Right, so first off – apologies for the delay in between trip posts here. But I mean – Christmas and all that. And I was much too drun…er…merry. Yeah, I was much too merry to be writing a blog post. And believe me, I was the merriest.
But seriously, I do hope you all (well all those that celebrated) had a great holiday and Santa was good to you. We of course had a bunch o’ Disney under our tree (and on it, actually), including that new Disney board game – Villainous. It’s fun. I think. Over the past couple days, we have gone from completely confused to somewhat confused regarding gameplay so things are progressing.
And yeah, I realize we are posting all kinds of Christmas way past the big day with all these posts but that’s how I like it. Keep Christmas with you and all that, right?
And speaking of the gift that keeps on giving, Day 9 is the second day in which we get to spend time with the Hills.
That joke never gets old. But of course, I mean our friends Missy, Eric, and Olivia. LC and Whitney are cool and all, but give me the Florida Hills any day. But we don’t get any Hill time until later in the day so you’ll have to deal with just the four of us for a little while. I know. Sorry.
On with Day 9.
Day 9 – Hollywood, Movies, Friends, and ALL KINDS of Christmas
We all woke up together on Day 9 (Saturday) sometime between 6:30AM and 7:00AM to a what looked to be a beautiful day. We got ourselves showered and ready, grabbed our refillable mugs, and headed out onto the Boardwalk for breakfast here:
Yerp. BoardWalk Bakery.
We kind of love the BoardWalk Bakery a lot. Nickie and I like it because they have a pretty good amount of options and a refillable mug station. The boys like it because they can get cupcakes for breakfast. But surprisingly, neither of them went the cupcake route. Owen wasn’t even hungry so he just got some Powerade in his mug. Myles went for a blueberry muffin.
Nickie had an almond croissant.
And I got a cinnamon roll. Which once again, was advertised as warm. And once again, was not warm. But it still tasted good. Because it’s a cinnamon roll.
The boys seemed to enjoy the experience overall.
Then it was off for our second day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. From the Beach Club, there are two main options to get us to Hollywood Studios – you can either take the boat or walk. On a normal day, the walk is a bit longer than the walk to EPCOT. It takes about 15-20 minutes but we had heard with the new construction, it was a bit more than that. The boat usually gets you there a little bit later (mainly because it makes multiple stops before getting to the park) but with all that construction nonsense, we weren’t really sure if the walk would have been the quicker option still.
So we were faced with a tough decision. We were all…
So rather than make a real decision, we decided to conduct an experiment. Nickie would take the boat while the boys and I would make the walk. And we would finally get an answer to the age-old question that has baffled us all for ages: what’s faster – walking to Hollywood Studios or taking the boat? We would be heroes and champions of science. And masters of hyperbole.
I do quite enjoy the walk actually.
But the construction was kookydukes. It took us all through the parking lot, by the furthest most bus stop. It added probably another 10 minutes onto the walk so the whole thing was maybe 30-35 minutes. We were sure the boat would beat us. But when we got the gate, I called Nickie and she was still waiting to pull up. So we win. We were the winners.
Well, I guess it depends on how you define “winners” as we were the ones that had to walk an extra close-to-40-minutes.
Whatever though. We were at Hollywood Studios.
Owen and I had a FastPass for Rock N’ Roller Coaster so we took that right down Sunset and headed straight for it.
Nickie and Myles meanwhile went right to Star Tours and Myles got to hop on it twice. Lucky!
Rock N’ Roller Coaster was fun, I guess. I mean, up until we fell asleep.
Pfft, kidding. It was as awesome as always. And I mean, Disney and Aerosmith go together like….erm…things that DO NOT go together.
Annnnnywhat. After we got off the ride, Owen and I headed towards Endor to meet up with Nickie and Myles. We had to wait for Myles to finish with his last mission so while we were waiting, Nickie and I looked at wait times. And everything was already filling up. The crowds were looking to be daunting and we didn’t really have any FastPass of consequence until later that night when we were meeting up with the Hills to ride Slinky Dog.
So we had an idea. Instead of spending the day walking around a park we have already visited waiting in lines for attractions we’ve already ridden, we checked movie times at the AMC in Disney Springs and we found an early afternoon showing of Ralph Breaks the Internet. We were all kind of itching to see it since it had already been out like 4 days and was getting good reviews.
When Myles returned from Jakku, we ran the plan by him and Owen and all of us agreed it was the way to go. We went straight for the exit and made our way to the Disney Springs bus stop.
The plan was to get lunch first, walk around a little bit, and then go see some Wreck-It Ralph.
The problem was, we couldn’t agree on where to eat. Well, three of us could agree but Owen couldn’t. At mealtimes, Owen often marches to the beat of his own drum. Which is a nice way of saying Owen is face-punchingly picky.
Nickie, Myles, and I wanted to eat at the Polite Pig and Owen just wanted a cheeseburger from D-Luxe Burger. So we got a table at Polite Pig so Nickie and Myles could put in our order and I walked Owen over to D-Luxe Burger to get his burger to bring back to our table.
He ordered a plain cheeseburger and a vanilla shake.
Owen let me have a taste…you know, for research purposes. The cheeseburger was….eh…it wasn’t great. It actually tasted a bit too salty. Not the worst thing I’ve ever had but it wasn’t as amazing as I was expecting it to be. The shake, however, was perfection.
Back at the Polite Pig, Myles ordered the ribs.
He, unlike Owen, did not let me have a bite so I have to rely on his review of “very good” to describe them. Also, his unwillingness to share is probably a testament to their tastiness.
Nickie and I each got the Smoked & Fried Chicken sandwich. Which was legit delicious. The chicken was crazy juicy and that sauce. Oh man, that sauce. I would drink that shizz straight.
It was a good lunch. Even Owen enjoyed himself despite his saltburger.
After lunch, we walked around a little bit to let our meals digest and then found ourselves in front of the AMC.
We got our tickets at the front, walked in, grabbed some snacks and of course snapped some fun pics.
We walked into the theater and looked for our seats but as we walked up the rows, we couldn’t see any sign of our row anywhere. We walked all the way to the back row and they sort of just….ended. Turns out there was a balcony section and we were in it. So we left out the door we came in, walked upstairs, and found our row at the end of the balcony.
Not sure if the picture above captures it or not, but as you can see there was a bit of a wall in front of us. We were worried the bottom bit of the screen would be covered for the movie but they actually blacken that part so that nothing is obscured. Phew.
We settled in and got ready for the movie.
Don’t worry, this was taken during an ad before the movie. I didn’t snap any pictures during the movie. That’s illegal, brother.
The movie was pretty great. We all loved it. Vanellope is legit the best. But the scenes with the Disney princesses stood out. So well done and a worthy successor to the original.
After the movie, we took the bus back to the Beach Club to have some downtime and get ready for the rest of our day/night. It was time to head back to Hollywood Studios!
And as I have said before, this place is like HELLO CHRISTMAS.
Speaking of HELLO CHRISTMAS, we had a dinner reservation at Minnie’s Holiday Dine, which was a brand new experience for us. While we have eaten at Hollywood and Vine for breakfast before but had never been there for dinner, let alone for a holiday dinner. So this was, like, doubly new. Doublew.
And we were all kinds of excited because not only was this a holiday-themed meal but it was a holiday-themed character meal. And all the characters were decked out in their holiday best. I was also decked out in my holiday best – a Darth Vader ugly sweater t-shirt that said “I find your lack of beer disturbing.” What? Pfft, you definitely don’t wanna see my holiday worst.
We met Donald first.
His hat was ON POINT.
And then we had a little time before the next character was going to pay us a visit so we took the opportunity to hit the buffet.
There were a ton of good options.
In fact, they had so many good options that I had to 2-plate it on my first go-round. I honestly am not sure I can remember everything on those plates but I am gonna give it a try.
On the left plate, I have some mini corn dogs, tater tots, turkey, prime rib, brussels sprouts, sweet potato casserole, and some kind of lentil croquette.
On the right plate, we have some pretzel bread, corn, mashed potatoes, barbecue meatballs, green bean casserole, cornbread stuffing, and quinoa salad.
Don’t look at me like that. I ate it all for YOU.
And It was all really good. Like, I can’t remember one thing I ate that I didn’t like there. I wish I could say the brussels sprouts and quinoa salad were the standouts but. I mean they were good, but I legit could not stop eating those meatballs. And the pretzel bread. And the mini corn dogs. All good.
As we were eating, we got another visitor – Daisy!
After finishing those two plates, I may have gone up for some more meatballs and mini corn dogs. Maybe.
Fine, definitely. I definitely went up again for meatballs and corn dogs.
And I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking there’s no way I had dessert. And I am thinking it’s like you don’t even know me.
Because of course dessert. Of course.
My pictures of the actual dessert buffet came out hella-blurry. Due most likely to me shaking with excitement over the idea of more food.
But I did snap a pic of my plate.
And on it, I had an eggnog cream, gingerbread cupcake, caramel cream puffs, mini chocolate bundt cake, and an orange chocolate cream. The best dessert things were the eggnog cream and the gingerbread cupcake. But to be fair, I ate all the dessert things. Those were just my favorites. I liked the gingerbread cupcake so much, I even took a solo pic of it.
Then we got a visit from this guy.
Bahhh, look at his coat. And his pants. We talked to Mickey for a while actually, complimenting him on his outfit. He even did a little modeling for us. He spent a ton of time at our table. I mean, not to brag or anything but I think we are best friends now.
We still hadn’t seen Minnie yet so we wanted to wait for her and, as we were waiting we got another visit from Donald.
And another visit from Daisy.
And then Minnie finally made it over.
And while her dress was obviously fabulous, she didn’t end up spending all that much time with us. Just a quick pic and she was gone. We got a lot more interaction from the others. I really thought we had something special, Minnie.
We paid our bill, but before we could leave we had to say hi to SANTA GOOFY!!!!!
Santa Goofy is sort of the star here and you can choose to meet him either before or after your meal at a standalone location near the door. And he has the bonus of a PhotoPass photographer so he’s obviously you know, kind of a big deal.
And he was awesome. While we were waiting in our short line to meet him, we watched him playing with a little boy. The boy had brought a container of these little plastic toys (I think they were little toy soldiers) and he took them all out and laid them on the floor. Then he and Goofy proceeded to play toy soldiers for a few minutes together.
And I don’t know – I mean maybe some people would have been getting antsy but this is sort of what Disney is all about. That was a 100% magical moment for that boy and his family. And it was such a sweet thing to watch.
And then it was our turn. We went up and Goofy…well…goofed around with us. Hugging us, playing with the boys hats. He was great.
I was probably looking forward to this meal the most out of the four of us and we all walked away saying we loved it. The food was tasty and the character interactions were great for the most part. I guess the only thing I thought the place could have used would have been a few more holiday decorations. That would have put it over the top.
It was finally time to go meet the Hills! And it was time again for Toy Story Land!
We were extra excited because we had a FastPass for Slinky Dog Dash. And once again, because the Hills have the super adorable Livi…
…we got to do the whole child swap thing, which meant the boys and I could ride it twice, once with Missy and once with Eric. I did offer to stay with Livi so they could ride it twice but they said since they live in Florida, they could ride it whenever. Also, I assume they didn’t trust me to not barter their child for a free Mickey pretzel. Which was maybe a solid move by them. I mean, I am not saying I would. But I am also not saying I don’t like Mickey pretzels.
It was time….
The kids were ready…
And we were off….
OK so while we were excited to ride a new attraction, I wasn’t 100% sold on this one going into it. Like, I wasn’t all that sure it would wow me or anything. But man, we LOVED it. It was smooth, the hills were relatively high and I loved the accelerations.
Plus, there were little surprises here and there.
And we got to ride it twice, which awesometown. Seriously loved it. Nickie said she loved waiting at the end because everyone that got off the ride had the biggest smile on their face. Which is a good sign.
When we got off Slinky, we were kind of unsure of what we were gonna do next. We toyed with the idea of For the First Time in Forever: a Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, but the unnecessarily long title made me too mad to go in. Also, we had missed the last show.
While we were sort of deciding what to do next, we grabbed some drinks from the cart near Echo Lake. I had a Gumdrop with a glow cube.
It was good and it was strong. But it was a little too much on the sweet side for me.
We decided to walk over to Sunset to check out all the Sunset Seasons goings-on.
