Let’s Take a Vacation: Day 3

It was finally our first full day at Walt Disney World! Our alarm rung around 6:05 AM, but we got up about half an hour afterwards, which made me a bit anxious. I proceeded to get ready for the day, and went down to the BoardWalk to get breakfast at approximately 7:30 AM.

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Our view in the morning

It is one of my favorite routines on Walt Disney World vacations to go down to BoardWalk Bakery and get breakfast. On this morning, it was a bit crowded, but the line was handled efficiently. As part of tradition and my genuine love of bagels, I got one, which I toasted, with cream cheese and coffee. I usually purchase a Rapid Fill Refillable mug on our vacations, but since I realized that I would have only used it in the room and while at the resort (I did not want to lug it around with me all day) and I am a fairly slow consumer of liquids, I passed this purchase for this trip.

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This, my friends, is a torn up bagel

Afterwards, we went back up to our room and ate breakfast. We had to wait for the rest of my family to get ready before we could leave, which peeved me a bit, but we were finally on our way at 8:20 AM.

One of the great perks of staying at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort is the location of it; both Epcot and Hollywood Studios are of walking distance. The walk to Hollywood Studios is about fifteen minutes long, and it is a great start to any day, especially the first day at the parks. Once we arrived at the park at 8:40 AM, I finished my coffee, and we waited in a fairly short line for bag check (tip: go the furthest stations for the shortest line) and a similar line to get our MagicBands scanned.

Once inside the park, we walked down Hollywood Boulevard and waited to be let into the rest of the park. Our family then split up a bit, with most of us heading to Toy Story Mania for our first attraction of our vacation. The queue was probably about fifteen minutes long, but we were almost constantly moving. The attraction itself was wonderful, of course, and I believe I received a score of 121,000. My score was not great, but nonetheless, it was a great time, and the best arm workout I have undertaken in months.

We then wandered around Pixar Place for a bit, looked at the construction at the end of the street, and walked over to The Great Movie Ride. The wait for the attraction was nonexistent, but once we all met back up, we decided to go on Star Tours — The Adventure Continues first. We assumed that Star Tours would develop a large wait time faster than The Great Movie Ride would, which as one will see later, was an incorrect assumption (I should have realized that guests walking in would be drawn to the first attraction in sight).

 

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Palm trees on the way to Star Tours

Anyway, we headed over to the Star Tours area, and quickly walked through the wonderful queue. We then enjoyed the pre-show video, which is one of my favorites, and boarded the StarSpeeder. Our two lands of visitation were the ones with Finn and Jar Jar Binks; it was definitely surprising to see the latter. Sadly, I was not the Rebel Spy on board, but I still had so much fun on this attraction. I actually used to be very afraid of Star Tours, as I had heard from others that it is not pleasant for those with sensitive stomachs. On our last trip, I finally braved the attraction, loved it, and now it is one that I truly enjoy. Thankfully, it does not aggravate my stomach or head much, especially not during this particular visit.

As previously mentioned, we were all interested in going on The Great Movie Ride, so we went back and saw that it had developed quite a long line that went outside. We still entered the line, and I really appreciated the queue this time around. The actual ark from Raiders of the Lost Ark is presented there right now, which was amazing to see, and I found the new video with Robert Osborne to be informative and entertaining (we saw the gangster sequence). After our wait, we were ushered into the ride vehicle, and had the opportunity to sit near the front, which was a new experience for me. Our guide, whose name I sadly cannot remember, was very enthusiastic, which I appreciated; even the “gangster” was great. The overall quietness of the guests with us did make it a bit awkward, though. Nonetheless, it was truly a “great” adventure through the movies, and I am pretty sure that the person sitting in front of me was tearing up at the montage at the end. Aww.

Of course, Hollywood Studios is not the most exciting park at the moment, in that it really does not have many attractions open at this point. As a result, we decided to head over to Star Wars Launch Bay. We actually saw the movie that is available for viewing before heading into the actual exhibit, which had a short wait. Some Stormtroopers did walk by us, which was fun. I feared that the film would be exactly the same as when we saw it on our last trip, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was updated for Rogue One. As someone who is hoping to follow my passions and make them into a career, this film was comforting to watch.

After the film, we headed into the exhibit itself. I had some interest in meeting the characters in the area; I soon saw that the wait time to meet Chewbacca was a bit long, but when I saw that the line to meet Kylo Ren was short, I built up enough bravery to meet him. I was very awkward, and while Kylo Ren was informing me about the First Order, I could not stop nervously laughing (which is apparent in my pictures with him). After some taunting by the rest of my family, we trekked to the other side of the park to eat lunch at about 11:15 AM.

We always eat at Backlot Express on our Walt Disney World vacations (clearly we have a lot

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Sandwich with carrots

of Disney-related traditions). I was excited to see a caprese sandwich on the menu, so I ordered it with carrots and a water bottle. We sat at almost the exact table as last time we were there in 2015, which is near some fascinating detailing. I very much enjoyed my meal, although I did have some leftover carrots that I shoved into my purse, and we then walked back towards the entrance of the park. I expressed interest in seeing Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, while some of my family members were ready to leave the park. Thus, some of us stayed, while others left to walk back to the BoardWalk. I started to look for the Citizens of Hollywood, whom I love, as we walked over to the theatre, but they sadly were not out at the time. We continued down Sunset Boulevard, and stopped to go to the bathroom (which had a very long line). I then made sure to save seats at the theatre, while a family member got popcorn. Once they got back, it was about time for the 1:00 PM showing to start!

Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is clearly fairly old, but I still enjoy it when I see it in-person, such as this time around. The end never fails to make me misty-eyed.

After we saw the show, we were pretty much ready to leave the somewhat busy park for the day. We actually just missed the Citizens of Hollywood playing the Matchmaker Game, which was a bit of a bummer, but even just seeing Betty Shambles was wonderful.

I think we may have stopped in some gift shops on the way out (or earlier in the day…my memory is failing me), but we then walked over to the line for a Friendship boat. The line seemed long, but we were able to fit onto the next boat that arrived. It was a relaxing and beautiful ride, and we got off at the Swan & Dolphin resorts so we could take a walk around them. We quickly walked through, saw the huge poinsettia tree, and proceeded to walk over to the BoardWalk.

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The beautiful tree

Earlier in the day, I had the idea of trying out Ample Hills Creamery that afternoon, and that idea was realized. I ordered a cup of the exclusive Sally Sells Seashells ice cream (in case anyone was wondering, yes, I messed up the proper enunciation while ordering) and we sat outside to eat our ice cream. By the way, there was a wonderful cast member that helped us named Elise there that we saw the next day! Anyway, I loved the flavor of my ice cream; the marshmallow texture was unique, and the chocolate seashells were divine. I also tried a bit of the Coffee Toffee Coffee flavor, which I adored as well.

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Yes, I already started to eat it before taking this picture

We walked around some of the gift shops and the lobby of the BoardWalk Resort afterwards, and then went back into our room. Since Epcot, our next park we visited, was closing at 9:00 PM (which is earlier than we were used to) and our FastPasses started fairly early in the evening, we just relaxed for a while in the room. Probably around 4:30 PM, we went back down to the BoardWalk to get some dinner for a couple of us. I saw that they had a Kale Caesar Salad at the infamous Pizza Window, and since I had a taste for salad, I decided it would be my dinner. It was pretty good, although I was being rushed by the rest of my family while eating.

We then walked over to my favorite park, Epcot! It is not a long walk, so soon enough, we were at International Gateway and entering the park. Our first FastPass was for Living with the Land, so we headed directly over to The Land pavilion. There was a beautiful sunset beginning while we took our walk, which I had to take pictures of. During this time, I also finally heard one of my favorite Walt Disney World background music loops in person for the first time in years: the Innoventions music loop. It truly is a fan favorite, and I personally love listening to it at home while doing schoolwork and writing. During our past couple trips, the Christmas music loop, which is delightful in its own right, was taking the place of the Innoventions one. After years without hearing it in person, hearing the music loop that sounds so distinctly “EPCOT Center” to me was extremely exciting; even my family members noticed the difference. By the way, I am aware that I am kind of an Epcot nerd, and I am proud of it. Anyway, we soon saw that the wait time for Living with the Land was actually fairly long, so we were happy to avoid the long line and head to the front. We got the second row (so close to my favorite row, the front row), and I was extremely excited; in fact, I saw the cast member operating the attraction giggling at how excited I was as she was waving to us when we started our journey.

