bert425 wrote:you didn't miss much by missing out on Rainforest Cafe: it's a chain restaurant, with some decent food, and some fun atmosphere/theming -- but good lord, you're at Disney! why waste time at Rainforest Cafe!
the Kilimanjaro Safari *is* really good, it's almost a "ride" in itself - when you go back for Avatar, make sure you do that too.
(and as to Primeval Whirl. .. LOL. . we *all* told you so. . . . LOL).
glad you seem to have had a great time.
Yeah, Rainforest Cafe wasn't our best choice... we were all pretty hungry though. I rode Kilimanjaro Safari during my visit in 2015, it was pretty great and I remember liking it. Primeval Whirl, yeah, I mean I've ridden it now so at least I never have to again. And thank you!
Canobie Coaster wrote:
Great report! Not all dinosaur rides are in jeeps. Ellen's Energy Adventure was in a colossal unthemed car.
Thank you! As Bert said, nice to take a nap in I assume Day 1: Sunday, March 24th (Part 3) - Disney's Hollywood Studios
After a nice 3 hours in Animal Kingdom, we were ready to take on the real thrills of the Disney resort at the original movie themed amusement park!
After a brief little bus ride over, we were ready to enter. As we walked to the entrance, it was cool to see the progress of Disney's new Skyride transportation system, which is supposed to be opening sometime soon (am I correct on this?)
We all took a little bathroom and water bottle refill break before entering, which gave us a quick chance to cool off from Animal Kingdom and stay in a better mood here.
The entry process to Hollywood Studios was far less painful than Animal Kingdom's was. The opening day rush of Animal Kingdom was a probable cause of that, but we entered almost immediately with no problems. Nice job Hollywood Studios security! Props to you!
Immediately after we passed through the gates and started walking down Hollywood Blvd I was immediately blown away by how it looked. When I last visited this place in 2015 it was packed to the brim because of a Star Wars parade so that might have jaded my view a bit but I guess I had forgotten just how vibrant and beautiful the whole midway looks! WOW!
As we continued to the back of the park to ride Slinky, it got even better.
It was pretty awesome for me to step into Toy Story Land for the very first time. My parents showed me the first two Toy Story movies as some of my first ever feature films back when I was a toddler, and I was in love with them for years, especially once the third one came out. So the franchise as a whole is a total childhood classic, and getting to experience it was almost unworldly.
With 1:30 creeping up on us and no lunch thanks to Rainforest Cafe not being on the dining pass, no one really wanted to wait in line for it. I wanted to come back later both for the cred (gotta be honest in my trip reports) and for a bit of a sense of nostalgia, so I prayed that they would all feel better after eating. We tried to find a table at that restaurant in the area but as expected all the tables were taken, so we walked around a bit and found that the ABC commissary was relatively cheap and had decent lines for food. That gave us a chance to sit down outside and talk out the rest of the day.
One thing I will say is that I did expect these crowds. It was a Sunday towards the end of March so we definitely would be waiting in line. I was just a bit (and still kind of am) baffled as to why our tour guides chose to have the parks home to Avatar and Toy Story split between one day. They surely could've done some research in that area before making the final decision!
After we all got some food in us, some people in groups made their separate ways. The other guy and one of the girls in my group went to ride Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, two of the girls went shopping for a break from the heat, and my sister and I went to Slinky because we were the only two in the group that really wanted it. Believe it or not, when we finished lunch and got over there, the line was already down to a super bearable 75 minutes (okay, not SUPER bearable, but compare that to 2+ hours and we made a beeline for the ride's entrance)
So how was Slinky as a coaster? It was pretty decent. The launches were pretty ok, it was extremely smooth the whole time, and the first half was very fun, with good speed through the turns and theming with some decent floater pops. The second half was pretty tame, however. No airtime on any of the hills, with a pretty slow finale. It's not the best family coaster, but as I said earlier, Toy Story is a childhood classic of millions. To help guests feel that nostalgia in roller coaster form, I'd say Disney has a winner from that aspect!
After getting a couple sunburns and sweaty from the ride, we finally got off and walked to find the rest of the group in an air-conditioned building. Prepare for more Hollywood Studios beauty. Again, I was really surprised by how much more vibrant the park appeared than I remembered from 4 years ago.
We re-united with our group at one of the shops on Hollywood Blvd where we spent a few minutes shopping, as we were trying to pass the time before our Tower of Terror FastPass time slot. With just under an hour to go, we wanted to find something with a short line, which we fully expected to be a challenge until we came across Star Tours, proudly boasting a 20 minute wait time.
