Quantcast Fest 1 of 4 done! A week of food, wine and walking. Day 4
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Ithaca, NY
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    Default Fest 1 of 4 done! A week of food, wine and walking. Day 4

    Day 4 - Hollywood Studios!
    Today was the. perfect. day. in. Hollywood. After a nice restful night I was up before my alarm, showered, and ready to rock at 7 a.m. I got a Slinky Dog LL for 11-something, which on any other day might be a great return time but I was not happy with it. My favorite G+ strategy (when not stacking in the afternoon) is to try and get the first return time for before the 11 a.m. drop (or whenever 2 hours after park open is) when EVERYONE can grab the second lightning lane if their first return time is later in the afternoon. If you can get a couple LL's before 11 or whenever, you have the better chances of getting the most popular or hard to get rides out of the way early. So, instead of being Ok with 11-something to ride Slink, I modified and BINGO WINGO I booked 9:05! It turned out that it didn't matter, because before we even left the room we got a push notification Slinky would be down during our return time and we were issued redemption passes. But that meant I could book ANOTHER LL so I got Rockin' Rollercoaster. Why not Smugglers or Mickey and Minnie's? Because other than Rise, RRC is the other ride in HS that goes down allll the time so in the event the ride was down, we would get an other redemption pass and then could book another LL immediately. I know this is why G+ gets very little love, and that's valid. I watched a lot of YouTube to figure out the best ways to use the system to my advantage. But now that I've got it nailed down, it's quite easy to navigate.

    Anyway, we got to the Skyliner line and it was WAAAAYYYY backed up. We had walked right on the morning before so we were really surprised. But again, these are two large resorts sharing the same station and we were coming up on the long weekend for Indigenous People's Day and many states (not NY, lol) have a fall break that week, too. So we felt the uptick in crowds yet again, but gondola systems are designed to move large groups of people efficiently so it really took about 8 minutes to get to the load station. We got through park security and the turnstyles with enough time to enjoy about 10 minutes of resort guest early entry before rope drop. Slinky hadn't come back up, and good news - Coaster was also down! It wasn't our return time yet so we weren't issued redemption passes but I kept my eye on it. I made the quick decision to turn right and go do Tower standby. The wait was short, and we had a great drop sequence. I love Tower, I could spend hours in the queue noticing all the details in the lobby especially.

    While we were in line for Tower, Slinky still hadn't come back up, Coaster was still down, and we were in part of the garden where you can kind of see through the foliage to backstage. We heard fire truck sirens and saw some flashing lights through the trees. Not a good sign. I wondered if that was the reason Coaster or Slinky was down! Turns out, there was a crane parked on the stage of Indiana Jones that must have had some kind of fire because all the performances were canceled this day (which was a bummer because I thought Husband would really enjoy it) and I saw some reports from others on social media that the crane remained parked there completely immovable.

    Sometime after Tower Coaster had come back up but we had an hour before our return time. Slinky was also back up, but I didn't want to race over there just to stand in a super backed up LL. Even though Studios has the smallest footprint of any park, I wanted to avoid criss crossing and needed to stay in the general area of Hollywood Boulevard/Chinese Theater. So we decided to do some character meets! Husband was so pumped. We met Olaf, Donald, Max, saw Chip & Dale having a picnic on the Brown Derby lawn, went to the Launch Bay and met Chewy & BB8. We had some great interactions and I am so happy I got the Photopass package with my AP. I don't always do pictures but I figured if I'm going at least 3 more times this calendar year it would be worth it. After meeting our friends, it was time to ride Coaster so we got in our Super Stretch and made it to the show just in time. Once we had scanned in to Coaster I made a LL for Toy Story Mania! for essentially that minute so we then went to Andy's backyard. It's so cute back there! We did TSM first and Husband beat my score so now we were even between TSM and Buzz from the other day where I wiped the floor with him. After we used our Slinky redemption passes. Then it was time for lunch!

