So we had to tell Mickey “See ya real soon” on Sunday and now we are back to Texas.
I know. It’s sad.
But I thought I would capitalize and get ya’ll a quick overview of the trip and a couple of the things that made it special.
Call me old fashioned, but there’s something about a Top Ten List so here goes:
Top Ten Takeaways from February 2020
1. Stuffed French Toast Pretzel all day everyday
We rope dropped Hollywood Studios, arriving at 6:40 am for a 7 am park opening. Got in and walked around the park with about a billion other people. People started lining up for rides (even though nothing would open or operate until 8am…crazy) and I just took my time to walk on over to the Incredibles area just before the entrance to Toy Story Land. No one was in line and I ordered my stuffed french toast pretzels and coffee from the most delightful cast members I’ve ever seen in the morning.
It’s shaped like a pretzel but it is a warm toasty sweet bread that has a substantial amount of sweet filling in it. They give you a container of syrup but in my opinion it isn’t necessary. Guys, for real, I could have eaten 4 of them. I would have needed a nap, but still, they are delicious. My kids dropped a piece on the ground and I ate it…what’s that tell you. It will set you back about $6 I think but it is well worth it!
2. Rise of the Resistance is the absolute most bomb-est ride EVAH!
Finished up that pretzel and decided to stroll over to Star Tours area. It was packed with people waiting to get into Galaxy’s Edge and storm Smuggler’s Run, but I had other plans. I was waiting for the clock to strike 8 am so I could join my boarding group. Your entire party has to be inside of Hollywood Studios and you have to have the Disney Parks app. You open it up and the second it hits 8 am you click join a boarding group. Within 75 seconds (I’m not exaggerating, I read it in an article about that day) all boarding groups and back groups were distributed. We got group 55. The ride went down for about an hour in the early afternoon but we got on around 4 pm.
I will not spoil the ride for anyone, but I will say that Disney has stepped up their game for sure! The entire queue is amazing, the cast members are fantastic and all in perfect character and the ride itself is incredible. Trackless systems, life size AT-ATs, storm troopers galore….the list goes on. I would rope drop and wait again in a heartbeat for that without question.
3. Grand Floridian Cafe is delicious
We have eaten at a lot of the restaurants around Disney-and we have had reservations here a couple of times but cancelled for various reasons. I am so glad we finally made it a point to go. This isn’t a character meal but they serve breakfast and lunch all day. And that’s a winner in my book.
It’s a beautiful little spot just off the Grand Floridian Lobby with windows looking out onto the grounds which is beautiful. No specifically exquisite theming here but it’s just super enjoyable and relaxed. And the food is divine. I had the Eggs Benedict Trio (traditional, asparagus and lobster, and peppers and chorizo) and Ryan had the chicken and waffles. Next time I will tackle the bananas foster oatmeal because it took everything in me not to order it also. The kids had mickey waffles and pancakes with sprinkles. Jude ordered green beans with his pancake-I know I should have been proud but when he dipped it into his chocolate pudding I wanted to barf…but he genuinely was enjoying it. Something is wrong with that boy.
4. Every stoplight is replaced with a giant turnaround
This is a realization. There are no left turns-just a giant right circle turnaround. They must have something against stoplights on the main roads or something. Overtime it happened we were freaked out that we literally made a circle and were turned around completely. Carry on.
5. Oga’s Cantina is my favorite late night spot
For Valentine’s Day our friend watched the kiddos and let us go out for the evening. We ate dinner and then ran to Hollywood Studios to squeeze in a ride on Smuggler’s Run together and then see if we could get into Oga’s before they closed. Park was closing at 8pm and we got off of SR at 8:15 but we decided to head over and just see if we could get in. Not only did they let us in, but they sat us with a table of science fiction nerds and had an absolutely entertaining evening with them. We got a personal escort out of the park around 9:30-only one other group was behind us. Super fun in the cantina but super fun to walk through the park with no one else there too!
6. Toledo’s delivers a spectacular experience
Coronado Springs is where we stayed back in September but we didn’t get to try Toledo’s because they were not open just yet. Well, I snagged a Valentine’s Dinner reservation for Ryan and I and it was wonderful. Traditional Spanish tapas and dishes. We went with the special Chef’s dinner for the evening along with a smorgasbord of other items from the menu and it was perfect! It will cost you a bit, but it was our anniversary and it was special. I think our total was around $200 with tip but we left super full and had the best service and experience we could have hoped for.
7. The new Riviera Hotel and Skyliner are beautiful
After leaving HS for the night we thought we would try the Skyliner for the first time. The first ride didn’t go as high and it was a beautiful view-the second line went a bit higher and the winds picked up so I was a bit nervous! But we stopped at Riviera and explored the beautiful new hotel. I will say this though-Coronado Springs lobby is stunning…Riviera’s not so much. It’s pretty, but not nearly as grand as Coronado.
8. Disney with friends really is must do
We have done Disney with friends before, but I just have to tell you how much we enjoy it. Some people say they can’t vacation with friends and I get it, but that’s just not our game. We went with another friend and her children and even stayed in the same airbnb together. I thought we would have more time apart, but we we were together pretty much nonstop-and it was great! We did things a little different because I played VIP Tour guide which meant a little more fastness chasing that we wouldn’t have done if it were just us, but we saw some things that we wouldn’t have because I wanted to give her a full experience. Now that we have been so many times, there are some things we skip and some “quieter” things that we do that some people don’t pay attention to. We had a decent mix, but definitely hit the floor a littler harder than if it would have just been us. But it turned out to be an awesome trip and Disney with friends really is a special thing!
9. Hollywood Studios is no longer a half day park….but Voyage of the Little Mermaid needs some help
6 days of park-original breakdown was 3 days at Magic Kingdom and 1 day at the other 3 parks. We ended up doing 2 days at MK and 2 days at HS and one at the other 2 (Epcot and Animal Kingdom). We used to not even fill an entire day at HS but with the opening of Galaxy’s Edge and Toy Story Land along with understanding how fun the shows really are, we filled up 2 days there! Only exception to this…Voyage of the Little Mermaid. Guys, I’m to the point to where I can’t even handle going into this show. The puppet show part is great and the bubbles are fun…but the mic problem and Ariel herself are just not up to par. 4 years I’ve listened to that mic being too quiet. It’s done on purpose, but I’m not sure why. And this Ariel was better than previously, but still not great. She hit a wrong note in there and just held onto it for a year…yikes! Hopefully they revamp (like the rumors I’m hearing) or get someone better in Ariel’s tail real fast. I’m all about a quick spot to jump in and get some AC-but I’d rather hang gout in the bathroom that here that note again.
10. Festival of the Arts had a million fantastic offerings!
The Sushi Donut was my absolute favorite followed by the little red bean stuffed koi cookie with the special “T” name, but Epcot never disappoints if you are going to try some food. I had a handful of delicious cupcakes, and a small sampling of plates from the Festival offerings. There was a salad that I was told to try and I was super unimpressed, but the chicken leg at the same stop was a winner. I’m always a sucker for food though.
As I rounded out #10 I was really thinking of about 20 other things but figured I should just give you this much. Point is: Disney never disappoints.
P.S. Don’t go to Disney on President’s Day weekend. Biggest mistake ever in terms of crowds. I mean, for real, Flight of passage was a 280 minute wait. Insane.