Disney World, Life, Vacation

Disney World 2017 Day 1: Hollywood Studios and Epcot!

As I’m looking through photos to share in this post, I have some tears a brewin. Why? It was a really fun vacation and something we both really needed. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a vacation and this much one-on-one quality time. I wanted this to be a great vacation for my husband because he’s been working so hard the last few years. PT school straight into a full time job that he puts a lot of hours and energy into. He needed some time off and we had so many thing to celebrate! Graduations, anniversaries, birthdays… it was about time. I’m so glad we had this week for just the two of us; it really was incredible. Now I’m actually crying… aghh. 

To Hollywood Studios! I used the Undercover Tourist Crowd Calendar to plan out which parks what days and Monday was rope drop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Hollywood Studios is majorly under construction at the moment which really makes it a 1/2 day park. It’s almost not worth going to unless you have a park hopper… but with that being said, it does have a few of the best Disney World rides.

We were about a 7 minute drive away from the DHS gates and we arrived a tad before 8:30. We still had our magic bands from our honeymoon but we weren’t sure if they were still going to work since it’s been almost 3 years and we’d heard the batteries die after a couple years. Luckily they were still working which was a pretty exciting discovery. I thought for a second it wasn’t going to work, but the cast member was like, “don’t be sad yet!” because I hadn’t scanned my finger yet. Yay! We were in. 

Rope drop at Hollywood Studios

The plan was to head straight for Toy Story Mania since we didn’t have any Fastpasses. They opened at 8:55 and we were able to walk straight onto the ride. We did it again immediately and still didn’t wait very long. I love TSM and I’m so glad it was our opener to the trip! If you haven’t done it before, you’re traveling around Andy’s room and it’s a ride that takes you to different game screens. While wearing your 3D glasses, you’re playing different arcade shooting gallery games to earn points. I lost to Brady both games and somehow we both improved scores but lowered accuracy in the second game.

We walked over to Star Tours and again, walked straight onto the ride. After the ride we sat for a few minutes, had a couple of the drinks we’d brought and decided to do Voyage of the Little Mermaid before heading down the Boulevard.

One of the best “attractions” of the day was watching this momma duck try to nap while her two ducklings waddled and played around her.

We saw the 11:00 show of Beauty and the Beast which I think is my favorite daytime show in all of the parks. We ate some snacks we’d brought with us during the show (chex mix and cheeze its) and by the time we left, the wait time for Tower of Terror was almost 3 hours and an hour and 40 minutes for Rock’n’Roller! We decided to single rider it for Rock’n since it said 25 minutes… it was much closer to an hour. Blah. I don’t dislike this ride but I also don’t love it. It’s my least favorite of the headliners in that park and I think my least favorite roller coaster in all 4 parks. The theming outside the ride is great though!

Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios

By the time we’d gone through line, the estimate for Tower of Terror had dropped to 30 minutes so we went for it. I love drop rides and Tower of Terror is a great one! They have a really pretty set up outside of the ride while you’re going through line and you’re able to sit on the wall along the way which can make the wait more bearable.

We stopped in a couple shops on the way out and I picked up the Minnie bow ring I’d been ogling at Disney Springs the day before. 

We happened to be walking out of the park right at 2 and so we got to watch these guys come marching by. It was fun to see them break ranks for a minute and have one of the storm troopers single out a kid with a lightsaber. We ended up waiting a while for a tram to come since they only had one running at that point. We should have walked back since we were in the first parking lot. Oh well. We went back to our hotel for a couple hours and had lunch in our room and spent some time at the pool before heading off to Epcot!

Loved getting to see Jacarandas in bloom! I used to love these trees in Australia and we don’t have them in Maryland.

We started off with a Fastpass on Spaceship Earth – skipping a 30 minute line – and walking right on. This is the perfect ride to get you out of the heat and off your feet! The best part is probably trying out some of the games in the lobby as you come off the ride. I was hoping to beat Brady in the anatomy race but I think we tied.

We then had a Fastpass for Mission Space but it wasn’t too useful since there wasn’t anyone else waiting in the regular line. We ended up riding with a 9-year-old girl named Ellie and her older brother Ethan. She was an exuberant girl and really made the whole ride more fun! She was pressing all the buttons that we could press and was very talkative the whole time except during take off lol. We actually ran into the 2 of them a couple more times as we were going around the world showcase. I should mention that the topiaries and other extra florals were part of the Flower and Garden Festival that takes place annually.

Test Track had too long of a line so we started our World Showcase tour in Norway where Anna and Elsa from Frozen are a primary focus. 

We shared a school bread from Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe and it was so much more than I had expected it to be! The spiced bread was delicious but it’s the custard filling that made it.

This dude landed on the table right behind me as we were snacking:

We stopped to watch the acrobatic performance on the street in China which was alright. I don’t think I’d bother to watch it again, but it was entertaining enough for us that evening. 

We stopped on the bridge between China and Germany for about 10 minutes because at first we noticed this guy hanging out on top of a tree but then we noticed down the river that there was a tree literally full of Great White Herons! It’s as if they were the flowers on the tree and it looked so cool!

Drinking around the world is a big thing for adults at Epcot but since neither of us drinks alcohol, our eating around the tour continued with stopping in Germany to pick up fresh caramel corn. So, so good! I can’t recommend it enough!

In case you can’t already tell, evenings in Epcot are the prettiest.

Our plan was to eat all the food in France before heading on to Norway for our 8:20 Frozen Ever After Fastpass reservation. We stopped at the Garden Festival booth that was set up in France to have the onion tarte……. Oh. My. Goodness. We were blown away by the flavor of the filling that was in the puff pastry crust. I can’t share a photo because we ate them so quick but they were scrumptious. We had the main part of our meal at Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie. We shared a brie and sliced apple sandwich on multigrain bread as well as the spinach and goat cheese quiche and a raspberry mousse. It was good but wasn’t quite as amazing as our onion tartes.

Our last stop before heading out was at Frozen Ever After which just opened last summer and had a stand-by line wait time of 90 minutes. I’m sure it must have been even longer because our wait time in the Fastpass line was almost 25 minutes. It was a fun ride and the line coming in was also well themed as the village of Arendelle but I personally wouldn’t have waited 90 minutes to ride as it’s only a couple minutes long.

We’ve both seen Illuminations – the fireworks show – multiple times so we opted to leave before the crowd.

Day 1 down, stay tuned for day 2!

Check out our day Disney Springs and our Hotel review that was posted yesterday!

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