Monday, September 23, 2019

4 Days at Disney | Magic Kingdom After Hours | First Time In The New Star Wars Land

With our annual passes expiring at the beginning of October, we wanted to go out with a bang and do one last big Disney trip! We are not renewing our passes this time. 2020 has a lot in store travel wise, and we needed to make some adjustments in the budget. Florida Residents can pay monthly for their passes, and even though that's helpful, you still spend so much money on hotels and food. 

Before our passes expire we wanted to make sure that we got to see the new Star Wars land area and visit each of the parks one last time. We had an awesome long weekend and definitely got our money's worth. That being said, I think I've got Disney out of my system for a long time. 

Day One | Magic Kingdom After Hours Event
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After we did After Hours at Hollywood Studios earlier this year, I am convinced there is no better way to do Disney. It's a seperate ticket, but you get access to the park from 7pm to midnight. Usually the other guests leave when the park closes around 9. At HS we only waited for one ride, but when we did Magic Kingdom this time, we did not have to wait for anything. Walking on every ride was awesome, especially when the wait times were over an hour when we arrived at 7. 

Additionally you get free bottled drinks, popcorn and ice cream. We both brought backpacks to fill with drinks for the rest of our weekend. 😂 Both of us attempted to take a few pictures to show how empty the park is, but taking night photos on your phone is always a gamble. 


We had basically every ride to ourselves. Our own boat on Pirates...Smallworld...






Day Two | Animal Kingdom & Disney Springs
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We kept it pretty easy going on Friday, since we were up so late the night before. Mostly, we were very excited to do the new animation class. They used to have this class at Hollywood Studios and it was our favorite thing to do. So we were thrilled they brought it back to AK! 




After doing a few rides, we actually headed back to the hotel for a nap. This is my absolute favorite way to do Disney. Go early, go take a nap and then do something at night. Our hotel was right next to Disney Springs, so we walked over for dinner. Before dinner we looked in a few stores, and then we went to Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar so Blake could try a bourbon flight he'd been looking forward to. The bar is based on an Indiana Jones character, which we loved. 

Then we went to Paddlefish for dinner, which has been a restaurant we've been wanting to try for ages. It was fantastic and the service was top kotch. 



We got the tableside lobster guacamole, and holy moly, it was fantastic. It serves 4..so maybe only order it if you have a big group! I felt like I needed to be rolled out of that restaurant. 


Day Three | EPCOT Food & Wine and A Sneak Peak at Batuu 
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We wore matching shirts on Saturday! I loved how these turned out. Having a Cricut made me ultra critical of the shirts I saw at Disney this trip. I saw SO many shirts that were improperly pressed and looked reallllly bad. I really hoped that those poorly done shirts were DIYs and not something that people spent a fortune on through Etsy. 

We arrived at park opening and that helped up get several rides done without waiting. Early bird gets the worm! Epcot on Saturday is not really the best plan. It got busy really fast. We were still able to try several snacks and drinks at the festival booths though! It was probably the first time we actively went around with the passport and picked out things we wanted to try. 

This was the day I realized I was getting Disney out of my system. We had kind of done everything we wanted to do by 11am, but we had a lunch reservation in the UK pavilion that we had to stick around for. I have been wanting to try it for a long time, and hadn't been able to get a reservation. We randomly looked on the app one night the week before and one had become available. Turns out the food was just okay and it was so expensive. 

One of the problems with Epcot is that they do a tiered fastpass system. You can only get 1 fastpass for a 'big' ride and then your other two are 'smaller' rides. It makes it hard to do a lot, because it forces you to wait in hours long lines to ride more than one big attraction. /rant. 



Blake had been *dying* to go to see the new Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios. We originally planned to do it on Sunday, our last day, because we had just recently done everything at HS with After Hours and could devote a whole day to that land if we wanted. Well, after basically becoming bored at Epcot, we decided to go anyway. 

I'm SO happy we did because it was fantastic. After feeling bored earlier in the day, it was so refreshing to do something new and to see what all the fuss was about. We were able to grab a few HS fastpasses and did those rides after checking out the new Star Wars land. 

Can we just compare the smiles between the photo above, and the one below?! He was so stoked. I was too honestly. Disney knocked this area out of the park. The details are amazing. Saturday was a bit crowded, but not bad at all. We were able to do some exploring, try some food and ride the new Smuggler's Run ride. It's a blast. The wait time hasn't been outrageous either. 

You really feel like you've stepped into a movie. They've got characters walking around and interacting with guests. We were able to distract some Stormtroopers to help Rey and Chewie get back to the Falcon. 






Day Four | Hollywood Studios 
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We found out that our hotel had Extra Magic Hours, which allowed us into the park at 6 am. Only a handful of people were up that early, and those who were in line that early were heading straight to the new SW land. We decided to head to the Toy Story area and do Slinky Dog and Toy Story Mania while they were walk on rides. Toy Story land heads right into the Star Wars area so it was a great strategy.

We grabbed breakfast at one of the Star Wars restaurants, which was really good. And then we rode Smuggler's Run again. It's just so fun. Especially when you have a group that's really into it. 

Then Blake went full on geek and bought a lightsaber. I have to admit, it's pretty cool and the shop you buy them in is amazing. 

The blue milk is actually tasty, even though it's a bit different. I enjoyed it. Plus you can get it with alcohol...which we didn't, since it was only like 8am. 






After riding a few other rides with fastpasses, and seeing the Indiana Jones show, we ate at The Brown Derby. This was a restaurant we never wanted to eat at before because the menu never looked  that appealing. We ended up there last year randomly, and now we are obsessed! They have a famous cobb salad that is to-die-for. 

It was about 2 or 2:30 when we decided to head home. Because we had arrived at the park so early, we were parked in the first row. It's so nice when you are ready to leave and you aren't parked miles away! 

I loved getting home before 5. Our pugs were excited to see us and we still had plenty of energy to unpack and get things cleaned up. We had such a nice weekend together, just the two of us. We also left feeling really satisfied with using our passes. We definitely got our money's worth. Those passes are so nice for free parking and you get a pretty decent discount on merchandise too. But, we feel ready to let them expire and put that money towards other things. 

If we do get the itch to go to the parks next year, there is a cheap Florida resident 3-4 day pass that I feel is a great deal. Alternatively, we may just do After Hours. The parks are just more fun after dark, and the temperature is always so much better. (Although I didn't mention that this weekend had the best weather!! It was warm, but very very breezy!) 

Alright, that sums up our last Disney trip for awhile! I hope you had fun following along. Leave a comment below if you've been to the new Star Wars land, or have a Disney trip coming up soon! Tell me what you have planned trip wise in 2020!

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