    Continued in next post...
    Last Trip: February 2024
    Next Trips: April 2024

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  4. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Ithaca, NY
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    My go-to lunch at Studios for many years was always Sci-Fi Dine In. As a kid I watched all those movies and just generally love mid-century kitsch. I thought Husband might get more of a kick out of an interactive themed restaurant so I booked us at 50's Prime Time, which I had never done before. We had a great time! As a lover of 50's and 60's motif, I was in heaven. We split the deviled eggs appetizer, the sampler platter (brisket, meatloaf, fried chicken and sides), and chocolate peanut butter cake for dessert. Everything was delicious, but I think the best thing about this lunch was what happened at the table next to us. I know WDW used to be better than it is today, sometimes I think that's in the eye of the beholder yet I think those opinions are also really valid. The critique that the service has gone downhill is fair, especially at such a premium price point we would expect premium service. Well, all that aside, I can assure you we witnessed exceptional service. Our server, Cousin Briana, had a large corner of the restaurant and she was handling it like a champ. She had a large table of 10 and, as can happen, one of the waters spilled onto the table and got the little guy (he must have been 2 or 3) all wet. She took care of cleaning it up right away and the family were really kind to her about it. She brought him a towel and I think she comped one of their meals, too. But then, about the time they were settling the bill, she came over with TWO toddler outfits brand new from the store because she didn't want him to have to spend the rest of the day in wet clothes. I thought that was going above and beyond, and something any server at an Applebee's wouldn't dream of doing. The service and magic are still there. Yes it's unfortunate you have to really look hard for it sometimes, but I think cast do what they can within their small sphere of influence. I sent her a Cast Compliment in the app and left a great tip.

    After lunch we wanted to do more character meets, so we went over to Municiberg and met Frozone, Sully, and Edna Mode. Back over to the Animation Courtyard and Launch Bay for Vampirina and Darth Vadar. I think after we scanned in to TSM I made a LL for Mickey and Minnie's so we did that. I miss Great Movie Ride like I miss Maelstrom (which is A LOT) but I have to say at least this replacement is so much better than Frozen Ever After. I know, it's a hot take but I said what I said Timing didn't work out to see Frozen Sing-A-Long or Beauty and the Beast but I've done both and while Husband and I love theatre he isn't really that into theme park shows. I told him he had no choice but to see Fantasmic! later.

    I got a LL for Smuggler's so it was finally time to go to Batuu! I had made an Oga's reservation at the 60 day mark for 5:30 so we had an hour and a half to explore, ride Smuggler's, and scan into Rise. The Rise standby time had been as low as 35 minutes earlier in the day and as high as 110 minutes. We go through both rides with still about an hour before we could go to Oga's and then I noticed Rise had a 40 minute wait in the app. Since we were right there we decided to go for it and ride again. It took about 25 minutes to get to the pre-show! Unfortunately, we were about to get interrogated and then the system went down. We were walked out of the building and everyone who had been through the first half of the attraction were issued redemption passes on our way out to use if it came back up. We explored Batuu a little more and then checked in to Oga's. I had really enjoyed myself the first time I was there but this time was just "meh." We had a server who was a bit distracted, wasn't really in character (I was more into it than our server and that's saying something), and the drinks were not as good as I recalled from last year. Husband and I agreed it's a cool thing to see once but we won't be back. When we paid the bill I noticed Rise was back up so we got to save the galaxy once again!

    At this point, except for shows, we had done everything. There was about 90 minutes before Fantasmic! and we were hungry. It had also started raining briefly but I checked the weather app and it was a short passing shower. So I put ourselves on the walk up wait list at the Hollywood Brown Derby lounge. It said a 20 minute wait but we were called back immediately and there were loads of tables available. I think the rain kept folx away. By the time we were seated the rain had completely cleared. Hollywood Brown Derby is my favorite restaurant in all of WDW right now. I have never had a bad meal there and it feels like such a treat every time I go. We ordered escargot, charcuterie, and crab Louie to share with a martini flight. Such an enjoyable way to hang out together with almost exclusively personal service from the wait staff and bartenders. Everyone was hustling to get to Fantasmic! and we watched as they all power walked to get there. We took our time and strolled into the amphitheater with about 10 minutes to spare and got a spot next to the concession stand in the back row. It's not the most ideal place but we had a full view of the entire show. It had been since waaaay before the pandemic that I'd last seen this show and hadn't experienced the revised version. It was as amazing as I remembered, tears were absolutely shed, and I loved the addition of the Moana section.

    We slowly made our way out of the park after the show. I would have loved to stay for the next show but I knew that wouldn't be wise, lol. I also had some laundry to do back at the hotel. The next day was a transition day for me to the conference center and I didn't pack enough clothes to not rewear some later in the week. When we got back to POP we spent some time packing up, finishing all the snacks we'd accumulated over the last 4 days, I did laundry, and we relaxed watching some tv.

    The rest of the week to come!
    Last Trip: February 2024
    Next Trips: April 2024

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  6. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    You have certainly made an art out of utilizing the new fast pass system!!
    Linda aka: Faline
    INTERCOT Staff: Vacation Planning,Trip Reports and Disney Camping
    [email protected]

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