Living with the Land is honestly one of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World. It is incredibly relaxing, reminds me of classic Epcot, and the music and narration is even calming to listen to at home. This was one of those moments of contentment that makes vacations so wonderful. The fact that the sun was setting while we were going through the greenhouse made the experience even better.

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Next, one of my family members who went on Mission: Space while we were at The Land was eating at La Cantina de San Angel, so we walked over there. The sunset was absolutely stunning at this time, so I made sure to take some pictures.

Some other family members wanted to eat at Liberty Inn, so we then walked over to The American Adventure pavilion. It should be obvious by this point that we have a hard time deciding on a singular place to eat in the Epcot area. While some family members were eating, I went over to the gift shop, and saw something I had never noticed before there: a check signed by Walt Disney himself!

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Not the best picture, I will admit, of such an amazing overlooked detail

It was finally time to speed-walk over to Spaceship Earth for our next FastPass. Spaceship Earth is another one of my favorite attractions (if not my absolute favorite), so I was quite excited once again. Once the distinct scent of the attraction hit me, I felt so happy. I sat in the right side of the front row of the “time machine” and enjoyed my journey. Afterwards, for the first time ever, I realized that I could email myself digital postcards from the video at the end of the attraction, so I took the time to do so.

Once we were out of the building, it was just about time for our third FastPass to start, which was for Test Track. After I took more pictures of Spaceship Earth (obviously), we walked over, took in the recognizable “swoosh” noise of the cars, and headed into the FastPass line. We quickly were escorted in to design our vehicle, and then waited for a short while to board the attraction itself. I was in the front row and on the far left, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience; it is always quite fun to ride at nighttime. I think our designed car got a score around 202, by the way. We looked at some of the Chevrolet cars for a while, and then we quickly walked over to the Norway pavilion to get one of my favorite snacks/desserts: school bread!

The night went by so fast for us, and we were really cutting it close with the start of IllumiNations. We ordered three items: school bread, chocolate mousse, and a fruit cup; we enjoyed our desserts in the seating area right next to the sculpture as the nighttime spectacular was about to start. Since I could not finish my school bread in time, we got a to-go box to put the leftovers in, shoved it in one of our bags along with the unfinished fruit cup, and ran out to watch my favorite nighttime show (clearly a lot of my Walt Disney World favorites are in Epcot).

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School bread (pre-consumption)

We found a spot along World Showcase Lagoon where it was not too crowded, and enjoyed a great view of IllumiNations. Particularly in this viewing, I saw a lot of people leaving their spots at the time in the show when “We Go On” starts; I naturally feel bad for people who leave early, but I cannot really blame them for either thinking that it is already over or wanting to beat the crowds.

After the conclusion of the show, we walked the long way (and against the crowds) back to International Gateway. I had never done this before, and it ended up being a peaceful walk;

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Epcot at night makes me so happy!

I especially loved seeing the pavilions near-empty. The park did not feel incredibly busy that night, but it was still a relief to see the crowds walk opposite of us and quickly diminish. It was also heartwarming to hear the glorious “Oh Meyla Weyla” song in a couple different variations as we walked out. Once we exited the park, we took a walk along the BoardWalk, of course.

I was ecstatic to see that some performers were out that night (and I think every night we walked around the area). There was a hilarious guy tricking everyone into thinking he was going to use a mouse-trap on his tongue, and afterwards, I saw another whom I have been seeing on the Boardwalk since I was around seven years old. Seeing everyone laughing and being impressed by these performers–even those on the balconies of their rooms overlooking the area–was heartwarming.

It was then time to head back to our room. It was a great, fulfilling first day at Walt Disney World. I felt comforted by the fact that I still had most of the trip ahead of me (little did I know how fast it would go by), and I was beyond excited to go to Magic Kingdom the next morning.

Stay tuned to see how our next day at Walt Disney World (including visits to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) went, and have a magical day!

-Stephanie

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