Welcome to Day 9 of our now-I-am-really-understanding-how-long-this-trip-really-was summer 2021 Walt Disney World trip.
Guys, this was a long trip. Srsly.
In case that wasn’t clear.
Like, we still have a week’s worth of posts left for this trip. 7 days worth of posts.
Welcome to Nuts-town. Population: this blog.
But Day 9 has a lot going on here.
FastPasses in a world where they don’t exist.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
So buckle up, Buttercup. Let’s get a little crazy.
Day 9 – A rainy day at Hollywood Studios!!
So yeah, today…Day 9….was a Hollywood Studios day. Which, as of when this trip happened (summer 2021) means the morning was dedicated to one specific, stressful, sleep-stealing task.
Obtaining a boarding group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
What a weird little world we Disney World fans live in. Like, all of you that keep up with everything going on at Walt Disney World? I say that one sentence and you 100% know what I am talking about. Everyone else though? Everyone else be like…
But yeah, I have talked about this process many times. Essentially, in order to ride Rise of the Resistance at this point, one would have to access the MyDisneyExperience app on their phone at one of two times during the day (7AM anywhere or 1PM inside the park) to secure a boarding pass and it’s a pretty cutthroat situation with 7AM boarding groups becoming unavailable by, like, 7:01.
Yeah, a lot of people are Boba Fett up with the process.
Anakin see why.
So yeah, I was up at around 6:30AM to get some coffee and make sure I was primed and ready. At 6:59, I started constantly refreshing my Virtual Queue screen. And at 7AM? It happened…
Yup, Boarding Group 18. I know, by the time this post is published, the Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue/Boarding Group process has gone away but we always had a lot of luck with it. We have always been able to secure one before they were Qui-Gon or Tarkin.
Hm? Tarkin..taken. Come on. You get it.
So yeah, Boarding Group 18…good stuff.
As I mentioned, I already secured coffee (and hot chocolates) for the room and for breakfast today, we opened up the to-go box of pastries we got from our breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace the day before.
We all had our breakfast and got ready rather quickly so we could head out into kind of gloomy morning.
The boys and I decided to walk over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios while Nickie was going to try the boat to see if she could beat us over there.
What do you think of that plan, Mr. Duck?
“I think it’s quack-tastic.”
I really enjoy the walk from the Boardwalk over to Hollywood Studios. It takes us around 15 minutes and even when the skies are gloomy, it’s a really nice peaceful walk.
We ended up beating Nickie by a few minutes to the park, arriving at around 8:40 so we waited near the entrance for her.
The ticket lines were a bit long but that didn’t matter much to us since we obviously already had our tickets.
We were through the gates and at the Crossroads of the World by 8:45.
We walked down Hollywood Boulevard and made straight for Grauman’s Chinese Theater to hop on Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
The stated wait time was only 20 minutes so it seemed worth it to hop right in line.
But as with many of the wait times we saw this trip, this was definitely an overestimation. We made it through the queue and hit the preshow in just over 5 minutes.
Now, while we have already ridden Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, we have actually never seen the preshow before because of COVID protocols. And it always felt like we were missing something. The preshow here is such a good lead-in to the full attraction.
Plus, I kind of love these Mickey Mouse shorts. I know. You’re shocked, right? That me, a grown man, enjoys cartoons?
Oh? You’re not surprised? I…well…good.
That’s good. Right?
The preshow’s ending is an especially cool effect that immerses you in the story. And there’s an explosion. So, I mean.
And man, I love this attraction. It’s hard to not smile pretty much the entire time.
Though I did manage to find a way. To not smile, that is. You see, I had my Mickey Mouse 90th birthday Ray-Ban’s hanging on the neck of my shirt. And during Daisy’s conga, well…
Yeah, as our car lurched forward, I heard a loud CRACK. I looked down and, yep, one of the lenses was completely cracked.
Yup. My Mickey Mouse sunglasses broke. On the only attraction here that focuses squarely on Mickey Mouse.
Also, obviously. This was a Ross face moment.
Oh well. I mean…they’re just sunglasses right? Very expensive sunglasses, right?
Let’s go have an awesome day in the Florida sunshi…
Whatever, Day 9. What. Ever.
As you can see from the above picture, we were walking down Sunset Boulevard at this point. Well, actually, Owen and I were so we could take a ride on Rock N’ Roller Coaster featuring that hip new band – Aero-something. Myles actually was gonna head into Galaxy’s Edge to try the single rider line on Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. On account of he was scared.
Of Steven Tyler.
But yerp – Rock N’ Roller Coaster.
We Walked This Way.
And as with Mickey & Minnie’s, the preshow was back here as well. And it was the incredible display of acting prowess it always has been.
Look at how excited we were about that fact.
Our super stretch limo pulled in and we were off the attraction by like 9:50AM. And while we were doing all this, Nickie stopped in at the theater to catch the Mickey and Minnie short – Vacation Fun.
Nickie really liked it and came out of it recommending we see it as well. Which, like, we do.
Oh, sorry. Spoiler alert.
Next up, we met up with Myles to hit a ride together. Can you guess where we were AT-AT?
Star Tours, y’all!
I can’t recall the missions we went on this time around.
But I can guarantee they were….
Wait for it.
Here it comes…
Out of this world.
As we exited Star Tours, I got a text from Nickie saying she grabbed us a snack at the Trolley Car Café, which is just a fancy Disney way of saying Starbucks.
She grabbed some seats outside the café and when we met up with her, she had this bit of goodness waiting for me…
A Cold Brew and one of the greatest snacks in Walt Disney World history – the Carrot Cake Cookie. It’s not the original recipe I fell in love with. A little thicker in terms of the cake part than it used to be, but the increase in the amount of cream cheese frosting was a welcome change.
It was definitely a welcome snack. Like, I know…my wife is an incredible woman and I am often like, “how did I get so lucky?” And then she brings snacks. And life gets almost too wonderful.
It was a lovely snack break. And once we finished up, well.
It was time for lunch.
Yeah, it was that kind of day.
And lunch today was at a place we have really grown to love after having a couple merp experiences in our earlier Disney World travels – The Hollywood Brown Derby!
So what kind of experience would today bring? A merp or a, um…er…
No wait, a derp is still bad right?
Ugh with the lingo.
Anyways – lets see what kind of experience this will be. My inability to keep up with youth slang notwithstanding.
Although Owen is physically a 14 year-old, his palate often tends towards more like 7, maybe 7 ½ years old. So we got him a kids menu. Which not only brings the chicken nuggies but also the puzzles. And mazes. And crayons!
OF COURSE our meal started with some drinks.
Let’s start with the lame..er…I mean. NON-ALCOHOLIC drinks.
Owen got a Coke…
…Myles ordered a Maliblue Beach (Minute Maid Zero Sugar Lemonade and Blue Raspberry served with a souvenir Glow Cube.)
Nickie went with her old standby – a Cosmopolitan.
And I think she said it was a pretty good Cosmo? Not as good as the one she got out at Carthay Circle in Disneyland but still…good.
I was debating between the martini flight and their signature Manhattan but our server said the Manhattan was the better choice if I was looking for…well…alcohol. And I mean, sold.
I got the Hollywood Manhattan (Michter’s Single Barrel Rye Whiskey and Antica Carpano Sweet Vermouth garnished with Luxardo Cherries.)
Score 1 for the server because this thing was delightful.
Actually. Score 2 for the server. On account of he also brought us out some bread.
And here is the great thing. This was such a leisurely slow-paced lunch that our drinks were finished before our entrée came out. Which meant we could also get beers.
Is this the best lunch ever?
For lunch, Nickie and I split the Brown Derby Signature Burger (Bacon Jam, Cheddar, Fried Egg, Russian Dressing, Hand-cut Fries.)
Myles also got this burger for himself.
And guys? This burger is AMAZEFACE. Like scores-near-the-top-of-the-Walt-Disney-World-burger-list amazeface.
So much flavor. So juicy. So…beefy.
Owen went with the kids’ Grilled Beef Filet with fries and green beans.
A great lunch at the Brown Derby, to be sure. I kind of love this place now.
And by the time we finished it was around 1PM and our Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group was up. Off to Galaxy’s Edge we went. Pew Pew.
The good news was that unlike our last time riding Rise of the Resistance, we made it right through the queue into the preshow with BB-8 and Rey.
After we got the rundown, we then walked out to our transport ship…
Everything was going well so far, right? We were well on our way.
I know I’ve only been in this hangar a few times but I am still like whoa every single time. Pictures don’t do this thing justice. Stormtroopers for days, son.
You know, when I was a kid I always thought these things were called TIE Fighters because they kind of looked like bowties.
Now, people tell me these look nothing like bowties. But I dunno guys. I think you’re wrong. I still see it.
Anyways. After we left the hangar, we walked past more stormtroopers…
…and lined up and then were led into the room where you see Kylo Ren and General Hux. And I love that room because this little electrical panel is there and you can play with all the buttons and what not.
Well, I mean I like to play with the buttons. But as we were playing with it, a First Order officer came back into the room and yelled at me for doing it.
Sooooo…after he left, I kept playing with them. And Owen really bought into the whole “First Order officer yelling at me” because he kept trying to pull me away from the panel thinking it was something I shouldn’t be touching.
And this got only worse when the officer returned and told us the attraction was down and we would have to be evacuated.
So yeah. I am sorry everyone else at Hollywood Studios on Day 9. Apparently, I broke Rise of the Resistance.
We were escorted out into a back hallway first.
And I feel like some people might look at this hallway and think this kind of thing ruins some sort of magic. But I dunno. I gotta imagine there are some similar hallways to this on Star Destroyers. Like, in the administrative part of the ship. Where the accountants and HR are busy doing their jobs.
And yeah, once we were outside, it was pretty obvious the ride broke down due to bad weather.
Which I mean. Um. It’s an indoor attraction so I wasn’t sure why.
We also noticed as we were walking out that Owen dropped his magic band somewhere along the experience. And as we were approaching the exit, the cast member started informing us we would be getting an Any Experience FastPass so that we could come back that day to experience the attraction when it’s up and running, or use it to ride whatever we wanted.
The FastPasses were put directly on our MyDisneyExperience app so the missing Magic Band wasn’t that much of an issue. But still – a missing Magic Band is not the greatest. So when we got to the very outside of the queue, I mentioned it to the cast member working the entrance. She said not to worry and ran off.
Five minutes later, she returned with Owen’s band. Disney cast members are literally the best. But we had avoided tragedy here. I mean, a missing Magic Band sucks regardless. But Owen has a super cool Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers Magic Band so it would have been extra suck.
Since we were already in Galaxy’s Edge, we decided to explore a little bit.
And whenever I am walking around Galaxy’s Edge, I can’t help but stop in at the Toydarian Toymaker. The shops in Galaxy’s Edge are all cool places to stop because they don’t feel like normal theme park gift shops. They are much more in-theme, mirroring what you might expect if you were walking around another planet.
I mean, minus the lack of oxygen.
Look at all these little guys.
I am kind of in love with those Ewoks.
Oh, and check out this dude.
A frikkin toy Admiral Thrawn? I’m not gonna lie. I was very close to buying this thing. And I am totally holding onto a lot of regret for not doing so.
Before we left Galaxy’s Edge, we noticed Rise of the Resistance was running again so we hopped back in line with our FastPasses. But pretty soon after we did, the announcement came over the loudspeaker that the ride had shut down again.
We had a choice to make. Do we try and wait it out? Or do we get back out of line once again. Nickie and Myles jumped out of line first while Owen and I stayed in line. And as we were there, the line actually started moving. But as we made it through and were about to get on our transport ship, Owen started kind of freaking out about not riding it with Nickie and Myles. So we hopped out of line as well.
I let Nickie know we were coming to meet them and she told me to go talk to a cast member over by the entrance to Toy Story Land and mention her as she had gotten her Rise FastPasses put back on our app and they also gave her an anytime Toy Story Mania FastPass for her troubles.
So I did what she told me and went to the very same cast member, who hooked us up with the Nickie special.
By this point, it was getting close to 2PM and we wanted to make sure to get a little resort time in before dinner tonight. So we headed out and walked back to the Boardwalk.
Now, based on all the fan mail I have been getting lately, I am gonna go ahead and assume the next portion of this post is going to appeal to A LOT of you. You guys have been asking for this for a while. Just look at some of these letters.
You are such a funny person. I wish you were my dad. Can you PLEASE do more laundry on your blog.
Washing in Washington
Whoa. And look at this one.
Your blog has really helped me plan my Disney trips and I even love all your non-Disney content. Have you ever thought about going to laundry rooms and then posting about them? It’s a fetish of mine.
I love you,
Dryers make me swoon
I mean, that one got a little weird at the end there but still. You get the gist. Oh, and one more.
Will you please stop writing your blog and do the laundry?
Nickie (your wife)
So I mean. That’s a LOT of demand there. And since all you guys asked, here we go.
Since we were gonna have a couple hours to spare before dinner, we were just a little over halfway through our trip, and Florida summers equal sweaty t-shirts, it would be a good time to make use of the Boardwalk’s laundry facilities.
We put our bathing suits on since the plan was to drop the clothes off and wait at the pool for the switch to the dryer.