When I first visited Hollywood Studios for the first time in 2015, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster was closed for refurbishment and I was still afraid of drop towers, so Star Tours was my favorite ride and I rode it probably 5-6 times that day. Maybe it's because the last time I rode Star Tours was before all the new movies like Force Awakens and Solo came out and the parks added new programs to the ride, but the show that was selected for us was one I had never seen before, a very nice surprise. It was like Phantom Menace combined with Empire Strikes Back, with the podracers, Naboo-Trade Federation battle in space (of course the movie isn't great but the battle scenes make for a great ride) before jumping to hyperspace and finishing out on Hoth. The only negative to the ride was this kid directly behind me who wouldn't stop screaming at the top of his lungs whenever we were flying, and I swear I was about to go deaf. Three or four times throughout the ride, it happened where my ears would pop from him screaming, then they would revert back to normal, we would fly and he would scream and they would pop again and so on. But it wasn't too much of a problem, getting to ride a favorite of mine with 4 other school friends was a blast
(pun intended, because it's a Star Wars ride... I'll show myself out)
Show myself out of the ride that is; we're not done with this trip report yet! It was about 5:05, and our ToT time slot started at 5:10 so we headed on over to good ol' Sunset Boulevard.
God I love this ride to death. This was my first time on OG Tower of Terror, as when I went to Disneyland Guardians of the Galaxy had just opened. While it didn't have the fun hijinks of the Guardians' breakout, it was awesome to ride it with the Twilight Zone theme. I'm a fan of suspense/thriller movies, so much like the sense of nostalgia on Slinky and Star Tours, the thrill of an almost-real suspense movie in ride form was fantastic. Drop towers with only a seatbelt are always unbeatable as well!
Our third and final FastPass reservation of the day was for Rock 'n' Roller Coaster but it wasn't for another hour and a half, so we took a snack break to abuse our dining card for a bit. We all got some ice cream and even met up with some other groups from our school to just hang out and talk. I also called my parents to talk about how our days were going (they were down in the area too, but they came into the park just long enough to ride Slinky before hopping over to Animal Kingdom for the remaining hours) At lunch, I was afraid that the others in my group would keep the same sour mood all day and that I would be brought down with it, but after getting on some rides, eating and shopping, I wouldn't have that worry for the rest of the day and breathed much easier.
After a while we decided to wait by the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster plaza about 30 minutes before the reservation time at 7:45 so we would be there right as the time hit, as it was the most anticipated ride of the day for everyone (after we kicked Avatar out of the equation). I got an opportunity to take some photos and finish my ice cream.
As expected (this was my first ride on it by the way) the ride was complete fun the whole way through and even the coaster enthusiast side of me thought it was a great coaster. The launch was very powerful, the first inversion had some Schwarzkopf-level force to it, and the whole thing just had great speed and laterals through every turn. The one thing that was a bit of a negative was that it is a rough ride. Everyone calls this the world's smoothest Vekoma and such, but it's not really what I'd call a smooth ride by any means. Even with it being a rough ride, the headbanging was never a big problem, and in some ways it felt more realistic because no car ride is smooth. So even after 20 years, this is an awesome ride. Like many other rides in the resort, it's a shame that I could only use my FastPass once because of how long the lines kept getting.
After Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, we had a dinner reservation at the Hollywood & Vine restaurant so we made our way there. And after being blown away by how much more beautiful the park is and the two fantastic rides in Sunset Boulevard are, just wait until I praise the customer service and food.
While we were waiting for our reservation time, we had some time to wait on the benches outside and talk about our day, though I noticed something that definitely raised my opinion on customer service at Disney parks. A mom was juggling three kids who all looked to be of elementary school age, no older, and they were kinda running around on the deck, not bothering anyone just enjoying themself, and one of the waiters decided to briefly run with them. It was pretty entertaining to see how awesome cast members can be to help make visits extra magical, and everyone in my group had a smile on their face from it. Then those smiles got even bigger once we actually got into the restaurant.
For those of you who don't know, the restaurant is buffet-style, so I piled up my plate as much as I could. In expected Disney fashion, the food was completely amazing. The pork was cooked almost perfectly, I don't think I've ever had more fresh-tasting and delicious meat in my life
and everything else was just as good. The rides are awesome, but this restaurant was the highlight of my day.
Beyond the actual food, the customer service was fantastic! This is a character restaurant so my group got photos with the 5 main characters (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy) who made us all smile with their friendliness and tricks (Goofy tried to steal my bill! Well actually, that doesn't sound so bad...) and the employees were amazing. I didn't even have to ask for a refill on my drink, they already noticed I was running low and got it out to me as quickly as possible. If you're going to Hollywood Studios, plan and reserve a spot at Hollywood and Vine! You WILL NOT REGRET IT!!
After the whole dinner, it was time for us to meet outside the front gate to take the bus back to our hotel, and best of all my group got there in time where not too many people had left yet and we got a good view of the final fireworks show. It wasn't the best thing I'd ever seen (and we would be seeing a far better fireworks show the next day at Epcot) but it was a nice way to end a phenomenal first day of the trip.
Despite some issues such as Animal Kingdom's entry procedures and the crowds, this day was completely incredible and I had sh*tloads of fun from start to finish. And this was just the first day!Ride Scorecard
Expedition Everest - x2
Dinosaur - x1
Primeval Whirl - x1
Slinky Dog Dash - x1
Star Tours - x1
Tower of Terror - x1
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster - x1
Total of 8 rides.
UP NEXT --- Day 2: Epcot
Slowly getting back into being an enthusiast.