the egg yolk and it runs all over everything. There are so many different flavors that each bite is different depending on what combination of ingredients you get on your fork. A had the same meal as I did and my mom got her usual, the avocado toast.

We waddled out of the restaurant, full to the gills, past the massive line waiting for Gideon's (no cookies for me yet again :cry:) back to the car and made our way to AK.

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We veered to the left towards Africa and into the safari line which snaked through a backstage area in the blazing sun. Today was going to be the hottest day of the trip and it was making itself known already. Despite the lengthy queue, we boarded about jeep in under 30 minutes and were off to the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. It was so nice to not have plastic wrap in between rows that I didn't even take any pictures on this safari and just enjoyed the unobstructed views.

Like the sheep that we are, we naturally entered the Gorilla Falls trail after our safari just like the powers that be want us to do. While we were taking our time and enjoying the scenery and the wildlife we came upon one of the small details that makes WDW so great.

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This was just off to the side on the trail right before the birds if I remember correctly. Anywhere else, loose branches and fallen leaves would just be swept up and discarded. But at Disney, they are made into natural artwork that seamlessly blends into the theming of the park.

Soon, we approached the main attraction and the namesake of this trail, the gorillas. I could stand there and watch them for hours. They just captivate me and I love watching the young ones trying to play and the parents swatting them away. I was very happy that we were able to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the family. Mom was showing off her two month old daughter and even started nursing her right up at the glass.

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After our dose of baby gorilla cuteness, we concluded our trek through the trail in search of cold water. After rehydrating, we hopped on the train to my mom's favorite section of the park, Rafiki's Planet Watch. My mom made a beeline for the Affection Section to pet the animals while A and I went inside to look at the bugs and lizards and whatnot. Unfortunately, it was too late in the day and we missed out on the vet procedures for the day. We made our way outside and found a bench in the shade to wait for my mom to finish up. Once she rejoined the party, we got back on the Wildlife Express and back to AK proper.

I have to get ready to go to work so I will have to pick up on this day later.
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 CONTINUED -- OCTOBER 16TH

No, I did not disappear. I have had limited time on here and have been choosing to read as opposed to write. Back to where we left off...

After returning from Rafiki's, we made our may over towards Everest. My mom does not ride this one so A and I hopped in the single rider line and we were on and off in about 15 minutes. I even got a seat in the last row. The ride photo never came through but we did go on it.

After our dance with the Disco Yeti, we hit the Maharaja Jungle Trek trail with the hopes of seeing my fave, the tigers! Typically when we go through there we are lucky to see half of a tiger butt laying against the wall. We got super lucky and the tiger was very active today.

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My tiger photography skills improved from my previous TR if I do say so myself.

If you notice, she keeps staring off to the bottom left of the photos. The CM that was stationed on the bridge pointed out to us that her favorite toy, a giant ball, had floated away in the water down to the far corner of the enclosure. She had spent entire day pacing back and forth along the wall glaring at her ball willing it to come back. The CM also explained that she does know how to swim and the tigers are pretty good swimmers but that she was particularly stubborn and didn't like getting wet. I don't own a cat but I feel like cat owners can probably relate to that.

Since we were in the area and it was almost showtime, we decided to grab some drinks and see the next showing of Kite Tales. I forget what my drink was called but it had lychee lemonade and Jack Daniels (yum!). We opted for the "unofficial" viewing area of the show. The official seating area is on the Dinoland side of the amphitheater so we did miss out on the preshow.

We got the Lion King version of the show. Jungle Book is the other one. We were all pretty underwhelmed with the show. I don't think the fact that it was hotter than the surface of the sun that day helped. My mom actually left halfway though to seek shade. The quickly melting ice in my drink was my only relief. I did manage to get some pretty decent pictures of the kites though.

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If I happened to be in the area when this show was happening, I would slow down and watch, maybe even stop, but I definitely not make a point to seek it out and sit in the theater.

The heat was at a boiling point so we decided to head out of the park. We sat in the car with the A/C cranked up to the max for a while to cool off and then we drove over to HS to do something that we somehow have never done before, experience Galaxy's Edge at night!
 

BwlrBry212

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
DAY 2 CONTINUED -- OCTOBER 16TH

We arrived at HS and tapped in with no issues...well at least for A and I. For some reason the scanners at WDW don't like to recognize my mom's fingerprint at least 75% of the time. Most days, A and I would go through first and then stand behind the CM where my mom was waiting and just raise our hand in anticipation of the inevitable call to the tablet CM to scan her in and take her picture. I think she had more pictures taken at the tapstiles than on any ride or by a P3.

