Hollywood Studios

Our visit to Hollywood Studios was on day four.  While it was lacking in rides and is undergoing a lot of construction it also had some of our favorites of the trip.  The park itself was also not very busy, so we were able to go on a few things multiple times.  We took advantage of extra Magic hours that morning.  This was the first morning that we had some trouble with the shuttle services.  The wait time kept increasing and by the time the bus got to our hotel there were too many people for it.  We decided to take a taxi to the park.  While not an option for every trip, we were glad we spent the $15 or so to not have to deal with the shuttle.

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The main ride that we had to use our Fastpass for was Toy Story Midway Mania.  It consistently had 60 minute plus wait times throughout the day.  We had a Fastpass for it in the morning.  While we used our Fastpasses they really weren’t necessary for any of the other rides.  Upon arriving at the park we booked it over to Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster for Brian and I to ride it.  I think we did the rider swap but it wasn’t necessary as the park was just opening.  We really liked that ride.

Eilam absolutely loved riding Star Tours.  We went on that ride three times.  He and his daddy also got to make their own Light Sabers after one of the rides.  He was too little for the Jedi Training though but loved seeing all the characters walking around.  When we were leaving the Great Movie Ride, many of the characters were marching by on their way to one of the many Star Wars shows.

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Toy Story Midway Mania was an Eilam favorite (and a parent favorite too).  We had a lot of fun shooting the targets.  Another ride that was a big success for us was surprisingly the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  We were worried because of how most of it is in the dark, but he sat between the two of us and held hands.  He still talks about the elevator drop ride to this day.  Whenever playing with his stuffed toys, they usually go to Disneyworld to go on the elevator ride.

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Other highlights of this park, was Eilam finally giving Mickey a hug.  Once he met Sorcerer Mickey we took him to get his Mickey ears.  Brian found a great drink of cider with a shot of Fireball dropped in it.  We also had some delicious chocolate Star Wars cupcakes.

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After lunch we went back to the hotel having ridden/done everything we wanted to do.  So our plan was to lounge after nap and go back to Disney Springs for dinner.  However, when I was playing with the Disney app a Fastpass time came up for Midway Mania.  I snatched that time up and back to the park we went for a late afternoon ride.  We were very lucky to go on this ride twice without having to wait in line.  We still ended up heading over to Disney Springs for dinner.  Which we had a very hard time finding someplace that had an open table and we ended up just eating at a quick service type restaurant.

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While Hollywood Studios was definitely smaller than the other parks, we really enjoyed the rides/experiences they offered.  Hopefully with the updates and expansion it will be a full day destination in the future.

I think I have finally finished recapping our Disney vacation..only one year after going.  While I was worried about taking a three year old to a full week Disney World vacation and spending serious money on something that he probably won’t remember, we had a fantastic time.  He was such a trooper with the long days and constant stimulation.  He still talks about our trip and his favorite rides and things he saw.  Overall, it was a very fun trip and we look forward to someday doing it again with older children.

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Animal Kingdom

The third park we visited was Animal Kingdom.  We had our Fastpasses reserved for Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kali River Rapids.  Unfortunately when making reservations for this day there was limited availability so everything was just a one time ride.  Also, this park has the shortest hours so that limits the options as well.  While the park itself is huge, there is limited rides and attractions.  We skipped a Fastpass for the Kilimanjaro Safari as we were getting there early with the extra Magic Hours.  The plan was to head straight there to hopefully skip the line and see the animals first thing in the morning.  If this is an option for you, I HIGHLY suggest doing it this way.  We were some of the first people in park.  When we got back to the entrance of the Safari there was already a huge line, well it actually wasn’t a huge line it was just extending out into the park as they hadn’t opened the actual entrance yet.  Once they started allowing people in, we walked (all be it in a very Disney twisty walk) straight onto the ride.  The animals were all out, active and eating.

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After the Safari we had dining reservations at Tusker House for a Donald Duck hosted character breakfast.  We thought that by the third day Eilam might warm up to the idea of meeting some of the characters and breakfast food is his favorite.  We tried meeting Mickey on day one at Epcot and he was not a fan.  He really enjoyed the breakfast and watching Donald, Mickey, Goofy and Daisy dance around.  He was definitely still apprehensive and shy when they came around to meet him though.

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Brian and I loved Expedition Everest.  That was a fantastic roller coaster.  Even though Eilam was tall enough for Dinosaur, we decided at the last minute he should forgo that ride.  We ended up doing the rider swap and both of us agreed that was the correct decision.  We enjoyed the Kali River Rapids as it was late, late afternoon and felt nice to get splashed.  Unfortunately Eilam and I were seated in the two seats that got the most wet.  He enjoyed the ride up until the huge wall of water crashed into us.  Everyone else was just nice and splashed but we were drenched.

We spent a long time at the Boneyard play area in Dino Land.  All the slides and rope walkways and things to climb on were a great break from walking around the park.

While we enjoyed all the rides we went on and seeing all the animals, we felt for the size of the park it was lacking in attractions.  This was last year though, I know they have extended their hours with Avatar land opening soon and they were starting a nighttime show as well.  It is a park I would like to go back to in the future with older kids.

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Magic Kingdom

We planned for two days at Magic Kingdom as it seemed like it had the most rides and activities to offer younger children.  Again, we planned to go there for the morning extra Magic Hours.  We utilized the extra Magic Hour to go on the Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train so we didn’t have to use a Fastpass for this ride.  We were at the park when it opened and headed to the ride.  While there was a lot of people there, the time in April we went was considered low season.  Magic Kingdom was the busiest of all the parks during our visit.  We were constantly utilizing the Disney app to update and look for Fastpasses which really helped our line wait times.

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Our plan was to concentrate on half the park one day and the other half on the second day thinking it would be a lot like Disneyland.  However, we were surprised at how small it was.  We ended up riding almost all the rides on the first day and utilizing the second day to ride our favorites again.

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He really did like this ride.

Eilams’s favorite rides at Magic Kingdom were Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the Tomorrowland Speedway.  He loved steering the car on the Speedway.  Luckily for us the only ride he wasn’t big enough for was Space Mountain.  So while one of us was riding that the other was enjoying ice cream and a rest with Eilam.  He liked all the fast rides and did well on The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and Splash Mountain.  Splash Mountain Magic Kingdom is a lot better for kids as you can smush them inbetween you unlike Disneyland where you are seated front to back instead of side to side.  The only attraction that was a major failure throughout our entire trip was Stitch’s Great Escape.  He was tall enough for it but the entire experience is in the dark and Stitch is big with lots of scary noises.  There were a lot of tears throughout the experience and we felt really bad that he was so scared.  So I highly suggest skipping this one if your kids are little.

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A little bit of Disney magic.

Magic Kingdom was definitely the most little kid friendly of all the parks.  I think we went on almost every ride.  We didn’t make time to see any of the parades.  It just wasn’t a priority for us this trip.  There were no fireworks for us either as that was just pushing it a little too late for Eilam.  No Dole Whips for us but we did stop in at Gaston’s Tavern for a giant cinnamon role.  We also did not have any dining reservations at this park.  We ended up eating at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe for dinner both of our days here.  It was seriously good Mexican food at a quick service restaurant over in Frontierland.