Disney Trip Report: Day 3

On this day, we made our first mistake. You see, on Day 2 of our trip the crowd forecast on Touring Plans said crowds in Animal Kingdom would be high. We only noticed high crowds from 1-4 PM so we thought maybe Touring Plans wasn’t that accurate after all. We got cocky. March 18 was predicted to be a high crowd day for Hollywood Studios. We thought we knew better. We made a terrible mistake.

Hollywood Studios

We woke up and decided to go ahead with Hollywood Studios. We were running a bit slow and so were the buses so we didn’t expect to make it on the ever-popular Toy Story Mania this day. We had a back-up plan of stopping here on our last night for some Extra Magic Hours and some time in the park and we weren’t too worried. We just wanted roller coasters.

Disney's Hollywood Studios v2

Our dinner reservation for the day was at 4:40 PM so we figured we had plenty of time to kill in the park. We decided to head to Sunset Boulevard and grab a Fast Pass for some sort of ride. We had the choice between Tower of Terror with a return time of 4 PM or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster with a return time of 4:20 PM. Not wanting to cut dinner too close, we grabbed Fast Passes for the Tower of Terror. We then prepared to ride on one of those rides. It was only 10:10 AM after all. We just forgot one thing: There’s not that much to do in Hollywood Studios. This is a very underdeveloped park that attempted to rebrand itself from MGM Studios and it hasn’t been a complete success. It’s a park worth spending half a day at, or maybe one morning and one evening. We made an error in attempting to budget a full day for this park during the peak hours. Tower of Terror had a 1 hour, 20 minute wait. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster had a 2 hour wait. Toy Story Mania had nearly a two and a half hour wait. We couldn’t take it. With the Studio Backlot Tour being renovated, there just weren’t many rides left. We knew Tower of Terror was a sure thing and we’d be in the park for the rest of the night so why not go ahead and use our Park Hopper to skip the crowds and have fun elsewhere?

Downtown Disney

To get to Downtown Disney, we knew we needed to make a stop at a resort to catch a bus to the Downtown area. We opted to ditch some of our stuff in the hotel and have a nice casual shopping day. We had seen most of Downtown Disney’s West Side during our first day at Disney so we decided to concentrate our time and energy at the Marketplace.

Soaps at Basin

We first grabbed an early lunch at Wolfgang Puck Express, where we used our fourth meal of counter service options apiece. After that we did a lot of window shopping and some actual purchasing. If you’re a fan of Lush, you’ll love Basin. It’s full of scented bath and shower products that you’ll love. I ended up buying a Bath Bomb Trio Basket to try out some of their top products. Mine consisted of Dreams (reminiscent of Lush’s Big Blue), Florida Sunshine, Relaxation,  Strawberry Bath Salts, and Dr. Peppermint soap which had chunks of red Mickey heads in it. Wonderful products and a planned splurge for myself.

Disney Store

We loved admiring the craftsmanship in The Art of Disney and we stared at the cookbooks in Mickey’s Pantry. The real spotlight of Downtown Disney is The World of Disney. This store is over 50,000 square feet with 12 rooms inside. We spent nearly an hour in here just exploring all there was to see. There’s even a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside here where boys and girls can get styled to look like their favorite Disney stars. In the end, I decided to buy 4 items here, all fairly practical. I had planned on buying a jacket here so I bought a hooded fleece featuring the Disney parks (Tip: This hoodie runs small and short so be prepared to size up!), a photo frame, a scrapbook, and one set of exclusive scrapbook paper. Because we had linked our credit card to our Key to the World Card, we just had to swipe the key and sign. That was it for us and souvenirs at that point. We had one more planned stop the next day but this was nearly it. I had taken the liberty to research ahead of time what options I had so I wouldn’t be overwhelmed on arrival and instead would be able to choose based on design ideas. I’m still completely happy with what I got and what I spent during my stay.

We went back to our hotel once again to drop off our items, grab some evening park supplies and head back to use our fast passes.

Hollywood Studios

Tower of Terror v2

We arrived about 5 after 4 and rushed to the Tower of Terror. Even with our Fast Passes, we exited the ride right at 4:40. We ran to our dinner reservation at the 50s Prime Time Cafe and thankfully they were running a bit behind too so it all worked out. Lesson Learned: A fast pass might help you skip the longest line but it doesn’t work miracles. We happily enjoyed our dinner (to be featured next week) and found ourselves stuffed and ready to go for the evening. We took it easy with a ride on Star Tours which was a nice calm experience with some fun and adventure thrown in. A great after-dinner spot.

Aerosmith's Rock N Roller Coaster

After that, we were ready to test our fate with Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The line said the wait was around 90 minutes but the cast member working it said it would be closer to 70. Perfect! We got in line. And waited. And waited. 2 hours later we started our adventure. Don’t get me wrong, I love this ride. I just think that Disney’s line queue system is horribly inaccurate for time prediction for it. Case in point- when we exited the thrilling ride, the line was about 50 yards longer and the wait time was still listed at 90 minutes. This seems to be the case all around Hollywood Studios so don’t get your hopes up on a speedy line. I think we managed to wait once more for the Tower of Terror before heading to the event everyone was in the park for: Fantasmic!

Say goodbye Dragon

Fantasmic! is Fantastic. My husband wasn’t so thrilled but it is a performance that truly encompasses everything Disney is about: magic, dreams, heroes, princesses, villains, stunts, fireworks, songs, and fun. Oh yeah, and crowds. Watch as over 1000 people pour into each show scheduled for multiple nights a week. This is why the park was crowded all day, this is why I only rode on 3 rides, this is why Touring Plans had tried to warn me. And yet, this was exactly the show I needed to see. After a long day without much success on the ride front, I could still walk away from a show and believe in the magic around me.

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I'm Julie, I love to travel, I'm very hyper and I like to "hype" things and from that, TravelHyper was born. I'm a Missouri native and I cover St. Louis travel ideas as well as my own travels. I also like to focus on places I want to visit and budget travel ideas by creating trip plans. There's so much world out there and I hope you'll find that it's worth seeing and that vacation doesn't have to be out of reach to you.

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