I am sitting here trying to navigate my way through starting this blog. I have ideas about all kinds of topics I want to cover but where to begin is tripping me up! So, I have decided to begin with a Disney trip report of the trip I took with my girls and our extended family.
Packing for Disney World
First things first. Packing. Here is a peek into my suitcase packed and ready to go for this trip. I will do a separate packing post at some point because packing for Disney is not like packing for just any ‘ol trip!
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Taking off for Disney!
We flew out on a Thursday morning. Our flight left at 9:00 and we live a solid 2.5 hours from the airport. That we had to leave the house at 4:00 am to allow for travel time, a stop, catching the shuttle from the parking lot and, of course,….security.
This is a picture of my daughter shortly after we entered the security line. We got moved to the “shorter” handicapped line for my older daughter who was using a knee scooter. FYI, shorter does not always mean faster but I won’t get into that!
Disney Trip Report-Walt Disney World Swan Hotel
Upon arriving at Orlando International airport we grabbed our bags and took an Uber to get to our resort. We stayed at the Swan so Disney’s Magical Express was not an option. I will have a post about transportation at Disney World. I will mention that my mom and sisters did not have an amazing experience with Magical Express and my husband is not a real fan of it either.
Our room was not ready when we arrived so we took a walk around the resort grounds. The Swan, Boardwalk Inn, Yacht and Beach clubs and the Dolphin are all connected by walkways. They are the Epcot resorts. There is a back entrance to Epcot along the walkway called the International Gateway. I absolutely love this location! It is pretty and peaceful, has a few great shops, amazing dining and access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
Our view from the Swan
I requested a west facing room on floor 6 or 7 so we would have a view of Epcot. I was thinking we could watch Illumnations from our room if we were back in our room in time (which we never were!) We got a corner room so we also had a view of Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios and the back side Boardwalk Inn.
Disney trip Report -Hollywood Studios
Once we got unpacked and settled we were off to Hollywood Studios. We meet up the rest of our family that had arrived the previous day. Staying at one of the Epcot area resorts gives you the option of taking the Friendship boat to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. This relaxing, scenic trip across Crescent Lake is a nice change of pace and worth taking advantage of. The walk to Hollywood Studios from the Swan might not take as long as the boat but less walking at Disney is a win!
Our first stop was the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. We considered going to Frozen Sing-Along but we saw it on our last trip and had not seen Indiana Jones in several years. It was time to see it again. Make sure to pay attention to the last showtimes for any show that you may wan to see. Even though the park did not close until 10:00 many of the shows, like Indiana Jones, the Frozen Sing-Along, Beauty and the Beast show and Voyage of the Little Mermaid had their last showings at 5:00 and 6:00.
We took some PhotoPass pictures on Hollywood Blvd. Disney offers the PhotoPass service as a way to get some great photos of your group or individuals with fun backgrounds and a little Disney magic! I will do a separate post with more information about Photopass at a later date.
Then we made our way to Rock “n” Roller Coaster to use our FastPasses. This is one of my favorite rides! For me, it does not get much better than combining Disney and Aerosmith! I am not a huge fan of most roller coasters but I can handle all the Disney coasters. I also love the gift shop at the exit of this ride. The have fun rock and roll themed merchandise like drumsticks, guitar picks, shirts, pins, and the usualy merch.
Here are the shirts my daughter and I got from this gift shop. If you see something here that you want to buy, get it. People will say that you can find everything at Disney Springs or at one of the larger gift shops like the Emporium on Main Street. I have found that it can be very difficult to find these ride specific items in other stores. It is not worth the hassle of trying to find it later.
The Hollywood Tower of Terror wait for standby was only 30 min so some of us decided to go on that next. I had skipped this ride during our last couple of trips but wanted to give it a shot again. I really enjoy the theming of this ride and the details in the decor and line queue are amazing. However, I do not know why I torture myself by going on this. I hate drops. This attraction is literally only drops. I am always the person curled up in a ball in the corner. It’s pathetic. The ride is based on an episode of the Twilight Zone and takes place in the Hollywood Hotel which has been abandoned since 1939 when the last guest “checked out”. I love reading about the attractions background stories. A quick Google search for fun facts about the Tower of Terror will provide you with some information that will make this attraction even more enticing!
The rest of our group went on Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Muppet Vision 3D and met Olaf while we were on Tower of Terror. We met up again shortly before 9:00 so we could see Fantasmic. Finding the walkway back to the Hollywood Hill Amphitheater where Fantasmic is shown can be difficult. Especially in the dark. It begins between Beauty and the Beast and Tower of Terror. The walk back to the theater is long. Wheelchairs and strollers can be taken with you. To get the best seats arrive at the theater at least 45 min before the show starts. The seating does open 90 min before the show. However,we arrived only minutes before and easily got seats that were not too bad. Seats in the middle of the theater are ideal but not necessary. Here are a couple of not so great pics to give you a little idea of what to expect from this show. We were in the upper far right corner of the theater seating.
The fireworks, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectactacular, started as we were getting out of Fantasmic so we watched them for a while from Hollywood Boulevard. I chose to slip into a few of the stores instead. I will say this a million times, but I positively love being in the parks at night! Everything is a little more magical with just the right lighting.
Despite getting up at 4:00 am and traveling for about 9 hours we really were not that tired! The excitement of being at Disney and all the anticipation of the days to come was keeping us going! But, the park was closing so it was time to call it a night and head back to our resorts. My mom was staying at the Art of Animation so they took a bus back and we took the boat back to the Swan. That complete day 1 of our Disney trip report.
Check back for day 2 of our Disney trip report. We are headed to Epcot!