Disney 2017 Trip: Day 1 – Hollywood Studios

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Our first real day of our Disney 2017 trip!! After Day 0 we were so excited to move to the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we were staying in a Disney Vacation Club Kidani Village Studio we booked via renting points. We drove to the Kidani Village check in area from the Park Inn hotel, which didn’t take too long. After checking in and dropping our bags off we headed for Hollywood Studios!

First things first – food! It’s pretty much always food for me. We stopped by Sweet Spells (which has since closed) for a carrot cake cookie. This was massive. My partner and I split it and I’m glad. I LOVE carrot cake, but dang I don’t know if I could eat that much of one sweet treat first thing in the morning.

After doing more research on the offerings at Hollywood Studios I came to learn that the Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration was probably not going to be as grand as I had hoped, so rather than book a FastPass+ for that as I had planned we changed our strategy. We ended up getting FastPass+ for Star Tours first, Toy Story Mania, and Tower of Terror all ending before 12:30PM. Note that this was before Toy Story Land opened, so obviously a completely different strategy would be required now.

I LOVE Toy Story Mania. I don’t think I have ever ridden it before. The lines for standby wait times were insane, but dang I think that ride is a blast and was totally worth it. We also had a lot of fun on Tower of Terror. My partner enjoyed Star Tours a lot; I however get motion sick pretty easy from these 4D type rides so that was not my favorite. I’m not sure I would do it again honestly.

We also purchased MemoryMaker so we stopped frequently to get pictures from the PhotoPass cast members. The park is so adorable during the holiday season. There were also a ton of really fun Magic Shots that were such a lovely surprise. Most of the time I didn’t even have to ask for them, the cast members just did it! The weather was unseasonably cold though so we were quite bundled up! I brought a light fleece jacket, but in retrospect I wish I had brought my long puffer coat. I had originally planned on wearing capri length leggings, a t shirt, and sandals. In the end I wore jeans, sneakers, a cami under a tank top, a zip up sweater, and by night my fleece jacket and scarf as well. I actually ended up buying that scarf as well as a pair of gloves from Uniqlo on our Day 0 at Disney Springs. While I wish I had just packed ones I already owned I think it was a smart decision and I got a lot of use out of them.

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After riding our FastPass+ rides, wandering around, and watching a bit of the Jedi Training session, we headed off to Mama Melrose for lunch. I was so glad I was able to pretty easily change our original reservation at Hollywood and Vine over to Mama Melrose. We booked the Fantasmic dining package and made sure to get our moneys worth. I normally would never eat this much in a single meal, but hey it’s vacation! I had the calamari starter, the steak with potatoes, and everyone gets a mini dessert trio. My partner started with the mozzarella with tomato and basil, then had the salmon main dish. Honestly everything was really good, I was very impressed. The worst part was the desserts – I didn’t particularly find them to be great overall. One was a small lemon cheesecake with passion fruit pearls and that was excellent. The other two were fine but nothing to write home about. I really enjoyed Mama Melrose. It was fairly quiet, service was paced perfectly, and honestly that steak was delicious.

After lunch we managed to score FastPass+ for Rock and Roller Coaster for later in the day. After riding that we would have ridden everything! We met Olaf at the Celebrity Spotlight, met Buzz and Woody together, had a great view of the March of the First Order, and had an awesome first and slow/easy paced first day. Unfortunately we did not catch the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, which is probably the only non-food item I am sad to have missed.

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We also snacked our way throughout the rest of the day rather than a traditional meal. We went to the Brown Derby Lounge for a sit down and lovely people watching. I had the margarita flight trio, which was spectacular. Later on we stopped in to the Tune In Lounge and I drank a Mowie Wowie and we split an order of the Deep Fried Herb Garlic Cheese and Onion Rings. I still think about the deep fried cheese puck. Warning – do not eat this if you don’t like garlic. They aren’t kidding around with the garlic, and it’s amazing. We also had spiked hot chocolates from Dockside Diner – I had cherry bourbon and my partner had salted caramel Bailey’s, again both were amazing.

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We did some window shopping around the park. Hollywood Studios was an awesome place to do this since it really wasn’t that crowded. And finally we ended our night with Fantasmic! Which I loved. I think that show is perfection. I know people say it’s dated and could be revamped, and sure that’s true, but I honestly really enjoyed it and I’m glad we did a dining package to get priority seats.

Hollywood Studios was the perfect day 1 choice! I’m sure once Galaxy’s Edge opens up that will be a different story, but for our 2017 trip I think Day 1 went off pretty well.

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Disney planning: Hollywood Studios

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MGM–I mean Hollywood Studios. This will be our first park! I doubt we’ll be rope dropping for HS. I want to start off on a more relaxing note. I won’t be able to book FastPass+ until October, but I am hoping to get mid-morning to afternoon time slots for Frozen Ever After, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Tower of Terror. Hopefully we can get additional FastPass+’s for Rock n Roller Coaster and/or Star Tours. If not I’d probably be willing to wait in line for these. Here’s a ranking of rides/attractions specifically for us (two young adults, no kids, likes thrill rides and my partner likes Star Wars) — I’ll be using this ranking basically to book FastPass+ in advance and on the fly at the park:

Rides/Attractions/Meet&Greets 

  • Hoping to book our 3 advanced FastPass+ selections for:
    • Frozen Celebration
    • Toy Story Midway Mania
    • Tower of Terror
    • Fantasmic! <– we have priority seating for this with a dining package, kind of like a FastPass+
  • Hoping to book FastPass+ on the fly, or will wait in Standby / must dos
    • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
    • Star Tours
  • Will likely wait in Standby for
    • Meet Buzz Lightyear and Woody (together!)
    • Meet BB-* Astromech on Duty
    • Celebrity Spotlight (depending on who’s there)
    • Muppet*Vision 3D
    • The Music of Pixar Live! <– as of this moment this is only scheduled through August; if it is ongoing when we are there in December I definitely want to see this.
    • Jedi Training
    • Indiana Jones Stunt Show
  • Probably skip unless the standby line is very short
    • The Great Movie Ride
    • Voyage of the Little Mermaid
    • Meet other characters
    • Beauty and the Beast Live
    • For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing Along Celebration
    • Mickey and Minnie Starring in Red Carpet Dreams
  • Definitely going to skip
    • Disney Junior Live on Stage

Food/Drink
Ah, the real reason why we go to WDW… I want to have a solid plan for meal options so I don’t end up eating overpriced chicken nuggets every day.

  • Breakfast: we’ll probably just eat granola bars that we bring with us in the hotel
  • Lunch: reservation at Mama Melrose’s
    • This is our Fantasmic! dining package meal so we’re going to overeat to get our moneys worth. I’m excited for steak!
  • Dinner: no real plans yet, might fill up on snacks instead?
  • Snacks
    • Fried Herb and Cheese at the Tune In Lounge
    • PB&Jelly Milkshake at the Tune In Lounge OR a seasonal flavor at Min and Bills
    • Carrot Cake Cookie at Sweet Spells
  • Drinks: Margarita Flight or Flight of the Stars White Wine Flight at the Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge