NOVEMBER 2020 ROAD TRIP TO WALT DISNEY WORLD PRE-TRIP REPORT: DAY 8 (HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS!!!!)

So guys. Day 8.

Day 8 is our last full Disney day of the trip.

But we still have a full day of family fun making new memories.

But it is sad to think this will be our last time at a Disney park until Summer 2021.

But we do have a chance of making it on two new-to-us attractions.

But crowds have been heavy. And because of the pandemic, Disney has made it so that you can only book one park a day way in advance and the park we are visiting is sold out that day according to Disney’s Park Pass Availability calendar. With no FastPasses at all, it’s definitely gonna be a challenge getting on those new-to-us attractions. For one of them, there is a Virtual Queue which assigns boarding groups at 10AM and 2PM but those have also been selling out. I mean, we will try our best of course and use some of the helpful hints out there like jumping off the park WiFi and getting to the park early, but we really have no guarantee and there is a real chance we won’t be able to experience it.

On with the post…

Day 8 – Hollywood Studios!

On Day 8, we will wake up…luxuriously….

…in our Villa at Disney’s Grand Floridian probably around 7ish? I may wake up a tad earlier if I wanna get a run in, but lets say 7:00-7:30 is the official Day 8 Goody wake up time.

Breakfast will be the first order of business for the day. The plan right now is to hit Gasparilla Island Grill, the Grand Floridian’s counter service option, on account of (A) it’s a place we have never tried before and (B) we have heard it’s one of the better resort counter service options out there, and (C) it has a lovely outdoor patio.

For breakfast, the offerings look relatively standard on the menu – a breakfast sandwich, platter, Mickey waffles, etc. But I know they very often have seasonal offerings so I am hoping for some Christmassy breakfast situations. If not, though, their platter looks pretty nice…

Pretty nice.

And after breakfast, it’s time to head to a galaxy far far away. It’s time to head to a backyard filled with toys having fun times. It’s time to head to a hotel where people died a horrific death in an elevator.

It’s time to head to Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The park itself doesn’t open until 10AM but I think we are shooting to get to the gates by 9AM so that we can be inside the park by 9:30, ready to get into a boarding group for Rise of the Resistance when they become available at 10AM. This was the attraction I was alluding to above, where we have never ridden it and know it’s a hard one to get on these days, even with COVID capacity going on.

I mean, many regard it as THE BEST attraction in all of Walt Disney World so its not all that surprising.

Just a little bit of background for people that don’t spend their every little bit of their free time researching Disney. In order to ride the newest Star Wars attraction, Ride of the Resistance riders need to first get into a virtual queue. This virtual queue gives them a specific boarding group for the attraction. And as you are out enjoying the park, the Disney app will let you know when your group is up and you have about an hour to get back to the attraction to experience it.

The app distributes boarding groups two times a day – once at 10AM and once at 2PM and once they get distributed, they go FAST. Like, 12 parsecs fast. So like I said, the plan is to get there early, jump off the Disney WiFi (another popular tip) and the four of us will keep trying until we (hopefully) get a boarding group. If we don’t get one at 10, we will try again at 2 but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

With hopefully a boarding group in hand, the next order of business is making our way to another new-to-us attraction, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway! I think I am most excited to get on Rise of the Resistance, but there is a high level of excitement attached to this one as well.

This ride looks like a hella-good time. Plus, it’s the first ride-through attraction featuring Mickey Mouse.

Yeah. The first one.

Beyond securing a boarding group for Rise and waiting however long it takes to get into Mickey & Minnie’s, the rest of the morning is pretty open. Slinky Dog. Tower of Terror. Star Tours. Toy Story Mania. Frozen: Ever After. Rock N’ Roller Coaster. That ride where DJ saw Steve as Indiana Jones.

Whatever we want to – or more accurately, whatever we can – do, we’ll do. I also am really hoping Hollywood Studios has their holiday decorations up. Because I seriously love the Christmas vibe there. All kinds of old-school feeling goodness.

All tinsel and garland and shiny and pretty. It does a really good job of transporting you to what feels like a Christmas in old Hollywood. Like, it does such a good job that if someone came up to me in there and was like, “Do you think Die Hard is a Christmas movie?” I would be like, “What’s Die Hard?”

You know, because it doesn’t exist yet. Because back in time has happened.

But since we are still in the crapshow that is 2020? Yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

The plan is to have lunch that day in the park. Now, before we decided to completely eat outdoors, we made a lunchtime reservation at Sci-Fi Dine In Theater, which is a favorite of ours and a hard reservation to get these days. However, it’s technically inside. But also it looks like its outside, with diners in cars sitting in front of a drive-in movie screen.

Plus, from what we have seen, their COVID plan is on point. The cars already provide a pretty good amount of social distancing anyways, but they are seating every other car so like NO ONE is around you.

Annnnd they do a special burger every month. Which is fun times. Like, one time? I got a burger with a hot dog in it. So it was like getting two meals for the price of one. I won that round, Disney.

However, if we decide Sci-Fi still feels too inside for our tastes, there are other options. We may end up at Docking Bay 7 in Galaxy’s Edge or the Baseline Tap House, which btw has probably one of the BEST deals in all of Walt Disney World – a $10 Cheese and Charcuterie plate.

What’s happening after lunch? Well, that all depends on whatever boarding group we got, or if we even got one, for Rise of the Resistance. If we didn’t get one, we will end up having to try again at 2PM. If we did end up with one, there is a very good chance it will not come up until some point in the afternoon.

So most likely, we will be looking to check out a few more attractions we didn’t hit in the morning while we wait for our boarding group. But it’s really an unknown at this point.

Ugh, this whole no Fastpass thing is really punching my inner planner in the face.

Hopefully, we will have gotten our boarding group during the 10AM distribution period though. Because we are hoping to sneak some pool time in around 4:00 or so.

And I mean, it’s a given we’ll be grabbing some cocktails at Beaches Pool Bar and Grill. But what to grab? A Frose? Pina Colava? The Poolside Iced Tea (Absolut Vodka, Bacardi Superior Rum, Beefeater Gin, Corazón Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, and Sweet-and-Sour topped with Coca-Cola) is sort of sounding pretty good right now actually.

At around 6 or so, we will have to head up and get ready for dinner, which once again is in Disney Springs. Tonight, our outdoor dining spot is STK Orlando.

You know, for such a short trip, its pretty awesome we are trying so many new restaurants for us. Even though we love a good steakhouse, we have actually not been super interested in trying this place in the past. But, it fits nicely into our outdoor dining plan and the more research we have done on it, the more excited we have been getting.

This menu? It slaps.

That’s what the kids say, right? Things slap now?

But yeah, everything sounds incredible. I have no idea if we will be getting starters or not because a lot of the really good offerings would only really appeal to me – beef tartare, oysters, frikkin bone marrow wagyu meatballs. Those are so many delicious words strung together right there.

Bone Marrow.

Wagyu.

Meatballs.

But alas, I would most likely be the only person at our table to eat literally ANY of those things I just mentioned. So who knows.

For an entrée, I am assuming steak will be the order. On account of it is a STEAKhouse. Doy.

Now, I see a Dry-Aged 14oz. Delmonico steak on the menu for a whopping $75. Which I am intrigued by but also leaves me nervous. Delmonico steaks can be a gamble here and there because the definition is so loose.

However, on researching this specific Delmonico, it looks like STK Orlando’s Delmonico is a generously marbled boneless ribeye. I mean, thing LOOKS really good.

So I feel confident this would be delicious. I’d steak my reputation on it.

STEAK my reputation.

But….they also have an 14oz New York Strip that I am thinking about, especially if I can top it with some of that Truffle Butter. And there is that 8oz Wagyu.

I dunno. The steak is going to have to be a game time decision. Which means I will have to ask the waitstaff.

I know, it’s weird not knowing what I may want to eat 3 weeks from now. What can I say? I’m indecisive.

And that indecisiveness doesn’t stop there. Don’t even get me started on the sides.

Ugh, this dinner is making me anxious. Count to ten, Wayne.

Thanks Doctor Strange.

For dessert, we may opt to either have it at STK – I mean, a warm baked cookie with chocolate sauce, caramel, and vanilla ice cream?

Yeah, that sounds pretty good. But I also wouldn’t be opposed to heading over to Erin McKenna’s or The Ganchery for a little sweetness.

There is really no way of losing dessert on Day 8.

After dessert, we may walk around Disney Springs for a bit, squeezing every little bit out of our last night in Disney. Or maybe it would be better to head back to the Grand Floridian for some night swimming.

Man, Day 8 is FULL of indecisiveness.

But no matter which path we take in this Choose-Your-Adventure kind of night, I am sure we’ll have fun.

Unless we don’t.

But we might.

I’m not sure.

Last post (November 2020 Pre-Trip Day 7 – Animal Kingdom!)

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