So it was time to head to Epcot this past weekend for our 1st of 4 trips to the Food and Wine Festival. Figuring it was a Saturday and the weekend after the hurricane scare here in Florida we were prepared for it to be packed with everyone that didn’t have a chance to be there last weekend. Our day started out at Epcot with, believe it or not, a very short wait to get in through security! As we passed through the UK we decided it was time to take a chance on at least checking out the new Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge at Hollywood Studios. Figuring we probably didn’t have much of a prayer of getting in we figured we would try it anyway. We were shocked as we entered HS without even a wait at security and Hollywood Blvd actually had a ton of walking room. As we approached the entrance to Star Wars we were prepared– how long of a line? How long of a wait? Did we need a boarding pass. Oh my gosh- the entrance was practically empty. We walked right in and found ourselves in the land of the 3 suns!
Amazing was all we could say! It’s not a huge area and so it didn’t take us long to actually walk around. But it truly makes you feel as if you’ve stepped into another land. Just a few highlights.
- The marketplace is very well done with merchandise and food shoppes
- There are a ton of great photo shot spots!
- The design of the land is incredible
- Thank goodness for the giant fans and misters scattered around
- The food selections sounded awesome, but expensive! $9.00 for a bottle of coke!
- There is only one attraction open right now, the Millenium Falcon- which amazingly only had a 45 min. wait. The next attraction is scheduled to open in December. We decided to wait until the next one is open
So all in all it’s a long anticipated addition to HS and thankfully not as crazy or crowded as Toy Story Land! We’re looking forward to exploring it just a bit more.
Well back to the Food and Wine Festival. We were slightly disappointed in that most of the food offerings were not anything new to us. So many of the food booths are left up throughout the year, so we’ve had a chance to try some of them out. I will say it was way more crowded over at Epcot than HS. Our treat for the day was just some ice cream from France! Nothing better than a cup of coffee ice cream and a waffle cone of mint chocolate chip on a hot and humid Florida day!
30 years ago on May 1 Hollywood Studios, then known as MGM, opened its doors! That year our 8 y.o. son whose birthday just happens to be on May 1 requested that we add MGM to our annual FL trip. So we thought it fitting that this year my husband and I celebrate his birthday again at Hollywood Studios!
So just a few thoughts on the day.
- Since we knew we were going to go back to Epcot at the end of the day to catch the Herman’s Hermits concert we decided to park there and walk to Hollywood Studios. For those that just walking the park is difficult, this might not be the best idea. If you’re not familiar with going back and forth between the parks you first need to go into Epcot and exit back behind the UK in the World Showcase. The walk takes you along the Boardwalk area of the parks, which is interesting because there are several restaurants and shops there. Plus, it is actually a nice quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the parks. You’ll walk about a mile along a wonderful walkway next to the waterway. It brings you right to the front entrance of Hollywood Studios.
- We knew we wanted to eat at least one meal at each park. The lounge at the Brown Derby had over an hour wait, despite several empty tables. We tend to stay away from the sit down restaurants since they are a little too pricey for us. Pizza Rizzo is closed- not sure for how long. The ABC Commissary is our default place to eat but we wanted to try something different. Try the Backlot Express. I had a delightful grilled chicken sandwich with fries and my husband had chicken strips with coleslaw. We each had a wonderful cold beer. There is both inside and outside seating. We chose the outside seating on the lower level, which was very crowded and hard to talk since the noise from the Indiana Jones ride filtered over. Just a tip- try the upper level outside seating if you can get a table. It’s a little less crowded and noisy.
- When a park is having a major celebration be prepared for longer than normal lines, especially where they are selling commemorative merchandise. As passholders there was a commemorative 30 year pin available. But, there were only 1000 available. Of course, they were sold out by the time we got there. There isn’t a separate line either for just passholders so you’ll end up waiting with the general public, which at one time the wait was over 2 hours. We decided not to wait because we were really only interested in the pin. But, we could see inside the shop and it was jammed packed. Thoughts- if you are claustrophobic at all you may want to rethink going in the shop. But, hey if you are really wanting that commemorative merchandise then go for it! For us, the memories of being there 30 years ago celebrating our son’s birthday was enough!
- This is the day to check out the other parks as they will not be as busy! Epcot was absolutely perfect. We actually even scored a FastPass for the Frozen Ever After ride, which is almost impossible to do. Once in the FastPass line at 4:10 pm we walked right on. We got into the Herman’s Hermit’s concert at the last minute, albeit SRO. But, there have been times they do not admit anyone else at all to the concerts. We hardly had any wait at all at the Liberty Inn Tavern for a quick dinner, which by the way was wonderful. We both had an absolutely delightful Fried Chicken Sandwich. Walking around the park was wonderful, there was breathing room and totally enjoyable. Quite a switch from other times we have been there. We also heard from one of the Cast Members that Magic Kingdom was not uber crowded either. I knew we should’ve gone over for a Hot Fudge Sunday in Fantasyland. But, a great Pineapple Soft Serve at Epcot did the trick.
So there you go- just a few thoughts, hints, and tip on surviving a special WDW celebration day.
This past Friday we got our 3rd 5K under our belt by finishing the Star Wars Rival Run at Epcot! Now, for some, running a 5K may not be any big deal. But for us, at least me, it is a pretty big deal considering that I was never a runner and really still don’t consider myself a runner (my best time was 41 minutes in the ArtFest run in February). But, we consider this a real accomplishment! The run on Friday has been highly anticipated since we registered back in 2018. One of my dreams has been to do a RunDisney and being big Star Wars fans this sounded like just the perfect one for us.
So onto the race- the big weekend started out Thursday when we headed up to Orlando. It was the day to pick up our Race Bib, t-shirt, check out the health and fitness expo and call it an early night as we had a 3:00 am wake up call. Of course, I was up before the alarm, we donned our race clothes and were in the Epcot parking lot by 3:45. We weren’t the first to arrive that early. Anticipation and excitement was growing. There were tons of folks in costumes from both the Light Side and the Dark Side ( I think the Dark Side won!) Photo ops with characters were available and soon we were headed to the start corral. But, wait… we still had over an hour before race time. Soon.. 5:28 on my watch- almost time to get going, stretching muscles, trying to stay moving in the morning chill and then…. “Runners, due to inclement weather the start of the race has been delayed. We are evacuating the start corrals. Please follow the instructions of the volunteers and we will get this race underway as soon as possible. Your safety in first and foremost important”. Now, for anyone that lives in FL. you know that lightning can strike up to 10 miles from the core of the storm. The storm was situated just north of Orlando. Off we went to buses to wait it out. The rain came, in droves, lightened up a bit, then came in droves again. At 7:00 we received the all clear to continue the race. Back we went to the start corral and we were off- all 14,000 runners in the pouring rain, through puddles or small lakes, through Epcot, around the World Showcase, rain still pouring down, tons of volunteers cheering us on, and on to the finish line! It was amazing! It was a blast! It was exhilarating as we heard Star Wars music blasting throughout the park, Storm troppers, Ewoks, Darth Vader, The resistance everywhere! And for anyone that knows me and how much I really detest being out in the rain- this was an uber accomplishment to complete the race! We were soaked, but happy at the end! Woo Hoo!
The Force Was With Us!