And it was soooo cool. They were doing different holiday-themed projections on the Tower of Terror…
..as well as on the billboard across the street.
These were themed around Frozen, Toy Story, Mickey’s Christmas Carol, and the Muppets (as shown above.) They did these last year as well but it seemed like it was done with a little more frequency this year.
They also had snow on Sunset.
And lasers. Pew pew.
As we were walking towards Sunset, I mentioned that I wanted to try a couple treats. On account of I hadn’t eaten enough yet. One was the Carrot Cake Cookie from The Trolley Car Café. I had always noted the Carrot Cake Cookie at the old Writer’s Stop as one of my favorite snacks at Disney back in the day but when it closed and they moved the cookie over to here, I heard they changed it so I wanted to give it a try.
The other treat I was looking to try was the hot chocolate flight at Fairfax Fare. The line for the Trolley Car Café was pretty long so I walked on down to Fairfax and ordered up one of these puppies.
From left to right in that pic above, there is a Cherry Bourbon Hot Chocolate, Vanilla Stoli Hot Chocolate, and a Bailey’s Hot Chocolate.
It was a little warm for hot chocolate that night but I was determined. They were all really good and I think the Bailey’s one was maybe my favorite of the three. I would typically go bourbon but the cherry threw me off a little. They were all good, but I think the Bailey’s was my favorite.
And while I was off getting my hot chocolatey goodness, Eric walked over to the Trolley Car Café and picked up one of these.
Eric is the best. I mean, he was cool before. But then he got me a cookie. And getting me a cookie earns you a ton of friend points. Take note, lesser friends. You know who you are.
And yeah, this Carrot Cake Cookie was different than the old one. In fact, I can’t see how they get away with calling it a “cookie” anymore as it much more cake-like. So on first sight, I was a bit nervous. However, once I took my first bite I realized how mistaken I was. Thing was good. The cake was super moist and this version had so much more cream cheese icing than the last iteration.
We had a lot of fun just sort of hanging around Sunset with Missy, Eric, and Livi. We talked and ate and the kids played some sort of game where I think someone was a ghost and the others were invisible. But you still had to hide even though you were invisible. I joined in at one point but I really had trouble grasping the gameplay so I just yelled and chased the kids. I always liked the simple games the best.
It was getting close to 9ish so we walked over to get a spot in front of the Chinese Theater for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Though this show has been going on for a couple years, this was the first time we were going to be seeing it.
Before the main show, we also got to catch Disney Movie Magic, which is a projection show on the Chinese Theater that shows all these different Disney movie moments.
It was ok. It works as a pre-show, but nothing I would specifically stick around for.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! started soon after.
Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is also a projection show but it combines these projections with fireworks and a laser light show. And the whole thing is all kinds of Christmas. It’s based around a story featuring characters from Prep & Landing and projects a bunch of holiday moments from Disney films.
We all really enjoyed the show. Would I count it as a favorite nighttime show of all-time? Probably not. But it was super cute. And it did feel really Christmassy.
When the show ended, it felt like it was snowing everywhere as we were walking towards the exit.
It just felt so magical. Honestly. But what was not magical? We had to say goodbye to Missy, Eric, and Livi. We had SUCH a good time with them. I mean, we always have a good time with the Hills. So obviously none of us wanted it to end. The good news is that we go to Disney a lot so we will hopefully see them again soon.
With everyone leaving the park at the same time as us, we figured waiting for a bus was probably not the best idea so we walked back to the Beach Club. When we reached the BoardWalk, Nickie and Owen were in the mood for ice cream. So they walked over to Ample Hills while Myles and I headed back to the room. Yeah, I know. I am disappointed in myself too. But I was actually too full for ice cream. I need to get my stomach enlarged obviously. Do they do that?
Knowing I would be asking for it, Nickie took a picture of her ice cream. She got the red velvet ooey gooey toffee cake.
She said it was very good. But not as good as her ice cream at Beaches & Cream. But to be fair, the ice cream at Beaches & Cream was covered in hot fudge and peanut butter sauce. So it’s like comparing apples and apples covered in hot fudge and peanut butter sauce.
Day 9 was a great, great day. Thanks for reading and I am SO looking forward to taking you through Day 10, which includes our favorite meal of the trip AND a Christmas party!