It was starting to cool down a little bit and the line for MMRR wasn't too bad so we decided to ride that first. We got in line behind a young adult couple. About 10 minutes or so into the wait, they pulled off the side by the rope and just stopped while the line moved on in front of them. We paused for a moment but continued on since they showed no signs of moving. It turns out that they were waiting for the other young couple they were with to join them in line and cut in front of all of the people behind them. They proceeded to talk about us cutting them in line loud enough for us to hear them for the entirety of the wait.

irony GIF


Surprisingly, we were all the bigger people and chose not to engage. We all agreed that we would have understood if there were any children involved, or if they had come back with drinks or snacks for the group, or had been in line and left. But it baffles me that no one seems to grasp the concept of waiting for your whole party to be together before entering the queue. Anyway, we enjoyed our trip to Runamuk Park and our conga line with Daisy despite the "drama".

We then made out way to Toy Story Land and hopped in a 40 minute posted wait time for Midway Mania. We doubted the wait time because there was no one waiting in the outdoor portion of the queue. I don't think we stopped moving until we got to Mr. Potato Head and we were on and off the ride in about 20 minutes with a personal best score for me at over 200K for the first time ever!

After the ride, we were all hungry for something to eat since we hadn't eaten since brunch. I suggested the ABC Commissary because I have been wanting to try the buffalo chicken grilled cheese they have but A wasn't feeling it. He suggested Docking Bay 7 but I was not overly impressed with our last meal there. So we ended up just mobile ordering at Woody's Lunch Box instead. For some reason, there was not an available pick up window for at least 30 minutes. A and I went over to take a spin on A.S.S. to kill some of the time and my mom went to snag us a table. While we were waiting, we were both able to edit our pick up window to a time about 10 minutes away. The posted wait time for A.S.S. was only 15 minutes so we figured we would be fine. Wrong! I have no idea why, but we waited almost 30 minutes for this darn ride!

After our excruciatingly long wait for A.S.S. it was well into our pick up window for food. I didn't take any pics but I had the brisket sandwich which was pretty tasty. My mom and A both had the regular grilled cheese. I'm pretty sure that Disney Food Blog posted a recipe for the regular grilled cheese from Woody's that I have made at home and it is pretty spot on and delicious.

The sun had set and we meandered over to Galaxy's Edge to check it out at night.

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It has a totally different feel at night that made it even more enjoyable. We had some time to kill before a late-ish reservation at Oga's so A and I got in the single rider line for Smuggler's Run. We breezed through the line and arrived at the CM in no time. A family of four was in front of us and she asked the next group in the standby line how many they had and her eyeballs nearly popped out of her head when the kid in front told her that they were a party of 17!!! After she regained her composure, she told them to separate themselves into groups and sent the family of four in front of us and A and I in together while they did that. The only downside of the single rider line is that you almost always end up being an engineer and your experience wholly relies on the piloting skills of strangers. This group did not have the worst pilots I have ever seen but the engineers were pretty busy. A and I both thought that it was a great touch that after the sun goes down that the take off and landing scene in Batuu also takes place at night. Small details like that is what makes Disney so great.

It was just about time for Oga's so we made our way over to the cantina where we were "seated" at the bar. We placed our orders and when the bartender brought our drinks he made sure to remind A that his Fuzzy Tauntaun is meant to go in your mouth and is "not a nose drink". I also got the same warning with my Bespin Fizz. None of us were feeling a second round so we forked over our credits and ventured back out into the streets of Batuu. We contemplated joining the queue for ROTR but decided to pass. Spoiler Alert! This would be a mistake we would later regret...

We weren't don't with Star Wars yet so A and I literally walked on to our flight at Star Tours. We had a time bending journey through the Star Wars universe beginning with Darth Vader trying to intercept our shuttle and then we made our escape into the prequel trilogy (also pre-Vader) in the pod race followed by an underwater adventure in Naboo. I like the randomness of this ride but I wish that there was some continuity in with the randomness.

It was nearing park closing time so we headed back towards the Chinese Theater to do another first...watch the projection show on the theater. In the before times, if we were in HS at night we would always end our night with Fantasmic. But that was not an option so we tried something new. It was entertaining enough but definitely not something that I would choose over Fantasmic when it comes back next year.

Our day had come to a close and we would be heading to MK the next day. But first I leave you with a blurry picture of ToT all dressed up for the 50th.

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