Closing up the Disney trip with visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and collecting Starbucks mugs.
Okay, so one thing about the mugs, I’m not the collector. The Best Friend collects them. Not the Bestie, the Best Friend. Two different people. Yes, I can do that. I try and pick up a mug for him whenever I travel someplace new, but he’s not so hot at keeping an inventory, which is why he has two mugs from Chicago.
Anyways, no one in my group was really interested in trekking it to the Animal Kingdom park, but I decided to make my way over there because I was determined to come home with a full set of mugs for the Best Friend. The Bestie’s little brother decided to accompany me, and we had a nice little time sharing stories about his sisters and talking about what we liked the most so far on this trip.
We only spent a total of 20 minutes at the Animal Kingdom Park while I looked for the Starbucks (SPOILER ALERT: It’s in the Creature Comforts Coffee Shop). Since we didn’t make it around the park, it seems to me like it’s more of a zoo-type place, but if you’ve actually spent the time here, let me know if that’s wrong and what it’s really about.
So after waiting about 30 minutes for a park shuttle and probably one of THE longest shuttle rides of my life, we ended up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This ended up being my favorite park overall. The Bestie’s brother and I decided to go on Star Tours, since a parade blocked us from making it to the other side of the park where the Bestie and her cousin were in ride for the Aerosmith roller coaster. This was right after the Star Wars rides were updated to include scenes and characters from the new movie. Star Wars diehards — brace yourselves — I know nothing about the movie franchise, so I didn’t understand why people were cheering when some guy appeared on the screen. But I like this ride. Oh, and apparently that guy’s name is “Finn.”
Afterwards, we all met for lunch, and the Bestie picked out 50s Prime Time Cafe. Long story short — this place has good food, but I probably wouldn’t go here again. Their shtick is to treat you like you’re at your 1950’s mom or grandma’s house — complete with lectures if you don’t finish your veggies or scoldings if you have your elbows on the table. It’s cute, but I wish we had known that ahead of time, because I can get scolded and lectured at my mom’s house for free. The Bestie’s cousin was SUPER not appreciative of the gimmick, and I quickly snatched up the bill before he and the waiter decided to throw down.
Gutsy move — we went on the Aerosmith ride after lunch. It’s basically a mild roller coaster where you play the part of a tour group who gets to go to an Aerosmith concert and the roller coaster is your limo. It was really fast and a lot of fun. And I didn’t barf.
We went to Disneyworld right after the most recent Star Wars movie came out, so they had an exhibit of a bunch of props from the movie. My little brother is a huge fan, so I took pictures of the exhibit to send to him. Some of the stuff is also on sale — holla at Disney if you’re interested in Darth Vader’s helmet for $675.
One other thing I used on this trip was Disney’s Memory Maker. Basically, you get access and unlimited digital downloads to all your ride photos (you do have to actually pick them out and save them with your bracelet) and any photos you take around the park on the PhotoPass website. Make sure to download them right after your trip, because you only get access for 45 days or so. I just looked it up and it looks like it’s $149-$169, but I added mine on with a resort package, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t pay that much. But things change, so you should confirm the details with a real Disney staff member. Of course, you can also have the PhotoPass people take your pictures with your own cameras or phones at designated photo spots for free, but you also miss the hilarity of seeing yourself freak out on a ride.
Ended with a Star Wars themed fireworks show at night at Hollywood Studios. Even for a non-fan like myself, I really enjoyed it. I’d love to upload the short clip of my lazy attempt to record the show, but I’m cheap and I don’t want to upgrade my WordPress account to support the video. Just know that I thought it was pretty great. If you don’t mind trees and buildings blocking most of the lower fireworks, the tables around the corner from the Trolly Car Cafe are a nice place to rest and watch the highest fireworks and some trees. You can hear the music all over the park.
Oh, and I got “randomly searched” both times I entered Hollywood Studios. I wonder what they look for, and what made me look suspicious?
Any things I may have missed running through these parks? How about recommendations for a good place to eat for my next trip there? Or want to laugh about my horribly subpar knowledge of Star Wars? Let me know below.
Here’s another picture of the castle: