Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Epcot & Hollywood Studios (Yes, Again!)

As I mentioned, we wanted to squeeze in one more Disney trip before our annual passes are blacked out for the summer, and we made that happen this past weekend. We're getting our money's worth over here, people!

We decided to make a full weekend trip of it this time, both to enjoy more Disney fun and to test out having the kids share a hotel room. When we travel, we have always booked two-bedroom suites to give the kids their own space and ensure better sleep for everyone. But, with the possibility of another summer road trip on the horizon, the idea of smaller hotel rooms is certainly appealing to the bank account. However, not if it means sleepless nights, am I right? So, we figured this was a good time for a trial run, because if it went terribly, the stakes weren't that high.

Anyway. We left early Saturday and drove down to Orlando to spend the morning at Epcot. We had such a nice time there during our little day trip, and there were a couple more things we wanted to see.

Back at Epcot!

Most of our morning was spent meeting characters, because that's really what the kids enjoy. I picked up a new Alice in Wonderland costume for Ellie at a consignment store the day before, and she was excited to wear it to visit Alice. She had also been asking to meet Mulan since our last visit, so we made sure to make that happen. As for E.J., he has really hit his character-meeting groove and was all about giving them big, sweet, E.J. hugs before turning around and saying "cheese" for a picture. These kids, man. Too much.

Ellie made sure to tell Alice that her name is Elizabeth Alice!

Big E.J. hug for King Louie!

Chip and Dale

Pluto licked E.J., and he loved when Ellie scratched behind his ears!

Group hug for Minnie!

E.J.'s favorite!

Mr. Smee


After lunch, we rode the Nemo ride and hit Turtle Talk with Crush again, at Ellie's request. She was so excited to sit up front and told me she wanted to ask a question this time. Sure enough, when question time came, she waved her arm in the air and got chosen for the first question! Way to go, Ellie!

The boys on the Nemo ride

VIDEO: Ellie asks Crush a question!

By that time the afternoon was wearing on and we wanted to get checked in to our hotel, so we wrapped things up. Our plan was to check in to our hotel as soon as possible, put the kids down for late naps, then wake them up with just enough time to get out to Magic Kingdom for more fun. I booked FastPasses for us for the Dumbo ride, then the nighttime electrical parade, then we planned to stay for the fireworks and meet Mickey at the Town Square Theater (another FastPass) afterwards. We figured all that would keep us out until probably 11:30 p.m., which is crazy late for the kids, but we expected Ellie to be okay even if she didn't nap (which she rarely does anymore), and E.J. should be okay assuming he takes a good late nap.

The best laid plans, my friends. As it turned out, Ellie napped and E.J. didn't.

We had said if E.J. didn't nap we would just scrap our evening plans, but I had convinced Ellie to nap by telling her we could only go out for more fun in the evening if she did. I didn't have the heart to tell her that even though she did as I asked, we still weren't going. So we basically told E.J. to man up and out we went. 

But, we altered our plans. Instead of Magic Kingdom, where the fireworks didn't even start until 10:00 and we would have a much longer park exit time and commute home, we opted to go to Hollywood Studios for their evening fireworks show, set to Star Wars music. The timing for their show wasn't showing up on Disney's website, so Eric called Disney World to confirm that they were having fireworks that evening and at what time. We were told yes, fireworks would happen at Hollywood Studios at 9:45, so we scrapped Magic Kingdom (goodbye, well-timed FastPasses) in favor of that.

Back to Hollywood Studios!

Let me tell you what, folks. We are never again visiting Hollywood Studios during the day. All the stuff we did last time that we waited 30 minutes (or more) for before? ZERO WAIT TIME in the evening. The place was a ghost town. In one hour, we met Olaf (a new attraction!), Eric and I took turns riding the Star Tours ride, and we met both Chewbacca and Kylo Ren. It was glorious. And the kids loved it all!

So excited to see Olaf!

The kids and their favorite snowman

Snowman selfie!

Ellie just loved meeting Chewbacca!

So happy!

E.J. was a little spooked by Chewie, but Chewie did win him over with a little tickling at the very end!

This guy is much more E.J.'s style. Go figure.

Kylo Ren family photo

Ellie loved the Jawas again!

By then were about ready to go watch the fireworks, but lo and behold, everyone seemed to just be exiting the park. Nothing seemed fireworks-ready at all. We quickly learned that no, there would not be fireworks at Hollywood Studios after all, despite being told otherwise when we called. What a bummer! I'm not sure if we would have gone through with Magic Kingdom anyway had we known, but it was such a disappointment to have been wrongly counting on Hollywood Studios as a suitable substitute. Ah, well. We had a nice evening anyway!

At last! He sleeps!

And, guess what else? THE KIDS SLEPT IN THE SAME ROOM. Now, it did not exactly happen under normal circumstances, because their bedtime was 2.5 hours later than normal after a very full Disney day, so they were pretty spent. But they both went to sleep with no issues and slept in until 8:20 a.m., when the woke up and started playing with/talking to each other! So, yay! It has happened! That makes our future road trip life so much easier.

Coming up next: Our first visit to Animal Kingdom!

To see all of our pictures from this visit to Epcot, click here. For Hollywood Studios, click here.

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