The Ervings Return to WDW- Day 2
Lightning Lane & Park Opening
I was ready to logon at 7am, and after getting the hang of the new Genie+ format, we secured a Lightning Lane ride time of 6:25pm for Rise of the Resistance ($15/person) first, then purchased a 12:30pm LL for *Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad ($11/person). I then moved on to my Genie+ reservation for a 12:55pm Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s run.
*Note: later in 2022, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway was moved to Genie+ attractions
We arrived at Hollywood Studios at 8:45am, and were able to walk right into the park for our Early Morning hours; guests who were not staying at a WDW resort had to wait until 9am to scan into the park.
8:45am- Standby line for Toy Story Mania (15 minutes)- This was the first time we had walked through the standby queue, and it was worth having a small wait to see everything.
9am- Standby line for Alien Space Saucers (10 minutes)
9:15am- Breakfast (grilled cheese with tomato soup & tater tots) at Woody’s Lunchbox– It may seem like an odd choice for breakfast, but we were able to avoid the long lines for lunch and dinner.
Echo Lake & Grand Avenue
9:30am- Mickey & Minnie Vacation Fun- The short 10-minute film was cute; Mickey travels to different vacation destinations around the world and there are photo ops for each spot in the lobby.
10:15am– Entered Queue for 10:30am Frozen Ever After Sing-Along
11:15am- Lighting Lane for Star Tours (Standby would have been a 30-minute wait)
11:30am– Lighting Lane for Muppets 3-D– We didn’t really need to use Genie+ for this one; it’s never crowded.
Because my first Lighting Lane was scheduled for more than 2 hours after the 9am park opening, at 11am I was able to add an additional attraction. Most of the more popular rides (Millennium Falcon, Slinky Dog Dash, Aerosmith’s Rock’n Roller Coaster, and Tower of Terror) had very late availability or none at all by 11am. Star Tours and Alien Space Saucers had immediate availability, and would save some time in line. The rest of the attractions were shows that may secure better seating, but probably wouldn’t sell out, so Genie+ wouldn’t save much time.
Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railroad
12:30pm- Minnie’s Runaway Railway Lightning Lane
We had considered trying for rope drop and we are glad we chose to purchase Lighting Lane instead. The ride was offline at opening causing long lines the rest of the day, including a 90-minute wait when we arrived for our reservation. This is my new favorite “conventional” ride and I was amazed at how much they could do with just a 2-D experience.
The line was considerably shorter close to closing (20 minutes), and we considered riding again, but opted for the projections shows instead.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Read my previous blog for more information about Galaxy’s Edge
12:00pm: Entered Galaxy’s Edge and spent a lot of time in Market shops playing with the many new creature merch offerings. Little had changed in Galaxy’s Edge since our last visit two years ago, with the exception that while prior to 2020 Storm Troopers roamed amongst the guests, they now stand menacingly over the town and redirect visitors. Like before, Rey and a member of the Resistance were working on an X-Wing and interacting with guests also.
12:45pm: Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run Lighting Lane (Standby would have been a 70 minutes)
1:30pm-5:00pm– Park Hopped to Epcot via the Skyliner
5:30pm- Returned to Hollywood Studios and purchased winter merch in the Hollywood Studios shops; while we were prepared for the 45 degree cold snap, we had not prepared for the wind chill of almost 35 degrees.
6:00pm- drinks at BaseLine Taphouse
6:30pm- Rise of the Resistance LL (Standby that evening would have been over 90 minutes, although earlier in the day it had been 170 minutes)
17:30pm- Dinner at Docking Bay 7 Food & Cargo- with the new mobile ordering system, during busy times some restaurants won’t let you enter until your food is ready. The new system is especially helpful with regulating the availability of seating in quick service restaurants.
After Sunset in Hollywood Studios
7:55pm Slinky Dog Dash LL- (Standby would have been 70 minutes)- I had been surprised at 1pm to find that there was LL available that evening, despite it being listed as Standby only earlier in the day. This was the only time I saw this happen during our trip; with the previous FastPass system there seemed to be more added options as people canceled through the day. Slinky Dog Dash (and Toy Story Land in general) is even better at night, even in subarctic temperatures (by Florida standards).
8:15pm-9pm- We spent the last bit of the day shopping on Sunset Boulevard and enjoying the projection on Tower of Terror and the short Disney Movie Magic show on the Chinese Theater.
9pm- Wonderful World of Animation– The cold temperatures had scared off nearly everyone, so it was easy to find a spot in front of Chinese Theater to view the projection show. In general, the performance was much, much toned down from previous Star Wars Spectaculars and others. For us, it was a fun reintroduction to the broad range of Disney movies and characters that made us love Disney.
Bus transportation back to French Quarter didn’t take very long, and we were back in our room by 9:45pm.
We were first struck by the lack of a stage in front of the Chinese Theater. While it helped with the atmosphere and the view for the evening projections, we did miss the parade of Storm Troopers and the Star Wars shows. We also missed reacquainting ourselves with Star Wars history and having the character interactions (Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and BB8) at Launch Bay.
Other Attractions/Shows that still haven’t reopened: Meet Red Carpet Dreams Mickey & Minnie, The Little Mermaid.
Attractions/Shows that are open but we didn’t visit: Cars, Aerosmith Rock’n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Meet Olaf, Beauty & the Beast Live, The Indiana Jones Stunt-acular.