I put some dirty clothes into a suitcase and brought them down the hall to secure a machine. When I got there, there weren’t any open machines but I did see that one of them was almost done according to the timer. So I waited it out. Thankfully, there was a TV in there and the remote was unclaimed.
So I went ahead and started clicking through until I found…
I know what you’re thinking. We were at a family resort and I was putting Die Hard on the TV? But look, it was an edited-for-TV version and kids have no place in a laundry room. All those unwashed unmentionables just flying around and you’re worried about exposing kids to the true heroism of John McClaine?
I ended up securing two washing machines, which worked out since I had a ton of laundry. I loaded up the washing machines and then used the QR code on the wall to get into the app, which would let me know when the machines were done.
After I dropped our clothes off, I met up with Nickie at the Leaping Horse Libations pool bar. This is a great pool bar because it has a bunch of signature drinks. Nickie and I each got a Roller Coaster Meltdown (Parrot Bay Coconut Rum and Plantation Original Dark Rum blended with flavors of Coconut and Pineapple).
SO good. Like, I would consider going specifically to this pool bar just to get this drink. A real good tropical frozen drink.
Which was needed since it was a pretty gloomy day at the pool.
It was even a little bit chilly out…definitely not THE BEST pool day. But it was a VERY GOOD hot tub day.
Look at Nickie. Making friends in the hot tub. I mean, seriously. Look at her. I’d wanna be friends with her too.
I kept checking the laundry app because I wanted to leave enough time to dry off and make it back to do the switch without having to make anyone else wait for a machine. And soon enough, it was time.
So yeah, get excited guys. More laundry.
I dried off and walked back to the laundry room and Nickie came and met me to do some folding. And she brought treats!
Oh and Die Hard was over by now. Sad face.
Oh. But wait.
Best. Laundry room. Ever.
We packed up our folded laundry and met the boys back in the room to get the evening started. And while we were there, we were trying to figure out if we should head back to Hollywood Studios before dinner, especially since we still had that Rise of the Resistance FastPass to use.
The rain was kind of off and on at this point. So Nickie made the decision to stay back while the boys and I made the walk, promising to be back in time for dinner.
Right, still raining. And I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet but the rain we have been experiencing on this trip was due to Tropical Storm Elsa coming into Florida. And yeah, I know. I was thinking the same thing.
Elsa is a blizzard name. It should have been Tropical Storm Moana.
There. I said it. I feel better now.
Onto Hollywood Studios.
Evening time is a cool time to roll up on Hollywood Studios. I love when it’s still kind of light out but the lights are just coming on at the park.
While we were walking to the park, I kept checking the app and Rise of the Resistance was showing no sign of opening up soon. So when we got to the park, I stopped in at the customer relations building to see what we could do to try and figure out our whole Rise of the Resistance situation.
I went in and explained to the cast member that helped me how we had been in and out of line multiple times today and after we discussed everything that happened, he gave us a FastPass for Rise of the Resistance to use the next time we were in Hollywood Studios.
The boys and I then headed straight for Toy Story Land…
…because, since we now had a FastPass for Rise of the Resistance for a few days from now, we were gonna use today’s FastPass on Slinky Dog Dash.
And yeah, in case you were wondering, it WAS very wet out there on Slinky. But I dunno…I feel like that made it even more fun. Like, I wouldn’t always wanna ride it in the rain but it was a fun experience.
Look how happy Owen is.
Ugh Slinky Dog Dash is way too much fun.
The wait next door for Alien Swirling Saucers (ASS, for those who appreciate unfortunate Disney acronyms) was super short so we made the short walk over and hopped in line.
This ride is hella-simple but It’s a good time. Kind of like a whip-type ride. But with aliens. And swirling. And saucers.
By now, it was around 6:30PM and we were pretty soaked. So we walked back to the Boardwalk to dry off a bit before dinner. And when we walked into the room, Nickie was laying in bed watching a Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie.
And the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie she was watching? The Long Haul. Yeah, the last one. The worst one. With the new cast. Including Alicia Silverstone. And you know what? We all settled in and watched the entire rest of the movie together. Honestly, I kind of feel like this is a tradition on a lot of our trips. Like, at some point, we are gonna end up watching a kind of terrible-but-also-awesome-movie in our hotel room and enjoy the crap out of it.
Eventually tho. Eventually, we had to pick ourselves up out of bed and get to dinner. And look at our fits tonight. Casual, yet dapper AF.
Dinner tonight was on the Boardwalk, so it was just a short little walk from our room. Which is nice. Dinner always tastes so much better when you know you can just waddle your fat, bloated butt back to your room within minutes.
That’s like. A plus.
Our dinner tonight was at Trattoria Al Forno, a restaurant we have visited for breakfast in the past but never for dinner. Which is what this is. So like, high-five to new experiences.
We checked in and our table wasn’t quite ready just yet so we stepped next door to AbracadaBar for a quick before-dinner cocktail.
We sat down, perused the menu…
…and then, the hostess came in to tell us our table was ready. So being that this was AbracadaBar, we disappeared.
OK so at this point, my phone’s camera was starting to act up. Being in all that rain caused some moisture to get in the lens so any normal lens pictures were coming out blurry. My wide angle was working fine, which lent itself nicely to the Trattoria Al Forno atmosphere shots…
…but was gonna make dinner shots a bit tough. Like, when I ordered my drink – their Old-Fashioned (Eagle Rare Bourbon, Angostura and Orange Bitters with Agave Nectar) – I was forced to take my picture with a wide angle.
So, for the rest of tonight (and a good chunk of tomorrow), I am actually relying on Nickie’s phone to take my pictures. Some of these I took, some of these Nickie took.
Oh, and just for the purposes of telling the whole story, I think the reason this moisture got in is that I had a third-party screen repair place replace my screen at one point. I just think they didn’t do a great job of sealing it. I have since gotten a replacement phone so all is good.
In the hood, as they say.
Let’s get on with dinner.
You already saw the Old-Fashioned but just so you guys know, it was a pretty good Old-Fashioned. Pretty standard but that’s not a bad thing at all. An old-fashioned Old-Fashioned, essentially.
Here is the non wide-angle picture I took of it with Nickie’s phone.
Of course our dinner started with some bread and a really tasty dipping oil. The bread came whole, which meant we had to kind of tear into it to split it. Depending on the comfort level between you and your fellow dining mates, maybe you’d wanna use a knife. But look, this is my wife and kids. I’m putting my hands all over that nonsense.
For our starters, we actually ordered off the Sides menu and got the Arancini.
This. Was. Delicious. Dude, yes…that’s bacon up on there.
And we got the Polpette (Meatballs).
Of the two, I would 1000% say the Arancini was the winner of the starter war. Both were good but I like REALLY liked that arancini.
Nickie and I also got some wine to enjoy with our entrees. And I am pretty sure we went with a Chianti tonight.
Onto the entrees.
Myles ordered the Lasagna Al Forno (Blended Italian Cheeses, Beef, Veal, Pork, Herb Ricotta).
He seemed to really like it. Which shouldn’t be a total surprise. I am pretty sure this is one of their signature dishes.
Nickie got the Rigatoni Bolognese. And, eh, Bolognese is usually her go-to but this was definitely not the Bolognese she was expecting.
She was a little disappointed. To be honest, we aren’t sure if this is a more traditional Bolognese or something but it was definitely not the “meat sauce” type of Bolognese she was hoping to get.
This Bolognese? It wasn’t Bolo-Nice.
I got the Veal Osso Buco (with Gremolata, Creamy Polenta, Arugula)…
Because much like Nickie with her Bolognese, if Osso Buco is on the menu, I am gonna get it.
And this was very VERY good. The veal was very tender and man oh man, that polenta.
But if we are going with quantity as a qualifier, Owen won tonight’s meal. He ordered the Kids’ Mickey Pepperoni Pizza.
First of all, that may be the CUTEST pizza I’ve ever seen. But also, he could order two sides with his pizza. As you can see in the picture above, he got a side of broccoli and a side of pasta. And that side of pasta was like an entire meal all on its own.
I have never been more proud. Way to go, Owen! You did it!
As you could probably tell from all those pictures, we ate A LOT of food. So tonight, we skipped dessert.
BLASPHEMER 1 JULY 2021 SUMMER WDW TRIP
I know. I know. I disappoint myself.
All in all though, I actually really enjoyed my meal at Trattoria Al Forno. It’s a bummer Nickie wasn’t a fan of her dish but everyone else seemed to like what they got. My main complaint (other than Nickie’s dish not living up to her expectations) was the restaurant was kinda smoky. It was an open kitchen. Which is usually great. But maybe the ventilation system was off or something?
But eh, that’s a pretty small complaint. The food was yummy. Service was great. So yeah, I’d recommend.
After dinner, we made the short waddle back to our room and called it a night.
And that’s Day 9, guys. A pretty jam-packed day for sure. Which is good because Day 10 is pretty chill overall. But it’s still awesome so like, you should still read about it.
It’s July 4th you guys. Jeesh, do you hate America or something?