Our trip was winding down so quickly! The plan for our Sunday was to go to Hollywood Studios. There were extra magic hours scheduled for HS on that day. Usually I would have planned to avoid extra magic hour day (all Disney resort guests get to stay in the park for 1 hour after the general public on specifically assigned days. Sometimes the extra magic hour is in the morning before regular opening time). I decided to schedule HS for that day because Matt and I would be going to dinner that night and wanted to have a chance to go back to a park afterward. We hadn’t paid extra for the park hopper option, so we had to go back to the park where we had spent the morning.
Before leaving for the park, it was time for our usual breakfast! Here was our little table for 4!
So there is this ride called Toy Story Mania. From what I read, it is the most popular ride in all of WDW, and being that it is at Hollywood Studios where there are not as many attractions for younger kids, this ride has created a frenzy. On a slow day, the regular line can be over two hours long! There is a fast pass line, but I read that fast passes are almost always gone for the day by 11am!
From everything I read, you had to be there at rope drop in the morning and send one person in your group to do their best speed walker imitation over to the ride to get a fast pass in what is likened to a running of the bulls. Being the crazy girl that I am, I happily volunteered. With our 8 park tickets in hand I said goodbye to the group and pushed ahead into the crowd once we went through the turnstiles. They had the crowd roped off a few hundred yards up Hollywood Boulevard. Everyone was packed in like sardines, there wasn’t any wiggle room. I ducked into a store along the left side of the street and walked as far down the street as I could and came out towards the front of the crowd. Then I just waited. People were pushing, people were mad when they got pushed, and I was just in shock that this was all about a Toy Story ride!
A few actors came out and did a little dialogue and then a countdown! By the time they got to zero, the crowd was moving. No one was running, but people were moving with a purpose. As I was doing my best to gain ground on the the slow walkers and those with large strollers (ha!), I laughed to myself at just how much of a departure this was compared to my usual moments in my every day life.
I made it to the ride and scoped out the fast pass line. They actually had a queue line set up just to get a fast pass! There were people just filing into the regular line to ride, and then there were 5 fast pass machines set up. I was about 10 people back in one of the fast pass lines. I looked behind me to see a line so long that I couldn’t see the end of it. I waited about 15 minutes to get our fast passes. In that 15 minutes I learned two important things:
#1 Don’t get in the line behind the Brazilian Tour Group Leader. There were thousands of teenagers from Brazil on holiday at Disney the last few days we were there. One of their tour group leaders was ahead of me in line and she needed 75 fast passes. She had to put each ticket into the machine one at a time.
#2 Don’t try and get fast passes for people who have not entered the park for the day. The guy ahead of me thought he had a great idea. He got to HS early, while his family slept in at their resort. He would get their fast passes using their tickets, and then meet them at the gate later in the morning to let them in. The only thing is, the machine doesn’t give you a FP unless that ticket has been used to enter the park that morning. He was not at all happy about this. You have to love a Disney Cast Member who refuses to get upset with an irate man who just wants his kids and wife to ride Toy Story Mania. The last thing I heard before they called security was, “You are going to give me my fast passes!” Yikes!
We would later learn that the fast pass distribution ride was over 45 minutes long and that they were completely distributed by 11am. The standby line was 150 minutes. Isn’t that crazy? Anyhoo—I had survived the experience, thought it was kind of fun, and was looking forward to coming back at 11am to ride with everyone.
Everyone else had gone to Voyage of the Little Mermaid and I was able to catch up with them before the show started. Cara just loves Ariel and this show is really cute.
Afterward we walked to far end of HS to find where there was a meet and greet for Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater! It blows my mind to think that last year the boys didn’t even really know who Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and the Cars characters were. This year…a different story!
Our next adventure would be meeting Buzz and Woody! This ended up being our longest wait of our vacation. We waited at least 45 minutes in this line, but the kids did great (other than when we lost Allie…yes, even with 5 adults along on our trip we lost a child for a few seconds!)
The funniest part about meeting characters is that they don’t talk! Of course the princesses talk, but all the rest of them are just completely mute! I think the kids are shocked by this and it sort of makes them clam up too. A lot of the time the kids just kind of walked up and stared at the characters. But when they were playful, the kids would be playful in return.
We had a lunch reservation at 11:30, and it was a little after 11, but we decided that while we were at that end of the park we would use our fast passes and ride Toy Story Mania!!! (I learned that restaurants at Disney will hold your reservation for up to 20 minutes!!)
I’m definitely not going to spoil this ride for anyone who might be going to Disney soon. I will give it two very enthusiastic thumbs up! Everyone in our group loved it!
I got to ride with Brady boy…how cute is he in his little 3D glasses?
Here is a shot of the boys enjoying their snack in the stroller. We saved so much money by packing snacks everyday!
We also went on the Backlot Tour that morning. I was kind of let down by this one. Perhaps it was the fact that Allie was pretty bored with it too. She was getting really antsy during the ride part, so we ended up taking pictures of ourselves. Do you think we look alike?
I would take a picture, show it to her, and she would say, “Again!”
We arrived at 50s Prime Time Cafe for lunch (a little late). There was some mix up with our reservation. They had us down for a table of 3, so we ended up waiting quite a while for one. This place is a lot of fun. As the name suggests, the atmosphere is from the 1950s, complete with a waitress who acts like your mom. She yelled at us to keep our elbows off the table, reminded us to eat our vegetables, and called Grandpa “Skippy!” The food was pretty good, but the milk shakes were great! Instead of ordering kids’ meals, I ordered one adult meal and split it among the kids. It felt good to give them meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and a vegetable instead of the usual chicken nuggets.
After lunch we caught the Beauty and the Beast stage show which was great! The only thing was, we didn’t allow enough time to get a spot for the parade. We were the family walking around only 15 minutes before trying to find a spot. We ended up having to stand behind a few rows of people and didn’t get the best view. Here are Cara and Matt making the best of it.
The parade was brand new the week before I think. It is a Pixar parade called Countdown to Fun. The songs have been stuck in my head since we got back.
After the parade it was time for Matt and I to have our long-awaited date night!!! I had surprised Matt with tickets to the Hoop Dee Doo Review, his all-time favorite thing to do at WDW. The first night of our honeymoon we went there for dinner based on the suggestion of a friend that it was a lot of fun. They sat us at a table for two in the very front row. The actors incorporated us into the show several times and we had the best time! Ever since then, Matt sings the Hoop Dee Doo song and talks about how he wants to go back! For Christmas he was so happy to open two tickets to our favorite show!
We took a bus to the Wilderness Lodge and from there took a boat to Fort Wilderness Campground. As we were being seated I just had this feeling as we walked further into the dining hall. Sure enough, we were seated at the exact same table for 2!!
Hoop Dee Doo is a corny, loud, and wonderful dinner show set with a pioneer/wild west theme. The jokes are bad, the food is great, and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. I thought the first time was fun, but 7 years and four kids later, we had even more fun:) Matt and I both put Hoop Dee Doo on the top of our must-do list (I’m not sure I would have this opinion if my kids were with us. There are kids there, but it makes a great date night!)
After the dinner and the show, we hopped on a bus back to Hollywood Studios. I have to say that at this point I was exhausted, like barely putting one foot in front of the other exhausted. We had been going for days. When we returned to the hotel each night, I spent an hour or so unpacking, sorting, and repacking for the next day. Despite feeling like I needed to be carried, we tried to have some fun for a few hours.
Remember what I was saying about extra magic hours? Well, there were many, many extra people that had come to the park to enjoy the extra hours that night. It was so crowded. When we got there the line for the 8pm Fantasmic (the nightly show at HS) was thousands of people long and it was over an hour before the show started. We decided to skip that and check out the line for the Rock and Roller Coaster. I can’t remember exactly, but I think the line was at least an hour. We realized that we should have gotten fast passes before leaving earlier. In the end we went on The Great Movie Ride and also went to the Narnia attraction (two thumbs down on this one). And then…we left!
Besides, tomorrow we would be spending 12 hours at Magic Kingdom!